Is there an app for that?

I need a tool.  Or rather, a doctor I’m trying to help needs a tool.  And I feel like it should exist, but I’m kind of thinking it doesn’t.  I’ve solicited advice from all the lovely medlibs I follow on Twitter, and have had a few suggestions, but I’m not sure 140 characters really lets me describe my need.  But I have a blog!  A not-oft used blog, but that’s an issue for another time.

So.  Our hospital system’s libraries provide a Table of Contents service.  I’m in charge of the ToC for Administrators, a monthly aggregation of the latest issues of journals relevant to administrators that we subscribe to the full text of.  As I’m sure many of you are aware, e-journals are not all on the same platform.  On my Admin ToC, there’s even a non-e-journal (I think they call them print?) that I have to post the .PDF copy of.  Here’s what the page looks like:

Table Of Contents for Administrators ScreenShotSo you click on a title and you’re taken to the most current list of articles for that journal, maybe on the Ebsco platform, maybe on Ovid…maybe even on the Gale Health & Wellness Resource Center *shivers*.  All the full text is available to employees, but of course there a multiple clicks involved, and you have to save PDFs, and what if you just want a nice set of the articles you want to read later?  Our doc is a a tech-saavy guy, he knows how and that he could spend the time saving everything he wanted to read later, but what if he wants to just circle the ones he’s interested in, then pass it on to his assistant (or me) to nicely package everything together?

Can he do this:

Journal 2 Screen Shot + Journal 1 Screen Shot   —–> folder—–>assistant/me?

Does that make any sense?  Any help would be appreciated.  Oh, and the app?  Yeah, bonus if this is something my doc can do on his iPad.  I’ve had some thoughts/suggestions:

  • Springpad (captures URLs, which don’t work because of authentication issues, but it does let you easily e-mail things to others, and you could always say “I want 1 & 2 from this one” instead of circling…)
  • Instapaper (I don’t this would really work at all)
  • Skitch (seems overly powerful for what we want to do, and isn’t an app)
  • BO.LT (pretty cool tool for capturing and sharing webpages, but the authentication issues again come up…)

UPDATE: after looking at Jing, I’m thinking this tool might be my best bet…but it’s still not an app.  Is there anything like this available for iPads?   

Hacks, tricks, and all other alternate work-arounds are also welcomed!  This is something of a last ditch effort, and I thank all of my readers in advance.  🙂


I blame the e-book

The ebook debate rages on  (a story on NPR this morning pitted a librarian against a professor on whether interactive book apps were actually books…the example was Dr. Seuss).  But they’re pretty standard in various forms in libraries and homes and universities and everywhere else and are obviously here to stay.  Better people than I have discussed them in the medlib world: the Krafty Librarian talks about usage, David Rothman helped catch me up on the Overdrive/Harper Collins battle, and Eric Rumsey provides the latest tips and tricks.

But I have my own bone to pick with ebooks.  You see, I blame them for the current state of my little library.

Am's Resource Center Library

Do you see any bookshelves?  Me, neither.  There’s actually a lack of furniture in general.  And you know why?  Because the vendor that outfits the libraries in our system has gone bankrupt.  Lack of demand.  Before you feel too sorry for me, I should reveal that supposedly they will be able to finish our (custom) project, but there’s a delay while they figure out the paperwork and get the bank to release the money to pay the installers.  But just in case, I’m taking suggestions.  A fireplace was brought up by one intrepid patron who stopped by (today was opening day!).

But in all seriousness, this does seem to be one little sign of the times.  And one I hadn’t really thought of, higher up in the food chain.  And not a bookseller.  But what interests me more is what this means for the hospital library space.  I’m all for the embedded librarian and I’m not particularly attached to any ideas of what a physical space should be, but I also think that the “library as place” concept has some worth.  It’s not a waiting room.  It’s not the computer kiosk in the hall environmental services has to stand up to check their e-mail.  It’s a little bit of an escape, and a headquarters for providing services, even when I’m out and about.  And so it becomes something of a physical representation of those services.  I’d like to think I could do my job without it, but I’m really glad I have it, and that the plans for it include a “professional corner” as well as a separate area that’s a little warmer and more inviting.  It kind of embodies me.  🙂

But first that furniture has  get here.  I’d be cool with a fireplace, though.

And to be completely fair, I should probably blame e-journals more than e-books.  Let’s have a moment of silence for the binderies.

Plans for Social Networking!

Any Grinnellians read my plan blog?  Both?  Either?  Would you read Burling Libary‘s plan, if it had one?  Wait, what the h*** are GrinnellPlans anyway?  Well, the FAQ is here.

I’m asking this while sitting in the OCLC Social Networking: Best Practices for Libraries session at the ALA Midwinter conference.  (Notice how I linked to the wiki and not the offical site; how very social of me).

So, GrinnellPlans is kind of a unique social networking tool.  It was created by students for students (basically), but some faculty members have a presence.  Student groups are on there.  Your account never expires, so I as an alumna can read the plans of students graduating in ’10 (being 24 feels so old).  Say the library has a plan.  It’s even easier than blogging, it would be a great place to announce events (there is an “autoread” list; if a student puts the library on his or her list, the library will appear any time anything is updated), and put basic library information.  The way I see it, is that the library would not actively read other people’s (students, faculty, etc.), but would only check “planlove” (when someone links to your plan from his/her plan).  This could be a great feedback mechanism.

So, should the library go where the students are?  Would this be an invasion of some sort?  There would need to be a policy.  But the fact that faculty are now allowed to have a plan has opened the door already, in my opinion.  Some of the key principles mentioned by one of the OCLC panelists would be fairly easy to meet:

1) Have a plan (for the plan!  see above about announcements, feedback channel, etc.)

2) Train (the GrinnellPlans interface is ridiculously easy to use; Burling would just need to chose the position within the library that would be in charge; the webmaster might be an option)

3) Invite participants (it wouldn’t be hard to announce a library Plans presence to the library; signs, an announcement in the student newspaper, word of mouth using student library employees)

4) Top-down and bottom-up (both front-line staff and administration need to buy in and participate)

Okay, that’s it for now.  Stay tuned for any more ideas that come up during the next couple of days as the result of ALA.  And please comment!

Joe Janes vs. Peter Morville

Perhaps “vs.” isn’t the right word. Joe Janes, of the UW iSchool and the Internet Public Library, and Peter Morville, of Semantic Studios and author of Ambient Findability, discuss “Findability: A Cyberspace Safari”. Joe talks about the last 50 years of searching, and Peter talks about the present, the future, and “finding” (and how information architecture helps to do just that).

Check out the podcast on the University of Washington ASIS&T Chapter’s website.

Fighting PowerPoint

Okay, I did it. I finally tried out Jessamyn West’s html slide template. The presentation isn’t that great, and I haven’t actually given it yet, but I feel a litte more like, hey, this is something I can do. And just from looking at the css style sheet, I think I understand a tiny bit more of what it is and how it works and how HTML and CSS and everything all fit together. Although I did do some really ugly additions to the index.html (for example, the alignment stuff) that I probably should have done in the style sheet. But I’ll learn, I swear. So, thank you, Jessamyn.

p.s. this weekend I’m going away for the Stanford Invitational. So maybe my next post will finally be the first on ultimate. Don’t hold your breath.

card games

I’m sure tons of people have been posting about this, but I just think this is too cool. I’m also currently in class, but obviously I have screwy priorities, and I just want to post this before I forget. Superpatron led me to this post from this guy. Virtual catalog cards? That we can write on? Every library that has, ahem, disposed of their card catalogs should jump on this! Also, I haven’t been able to explore Ann Arbor District Library’s site, but I’ve heard good things.