This week we interrupt our regular BRAIN_blog broadcast for some exiciting public service announcements about new library stuff: 1) BRAINlinks (get ready, it�s coming!) 2) Self Service (book a video, place an item on reserve, recommend a title�all online, all the time!) and then we have the regular features about new web tools and guides: 3) MSN Virtual Earth (Google Earth�s less-than-worthy rival), 4) Blogging resources for the blogger in you, 5) copyright resources and 6) A9.com news.
1) It�s coming! The Fine Art of Finding!
In just a few short weeks, the Library @ Mohawk will launch a new way of searching for web-based resources for the Mohawk community and introduce you to the fine art of finding (rather than simply searching!) The BRAINlinks Recommended Web Resources product is a comprehensive database of the Library�s web-based resources. We�ve revamped our current Recommended Web Sites by Subject to include more resources and comprehensive searching features that allow you to zero in on exactly what you want, quickly, easily and in no time flat.
Some features of the new BRAINlinks product:
Comprehensive searching features that make your searches more precise�no one likes spending hours poring over long result lists of thousands of hits�.now you don�t have to!
o limit your search by the type of content you�re looking for� Need a directory? Only want to see what magazine databases we have in your subject area? Need government info only? Just choose your category and you�re off to the races.
o Limit your search by loads of parameters�choose a subject, enter a title, limit by type of resource�the choices are yours�be as specific as possible to zero in on exactly what you want!
o Limit by brand new Library @ Mohawk-specific parameters such as BRAINpicks (the sites Library staff use the most), scholarly sites (strictly academic info and peer-reviewed sources) and Canadian content.
o Browse by subject�not sure where to start? Choosing a subject is an easy first step.
o Brainstorm! The Brainstorm is a unique feature to BRAINlinks, that offers up similar categories of information to the subject you�ve selected�some you may have not even thought of�allowing you to explore all avenues of information discovery in quick, easy steps.
o And more! Watch this space and TheBRAIN homepage for further updates and get ready�for a new way of finding information.
2) Self Service (with a smile)
Now when you have an urgent desire to recommend a title for the Library @ Mohawk, you no longer have to wait until the doors open to run in and tell us! Now you can recommend a title, place an item on reserve or book a video all in the comfort of your favourite pj�s. Head on over to the facultyspace to find self-service forms to recommend a title, place an item on reserve or book a video. All of these forms are located in the left sidebar of the facultyspace home page. The links are: Recommendations (your path to enlightening us as to which title you�d like to recommend for the Library!), Reserves (no, not the Army�this is where you can place items on reserve!) and Book a Video (exactly what it says!)
3) MSN Virtual Earth
Microsoft�s answer to Google Earth landed on July 25th, 2005. Unlike Google Earth it is entirely web-based (no need to download software). However�do you see me oohing and ahhhing as I did when I wrote about Google Earth? Nosirree. Mainly because the first time I tried it I got an error that the server was busy, and the second time, a blank screen. But once these initial hurdles are out of the way, it is not a bad product, albeit one that needs a bit more work. MSN VE offers some nice options. For example, you can choose to view your search in Road Map or Aerial View. Unfortunately, every search I tried had no aerial view available. This could be because there are no aerial views for Canada yet. L Another promising feature is the �scratch pad�, a box in the top right of the screen that allows you to email, make notes or blog your search results. When I finally did get an aerial search to work (after searching for New York City), a few more neat-o features surfaced. For example, street names, landmarks, and other features are overlaid over the photo. Bill Gates himself has promised �Satellite images with 45-degree-angle views of buildings and neighborhoods� down the road! That would be worth getting excited about � the product as it now stands, unfortunately looks like a poor attempt to catch up with Google.
4) Blogging Resources for the Blogger in You
For those of you who are gearing up to start your own blog but need some info, there�s a great article just published to help you on your way. Time to Check: Are you using the right blogging tool? By Susannah Gardner and published in the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review offers some great insights into the various blogging tools out there. Check out in particular the great chart: Blog Software Comparison Chart. All the features laid out in plain view! Don�t you just love charts? Another great resource for bloggers is the Legal Guide for Bloggers, produced by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Unfortunately this guide pertains to U.S. and not Canadian law. However it does a good job of pointing out some of the possible legal liability issues to be aware of as a blogger no matter where you live (for example, defamation, intellectual property, and privacy). See the next section for resources on Canadian legalities.
5) While We�re on the Topic of Legalities: Copyright Info
Just a reminder that the facultyspace has some great sites on copyright law for those who are interested. (Click on Copyright Info on the left sidebar.) Digital copyright is a pretty murky area but some folks have done a great job of shedding light on it. A site just added to the Copyright section of facultyspace is the Digital Copyright Clearance Pilot Project Check out the Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for some answers to questions you just might be pondering yourself.
6) There�s More To Life Than Google Department: A9.com adds calculator
Just keeping you up to date on one of the best search engines around�A9.com now offers a calculator! Now you can calculate to your heart�s content�in addition to personalizing how your result sets look and seeing your results in nice, neat sets (of images, reference sites, open web, etc.) The A9.com toolbar also got some enhancements at the end of last month!