Summer Tech Fun July 2012

How to Generate Keywords (Amy Fyn) Doesn’t actually generate keywords for you, but models the process of creating a set of search terms. Results can be emailed to self or instructor, so this can be a good in-class or pre-class activity or checkin on research topics to help direct the conversation.

Catch and Evernote (Rob Snyder)
“Never miss an idea” with Catch, a place to save (and organize) your private thoughts and ideas. Private, of course, until you show your account to a room full of colleagues.

Evernote, kind of the same thing.

Wunderlist & Flash Card Exchange (Liz Tousey)
Wunderlist lets you create lists and assign tasks to people, who can mark off when they have completed them. Liz uses this tool to keep track of shelf-reading assignments for her student employees.

Flashcard Exchange is a site students use for studying. Flashcards can be used directly from the screen, printed out…

Clarify & Pinterest (Susannah Cleveland)
Clarify-it was cooler when it was free, but does still offer a trial. A nice streamlined way to make screenshots to walk through a sequential process; really good for creating complicated handouts more easily.

Pinterest lets you create virtual pinboards for pictures found on the web. Great way to visually display collections?
Pins from LibGuides.bgsu

Screenr & Voicethread (Colleen Boff)

Make videos of up to 5 minutes, with screen and audio (if you have a microphone). No log in or download necessary to make videos; can get started right away! *Must have Java installed to run Screenr.
Voicethread is an online collaboration site, where slides and audio can be combined by multiple people into one video. Others can comment on the video, linking comments with specific slides so the comments are responsive to the video as it plays, not just at the end. Colleen shared a few of the voicethreads she’s used in her courses as a student.

Mark Strang showed his Google+ hangout and talked about how he uses this to meet with classmates from all over for collaborative work. Google account needed.

Bo Butler mentioned Evernote Peek as another flashcard-like app. You can take notes in Evernote and then use them with this app.

Catch up on these two that we missed: Prezi and Voki (Stefanie Hunker)
Prezi is an online presentation site.
A prezi from WILU 2011:

Create avatars for use in class engagement.

Posted in Tools: Instruction, Tools: Presentation. Comments Off on Summer Tech Fun July 2012

Journal contact / publishing timeline info

Gwen and I spent some time finding this information for journals we identified as potentials for submitting an article. Since this is sometimes buried, this post is both a bookmark and a prod for selecting a journal and submitting awesome articles.

Journal of Academic Librarianship
Author instructions. 6 to 8 weeks to complete double blind-review. Click on the Author Information Pack at the top to get an easy to print set of information.

portal : Libraries and the Academy
Guidelines here:
Portal makes pre-prints available online here:
Double-blind peer review with response within 4 to 8 weeks. Declined articles come with recommendations for improvement or suggest another location for publication!

Instructions for Authors: Double-blind process takes 10 to 12 weeks; after acceptance articles are published about 12 months later.

C&RL makes preprints available within days of acceptance here:
Preprints are posted months and months before publication–stay ahead

College and Undergraduate Libraries
Refereed, double blind peer-reviewed.
Instructions for authors here:

Journal of Library Administration
Peer reviewed.
Instructions for authors here:

Evidence based Library and Information Practice
Double blind peer review and firm decision expected two months after submission.
Submission guidelines here:

Barb Fister posted on the ILI listserv that Reference Services Review and JAL “allow authors to self-archive final versions (not the publishers’ .pdf but their final edited draft) so theoretically ALL of these articles could be OA if authors could be bothered to put their work online. Slightly less than half of librarians do this, according to a recent
(preprint!) study –

We should try to do this too.

Open access options–C&RL is also open access as of April 2011.
Journal of Library Innovation (JOLI). Open access. Began in 2010.
Submission information. 6 to 8 weeks anticipated minimum review time.
Focus and scope

Library Leadership and Management
Author choice of peer review or editorial review announced in May 2011; time of review will vary. Open access.
Author instructions:

C&RL News

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ACRL 2011 rehash

Based on my experiences as a newer librarian attending the past two ACRL conferences, this one is well worth the price of admission. I found the second time around to be richer, and part of that relates to knowing a few more people in our field, running into them, and stealing them away for a quick chat or break.

Vendors! I don’t think the vendor part of conferences has come up on the blog before. A colleague not attending forwarded invitations to visit booths and hear about products, and I also received many many emails as well. Talking to some others at the conference showed me how others strategically plan their conference schedules around vendor events as well as sessions. An opportunity I missed last time by opting out of receiving emails from vendors, professional development live sessions and demonstrations can be paired with meals by certain vendors. Shorter demos are available in the vendor hall during free times in the schedule. If you want to know more about a product or publisher, this is a great time to find out immediately (and take a free pen or other tschotske, if that’s your thing).

At my second ACRL, I went to the first time attendees the first night of the conference and learned what ACRL folks want new people to know about and do at the conference (and be active in ACRL interest groups). The organizers actively encouraged networking, and clearly said if you are having a good conversation with someone, skip the next session you planned to attend and finish that conversation–you do not know where it will lead. This surprised me, but in this job market perhaps should not have. If personal connections can give you an edge, let you hear about a new opportunity, go for it. Newbies were encouraged to network throughout the conference with the goal of having conversations and gaining signatures to win a prize. For the next few days I heard these conversations so it seems to work; at one point someone joked that I was useless to her because I didn’t fit any needed categories on her sheet.

The following sessions made the strongest impressions on me and are things I would like to fiddle with in the next year; some were short presentations of technology, and some were 3 hour workshops. Part reminder and part accountability, here we go.

Cyber Zed Shed: Connecting through course guides. Some great ideas about how to use commenting features in course guides (presenter used Library a la carte) to engage students and learn their topics in their own words, without instructor intervention. This is a move I think I am ready for, and now I have an idea of how to incorporate that courses; I have targeted research methods and thesis courses to try this out in. I think this is part of the virtual conference; I would totally watch it again.

Workshops on Instructional design/making an online tutorial, and another on writing winning proposals and how to plan for presenting were also hits. Taking the time to walk through the process from start to finish and see the actual steps involved for creating a tutorial was great; working in small groups and getting my ideas out there was awesome. The reality of having all the technical design stuff done elsewhere is where the breakdown happens. Ways to make guides and tutorials accessible to different learners was extremely helpful and a big future consideration.

This post was delayed as I used the advice from the workshop on writing and giving presentations to review past proposals and write a new one for an upcoming state conference. Although not all the advice given at the workshop will apply to conferences with different criteria and expectations, the presenters were all incredibly strong and worth modeling. Presentation artifacts available here:

A session on mentoring instruction librarians gave a unique perspective on how one library offers different levels of training, from one day to train the trainer sessions to an academy that spanned a semester, meeting on some weekends and putting new ideas into practice between meetings. This final idea, putting ideas into practice and reporting back, seemed the most viable to me. A paper presentation on assessing the skills of incoming graduate students was focused on how to make instruction more student focused than librarian focused. Meeting students where they are at, at any level of education, makes sense and is something that does need revisiting every few years. Our students are changing and we need to reflect on that and retool.

There was much more that I missed, and some of it was strategic; with the price of admission I get a full year’s access to virtual presentations that although I won’t be able to interact live, I will still be able to view and possibly have more time to ponder the ideas expressed.

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I’m thinking this might be the next thing after Prezi (which I have to admit looks super cool but i have yet to use).

“Video Slideshow Maker with Music”

Now to find a pile of music in the public domain….

Posted in Tools: Presentation. Comments Off on Animoto

Michigan Library Association conference

The MLA 2011 conference is on May 5-6, 2011, in Grand Rapids MI, which is about a 3 1/2 hour drive from BG. This year’s theme is Academic Libraries: Innovate, Collaborate, Connect. This might be a good opportunity for professional development without breaking the bank.

The program is not available yet, but this conference might be one to consider each year–either to present or attend–as it is still relatively close to us.

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How to Fail in Grant Writing — from Chron of Higher Ed

Tips from 6 biology professors on how to make sure your grant proposal is rejected. Some tips are science specific, but some apply to all grants; and some apply to all article writing.

See also:

How does your grant compare

How to write an Outreach Grant proposal

Posted in Tools: Professional Development, Writing. Comments Off on How to Fail in Grant Writing — from Chron of Higher Ed

Print What You Like

No really, print only what you like at

This site lets you remove items from websites (think ads or banners) and then print what is left (content!). Very useful when printing LibGuides for professional portfolios, etc.

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Newsletter and Email Templates

I was spending some time trying to think of new ways to push our popular fiction display up on the second floor and, just for fun, I wanted to see if there was something like glogster for newsletter or email templates. So I did some investigating and thought I’d share three interesting sites for marketing services through email or newsletters:

MailChimp: is my favorite so far (and the most rec. by the review site I’ll link to below). It offers protection against spammers and allows you to send a newsletter/email to a high number of subscribers in the free plan.

MadMimi: I have looked at the least, which means it still needs to be explored.

Letterpop: seemed to be a pretty popular one, but the free account has a very low number of emails sent, but it appears that the building of the newsletter is super easy.

Here’s a detailed review (a little outdated, but it looks like most content is still accurate). The site that created this list, Listio, also looks pretty interesting.

If anyone happens to play with these newsletter tools, let me know. I’d love to know what you think!


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ACRL Instruction Section mentor/mentee applications accepted

If you are a member of ACRL, you can join the Instruction Section for a small extra fee. Not only do you get the newsletter (a place for possible publication?), you can also sign up to be either a mentor or a mentee. Applications are being accepted for the next academic year now; check out this site:

I missed the sign up round my first year as an Instruction Librarian, and the window of applying was about 10 days last year, I think. At any rate, it was small, and you do want to share information about yourself so you get matched up with an awesome mentor. I sure did. The IS mentor committee set me up with a mentor who is a few years ahead of me in a faculty position. I had actually seen her present at LOEX and was putting some of her projects in action here, which made the match even more exciting. Since our conference attendance didn’t overlap this year, we communicate by email and cheer each other on electronically. The experience has been pretty great; she provides an outside viewpoint and set of experiences that are not a match with anyone else’s here. I feel like I can contact her any time to say hello, what do you think about this, or how did you get started in that? She is active in other organizations than the ones our library has ties too, so has been able to give me a push in a few different areas, or tell me more about expectations of service at different levels of the profession.

If you are already a member of this section and would like to be matched up, jump on it! The committee membership has changed, which may be a good thing, since the monthly discussion questions that were promised to mentors and mentees didn’t seem to ever appear, so we fumbled around a bit before we got our groove. It looks like this year will be more organized.

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ACRL webcast–So you want to create an interactive IL tutorial?

Cinthya Ippoliti of Paradise Valley Community College (part of Maricopa Community Colleges) led the ACRL webcast on creating interactive tutorials. She began with a needs assessment from faculty to determine how to structure the tutorial. A working group began the project, but then the group dwindled down to two people; as Cinthya said, “Sometimes, things don’t work better by committee.”

The group considered Acadia’s tutorial . My thoughts: while well-done and entertaining, this tutorial moves linearly, and interactive elements are limited to moving from one screen to the next, while pausing to read the text and watch the images.

Instead of building off existing tutorials, Cinthya started from scratch. She looked at over 100 tutorials and literature, and found that not much was specific to information literacy. Much of what was already available was in the fields of IT and Education, or were specifically targeted to math or other subject areas.

Interactivity means different things to different people, starting with merely clicking through one page to the next and reading text along the way. Greater interactivity was built into Maricopa’s tutorial, including elements such as free-form navigation, varying levels of difficulty, use of strategies, etc. Rollovers, drag and drop or clicking were all ways to increase engagement even during moments when students were viewing text. Passive viewing of the tutorial was not possible–students had to continually make decisions, even which tutorial piece to begin working in.

The overarching principle for the tutorial was the desire to conceptualize and boil down ACRL IL Competency Standards, to make the tutorials work toward increasing IL skills in students. The backbone of the tutorial began with storyboarding each page; a slide showed side by side images of storyboard versus the specific tutorial page. The multi-media designer (Sam) was integral in the creation of the tutorial.

The completed tutorial has 4 modules, and interactivity is slightly different in each one, depending on content of the module. Each module has the same set up–an intro blurb, a pre- and post- test (called quizzes), and, importantly, a small amount of text. Instead of text blocks, the tutorial uses lots of flash and popups. Cute analogy of Boolean terms as food choices–Boolean as ordering lunch. The tutorial stays away from using library jargon, skipping over the name Boolean but drawing the concept out for students. Hints are given for incorrect answers, instead of being told the correct answer–in this way, focus is kept on increasing skills rather than on correction.

Concerns with assessment: continued difficulty in capturing student results without a server–students need to print out their own results. No long term data was available due to this choice.

Usability study for the tutorial was conducted using 8 students. For the purpose of presenting the results, Cinthya had Institutional Review Board approval of the user testing. Afraid of researcher and tutorial bias, other people conducted the testing by observing users and asking them to talk through their thought process as they navigated the tutorial. Afterward, participants completed a post-assessment questionnaire to clarify the process. Results included the idea that more feedback is better–students desire immediate feedback, even on the pre-test. Their tendency was to focus on quiz scores as well as completing tasks. Students also did not notice they needed to scroll down to see the full page, so be aware of that when laying out tutorial slides or pages.

Assessment from the tutorial was used to change and refocus the in-person instruction given to classes during a library session; using the tutorial and gathering pre-test results could guide where more time should be spent in face to face instruction. Evaluation was the main area in her results.

The webcast matched ACRL’s description of the event. I am always hopeful that a webcast will be more like a workshop and the group can walk through a scenario of building a section of a tutorial together. I guess that is our job now.

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