360 Degree Photos in an Android Phone Camera

20 06 2014

I’ve been playing around with the Google Camera app that lets you take immersive, Google Street View-like pictures (Google calls them photo spheres). You make a photo sphere by taking pictures all around you and then letting the app stitch the images together. Sometimes the stitching is pretty good, sometimes there are a lot of weird artifacts. Here are some photo sphere pictures of our library and my office that I took yesterday and today. If you download the pictures, they don’t have that interactive immersive effect that you see when you view them on your phone in the app or when you view them in Google+.

Here’s an video showing you how to take pictures in the photo sphere mode of the Google Camera app:

As you can see from the video, you can upload these to Google Maps so that when someone is viewing a place on the map, they’ll be able to check out any photo spheres that are affiliated with that place (more details here).

I haven’t found a way yet to embed a photo sphere in your own site; it seems like you have to click over to a Google website that hosts the image to get the interactive and immersive experience. If there is a way to embed the images, they’d be fun to add to the library website.

 





Tech Sharecase, 18 April 2014

25 04 2014

Half a dozen folks showed up to talk about screencapture software, the theme of the day. Here are the tools we focused on:

Maxthon Browser

  • Ryan demo’d the “Snap” function in Maxthon that lets you take screenshots and then annotate them
  • Nice features: free; lots of annotation options; color picker; gives you dimensions of screenshot as you draw rectangle around area you want to capture; can be shared across your Maxthon account if you have the browser set up on other devices (other computers, phones, tablets, etc.)

SnagIt

  • Stephen showed how SnagIt works for capturing screenshots and for uploading them, if desired, to a free account at screencast.com. Although it isn’t free, there is education pricing available that brings to the cost down from the retail.
  • Nice features: easy uploading of annotated screenshots to screencast.com; captures video as well; extensive annotation options

Greenshot

  • Frank spoke about his use of Greenshot, a free and open source tool for capturing screenshots
  • Nice features: open source! free; lots of annotation options

Windows Snipping Tool

  • Stephen mentioned that all Windows machines running Windows 7 or 8 come with a free screencapture tool from Microsoft. You can find it on your office computers  (go to the Start menu and in the search box, begin typing “snipping” until the program icon appears)
  • Nice features: already installed on all library PCs

Microsoft Office’s “screenshot” command

  • Jessica said that she’s found the “insert a screenshot” command in Word to be really useful. Ryan mentioned that he uses that command in PowerPoint. As it turns out, it is also available in Outlook when you are composing email messages and in Excel, too.
  • Nice features: once you take the screenshot, you have all the drawing and annotation tools built into Microsoft Windows at your fingertips for editing and marking up the screenshot

Uses for Screenshots

  • handouts
  • documentation
  • blog posts
  • tutorials and how-to’s (especially in LibGuides)
  • to embellish support tickets you submit
  • for students you are helping in reference interactions (especially in chat and email)

Best Practices for Screenshots

  • create a system for archiving screenshots on your computer, as it is likely you’ll want to re-use them
  • find a way to host them on the web in a way that allows them to be shared via a unique URL (if you’re not using SnagIt, which comes with online hosting of your images, consider setting up an account at imgur or flickr)

To Do Lists and Notetaking Systems

We started talking about software and websites for managing to-do lists and then about ways to keep notes about literature you’re reading. Here are the things that came up in that conversation:

Workflowy

  • Free website and app for to-do lists (recommended by Jessica)

Evernote

OneNote

  • Free software and from Microsoft that rivals Evernote in many respects (recommended by??? if you recall, add a note in the comments to this post)

Zim

  • Free desktop wiki software (recommended by Frank)

Ideas for Future Tech Sharecase Meetings

  • Citation management software (Zotero, Mendeley, etc.) and storing notes on what you’ve been reading
  • Managing to-do lists
  • Alt-metrics

 

 

 





Great Intro to What a Repository Is

25 03 2014

On the Open Access @ CUNY blog, Jill Cirasella has posted a nice entry all about repositories: disciplinary repositories (like arXiv for phyics), institutional repositories (that are tied to a university or college), and commercial repositories (like Academia.edu).

I was especially intrigued by the news that the CUNY Grad Center is about to launch its own institutional repository and that soon(ish) we’ll be seeing a CUNY-wide repository!





The Future of Newspapers…in 1981

18 03 2014

The Mental Floss blog unearthed a great news clip from 1981 showing a new experiment that let internet users download the daily newspaper to their home computers:

 





Good Video Explaining Net Neutrality

14 03 2014

If you’re looking for good explanation of net neutrality to share with your students, this recent one from Mashable might do the trick.





Tech Sharecase, 7 March 2014

7 03 2014

LaTex

Frank Donnelly gave a great presentation about LaTeX, which he uses especially for documentation (manuals, handouts, etc.) that he wants to have print copies of. He also spoke about using it to compose a journal article he recently submitted (the file sent to the journal editors was converted to PDF). Frank shared with me the links to the resources he mentioned:

TeX Live – Source for downloading the LaTeX system, includes the basic Texworks editor:
https://www.tug.org/texlive/

Getting to Grips with LaTeX – great tutorial:
http://www.andy-roberts.net/writing/latex

LaTeX Wikibook – another great tutorial and reference guide:
https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX/

LaTeX Cheat Sheet – indispensible:
http://www.stdout.org/~winston/latex/

TeX StackExchange – forum for posting questions and getting help:
http://tex.stackexchange.com/questions

LaTeX beginner’s guide by Stefan Kottwitz – CUNY e-book (ebrary):
http://apps.appl.cuny.edu:83/F/?func=item-global&doc_library=CUN01&doc_number=007244641&year=&volume=&sub_library=AL001

Anonymity on the Web

Thanks to Frank, we also had a spontaneous discussion of tools for maintaining anonymity online. We looked at the Ghostery browser extension that lets you block third-party cookies. We also learned about DuckDuckGo search engine that doesn’t log your personal info as you search. For an explanation of why you might not want to be tracked as you search, we looked at this nice explanation from DuckDuckGo that is probably worth sharing with our students.

Upcoming Meetings of the Tech Sharecase

We talked about a couple of ideas for future get togethers:

Next meetings are scheduled for:

  • April 4
  • May 2
  • June 6




Tech Sharecase, 7 February 2014

7 02 2014

We had 8 attendees at today’s meeting.

Microsoft Academic Search vs. Google Scholar

Louise Klusek lead a discussion of the ins and out of these two services, how they stacked up against each other, and how they compared to Bearcat Search and Web of Science. Before today’s meeting, we had taken a look at this article from Science:

Bohannon, John. “Google Scholar Wins Raves—But Can It Be Trusted?.”Science 343.6166 (2014): 14-14. full text available

Here’s a summary of sorts of what we talked about (please add any comments to this post if I forgot something important).

Microsoft Academic Search

Pros:

  • Visualization of publication histories, author networks, citation networks
  • Keywords that are given their own pages in the service where you get definitions, display of related keywords, publication history for that word, and more (check out this example for “information need”)
  • Citation metrics for articles (for example, see this record for an article by Brenda Dervin and Patricia Dewdney)
  • Links to PDFs and publisher’s record (the PDF links will only work if you are on campus or you are off campus and have authenticated yourself by using a library resource earlier AND we happen to have access to that publication)
  • Browse top authors, journals, keywords, and organizations (i.e., institutional affiliations of authors) for any discipline (e.g., library science)
  • Nice author profile pages (e.g., Brenda Dervin)

Cons

  • Theoretically more transparent than Google Scholar about what is indexed, but we had still had lots of questions
  • No connection to our SFX /Find It service that allows off campus users to gain access to content we have licenses for (Google Scholar has this in the form of “Find Full Text at Baruch” links next to items on the search results pages)
  • Limited subject metadata

Google Scholar

Pros

  • Familiarity
  • Ease of use
  • Interdisciplinarity (this is true of Microsoft Academic Search, Bearcat Search, and, to a lesser extent, Web of Science)
  • Items in search results page feature “Find Full Text at Baruch” links that connect to our SFX service
  • Article-level metrics

Cons

  • “Find Full Text at Baruch” links only work if you connect to Google Scholar from our databases page, or if you are on campus, or if you have first authenticated by connecting some other library resource earlier in your browsing session
  • Students have a hard time figuring out the type of source from the search results page (is it a book, a book chapter, an article, something else?)
  • Lack of subject metadata
  • Author profile pages aren’t automatically created (e.g., none for Brenda Dervin)

We talked also about the problem of article-level and journal-level metrics in these products, noting that the numbers rarely agree. Although we didn’t look at an example during the meeting, consider this difference in the way that Brenda Dervin/Patricia Dewdney article is counted:

Louise shared this Northwestern University Libraries guide to citation analysis in case anyone wants to delve into the topic more deeply.

On the topic of bibliometrics, we talked a bit about the popularity here at Baruch of SSRN, which provides data at the author level and the article level.

Excel

There was a lot of interest in having another Tech Sharecase in which we answered each other’s questions about how to do things in Excel. If you have anything you’d like to be able to do in Excel, just post it here as a comment so we can look into it before our next meeting.





Tech Sharecase-10 January 2014

10 01 2014

We had a great turnout today for the brainstorming session for methods for teaching Bearcat Search effectively in different teaching contexts. Thanks to everyone who came for your contributions.

We covered a lot of topics related to Bearcat Search, such as:

  • conveying to students what can be (and maybe more importantly, what can’t be) found in Bearcat Search
  • comparing it to Google
  • better ways to offer help and documentation about Bearcat Search (and where to place a link to documentation)
  • naming issues (is it still worth calling it Bearcat Search if it you are getting it to via the “Articles” search box on the library home page?)
  • how the use of quotes to force a phrase search affects the relevancy and ranking algorithms
  • dealing with the flood of newspapers articles
  • whether advanced searches are generally advisable (probably not)
  • if the “Articles” search is ever being used in internal pages on the library site that feature the yellow search bar
  • how to contribute to our shared understanding of Bearcat Search by adding content, questions, comments to the page about Bearcat Search in the Library Services Wiki

We ended up talking about a lot of usability and design issues as well:

  • the bento box display of search results that some libraries, such as North Carolina State University, present to users who run searches in the single search box on the library home page
  • how we can use our credit courses as sites for usability testing
  • ways to tweak the layout of the yellow search bar




Documenting Daily Media Consumption

22 10 2013

For LIB 3040 next spring, I might do an assignment like the one Dan Gillmor outlines here in which students are asked to keep a day-long record of their media consumption and then reflect back on it later.





Harvard Business Review Argues That It Is Special

22 10 2013

In light of this being Open Access week, I thought I’d share a story about attempts to restrict the flow of information through excessive monetization and metering. Last week, Joshua Gans, a professor of strategic management, argued in an article at FT.com that the Financial Times should drop the Harvard Business Review (HBR) from its list of journals that is uses to rank MBA and EMBA programs (the number of times a school’s faculty publish in 45 key journals is part of the ranking criteria). Gans suggests that because of the exclusive deal that Harvard Business School Press (HBSP) struck with EBSCO that requires schools to pay an additional course use fee for HBR articles used in classes, that journal is now in a special category of publications that is distinctly different from the other 44 titles that FT uses for its ranking criteria. Gans suggests that HBR is now being treated similarly to the case studies series that HBSP.

The next day, Das Narayandas, a senior associate dean and Executive Education and Publishing at the Harvard Business School, responded on the FT.com site with an article that argued HBR is so special and valuable it was fair to charge extra:

But high-quality information – ideas that have been carefully crafted by authors and editors to make sense to managers and to achieve maximum impact – comes at a cost.

One hopes that other publishers don’t follow suit and argue that they too have journals that are equally special and start striking similarly restrictive deals with aggregators like EBSCO and ProQuest.








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