If you’re always on the lookout for your next great read, there are some websites you should know about:
NoveList The library subscribes to NoveList, which gives you access to high-quality book reviews and recommendations. Just type in a book that you enjoyed and NoveList offers hand-picked recommendations for other books that are just like it. I am addicted to this site! Note that you need to log in with your library card number to access NoveList — it’s so worth it.
Have You Heard About…? This is the library’s own reading recommendation blog. The librarians you know and love give unbiased reviews of books we’ve recently read. The great thing about this blog is the range of genres covered – we read everything from romances to horror and engrossing true stories.
Fantastic Fiction This is the site I use to get information about a book series or to find upcoming book releases. Instead of providing a typical bibliography in chronological order, this site organizes books in series order. So useful! Popular authors also have their own reading recommendations at the bottom of their page.
Goodreads Goodreads uses lists of books you’ve read to make reading recommendations for you. Create an account and start entering titles you’ve enjoyed – the more books you put in, the better your recommendations will be. Goodreads uses crowd-sourced information so it’s not the same as getting a personalized reading recommendation, but it’s fun! You can also find your friends on Goodreads and share recommendations.
The library has a large collection of books, eBooks, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, puzzles and language kits. How can you find exactly what you’re looking for? By mastering the Advanced Search feature and subject headings in the online catalog.
Let’s try to find a guidebook for visiting Washington, D.C. A novice catalog user might perform a keyword search for the word “Washington”. Let’s see what happens:
Over 1500 results, and the first page is full of results that don’t fit your needs. Yikes! Let’s target our search by using the Advanced search function.
Find the drop-down menu in the upper right and click the Advanced option.
Now we can tell the catalog exactly what we want. In addition to searching for multiple terms (in this case, Washington DC and travel) we can tell the catalog that we want to search the Adult Collection for books written in English.
Now the very first result is a travel guide for visitors to Washington, DC. Finding one book that fits your needs is the key to finding everything in the library’s collection on the same subject. To find more travel guides, click the book’s title to access the subject headings.
Click the book’s subject heading to open a new list of results, all of which share the same subject.
Congratulations! You just used the library catalog to get librarian-quality results. If you’re interested in learning more about searching the catalog like the pros, book a private consultation with a librarian here.
Have you ever tried to explain navigating a website, or telling the IT guy at work exactly what that elusive error message looked like? Screenshots are a useful way of sharing images you see on your computer monitor with another person.
To capture a screenshot on a Windows computer, look for the Print Screen key on your keyboard (usually above the number keypad on the right). On a Mac, use Command + Shift + 3. Once you capture your screenshot, open a graphic editor like Paint and paste it (Ctrl + V). Now you can treat the screenshot just like any image – crop it, save it, draw over it, or use it in a presentation.
You can see screenshots in action in this step-by-step guide to downloading free Kindle eBooks from the library. Enjoy!
You just made the perfect PowerPoint presentation. It’s eye-catching, witty, informative and now you want to share it with the world. How? Slideshare.
Slideshare is a free website that allows users to upload and share PowerPoint presentations. You can view presentations on Slideshare, embed them on your own website, or share them on social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest.Is Slideshare right for you? If you’re interested in:
- Sharing information with clients,
- Writing how-to instructions, or
- Presenting a collection of artwork
and you want it done quickly, Slideshare may be a good fit. You can see Slideshare in action on the library’s website by following this link.
If you haven’t used a Microsoft Word template, you’re doing a lot of unnecessary work. To access templates in Office 2010, open Word and click the File tab on the far left. From there, you can choose templates for everything from business letters and resumes to birthday party invitations.
I chose to download a business letter because I can never remember how to arrange that type of letter. Does your address go first, or does the recipient’s? Where does the date belong? I don’t have to sweat it if using a template. Try one for the next document you have to type and see how much time it saves.
Today’s post is for those of you who use Outlook at work. When used appropriately, Outlook can be a powerful productivity tool. In fact, if you’re not using the Calendar feature to manage your schedule, you’re missing out on a great function that allows you to organize your schedule and coordinate with colleagues. Today we’re going to learn how to set up a meeting with a colleague – without shooting ten emails back and forth that all begin “I’m busy that hour. How about… instead?”
Open Outlook and navigate to the Calendar tab. Click Actions, then Plan a Meeting…
You’ll see this dialog box:
Just type in the name of the person with whom you’d like to meet and Outlook will display both of your schedules. You can tell Outlook to AutoPick the next time you’re both available, or scroll through your schedules to pick a time that works for both of you. Click the Make Meeting button to send an appointment request.
Note that the Plan a Meeting function doesn’t allow your co-workers to view the items on your calendar; it just allows them to see when you’re free and when you have a previous engagement.
To conclude our Using Google Like a Pro series, I want to share some Google “Easter eggs”. These are fun little secrets that Google employees hide in various services. Here are some of my favorites:
Walking directions from The Shire to Mordor
Navigate to maps.google.com. Click Get directions. Enter The Shire as your starting point and Mordor as your destination, then click the icon for walking directions. Nerds rejoice!
Have you ever played Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? I’m not very good at that game, but Google is! Just type an actor’s name and the phrase bacon number and Google makes the Kevin Bacon connection for you.
Google Translate is great for getting quick translations, but did you know you can make it beatbox? Just copy and paste this text into Google Translate, tell it to translate into German, and click Listen:
pv zk pv pv zk pv zk kz zk pv pv pv zk pv zk zk pzk pzk pvzkpkzvpvzk kkkkkk bsch
And now, I congratulate you! If you’ve read the six-part Using Google Like a Pro series, you’re now a better Googler than all your friends!
Are you a political junkie? Diehard Cubs fan? Supporter of a local museum or (ahem) library? If so, you may be interested in hearing all the news about your favorite group and the best way to do that is to set up a Google alert.
When you set up a Google alert, Google will email you when it indexes a webpage that contains your selected phrase. You can choose how often to receive emails, and whether you get every result or the most popular ones. Let’s set up an alert for the library.
Start by navigating to google.com/alerts. Type in your search query (it’s best to type the exact phrase in quotation marks to avoid unrelated results). Choose your preferences from the drop-down menus and type in your email address. When you’re ready, just click CREATE ALERT. You’re done!
You’ve used Google Images a thousand times. Type a phrase, click Images, and Google searches the internet for images that match your description. But what if you have the image and need the description? I saw an art print at a friend’s house that I really liked, but she couldn’t remember the artist’s name. I snapped a picture of it and decided to do some investigating.
I started with a regular image search. To conduct an image search, I described the image in my own words (nautical poem with anchor black and white) and scrolled through the results:
Uh, not exactly what I was looking for. Instead of telling Google about my picture, I decided to show it. For this technique to work, you’ll need to save your image to your computer.
Navigate to images.google.com and click the camera icon in the right-hand side of the search box to upload your image. Alternatively, drag and drop your saved image into the search box, like this:
Google will search the internet for images that are visually similar to yours and give you its best guess of the image’s origin:
Thanks, Google! Now I can contact the artist to purchase my own print.
Conversions, calculations, math problems… if you’re not a fan of math, you can use Google to perform basic calculations. Here are some of my favorites:
Converting Celsius to Fahrenheit:
How about cooking conversions?
The jeans you want are $69 and there’s a 35% off sign next to the rack. Is it a good deal?
You’re admiring a painting that a friend brought back from India when she casually mentions that she paid 10,000 rupees for it. What?! How much is that in American money?