Friday, March 19, 2010

Google Gadgets for iGoogle

'Adding Google Gadgets to Your OPAC by John Wohlers.' The title really should have been about creating Google gadgets that bring your OPAC, Federated Search and other resources to iGoogle. It was a tech and jargon heavy session that could be very useful. Check out his webpages at:
The Library:
The Google Gadgets he has made:
His techy blog:
His presentation is available for download from the AKLA wiki at:

Program Abstract: John Wohlers will demonstrate how libraries can create Google Gadgets that make it possible to integrate the library catalog into patrons’ iGoogle pages. He will demonstrate other gadget possibilities, including the real time display of a patron’s account via SIP2.

Sabbaticals Near and Far

'Sabbaticals Near and Far: What You Need to Know by Daria Carle, Judy Green, Kate Gordon, and Diane Ruess' was about sabbaticals that have been taken by three of the UAA librarians. I now know a lot more about Fulbright monies. The sabbaticals they did were all fascinating. They provided a list of books and links that would be interesting to have for my own library. Check out their LibGuide for more sabbatical resources:

Program Abstract: Sabbaticals are fairly common in academia, but more recently, job exchanges and work abroad opportunities have opened up for librarians of all types. Public and private entities benefit when employees take a break from their regular jobs. Join us in a panel discussion with several members of the University of Alaska faculty who have recently been awarded sabbaticals or Fulbrights. The panelists will discuss how they came up with their ideas, and how they went about translating their ideas into sabbatical projects. Hear about their experiences, including where they went and why, and what they accomplished. Find out about the process of applying for leave, and learn some tips to help you think outside of the box to create a sabbatical project.

Games and Instruction by Jenny Levine

I attended the session on Games and Instruction by Jenny Levine. Her presentation is fully online (complete with links) at

I had thought it would be about incorporating game ideas into library workshop sessions. NOPE. It was about games and how they teach and what games to bring into the library, and how students think now and... It was still useful and interesting.

I also now have a list of games I might want to buy to play with friends and family.

Program Abstract: Using Gaming for Instructional Purposes
Modern games teach kids important 21st century skills such as managing resources, problem solving, analyzing data, and synthesizing information. Is it possible to harness gaming principles to make instruction more interactive and engaging for today’s students? Hear how some libraries are incorporating gaming to teach a variety of social, literary, and curricular skills.

Games that include reflection and strategy

Cool looking games: Flux, Bananagrams, 10 days in Asia, Qwerty warriors.

Someone has mapped HALO to information literacy standards

Look for "research quest" blog

Board games: Quiddler, ticket to ride, numbers league, carcassone

"Libraries Got Game"

University of North Carolina Greensboro: Infolit game that is open source and customizable for your library

"Quarantined" by ASU West Campus

"Head Hunt" by Ohio State

Here are a few notes I took... Just in case

Carnegie Melon: Arcade games i.e. shelve book and I'll get it

Game Maker Academy and Scratch from MIT

"Librarians guide to gaming"

Trading cards nintendo wii characters of staff and students had to get them all to get a cookie, and they did

Geocaching in the library that freshmen can register to play when the register for classes

Fantasy football research lesson plans

Old Bridge Library services for seniors - nintendo wii's with teen mentors

Breakfast Keynote: The Mind of the Researcher (Daniel Russell from Google)

Notes from the Breakfast session:

Daniel Russell from Google. First this guy was fascinating and there was so much info in the talk that I was unable to capture everything. Here are some of my highlights:

TED: Ideas Worth Spreading a website of riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.

Baby Name Wizard/Voyager -

Google SketchUp -

Google "What's That" feature for phones and searching Google - Technology-Driven Philanthropy

Google Trends -

Maybe subscribe to the blogs: google, searchengineland, searchresearch

You cannot pay attention to everything

Look up the study of rats developing religious postures

Good Searchers ...
1. Choose good search terms
2. Understand info sources
3. Domain (subject) knowledge
4. Search strategy (when to change, to narrow, to widen and how)
5. Assessment of the results and the information
6. Know how system works (search site, database)

Basic skills lots of people don't know about
control F
Using tabs to organize results
Keyword choice /synonimization
Tactics for searching

How to detect authority / crap
Hemingway's crap detector quote
Staying on task
Data integration
Representing of info

Librarians need to:
Show the info landscape
Teach how to paddle the canoe and dodge the bears
Research is more than 'search'

Google Scholar is 4 guys and one is only part time. They do not have a "catalog" because it changes all the time with publisher putting things in and pulling things out.

Program Abstract: Breakfast Keynote: The Mind of the Researcher
Research is complicated and has changed significantly over the past century. Search engines have significantly changed our conception of what constitutes research, and yet how common is research literacy? Russell will argue that research is a fundamental skill that we need to understand, and he’ll talk about some of the findings gathered through his research at Google. The range of research skills is broad, and yet not widely distributed. Russell will discuss what we can do to help disseminate these basic and increasingly important skills.

Children’s Voices, 1925-1965: Portraits from the Jesse Lee Home, Seward

The first session I was able to attend was on the Jesse Lee Home in Seward. A local historian (Jackie Pels) was telling stories from her book (Family After All: Alaska's Jesse Lee Home). She collected oral narratives, slides, pictures, documents, and stories to tell the tales of the children and adults who populated the orphanage. It was fascinating, touching, and a great session. Now I need to go buy her books...

Program abstract: Children’s Voices, 1925-1965: Portraits from the Jesse Lee Home, Seward "The story of Alaska’s boarding schools and orphanages is only beginning to be told,” Alaska bibliographer Bruce Merrell wrote in 2008. In this presentation from Family After All: Alaska’s Jesse Lee Home, the stories are firsthand, accompanied by photographs that First Alaskans called amazing, a rich visual context. The Qutekcak Native Tribe of Seward called the collection a
testament to the survival and persistence of today’s Alaska Native elders. Pels will talk about the project and the book."


First, I gotta say this was an AMAZING conference. If you don't like what's going on at the national level this is the conference to attend. The topics were interesting, varied, and on trend. They had assembled a fascinating array of presentations/workshops/meetings/functions. Just take a look at their program!

I presented findings from my sabbatical in three separate sessions:

Preconference: Academic Librarians Mini Retreat: Who’s Doing What? What’s Working and What’s Not? (full day session)
Presented and moderated by Jenny Semenza: While on sabbatical in the western states (including Alaska,) in her quest to find the innovative, the informative and the interesting; she met with librarians at 26 different academic institutions. Listen to her findings and then join your colleagues to share ideas and discuss current issues of importance to academic libraries and librarians. Topics to be covered include: signage, automated storage, buildings & space usage, information literacy, distance services and some of the biggest challenges academic libraries are facing.
Public Services Western Style: Ideas to Steal (1 hr session)
Jenny Semenza visited libraries in the western states from Arizona and New Mexico north to Alaska in her quest for the innovative, the informative and the interesting. Come find out what she discovered to be the best, most valuable, and innovative. While the purpose of her sabbatical was focused on Public Services (instruction, reference, and distance services), she garnered many insights into space planning, development/funding, collection development and more. Although she is an academic librarian, her research took place in both academic and public libraries.
How Do We Measure Up? Notes from a Wandering Librarian (1 hr session)
During Jenny Semenza’s sabbatical she met with reference, instruction, and distance service librarians at 26 different academic institutions. Come find out how we differ, how we’re the same and the shocking statistical reality of those 30 minute+ reference questions. Additionally, ideas for improvement or enhancement in all areas of public services will be shared.
The librarians were interactive, interested and interesting, kind, friendly and they made it a pleasure to be there.