Monthly Archives: October 2014

DPLA and North Dakota materials

Digital Horizons is a great place to find North Dakota related images and information but there are a lot of places that hold North Dakota content that would surprise you. DPLA pulls in metadata from hundreds of institutions across the United States. The National Archives, The University of Southern California, the New York Public Library, Boston Public Library and many more have North Dakota related  images available for discovery through DPLA. You have to click on the link in the DPLA record to get to the actual record in the home archive. DPLA is a one stop shop for searching North Dakota images held by non-North Dakota entities. The images below are all from the National Archives and have unrestricted access and use rights.


Grand Forks, ND, May, 1997 — Aerial view of Grand Forks neighborhood and a bridge crossing the flooded Red River of the North

1937 Homestead

Homestead of A. Alin taken in 1937

(April , 1997Grand Forks, ND)- Aerial view of Downtown Grand Forks.

Grand Forks, ND, May, 1997 — Aerial view of Grand Forks the flooded Red River of the North with burned buildings in the foreground


Affordable VR for Fun and Library Programming


The promise of Virtual Reality (VR) has never really panned out the way pundits expected it would, but it remains an intriguing niche technology that often totters precariously close to mainstream acceptance. The Oculus Rift is the latest headline-grabber, but, it remains overpriced and (in my opinion) underwhelming.

Recently, there a new market emerged in open source cardboard enclosures that combine your smartphone and a pair of biconvex lenses to produce the first truly entry-level and easily accessible VR set. The best in class (if that term is even appropriate for something made of cardboard you wear on your face) seems to be the Dodocase.

There was a large of stack of these for sale when I was in Barnes and Noble last night, and they run about $25/each (you may be able to find some cheaper online). It’s worth noting that at this point there are only a handful of VR apps in either the Android or iPhone market, but all the ones I’ve found are free and fun to play around with. If you’re feeling ambitious, there’s Developer Documentation on the Google Cardboard site, to assist in programming your own Android apps.

A few caveats before you get started: a little DIY hacking is in order if you wish your raw cardboard headset to remain sturdy and hospitable and approximate the comfortable accommodation of human heads. Using some electrical tape, felt pads, or Sugru to shield contact points is a great idea, not just for comfort, but also because cardboard is easily besmirched in gross unsightly ways by our sweat exuding noggins.

That being said, you will not find an easier, cheaper, or more user-friendly approach to VR on the market, and I could definitely see patrons coming in to try it out if presented with the opportunity. Good luck and if you do try it out, I’d love to hear about your experiences with it!

New Digital Horizons Website


Digital Horizons launched its new website last week! It now supports enhanced viewing and searching capabilities. For objects with many pages, you can switch to the Page Flip View and view it like an actual book rather than clicking on each individual page. You can browse all the collections or choose one collection and browse. There is also a handy feature that will send you updates on the collections that you choose to follow.


This is the County and Town Histories landing page. You can see recent additions on the right and subscribe to update.

In our collection of County and Town Histories, you can conduct an advanced search using counties or towns as your search term. There is also faceted searching on the left side of your results screen that will allow you to narrow your results. It is limited as it will only show you the top 10 items in each facet for the collection.


This is a screenshot of the faceted searching box that will appear on the left side of your screen beneath the collection boxes.

This is just a broad overview of some of the enhancements seen with the new Digital Horizons website. Happy hunting!

Read for the Record

bunny cakesToday is Read for the Record! What is Read for the Record? It’s a national campaign, organized by Jumpstart, that “mobilizes millions of children and adults to celebrate literacy by participating in the largest shared reading experience.” The event is held each year in October to shine a “spotlight on America’s early education achievement gap.”

This year’s book is Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells. ***You can read Bunny Cakes for FREE online all day today!*** There are also free activity guides and coloring pages. This year’s celebrity ambassador is North Dakotan Josh Duhamel.

Jumpstart’s mission is “to work toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed.” Last year, 2,462,860 adults and children worldwide participated in the event, breaking the record.

Are you Reading for the Record at your library today? Share your stories in the comments! If you want to plan an event for next year, be sure to check out the event resources.

National Non-Fiction November

national nonfiction dayNational Non-Fiction November is an “annual celebration of all things factual.” It has evolved from a single day celebration to an entire month. It is organized by The Federation of Children’s Book Groups, a group “whose aim is to promote enjoyment and interest in children’s books and reading and to encourage the availability of books for children of all ages, from first picture books to young adult.”

Though you are free to celebrate all nonfiction, there is also a theme, should you desire a bit more focus. The 2014 theme is The First World War. Whether you use the theme or not, this would be a perfect opportunity to partner with local organizations such as museums or historical societies for partnered programming opportunities. Each day in November, the site will offer “30 Days of Adventure in the Real World.”

If you are looking for additional nonfiction resources, check out the following:

Of course you don’t have to limit yourself to children’s programming! How do you celebrate non-fiction in your library? Share your stories in the comments!

eReader Privacy Concern Roundup

Unaltered image by SLOWKING used under the CC BY-NC

Unaltered image by SLOWKING used under CC BY-NC license.

There has been a lot of news this past week regarding the manner in which Adobe Digital Editions was found to be openly transmitting reading records in plain text (re: sans encryption).

Many legitimate concerns exist regarding the privacy and intellectual freedom of the patrons for any library that is or has operated an ebook service reliant upon Adobe’s technology (and, in all fairness to Adobe, upon any DRM technology).

Here’s a roundup of this week’s news, rounded out with some related resources.

Updated 10/10/14 at 12:59 to include a link to the Hellman article.

Family History Month


October is Family History Month in the United States. Many people think that family history is something that is buried in the past and requires research. Research can be a large part of family history but family history is something that can be very much in the present. There are a number of ways you can go about documenting your family history without traditionally defined research.

1. Interview a family member about their memories and experiences of growing up. This can be as formal as you want it. It can be nice to have a recording of the interview so people can hear the stories for themselves from the people telling them.

2. Invite some relatives over for a family meal to reconnect.

3. Document your own stories and experiences.

4. Call some relatives that you don’t see often.

5. Organize and label your photographs–better yet, get into your computer and organize your digital memories and find a way to preserve them. People often think that once something is digital, it will last forever. This is not the case with digital objects–they are often more vulnerable to loss through technological failures, mislabeling, and storage on different media types among other things. Consider using a backup service like Carbonite so there is a copy of your pictures somewhere other than your home. Follow the hotlink for some recommendations on cloud backup services.

6. Attend a webinar to get some tips and tricks for starting your research.

7. Put a scrapbook or recipe book together. My uncle put a recipe book together that contained all of my grandmother’s favorite family recipes. It is the cookbook I use most often.

8. For all of you that need an excuse to quilt, put a family themed quilt together. Quilts are treasured heirlooms in my family.

There are scads of other things you can do so get creative. These can also lend themselves to library programming ideas throughout the year. Genealogy/Family History is the second most popular hobby in the U.S. behind gardening so there are a lot of people out there who want to share their story. Go find them for Family History Month.


NASA Wavelength

astronautAre you looking for more ideas for incorporating STEM programming at your library? Check out the resources on the NASA Wavelength site. NASA Wavelength is a collection of regularly updated, peer-reviewed educational resources for use in or out of school with students ages pre-K through college.

You can browse the resources by age of the audience or by topic, and you can refine your searches by type of resource or instructional strategy. If you’re not sure where to get started, check out the sample list of engineering activities for K-5. The nice part about this collection of resources is that it’s not just activity ideas – the science behind the fun is included as well.

Each resource provides an overview of the activity, quickly addressing the important questions in library programming: how long will it take and how much will it cost? The learning times and material costs are hyperlinked, so you can click on them to find other activities of a similar length or expense (though when no cost is listed, there is nothing on which to click).

Scroll down the main page to the NASA Multimedia section for apps, science casts, eclips, and images of the day.

We’ve heard from libraries all over the state that science themed summer reading program was lots of fun for kids and librarians alike. What STEM programming ideas have you continued into the fall at your library?

“Matt Kenseth’s Race Against Bullying”

bullyingThis is definitely a “What do you Geek?” moment for me. I geek NASCAR so, when I found out that one of the current NASCAR drivers is producing a series of children’s books, I was really excited.

On August 26, Matt Kenseth, 2003 Sprint Cup Series Champion and currently the driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing’s #20 Dollar General Toyota, and his wife debuted their first children’s book, “Matt Kenseth’s Race Against Bullying,” written by Gina Gold and illustrated by Adam Devaney.

This first book, in a series of four, is about nine-year-old Matt who has trouble with a bully at his school. With the help of his parents and friends, he discovers ways to deal with bullies successfully, without becoming a bully himself. The book is aimed at children ages 4-8.

Each of the four books will be aimed at helping kids “be more self-confident and make good choices” and will deal with issues that children, unfortunately, have to go through on a daily basis.

This book is available exclusively at General Dollar stores.

Music Programs are Not Luxuries

Music is embedded in human DNA; it’s the universal language. Yet, our current education system devalues it by eliminating or severely cutting school music programs. School administrators are often focused on short-term budget matters, not the long-term benefits of music on student academic achievement and cognitive skills.

Music1 004

Neurobiologists Nina Kraus and her colleagues at Northwestern University’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory published a study in the Journal of Neuroscience. Their research showed that kids who took music lessons for two years not only got better at playing music; they found that musical training improved cognitive skills and helped kid’s brains process speech.

The study took place at Harmony Project in Los Angeles, a nonprofit after-school program that teaches music to children in low-income communities. This area of Los Angeles is a high-crime neighborhood with a high fertility rate. Consequently, there are a lot of little kids with nothing to do after school. Harmony Project was founded to help keep at-risk kids safe and out of trouble. Being involved in music reduced the negative factors of their neighborhood.

Music programs build better brains, so let’s start supporting them. Evidence-based science shows that these programs help kids get better grades and improve social skills, which will carry over into a more functional life. Musical training is not just a luxury.  Taxpayers can also save a lot of money on juvenile incarceration and behavior problems. So, let’s take the long-view and encourage our school administrators and legislators to support music programs.

“Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.” – Hunter S. Thompson