Author Archives: Brenda Ellis

Friday links – December 13, 2013

Can scholarly publishing evolve beyond the pdf? “…includes a brief history of digital publishing, and a look at how PDF and HTML have evolved. In spite of significant usability improvements, rich linking, and supporting information in HTML full-text articles, researchers still choose PDF over HTML 65% of the time.”

The allure of the print book ”… But when I touched that physical book again for the first time in years, it was like the moment you hear a nostalgic song on the radio and are instantly lost in it. The feeling of a print book, with its rough paper and thick spine, is an absorbing and pleasurable experience — sometimes more so than reading on a device. …”

Validation – What happens when garage attendant meets DMV photographer.  Watch this if you need a smile or holiday pick-me-upper.  Yes this is work related – recommended by Middlebury’s Dale Carnegie trainer.

Friday Links – Nov. 15, 2013

For those of you with kids, this article “Teach Kids how to Code, Make Apps and 3-D Models With These Tools” lists some interesting possibilities. From School Library Journal and The Digital Shift.

Announcement: “Digital Public Library of America Launches DPLA Bookshelf

DPLA Bookshelf lets the user scroll a visual representation of a bookshelf… When a user of the DPLA site searches for books, the results are displayed as books on a bookshelf; the shelf is shown as a vertical stack so that the titles and authors are more easily readable on their spines. The width of the book represents the actual height of the physical book, and its thickness represents its page count. The spine is colored with one of ten depths of blue to “heatmap” how relevant the work is to the reader’s search.” Follow the announcement link to learn more.

3D Printing is a hot topic, but have you heard of 3D scanning? Lucky for us – the Smithsonian has, and has been busy scanning several artifacts that you can now view online! Their 3D exploration tool is in Beta so they are looking for feedback and bug reports. Load time is a little slow – but it’s worth it! (Check out the Woolly Mammoth!)

Smithsonian X 3D of a Wooly Mammoth, http://3d.si.edu/explorer?modelid=55

Screen shot of Smithsonian X 3D of a Woolly Mammoth

Curious about how 3D scanning works? Check out the video below.

 

 

Are you interested in learning more about infographics?

Lynda.com offers a collection of resources about creating infographics that can be found at this link: http://www.lynda.com/Infographics-training-tutorials/1462-0.html (after you log in using your Middlebury credentials). Not sure what an infographic is? Check out this example on the history of audio equipment via fastcodesign.com where the creators offer a mini-window into the work it took to pull it all together.

The Wilson Media Lab in the Library offers many multimedia tools that can be used to build infographics. Digital Media Tutors are available Sunday – Thursday from 1 pm – 1 am and on Fridays from 1 pm – 7 pm to assist users interested in using these tools.

 

 

LIS at the Student Services Fair

This year LIS met loads of incoming Middlebury students at the Student Services Fair. Brenda Ellis, Pij Slater, Stacy Reardon and Ian Burke staffed the table along with Helpdesk students Biswash Ghimire and Anis Mebarki. Ian distributed handouts on Cyber Security Awareness Month while Stacy and Brenda passed out shiny new LIS bookmarks with handy go/ links. The team spoke with students about connecting to wireless and avoiding phishing attacks. Students had quite a few questions of their own:

  • How do I print?
  • How long can I check out books from the library?
  • How do I find books at the library?
  • How do I get a job at the library?
  • How do I get MS Office?
  • Can I get the books I need for my classes at the library?

Students were very enthusiastic about library services. One student ran over to tell us, “The Middlebury library was probably a bigger factor in my college decision than it should have been!” (We politely disagreed. The quality of the library is indeed a very important factor!)

The library’s iPad was put to good use at the Fair, and students appeared to be satisfied with the help they received. We even heard an unprompted, “Always ask a librarian!” as they departed.

26th Annual Writing and Teaching Retreat

Last week, LIS liaison librarians Brenda, Stacy and Carrie attended a 2-day writing and teaching retreat for faculty, organized by the CTLR and held at the Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden. Along with Shawna Shapiro from the Writing Program and Adela Langrock from the Office of Planning and Assessment, we led a session called “Undergraduates as Researchers,” in which we reviewed the results of our 2012 assessment of student research and technology skills and discussed best practices for helping students develop strong research skills.

We  also attended workshops on syllabus design, developing and grading writing assignments, peer feedback, and foreign language pedagogy. We each were able to spend a few hours sharing assignment ideas and suggestions in small-group syllabus workshops, and we had plenty of time to talk with faculty and colleagues individually too.

Here are just a few take-aways from the event:

  • Some faculty expressed interest in community-based, collaborative research projects. It will be interesting to look for models (a few come to mind already!) and elaborate on technology options for these faculty.
  • If piloting a new initiative, program, or pedagogical technique seems daunting, try starting with a “lite” version. If that’s successful, you can scale up the next time around.
  • When assigning small group work during class time, ask each group to report out at the end. This could be an effective way for students to share their research success stories and challenges.
  • Writing is communication. When you write, take the time to imagine, understand, and speak to your target audience; ask students to do the same.
  • Peer feedback on writing is most useful when it asks questions about sections of a text, or raises big issues such as clarity and purpose. Line-by-line editing (in effect, telling the writer, “this is exactly how I would say it”) is less effective because the writer implements the directed changes without needing to re-envision the paper from the reader’s viewpoint.
  • Be intentional and design backwards.  Think of what you want students to be able to do and then provide the steps or “scaffolding” to develop the skill by sequencing assignments and instruction to achieve the goal.  This applies to research as well as writing skills.

Friday links – August 16, 2013

New Animated PNG Creation Tools Intend To Bring APNG Into Mainstream Use: While grainy GIF images can have entertaining uses, they aren’t the ideal animated image format due to lack of full color support and an alpha channel [for varied transparency]. Animated PNG doesn’t have these faults and has been available and incorporated in quite a few browsers since roughly 2004.

10 ways tech support has changed since the 1980s: Over the past 30 years, IT has seen some monumental changes — and they’ve had a huge impact on the field of tech support. See if you remember the way it used to be.

Touch Laptop Forecasts: Only 10-15% of laptops sold this year will be touch-enabled. Sales of touch-enabled Dell and HP laptops are declining, but Lenovo’s touch laptops will be 50% of their sales in the next 2-3 years.

What to Expect in WordPress 3.7 and 3.8: The 3.7 update will come in October and feature better internationalization support while 3.8 is planned for the end of the year and will include an overhaul of the admin interface and a new Twenty Fourteen theme. If you have thoughts on improving the dashboard take their survey.

Web Development

The New IE11 Developer Tools: Microsoft has improved the script debugger, added a memory analysis tool, and cleaned up the display of inherited styles in the DOM explorer.

uCSS and CSS Dig: Two tools that can be used to crawl a website and produce reports to help us clean up unused and redundant CSS declarations. This might be helpful in organizing our own stylesheets.

Libraries & Librarians

NPR’s Bob Mondello gave a nostalgic, sometimes humorous view of libraries last week: Libraries’ Leading Roles: On Stage, On Screen And In Song

Have online journals evolved beyond their readers? “… science has become abstracted away from practitioners. It has disappeared from the tangible world as journals have disappeared from tables, desks, and waiting rooms. …”

Other

Google’s “Opt-out village” (from The Onion) –

Wiki Wars: The ten most controversial Wikipedia pages (from CNN)

Friday links – June 14, 2013

From Cave Paintings to the Internet: Chronological and Thematic Studies on the History of Information and Media
This interesting website from Jeremy Norman “is designed to help you follow the development of information and media, and attitudes about them, from the beginning of records to the present. Containing annotated references to discoveries, developments of a social, scientific, theoretical or technological nature, as well as references to physical books, documents, artifacts, art works, and to websites and other digital media, it arranges, both chronologically and thematically, selected historical examples and recent developments of the methods used to record, distribute, exchange, organize, store, and search information.” (from About the Database).  Images and text (with links to wikipedia) are combined with geographical information to allow mapping of the information.