Thursday, January 25, 2007

Internet search engine for Boomers

From Librarian's Internet Index:

"This search engine, fully launched in January 2007, bills itself as "the first age-relevant search engine," and is designed for those over 50. Only four results are displayed at a time, and users may rank sites (free registration required). From a company dedicated to creating media products aimed at the baby-boom generation born from 1946 through 1964."

Monday, January 22, 2007

Best Free Reference Web Sites

This is the Combined Index, 1999-2006
RUSA Machine-Assisted Reference Section (MARS)
See anything here we should add to our links?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Follow up on iPods / MP3 players

I had a talk with Jeff today about MP3 players, and he clarified some things. Basically, they probably won't work at all on our computers.

First off, when you plug the thing into the computer, it needs to have a driver installed for the computer to recognize it. Like any other outide software, drivers cannot be installed and run on our computers.

Even if a particular MP3 player did get recognized by our computers because the required driver was already part of Windows, there would be the problem of getting the songs on the MP3 player. There is very little music available for free download -- most of the free music is "streaming," which means you can listen to it instantaneously, but you can't capture it as a file and save the file. Various websites sell MP3 downloads, either by the song or by monthly subscription, but many of them require you to download, install, and run software to use their service. Again, we can't install and run outside software.

Jeff said he supposed we could add the necessary software to our computers, but there are so many different players requiring so many different devices, and so many different subscription services requiring so many different programs, that he wouldn't know which ones to install. If we pick the most popular five, the guy who uses the sixth will be left out. And, of course, we would have to learn to use, troubleshoot, and help patrons with all this stuff. We can track the requests we get from people, and Jeff can do it if there really is a lot of demand, but I suspect that people are finding other places to do this and they don't need to do it at the library.

So the short answer is, because of the drivers and music management software required to make MP3 players work, they probably won't work on our computers. As always, people are welcome to bring their device in and try it, but we can't guarantee it will work.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Site where people can get W-2s online

A patron came to the desk insisting that there's a website where anyone can get their W-2s. I tried to tell her that some employers have put their W-2s online, but she insisted that there's a website where you can get your W-2s no matter who your employer is. I suggested she ask her employer what site they use.

After searching for ten minutes, I found the site she was probably talking about. offers W-2s from various employers, including Wal Mart, Home Depot, Office Depot, Kmart, and others. (I'm sure this is what gave her the impression that you can get any W-2, no matter who your employer is.) So if someone is looking for that site where they can get their W-2s, it might just be this one.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Black Belt Librarians

I finally got a chance to type up these notes from the Black Belt Librarians presentation at Burton Barr. Apparently the speaker's presentation was almost verbatim what he wrote in his book, so for more details, check out the book (we have copies at all 4 branches).

Notes are posted at this page on the wiki. (Requires a wiki login -- whaddaya mean you're forgotten your login?)

Friday, January 05, 2007

New wireless instructions

Check out the updated wireless instructions page on the Wiki (requires login). We have copies of all these things printed out: the public flyer is the half-sheet that we hand to people, the troubleshooting checklist is in the Care and Feeding manual, and the DT instructions are taped to the D-Link computer, but we can readily find them again on the wiki.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Public Computer Info -- please comment!

Deidre and I are thinking of ways to communicate answers to those frequently-asked public computer questions to patrons, and also which questions to answer. Please let us know what kind of questions you get frequently. You can comment on this post to add your suggestions.

So far we have:

1) Can I bring in a program on a CD and use it at the library?

2) Can I look at pictures on a CD?

3) Can I add songs to my iPod/MP3 player?

4) Can I save/burn to a CD or DVD?

5) Can I use a flash drive/thumb drive/USB drive?

6) Can I open a document that was created in Works/WordPerfect?