Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Readers and Booklovers

I have looked at some of these on-line book suggestion sites previously, and found some are quite good. However, sometimes the favourite book or author I typed in did not result in any findings. Other times I got a useful list to start looking at. I did not find the trails on Twitter were very useful - quite laborious finding my way around the site.

I will use some of these I am sure, in the library

Readers and

File converters

Three cheers for file converters. I am so pleased to know that these things exist - no more having to ask a friend to convert a file to a pdf for me, or open a tricky format. I am sure some library patrons will be equally delighted. I have bookmarked some of the File converter websites for future use.

Looking at the training document on my hard drive and comparing it with Google Docs was interesting. There are some obvious differences, such as the table outline disappearing entirely in Google Docs, the font choice for the heading has changed, although the remaining content could be the same or a very similar font, and the size has changed.

On the hard drive the bullet points are arty and dramatic, whereas Google docs shows them as plain black dots. Bold and italic have remained. I feel that practice with the programme would see mastery of these differences, probably by choosing universal fonts rather than unusual, and playing with the size.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Google Specialist Search Engines part 2

Quite difficult to look for my topic of 'Greek island' in Time magazine as Time wasn't there (thanks for the tip about this!) I did find some articles in Life magazine, which gave me a chance to play around with the advanced search options.

The advanced search option of 'magazines' gave me a long list of magazines and I chose "Scouting". Selecting one issue of my list (limited by dates of publication) results in a page with a large photo of the cover, with a contents page. Within this issue I could search for specific topics - nothing on hypothermia, but several items on safety.

Choosing 'overview' of the magazine was also interesting, and the page brought up several thumbnails for other issues and their content pages.

This resource would certainly be helpful in locating an article about a specific topic in a specific magazine. Learning to refine the search to seek out something less specific would take a bit of practice. I think the resource is very useful and I am sure that library patrons would be pleased to know about it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Specialist search engines - part 1

I looked for videos on the topic of "Amazon forests" in YouTube and Blinkz. Looking for the Exact Phrase in Blinkz using BBC returned me nothing, I needed to be less restrictive. I preferred the advanced search on YouTube, but found it very laborious moving the location - in this case to 'near London' so that I could fairly compare it to the Blinkz search. When I did this both providers achieved about the same number of hits. I found it much easier to restrict content providers than location. I have spent ages on Module 4, so will complete this exercise next session.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Getting more from search engines

There was a lot to look at in this module, and I learned some useful tricks. I did 2 searches - "Authors like Stieg Larsson" and "healthy eating for 4 year olds". For the healthy eating search Google came up with 13 million plus results. Limiting it to News reduced it to 426 items, most of them 'sensational' stories, rather than hard facts. The wonderwheel was better, heading me off in specific directions to locate something useful.
The Stieg Larsson search options of blogs and books did not help me to find the information I wanted and the best the Wonderwheel and I could do was to find general sites for crime writers.
Yahoo was not as helpful in getting results with either search - took me a while to find Also Try, but that option could be quite helpful. The options and advanced search facilities looked really good even though I didn't find what I wanted.
Bing resulted in me finding a good local site for healthy eating, but when I limited the search by country using Advanced Search, I couldn't find the site again. However in Bing I found 2 helpful sites for Authors like Stieg Larsson. I liked the brief profile that appeared for each website on the original list.
Exalead did not help with either search particularly, and I did not find the terms offered in Advanced Search very user-friendly. The idea of visual thumbnails seemed good at first but they are too small to be anything but another form of quicklink, so I felt they were a bit of a waste of time. Perhaps I missed something here - it wouldn't be the first time!
As many patrons will not have explored the search engine options I think they will enjoy finding out about them. Options and advanced searching will be useful in researching authors and topics at the reference desk. I preferred the set up of Google and Yahoo to Exalead and Bing, but I cant deny that Bing helped me most with one of my queries.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Google alerts

Alerts created were
1.New books 2009 Alexander McCall Smith
2.School curriculum Year 8 NZ
3.Steig Larsson book 4
4.Breast cancer young women

The first alert is too broad and needs refining to avoid getting older releases, and too many blogs. I will restrict the alert to news items and change the wording.
The second relates to a patron's question at work recently, but my alert has produced no useful information, and needs careful refining.
I will refine the Steig Larsson alert by converting it to a question.
I will restrict the fourth alert about young women just to news items.

Alerts could be recommended to patrons to keep in touch with new releases by favourite authors, and for those researching particular topics. I think I will set up some alerts on my home email, but will trial them a bit longer to get more experience in narrowing the scope.