Tuesday, September 30, 2008

ALAO Conference: No rooms at the Inn

Going to the conference? Need to stay overnight? Looking for a room at the conference hotel? I was lucky enough to have gentle, and not-so-gentle, reminders from Betsy and Sara regarding registration (this year the conference is a bit earlier than usual) and booking a hotel room; after careful consideration, we determined distance made overnight stay necessary. Rumor has it the block of conference rooms reserved by ALAO is sold out. Never fear, as of this morning it is still possible to get pricing close to the conference rate at the conference hotel, Holiday Inn Wilmington, using Travelocity ($96) or Orbitz ($96).

Academic Library Association of Ohio’s (ALAO) 34th Annual Conference; Connecting the Campus: Linking Users, Institutions and Information, will take place on Friday, October 24th at the Roberts Centre in Wilmington, Ohio and features keynote speaker Dr. David Carr from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science.

Friday, October 3, is the conference registration deadline.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Being Early Does Help

Ever have one of those days when your equipment gives out at the wrong time? I did, last night. Being a person who likes to have everything set up and equipment tested, connected and working, I always start early to set up my portable classroom in the library. I use a SMARTboard and a digital projector and laptop on a cart. I had the space set up and was testing the equipment when I heard "Zzzzzzzztttttt" when I turned on the digital projector and no light appeared. I looked for a new bulb, presuming that to be the problem, but could not locate one immediately. A call to my assistant at home finally located it. The instructor came in at the right moment and I determined that we could move the class to my other teaching classroom which doesn't hold as many students. My evening assistant was able to get the computer hooked up while I transferred everything and everyone downstairs.

The good news is that in spite of the delay, I started only about 5 minutes late. The bad news is that it looks like I need a new digital projector and not just a bulb. (This is where it is good to have a great relationship with IT so they will lend me a projector to use for awhile)

This situation is one that I don't relish as an instructor; I like to be prepared and ready to go. Fortunately, I was able to stay relatively calm and not stress too much. "Accept what you cannot change." I tried to remember that. Good thing I had a spare room to use; it would have been a very short class, otherwise. Life throws you lemons all the time; I'm glad I was able to make lemonade this time.

Friday, September 19, 2008

OhioLINK on Facebook

I am not the first person to the party here, 144 other people precede me, but today I became a fan of OhioLINK on Facebook.

OhioLINK news mentions they are using a Twitter feed for updates as well.

Check it out!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Batting 1000

I missed the third anniversary of my first library blog earlier this summer (it was June 10th), but this morning I noticed something more interesting. Today marks the 1000th post for my Instructional Resource Center Blog. While not overly surprised the post in question details new juvenile books added to the collection, nor concerned it took three years to get to this point, I admit a tiny part of me is amazed the blog has lasted three years. The first official post, I specify "official" because until post option was available allowing users to schedule post dates, the IRC blog had one lonely post dated 2003 that refused to be changed, was The New IRC Collection Blog published June 10, 2005.

"Welcome to the Instructional Resource Center Collection Blog! Beginning with the fall 2005 academic school year, this blog will replace the yearly book lists published on the IRC web page. Items, both circulating and reference, will be entered as they are cataloged and available for use. Each entry will have an accompanying heading, specific to the genre. Please note that anyone with a specific book request will continue to be personally notified via email when the books arrive."

While this blog endeavor was specifically created for outreach and information, it had the exciting dual purpose - a perk - of being a time saver for me. Instead of carving out time to create collection lists at the end of the year, I was able to present new books as soon as I had the slips from technical services. With the blog I am able to categorize purchases added to the IRC, education, and juvenile collections, and tag them for ease of use. I have also quit flooding faculty member email inboxes with notifications and provided them access to new book lists at their leisure.

The blog has evolved somewhat with color, widgets, photographs, search boxes, and links to library web page and other library blogs. And, I do post IRC hours, technology updates, and basic news and information on an as needed basis. But it's main function and purpose remains the same ... a time saving technology to present collection development information and market the IRC. Here's hoping the technology remains viable for another few posts.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

University of Michigan: Undergrad Degree in Informatics

I routinely check the Library Cloud email, it notifies us of new comments, legitimate inquiries and information, and a plethora of intriguing spam. Who knew there were so many different ways to make money and order pharmaceuticals? This morning we had a message from Frank DeSanto, Communications, School of Information at the University of Michigan. Here, in part, is his email announcement:

Sept. 8, 2008
Contact: Frank DeSanto, (734) 647-7313,

Ann Arbor, Mich.: The University of Michigan, the first to offer a master's specialization in social computing, is now opening up the opportunity to undergrads with the launch of a new undergraduate major in informatics that features a social computing track.

Students in the social computing informatics track will build and evaluate social software applications and study the influences of these systems on society.

Informatics is the study of information and the ways information is used by and affects people and social systems.

Experts in this field design information technology tools for scientific, business, and cultural needs, and study how such tools are used. Informatics specialists, for example, might help develop the systems that let your doctor quickly share your medical records with a specialist while still ensuring your privacy.

"The program offers students an opportunity to develop the skills to be leaders in an information-centric world," says Martha E. Pollack, Dean of the School of Information at Michigan. "Think of the analogyto biology: biology majors are experts in living organisms; informatics majors will be experts in information, in all its forms."

"Tremendous progress in computer science and communications is radically changing the way we do medical science, share and retrieve information,access services, and form communities," adds Professor Farnam Jahanian,chair of Computer Science andEngineering. "Informatics students will apply principles from computer science, statistics, and user-centered design to provide the expertise needed to shape these changes."

Key to the new concentration is its bringing together of both technological and social perspectives to study information. U-M's cross-disciplinary approach gives students a solid grounding in computerscience, mathematics, and statistics, combined with study of the ethical and social science dimensions of complex information systems.

"To understand how information technology interacts with social systems,you need to know something about both," says Associate Professor of Information Paul Conway, chair of the new program's steering committee."Our students explore the ways information and information technology are embedded in society, influencing our economic, political, and cultural systems."

After completing a common set of core courses, informatics students choose one of four concentration tracks:

  • computational informatics, in which they design and evaluate usable computing solutions;
  • information analysis, in which they analyze and visualize massive datasets;
  • life science informatics, in which they apply computation and statistics to problems in life science and biomedical research; or
  • social computing, in which they build and evaluate social software applications and study the influences of these systems on society.

I first posted about the University of Michigans Social Computing Specialization in March of last year. To learn more about informatics, and this new program, visit their website @ http://informatics.umich.edu .

Friday, September 05, 2008

We're on the list

Walt Crawford, Walt at Random, is compiling information for a new study on Library blogs and has posted a one-week-only opportunity for readers to recommended blogs for inclusion. There are specific criteria in place that must be met, including being "somehow related to libraries or librarianship" and "not an official blog of a library."

"If you know of a blog or blogs that meet the criteria below and aren’t currently on the list, let me know–either by commenting here or by sending me email at waltcrawford, domain gmail.com. (Note: If you comment and include more than a couple of blog names and links, it’s possible your comment will be trapped as spam. That’s OK: I check spam before deleting it.) Please include the URL, although if you only have the blog’s name, chances are I can locate it. Deadline: Friday, September 12, 2008". - New libr* blogs? 9/4/08

Reading a great library blog not on his list? Consider submitting it to the study, it's worthwhile for research and general information. I have a personal copy of Academic Library Blogs (and purchased one for our library) and found the number and types of academic library blogs a great resource.

In the interest of full-discloser .... Yes, I checked his list of 587 blogs and was surprised to see our own humble Library Cloud included. Go figure. :-)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Chrome technology

There is a new web browser in town.

Yesterday Google Chrome (BETA) for Windows became widely available for download and is touted as "a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier."

I vaguely remember hearing about Chrome yesterday morning as part of ABC news Tech Bytes blurb at 6:15 am on News Channel 5's morning show. Not a morning person (by any stretch of the imagination), I forgot about the roll-out until reading my blog feeds before lunch.

One article mentioned that Google's Chrome may be the beginning of Web 3.0. Though it will be quite some time until this browser makes it to campus computers, it will be interesting to learn how it works and observe what kind of impact it will have on existing browser giants IE and Mozilla.

On an aside, I have to admit, upon learning of the browser name all I could think of was the song Chrome by Trace Adkins. Probably not the product placement parallel Google anticipated...