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One New Thing
Monday, May 31, 2004
Yes, I am back! Apologies for the disappearance, but I think I’ve already learnt once before that circumstance can have a way of making blogs difficult to keep up with. But now I am back in the land of libraries, and computers…

One New Thing: Weird things happen when you Search and then Save.

If you save an Internet Explorer file to disk while you have the IE MSN Search sidebar open and a search word entered in the search box, sometimes when you try and reopen the file (with the sidebar still open) it will open what you saved, briefly – then flick to your MSN search results.

This is very, very odd to watch…I can’t see any particular pattern to it occurring, but it definitely happened to a confused student earlier and it definitely happened again when I tested it. I also can’t find anything about it online. Any takers on an explanation?

Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Sorry everyone, but I'm going to have to take a blogging hiatus this week. Never fear, I should be back again next week, Monday 31st May.

Thanks for reading! :)

Monday, May 24, 2004
One New Thing: A new source for free fulltext journals.

Free Full Text is set up best for access by those who have a citation. The site links to journals that are available for viewing free of charge, and lists on its own pages the coverage that is available for each journal.

And of course, welcome to Australian Library and Information Week!

Friday, May 21, 2004
One New Thing: How much you need to know about something before you can find it.

I had a student ask for a particular kind of document that I had never heard of, something that was pretty standard in the field she was studying in except she wasn’t sure where they came from and I didn’t know enough about the field to work it out. Of course the best thing to do is to refer to someone who does know…but after searching in what I thought were the right places, I really wish I’d been able to find them!

Friday link: I noticed yesterday that the original RefGrunt is no longer going to be updated. Sad, but it’s been fun!

Thursday, May 20, 2004
One New Thing: Citation Searching.

Obviously I should have checked the Help screens in the Web of Science that said you should do your citation searches on surname initial – not surname firstname. Oops… Well the point is that I remember it all the more effectively for next time! There’s a tutorial for performing Cited Ref searches on WoS which I should read now I have discovered it. I also just found an excellent outline of citation searching from GAELS, which is a collaborative project between the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde, and I think I might look further into what else is on that site too since it seems pretty thorough.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004
One New Thing: Directories for Australian Governments.

I’m hoping most librarians will already know the Australian Federal Government website at http://www.fed.gov.au and the state level websites: but I wasn’t aware until today about the Councils on the Web listings by the Australian Local Government Association at http://www.alga.asn.au. This makes it so much easier to find a council online than trying to guess how the web address might be put together! And what’s even more amazing is that I have never tried the address http://www.gov.au. But this site not only links to Australian government websites at all levels, it also shows you a picture of each state’s floral emblem as you mouseover the names. :) I’ll add the link to my website…as soon as I get around to updating all the other stuff I haven’t gotten around to yet.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004
One New Thing: Initiatives to preserve audiovisual heritage.

Ariadne magazine recently published an article Can We Save Our Audio-visual Heritage? which discusses a project called PrestoSpace. This European project is a collaborative effort to preserve archival material in audiovisual formats as the technology that millions of hours of material is stored on gradually becomes aged, damaged and obsolete. From the Ariadne article: “The main objective is to develop systems that will permit quick, efficient and economically accessible preservation of analogue media.”
It sounds like the task will be quite challenging, but fascinating for those who are involved – and definitely necessary! (I’m still worried about using CDs after yesterday’s post.) ;)

Monday, May 17, 2004
One New Thing: How CDs get corrupted, and how to store them to best prevent data loss.

The Computer Help A to Z newsletter this week made a mention of how it is important to look after your CDs as they are more vulnerable than you might think. Chasing this up a bit, I came across this article, CDs and DVDs Not So Immortal After All. Turns out that the most vulnerable part of a CD is not the shiny bit, it’s the label side, which is separated from the aluminum layer (where the data is) by a bit of lacquer. If the lacquer is damaged, which can happen if the disc is stacked roughly or pressed on with a pen or if the manufacturing process wasn’t done properly, the aluminum can be exposed to the air and oxidation can render it unreadable.

NIST has this advice on the Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs: don’t use solvent-based pens or adhesive labels, clean disks in a straight line from the centre out, keep them in cases and store them (in a cool, dark dry place) upright rather than horizontally.

I’m not sure why vertical is preferable…this page on the Care of Archival CDs does say that if they lean sideways they may start to warp and they can only be used if they are flat…but surely they would be fine horizontally in their cases…?

Guess I might have to turn my CD caddy sideways later…

Friday, May 14, 2004
One New Thing: The machines are getting smarter!

Which is a problem, because just as you learn how to make something work the technology changes and you have to learn it all over again yourself, before you even get to teach it to your patrons.
I’m specifically referring to the photocopiers which have a heart attack if the item to be copied isn’t *exactly* A4 or A3 size (so it can’t automatically work out what to print) and the scanner that sees the tiniest amount of text on a whole page of image and decides that you must want to use OCR, not just make a copy of something. Is it possible to teach a casual user to use this kind of equipment without assistance, short of giving them a 20min rundown beforehand? :)

Friday once more…so have a look at Unusual Libraries. Mostly mobile libraries, this site gives you an idea of the many and varied ways people get access to a local library elsewhere on the planet.
And here’s me worrying about computers. What would it be like to be concerned about whether the library was going to run aground in a storm? Or if the donkey didn’t want to move on? ;)

Thursday, May 13, 2004
One New Thing: Table breaks in Word.

When the font size of the text in your table just keeps getting smaller and smaller every line you add because it all wants to live on one page, you hit ctrl-enter at the line you want to insert a page break on.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004
One New Thing: Why we have a Moys.

Not being a cataloguer, Moys (the classification system for law collections) is something I knew existed but never knew much more about. A colleague mentioned to me a few weeks ago something about it fitting into LC, and today whilst looking at an LC outline I suddenly thought – well LC has law breakdowns, why do we use a Moys?

So after finding this page on the history of Moys, I now know that when Elizabeth Moys developed her law classification system, there was no official published equivalent for law libraries to use. Libraries using Dewey or LC implemented Moys in their law collections because there was a gap in law classification that needed to be filled.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004
One New Thing: The importance of checking with the right people.

I’ve only just found the story that was Library Link of the Day a few weeks ago, on how AOL is being sued for not getting legal advice on whether a warrant was valid before releasing customer information. Since this particular event occurred in the U.S. I’d love to know more about how this could apply in an Australian context – not, fortunately, that I would be the decisionmaker if anything happened in my library, but as we all know, I just like learning stuff. ;) If you weren’t in a large organisation which had legal people for these sorts of things, who would you go to if asked to provide customer details to someone with a warrant??

Monday, May 10, 2004
One New Thing: A teensy bit about disk partitioning…

….but only enough to discuss it at dinner parties! I was reading this page on disk partitioning from putergeek.com which at least gives me an idea of what’s going on: and I’ve learnt not to attempt to use FDISK unless you know exactly what you are doing! It is useful to know that you can sometimes resize a partition depending on how it was created – could be useful for the defrag that won’t run because there’s not enough free space in the partition, if nothing else.

Friday, May 07, 2004
One New Thing: Lots of places to look for employment in libraries in Australia

Thanks to a discussion on NewGrad, and I’ve updated my Employment page on the NLRP to list some great extra sources.

This week’s Friday link, for what is left of Friday that is, is this fantastic example of altered books. Here’s a community activity you can run next time you weed your collection. :)

Thursday, May 06, 2004
One New Thing: Oral history in Australia

Someone mentioned oral history collections on the NewGrad list and I realised I don’t know much about them, so I’ve been researching. It seems that we do have an Oral History Association of Australia, Inc. and their website outlines the ethical guidelines associated with creating and maintaining oral history collections. There’s a lot to consider in terms of copyright, defamation law, and confidentiality before you even get to interview skills: this is definitely a specialised sort of field. I couldn’t find a lot on oral history training in Australia however: just a couple of universities that include it in courses on indigenous history.

The NLA has a directory of Australia’s oral history collections. I also found the newsletters of the International Oral History Association interesting reading.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004
One New Thing: USB sticks are hard to recover data from

I notice I don’t work in the only university that’s plugging USB memory sticks to customers to replace unreliable floppies. But at least I have many tools available to scan over floppy disks that are acting weird – I’ve discovered today that there aren’t many programs out there yet that are good to use on a weird USB. You can pay someone to do it for you of course, but the programs I already use (Norton’s Disk Doctor, Spinrite) and others I found and tested today don’t recognise a USB drive, just your hard drives and floppy drive.

The only one which actually recognised and was able to scan a USB was linked to on this Computing.Net forum question on USB data recovery, which is the GetDataBack software. Unfortunately I didn’t get to test it on the damaged USB so I can’t vouch for its effectiveness. But as always, when you have nothing to lose…

Tuesday, May 04, 2004
One New Thing: Anti-virus tricks: Windows Updates are really useful things!

If you’re reading this, it’s because I’m now mostly sure my PC is not going to be attacked by the Sasser worm. I’m so glad I have IT-savvy friends who tell me what things I should be doing with my computer: and one of those things is the automatic Windows Updates, which can close security holes like these before worms crawl in. So I worked out tonight how to turn these on and check they are turned on. It’s in the Control Panel, and you click System (except in Windows 2000 where you can skip that bit), Automatic Updates, and tick the box that says Keep my computer up to date. Then just adjust the settings so you can control when and what updates you will download and install. (Hint: install anything that’s a Critical Update!)

And also, that bit about running the Sasser removal tool in Safe mode…well I can already restart a PC in Safe mode, not sure about doing it from scratch. This document on running Windows PCs in Safe Mode covers how to do it for various operating systems – seems to be variations on the theme of pressing F8 while the computer is booting up.