App of the Week – Evernote Scannable

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

evernotescannableIf you rely on Evernote and Evernote Peek for your notetaking, information organization, or digital flashcard needs, you’ll want to check out the newest companion app: Evernote Scannable.

While there are dozens of free scanning apps on the market, Evernote Scannable already has rave reviews, integrates seamlessly with an app people already utilize, and is faster and more sophisticated than the scanning feature built in to the original Evernote app.

Most Helpful Features:

  • Incredibly user friendly, and no set-up involved. Immediately upon opening the app, the camera loads. Point your device’s camera at any piece of paper, and Evernote Scannable digitizes it instantly.
  • The app highlights easy scanning of receipts and business cards (small objects that are easy to lose, but contain important information), but it also excels at scanning handwritten notes–and anything else you need to upload.
  • Lightning fast. PC Mag claims that Evernote Scannable is “faster than a pronghorn racing a cheetah.”
  • Handles lengthy or wrinkled papers with ease, and digitizes them masterfully.
  • After scanning, you can crop, rotate, or delete your image.
  • You can immediately export your scans to Evernote (and comes with an opt-in feature to automatically save every scan to your Evernote account), email, iMessage, camera roll, iCloud, Flickr, and more.
  • After scanning someone’s business card, the app will immediately find their LinkedIn page (if they have one). You can also add your LinkedIn account to the app to immediately connect with business card contacts.
  • Since it’s a completely independent app, you don’t have to connect the app to an Evernote account to use it–but if you frequently use Evernote, it’s a good idea to do so.

EvernoteScannable

Downsides:

  • This is not a full OCR app – meaning, it won’t read and understand the text scanned, so you won’t be able to keyword search through your scanned PDFs. However, it does “read” business cards, hence the “find contact in LinkedIn” feature.
  • You can’t adjust the camera focus, but the app does an excellent job of capturing the document at many angles/lengths.
  • The app does not store your scans long-term to “reduce clutter,” so you’ll want to make sure to export the scan to Evernote or another preferred method of storage.

Further Reading:

Evernote Scannable (Review)

Best iPad Apps: Evernote Scannable

Use Evernote’s Scannable App to Go Paperless in a Snap

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren D. Hall, Circulation Librarian

 

Staff Profile: Travis Schaben

TravTravisSchaben2is Schaben recently joined the library staff as Associate Director for Library Systems. He arrived here from Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where he was librarian for both the Vogelweh and Ramstein Base libraries for the last four years.

I recognized his last name as being of German origin, and couldn’t help but ask what Schaben means in German. He explained that it is an unusual last name, which the Germans usually pronounced “schäben” (with the umlaut), which means wood shavings, or shives. (A shive, I have learned, is a wooden fitting used to plug an ale cask, or in New Orleans slang it means “cool.”) Schaben (without the umlaut) is a slang term for cockroach. In leaving all but the last slang term out of the discussion, we’ll just say Travis is “cool.”

Travis grew up in the small town of Holbrook, Nebraska (pop. 300), where he was one of only three children who attended school together from kindergarten to 8th grade. As a result, he says it was really hard to get away with anything. He enlisted in the Air Force directly from high school, serving at Ramstein AFB.

After returning to the states, Travis completed his BA in literature from Webster University in St. Louis, MO. His introduction to library work was at University of Florida (Gainesville), where he was assigned to Acquisitions and Licensing, but took on IT work as a side job because of his interest in it and the fact that the library contained a branch of the University IT Department. From there it was a logical segue to library school, and he attended Florida State University (Tallahassee) for his MLIS.

Upon his “re-arrival” in Germany in 2010, his first experience working as a DOD civilian brought several challenges. Unexpectedly, within his first few months, he was told he would be singlehandedly responsible for not just the opening of a new library, but also the closing of an existing library and the move of another library collection from a temporary location.

Though Travis has not before held the title of “systems” librarian, he is a self-proclaimed techie and has gravitated to the IT role in each of his past positions. He has a passion for researching, learning and evaluating new technologies and exploring different ways technology can be used in libraries.

In his spare time, Travis likes hiking, biking, climbing and skiing­­—pretty much any outdoor activity. In addition, he reads Russian classic literature and techie stuff.

He and his partner, Alison, live in Cold Spring with their two rabbits, Turnip and Belle, who travelled here with them from Germany. I asked Travis , “Why rabbits?” He explained that about 15 years ago he and Ali adopted a rabbit that needed a home. That rabbit lived for about 12 years and moved to Germany with them. When it passed away, they rescued Turnip, a rabbit who had been in the shelter for five years because everyone found unfriendly. Later, Belle joined the family, also as a rescue. Although the locals loved these furry creatures, most Germans would think of them as a meal, rather than the family they are to Travis. The real question, then is, “Why NOT rabbits?”

We’re grateful to have Travis joining our staff, where he will likely meet many more challenging situations (and tackle them head-on) and update us on the joys and antics of these small mammals in the family Leporidae.

[It is with sadness that we report, with condolences, that Belle has passed on since the time of this writing.]

Contents contributed by Manja Yirka, Continuing Resources Librarian

App of the Week – RefME

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

This wlogoeek’s app, RefME, is a reference citation generator, which sounds incredibly boring–but trust me, it’s a game changer. As those of us who conduct research know, constructing bibliographies and reference lists for papers/articles in the desired citation style is a time-consuming affair. However, there dozens of citation programs out there, and a growing number of free/freemium websites out on the web. What makes RefME stand out among the other citation tools? In a nutshell–scanning technology and automation. RefME simplifies research organization in a way some reviews are calling “revolutionary.”

RefMEbarcodescannerMost Helpful Features:

  • Free! Software like RefWorks and EndNote are great assets to research, but they usually require expensive institutional subscriptions. However, if you happen to have a subscription to one of those already, you can actually export your citations from RefME.
  • Barcode scanner! Scan the barcode on the back of any book, print journal, or other resource, and your resource will magically appear on your bibliography page.
  • Easily find any citation by typing a few keywords. You can search by book/journal article title, DOI, ISBN, or ISSN. You can also copy and paste any website URL to create a reference in seconds.
  • Contains 6,500+ referencing styles (did you know that many citation styles even existed?).
  • Switch between styles with one click. So if you discover that you’ve completed your reference list in APA instead of MLA, your entire list will update automatically with no extra effort on your part.
  • If you do have to enter your citation manually, RefME supports dozens of types of sources–anywhere from “song” to “interview” to “scientific dataset.”
  • When you create an account, your list is synced and saved with refme.com and stored in the cloud, so you can access it from anywhere.
  • You can export your references from your app to email, Microsoft Word, Evernote, Mendeley and more.
  • The interface is incredibly easy to use.
  • According to RefMe, PDF, OCR and other features are coming soon.

RefMeBibliographyDownsides:

  • None that I’ve found so far. If you need help finding work to scan into RefME, USMA librarians are always ready to assist you with your research!

Bottom Line:

RefME is the citation management app we’ve been waiting for–correctly citing sources is only going to get easier from here on out. Remember, of course, to ALWAYS double check your work with an official citation manual. This is a great tool, but don’t leave your grade/professional work up to any one app. If you try RefME for your next project, let us know what you think!

Further Reading:

RefME is probably the best free app for university students out there

New app means students can create essay footnotes and references in seconds

RefMe app review: bibliographic entries made simple

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren D. Hall, Circulation Librarian

App of the Week – Khan Academy

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

Khan logoAcademy, founded by Salman Khan in 2008, is a free educational site containing over 5,000 micro-lectures/tutorials on subjects ranging from line integrals and Green’s theorem to Symbolism and Art Nouveau. These aren’t lectures in the traditional sense, though–most tutorials simply contain an electronic blackboard with notes and illustrations that appear as Khan talks. The beauty of Khan Academy is the concept of “self-paced” learning, which differentiates it from the traditional one-size-fits-all lecture model. Students can pause, rewind, fast forward, and review lectures as needed. They can also take quizzes and do exercises to test their knowledge, check their progress in a subject, earn badges for leveling up in a subject, and more. If an instructor is using Khan Academy to teach their material, they can access their students’ progress, too, and determine exactly which concepts their students are struggling with.

KhanProfile

Chances are you’ve already heard of Khan Academy, and perhaps you’ve used it to clarify fundamental concepts in physics or figure out a difficult calculus problem. Now that the semester is back in full swing, you may need a refresher in certain subjects–so here’s how you can integrate the app into your studies.

KhanLessonMost Helpful Features:

  • Access to all 5,000+ video tutorials on the regular website.
  • You can download videos to watch offline; perfect for traveling or studying on the go.
  • Most videos contain subtitles with an interactive transcript — so you can easily rewind or jump ahead in each lesson.
  • You can access your profile and progress in the app, so log in to receive credit and “energy points” for the videos you watch.
  • Pro tip: You can watch videos on the iPad while taking notes on your laptop, or vice versa.

Downsides:

  • Exercises are not built into the app itself, but they can be launched from the app into Safari. If you’re online, it’s a fairly seamless transition, but If you’re offline or want to use another internet browser, it’s not ideal.
  • You won’t get credit (assuming you’re logged in and tracking progress) for videos you watch offline.
  • The app can be buggy at times – for some reason, I haven’t been able to get subtitles to load on my app at all. The videos have always worked for me thus far.

Bottom Line: Khan Academy is an educational gem, and the app is, essentially, a portable mirror image of all the website has to offer. As always, if you use this resource, feel free to let us know what you think!

Further Reading:

Khan Academy – PC World Review

Khan Academy – Edsurge Overview

How Khan Academy is Changing the Rules of Education

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren Dodd Hall, Circulation Librarian

Workaround Information for Database Connectivity Issues

Unable to connect to Library databases and journals with links beginning with 0-*** ?

There’s a workaround to be used while we complete networking changes required by our server migration.

For example, instead of:

http://0-www.ancestrylibrary.com.usmalibrary.usma.edu/

use:

http://www.ancestrylibrary.com/

This is not available for off-post users (unless using West Point VPN).

We regret this inconvenience and hope to correct it soon.

The Library Reads – “I Shall Be Near to You” by Erin Lindsay McCabe

Based oweb-i-shall-be-near-to-youn the experiences of over 200 women who disguised themselves as men to fight in the American Civil War, I Shall Be Near To You is a superb piece of historical fiction. It tells the story of newlyweds Jeremiah and Rosetta Wakefield. Rosetta decides to cast off her role as a lonely young wife patiently waiting back on the farm to assume a new identity as Private Ross Stone. She does this to accompany her husband after he enlists – against her wishes – in the Union Army with the other boys from their little farming community in upstate New York. Jeremiah’s dream is to use their Army pay to buy a farm in Nebraska after a few months when the war would hopefully come to an end. History intervenes.

Under constant pressure to protect her true identity and over Jeremiah’s objections, Rosetta marches into battle by the side of her husband at both Second Bull Run and the Battle of Antietam, which remains the bloodiest day in American history. The couple is not so much star-crossed as saber-crossed, so to speak, and the story plays itself out in a totally compelling manner. This is fine writing by author, Erin Lindsay McCabe, and has rekindled my longstanding interest in carefully researched and wonderfully rendered historical fiction.

I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe, Crown (2014)

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Content contributed by Michael G. Arden, Audiovisual Librarian

The Barracks Fire of 1871

Pitman_Cadet_Barracks_after_Feb_5_1871_fire_taken_Feb_6

The destroyed roof and upper floor of the barracks can be seen in this photo taken on 6 February 1871, a day after the fire, by Ordinance Officer John Pitman, then an Assistant Instructor at the Academy. The fire began in the large room directly over the sally port. The heavily damaged 4th Division is just to the right of the sally port. The West Point Hotel can be seen in the background across the Plain. (photo courtesy of USMA Library Special Collections and Archives)

At around 2 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, February 5, 1871, cadets were awoken by a long roll of the drums, meaning everyone was to form up in the Area immediately. The barracks were on fire! The flames had started in the Dialectic Hall, a multi-story room directly over the sally port that allowed passage from the Area to the Plain, and soon reached the roof and fourth-floor rooms. Quickly the blaze spread east and west along the roof and smoke filled the top-floor rooms occupied mostly by plebes.

Cadets swiftly sprang into action with hand- and steam-powered fire engines, but the extreme cold and a stiff wind caused the valves to freeze. Bucket brigades were formed and cadets carried snow and water to the 3rd floor and higher stairways and threw water up to fight the flames and to protect the lower floors. The walls and windows of the building were soon covered in thick slabs of ice. As the water fell back down from the buckets, cadets became so encrusted with ice that one was able to stand up his overcoat the next morning in the mess hall and place his cap on top.

During the fire, some plebes were trapped in their rooms and were rescued either by ladder or by cadets linking arms and going room-to-room in the dense smoke. Amazingly, no lives were lost, but there were reports of frozen noses and ears and some cadets lost nearly all their possessions. The unfortunate were later compensated by Congress for destroyed items.

The fire engines were eventually thawed out and helped to bring the conflagration under control about three hours after it began. Cadets were aided by volunteers from elsewhere on post. For much of the next day the roof smoldered as cadets from the cockloft found other rooms to live in temporarily. Luckily, the rooms on the third floor and below were habitable and life returned to normal quickly. Although accounts vary, it looks like classes resumed on the second day after the fire. The 4th Division, directly adjacent to the Dialectic Hall, was the most impacted area. In total, the fire damage was assessed at $50,000. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

Contents contributed by Dr. Jon Malinowski, Professor of Geography, and Alicia Mauldin Ware, Archives Curator.

West Point Feature Films LibGuide

LGLThe Library now has a GUIDE to feature films about West Point, many available on DVD here in the Library.  Prior to the 1950s, the film industry’s “take” on life here was by turns noble, sappy, sweet, insipid, flag-waving, and awesomely inspired. Some films were more successful than others in capturing that special West Point spirit. The 1950s was the golden decade of West Point as captured on film, including three popular movies from the first part of the decade, plus a definitive television series from the second half, featuring a number of unknown actors who would soon emerge as major motion picture and television stars. Perhaps the most essential West Point film of all is The Long Gray Line, directed by Hollywood classic director, John Ford, treating the life of Academy legend, Marty Maher.

Why not check one of these out for the holidays?

Contents contributed by Michael Arden, Audiovisual Librarian

USMA Library 2014 Holiday Hours

USMA Library will operate the following hours during the holiday break:

Monday 15 – Friday 19 December 0700-2315
Saturday 20 December 0700-1900
Sunday 21 December CLOSED
Monday 22 – Wednesday 24 December 0700-1630
Thursday 25 – Sunday 28 December CLOSED
Monday 29 – Wednesday 31 December 0700-1630
Thursday 1 – Saturday 3 January CLOSED
Sunday 4 January 1100-2315
Beginning Monday 5 January – Regular Academic Term Hours Begin

Full hours are available on our website.

App of the Week – Army GameDay Live

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

Are you anarmysportsjpg Army college sports fan looking for an easy way to keep track of Army Athletics? Do you need a way to watch Army-Navy from afar? This week’s app, Army GameDay LIVE, allows you to track not only Army Football, but ALL of Army’s talented sports teams in one simple, easy to use app.

Army GameDay LIVE, which is the official app of Army Athletics, is an intuitive mobile tool that provides access to the latest stories, scores, and Army sports updates.

The headlines screen uses a simple scrolling feed to feature the latest Army athletic news for all sports:

HEADLINES

Just select a byline, and the news story pops up in an easy-to-read screen. Tap to close in order to read the next story you select. Find a story you would like to share? You can AirDrop, Mail, or copy the story by tapping on the upload icon in the upper right corner of the story.

NewsStory

Most helpful features:

  • The app is visually appealing and easy to navigate.
  • If you are not able to attend every Army game, you get an up-to-the-minute game day visual through Game Tracker live scoring integration. This is a plus when you are on the road!
  • The Events Calendar displays Army Sports for the day, with times and location in an easy scrollable display. This allows you to find the specific Army Sport you are looking for and get an instant update.
  • The sidebar tabs are helpful and useful – you can choose any Army sport to get specific news and game information; a Twitter tab congregates all of Army’s social media sports updates (photos and more); a tickets tab to get you to the game in person, and a store tab allows you to buy that all-important Army Sport Team wear!
  • The app provides information on the facilities for each Army sport, including seating, parking maps, and directions.
  • You can set up mobile alerts to ensure you don’t miss the updated score!

Downsides:

  • Premium content for streaming is per subscription pricing through CBS sports network. You cannot stream live audio without a premium subscription. A work around: listen to Army Sports on local radio via a streaming app on your computer, phone, or iPad while watching the visual integration on Game Tracker.

Bottom Line: While the app does require you to pay for premium content (and local CBS affiliates usually carry Army Football, so you’d be paying for free content in that case), this free app provides one-stop comprehensive coverage for any Army sports fan.

Further Reading:

GO ARMY, BEAT NAVY!

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Darrell Hankins, Reference Librarian