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One New Thing
Thursday, March 31, 2005
One New Thing: Backing up Photoshop Elements.

Back on the topic of my latest software distraction: I was trying to use Photoshop Elements 3.0 to do the backups of all the cataloguing you can do on your photos. Thing is, you can do incremental backups straight to CD / DVD – however to be able to import off these media to do a restore, you have to use a blank disc and have nothing else on it but that one incremental backup. If the backup is smaller than the size of the disc – say the 200mb of photos you take in one afternoon and want to backup to a 4 gig DVD – you lose the rest of the disc space. And tricky things happen to the filenaming convention when you backup to your hard drive then burn that copy to CD/DVD, so you still can’t restore off the removable disc.

However after a night of experimentation, I find no problems with doing the backup to hdd, burning to a rewritable disc, and then if you need to do a restore, copying the files back off the disc before attempting to restore them. Then I figure I can overwrite the previous backup on disc every time I want to do a new backup.

I’ve just realised I’ve spent an evening cataloguing and archiving my photos. Once a librarian… :)

Friday, March 25, 2005
One New Thing: The costs of learning.

Found via Issues in Scholarly Communication - Georgia State University Library, this article from the Harvard Crimson Online - Attack of the Wallet Killers. The article points out the prohibitively expensive prices attached to the required textbooks of some university courses. From experience I know this is true across all universities and all fields – in academic libraries, we get students every day desperately chasing copies of books they can’t afford to buy. There are only so many copies a library can purchase of a book that may only be used for a year – or even worse, has already been superseded by a new edition, but the old edition is being used as the prescribed text. It’s disappointing to know that in a world of information and online course delivery, the majority of students get the best access to required course information by splitting the cost of one book with a few classmates and timesharing that book through the semester.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005
One New Thing: Music access models.

Interesting article from The Register, a keynote speech given last September: How the music biz can live forever, get even richer, and be loved. The ideas for rights management and royalties are something to think about, as are the glimpses of the future of music devices.

Sunday, March 20, 2005
One New Thing: Photoshop Elements.

I’ve just spent an afternoon learning to use Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0. It’s fun! (P.S. I won my copy of Elements at a seminar at work – so I feel justified in promoting it by telling you this!) I think it would be a great tool for doing photographic presentations – much better than that other program people create photographic slideshows in. ;) It has a lot of the plain Photoshop editing tools available in it too, so if all those tools in full Photoshop scare you, there’s a lot more simplicity in Elements.

I’ve been a lot busier than I expected to be this week, so I don’t think I’ve seen anything suitable for an end-of-week link. But if you’re looking for something that is interesting and also reference-question-related: just go browse through Snopes.com. There’s never a dull moment there. :)

Monday, March 14, 2005
One New Thing: Other ways of thinking about website navigation.

In this month’s inCite, “Webb’s Web” mentions the article Thinking Differently About Site Mapping and Navigation. There are some interesting ideas about website navigation in this page, which lead to some even more interesting ideas down in the comments! The main point I picked up is that “home” is not necessarily where your users start their searches on your pages – Google is more likely to dump them in an internal content page if your site comes up in a search, and your site should be structured so that they can navigate further without having to return to the home page to do so. It’s also important to remember that although grouping pages in similar locations can be useful conceptually in a site map, you can have the same page grouped in multiple locations, because on a website, it doesn’t matter.
For a really interesting idea for website navigation check out this, which was linked in the comments: Beautification Revisited (smart URLs and smarter 404s).

Sunday, March 13, 2005
One New Thing: Some databases are really different.

Like the AustArt database, an Australian art journal index database, which gives you a citation that doesn’t include an article title. Am I missing something here?

I’ve finally made my way back to a library front desk this week and mostly gotten back into the swing of having people standing in front of me instead of just a voice on the phone. For all of us out there serving clients: next time you need a break, read Clientcopia. Just try not to laugh out loud at the front desk. ;)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005
One New Thing: Google AutoLink.

Seems like some people are getting a bit concerned over the new Google Toolbar (version 3.0, beta) and it’s new feature of automatically providing links to things like street addresses and ISBN numbers. In some cases, from a user point of view, that’s fantastic – being able to get instant info where a link has not been provided by the creator of the site. But from the point of view of the person creating the site…?
Read this article from WebProWorld: What Traffic Google Giveth, AutoLink Taketh, and also the article on the Toolbar from SearchEngineWatch.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005
One New Thing: Thoughts on creating useful online interfaces.

Working this week on how best to make it easier for people to find information in a long list of FAQs, I’ve discovered there isn’t really a way to have a “Search this page” box that you can just code into your HTML. I know you can use Ctrl-F, but I discovered that makes people get lost searching in other pages in my frameset. It seems to me that the kind of search box you get when you hit Ctrl-F should be able to be embedded in a page, since every browser I have come across has the find-in-this-page functionality…

Friday, March 04, 2005
One New Thing: SQL queries across databases.

Finally I can write queries that work! And yesterday I was shown how to make them pull data from two different databases – we use an @ to tell it where to look.

Friday link (yes, I’m blogging on a Friday!): you may have read David Facheux’s blog, Blind Chance. I came across an article David wrote about himself becoming a librarian that brings to light some pretty important issues: Is There a Place for Us? Toward the Full Inclusion of Blind and Other Librarians with Disabilities.

Thursday, March 03, 2005
One New Thing: Firefox security, and other browser musings.

Still hunting for clues on the right-clicking problem, I came across Three Flaws Surface For Firefox. The link-could-not-be-saved issue is the one I’m wondering about…and this article seems to be saying that this is a security feature. Odd, since some of the files I can’t save are very definitely .htm files (I know, because I made them). I’ve read in a few forums that you can open a .htm or .html file and right-click in it to save, but I’m not sure that will work for the other filetypes I’ve come across – must wait till I get to the PC with Firefox and Netscape on it. Strange to think how I now regularly go across using IE, Netscape, Firefox, Opera, Mozilla and Safari – in the library context, I can’t remember ever needing to know more than IE. Just out of interest, are there any libraries out there offering browsers other than IE on OPAC computers located in the library?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005
One New Thing: MIME types.

I’ve been having issues lately with Netscape refusing to allow right-clicking and saving a file, and I’d love to be able to work out why. Webopedia will happily tell me that my browser will support different MIME types, but unfortunately not why it won’t let me save them. I’ll have to keep looking. Good thing I’m a librarian – you spend a lot of time researching strange anomalies, in IT support. ;)