Category Archives: Resources

CareerSpots Videos

CareerSpots videos bring you a 24/7 library of career development tools.

A fun, fast way to get Job Search advice and information on over 600 Career/Occupational Fields from over 50 Global Professionals in 30 seconds to 3 minutes!

CHOOSE from the following videos, plus many more, for tips and answers to your toughest questions about landing a job or internship that’s right for you.

  • Starting a job search
  • Resumes and Cover Letters
  • Networking and Your Personal Brand
  • Internships
  • Interviewing – Before/During/After
  • Interview Dress
  • Salary & Negotiation
  • Social Media & Job Search

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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Humans (not robots) digitize newspapers

Here at the library’s Digital Commons team, we are building a digital version of The Gatepost student newspaper collection. (The print version lives in our Archives and Special Collections, as always.)

Doesn’t Google do that?

No. Actually, humans put newspapers on the internet. Sure, we use computers and cameras, and lots of software tools. But overall, the process of digitization is more manual than automatic. It involves a lot of planning and prioritizing as a team.

Human eyeballs, hands, and good judgement are required every step of the way.

Essentially, we are stitching together searchable PDF documents of each issue from hundreds of scanned images, organizing them, adding background information, and finally serving documents up on the internet, such that Google can crawl and index them, and users can find what they want.

We will publish the finished product on our repository website, DigitalCommons@Framingham, so that anyone can search the FSU student newspaper back issues for names and events of the past. We plan to roll out a decade or two of the paper at a time: the Thirties, the Forties, etc. For each volume, we will highlight some notable campus events, personalities, or artwork on the website so that the high points don’t get lost among the dozens of issues.

 

What’s the benefit of digitizing newspapers?

We can never quite anticipate who might find our treasures useful, but we believe that open access to our collections will enrich intellectual and artistic work of the future. It’s vital for us to share the collection to anyone with an internet connection and an interest in the content.  I hope that the digital newspaper archives will be valuable to all sorts of users.

Possible users of the collection:

  • Explorers of the history of journalism, teacher education, and 20th century collegiate life
  • Nostalgia-seekers
  • Current campus group officers who want to read up on the group’s past adventures, successes, and follies
  • Genealogists and descendants of Framingham community members

 

We look forward to sharing our history with you! We will keep you updated with more Gatepost digitization news as it happens.

 

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Filed under Archives/Special Collections, guest blogger, Open Access, Resources, Technology

Shifting into Overdrive: The Library’s New E-book System!

There’s no use denying it. We live in the age of digital information. Smart-phones, iPods, iPads, laptops, and many other devices ensure that we are never disconnected, for better or for worse. Everything is becoming digitized in the name of ease, and now many things that were staples of the home have become quaint novelties of a bygone era. And, unfortunately, books seem to be falling into this same trap.

I’ll admit it. I am riding the e-reader bandwagon. I was fortunate to receive an Amazon Kindle for Christmas, and I have to admit, I’m a believer in the digital age. While I don’t feel that the Kindle can replace the feel of a good book in my hands, the ease surrounding the small device cannot be denied. I read three gigantic books over the summer, each close to one thousands pages long, and my back thanked me when it didn’t have to lug around those behemoths everywhere I went.

Of course, this is a Library’s Blog, not a personal one. How are these e-readers going to affect the libraries? Are they also doomed to vanish from this world? How do they keep up with this new technology?

It’s a problem that has already been written off by some. But, as a lot of people know, libraries are no strangers to technology. Instead of shunning e-books, they have embraced the new medium, and are offering a new method of digital book distribution, thanks to something called Overdrive.

Overdrive is basically a fancy way of saying “Online E-Book Library.” And it works just as the same, with few headaches. You go to a special section of the Minuteman Library Website, where a listing of all the digital books are displayed. You can search through them, or display them in a full list. When you find a book you want, you click it, select the format you want it in, and then download it. It’s really that simple, with only a few tweaks depending on your e-reader of choice. You then have the book on your device (or even your laptop!) and can start reading right away.

But they don’t stop at just e-books. They have a large selection of audiobooks as well, along with the potential for videos as well. These are just as easy to obtain, following the same process described above. Select, download, and enjoy.

Of course, there are limitations. Firstly, the selection, while constantly growing, is still limited. It is likely that a book you want just won’t be available, however the library is happily accepting requests. Secondly, the library can only loan out a certain number of copies of most books. Like the physical thing, if someone has the only copy checked out, you have to wait for it to be returned before you can take it. That, and there’s no way for the book to be renewed. After the loan period passes, you have to check the book out again, which is a minor issue, but one that should be noted.

However, there are a number of books that are “available anytime,” as it states on the website. This is exactly what it sounds like; the books can be checked out by an unlimited number of patrons. Of course, these are likely not “best-sellers,” and instead tend to be classics.

With that said, Overdrive is already a great service and only has potential to grow better with time. It’s somewhat limited now, yes, but what is there is very easy to use and surprisingly robust. Once the selection grows, I think it will become a staple of libraries everywhere. Unfortunately, it’s not quite there yet. But, I know if I see a book on there I want, or need for a class, you can bet I’ll be using Overdrive to check it out!

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E-Readers Now Available!

Did you know that the Whittemore Library not only has e-books available, but they also have three different e-readers available for checkout? Neither did I!

Yes, it’s true! And it’s one of the library’s most interesting secrets. Behind the circulation desk rests these three e-readers, available for checkout to any of the University’s students or affiliates. I recently had a chance to take one of these e-readers for a test drive, and will tell you my thoughts below.

The e-reader, to my surprise, was not of the more well known brands like Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes and Noble’s Nook. Instead, it is a Sony e-reader, but that should not deter you. This one is one of the nicer ones I’ve seen, and also one of the heavier. This gives the e-reader itself a very sturdy quality that feels good in the hands. It doesn’t feel easily breakable, which is good, as library technology tends to take a beating over time.

The e-reader comes with a wall-charger and some directions to help get you started. Finding the power button was a little tricky, but after turning it on, everything was smooth sailing. The menus are clear and easily readable, though the touch screen isn’t quite as responsive to the touch of my finger as I would’ve liked. Thankfully, after a quick glance at the directions, I found a stylus hidden on the side of the device, and using that made the menus much more responsive. I recommend using the stylus at all times, both for the menus and to keep fingerprints off the screen.

There is a small learning curve that comes with every e-reader, and this often catches new readers off guard. When you turn the page, the screen has to refresh itself before the next page can be shown. During this refresh period, the screen quickly turns solid black, before loading the next set of text. This sounds intrusive, but it’s not as bad as it sounds, as the whole process takes less than a second. But it does require some getting used to at first, and can be quite distracting. Having had my own e-reader for close to a year, however, I can say that this doesn’t bother me at all.

Turning pages, however, took me a few tries to figure out. Since the screen itself is a touch screen, I assumed that to turn the page I would tap on the edges of the screen. Not so. You can turn the pages two ways. Either by swiping the stylus across the screen  right or left, or by pressing the buttons on the bottom of the device. I found the buttons to be a more reliable method of page-turning, as the swipe didn’t feel as responsive to me.

The e-reader comes preloaded with sixty-six full texts, all of which are “classics” available in the public domain. A student checking out the device cannot purchase or rent new texts, as that feature has been blocked. The librarian can add new texts to the device, and is always accepting requests. The books are all formatted properly, and read fine.

The e-reader does some have restrictions. It can only be checked out for two weeks, with a high late fee of $10 a day. It also cannot be renewed, and has to be back to the library with all parts in tact in order to be checked out again.

With that said, if you are looking for one specific book, it might be better to just get that book itself rather than e-reader, if nothing else than to avoid the chance of high-late fees. However, if you read books quickly, or are planning a trip, the e-reader would make a worthwhile option. It’s certainly a good device, works well, and offers a good selection of books. Just be careful of the late fees!

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Filed under guest blogger, Resources, Services, Technology, Uncategorized

REFWORKS in Transition – REFWORKS 2.0

REFWORKS will be transitioning to another look and feel – refreshing interface, more drag and drop features. REFWORKS 2.0 will become the format by the end of the year. You can choose to use either the classic REFWORKS or the new REFWORKS 2.0 by selecting a link on the top right hand side after you have signed onto the database.

Because REFWORKS 2.0 is still in the transition phase, the company is developing its training materials. Sometimes the new features do not run as smooth as the classic interface. By the end of the year, the transition wil be complete and the kinks will have been worked out. To learn how to use REFWORKS 2.0, check out these sources:

The REFWORKS Libguide: http://refworks.libguides.com/content.php?pid=189730&sid=1591931

The REFWORKS Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/ProQuestRefWorks#p/c/C1C8A11EB1895C3B

To get you started, view these short videos:

  • 1.2 Adding References to REFWORKS using direct export
  • 1.4 Organizing imported references
  • 1.6 Creating a bibliography instantly

Another video to watch: http://www.youtube.com/user/ProQuestRefWorks#p/c/71114E7B2527DEE7

  • 2.3 Adding references by manual entry 

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Have You Found the IT HelpDesk?

If you haven’t been in the library lately, then you haven’t seen the big changes that have occurred.

And when I say big, I really mean it!

If you go down the stairs (or take the elevator) to the Lower Mezzanine (LM), you will find the new IT Help Desk, just finished construction early in the fall. No longer will you have to trek over to the basement of Hemenway Hall (though it’s still open if you prefer it) to have your laptop fixed; now you can have your troubles solved right in the library.

When you first come down the stairs, you will see the two newly built study rooms. They are fairly good sized, with comfortable chairs and a big table in the center. Inside each are two large flat-screen TVs, that can be hooked up to a laptop for group discussions. These TVs sound good, but unfortunately I feel that they have more use for slacking than studying. I have, however, seen a few groups in the room using them for presentations, so hopefully my fears are unfounded. While the rooms cannot be signed out yet, in the future that will become an option for groups who want to schedule study parties.

To your left from the study rooms is the IT desk itself. It’s brand new, and offers much more in the ways of both student comfort and ease of use. Instead of sitting behind a table in Hemenway, the IT workers sit behind a large desk with computer monitors that face the student, not the worker. These monitors can  be hooked up to the laptop the worker is fixing, so the student can see what is going on, or for demonstration purposes. No longer do you have to sit awkwardly while the worker clicks around on your laptop!

There are a number of comfortable chairs spread around the desk itself along with desks for study, and a few more TVs scattered around the area. It gives the place a feeling of comfort and relaxation, rather than just a spot to get your computer fixed. The desk itself is also far more welcoming than the room in Hemenway, with warm paneling and a clean exterior. It makes the desk a place that you actually want to visit, rather than a place to avoid.

The IT Desk has also made my life as a Circulation Desk Attendant (which is a fancy way of saying I check out books) much easier. Now, whenever a student has a laptop problem, often with printing, I can point them toward the desk. Not only that, but whenever a printer goes down in the library, someone from the IT Desk is always available to fix it. This means more working printers and less problems, which is always a good thing when you’re a college student.

With the addition of the IT Help Desk, the library is becoming far more of a one-stop-shop rather than just a holder of books. You can get some coffee, find a book to read, and get your laptop fixed without having to brave the great outdoors.

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Using Twitter at CELTSS Faculty and Staff Event

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