Category Archives: Technology

Information regarding library technology infrastructure and services.

App of the Week – Trello

trelloWelcome to a new academic year USMA cadets, faculty, and staff! With the new year brings new technology–in the form of 4,000+ cadet iPads! Since USMA Library staff members are always looking for the best resources to recommend to our users, we are starting 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.

Trello – Task Management

If you are a visual person when it comes to task management, Trello is an online tool that can help to bring some order out of to-do chaos either for a single person, or for teams. For me, if something is out of sight, it really is out of mind. Most other task/project management tools tend to show you things that need to be done now, while obscuring things that may need to be done later, or that aren’t requiring specific action right now, but that you want to keep track of. Trello’s model of lists and cards allows for a variety of different topics (to-dos, delegations, ideas, etc.) to live side by side in a way that can be easily scanned and reviewed.

Brainstorming is also easy to do in Trello, and with some features like voting on individual cards, could provide another effective way to gather input from groups in a collaborative, visual way. We have not yet tried this in the library, though we may do so in the future.

Personally, I keep two main boards, one that I try to keep all my own activities tracked on, and another for the Library generally (Library staff have access to the latter. Those without accounts can let me know and I can set them up). I have a number of other boards for smaller projects, as well as one board shared with each team leader in the library. The Communications Team has used Trello for some time to plan out and track social media/blog posts.

Perhaps one of the best features of Trello is that the basic product is free to use, even in a team setting. There is a paid tier that offers greater customizations and control for organizations, though the basic product is quite robust for general use. Perhaps the biggest issue in my mind is poor printing support. So if someone does not have access to a screen and is linked into your board, it is difficult to share it with them. Trello does not run so well on our approved versions of Internet Explorer. Current versions of Firefox or Chrome are the best tool, along with good iOS/Android apps.

For more in-depth feature and product reviews on Trello, check out the following online articles:

by Christopher D. Barth, USMA Librarian with some content contributed by Lauren Dodd Hall, Circulation Librarian.

All Library Online Services Restored

Update: All online services should be restored as of 1000 on 19 February.

Due to an air conditioning failure in our datacenter on post, our library catalog server is not available. Once the repairs have been completed, we will bring the server back online and resume all suspended services.

Until repairs are complete, the following services are unavailable:

  • The main library catalog although Scout will continue to function. Some links between Scout and our catalog server will not function properly.
  • We are unable to authenticate off-site users to licensed resources
  • Online renewals
  • Circulation of items will continue, though using a manual process

Discover a Database! American Periodical Series Online

By Laura Mosher
Reference Librarian

Welcome to our new series of articles, each one focusing on a specific database that is offered through the USMA Library. In each article, we’ll explore a different, perhaps unfamiliar, database; explain a bit about what information it includes and why it might be useful, and provide some tips on searching for just the right bit of info for that paper or research project you are working on.

Today’s featured database is perfect for the History major, or anyone who is doing research into America’s past: the American Periodical Series Online (aka American Periodicals). This collection, offered through ProQuest, provides digitized reproductions of more than eleven hundred 18th and 19th century American newspapers and periodicals. The titles include popular publications such as Vanity Fair and Ladies Home Journal along with specific-interest publications like the National Police Gazette and American Architect, and cover a wide range of American history and experience. Featured magazines included writings by huge names in American Literature (Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edgar Allan Poe), as well articles that reflect the changes in American society and culture during times of turmoil,  such as the American Revolution and the Civil War Era. Since the periodicals in this collection are digitized from the originals, all content is visible – from the usual articles, editorials & editorial cartoons, and obituaries, to artwork, images, and advertising.

  • Who should be using this database: Cadets taking American History classes.
  • What those users will find: A rich source of writing about all aspects of the American experience through the 18th and 19th centuries (the American Revolution; the Gilded Age; the Lewis & Clark expedition; Westward expansion; the US during the Great War; the Great Depression; the Industrial Revolution)

Tips for searching:

  • Use those operators! Choosing “AND” between search terms makes your result set smaller (and more narrow), while choosing “OR” between search terms makes your result list bigger.
  • Use those drop downs! Specify that your term should be in the Title or Author field, or if you want a specific publication, specific a word or name and choose “Publication Title.”
  • Limit by date of publication to get articles written at the time an event occurred.
  • Looking for an editorial cartoon about America’s entry into WW I, or an obituary of someone famous? Limit your results by document type.

As always, ask a Librarian for help if you have any questions about any of our research products!

Updates on Microform Reader-Printers and New Scanner

After some maintenance work performed last month on one of our Minolta microform reader-printers, we now have three functioning machines set up on the second floor of the Library’s Periodical Room. Two of the readers have printing capabilities and the third is the spill-over unit of last recourse, which doesn’t print (and sometimes buzzes loudly when powered on) but is usable as a reader.

The two units that print can handle both microfiche and microfilm reels, and the middle unit with a lens change to 87X can also read our old Library of American Civilization cards, although many of the articles have been digitized, and that, of course, is the preferred format.  Thanks to that friendly Masked Man from Moore Wing days, who knew exactly where the burnt out bulb was to be found in the unit that conked out!

 By the way, we now also have a new ScanSnap scanner set up by the west window in the Reference Collection (soon-to-be Display area) on the second floor.  It’s very user friendly – just follow the posted directions in the folder.  One very helpful feature is the capability to scan an original directly to Word so it becomes a writable document.  Check it out when you get a chance.

Michael Arden

 

iPad Internet in the Library

For the next two weeks there will be a special network (commercial internet) in the library for iPads. This network is available on the 1st, 2nd, and 4th floors of the library. Cadets/faculty will be using this connection to complete registration with AirWatch (which allows the iPad to connect to the DREN internet across CPA).

The network name (SSID) is: ipad_registration

The password is: message to garcia

This information can be displayed (signs can be placed at the reference and circulation desks) to assist with providing this information to cadets/faculty.

There are two other iPad internet locations (History department in Thayer, and Grant Hall) where cadets can also connect their iPads.

Library staff do not need to ask any questions or collect any information regarding this network. The network will only be available for the next two weeks and then it will be taken down.

Any questions or concerns can be directed to Christine.

Link

The 3 HP printers in the periodicals room on the 2nd floor are turned on and are available for printing.

Instructions to connect to the printer are available on SharePoint at

http://usma-portal/dean/lib/information/Shared%20Documents/HP%20printer%20setup%20%E2%80%93%20Updated%209%20Jan%202013.docx

Staff will need to follow these instructions if:

  • your computer has been re-imaged, OR
  • you have never connected to the HPs.

Remember that the 3 printers use a single shared print queue – so print jobs are sent to a single “printer” but will come out at whichever unit is free at the time.

You can contact SMD with any questions.

EDS Discovery Layer Training Opportunities next week

ALL,

As you know, the USMA Library is in the process of implementing EDS as our discovery layer. There are two upcoming live online training sessions that EBSCO recommends to help familiarize library staff with EDS (EDS Overview) and to assist in searching EDS (EDS: Searching Overview).

EDS Overview

Date: Wednesday 7 August 2013

Time: 0700-0800

Description: focus on the key features and functionality of EDS through searching, manipulating the result list to locate relative search results,and accessing external resources from the library catalog.

EDS: Searching Overview

Date: Friday 9 August 2013

Time: 1100-1200

Description: focus on the key features and functionality of EDS through searching, manipulating the result list to locate relative search results. An overview of content searched in EDS as well as items returned from the library catalog will also be covered.

To register for an EBSCO training session:

  1. Go to https://ebscotraining.webex.com
  2. There’s a search box at the top of the trainings page. If you run a search for ‘EDS’, you should see all upcoming EDS related trainings
  3. Find the appropriate session in the list
  4. Click on “Register” on the right-hand side of the screen or click on the session name to see more information.

Additional information about EBSCO training opportunities can be found at: https://ebscotraining.webex.com

Please contact Christine in SMD with questions.

Library’s new home on the web!

The migration from http://www.library.usma.edu to http://www.westpoint.edu/library has been deployed!

Along with increased content, there are also many new features the new site will offer users.

Here are a few.

  • “Get Help” tab on every screen
  • “Today’s Hours” on main screen with link to calendar view
  • increased social network tools
  • reorganization of links and navigation
  • integration of tools like LibAnswers
  • and many more …

Be sure to check it out and update your bookmarks!