Category Archives: Reference

2016 ARSL Conference

arslOn October 26-29, I had the pleasure of attending the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) 2016 Conference in Fargo, North Dakota. This was my first national library conference, and what a conference it was! Each day was full of interesting speakers and great sessions.

Perhaps my favorite moment from the conference occurred during Will Weaver’s speech. Weaver is the author of Red Earth, White Earth, A Gravestone Made of Wheat and Other Stories, Saturday Night Dirt, and Striking Out. In his speech, Weaver talked about the importance of libraries and how they have influenced him over the years. He held up a book at one point, and confirmed with the crowd of librarians that it was indeed a library book. He admitted he has the tendency of accidentally stealing library books when he visits them for various engagements. As it turns out, a librarian from the library to which the book belonged was in attendance! As the audience roared with laughter, Weaver had the librarian come up to the front and he returned the book to her.

I thoroughly enjoyed each keynote speaker, and I don’t think there was one session I regretted attending. If anything, I regretted not being able to attend more sessions!

I attended two sessions on programming. One was on teen programs and the other was on how to utilize your community for library programs. The session on teen programs, presented by the librarians at the North Loan City Library in Utah, offered some great ideas: Nerf gun events, teens volunteering at the library to earn points, forming a teen advisory board, and creating an email list just for teens so they can stay up-to-date on what teen-related things are happening at the library.

The mining your community session, presented by the librarian of the Stanley Community Library in Idaho, was just as beneficial. Every community has its gems so utilize them! For example, if someone in your community knits as a hobby, ask this person if he/she would come to the library and host a program on kitting; or if someone is a toy collector, set up a display or have the person come in for a lecture on their history. Some of the great program topics from this session included knitting, adult coloring, lectures, writing classes, music, car maintenance, photography, and cooking.

Librarians are often seen as the people who know everything. As a result, we are likely to receive technology questions that we may not know the answer to, or perhaps the patron is not being receptive. One session on patron technology training tips addressed this. Some of the tips from this session included identify yourself as a technology trainer and do the best you can, create a plan, take deep breaths, narrate your process to the patron, focus on quality, create teachable moments, and implement a resource guide.

Another session, presented by California librarian/ trainer Crystal Schimpf, covered the basics of digital storytelling for libraries and how it can be used for advocacy. Technology is ubiquitous in today’s world so it makes sense for libraries to use it to promote themselves and reach patrons. Libraries can make videos that highlight a database, give a virtual tour, or provide a crash course on services. The sky is the limit! The session stressed that videos should be short but fun. When creating videos you will want to create goals, pick your video platform, write scripts, log your shots, and get the necessary equipment and software (which can be done at a relatively low cost). Once the videos are done, share them on social media and get them out there as much as you can.

One of the more entertaining sessions was presented by Harmony Higbie, director of the Underwood Public Library in Underwood, ND. The session was on Kahoot, a modern twist on trivia. Kahoot can be played for free on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Kahoot can be used in the library for trivia, book clubs, and more! For more information on Kahoot, visit their website: https://getkahoot.com/

In addition to the before mentioned sessions, I attended two sessions relating to digital preservation. If you would like more information on this area, review the services offered by the Internet Archive. You can also contact the State Library’s Digital Initiatives coordinator.

There were around 500 librarians from across the country at the ARSL conference, and I was lucky to meet some of them and hear their stories. One of the librarians I met was from beautiful St. George, Utah, which is where the ARSL conference will be in 2017. The librarian will be the co-chair for the 2017 conference, and he had some great things to say about the St. George area (he even showed me a picture of the view from his backyard to prove his point).

If you are interested in attending the ARSL conference, I would highly encourage you to do so. You can learn more about ARSL and the annual conference at their website: http://arsl.info/

If you have any questions or would like more information on the ideas and conference sessions I shared, feel free to contact me.

A New Session

State Historical Society of North Dakota, William E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection (1-28-46-1)

State Historical Society of North Dakota, William E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection (1-28-46-1)

The governor will present his budget to the legislature today. One of the popular topics that has come up in recent years is oil revenue. This isn’t something new as demonstrated in the above photo from 1952. A Williston  City Commissioner, Neuman Ditsworth, leads a protest against legislative action on a oil tax bill. You can read more about it on Digital Horizons.

Take a few minutes to explore the new Digital Horizons website and our new content! The North Dakota Memories collection has new items from the Pembina County Historical Society and the North Dakota County and Town Histories collection has a number of new books for your searching ease.

Digital Horizons – New Collection featuring Pembina County Historical Society items

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We recently partnered with the Pembina County Historical Society to bring you a snapshot of what the Society has to offer. The new collection, North Dakota Memories, will include North Dakota items that are scanned from collections not housed by the North Dakota State Library. I have started adding items that I scanned in June from the Pembina County Historical Society museum in Cavalier. To this point, the Pioneer Women’s Histories have been uploaded to the Digital Horizons North Dakota Memories collection. This selection of materials contains biographies of pioneer women in Pembina County that was gathered in the 1930’s and 1940’s as part of the WPA program. The text is searchable and contains information on the life of the pioneers, genealogy, and history of the towns and settlements.

I have a lot more material to add so keep your eyes open for more images, artwork and objects from Pembina County in the North Dakota Memories collection!

If you know of a collection that could be part of North Dakota Memories, please contact me-Stephanie Kom at sbaltzer@nd.gov or 701-328-4629. We will provide equipment and training for a period of time and catalog and upload the objects for display on Digital Horizons.

A taste of things to come. Funeral procession in Cavalier, N.D. early 20th century.

A taste of things to come. Funeral procession in Cavalier, N.D. early 20th century.

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.

GrandForksFlood28681

Grand Forks, ND, May, 1997 — Aerial view of Grand Forks neighborhood and a bridge crossing the flooded Red River of the North http://dp.la/item/5ab553d8306799ffe9ece06f3f27b7c7

1937 Homestead

Homestead of A. Alin taken in 1937 http://dp.la/item/6fd63db9e20dff2fd5433942601748f7

(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 http://dp.la/item/8502d955bf0b451f9cb135e911d0daec

 

New Digital Horizons Website

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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.

CountyTownsnip

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.

facets

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. Please contact me-Stephanie Kom at sbaltzer@nd.gov or 701-328-4629 if you have any questions or comments. Happy hunting!

The Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of Reference Works: OED Going Online Only?

This story came to my attention a number of weeks ago, but I thought it was interesting enough to give it a mention – better late than never.

The publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary have announced that they expect the next edition of the OED will not be published in print. The upcoming 3rd edition is expected to consist of 800,000 words and fill a whopping 40 volumes, with an estimated publication date of 2034, a full 20 years behind schedule. In an April 20 article in The Telegraph online, OED editor Michael Proffitt explains that the next edition is taking much longer than expected because the time it takes to research a word’s usage has increased significantly due to the proliferation of information online.

Compared to the 2nd edition, published in 1989, which weighs in at 20 volumes and is currently on sale on the OED website for $995, the upcoming (at some point, anyway) 40-volume 3rd edition would very likely be cost prohibitive for libraries, the primary purchasers of the OED. And that’s to say nothing about the serious amount of shelf space this monster would occupy in print. It makes perfect sense to forgo publishing in print, especially since they’re not expecting a finished product for another 20 years. Even now, large-scale reference works like the Encyclopedia Britannica have already gone to online-only publishing; the last print edition of Britannica came out in 2010. On top of this, libraries are also increasingly shifting their collection budgets away from purchasing print reference materials, which are significantly increasing in price while at the same time decreasing in patron usage. We can expect this trend to continue into the future and by 2034, the publishing landscape and the print versus online publishing balance may look much different even from what we see today. Continue reading

ND Topographic Maps Updated

USGS

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has released 2014 updates for North Dakota topographical maps. US Topo quadrangles (as they are called on the USGS website) are digital topographic maps produced by the National Geospatial Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and are updated every 3 years. According to their website, the maps are created in the familiar 7.5-minute quadrangle format like the legacy paper maps, US Topo maps support frequent updating, wide and fast public distribution, and basic, on-screen geographic analysis.

US Topo maps are available for free Web download from the USGS Store. Once in the store, you can search for a place or address or use your mouse to mark points on the map. A list will pop up with potential matches in that area and you will have the option to view or download but the view is very small where the download is much easier to read. Each map is delivered in PDF format. The download will be a zip file that contains the PDF.

The site also includes some older maps that may be of interest to landowners. The older maps are not comprehensive but for some areas it may be possible to trace the changes and evolution of the landscape.

Database Trial for ND, SD, and MN

minitexODINlogo

SDLN

If you’re a librarian or school teacher from one of the three ‘otas (North Dakota, South Dakota, or Minnesota), I strongly encourage you to take the time to explore the following database trials and provide your feedback.

This is your opportunity to participate in the selection process of the databases that will be available throughout the tri-state region for the next 3-5 years (beginning July 1, 2014). How do you participate? Simply by evaluating the databases and submitting your impressions. Be they good, bad, or meh, the Minitex Electronic Information Resources Task Force wants to know. Feedback must be submitted by April 2nd. 

Here’s the formal announcement: Continue reading

Crash Course on Legal Reference Resources

By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Legal reference questions are challenging, time-consuming, and often originate from stressed out time-constrained patrons. As non-attorneys, there are restrictions on the sorts of assistance library front-line staff can provide. Since these waters aren’t always clear or easy to navigate, guidance is not merely welcome, it’s essential.

Recently, there was a free webinar put on by Joanne Vandestreek of the Utah State Law Library in partnership with the Mountain Plains Library Association. MPLA has made her excellent slide deck available on their site. This is a fast and easy way to learn a lot about how to handle legal questions that arise at the reference desk and where to direct patrons who need more than you can offer. 

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While you don’t have to be an MPLA member to access the slides, membership does help support the ongoing development and availability of great resources like this one.If you enjoyed the slides and work at a library in the 12-state mountain plains region, please consider joining MPLA

North Dakota Oil Spill Report Repository

oilfieldIncidentsHere’s one for those library workers with reference responsibilities: the North Dakota Department of Health’s Environmental Health Section and the Department of Mineral Resrouces’ Oil and Gas Division recently unveiled a new website to assist with research on oil spills within North Dakota and on the environmental impact of these and related incidents.

The site features three tables detailing environmental incidents directly related to oilfields. The tables provide an overview of the incidents as well as links directly to the incident reports.  Continue reading