.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} <$BlogRSDURL$>
One New Thing
Friday, April 30, 2004
One New Thing: Styles in Word

After being unable to convince Word that I didn’t want that Table of Contents all in caps my usual way (highlight, change formatting) I went hunting for the menu where you can change the Style settings and stop the argument once and for all. It’s actually easier to see what’s going on in there…obviously at some point I’ve set up some pretty weird templates accidentally for my Styles because I’ve suddenly found an explanation for some of the other formatting anomalies I’ve encountered with Word lately!

And because it’s Friday, take some advice from a gentleman named Dan on How to Destroy Your Computer. You could also theoretically read it in terms of what *not* to do to your computer, if you wanted. It’s certainly a deterrent to this librarian to leave the pulling-apart-stuff bit of IT work to the IT pulling-stuff-apart professionals. :)

Monday is another public holiday so I’ll be back Tuesday next week.

Thursday, April 29, 2004
One New Thing: More new web design tricks, and an easy way to produce and learn them.

I ran across a site called html basix that lets you enter the data you want and how you want it to be displayed, and it will generate the html code to your specifications. For example, I can make a dropdown box on my own but not make it with working links: this site made the box for me and gave me the code (which does involve javascript, that’s what was confusing me!) so I could then see how it was done.

I won’t put anything tricky on the blog, though, since I don’t think it will work for subscribers to the feed. You’ll just have to play with it yourself if you want to see it in action!

Wednesday, April 28, 2004
One New Thing: How File Compression works

Thanks to How Stuff Works I think I now get file compression! Even that stuff about lossy files: now I understand that warning you get when saving JPGs that says you will lose some colour information – it just sort of registers similar colours as being the same colour, so there are fewer colours altogether in the file.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004
One New Thing: A great source for Legal Reports abbreviations

This Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations from Cardiff University seems to be very thorough…and of course as with most electronic ready reference stuff a little quicker than looking up the book.

I’ll add it to my directory of reference links. I’ve been collecting a lot of other useful links for the site too, it’s just a matter of finding time to add them, so hopefully there will be some updating activity going on soon!

Friday, April 23, 2004
One New Thing: Referencing victories

After a loooong time working on producing referencing guides (to help students with creating their reference lists etc. correctly) I think some of the style conventions are finally sinking in. We use 3 major styles and for the first time ever today I could look at a citation in a style and pick if it was right or wrong. Yay! (Pity I don’t actually need to reference anything myself, at this point…)

Friday so soon? I’m very tempted to post a link I got off del.icio.us yesterday, which has nothing whatsoever to do with libraries but was really funny. And hey we all need to laugh at something after an afternoon of stupid questions, right? :)
So have a look at this story on The Horror of Blimps.

N.B. Monday is the Anzac Day public holiday for me…no posts!

Thursday, April 22, 2004
One New Thing: Supporting and involving your user community

I noticed the mention on librarian.net about this project: when the San Francisco Public Library discovered that books on gay and lesbian topics (and related subjects) had been vandalised beyond repair, they gave the damaged books out to artists in the community to create works of art from the destruction. The resulting exhibition is called Reversing Vandalism.

I think this a beautiful way to find a resolution to a terrible situation, and also to involve your community in your library in an innovative way. I don’t recommend you start tearing up your own books, but what a great story base for a library display!

Wednesday, April 21, 2004
One New Thing: Dreamweaver things

Strictly speaking it’s not stuff I don’t know about Dreamweaver, but I am learning how many ways it is possible to do things incorrectly with webpages if you haven’t been taught about HTML code, directory structures and image resizing, even with a great WYSIWYG interface like Dreamweaver has.

I had forgotten about the little dots you can use to link to an image in another directory without naming it specifically, e.g. img src=”\…\…\picture.jpg” (I’ve seen a few of these in broken-image assignments) so at least I get to relearn one possibly useful thing!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004
One New Thing: Calculating calculators

I have a blind spot about adding or subtracting times, so I am pretty happy to have found this Time Calculator.

Of course once you start calculator-hunting online these days you shouldn’t ever have trouble working anything out ever again. Looks like most common sort of ones can be found in the Open Directory listing for Online Calculators. (You’ll notice however that a lot of these are actually more conversion sort of calculators, not ones designed for people like me trying to work out how long they’ve just spent doing something…)

Monday, April 19, 2004
One New Thing: The existence of High Speed and Ultra Speed CD-RWs is going to mean more compatibility problems…

Although you can read them in any drive, CD-Rs and CD-RWs marked with either a High Speed or Ultra Speed logo can only be written in CD drives marked with the same logo. As we discovered today, those logos are pretty small print on the disc if you don’t know you’re looking for them! (Of course you will see an error message onscreen, but you still need to know what it means.)

Compatibility issues will certainly improve as newer CD drives become more common, but in the few years your average library will have its existing equipment before upgrading, be ready for some confusion!

This Imation page on media compatibility (PDF) has a nice summary of the possible confusion.

Friday, April 16, 2004
One New Thing: Notepad is the most useful file-translation utility you have for word-processed documents.

Outlook messages that have been saved on a disk and transferred to a computer that doesn’t have Outlook open beautifully in Notepad.

This page on Using Notepad and Wordpad has some other useful tips…and hey, you can create electronic post-its on your desktop with WordPad!

It’s Friday: I’m having trouble remembering what I’ve linked in the past, which is a bit of a worry! I think I was only pointed to this recently though, have a look at Visual Poetry.

Thursday, April 15, 2004
One New Thing: Musings on location-based services based on Handheld History

The Shifted Librarian describes this as “an excellent use of handhelds, location-based services, and text messaging”. I was reminded of a statue I encountered on a trip a few years ago which had a pole with a speaker beside it (much like the ones you’d see at a train station) and a button you could press to have the story behind the statue recited to you. It’s great that this sort of location-based information delivery can be made more portable: although as a patron I’m not sure I’d want to spend hours on a mobile phone listening to these because the mounting costs would soon outweigh the novelty! Since we’re still a fair way away from the Ghosts I mentioned a month or so back, what about other ways of making this information accessible to multiple users in one location that aren’t at such a cost – such as an internet or intranet site that can be accessed through handheld computers (or whatever device people have for accessing the internet). I’m imagining seeing a map of the area you are in on your screen, where you can select what you are looking at and play back audio and video about it from anywhere in the vicinity.

Of course coming from someone who has yet to learn how to make multimedia presentations, this could be a tall order. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2004
One New Thing: Actually, a short compendium of random things.

1. Subject-specific dictionaries are fantastically useful. Never turn down the opportunity to acquire one.
2. Don’t copy and paste usernames and passwords from one page to another – type them so you know there’s no invisible space at the end of either that will confuse you no end. (Or if you get locked out of something, check that you haven’t pasted extra spaces).
3. Setting public access machines to boot first from floppy and then from CD is a great way to spot forgotten floppies and CDs in the drives. (Hey, can a PC be set to boot from a USB stick?)

Oh I managed to make a bootable floppy – I made a direct copy of the bootable floppy I already had. :) Anyone care to let me in on the secret of making one otherwise? The Windows 2000 way would be perfect…

Tuesday, April 13, 2004
One New Thing: Magnifier for Windows

The Computer Help A to Z newsletter introduced me to the Magnifier feature in Windows today. (Start – Programs – Accessories – Accessibility – Magnifier). It lets you magnify what you see on the screen by splitting the screen in two. It’s not fantastic (you’d need a lot of experience playing video games to be able to coordinate it properly, in my opinion) but it is something! There’s also the on-screen keyboard, which is actually useful if you only have one free hand to use (like when you’re on the phone!) and Narrator, which is, well, interesting, if you just put it on whilst typing. I think I just type too fast for it!

Thursday, April 08, 2004
One New Thing: Understanding image resolutions appears to be as difficult as algebra to me!

How many dpi are in an image a 2 megapixel digital camera takes?

I've been reading this image editing guide and have yet to work out if there's an answer to that...other than opening Photoshop and selecting it from the menu!

I've decided to give myself Easter away from blogging. So have a happy Easter and I'll be back next Tuesday!

Wednesday, April 07, 2004
One New Thing: It’s really hard to work out how to make a bootable floppy with Windows 2000/NT.

There’s no option in the Format box. It looks like it might be easier with XP, but I say that after looking at a PC with XP but no floppy drive, which of course makes it tricky. ;) I’m planning to experiment further in the future…

Tuesday, April 06, 2004
One New Thing: Reflections on usability

I found out today that Google is making a foray into webmail I’m not sure how much I want to make my email “universally accessible and useful” (check the About page) but I admit I was excited when I read the blurb. Not because I need any more email addresses (although 1 gig of storage is going to attract some attention) but because I can imagine Google email
will have fantastic search capabilities. Because if there’s one thing Google has down pat, it’s usability and user friendliness. I can’t think of a lot of other email programs I’ve used that have had search capabilities anywhere near as efficient as Google can be.

So will Google email even require the creation of mail folders? (Maybe they’ll source folder categories from the Open Directory Project categories?) :)

Monday, April 05, 2004
One New Thing: Just for a change, today I haven’t learnt (yet!)…

…how to use multiple All That JAS sources to find abbreviations (except with jake, which I could do before).

At least I do know now that when I need to find a title, it’s quicker to use the book!
(Which by the way I just found out the price of, thanks to that link. I’m glad I don’t have to handle library budgets yet! :o )

Friday, April 02, 2004
One New Thing: Endnote doesn’t play with Microsoft Works.

So far as I can tell anyhow. Endnote is one of the things I need to add to my list of things to learn more about, seeing as I haven’t really used it since I was a student myself.

It’s Friday (as is usual for the end of the week!) and I have noticed that links to the Peep Research: A Study of Small Fluffy Creatures and Library Usage page are doing the rounds again. I have no idea what prompted Peep Research and have never actually encountered a Peep myself, but it’s certainly…um…interesting!

Thursday, April 01, 2004
One New Thing: I think like a librarian!

Just strange sometimes to realise the little things I think about doing differently that people who are perfectly capable otherwise seem to miss. Like combining subject heading searches with keyword searches or fulltext article searches. Simple stuff that people are so excited to find works for them.

And come to think of it, the questions in the past I’ve had to ask more experienced librarians to help me with have usually resulted in going one step beyond what I have done already: little and simple things like combining your subject heading search with a word or phrase in the title rather than the citation to retrieve a more simply-worded, explanatory article, instead of an indepth complex one.