August 26, 2008

Add SMS to Your III Catalog!

Last week, I highlighted Ed Vielmetti’s thoughts about adding covers to the list of overdue books you have checked out, as well as the ability to text the location of an item to your cell phone. Both of these are enhancements that I, as Patron 2.0, would very much appreciate my library providing.

In the comments on that post, Jason from the Iowa City Public Library gave us a working example (working in an Innovative catalog, at least). I tried it out and sure enough, a few seconds after entering my cell phone number, up popped a text message with the location of the item.Very slick, and very useful.

Iowa City Public Library's text messaging in the catalog

Even better, Ed came back into the comments on that post and pointed at the script that runs this service. It was originally written by Adam from Bryn Mawr more than a year ago, where it’s still in place today. Not only is it freely available online, but there are very clear directions for sending SMS from a III catalog (thanks, Adam!).

text message location from Iowa City Public Library

If you have a programmer on staff or someone who knows just enough to be dangerous, now you, too, can implement this service at no cost to your library to make your catalog that much more useful.


8:45 pm Comments (3)

READ in Second Life




2ndliferead.jpg

Originally uploaded by ash966

Another great READ mini poster!


7:52 am Comments (1)

August 21, 2008

Pac Man Fever Redux

song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes


2:23 pm Comments (5)

BBW (Banned Books Wordles)

Using Wordle in Schools

“The idea of creating Tag clouds is not new or unique but the Wordle application offers those in schools with a uniquely visual way to view and/or analyse some text. It is very simple to use and the results are created quickly. The style can be changed easily, if required, and easily saved….

We used this aspect in the library this week when we made a Wordle using a number of lists of banned books. The authors, the titles and types of books were entered into the text box. Overwhelmingly the word ‘novel’ stood out. A second Wordle on banned authors had William Shakespeare and George Orwell as the standouts. This could form part of a greater discussion about the reason for this and we intend to give the issues of banned books and censorship a wider focus at a later date, perhaps as part of Social Justice Week, run at our school each year.

We are also using Wordles as the basis for one of the competitions for Book Week. We created Wordles of synopses of various well known books (taking out any references too unique to the book) and printed out copies. One of the library staff members had fun playing with the colours and formats. We did one for ‘Bryan Strauchan: my story‘ and made it black and white. (Bryan Strauchan is a fictional character who plays for a football team that happens to have team colours of black and white.) Another book involving animals was done making the Wordle resemble tiger stripes. The Wordles look great laminated and I will also be putting up digital versions on the library website.” [Rhondda’s Reflections – Wandering around the Web]


8:42 am Comments (3)

August 20, 2008

Win Games for Your Library!

Win $100 of Games!

“Out of the Box is giving $100 worth of games to whoever posts the best story about using games in education! The deadline is 8/31/2008. What are you waiting for? Go Post!” ]

This offer includes libraries, and I know we have some great stories about using games in educational ways!

Out of the Box publishes a whole slew of boardgames (including Snorta, which I really want to try), but they also distribute one of my all-time favorites, Apples to Apples. Did you know that you can make your own A2A cards using a special pack of blank cards you can buy for $5.99? For the trial run of National Gaming Day @ your library on April 18, we did some staff gaming at ALA, something we’ll probably do again leading up to the official NGD on November 15. I’m thinking of customizing A2A with a few…carefully-chosen cards about ALA. If you play this game at your library, this could be a fun way to tailor the game to your community.

If you’ve never played this great game (good for kids, adults, families, and any combination thereof), you can watch a demo of how it’s played. Much laughter is guaranteed.


7:31 am Comments (2)

August 19, 2008

Overdue Books 2.0

As always, Ed Vielmetti is thinking about how to make the library’s data work harder for him, with or without the library’s help. (Of course, Ed’s library is the phenomenal Ann Arbor District Library, which already offers more web-based services than most other libraries, but the simple openness of their systems makes it easy for a superpatron like Ed to extend these services even further on his own.)

So when Ed couldn’t find some overdue library books in the house, he started wondering aloud how the library’s services could help him out. Now we just need to think like Ed, too.

Now Where Did I Put that Book?

“All of the library books I have are tagged with RFID chips, which is used for inventory control. That should mean that I can use something like this 3M RFID locator device as a reader and scanner to locate a lost item.”

Wall of Books Revisited: Just What Do I Have Checked Out?

“No, I still haven’t found my overdue books, but at least now I know what they look like.

The AADL prints a helpful list of the books you have checked out, but doesn’t give you pictures of them (not yet at least). So I’m working on the Greasemonkey script that will insert cover images into that page. This is not that, but a step along the way.”

What books did I check out from the library?

What I’m really waiting for, though, is Ed’s Greasemonkey script that adds “text me the location of this item” to a library catalog viewed in Firefox. I don’t think I’ll be able to use it for my home library’s catalog, but I’ll hold out hope it can be adapted.

Text Me the Location of this Book – Step One of a Greasemonkey Plugin for the AADL

“At the time I noted “how hard could it be to add this to my own library with Greasemonkey” or some similar off the cuff remark (oh how foolish I can be some times). So let’s pick that apart and see how I’d do this at the AADL.”


9:54 pm Comments (7)

August 13, 2008

GLLS2008 Preliminary Program Available

Just a quick note that the preliminary program for the 2008 ALA TechSource Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium is now available online. I’m excited about the program, because I think we’ve got some great tracks and sessions that will be valuable for anyone trying to implement gaming in their library or looking for ways to expand or enhance an existing program. Like last year, we’re going to push the boundaries of the connotations for “gaming” in libraries, in addition to answering your practical, “in the trenches” questions (legal issues, accessibility, cataloging, etc.).

Our keynote speakers continue last year’s tradition of addressing games & learning while also helping to make sense of today’s hot topics.

Fan favorites Chris Harris, Scott Nicholson, and Eli Neiburger will be back, too. Scott will give us a census update on the number of libraries offering gaming, while Eli will explain how to foster Civic Engagement through Gaming and give us a Pokemon Primer so that we can at least talk the talk with the players in our communities.

Brian Mayer will be joining us this year and with Chris and Scott, he’ll help us understand how modern boardgames are different than the ones we grew up with. Chris and Brian will also discuss their alignment of the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner with boardgames and how librarians can use them to meet student learning needs. Plus, Paul Waelchli will present ideas for incorporating videogame strategies into reference and instruction services to interact with students in a more engaging way.

And that’s just the start – three days of sessions, open gaming (both boardgames and videogames), dine-arounds with experts, and all of the fun and learning you can handle. Attendance is limited to 350 people, so register now. I hope to see you there!


2:47 pm Comments (2)

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