Friday, June 08, 2007

Links from "Top Free Reference Resources Online" DataBytes sessions

DataBytes is a monthly series that occurs the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of most months at 1 pm in the Tech Center on the 2nd floor (exceptions are that we do not do a session in July and some months we only have one session due to holidays). DataBytes is a 45-50 minute tour of a library subscription database or covers other databases and sites found online that are useful for research and everyday life. Each session is taught by a reference librarian and includes time for Q&A at the end.

Our topic in May was
Top Free Reference Resources Online. Here is the introduction from class:
Each year since 1999 the Reference And User Services Association (RUSA) of the American Library Association publishes a list of the Best Free Reference Websites via the MARS (Machine-Assisted Reference Section) committee. This list is a treasure trove of what is good reliable reference sources and freely available on the web.

Essentially, in this session of DataBytes we will be examining this list and I will be highlighting a dozen or so of these sites and. This list of reference sites by RUSA/MARS is a great place to find databases for all types of reference needs, and includes everything from comics to food to government statistics and more.

I will also include a few that are not on the list -- these are sites that I have found via serendipity, reviews and also by using the Librarians' Internet Index ( ). I consider the Librarians' Internet Index to be a great reference tool in and of itself due to the fact that they catalog a lot of databases and only sites that have been reviewed by librarians are included.

So, without further ado, here is the list of what we ended up exploring at each session:

Sites Demonstrated:

Librarians' Internet Index

Population Reference Bureau

Acronym Finder: The Acronym and Abbreviation Dictionary

Internet Movie Database

The Big Cartoon Database

National Atlas

Charity Navigator

All-Music Guide

Lyric Wiki

Get Human

Hoaxbusters vs. Snopes

Polling Report Online

Plants Database

If you are interested in reading more about this session, US1 Newspaper did an interview with me called Scouring the Net for Free in which these sites are discussed (and you can also discover informative facts, such as the real truth behind my path to librarianship).

Friday, June 01, 2007

June 5th Tech Talk on Screencasting

Our next Tech Talk will be all about Screencasting and feature Steve Garwood -- a dynamic presenter who gave this presentation recently to rave reviews at the NJLA Annual Conference. Here is the official blurb:

Just Press Play
Screencasting is being used increasingly to do computer-based training, online education delivery (PowerPoint with voice narration), software demonstration, and even video podcasting. Steve Garwood, a faculty member of the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies at Rutgers University, will demonstrate a variety of popular screencasting tools. With screencasting software, a company can easily demonstrate a software program, a trainer can show trainees how to execute a task and libraries can demonstrate common tasks with their catalogs (renewing materials, creating holds, etc.). Screencasts can be delivered online as part of a website, setup as a video podcast, or burned to a CD.

The talk will begin at 7 p.m. and be held in the library's first floor community room.