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Minnesota, United States

Friday, March 28, 2014

23 Mobile Things- Thing 9- Taking and Editing Photos

I downloaded both Line Camera and Aviary photo editing apps to my Android phone.  I had fun playing around with both apps but of the two, I preferred Aviary since I found it a little easier to use and navigate.
The layout of Aviary was more similar to the other photo editing apps I have used.

With Aviary, all of the editing tools are in one place at the bottom of the screen, unlike Line Camera, where the 'beauty' and 'design' tools are separated out.  In Aviary, under the settings, you can rearrange the editing tools to list the ones you use most frequently first.  By default, the "meme" feature is last but if you use memes frequently on your photos and don't want to have to keep scrolling right to find it, you can move it closer to the beginning.

The Line Camera app seems to have more options for enhancing faces on photos. Using the 'beauty' feature, you can do various things like remove blemishes, remove dark circles under eyes, and even alter the eye size or face shape to some degree.

Both applications allow you to add creativity to your photos by changing the style, background, or adding drawings or text.  You can even download various sticker sets to put on your photos. Some of the stickers are free, some are available for a small fee.

Next, I tried the Color Splurge app.  Color Splurge lets you alter the coloring on your photos.  A color photo you take or upload is converted to a black and white version.  You then color over certain areas to bring the color back.  So you could have the background in black and white and the person in color for example.  The challenge was trying to only select certain areas to be colored.  When I tried it, I ended up coloring areas I did not intend to.  You can also alter the color of certain areas so that the color of someone's shirt is changed from red to blue, for example.  Once again, it was difficult to select just the area I wanted without coloring something else.

The CamMe app looked promising but it is for Apple devices only so I wasn't able to try it out.  From what I read about it, you stand several feet away from the phone and by waving, you tell the app that you are ready to pose for a picture.  I looked for similar apps that would work with Android phones.  The closest thing I've found so far was Selfie Camera app.  There is no waving with this one.  The only difference between this app and a standard cell phone camera is that it defaults to front camera rather than back camera so it's immediately ready to take a picture of yourself.  You still have the awkwardness of holding the phone back from your face and pushing the button.  As a result, I don't think you would get as good of a picture as you would with CamMe.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Stack Map tells you the exact shelf a book is on

If you've worked in a library, you've probably helped patrons numerous times finding a particular book on the shelf.  Sometimes pointing to a shelf and saying "it's over there" isn't clear enough.  This is especially true in larger libraries with many rows of shelves.  Usually there are call number ranges on the ends, but patrons tend to overlook these or not know what they mean or how to interpret them.

Walking over to the exact shelf with a patron to retrieve the item is often needed but sometimes this is not always feasible when you have several other people waiting for help with the phone ringing.  Furthermore, the reference desk may look unstaffed to patrons who happen to arrive while you are retrieving a book for someone- especially when the library is busy or short-staffed and you are the only librarian on duty.  Then patrons wonder "where did the librarian go?"

As a librarian, don't you wish the library catalog would more clearly indicate where a book is in the library? Not just a call number, but a map showing the shelf it is on?

StackMap is a type of web software that can be integrated with the library's catalog to show the exact location of the book.  Various libraries such as Orlando Public Library are using StackMap in their catalog.  When a patron does a catalog search, they can click on a "Map It!" icon next to the copy of the book they are seeking to bring up a map of the location of the book, shown by a red marker.  See the screenshots below for an example.

Is your library using StackMap or something similar?  Or is your library considering it?  If your library is using it, I would be interested in its effectiveness.  Do patrons find it particularly useful?  Does it save staff time and improve efficiency?  Are the benefits worth the costs of implementing such software?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

23 Mobile Things- Thing 8: Social Media Management Tools

I'm already using the Facebook app on my phone, so I was curious to try out the Friendcaster app. Friendcaster allows you to access your Facebook account into what I found to be a more user-friendly interface.  When you first set up Friendcaster, it will ask you what types of notifications you prefer to receive and how frequently to be notified.  Nice.  Also you can choose between 6 different color themes.

I use LinkedIn regularly so I decided to download the LinkedIn app to my phone.  I think I prefer accessing it from my laptop, just because of the bigger screen size.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

23 Mobile Things- Thing 7: Content Saving and Sharing

For this thing I downloaded the Pinterest app to my phone.  I'm already a regular user of Pinterest so I was glad to see a mobile app that's Android friendly.  The mobile app was easy to use and navigate.  I searched to see if any local libraries have Pinterest accounts, and I discovered that the Eden Prairie branch of Hennepin County Library uses Pinterest to post recommended reading lists, using pictures of book covers. I also found a new Pinterest board to subscribe to:  Minnesota Libraries.

I also learned more about Bitly and its uses.  Previously, I've heard of the site but haven't used it.  Bitly can be used to shorten long URLs and also to save and share your bookmarks.  You can put bookmarks into bundles (or folders) and choose to keep them private or share them with others.  You can also see how many people click on your bookmarks.

Since I already use Google Bookmarks to store bookmarks online, I didn't see a need to set up a Bitly account.  I would probably just use Bitly to shorten URLs and you don't need to set up a Bitly account for that. Also, the Bitly app is not compatible with Android phones.  You can use a third-party BitDroid app but it loses some functionality.  You can shorten URLs and add bookmarks but you can't bundle them or track statistics.

I did find an Android-friendly app for Google Bookmarks here that I was able to successfully download to my phone.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

23 Mobile Things- Thing 6- Creating and Editing Docs

I downloaded the Quickoffice app to my Android phone.  This app allows you to create and edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and Power Point documents.  You sign in with your Google account and the files are saved to Google Drive.  I mostly use my phone to view documents rather than create them due to the small screen size and keyboard.  It makes it kind of awkward to use for creating documents.  So I probably won't use the app that much but nice to know its there. 

I wanted to download the CloudOn app to compare it with Quickoffice but found out it wasn't compatible with my Android phone.  I did watch a video clip about and it looks similar in functionality to Quickoffice.  Both apps allow you to create and save Microsoft Word, Excel, and Power Point documents.  The biggest difference I found was that CloudOn gives you more options for saving.  With CloudOn, you can save in Google Drive, Dropbox, Sky Drive, or Hightail or more than one of these; whereas with Quickoffice, you can only save in Google Drive.  I use Google Drive exclusively for cloud storage so this is not an issue for me but I see how it could be for others. 

If you create documents that need signatures, you may want to try the SignNow app.  SignNow lets you add signatures for free, for up to 5 documents a month. I don't create or work with documents requiring signatures so I didn't download this app but its nice to know that such apps are available. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sample Cover Letters from Hired Librarians and Archivists

Are you hunting for a librarian or archivist type job?  Or know someone who is?  Are you already employed as in a library but seek a different type of library position?  If so, check out Open Cover Letters, a repository of various anonymously submitted cover letters to a variety of library type positions.  Whether you are seeking a public, academic, school, archivist, or other type of librarian position, you'll find it here. You'll find sample cover letters ranging from entry-level to director positions.  Although the cover letters show a wide diversity, they all have one important thing in common:  they all resulted in the candidate getting hired for the position.