Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Using Bloglines?

Are you reading a lot of blogs? How are you keeping track of what you've read & what you haven't? It's really easy with Bloglines (and no, I don't work for them!!)

You can see some of my favorite blogs here (you'll be asked to create an account) and then click the ones to which you want to subscribe. You should see something like the image above when you log in.

You can subscribe to *this* blog by clicking on the Subscribe with Bloglines button on the left, below the list of previous posts.

What's cool about Bloglines is that you can organize your blogs into various categories. I have some Library blogs, some Mac blogs, and some Cog Sci blogs, all sorted the way I want.

After you have a Bloglines account, you can read all your blogs in one place. Your "feeds" (ie, blogs) will be in bold if there are new entries, so it's easy to tell which ones to check.

You will see the blogs in the Bloglines window; to see the blog post in its original window, click on the title of any post. You can email posts to yourself or someone else (see the little "Email This" icon at the bottom of the post?). You can also click "Keep as New" so the posts you like will stay listed in your Bloglines account. Handy if you're skimming lots of posts & want to save a few for later.

This is a very quick intro to Bloglines; you can see Bloglines' FAQ & find out even more.

Blog on!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Find Books *anywhere* and Borrow Them!

Have you seen's Find in a Library? It's the "lite" version of software that librarians have been using for decades to find books, catalog, and lend books to patrons in other libraries (known in librarian-speak as "Interlibrary Loan"), called WorldCat.

It's produced by OCLC, a big name in library catalogs, and they say "Over 1 billion items in more than 10,000 libraries worldwide." You may wonder what an "item" is -- it's librarian-speak for books, videos, DVDs, CDs, cassette tapes, and many more things that libraries own & lend.

You can use this database to see who's got a book in a nearby library - I can see that over 1000 libraries own Ellen DeGeneres' The Funny Thing Is, including Simmons College (print) and the Boston Public Library (cd).

If you put in your zip code, you can see which libraries near that zip code own the book, and if you click on the name of the library, you can check their catalog to check if the book is on the shelf. Then you can go to your library (the one where you have a library card) and ask them to get it for you (using the coolest thing known to libraries, Interlibrary Loan). Presto: you've got a great book to read, listen to, peruse, etc.

Try it yourself in the search box to the left of this post.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Finding audio in Oklahoma City

A friend asked how to find audio books, etc. in Oklahoma City. Here are some instructions, along with a screen shot of what the search screen should look like:

Start at the Oklahoma City library, who says "The Library System has thousands of CDs, audio tapes, videos, and DVDs."

From there, the directions to search for audio are kind of tricky, but they work if followed correctly:

1. Go to their Library Catalog and Renewals (CyberMars). This link lets you search the catalog if you don't have an OK library card. There is another link to use if you do have an OK library card & can log in.

2. Click on on the top left of the blue bar

3. Click on the Advanced Keyword Search

4. Look for the pull-down under the word "Media" (just under the search box) and select "Audio Only" from that pull-down (see photo)

5. Search for anything from that box -- I searched for "travel" and found 69 results sorted by most recent publication date. Of the first 13, all were books on CD.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Evaluating Health Information

MedlinePlus offers a great set of material on how to evaluate health information online. It includes links to …

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Medical Information

I made this page on health/medical information on the Web a few years ago for a friend with lymphoma. I had to update it today for a relative with breast cancer. Librarians show love with information ...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Searching for Books in W Mass Libraries

Here's how to find books, CDs, tapes, DVDs, etc. in western Mass. libraries. Not only can you find the books, you can easily request items from another library in western Mass. & have it delivered to the library of your choosing. All you need is a public library card. It's very simple!

To search the library catalog for all western Mass. libraries (sometimes known as C/W Mars), go to your library web site & find the link, or go directly to

From here, you can search by title, author, or keyword. A keyword search lets you search by any words that appear in the title, author, subject heading, or most other fields in the book / CD / tape’s catalog entry. Kind of like Google.

At the keyword search screen, you can also search by “material type”, which is library-language used to distinguish a printed book from an audio book (and to sub-distinguish between a book on tape vs a book on CD). Using this box, you can also search for music on CD or music on tape, or videotapes, or DVDs, or even large print books. You have to enter a word in the search box as well.

For example, you could search for “bluegrass” in the keyword box and “material type” = “music(tape)” to find 9 cassette tapes of bluegrass music. These 9 tapes are housed in various libraries around the area – Belchertown, Springfield, Williamsburg, for instance.

To find out more about it, click on the title of the cassette, book, DVD, etc. that you want. You’ll see what we librarians call the “full record”, which includes the author, title, location of the book, some notes about it (maybe), and the subject headings.

If you want to borrow one (and you have a library card), simply click on the orange button at the top left of the “full record” screen. Type in your library card number and your PIN (you can leave this blank if you don’t have one).

Here’s the fun part: select a pickup location. They will deliver the item you want to ANY library in western Mass – so you can select your “home” library, a library near where you work, or one that you drive by on your way home. They’ll send you an email or give you a call when the item is ready, and all you have to do is go to that library & request your book, tape, etc.

I use this A LOT and love it. Hope you do too!