Thursday, November 4, 2010

New IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – October 28, 2010

Ian started the discussion off by demonstrating the new (still in development) UW-Madison Campus iPhone app. It looks very handy! The functions include a campus news tracker, an interactive map, a directory, and a link to campus related video, as well as other functions. Ian is also very interested in bringing together library system and other campus partners to form a group to work on mobile technology issues related to the libraries.

Karen alerted us to the very useful Charity Navigator website: From this site you can get information about many of the charitable organizations that you see advertized, and then make a more informed decision regarding your potential donations. Nancy followed up with a suggestion to not forget about the Foundation Directory Online. From the (i) file: “A web-based database from the Foundation Center, a foundation-supported clearinghouse of information on private funding sources, Foundation Directory Online Professional is available in Memorial Library only.”

Dorothea directed us to the very intriguing “Hacking the Academy” book. It was compiled (under the expert direction of Dan Cullen, from the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University) by crowd-sourcing the content in one week. There is a section on libraries! “In keeping with the spirit of hacking, the book will itself be an exercise in reimagining the edited volume.” It looks fascinating. Dorothea notes that the purpose was to test the limits of what counts as scholarship and scholarly publishing. The directions that publishing and scholarship are following are many, and varied.

Joe raised the issue of UW-Madison’s creation of official check-in points versus user created check-in points for the same locations in FourSquare: For example, the Memorial Union has an officially created UW-Madison “presence” . The group discussed the various merits of social media where you check-in. Ian noted that though this and similar applications have a core of followers, it is not yet used widely.

William pointed out the extremely useful W3C “mobileOK checker It works similarly to the other validators to return potential problems with mobile sites when a link to a mobile optimized site is submitted. That tool may turn out to be critical in the future as we develop more mobile-optimized pages.

We all watched the YouTube video “The Twitter Experiment - UT Dallas It was interesting. The students seemed to take it seriously, and the professor found it useful. Dorthea noted that it looked like they were using TweetDeck to aggregate the various tweet feeds from the students. Ian noted that he has seen times when the Twitter backchannel overcame the “official” messaging platform during a Webinar.

Tom finished up the hour by playing a couple of additional YouTube videos related to Augmented Reality. One of the really interesting things that is developing out of augmented reality for mobile devices is the ability of the mobile application to interact, interpret, and augment physical objects dynamically in ways that enhance their already existing informational nature. A couple of examples are: “Augmented Reality GIS Maps and “Augmented Reality Furniture Instructions

Monday, October 4, 2010

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – September 23, 2010

September is always busy for everybody. We had a quick discussion this month, wedged in-between many meetings.

Anne started the discussion, noting the Zotero Everywhere tool upgrade that Zotero had enabled. This will free Zotero from being client-based (now it will be both client and web-based) , and they also set up an API to open it up for “web and mobile access to Zotero libraries.” That sounds like a good change.

Leah noted the recent announcement that the entire volume of Twitter posts would be permanently archived by The Library of Congress. “Every public tweet, ever, since Twitter’s inception in March 2006, will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress. That’s a LOT of tweets, by the way: Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions.” Leah also mentioned that “This American Life” has a twitter account.

Dianna alerted us to the interesting “Daily Beast” tech website. On the topic of “Mobile Learning Environments” Dianna noted a highlight on “14 best apps for college students.” This is an interesting place to start if we want to design apps for campus.

The discussion then moved to a general discussion of smartphone apps for campus. Joe suggested, and we all seemed to come to the same conclusion, that apps should be simple, single-topic-oriented, geography-relevant, and assist people to achieve goals in a self-service environment. App bundlers do exist. Ian noted that UW Madison is opening up app development and creation to students, thought some kinds of university data (grades, home addresses, etc) would probably be off limits. All UW-Madison campus aps are currently designed for the iPhone, but in the future other platforms will be allowed.

Anne reminded us about 4Square and mentioned that universities were beginning to take over the task of managing locations “officially.” We suspected this partially has to do with maintaining control over branding and institutional experience, as well as interest in using social networking tools to promote the university in a fun way.

Leah noted the ambivalence that many institutions currently have toward social networking tools. Some intuitions promote their use while others have used them to terminate employees. The group seemed to agree that laws and official practices have yet to catch up with everyday life.

Joe mentioned the new Gmail “undo send” tool that allows you to add a timer to “sent” mail. When you send an email with “undo send” active, it is not quite “sent” until a timer runs out. That time hopefully gives you the chance to change your mind, if you need to. I wish I had that tool for WiscMail...

Jim finished up the hour by introducing us all to the very cool SoundCloud site/tool. The site allows people to post musical clips, mostly self-produced (from what I can tell), in order to build communities of appreciation and critique. People can comment on abd associate images with various moments in the audio file. It is a facinating way to build a social network of creative people and those who appreciate their music.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – August 26, 2010

This is the busiest time of the year, but the LILI IT interest Group met once again! We had a new member attend: Joe from MERIT! (Ding!) It was a great meeting as always. And, Nancy brought fresh Kettle Corn. Perfection!

Ian started us off by describing the College Library House Party to be held on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010, from 7-11 p.m. There will be food, fun, games... Ian notes that if anyone wants to help out, please contact Kelli. The set-up will start at 3pm.

Jim demonstrated ways that you can use COLOR in Gmail to organize your mail. If you filter your mail with labels, then apply colors to the filters, the colors will appear for each message. A great visual way of organizing your email. Jim also mentioned that Google Labs has many tools that you can add to your Gmail account. There is a calendar tool, and a tool called Rapportive that “shows you everything about your contacts right inside your inbox.” It consolidates data from FaceBook, Twitter, etc into your Gmail account.

Jim also demonstrated the new “Call Phone” tool that has been added to Gmail. “Call anywhere in the US and Canada for free and get low rates for other countries with this small plugin — right from within Gmail.” It is very similar to Skype. You can dial an individual computer or a phone. That is very cool. Jim notes that this could be used for reference services.

Katy showed us all the very useful Meebo site/tool which gives you the ability to conglomerate multiple chat services into one interface. Fantastic! You can use Meebo on your iPhone, and it links out to Facebook and other social software also. This tool is entirely web based, so no downloads are required. One important function that it includes is the ability to separate work chat from home chat.

Ian told us about the very cool ebook reader pilot that College Library is coordinating. College will have both Kindles and iPads for checkout. The ebooks that are “circulated” will be chosen by the patrons themselves. Each user will sign up on a calendar to reserve the reader, and then will be granted $20 for choosing new ebooks to add to the pool. The patron will also be able to choose existing books to add to the reader during the reservation process. The Amazon accounts are separate from the reader devices, so the readers will be wiped and reloaded after each checkout. College will be using LibraryThing as the way to keep the collected ebooks organized.

Nancy mentioned the very thought provoking articles in the “Your Brain on Computers” series from the NYT. We all remembered the related article by Nicholas G. Carr “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” and the related Book by the same author “The Shallows” The changes that reading and literacy in our society are undergoing are substantial and fundamental.

Ian provided us with a good overview of the Layar Augmented Reality building tool. It allows users to create or use AR many filters with their mobile device. Ian suggests that an AR filter for campus libraries might be possible, though he hasn’t tested out the builder part of the application quite yet.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – July 22, 2010

Our July meeting was fascinating. This time, our notes are really more of a recorded dialog. (Though this is not really word for word...) I was enthralled with the new hardware we all looked at!

Katy started us off by showing us all the new iPads that were recently purchased to be checked out by School of Ed. affiliates from MERIT. They have 4 iPads, and they have also purchased portable keyboards and bags to go with them. Katy also brought her personal Kindle to show the size and weight difference. For reading books, she prefers the Kindle.

Katy also mentioned that staff in Special Education are thinking of creating apps for the iPad that will allow people to use them as “speaking boards” (a tool for people who are not able to speak). This would allow them to pre-load phrases and then touch the app's icon for it to speak out loud for them.

Lia noted that Gourmet Magazine, though closed by Conde Nast, has started up again as an app for the iPad. It sounds very handy! (Next from Steve Jobs: the iVeg: It slices, it dices, it makes julienne fries! Wait, is an iPad waterproof?)

Jim remembered that Dell also makes an all-in-one computer. Called the “Studio One” line: they have a 19” screen, and you can hook up a cordless mouse and keyboard. The prices are in the $400-$700 range.

Lia mentioned that Wendt has an iPad... for staff only! She has used it and liked it.

Anne mentioned that Yelp works very well from the iPad (and iPhone or Droid). A good reviews site!

Ian followed up with a mention of the LAYAR augmented reality browser tool that can be used to work with reviews data and overlay it to produce AR. He is working on a few projects now...

Jim mentioned Zillow the tool that gives home values and listings for houses for sale. There is an app that uses the AR, and it sounds amazing! Like other AR, it works with the camera. Displaying a house also displays the value.

Ian discovered that the iPad keyboard (brought by Katy from MERIT) is compatible with the iPhone. It hooked up nicely!

Jim suspected that the keyboard will be less popular for checkout than the iPads themselves.

Ian wondered how powerful the next generation iPad will be.

Lia also felt that since the iPad is still “first generation” that later models will be more powerful.

Anne wondered how powerful though... She thought that the next improvements would focus on portability and affordability: lighter and cheaper. This is because it is more of a browsing tool as opposed to a production tool.

Ian mentioned that if gamers focus on the iPad they would probably get faster processors/video cards.

Katy said that she uses a Mac Mini for her media. That works well.

Anne also agreed. She may replace her home laptop with an iPad. Then Anne mentioned that she had attended an engineering event where iPads WERE USED TO DRIVE ROBOTS! The iPad was held/used like a steering wheel... (but can I use an iPad to drive my car from the back seat?)

Katy told us: YES YOU CAN!!! Her father had been working on a project for John Deere where they were trying to design a way to use GPS to guide unmanned ROBOTIC TRACTORS. There may be a robotic lawnmower out there that you can control with your iPad too.

Anne mentioned that some of the engineers from John Deere that worked on that project had visited UW-Madison for additional training, and had used the library. Small world!

Ian reminded us of the laser powered mosquito killing tool...

Ian then introduced the LOL (learning objects life) that iDwog (ha ha ok IDWoG) was building. It will manage the campus libraries self-created learning objects. Cool! The Shared Development group is working on it now. You can submit objects and describe them with faceted tags. The submitter has some ability to manage rights/editing of the objects too. The end result should be far superior to MyWebSpace (hurray!)

Jim introduced Soluto: a tool that monitors what you run at start-up to help you pare down the number of extra applications running. This will speed up your start-up time! You can choose to “pause” applications to never run, or “delay” applications to start later. Jim then mentioned the Your Open Book site... which details everything on Facebook that everybody does not want everyone to know...

And Katy had the last word, reminding us of Lamebook (hah).

See you all next month!

Monday, June 7, 2010

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – May 27, 2010

Late May is one of my favorite times of the year. The semester is over and the summer has not become too busy, yet... We were lucky to have a LILI IT meeting!

Karen started the discussion by introducing us to Etsy, a site that sells artists goods with an easy to use interface. Can the interface be used as a model for library tools? Can you use it to buy great gifts?

Tom reminded us of the interesting Google Trends tool. You can use this to search on the relative interest of different search terms that users have entered into Google. Terms should be separated with commas. Searches can be narrowed to region and time period. I REALLY wish that our library databases all had such a tool.

Nancy mentioned that sometimes when users have trouble with using the Google Scholar connection to RefWorks (or other tools like Zotero) it is not necessarily RefWorks fault when the data does not upload correctly. Sometimes the meta-data on the originating site is not structured correctly, and RefWorks can't do anything about that...!

Barbara began a discussion on the relative merits of the feed readers that are available. Everyone still seems to like Bloglines, and Google Reader has supporters. The Thunderbird Reader add-on is useful too.

Jim brought our attention to Twitter feed readers, such as Seesmic, and TweetDeck Jim finds Seesmic in particular to be a useful way to aggregate many twitter feeds in one place. Cool! Nancy reminded us that Hootsuite is a very good way to manage Twitter feed publishing. The libraries are already using this great tool!

Karen noted that she has been doing some research on product labeling, and suggested these very useful sites: Greener Choices EcoLabeling, MotherJones EcoLabel Guide, and Green Washing.

[After the meeting, Karen sent me these additional links. Check them out. They are very interesting! Post: Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen, GoodGuide:, Skin Deep - Cosmetics Safety Database:, Chemical Cuisine: Food Labeling: ]

Diana finished off the hour by introducing us to the very cool Powered Green site, started by two UW-Madison Students. By making a donation, you can "offset" your laptop energy use by supporting wind-farms and other green energy technologies.

See you all in July!

Friday, April 30, 2010

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – April 22, 2010

In the far distance (Milwaukee) WAAL is getting revved-up... meanwhile, back in Madison the LILI IT Interest Group carries on... Today we looked at a number of interesting sites and news-worthy developments:

Nancy started us off by demonstrating a very useful tool called Readibility: This site provides a bookmarklet that can be used to strip out extraneous advertizing and banner content from pages that you visit. It works very well! (I am planning to use it right away.) Nancy also mentioned the New York Times technology columnist David Pogue: His column is very informative, AND it benefits from being Readibilitized.

Nancy next moved us on to a demonstration of the tool. It is a map of mailboxes! (And post offices). It is fantastic! How many times I have wished something like this could be easily available. With a newer cell phone the world is at your fingertips...

Tom (now writing in the 3rd person) mentioned the new Facebook Like button that is capturing the news lately and causing a stir. Some see this as a bid to knock Google off of its "organizing the web" pedestal, some privacy advocates seem to be concerned, and some Facebook users are confused about what it all means... It strikes me (for now) as a tempest in a techpot. Sorry for the pun. But worth seeing where/if it develops further.

Nancy mentioned the Facebook "Share Bookmarklet." Cool! This tool lets you share pages and bookmarks that you like to your profile. You have to be logged-in to Facebook for it to work, but you no longer have to go back-and-forth between pages and your profile to add the suggested links. Yay!

Katie mentioned the tool. It has been a while since I looked at this. Why! As you all know, this useful services utilizes your ratings to build a preference profile for you. It works very similarly to a number of music rating services I have seen/used. The more you rate, the better website suggestions the service makes.

Sarah finished off our meeting by telling us all about the very, very cool project that College, Sarah/LILI, LTG, Lee, and Lisa have been working on with Professor Jon McKenzie. The Digital Salon includes: "Podcasts, experimental videos, graphic novels and essays, websites, blogs, multimedia installations, and posters..." They will be presented online and at College. It is this kind of project that draws people to creative and thoughtful activity on the web.

"The heart of the Digital Salon is a one-week exhibition of new media work by UW graduate and undergraduate students, to be held in College Library's Open Book Café from April 25-30." In addition "A one-day symposium will bring together UW-Madison faculty and staff to present and discuss their digital arts and humanities research, teaching activities, and support services, as well as the larger implications of new media for cultural research and artistic production. The symposium will be held in Memorial Library on Friday, April 30th."

The student work will be presented in a new online space. Very exciting!

See you all next month!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – March 25, 2010

A short meeting today because of the upcoming LS Forum (which was very interesting) but we still packed a lot into LILI IT!

Jim demonstrated the way that he has been using the POP option in Gmail to read his Wiscmail via Gmail. One of the major benefits that Jim looks forward to is to use his (soon to come) Google Nexus One phone to use his Gmail to check his Wiscmail. That is pretty cool. Jim mentioned that though the email interface is great, there is no easily accessible "get mail" button to run the POP. Soon probably...

Next, Jim showed us a very cool web-based image editing application called Aviary: There are downloadable add-ons for Chrome and Firefox. It looks intuitive and fast. Honestly, I can't remember the huge number of times that I wish I had access to a good web-based imaging application that can compete with Photoshop. Based on a first-look, it looks like Aviary can compete favorably.

Bob let us know about these very useful tools for blocking and dealing with malware, the bane of everyone's existence these days. As Bob noted, malware can lurk in advertisements syndicated to even very popular and legitimate sites, as this CNET article explains.

Adblock Plus

Bob notes that though these work, they can also work too well. For example, No Script can and does block JavaScript from running, but many legitimate sites use JS in non-evil ways. So, use these tools wisely.

If you read the blog posts below, you will see a post where I promise to add some of the discussion from the LILI IT Ref-Retreat Lunch Table. Well, this is the LILI IT Group, so, using our time machine to return to the Reference Retreat in January... Jim reminded us (me, really) of the password management application that he demoed at the Reference Retreat lunch table: Last Pass It works great, and is a very efficient way to deal with ballooning password management.

Tom mentioned the suite of tools from the ZOHO site. I like the note-taking application called ZOHO Notebook in particular.

OK, back in the time machine... and now we are back in March... ahhh, March.

Bob lamented that we were not all at SXSW. Truer words were never spoken. Maybe next year we can all do a roadtrip.

Ian mentioned that John Martin has been putting together a Friday Game Design meeting in the GLS offices of Ed-Sci (room 138). Apparently campus librarians have been attending in force. Of course! The purpose is to test game designs and is not restricted to digital games. One of the very fun-sounding activities that they did included designing games from random objects. Read all about it on the ComETS Game Sig page.

Ian also let us know that the notes and materials from the EDUCAUSE Mobile Learning 2.0 meeting were still online for our viewing/reading. I was lucky to be able to attend part of the event. A big thank you to Sarah for making sure this happened locally. Like she is not busy enough already!

Jim showed the interesting site, Fuelly: It shows average mileage for many vehicles. Very useful!

Jim and Ian moved us on to talking about 4Square: An augmented reality phone app. What does it do? Users share geolocated information to "learn about favorite spots and new places." Ian was Mayor of College for a while. He has since retired. Life is tough at the top.

Katy (DING! New member!) noted the similarity to Yelp: and also how they had gotten in trouble lately for extortion...

That is it for today. We packed all that into 45 minutes!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Next LILI IT Meeting at MERIT

Our next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 25th at 12-1pm.

Jim Jonas suggested moving the meeting to MERIT Library room 348. It think it sounds like a great idea!

(This is so that people can get to the Library Services Forum that starts at 1:00pm, located in room 204 Educational Sciences Building.)

See you all at MERIT on Thusday, March 25th at 12 noon!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

LILI IT Meeting Location Change - ComETS birthday party!

Hi LILI IT! Come to the ComETS birthday party, scheduled for Thursday, February 25, at 11:30am-1:30pm - in the Red Gym.

From the website:
"Lunch and birthday cake will be provided (thanks to CIO Ron Kraemer and DoIT-Academic Technology). Please come to help us celebrate, and to engage in conversation about what ComETS is doing and to share your ideas for the future."

12:30 - 1:00 Choose a breakout table to discuss visions for the following topics at UW-Madison: • Assessment • The ComETS community • Games • Learning Management Systems / Personal Learning Environments • Media Production • Mobiles • Supporting Outreach and Public Service

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Reference Retreat Table Discussion

We had a great Reference Retreat lunch table discussion today. I am hoping we can cover some of the tools we saw today again at the next meeting. Then we can add them to the blog!