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E-resources in Chinese

February 19, 2015 | Niki | Comments (0)

ThCAETNP9NHappy New Year!  Happy Year of the Yang!  The big debate over Sheep or Goat is explored in this CTV story but most treat it philosophically: "The year of the yang, 2015, is neither a sheep nor a goat. It is a beautiful and elegant milk yang! Abundant milk, clothes and food. It will be a halcyon year," wrote one user on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

To celebrate this major, global holiday I thought I'd look at some of the e-resources that we have in the Chinese language.

1Overdrive:  Overdrive has about 1200 eBook titles in Chinese. You can filter a search by language or click on  Chinese in the Language Collections at the top of the home page to bring up a list to browse.  We could also type a search in Chinese characters that would bring up the title.  Most titles appear to be in simplified script.

Zinio: Zinio has about 40 magazines.  The great thing about its content is that many are popular, Hong Kong and Taiwanese titles. They include various editions of Cosmopolitan and GQ as well as well as Common Health Magazine and Next .  These can also be searched in Chinese characters but with 40 titles its easy Coverto browse.

hoopla:  While unable to search in Chinese characters hoopla does have a good browsing collection of movies in "Chinese Cinema".  The language is specified as Cantonese, Mandarin or (unhelpfully) Chinese.

2Chinese E-magazines: This carries 2300 full-text magazines from  the People's Republic of China.  They cover a broad range of subjects including art, literature, history, science, politics, health, business, economics and more. The magazines can be viewed in both simplified and traditional characters.  The interface can be set to traditional or simplified so the magazines are more accessible.

This is just a quick list.  What have I missed? 





Let's talk apps!

November 14, 2014 | Diana S. | Comments (0)

AppWordCloudIt may be the mobile information age, but we hope the public will still think of the library as the place to go for their information needs no matter what age they may be. It’s always a good idea to keep up with technological advancements and know what’s new out there. There are a lot of applications on the market for library users and librarians. The number of mobile apps for smartphones, iPads, tablet computers, and other mobile devices are steadily growing – people are using apps every day and all day.   

Flurry Analytics indicate that as of March 2014, users are spending 2 hours and 42 minutes per day on mobile devices. These 'mobile addicts’ launch apps at least 60 times per day. AppsIf the public is spending more time on their apps than ever before, then let’s talk app to them. Our own Toronto Public Library Website has a list of Mobile Apps for Library Services. For a list of recommended mobile apps for librarians, see 50 Great Mobile Apps for Librarians and its presentation. Here are some of the apps I like and found useful: 

Library of Congress – Virtual Tour 
This is a free app that gives a virtual tour of the Library of Congress as if you were there. The virtual tour includes: The Main Reading Room; The Great Hall; Exploring the Early Americas; Creating the United States; The Bible Collection; Thomas Jefferson’s Library; and Minerva.  

IELTS Skills            
This app looks at a range of topics in the areas of reading, listening, speaking and writing that will help develop skills needed to answer IELTS academic questions.  

Canadian Citizenship Test and Canadian Citizenship Test Exam 
Although not a substitute for the book Discover Canada, questions are based on the book and will help in the study and preparation for the Canadian Citizenship Test.  

Canadian Driving Tests 
This app is not free, but the website Driving Tests 101 will give an idea of what the app is like. You will learn the rules, signs, and law of the road.  

Aesop for Children 
This is a free app by the Library of Congress featuring an interactive version of the classic Aesop tales. There are over 140 stories accompanied with animated illustrations.  

RecordBooks Free 
This is one of the great ways to keep track of books without the need for pencil or paper.  

BookBuddy – Book Library Manager 
BookBuddy is a book management application that gives you access to your entire book catalog, anywhere. You can create an organized lis tof all the books in your library, allowing you to quickly and easily find any book. You can then share or loan out your books and keep track of them. You can create and save notes on each book or enter other information you would like. 

Goodreads – Book Recommendations and Reviews for Great Books and eBooks  
This app not only keeps track of what you’ve read, but what you want to read. You can see book reviews, rate books, review books, and recommend books. 

If you want to find out what other apps are out there, try the AppCrawler, an app discovery engine.   You AppCrawlrcan specify a specific device or all devices. The AppCrawler will let you know the hottest or most used app. You can find out what’s the hottest in book readers, rising stars in eBook readers, or hottest in books & reference.

Remember the buzz-worthy and catchy phrase, "There's an app for that," which Apple filed for a trademark? Yes. There is an app for finding apps – see 10 Apps for Finding Apps. Some of the apps include: 



Naxos Jazz and all that other jazz

September 22, 2014 | Niki | Comments (1)

BillieWhy is it so difficult to find good early jazz here? In Montreal they had a great collection and here there is almost nothing that I want.” I got defensive about this question – we have a great library system – ask anyone – but was quite polite and said I would look into it.

Well I did and he was right – in a way. Montreal’s public media collection is superb and is centrally located in one building. He neglected to mention that this building was the Grande Bibliothèque,  part of Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), Quebec's national library. It is not merely for Montreal but for the whole province.

I contacted him and recommended that he tryCharlie our Naxos Music Library Jazz. He was thrilled there was a way for him to access quality jazz in his area of interest.

Naxos Music Library Jazz (NMLJ) is a reservoir of great jazz from over 200 labels (including the catalogue of Blue Note Records, Warner Jazz, EMI, and Fantasy). The recordings in NMLJ come from over 8,600 albums (92,200 tracks) and 32,000 artists. NMLJ offers a mixed selection of jazz legends and contemporary jazz. Recordings can also be accessed from anywhere the patron chooses. You can create playlists in NMLJ. Once you log in and start your playlist you can exit NMLJ and keep your tunes playing in the background as you go about the rest of your life. You can download the free Apple app or use its  HTML5 for Logo_nml_jazzmobile browser. It’s a great resource for the jazz lover and it’s very easy to search for your favorites and build multiple playlists to organize them.

Music plays an important role in life of our City and Garcia TPL has recognized and supported this. In 1915 the Music Library was established as one of the library’s first subject collections. In 1959 the collection moved to the Howard Ferguson house on Avenue Road. Ogreta McNeill, Canada’s first professional music librarian and head of the music library, described it as “a home away from home; a drawing room where people could sit in nice leather chairs with their feet up and listen to music". The collection moved to the new Metropolitan Toronto Library in 1977. (1)

Today, our reference collection for music (including scores) is in the Arts Department on the 5th floor of the Toronto Reference Library, branches hold CD collections of interest to their neigbourhood and we have virtual resources such as Naxos Music Library, Naxos Music Library (Jazz) and Music Periodicals, International. On June 23, 2014, TPL staff tabled a Report to the Board on the Toronto music collection and the Board made a series of recommendations on the direction the library could take in the 21st Century.


IPictures-r-4679n Ogreta McNeill’s eulogy it was mentioned “She had energy, authority and persuasiveness, and, when called for pursued her cause of music librarianship with directness, spirit and determination. And pursued other causes as well: I believe she cancelled her TSO subscription after the infamous episode of the “Symphony Six”.

What was this infamous episode? 

A free Tim’s coffee card to the first response!

Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure.

August 18, 2014 | Ranald | Comments (0)

Parfois, à peine ma bougie éteinte, mes yeux se fermaient si vite que je n’avais pas le temps de me dire: «Je m’endors.» Et, une demi-heure après, la pensée qu’il était temps de chercher le sommeil m’éveillait; je voulais poser le volume que je croyais avoir encore dans les mains et souffler ma lumière…

These first sentences seem to allude to the composition of the novel, much of which Proust wrote at night in bed.

For the half hour that the narrator doesn't realize he's asleep, the novelist of the same name writes into the night, in notebook after notebook ("le volume que je croyais avoir encore dans les mains"), not as a "garrulous old dowager" (Beckett) but with the poise of a Duchesse de Guemantes (and allure of a Saint-Loup), as certain that he's not asleep as that he's not holding his notebook upside down.

There are 2-3 flights a day from Toronto to Paris, from now until the end of October. Torontonians like going. They're able to say, "I'm going to Paris!" They're able to use an exclamation mark, which they seldom find occasion to do. They're able to see what they can't see in Toronto, like Vermeer's De kantwerkster and De astronoom in the Louvre and, in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the cahiers Proust wrote into the night in.

These cahiers can also be seen online (as can the Vermeers), without going to Paris, on the BnF’s Gallica.

Not having written even a short novel in bed, it's surprising, seeing them, to see, though not wanting in allure, how wanting in poise Proust's handwriting is. He was no doubt writing quickly. He wrote on the recto, not verso, of notebooks but sometimes, as in the one below, wrote on the verso as though it were the recto. He was holding the notebook upside down, suggesting hurry. And he was writing in bed.


Proust ms

Titre : Fonds Marcel Proust. II — À LA RECHERCHE DU TEMPS PERDU. A — Manuscrits autographes. XXXI-XCII Soixante-deux cahiers de brouillons comportant des ébauches des différentes parties de la Recherche à divers stades de leur rédaction. XXXI-XXXVII Contre Sainte-Beuve. NAF 16647

Date d'édition : XIXe-XXe s. Type : manuscrit Langue : Français Format : 71 f. - 220 × 175 mm. - Cahier moleskine noire Droits : domaine public Identifiant : ark:/12148/btv1b6000474c Source : Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, NAF 16647

Description : Contient : Combray ; Le Petit noyau des Verdurin ; Le Marquis de Guercy ; Sainte-Beuve et Baudelaire Provenance :

Date de mise en ligne : 09/10/2009

HootSuite! A Timesaver of a Website for Social Networkers.

May 10, 2014 | Bhowatson | Comments (0)

HootSuHootsuiteite is a great networking tool since it enables the amalgamation of various social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, MySpace, Foursquare, WordPress, Mixi and TrendSpottr.

 HootSuite's creator and CEO, Ryan Holmes used crowdsourcing to choose the new name of his company in 2009.  In 2012, OMERS recognized this Vancouver company's value and invested $20 million into this dashboard-based media management system.

The Obama Administration, Facebook and Virgin Group are a few of the organizations and companies that use HootSuite.   gives you an idea of how HootSuite can be used.


Have You Visited the Pew Research Center Lately?

April 26, 2014 | Richard | Comments (0)


The Pew Research Internet Project includes the kind of information that we like to cite in library reports and documents, notwithstanding its focus on the United States.

According to the website, "The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project aims to be an authoritative source on the evolution of the internet through surveys that examine how Americans use the internet and how their activities affect their lives."

Much of this information is applicable across the boarder here in Canada.

The website was listed as an Outstanding Choice Title in 2006.

While there have been some formatting changes in recent times, it is worth quoting the review in full:

"Outstanding Title! 44-0384 Internet Resource

Pew/Internet: Pew Internet & American Life Project.

[Visited Jun'06] Anyone searching for information on the digital divide, generational differences in Internet use, or how people use the Internet in everyday life will find this site essential. One of six projects from the nonpartisan think tank Pew Research Center, Pew/Internet hosts reports and data that "explore the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life." Content dates from 2000 to the present with frequent updates. Searching for reports is easy and may be accomplished through a pull-down menu listing broad categories (e.g. demographics, health, education, online activities and pursuits, and family, friends, and community) or a search box. The site is organized into seven sections that include Reports, Presentations, Data, Press, and Latest Trends. Each section offers summaries and access to full-text documents. The Reports section summarizes recent reports, e.g., "Finding Answers Online in Sickness and in Health" and "Internet's Growing Role in Life's Major Moments," and provides links to the full text in PDF file format. The Data section provides links to the survey datasets for the reports; Latest Trends provides links to charts and Excel files for "Who's Online" and "Internet Activities." The site offers a wealth of Internet usage information and analysis that differs from the plethora of marketing research sites online, and it provides vital data not covered by other entities such as the General Social Survey or the various public opinion polling agencies. Visitors may use the RSS feed or sign up for a newsletter. Content is also searchable through the main Pew Research Center site Summing Up: Highly recommended. All collections.

--S. Clerc, Southern Connecticut State University - Copyright 2006 American Library Association"
Looking at the website in 2014, we see a continuation of the same preoccupations, as many new and interesting reports, presentations, and data sets address issues pertinant to Pew's mission:

Summing Up: I would recommend bookmarking The Pew Research Internet Project website, and check it from time to time for developments important to our work.

Our uncommon shared future

December 19, 2013 | Richard | Comments (0)


And what's brought down . . . deposited books caught by a passing maelstrom

IMG_0413The move to the electronic forms of publication, and sometimes to the exclusion of print versions, is something many of us have understood to be coming. In May of 2012, I reported in Government Publication to go paperless by 2014, that the Canadian Government will stop producing print publications.

How will this new environment change the way we conduct research? Naturally we will be more dependent on computers, but we will also be more reliant on the institutions, public and private, that preserve and make accessible e-content, content that was once only available in print.

The preservation and access to electronic publications sounds straightforward, but it is not. Required are stable links to authoritative information available on various devices through a variety of platforms and applications using agreed upon standards over the varying life spans of various documents or publications.

Many of us are familiar with the experience of locating information on the internet in an idiosyncractic way. Google can be great, and so can much more specialized search engines like "MADGIC ", or even "Government of Canada Publications Search", but why can it still be difficult to find what you expect to be obvious? Such difficulties are larger than issues related to simple indexing. It could be that aggregation will eclipse indexing as the single largest challenge facing our new information ecology. In fact, it may be time to begin re-defining the very term publication.


For an expert summary and detailed discussion of the evolving digital landscape, I can highly recommend, Facing Change: A Perspective on Government Publications Services in Canadian Academic Libraries in the Internet Age, prepared by Sherry Smugler for the American Library Association. Ms Smugler began her career at the Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library and subsequently became a Government Publications and Reference Librarian at the University of Toronto's Robart's Library. Facing Change should be of interest to anyone who deals with the production, use, and administration of government information, not just to those in academe.

The report emphasises the need for co-ordinated approaches to addressing the complex issues surrounding the provision of government documents online in an era of diminishing resources. The following example illustrates 'why'.  Library and Archives Canada (LAC), charged with preserving our history and making it available, announced last year the elimination of 210 positions, including government documents specialists, and cuts to digitization staff by 50%.

The future looks daunting. Currently, less than 1% of LAC holding's appear to be digitized. By one account, provided by the Canadian Associaton of University Teachers (CAUT) "it will take LAC 300-700 years to digitize its pre-2004 holdings". Computers will advance, but most of the material still appears on pages of printed type. Here we are only talking about the historical record. Not mentioned are subsequent post-2004 holdings.


One Facing Change conclusion: the "best way forward may include a range of governmental and non-governmental organizations and insitutions with a stake in the creation, preservation, organization and dissemination of government information". Some of the many current stakeholders in this collective effort are listed in Smugler's report:

CIC-Google Government Documents Project
Depository Services Program (Canada)
Digital National Security Archive (ProQuest)
Digitization Projects Registry (US)
Early Canadiana Online
Government of Canada Web Archive
HathiTrust Digital Library
Internet Archive
Library and Archives Canada
Library of Congress Web Archiving
National Security Archive
Parliament of Canada
Save Library and Archives Canada (CAUT)
Statistics Canada
University of Toronto Academic Librarians

To this list, we may also want to include, the TPL Digital Archive and Our Digital World.

And what of future stakeholders? Who will they be? And how will they organize? Challenges of changing enivironments make collaboration difficult but even more essential. As Smugler writes, a "healthy democracy thrives on open, free, easy access to information produced by its government". 




Here is an historical question for decade's end: will 2014, the year that Canadian publications transitioned from paper to bytes, and stopped producing hard copy in print, be viewed as a 'signpost' of progress in our democracy?

Given print's illustrious 500+ year history, who would have predicted, even a decade ago, the swift fulfillment of the antitypes?

Let's hope we can navigate in this new environment, and move more confidently toward the common goal of preserving and providing access to shared government publications, in whatever form they take, for the generations of current and future researchers.

Below is a picture of the Toronto Reference Library's extensive collection of The Canada Year Book, a work that has been published for over 140 years, and considered by many as the government's flagship publication (2). It contains statistical information that documents the economic, demographic, and social life of Canada. According to an announcement posted in the Daily, Statistics Canada "will continue through other means to keep Canadians informed about their social and economic life". The 2012 issue is the first item on the far right pictured below, and the last to be published for the foreseeable future.



(1)  Discussions about types and Set4antitypes are normally part of biblical exegesis, but For Frye, the field of typology* can also have more secular applications. Typology leads to a theory of historical process, he says, pointing to "future events that are often thought of as transcending time, so that they contain a vertical lift as well as a horizontal move forward', much like waking up from certain types of dreams, "when we wake up from sleep, one world is simply abolished and replaced by another".  This sounds familiar enough.

*Typology should not be confused with typography, the art of letterpress printing, Wink.

 (2) For electronic versions of past issues of The Canada Year Book, click here.


If you have read to this point, you may also be interested in this earlier post.

Generate This!

December 7, 2013 | Diana S. | Comments (0)

I’m sometimes at a lost to come up with a random phrase quickly – especially when different sentences to use to test typing skills, or demonstrate the text formatting features Arrows01of Microsoft applications are needed. The often used ‘the quick red fox jumped over the lazy brown dog’ can be boring. You would want something interesting and different every time

It’s the same for passwords. When you’re asked to think of a password, there are sometimes specific requirements such as a certain length, or the password must contain a symbol and a number. Sometimes, bad passwords such as ‘password’, or ‘123456’ are used. I find myself thinking that there must be a generator out there for passwords, sentences, or random words. If there are QR codes generators, then why not a generator for other things?


QR Code Generator
The QR code generator was featured in an earlier blog QR Codes – What are Those Strange Things? Short for ‘Quick Response’, you found out that QR codes are square black dots usually arranged on a white background in a square grid. You can generate a QR code for a phone number, an eMail address or a url. For instance, the QR codes for the IST Blog and the text "IST Blog" are:

   QRcodeURL          QRcodeTextISTBlog

Which one is the url for the IST Blog and which one is the text "IST Blog"?
There are numerous QR code generators including: Create QR Code;; Kaywa; and


If you’re having difficulty choosing a series of numbers on a whim, try Random.Org to create an arbitrary group of numbers. The Random Number Picker gives you a choice of picking a unique series of numbers from a range.


Password Generator
The password generator can help with creating passwords that are not easy to guess or crack. It can also be used to make up passwords that have specific requirements of length, characters, or symbols. The Secure Password Generator helps create passwords of varying lengths. You can choose to have the password contain a combination of symbols, lowercase letters, upper case letters, numbers, or characters. Another password generators is the Random Password Generator to create passwords that you can pronounce.


Phrase generators help create random phrases and sentences.  The creates nonsensical corporate slogans and missions statements (e.g. “We will continue to deliver international knowledge bases for today’s new economy corporations.”); random financial advice and finance jargon (e.g. “In lump-sum sectors, never prepay standardized credit exposures.”); or random political rhetoric (e.g. “Unlike my opponent, I believe in our precious environment, our sense of trust and our brave police force.”).

The Sentence Generator generates a random sentence from a list of words (e.g. “Over and over a flock of steady misers and two jovial hyenas accidentally pursued the cruel jerboa with a toaster.”) or you can use your own list of words (e.g. “Every Friday a cloud of hulking ranalds and ten spotted richards and dianas painfully counselled the kingly tiziano.”).


Word Cloud
Word clouds are visual representations of a series of key words or popular terms. They are fun can be used to make .ppt presentations interesting. Wordle generates word clouds from text that you provide. For instance, the word cloud for terms related to ‘innovation’ is:


The word cloud for most of the IST blog titles is:

  WordCloudFromBlogTitles 02

Not only can you create word clouds from simple text, but also a web page url, or even a whole file. Some word cloud generators offer options of different font styles and size as well as varying colour combinations, and layouts.

A selection of word cloud generators include: TagCrowd; Word it Out; and Tagxedo.


What different generators can you think of?

When Everything is Online, Why Come to the Library At All?

August 22, 2013 | Susan | Comments (0)

I recently came across a short TEDx Talk by Chrystie Hill, Community Services Director for OCLC's WebJunction, and author of Inside, Outside, and Online: Building Your Library Community. In it, she asks the audience to think about that all-too familiar question, "When everything is online, why come to the library at all?"

Her talk is just under 13 minutes long, but touches on a wide range of libraries and their services all over the world, including:

  • YOUmedia Lab in Chicago, a learning space that helps teens build their skills and create digital projects, froms songs to videos to photography to podcasts
  • Veracruz, Mexico, where buses deliver technology and education to remote rural communities 
  • Aarhus, Denmark, in which the practice of participatory democracy (aka community input) generates a new model for a public "mediascape" library that focuses on networked, open spaces, and collaboration. 

Ultimately, she says, the library of the future is not about storing books. What is it, then? Well, she says, "we get to decide, we get to do what we want, and everything is allowed."

Although her talk is over a year old now, it was new to me, and I found it informative and inspiring. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out below:


Digital Public Library of America

April 22, 2013 | Susan | Comments (0)

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) has just been launched by Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet Society.

Digital Public Library of America website

Like the Europeana library, DPLA collects digital objects and their metadata from libraries, archives, universities, and other cultural institutions and makes it all available through an online portal. Contributing institutions so far include the Smithsonian, the National Archives, the New York Public Library, Harvard University, and several others across the United States.

You can search DPLA by keyword, browse by subject, map, or timeline, or explore curated exhibitions, which are organized by theme (e.g.: Activism in the U.S.) and sub-theme (e.g.: Civil Rights Movements; LGBT Activism; Women's Activism). If you register for an account, you can save your searches and items and create "playlists" to refer to or share with others.

You can also access all of the related metadata, which DPLA has decided to make freely available under the CC0 Public Domain Declaration. DPLA and Europeana have already worked together with that metadata to create an app that allows for a combined search of both resources. The metadata has also been used by the awesome Harvard's Library Innovation Lab to create DPLA StackLife, an app that makes (parts of) the virtual collection visible and discoverable.

At this point, DPLA is still pretty buggy and not yet completely formed. But it is an impressive start. Librarian and historian Robert Darnton, and one of DPLA's founders, describes the DPLA in an article in The New York Review of Books

"How to think of it? Not as a great edifice topped with a dome and standing on a gigantic database. The DPLA will be a distributed system of electronic content that will make the holdings of public and research libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies available, effortlessly and free of charge, to readers located at every connecting point of the Web. To make it work, we must think big and begin small. At first, the DPLA's offering will be limited to a rich variety of collections - books, manuscripts, and works of art - that have already been digitized in cultural institutions throughout the country. Around this core it will grow, gradually accumulating material of all kinds until it will function as a national digital library."

You can read more about DPLA in this Library Journal interview with Executive Director Dan Cohen, including his response to concerns that DPLA will replace some of the functions of public libraries. For some initial reaction to DPLA from librarians, take a look at this Library Journal article. And don't forget to take a look at the DPLA website itself and share your thoughts (I'm thinking, hm, what about a Digital Public Library of Canada?) in the comments section below.

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