Thursday, October 22, 2009

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – October 22, 2009

We met in October despite WLA conflicts and poor weather!

Bob: got us off and running with a very interesting demo of Google Sketchup. He showed us a file his daughter (an architect) had created to design an end-table. A nice design! One can design objects, add textures, obtain precise measurements of the objects, and make objects transparent for easier observation. Bob showed us that it is possible to import an image of a floorplan, then scale that image to the correct proportions, and then finally draw the walls/doors to exact scale. That is amazing! Bob finds that the "Missing Manual" for Google Sketchup by Chris Grover is a good book to use to learn this tool:

Jim: showed us a variety of great sources of information for staying ahead of technology change and development. The first site we visited was TWiT: (This Week in Tech) - This site includes a series of podcasts (as well as other sources of information) focused on specific topics. Jim notes that the Leo Laporte "tech guy" podcast is very good. He also listens to "Windows Weekly" and the Macbreak Weekly podcast looks good too. From there Jim brought us to to take a look at their site, also chock full of interesting information. in particular, Jim pointed out the TechCrunch50 Conference that they sponsor every year: At this event, top startups present their new ideas, and compete for fabulous prizes... Finally, Jim noted this very promising-looking financial application called Mint: It helps you manage your personal finances.

Karen: finished up the hour by showing us the NatureBreak site: This site has been created by noted wildlife documentary creator Vanessa Serrao to "bring together people who love nature." There are a variety of nature themed videos to watch, including a few that are "viral" on YouTube. I will let you all ask Karen why that is... :-0

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – September 24, 2009

Here we are back for a new semester. At the September meeting we looked at and discussed several very interesting tools/technologies:

1) Jim: started off the meeting by showing us the free Prezi presentation tool: It is really very cool! This presentation tool can replace PowerPoint, but functions in a way that is significantly different. Instead of moving sequentially through a series of slides, Prezi presentations are created as one large "screen" that can be rotated and focused in on at varying levels of magnification as a way of bundling packets of presentation information. If that makes no sense, go to the site and watch the demo. The Prezi site also include tutorials. The entire package is slick, and artistically mesmerizing. Jim notes that the presentations can live on their servers, or you can also download the file.

2) Entire group: discussed smart boards in libraries. Jim notes that the MERIT library recently purchased two smart boards, and they look like they have a variety of potential uses in library instruction. Depending on the brand/type of SB, they function differently. Some require an external device (ie. stylus) to interact with the board, and others just use the touch of a hand. Jody (welcome!) notes that in the K-12 school environment they are in use already. She notes that some come equipped with built in keyboards. Jill and Bob both mentioned that they had seen museum displays (example: Art Institute - American wing) that used these tools. They can run/display the standard computer applications too. The group noted that this looks like a promising item that libraries could experiment with in public spaces.

3) Bob mentioned a very handy desktop set-up that he had been working with. This includes two monitors with a single PC. He has also been experimenting with Windows 7 since June, and he likes it. Phil mentioned that it is possible (it looks like for students) to get the Windows7 home version for $30 if you use a university email address. Gizmodo: Lifehacker:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – August 27, 2009

Hi Everyone!
This week we had a very "short" meeting. But, we still looked a a few interesting items:

1) Nancy mentioned that the UW-Madison Center for Visual Culture is moving into Memorial Library. They have an intersting web site:

2) Ian told us about the College Library "Helen C. House Party" on September 10th: there will be lots to do (and eat): Ian is working on the “Bibliodefenders” game (that will be played at the party) with some of the ARIS people:

3) Nancy showed us the Mover iPhone app. It lets you move files from one iPhone to another very easily: Cool!

Friday, July 24, 2009

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – July 23, 2009

Once again, amazing tools identified by the LILI-IT group members!

Ian kicked off the July meeting by showing an Amazing (with a capital A) video if an iPhone app that helps you to navigate the NYC subway system. Ian notes (and I agree) that something like this could be used to navigate a library or the library system. Very cool: New York Nearest Subway Augmented Reality App for iPhone 3GS from acrossair:

Phil introduced us to the absolutely cutting edge Google Wave tool, yet to be released. It integrates IM tech into a sort of “conversation management” tool. Also it translates various languages (using the Rosy Robot – see below) in real time as you type! It is not out yet, but you can apply to be a tester.

Here are some notes about it that Phil sent to me via email:

The official Google Wave site:

Highlight Reel: (most of the videos I showed were from this page)

Rosy: (the Rosy robot feature wasn't on the lifehacker page, for some reason)

Google Wave Abridged Demo: (This is a chopped-down version of the official hour and twenty minute presentation - the first two video pages are all just reworked footage from this)

Karen showed us Locavore, a really useful iPhone app for identifying local produce. It tells you where to go, and what is in season!
The Locavore site lists these functions:
  • Automatically detects which state you’re in (currently only covers the US)
  • Food that’s in season near you
  • Food that’s coming in season near you soon
  • Farmers’ markets near you
  • Browse all 234 fruits and vegetables to see where it is currently growing
  • Links to Wikipedia articles and Epicurious recipes from each food detail page
  • Browse all 50 states to see what’s in season in other parts of the US

Karen also mentioned the social cataloging presentation from earlier this summer, and that she had been trying out Shelfari: Karen said that someone from Turkey had contacted her regarding her excellent taste in reading choices. International Social Networking is Real!

Anne described the explosion of Twitter ( use on campus: UWDCC tweets about newly scanned images, then these are read by UW-Athletics, and then they tweet about their upcoming events. The images and athletics tweets are then read and tweeted on by UW-Communications... cool! as the twitter site says "you can stay hyper–connected." Yes, you can.

See you all in August!

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – June 25, 2009

Notes to be added soon!

Friday, May 29, 2009

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – May 28, 2009

This month the meeting was held at the MERIT (CIMC) Library in room 348. We had a good sized group for the meeting, and we discussed a series of very interesting topics! A very big thank you to Jim for scheduling the room at MERIT!

Jim: started us off by showing us the Windows 7 Release Candidate (Win7RC)( ) Based on Jim’s research, it looks like the present Win7RC will be very similar to the commercial version to be released this year. Jim notes that originally it was to be released for purchase in July, but now the date has been likely pushed back to November/December. The Win7RC can be downloaded fairly easily (2 gigs) and you can use it for free until next Spring 2010 (March/April). Jim/group was not sure of the installation size of Vista versus the Win7RC. Jim and group note that the look/use of the Win7RC is fairly similar to Vista, but Jim notes that it is very stable (no crashes so far) and it seems to be less of a memory hog. Features: The bottom “task bar” common to Win95-XP has been replaced by the application start icons similar to Vista (and Mac). These icons can link you to the multiple windows that you may have open in each application, and offer a “jump list” to recently opened/modified documents. You can now create your own tool bar in the system tray area, and there is a button to quickly access your media libraries. The backend tools from previous versions of Windows, such as the “Control Panel/Settings,” “Windows Updater,” and “Windows Explorer” still exist though they are differently organized and look different. The look/functionality of these tools is similar again to Vista. Problems: Emily noted that Vista caused conflicts with Endnote because of the “User Account Control” feature that prompts you for the “Administrator Login” (to give applications permission to function). Jim notes that this security feature still exists in Win7RC, and so it is important to retain knowledge of the “Administrator Login.”

Jim: noted that Google Chrome ( ) has a new feature that allows you to convert a website into a desktop run application. You access it from a button in the top right of Chrome: “create application shortcuts.” In this way you can “run” the application to view a website without using the normal browser. The application periodically updates itself with new site content.

Emily: noted that her nephew is a big fan of an online game based on the years surrounding WWI (Perhaps: But, he was not aware of Second Life. Congratulations LILI IT Interest!

Bob: discussed the mind-mapping tool FreeMind
( ). This tool produces very clear thought-maps/topic-maps for a topic that you are exploring. There are a variety of different node-types that you can use to add text and organization. Steenbock Library tried this out for mapping their definition of “Circulation Services.” Bob noted that it is available to download/work on Win-XP, Mac OSX, and Linnux. The group discussed the various ways that it might be useful in library instruction. Emily suggested that it could be used during a class to map out a research topic. Bob noted that it would probably require two people to use it in a classroom setting. The group discussed uses such as saving and sharing the topics maps with students, or posting the output to a website. We all saw lots of potential for this tool.

Phil: brought in one of the 12 new laptops that LTG had purchased. These are Samsung N120 Netbooks. ( )( ) These are listed at about $440 on the Samsung site. They have an amazing 7 hour long battery life, and they are very light. They are tiny, but Phil and others noted that the keyboard is still typeable as the key placement is standard. Nancy noted that this make/model was chosen by LTG because it includes a standard LCD projector output, whereas other comparable Netbooks do not. They have the standard office applications, and Phil noted that they can accept additional installed software, as LTG is reimaging them after use. Phil noted that these are very similar to the “One Laptop Per Child” units. Bob brought in a copy of Puppy Linux ( on a USB “flash” drive, and he and Phil were able to run it from the USB socket on the N120. Bob notes that PL can run Thunderbird, Firefox, and Open-Office. Group: noted that in addition to Puppy Linux, other similar OS can be successfully run from the USB, such as the GNU/Linux Ubunto OS ( ) , and the Linux Sugar on a Stick OS ( ).

Nancy: noted that the iPhone has an unbelievable “Ocarina Flute” app! So Cool! ( )

Ian: is planning (along with the LILI Instructional Design Working group and the Library Website Management team) to use the 2D barcodes ( ) he demonstrated at the March LILI IT meeting as a promotional device for use during SOAR. [Yes! The LILI IT Group breaks the news before it is news! See March 26th for videos and more links! Go Ian, go Ian (raise the roof) woop woop!] The barcodes will be placed on the doors of libraries as well as some printed promotional materials. Ian notes that they can be generated for free on-line (this tool does QR Codes ), but there are many other generators too. Tom suggested looking into generating the barcodes using fonts for Microsoft Word. Ian noted that, for students to interact with the barcodes they will need an iPhone, Nokia phone, or a Blackberry. The device will need to have the “NeoReader” app installed. ( ) Why is there interest in this? Ian explained that though SOAR is a good place for the libraries to meet students and parents, there is no SOAR libraries tour. The 2D codes on the library door can direct users to the correct library mobile site. Actually, Ian notes that they are useful anyplace that you would like to bridge the gap between physical spaces and the web. This creates a “hypertext link to the real world.” [Ian, don’t get caught in the Matrix!] Nancy used her iPhone and tried an example that Ian created on the fly, and it worked great!

Friday, March 27, 2009

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – March 26, 2009

We had a small group this time, but we ended up looking at some very interesting tools. Just before the meeting started Lee stopped by on his way to another meeting and made a few suggestions too... we ended up looking at a variety of project management and personal planning tools, as well as QRCodes, and some data. Interesting!

Annie: showed us Highrise, by 37Signals:
This tool is being used by Wendt for coordinating contacts for reserves as well as liaisons, so that information about the contacts is managed better, specifically the continuity of contacts over time. For example, it should be possible to record a patrons (esp. professor’s) preferences regarding certain services such as instruction or reserves.
Watch the Video:

Lee and Annie: mentioned/showed Basecamp, also by 37Signals:
This is a project management tool, that allows you to track projects, documentation, and assigned staff during the project duration. Wendt has been using it for tracking IT projects such as programming needs or upgrades.

Lee and Annie: mentioned/showed Backpack, also by 37Signals: This tool helps with personal to-do lists, calendaring, and some file management.
Watch the video:

Lee: mentioned Liquid Planner before the meeting, and we took a look at it!
This is another project management tool that facilitates management of staff time allocation to multiple simultaneous projects, and the tracking of costs.
They also have a video:

Ian: broke us out of the efficiency-application mold, and led us on an adventure into the realm of cutting edge barcode-to-mobile-device technology. QRCodes can be generated from free sites such as and then physically posted in paper documents or on physical objects. The QR code can be “photographed” with a mobile device and then read with an application on the mobile device, which converts the QRCode into a text message or URL, which can then be visited using the phone/device. Ian expects the process to improve and become common in the next few years. He notes that it is already very popular as a promotional tool in some other countries like Japan. Ian could see this being used for SOAR. So can I.
Watch a video of this working:
Here is a short article about how this can be used for promotional purposes.

Group discussion about Camtasia and Captivate, and the drawbacks of Captivate with regards to file management and lengthy updates to guides.

Annie: Showed us the Google Sites tool that Wendt is using for building a staff intranet: Annie notes that it is good for building staff web pages (procedural guides, staff information), but the document management functionality is not great. Instead she suggests using Google Sites with Google Docs. Together these cooperate to form a robust intranet experience.

Ian: Mentioned that College was looking at Confluence as a possible internal content management system, and that DoIT had also been experimenting with it. Unfortunately, DoIT has been taking a long time to fully implement a robust wiki tool, though it may happen soon.

Tom: finished up the hour by passing around copies of the EDUCAUSE documents related to Judith Caruso’s recent campus discussion of her work on the 2008 ECAR “Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology.” Jean Ruenger-Hanson had mentioned these via email earlier on the LILI IT list.
ECAR Key Findings:
ECAR Research Studies:
ECAR Roadmaps:

Tom also mentioned the similar DoIT Surveys. DoIT Research Reports on Campus IT Usage:

Friday, February 27, 2009

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – February 26, 2009

The weather yesterday was rainy and cold, but for the LILI IT Interest Group, the show must go on:

Bob: Mentioned a very interesting article in the NYT about Google, by David Pogue: Pogue covers many of the important things Google is doing these days. [Tom note: also check out his blog: ]

Group: Discussion of WorldCat [first search] vs. Nancy notes that it is important to make sure that patrons know about the duplicate record issue that has plagued OCLC for some time, and also that the link to journals is obscured in the left hand navigation. The .org interface is otherwise nice and Ian notes that interface design is critical to keep users coming back.

Nancy: Demo of the voice recognition function on her iPhone that ties into a google search. A click on the search results dials the phone. Pretty cool!

Anne: drew our attention to the recent political tangle Twitter ( ) has been drawn into due to certain politicians using Twitter to comment on Obama's recent speech.

Karen: Mentioned that continues to develop. It is an interesting TOC review tool. Nancy mentions that Ulrichs also is a very good source for recent TOCs. [Tom note: I had not seen this in Ulrichs, and it looks useful. Yet another reason to remember Ulrichs.]

Karen: showed two humorous short videos from library contests. These are hosted on YouTube the UMD Library Student Contest: Book Staxx; the National Library Week: Reference Desk.

Monday, January 26, 2009

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – January 22, 2009

After a hiatus of a couple of months, the LILI IT Interest Group is back!

Bob: 1) he notes how convenient it can be to have 2 monitors per computer. The Reference desk at Steenbock has 2 monitors now, and other computers there may get two monitors soon. 2) He notes the unbelievable convenience of a very slick free application Portable Apps that allows you to use the Microsoft Office applications and Open Office from a flash USB drive. 3) He notes the convenience of Google Notebook: which he uses to share information with colleagues.

Ian: presented a demo of the ARIS Games tool: This tool allows you to build a geospatial game, such as geo-cache games, and scavenger hunts. The tool was built with an Engage grant and can work on mobile devices. Ian is planning on experimenting with it and wants to build a sample game for the libraries.

Karen: presented 1) an interesting tool Who’s Talkin that aggregates twitter and blog postings (from “60 of the internet’s most popular social media gateways”) into a single search engine. We tried it and it works! We searched on Steenbock Library and found a variety of postings. 2) The Web Watch Transit Master online application that tracks the Madison Metro busses. No more waiting for a bus that will never come! 3) The TicTocs web tool that allows you to view TOCs from a variety of journal publishers. The site also provides some searching too, which makes it an interesting metasearch tool also!

Jim: presented several tools: 1) Songbird is a tool that allows you to organize your personal music collection (and play the songs too!). 2) Open Office Extensions (, is a free cross-platform office application suite, intended as a competitor to Microsoft Office.) these tools allow you to add functionality into the OpenOffice tools, such as language dictionaries. Jim notes that there is a tool that allows you to export and import your documents to and from Google Docs, Zoho and WebDAV servers ( 2GoogleDocs ).