How Search Works


As a trainer I like sites like this new one from Google that show you how stuff works. How Search Works goes in to a lot of detail about how search engines work. I thought it might be a useful resource for those of you who teach web searching workshops in your libraries – or just a cool site to check out if you’re the curious type!

On the site you can check out an animated explanation of search, as well as take a closer look at Google’s major search algorithms and features. A live slideshow gives you a glimpse at how Google removes spam, and complementing graphs show the spam problem and how Google is fighting it.

Search enthusiasts can also read an included 43-page document on how Google evaluates its search results.

Learn more about How Search Works at Mashable.

Open Source Options for Education


OSS Watch has published a list of open source options for education that I think might be helpful to many of you.

This document presents options for open source software for use in the education sector. Some of these may have uses outside of education, but they are presented here in the context of their specific benefits to educational establishments, or their use in the course of teaching and learning.

The list includes proprietary software that the open source is an alternative to. Check out the entire list and learn about new open source applications that might be of use at your library.

Free Koha Intro Webinars


Join me for one of these free Koha introductory webinars!!

Learn more about Koha on ByWater’s What is Koha? page.

Free Intro to Koha 3.10 Webinars


It seems like just yesterday we were offering Koha 3.8 demos, but last week Koha 3.10 was released and so it’s time to start showing you what’s new! Join us for one of the following free Koha 3.10 demo webinars. We’ll cover what Koha can do for your library with a focus on the newest features in this great release:

Personalize your Professional Development

Image from Edudemic

There is a great post over at Edudemic that lists 4 tools for personalizing your professional development. They are:

  1. Join Twitter
  2. Webinars
  3. Edcamps
  4. In house

I think it’s a great list and I’d edit it just a bit.

I’d change ‘Join Twitter’ to ‘Join social networks (and keep them organized)’. What do I mean by that? Well, being on every social network is not going to help you – but creating groups, lists, and/or circles to organize your professional contacts will help you weed out the games and family drama from the useful resources and links your colleagues share online.

Image from Edudemic

I really have nothing to add to ‘Webinars’, they’re a great way to get affordable education right from your desk or home. I offer them all the time and really should take more of them :) I guess I could add that you can look for archived webinars or lectures or talks from conferences (like TED Talks) and watch those if you can’t make a scheduled webinar.

And since most of my audience here are librarians and I’m a librarian I’d change ‘Edcamps’ to ‘Libcamps’ :) But really you can find any type of unconference in your area or just join an informal group that gets together once in a while to talk about a topic you’d like to learn more about. My husband started one of these in our house! He gets together with a group of game developers, editors, and writers in the area and they all talk about the field and share their experiences with each other.

Which is a great segway in to ‘In-House’! I totally agree on this point – we need to talk more amongst ourselves in our institutions and share our knowledge with each other. No one person can know everything there is to know about the job they’re doing, but they work with people who can help them – use those people!

Whatever method you choose – you have to keep learning! It’s an ever changing profession (and an ever changing world) and if you don’t keep up with what’s going on around you you’re going find yourself feeling overwhelmed when change comes to your institution.

Power Searching with Google


I have to admit I haven’t gone through this course yet, but I thought I should let you all know about it so that you can learn how to become a Google Power Searcher. These videos are from a course offered by Google on how to use their search engine.

Google Search makes it amazingly easy to find information. Come learn about the powerful advanced tools we provide to help you find just the right information when the stakes are high.

The other day I was with my mother and she wanted to know what the winning lottery numbers were. I asked her why she didn’t look online and she told me that she couldn’t find them when she looked. She was looking for NJ Lottery, but I asked her to read me the top of the ticket. She had a Mega Millions lottery ticket and she wanted the winning numbers so I asked her why didn’t you just search (without the quotes) for ‘mega millions winning numbers’? She shrugged, it just hadn’t occured to her. Maybe you have people in your life who might benefit from these lessons – or maybe you just want to brush up on your own search skills!

Learn more at Power Searching with Google.

Dewey Training Courses from OCLC

Dewey Call Numbers

I found this via Catalogablog:

We have completed development of an online set of training modules (available at no charge) for the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC). The modules are based on DDC 23, and each consists of a slide presentation and a set of exercises. Several of the modules treat general principles governing the operation of the DDC; others treat the structure and use of specific tables and main classes. The presentations and exercises assume the availability of the latest version of the DDC database (i.e., WebDewey), and a professor, trainer, and/or experienced Dewey user for offering explanations and fielding questions.

The availability of many of the modules has been announced previously. What’s new now is that (1) the set of modules covers all of the DDC schedules and tables (modules for the 500s and 600s are newly provided), and (2) all modules have been updated to match DDC 23.

Open Education Spreading


I’ve been bookmarking open education resources for years now, but it always surprises me the number of big name universities that are offering open content so that we can all learn from home for free if we want!

A recent article on talks about this more:

The proliferation of so-called massive open online courses, or MOOCs, has the potential to transform higher education at a time when colleges and universities are grappling with shrinking budgets, rising costs and protests over soaring tuition and student debt.

Supporters say these online courses can lower teaching costs, improve learning online and on campus, and significantly expand access to higher education, which could fuel technological innovation and economic growth.

Changing Landscape of Education

Photo from Edudemic

A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project tackles the issue of web-based learning.

Pew and Elon University said that 60 percent of internet experts, researchers, observers and users polled said they agreed that by 2020, “there will be mass adoption of teleconferencing and distance learning to leverage expert resources … a transition to ‘hybrid’ classes that combine online learning components with less-frequent on-campus, in-person class meetings.” By comparison, 39 percent endorsed the contrary position that “in 2020 higher education will not be much different from the way it is today.”

As an educator and a learner I always prefer learning in person. The one on one attention and the ability to see the person teaching me (and if I’m teaching, seeing the people I’m teaching) is essential to my learning style. That said, it’s not always possible to take classes in person.

I went to library school 100% remotely because I was working full time while getting the degree – having that option made it so that I was able to finish library school in one year instead of 5. So I agree that more schools need to offer remote options, but I’d hate to see a world where all learning was done online and we didn’t go to classes anymore.

More via GigaOM.

Learn anything from anyone


Somehow I missed this awesome looking site when it popped up over a year ago, but it’s never to late to share what I’ve learned.

Skillshare is a collaborative learning site. You sign up and choose your areas of interest. After that you can find classes being taught in your area and if you want you can even teach your own classes! From the about page:

Skillshare is a community marketplace to learn anything from anyone. We believe that everyone has something they want to learn and something they can teach to others. This means our communities are really the greatest universities. Our platform helps make the exchange of knowledge easy, enriching, and fun.

Topics include everything from cooking to technology to interior design. I think this is going to be a great place for me to find workshops in my area on topics I wouldn’t normally learn about in library continuing education. I haven’t signed up to teach (or learn) anything yet, but I’m going to be exploring this site more thoroughly over the next couple of months.