RALC Lightening Round Micro-Conference: Morning Sessions

Andy Morton:  “5-minute madness – The Madness Concept
He’s on the desk at the moment, so he made a video.

Teresa Doherty: “Cool sounds for Aleph Circ Transactions”
Originally presented at ELUNA as a poster session. They use custom sounds and colors to indicate specific circulation transaction alerts, i.e. checkin/checkout alerts. The sounds were selected because they’re short and fairly expressive without being offensive to users who may hear them.

Amanda Hartman: “Reaching Millennials: Understanding and Teaching the Next Generation” 
Those born 1980-1996-ish. These are generalizations, so they don’t describe everyone fully. They’re special and sheltered, team and goal oriented, more likely to be involved in community service, digital natives (mainly mobile tech) but don’t necessarily understand all of the implications or functions, impatient, and multi-taskers. They consider themselves to be relatively savvy searchers, so they may be less likely to ask for help. They have certain expectations about tech that libraries often can’t keep up with. They want learning to be participatory and active, with opportunities to express themselves online, and they have a sense of entitlement – get good grades for hard work, not necessarily for the product of the work. Libraries should have a mobile website. Hire staff that can support tech questions. Provide group workspaces. Explain why, not just how.

Deborah Vroman: “Errors, errors, everywhere! Common citation errors in Literature Resources from Gale”
Until recently, Gale was giving incorrect page ranges for citations for articles reprinted in their collections.  The problem is now fixed by removing the page numbers.

Anna Creech: “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Uh, that’s me.

Suzanne Sherry: “Goodreads: I read, you read, everybody READS”
Social networking site for readers. You start off with read, to-read, and currently reading, but you can add other tags that then form collections. Once you’ve read a book, you can rate it and write a review. While you’re reading the book, you can leave comments with updates of your progress. The social element is handy for recommending books to friends and discussing the books you read. There are tools for virtual book clubs and online communities for local book clubs.

Nell Chenault: “Scanning to Save or Send”
They have 12 scanning stations, both Mac and PC, including two slide scanners. Also, they have microform scanners instead of the old light box machines. In the past five years, they’ve seen use increase 325%.

Abiodun Solanke: “Netbooks or Laptops” 
In the last hardware replacement cycle, they replaced circulating laptops with netbooks. Cost, capabilities, and portability were factors considered. Some specialized programs could not be loaded, but there are many desktop computer alternatives. Student reaction appears to be divided along gender – male students thought they were too small, but female students liked them. They did a survey of users borrowing the netbooks, and found that over time the negative comments reduced. They concluded that initial reactions to new things aren’t always indicative of their success. Currently would like to add netbooks with Mac OS.

Darnell Law: “Up In The Air: Text-A-Librarian and Mobile Technologies at Johnston Memorial Library”
Implemented service at the end of the spring semester, so they haven’t seen much use yet. They’re using a service called Text a Librarian. Users enter a specific number and a short code at the beginning of the message. The questions are answered through the service website. The phone numbers are anonymized. Some of the advantages of this service include working with any carrier, not requiring a cell phone to answer the texts, relatively inexpensive (~$1100/yr), answer templates for quick responses, and promotional materials.

nasig part six

After the RSS tactics session, I took a break from conference stuff. My laptop and I went down to a Dunn Bros coffee shop where I sat out at a sidewalk table, sipped my Americano, and caught up on email using their free wi-fi. This also gave me time to decompress and get ready for the evening’s performance at Windows on Minnesota during the 20th Anniversary Party/Dinner. You can view the results of that here. I’m in the second skit.

tech woes

My poor Dell Latitude CPx notebook is out of commission. I came home on Saturday to discover that the power cord is fried. This is my third power cord in four years.

My poor Dell Latitude CPx notebook is out of commission. I came home on Saturday to discover that the power cord is fried. This is my third power cord in four years. I’m not even sure I’ll be able to get a replacement — I couldn’t find it listed on the Dell online store. The library has two laptops that are from a similar line, so I’m going to borrow one and see if I can use it’s power cord long enough to clean off my files.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking of buying a brand spanking new laptop on credit rather than continuing to limp along and make do with this one. So far, my top choice is a Gateway M305X with a Wireless-G card. It’s a couple hundred dollars less than my second choice, a Toshiba Satellite A45 with integrated Wi-Fi. I’m leaning towards the Gateway, even though it doesn’t have integrated Wi-Fi, mainly because their service package is much better and they have a good reputation for service.

My basic criteria for the laptop is that it has Wi-Fi in some way or another (integrated or otherwise), has a minimum of 2GHz processing speed, 20GB hard drive, and an integrated modem and ethernet LAN. I would like for the laptop to have a CD-RW drive and look sleek (as in, not like the old IBM ThinkPad). If you, my fabulous readers, have any recommendations for laptops that fit these criteria and are in the $1,300 or less price range, please let me know.

Update: I tried a power cord that the library has, and I was able to boot up my laptop, but it died after a minute or two. I think it’s truely fried now.

oqo

Have you heard of the OQO computer?

There’s already been several years of buzz about OQO, but I somehow missed it until yesterday, when our systems administrator told me about it and directed me to the website. For those like me who have been out of the loop, this is a full-fledged PC that can fit in your pocket. It’s more than the Pocket PCs currently on the market (full Windows XP and Office programs), and it comes with a built-in keyboard. It has WiFi and Bluetooth built in, 1GHz processor, 20GB hard drive, and 256MB DDR RAM. You can easily hook it up to a full-size keyboard and monitor to simulate a desktop experience. I’m impressed! For those who just can’t wait to get their hands on one of these, they’ll be available in the web store this fall. No price is given at this point, but I’m guessing they’ll be several thousand dollars. Considering that it would replace your desktop, laptop, and PDA, the price might actually be reasonable.

TechTV’s Best of CES 2004: Mobile Computing
CNET | Transmeta: Time for PCs to get personal

IM reference

My response to The Shifted Librarian‘s question, “Does your library understand the growing significance of instant messaging and real-time chat? Are you prepared to provide services to these kids?”

The Shifted Librarian asks, “Does your library understand the growing significance of instant messaging and real-time chat? Are you prepared to provide services to these kids?”

My library has had to crack down on what is or is not on our public PCs, so our users are not able to download crap and fill up the machines. Instant messaging programs were not included on the desktop computers, but the laptop computers we allow users to check out do have several flavors installed (that’s mainly because ITDS owns and maintains those machines, as opposed to our in-house desktops). I regularly see students sitting in comfy chairs with the laptops, IMing to their hearts content.

We’ve toyed with the idea of doing live digital reference with IM, but since so few people have made use of our email Ask-A-Librarian service, we aren’t sure that it would be worthwhile. Maybe in the future.