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One New Thing
Friday, January 30, 2004
 
One New Thing: Nailing the Spike

Voyage of discovery today into that mysterious Spike feature I ran into on a Word webpage a few posts ago. I get it now: select text to cut and paste, ctrl-F3. Select more text, ctrl-F3. When you empty the Spike all the text you have selected is pasted in one long paragraph. (And all this time I have been copying and pasting one line at a time to get away from that silly little Clipboard icon with a billion items stuck to it that all look the same.)

Emptying the Spike by hitting ctrl-shift-F3 on the computer I am using results in an ICQ dialogue box inviting me to search the Message Archive. However as I went to draft this post in Word I typed “spike” and it offered me the option of entering the Autotext for the word “spike” – that would be the contents of the Spike. Not using the keyboard shortcut directly doesn’t clear the Spike though…have to do that manually under the Autotext menu. Look out ICQ, I’m coming to adjust your shortcuts…(Preferences, Contact List, Shortcuts. I suddenly feel compelled to write *every* detail down!)

Lacking in links as this post is, I’m going to trial posting humour links on Fridays, because Fridays are well suited to this sort of thing (FridayFun, FridayFive). I say trial because if I find something really really good on a Tuesday I may not be able to restrain myself. ;)

So:

I went to Tangognat this morning on a serious librarian reading mission…and stayed to play with You Are A Librarian! Repeatedly. Just keep hitting Try Again. :)

Thursday, January 29, 2004
 
One New Thing: In a global information-sharing community, why do we have such differences in copyright law?


After reading a Libref-L post about copyright, I was interested to see how the same situation could be handled under Australian copyright law. The Australian Copyright Council has a great collection of Information Sheets that clearly set out the rules of copyright compliance for Australian material. I haven’t had much opportunity to be involved with acquisition and maintenance of the collection in the library I am in, and therefore haven’t done much delving into copyright beyond Fair Use, so I was quite surprised to find that under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act U.S. libraries can make a backup of software in case an original disc is damaged or stolen…but Australian libraries aren’t able to do this unless damage has already occurred. (Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted?)

What concerns me more, though, is that millions of people these days get their information from online communities. Hopefully library workers would know better than to accept advice without confirming it elsewhere, but if I were an average person looking for information on a listserv, would the possibility that copyright laws could be so different occur to me?

I discovered that there are international treaties dealing with copyright which Australia is a party to, but these don’t seem to be heading towards uniformity, more toward assuring at least a minimum standard of protection to copyright owners.

Doesn’t ease much of the confusion!

I’ll add the Australian Copyright Council site to the NLRP directory, under Librarianism.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004
 
One New Thing: Together, we could change the world...

Just been reading some of the topics on ThinkCycle (which was linked right at the bottom of Neat New Stuff) and contemplating how wonderful it is that when it comes to information that could make a positive difference in a community there are people who will do what they can to make it work, for no personal financial gain.

It's a very librarian thing to do, too. In my humble opinion. :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2004
 
One New Thing: Excel macros are not that scary!

There’s an Excel document I’ve prepared a few times now that is usually pretty tedious to complete: sorting, changing formatting, moving data between columns, checking for duplicate data. So in a bid to remove some of this fiddling around I gave myself a crash course in macros. It’s easiest to record one simple action first, then go into the VB Editor and look at what code has been inserted for you. I’ve been combining basic actions together in one macro so that all the formatting gets done in one hit, including removing all hyperlinks. And I found a page with a formula to identify duplicates in a worksheet, and turned that into a macro. (Although I have yet to work out how to automate the deletion of the duplicates. Suggestions?)

I’m amazed at how much time all this saves!

P.S. Yesterday was Australia Day, which is why I didn’t post.

Friday, January 23, 2004
 
One New Thing: Tips and tricks on a regular search engine may be doomed to obscurity as the algorithms used become less and less effective…we as librarians are going to have to rely on technological wizards to solve the problem of an ever-growing web by providing us with better search tools.

That’s what I read out of this article about Hypersearching the Web from a team of researchers working on the Clever project. For the first time it’s occurred to me that even though finding information on the web can be very like finding information in a book to a librarian who does it every day, this time librarians are reliant on some other profession to provide the tools for information retrieval rather than working toward doing it themselves. What I mean is that we are not the ones developing search engine technology and understanding firsthand how well it works and why, as has been the case with the tools of our trade to date. Any librarians out there with IT savvy looking for a PhD project…go stick in two cents with search engine developers for us!!

I’ve also found a fantastic site recommended by Researchbuzz a few days ago, and I will be adding it to the NLRP directory (under Tools), but I wanted to mention it separately because I think it is such a great idea! I am talking about Bookmarklets, small javascript files that you store in your Favorites that let you collect particular snippets of information off any webpage, or even alter the way it appears to you. My picks for most useful Bookmarklets are the following:
- Page Freshness: tells you what date and time the page was last modified on the server
- List Links: a single list of all the hyperlinks on the page
- Page Color: changes the background colour to whatever you specify
Of course depending on how you like to surf you’ll probably find much more that interests you on this page. And they’re free to download and use!

I’m also adding a link to this summary of the Deep Web because it’s very comprehensible. It’s on the Librarianism page.

Thursday, January 22, 2004
 
One New Thing: *Finally* got around to looking up some of the abbreviations used in chatting and listservs...

...because I may have been reading over them like native speakers of a language tend to do with words they are unfamiliar with. There's a great list (which is even worksafe-ish for the paranoid; it's been censored) on this Netlingo page. And let's face it, you know you've been online too long when you don't need to look at a glossary of netlingo every now and again. Or when you know what the acronym YKYBOTLW means...

I also tried to work out how to get Word to quit opening a document in Normal view when I keep changing it to Print Layout, which I have not yet succeeded in doing. But I found a pretty thorough page on Word 2000 keyboard shortcuts. I'm beginning to be a fan of shortcuts over a mouse because it means less stress on shoulders, less time running around the screen, and it may be my imagination but there are keyboard shortcuts for things I never knew you could do in Word anyway. For example: I get the Clipboard, but what is the Spike??

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
 
One New Thing: No matter how improved public perception of libraries becomes we will never need to stop PROMOTING.

I know people who have been very (pleasantly) surprised to find free Internet access or music CDs in the library. Maybe there should be big banners on the roof saying "Free Internet Access and Video and CD Hire Here, Plus Free Research Assistance, But Only If You Actually Want It" (don't want to put off the youth population).

And maybe a clown waving out the front. Or a giant book.

This topic brought to me by an article entitled Technology alters library usage which is today's Library Link of the Day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004
 
One New Thing: To be aware of patrons' differing levels of computing competency.

Sometimes this reminder comes from assisting new faces on campus, today it comes from an amusing page on Library Juice.

Okay so that's not quite rocket science. But I've also remembered that Ctrl-A is the keyboard shortcut for Select All. That makes two new things! :)

Monday, January 19, 2004
 
Many many interesting topics have already leapt out at me today as possible things to
investigate further...and I haven't even read the blogs yet!

However the topic that stood out for me most came up on LIBREF-L, a question about resources for training library staff to deal with difficult customers. I would hope that everyone in customer service gets the opportunity to undertake some sort of training in this field, but judging from what came up on the list I can only imagine that the social climate in libraries elsewhere is vastly different from what I see in my workplace. Which I am quite thankful for...nevertheless I will definitely be checking out some of the articles and information on this list (word doc).

I checked out the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission in the quest for for Australian info and was surprised not to find much on this topic; all I could see was a recommendation to read this paper on Workplace Violence Arising From External Sources from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

By far the best individual publication I found today (by googling...yeah, I know!) was a resource on Client aggression from Comcare, which includes tips on preventing client aggression as well as dealing with it. And this bibliography from the Australian Institute of Criminology covers a huge range of topics.

One New Thing: Be prepared!

Friday, January 16, 2004
 
One New Thing: Librarians do a lot of networking and information sharing. I wonder if we all become librarians because we just love telling people stuff? :)

Reading the blog Confessions of a Mad Librarian (who by the way doesn't come across as being all that mad to me?) and some bits and pieces from ALA Midwinter, and it sounded a lot like what I got out of ALIA's New Librarian's Symposiums - being involved, being on committees, listservs, writing for journals and presenting at conferences...Sessions like those always made me feel excited about being in this profession as well, even if actually jumping in and trying some of these things is a bit intimidating. Compared to many long-time and even new librarians, I seem to suffer from a distinct lack of opinionism.

Realising this is why I decided to submit my first ever real opinion-related post to NewGrad (this is instead of just thinking it). Scary! ;)

Thursday, January 15, 2004
 
One New Thing: Quote: "The originators of this [World Internet Project] project believe that the Internet...will transform our social, political and economic lives. "

Really? Because it's not like it hasn't already? :) What about our research lives?

Now that I am confident in the fact that Internet users like myself are not geeks and that blogging is a powerful tool in the education field, I'm thinking very carefully about a point that Michael from Tame the Web made: that blogs should be touched on in IL classes. I'm trying to remember the last time I informed a student about the existence of listservs for their topics...or mentioned that there is an Invisible Web, let alone starting on blogs. I wonder if all that would be too much for introductory level instruction on using the Internet for research, considering that many students I meet haven't yet mastered clicking on hyperlinks?

And how soon will those K-12 students using blogs in the classroom be coming to ask tricky questions about online trends the rest of us are still catching up on??

Wednesday, January 14, 2004
 
Added a link to Guide to Grammar and Writing to the 400s page.
 
One New Thing: 1st, that maybe my One New Things should be at the head of the entry. 2nd, I've worked out what the IPO word that keeps getting bandied about in relation to Google is all about. And in my travels ran into a lot of other information about Google.

The politics and strategies behind search engines and their performance is an issue I read about and wish I could keep up with better...even with sources like Search Engine Watch it's tricky to remember which search engine is doing what...although I'm becoming increasingly nervous about Google. There are people out there Watching Google Like a Hawk?

If you're like me and have found the Google Toolbar useful enough that you habitually go looking for it when it's not installed, it might be worth checking out this article on search engine toolbars from InfoToday.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004
 
Just added:

Blocking Ad Servers to the Tools page (Disclaimers apply for this recommendation - type carefully).

The Online Books Page to the 800s page

Native Animal Network Association to the 500s page

and

Reference Team Guidelines for Behavior from the Hayden Reference Team at Arizona State University to the Librarianism page.


 
This site about displaying full headers in multiple email programs told me in seconds something I couldn't find in the help files for my email program to save my life.

One New Thing: The obvious place to look may not always the best place to look - for technology questions, it's almost guaranteed someone else on the planet has had the same problem as you and posted it online!

Monday, January 12, 2004
 
As yet another example of how much my website is supported by advertising, comments are now a feature of the blog thanks to HaloScan. Leave a comment about this, if you like. ;)
 
Well done to LISfeeds RSS-ify for making my life easier by providing a way to turn a Blogger blog into an RSS feed!
 
Welcome to 2004!

This year I have decided to be a little more ambitious with the updates to NLRP by including not only updates to the site, but also trying to find One New Thing that I have learnt every day - well, every working day. ;) I'm also experimenting with what is suddenly being touted as the communication tool of the future...hence the Blogger banners. Let's face it, it's easier than coding all the time!

One New Thing: Learning to blog.