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May 2011

Why are the Kids on Facebook? And What are They Tweeting About?

May 30, 2011 | Bhowatson | Comments (0)

Wouldn't I like to know!  As I creep around Facebook as "Stalking Auntie", I find out that my niece has been accepted to U of T and loves the "Crazy Nasty*** Honey Badger".  My friend's daughter has just ended anMan_question_mark important relationship and all of them are posting tons of photos of themselves so all the world can see.  WTH ? (My cleaned-up version). 

Questions run through my mind as I sneak around inside layers of their personal information and photos. What is drawing these kids into expressing themselves using all the new media that's available to them?  As a librarian, my big question is, "What are we doing to keep up with these electronically tuned-in teens?"

At the IST Spring Lecture on June 1st, Professor Rhonda McEwen might have the answers to my questions and will provide an overview of the effects of new media on the information practices of young people.  At the Faculty of Information, Professor McEwen teaches a course on, 'Special Topics in New Media and Information Practices of Children and Youth - studying the use of cellphones, blogs, Facebook, MMORPGS, (massively multiplayer online role-playing games), Wikis, podcasts, and IM (instant messaging)'

This Thursday at 2:00pm at NYCL, it will be really interesting to listen to a specialist in this fascinating field. In the meantime, I'm busy trying to create my own avatar.  Professor McEwen's Avatar is really   Random!



E-readers and the library

May 23, 2011 | Susan | Comments (1)

E-readers have become increasingly popular in recent months, but not all of the mainstream devices are compatible with Overdrive and are thereore not ideal choices for customers who intend to download TPL's electronic content.  As library employees, customers may seek out our opinion on the best e-readers and how to use these devices.  There are many great reviews of the various e-readerson the internet, and the April 2010 issue of Library Technology Reports provides a useful summary of the devices from a library perspective.  Information staff should also try to attend TPL's Tech Day training when it is offered again to familiarize themselves with the various devices and see how they can be used to improve reference service to library customers.

Gadgets and Gizmos: Personal Electronics and the Library

EasyBib helps the bibliographically challenged

May 16, 2011 | Richard | Comments (1)



Most of us are familiar with the harried looking student who comes to the Reference Desk and announces that they have a paper due tomorrow and they still need to prepare the bibliography. Sure you can refer them to any of the style guides, but isn't there something that can really help?

EasyBib is a free website that automates the process of preparing a bibliography in your choice of formats: APA, Chicago/Turabian, and MLA styles. This could be the best referral.

As outlined in the instructions, preparing a bibliography is a basic three step process:
1.) Search for your source 2.) Build your bibliography 3.) Print or export it!

The first half of the following 3 minute tutorial explains how to use EasyBib to create a bibliography; the second half of the tutorial explains some of its other useful features:


Well that's the idea anyway. But it may take a little time for you to become familiar with the site and to figure out how it works. For example, when starting the search for your source, EasyBib defaults to something called "Autocite" to try and locate your reference. What they don't tell you in the video is that sometimes Autocite doesn't work and can not locate what you are looking for, or even worse, makes some preposterous suggestions. If this happens, you are then invited to complete a "Manual Entry" where you are advised, "just fill out what you know" and "we'll format it correctly".

When Autocite does work successfully, however, the information that EasyBib finds for your reference is simply dropped in a form that allows for editing and annotation. The final step is to click on "Create Citation". The citation has now been added to your bibliography. I have had success in creating references for material across a variety of formats using EasyBib.

One quick example - when I input the part of TPL's website that relates to our Mission - I just 'cut and copied' the URL - it created this citation for me:

"Mission, Vision & Values : About the Library : Toronto Public Library." Home : Toronto Public Library. Web. 01 Dec. 2010. <>.

Try playing around with EasyBib to see if it works for you. I wish this website had been around when I was a student. In summary . . . the strength of EasyBib is not that it is easy to use, but rather that it is capable of handling the complexity and richness of resource types that are found in conducting research today.



Apples, wheat and potatoes

May 9, 2011 | Ranald | Comments (1)

The other day, I was asked by a grade 7 student, alright, by the mother of one, for apple, wheat and potato production, by weight, in a certain year, in all 10 provinces.

I used E-Stat. ApplesAfter "accepting and entering,"

  1. I clicked on “Table of Contents – Data Tables” under the heading Information for Students
  2. then clicked on “Agriculture” under the heading Land and Resources
  3. then on “Crops and horticulture” in the CANSIM group of folders, the top group

Table 001-0009 gave apple production; table 001-0010 gave wheat production; and table 001-0014 gave potato production.

IST Spring Conference #1 - Let Us Meddle

May 2, 2011 | Niki | Comments (0)

Fiacre O'Duinn will be speaking on Augmented Reality at The IST Spring Conference on June 1, 2011

was fascinated that Fiacre  lists his credentials asFiacresmall “Librarian -- Maker -- Technogeek".   Librarian  I understand… Technogeek is pretty standard… but  Maker…what the hey?

Well, as with many other trends over the years, I had missed the rise of Maker Culture.   Boing Boing recently linked to a Maker parody and we all know when the satire starts the trend is mainstream.  At its artsy-crafty end I can even consider myself part of Maker Culture. (I’ve ordered from Etsy and  shopped at The Fresh Collective!)

2011-04-26-tinkerers1 It goes way beyond that though. “Maker Culture? That’s coders, fabricators, foodies, artists, educators, activists, citizen and even scientists grabbing the Do-It-Yourself ethic with both hands and changing our world in the process...These are people who aren't just making things, they're making a point of sharing what they've learned, what they've made, and why. Often, for free. Makers are responding directly, locally to globalization, commercialization, copyright and central command and control.”

Fiacre is a strong advocate for bringing together libraries and Maker Culture. In his blog, Library Bazaar, he links to a great article in Make Magazine that explores this concept.  In Is It Time to Rebuild & Retool Public Libraries and Make “TechShops”? Phillip Torrone states;

"The role of a public library should also adapt over time, and that time is finally here. It’s time to plan how we’re going to build the future and what place public libraries have, should have, or  won’t have. The goal of this article is to get everyone talking about one of our great resources, the public library, and its future…."




I’m off to the first Toronto Mini Maker Faire (May 7 & 8) at the Evergreen Brick Works. One of  my favourite Toronto journals will be there along with the Critical Making Lab from the Faculty of Information, The Science Centre, HackLabTO, Nanotopia and 70 others.  

Looks like fun.


LilyPad Arduino Blinking Bike Patch


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