Tag Archives: Tech Sharecase

Tech Sharecase, 17 May 2015

We spent the entire time assembling a cardboard virtual reality kit for Google Cardboard that came with less-than optimal printed instructions. Thankfully, there was a video on YouTube to get us through the many fiddly bits:

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Tech Sharecase, 10 April 2015

Edward Snowden and Government Surveillance

We watched two video clips of Edward Snowden being interviewed by John Oliver (the language and humor may not be for everyone);


After watching Edward Snowden’s take on passwords (actually, he recommends passphrases as more secure), we talked about the Diceware method of generating super secure passphrases.

Google Cardboard

From Arthur, we learned about the Google Cardboard project that allows you use a simple cardboard set of goggles (that you can buy or make yourself) and a smartphone to create a really impressive virtual reality headset. Here’s a video we watched to learn more about it:

Next Meeting of the Tech Sharecase

We might bring in a Google Cardboard headset kit, build it, and try it out (I promised I would buy one of my own for this).

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Tech Sharecase, 18 April 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.)


  • 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


  • 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:


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



  • 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)


  • 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




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Tech Sharecase, 7 March 2014


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:

Getting to Grips with LaTeX – great tutorial:

LaTeX Wikibook – another great tutorial and reference guide:

LaTeX Cheat Sheet – indispensible:

TeX StackExchange – forum for posting questions and getting help:

LaTeX beginner’s guide by Stefan Kottwitz – CUNY e-book (ebrary):

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
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Tech Sharecase, 7 February 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


  • 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)


  • 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


  • 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


  • “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.


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.

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Tech Sharecase-10 January 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
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Tech Sharecase – 13 September 2013

Today’s event featured a wide-ranging discussion of mobile apps that students and faculty might want to use (if they’re not already) to help them with saving, reading, annotating, and sharing documents. We talked about the following apps:


  • free vs. premium ($45/yr)
  • sharing notebooks or individual notes
  • notes can have files as attachments (PDFs, Word, Excel, etc.)
  • make audio notes
  • text in images you add will be OCRed if you have the premium version
  • add a note by emailing it (Evernote gives you a special email address for that)
  • add the clipper bookmarklet to your browser to easily add text on a web page to the body of a note


  • works with your Evernote account
  • offers speedier and simplified interface to add new notes to Evernote


  • simplified note taking app
  • notes can be backed up in your Dropbox account


  • free vs. paid accounts
  • useful for storing  files but doesn’t have as many ways to organize at Evernote
  • sharing files or folders with others
  • integrated into lots of other apps


  • can use for reading PDFs
  • send files to your account via unique Kindle email address you’re assigned
  • saves your highlighting and annotations (but these can’t be exported or printed)


  • another app for reading and organzing PDFs
  • can also handle video files (MOV, 3GP, etc.)


  • rich set of tools for reading and marking up PDFs
  • connect to your Dropbox account for file storage


  • use your phone’s camera to make scans of documents that are saved as PDFs
  • saved PDFs can be annotated, shared, and OCRed


  • View and edit your collection of saved references in Zotero


  • PDF reader

Google Drive

  • file storage and editing
  • our library scanners are set up so that students can send scanned documents to their Google Drive accounts (they can check to see if the transmission of the document from scanner to their account by logging into the Google Drive app if they have it installed on their phone)
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Tech Sharecase, 25 July 2013


We started off by talking about MOOCs a bit, using one Tech Sharecase attendee’s personal experience as the springboard for discussion. Mentioned in the conversation was Karen Schneider”s blog post at Free Range Librarian detailing her experience being a student in a MOOC course, “All the lonely MOOCers. Where do they all come from?”

Badges and Gamification

We talked a bit about the trend to add game-like elements to instruction and the use of badges as incentives, something that was the focus of several presentations at ALA Annual this summer (such as this one and that one).

Google Maps

With an Android phone connected to the projector, we were able to see how Google presents floorplans for buildings in the Google Maps app. We looked at the floor plans for the library at California State University-Monterey Bay (some details on this can be found here).

We took at a look also at how the Street View technology from Google Maps is being used to present a 360 degree interior view of buildings, such as this one for Jan’s Hobby Shop on the Upper East Side.

Library Box

We watched the video about Library Box, a tiny wireless device that can be used to share files where there is no internet connection or where that connection is weak or heavily monitored or censored. More details about the project can be found on the Kickstarter page for it.

Laptop and iPad Mini Kiosks

Arthur gave us an update on the laptop and iPad Mini kiosks currently being set up by the reference desk. See the vendor’s website (Laptops Anytime) for additional info about the kiosks.


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Tech Sharecase, 24 May 2013


We looked at the demo video for BrowZine, an iPad/iPhone app that lets you browse the table of contents for journals your library has full text access to (more details at vendor website). We looked at the app that had already been installed on an iPad and configured to connect to Baruch’s journal collections. We talked about the increase use of iPads by faculty, the lack of an Android app for BrowZine, and, if we do get a subscription to the service, that it would be nice to load this app on the iPads the library lends.

Harvard Business Review and EBSCO

We talked a bit about the new additional limitations that Harvard Business Review is placing on its content in EBSCO.

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Tech Sharecase, 10 May 2013

Primo vs. Summon vs. EBSCO Discovery Service

We watched a video from Ex Libris about Primo, a web-scale discovery tool that CUNY is working on a licensing for all of the CUNY libraries. We compared the interface with that of Summon (Bearcat Search) and with a trial we have from EBSCO of EBSCO Discovery Service.


We next looked at the nearly content-free video from Ex Libris about Alma, the company’s uniform resource management system (actual details of the system can be found on the Ex Libris site). Boston College is the first Alma customer to go live (details in this Digital Shift article from Library Journal).


As a group, we thought it would interesting to poke around in the PolicyMap database we have a trial for (a link to it can be found on the “Trials” tab on the Databases page).


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