Easy Publication

Just a quick note about a twitter aggregator I’ve just started using: paper.li

Create your own daily newspaper quickly and easily. It simply aggregates posts from the people you follow on twitter, and yourself, and slaps them together into a nice news format, complete with photos, videos, and tabbed categories. It might be nice to have more control over which feeds it picks up, but for something that requires zero effort, I can’t complain.

Take a look at my Daily Tech News for stories that are current, fresh and geekishly tech-oriented.

Keeping Tabs on Santa via the Web

The State Library of Kansas pulled together all the important information for tracking Santa’s whereabouts and posted it on the web for your convenience:

Kansas Government Information

Be sure to check these resources later tonight so that you’ll be in bed before Santa’s arrival. You know the rules: “There must be no peeking or he might pass you by!”

LibraryThing for Libraries

I blogged about LibraryThing a couple of years ago as a great tool for readers. But it’s also a great tool for libraries.

One of the very popular programs presented at the library where I work is a series called Brown Bag Book Reviews. Staff members review some of their latest finds while the audience snacks on cookies or eats their lunch. It’s a great way for patrons to pick up some new titles and authors, and they love to hear the reviews.

In our last web incarnation, I had put the lists of the books reviewed on our site – basically, a separate list for each date we did the reviews. Books were listed alphabetically by author – not an easy way to find something you’re looking for, but better than nothing as I worked on building a searchable database. The idea was to come up with a way for patrons who, for example, loved everything reviewed by Carol, to easily find all Carol’s titles. Or if they missed last January’s review program, they could sort the data to find everything reviewed that date.

It occurred to me recently that everything I was trying to put into the database (title, author, reviewer’s name, review date) was able to be done easily on LibraryThing, with no need for me to try to become a master at MySQL or PHP. I had one of those “D’oh!” moments.

I brought this up at a meeting and one of our new librarians enthusiastically jumped at the chance to create our Brown Bag LibraryThing catalog, and tagged the items for easy sorting.

Take a look at our catalog and see what we’ve all been reading. If your library maintains lists of titles for various things, this is a great way to put it out there for the public.

bnet: Present like Steve Jobs

I’ve signed up for email newsletters from bnet. The information provided is concise and highly useful. This video, in particular, is worth sharing with anyone who has to give a presentation. Whether your presentation is a one-time thing or if speaking is what you do for a living, there are tips here that will help you do a better job, and ultimately reduce that anxiety so many of us feel when we give a lecture. All in a seven minute video.

After the video, check out bnet’s crash course on presenting like Steve Jobs. Cost? $0. You can’t beat that!

Alternative to YouTube

Need a new place to look for free user-generated video? There’s more than just YouTube out there.

Blip.tv is another place where video is easily uploaded, tagged, sorted and found. While poking around the site, I came across this video created by Bernhard Drax. It’s a nice summary of what libraries are doing in Second Life, for those who haven’t taken the time to get in-world yet:

Another venue is mefeedia. Mefeedia is more of a “Program your own TV Station” site. It sorts video into channels for easy viewing, such as Sitcoms or Gardening. I find this a much more valid sorting system than YouTube’s favorites.

Daily Literature: Free in your Inbox

A co-worker just sent me a link to this site that provides free reading directly to your inbox every day.   http://www.dailylit.com/about It’s easy: sign up, read books, and post to the discussions if you want. There’s quite a nice selection. I’ve just signed up and am looking forward to seeing how big a chunk of reading they send each day.

From their website:

“We created DailyLit because we spent hours each day on email but could not find the time to read a book. Now the books come to us by email. Problem solved.”

My profile:

Visual Medical Dictionary

Guus van den Brekel, a medical librarian in the Netherlands, recently posted this resource to his Facebook page. It’s a visual medical dictionary that works like AquaBrowser:


Besides providing a visual connection between resources, it also does a great job of helping me find something if I spell it wrong. Example: Is it acetaminophen or acetominophen? Doesn’t matter. Either way, the correct spelling comes up, along with the appropriate links. Nice.

Another nice feature: when you type in a term (disease, drug, body part, etc.) the results are color-coded, depending on whether the link is a drug, a related disease, a therapy, or a bio-agent.

A very bookmark-worthy site.

“It’s A YouTube for Nerds”

That was the response I got from an inventor friend when I sent him this link:


and he’s right: it is just like youtube, only the videos are for scientists or those with extremely nerdy tendencies. This sort of information sharing needs to be on the radar screen of librarians.

The Journal of Visualized Experiments is a site where scientists can upload videos of their experiments. It’s a great resource and definitely worth a look, even if science isn’t your thing, because we’re going to see more and more of this in the near future.

3D Browser: SpaceTime is a Nice Change

One of the websites I check on a regular basis is MIT’s Technology Review. A recent article led me to try out a new 3D visual browser, SpaceTime.

At first glance, this browser looks like a nice improvement over what we’ve had to choose from up until now. I did a quick ebay search on “books” and I really like the way it brings up the images of books to select, rather than a list to scroll through.

This is new and different, and it’s amazingly intuitive. I often have multiple windows open and with SpaceTime I can quickly bounce around among them with no more effort than a peripheral glance. Nice.

Like so many things, you don’t always realize what you want until someone puts it in front of you. This method of searching is really more like a method of finding. Browsers keep getting upgraded, but essentially are not much different from what they were back in the 90’s, until now.

The download is free and it’s worth trying it out to see how it feels. There are some features that I’m accustomed to having which are not included in SpaceTime. In fact, the long lists of menu items are gone. Surprisingly, I like that. If you just want a quick, visual way to find something easily, this program is light on unnecessary features and heavy on findability.

And the customer service is great, too. I emailed a question to them and got a pleasant, helpful response back from Eddie Bakhash almost immediately. We could all take a customer service tip from these guys. : )