Tech to make the most of #NCLA17: Direct Communication and Networking Aids

Today’s contributor is Julie Raynor, your 2017 Technology and Trends Chair-Elect.

When I attend conferences I usually struggle with two challenges: how to easily keep in touch with other committee members and co-workers during the conference and anything pertaining to networking.

As I was seeking out tools to use next week I came across two apps that I thought would be worth sharing: GroupMe and Namerick.

groupme logo

GroupMe is a free communication app that allows you to easily message other people who have the app and are in your group. You can also setup private chat rooms. This would be perfect for working with co-presenters and coordinating a lunch spot with your co-workers.

It’s powered by Skype, so it works on all devices, tablets, smartphones, even computers–if you’ve forgotten something “mission critical” you can send messages to your co-workers who are at the library and not attending that day. You can even send SMS messages! This would definitely have potential uses beyond the conference.

Once you download the app you can easily create a group and add group members by phone numbers or email addresses.

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Namerick is the type of tool that really comes in handy when knowing someone’s name and connections is vitally important. I have a really bad habit of forgetting a new person’s name almost immediately after meeting them. So, this tool was very appealing to me. Some limitations are that it only works on iPhones and it does cost $.99, but that seemed like a great value.

Namerick uses proven mnemonic techniques of association to aid in memory, especially of people’s names. It also employs repetition to enhance your memory. If memory is one of your weaknesses, this might just be the right tool for you.

At a conference where networking can lead to future career and partnership opportunities, being a successful networker is truly important.

These tools and many more are reviewed in the Sept. 7, 2015 Practical ECommerce article, “16 Mobile Apps for Networking Events” by Sig Ueland.

This post is part of a short series here on the TNT blog: Tech to make the most of the NCLA 2017 Biennial Conference. You’ll hear from TNT Board Members as well as guest authors about tech you can use as a conference presenter and participant to maximize your experience at #NCLA17. If you have an idea you’d like to contribute, email Jenny Dale at jedale2[at]uncg[dot]edu!

Free Friday: GIMP.COM: The Free and Open Source Image Editor

If you find yourself in the position of needing god quality screen shots for library handouts and tutorials, this is a great tool.

Like most image editing tools, there are a wide array of functions available for the more advanced user, but I like this tool because it isn’t intimidating to the beginner—they even have a set of tutorials just for beginners on their website: https://www.gimp.org/tutorials/

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I also like this tool because it produces some very professional results. It also allows you to focus in on a specific detail on a screen so that you can focus your tutorial on individual steps more easily.

So, to give you a sense of how easy this is to use, I’ll review the steps I use to manipulate screen shots for use in tutorial-type handouts.

First, download the program from the Gimp.com website. Once the program is downloaded, open it up.

On your computer, go to the page you need and click Ctrl-Print Screen to get the screen shot (I’m using a Windows PC and I’ll use the Gimp program for my example).

Once there, open the Gimp program and choose File, Create, From Clipboard. A new window opens with the screen shot.

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Next, if the Toolbox column is open click the Rectangle Select option, or choose from Tools, Selection Tools in the toolbar at the top of the page.

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Click and drag the selection tool over the portion of the page that you want to use. Sometimes using the “zoom” function is useful in this step (From toolbar choose View, Zoom, 200%). If you aren’t happy with what you selected, click away from that part of the page and try again.

Once you’re happy choose Image from the top toolbar and click Crop to Selection.

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Then you can choose to copy the image into your document (File, Copy, Paste) or you can save it for later use (File, Save As). If you save it, I suggest you save it as a .jpeg file (more compatible with websites and social media). At the bottom of the File, Save As box, click the “+” beside Select File Type (By Extension), choose JPEG image from the list, then click Save. It will ask you to confirm this file type, so just choose Yes.

Once it’s saved, go up to File, then Copy and follow the usual steps for copying an image into a document.

That’s all there is to it. If you want to try out the more advanced features, there are plenty of them. I believe you will find this to be a very useful tool for producing thorough, readable, and very professional handouts.

-Julie Raynor, Vice-Chair, TNT Roundtable

Come back Friday, September 16 for our next installment of Free Fridays!

Free Friday: Time to Get Organized!

For this installment of Free Friday, we want to highlight one of the tools in our members only list, a personal organization tool called Cozi.

Cozi is a flexible tool that you can access for free as an app and website. It helps you manage your busy life with a shared calendar, shopping lists, to do lists and more–just as the end of summer/back-to-school season is in sight!

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It allows you to keep track of everything from school schedules and sports activities to grocery lists, meals and chores — all in one place the whole family can access anytime, anywhere.

The plusses: it is a tool that the whole family can share and you can color code the calendar for each family member. You also can link calendars that you already use right to it (Google, Outlook, even Facebook)! It is very mobile-friendly with an app that is compatible with most devices.

When you go to the website, you can access some other cool features. They have a wealth of prepared lists that you can use for a wide variety of tasks, from packing to grocery shopping–they even have cleaning tips! There is also a section for Freebies and Downloads that offers free printable calendars.

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Even though the free version is sufficient for most things, there is also the option to sign up for Cozi Gold at a low cost of $19.99 per year that is ad-free and offers more in-depth features.

So, if you’ve been looking for something to help keep yourself and your family organized, now is the time to try out Cozi!

Also, we want to hear from you! We’ve posted a poll on our Wiggio page asking for input on webinar topics for this fall. So, when you get a chance, go over to Wiggio.com and let us know what you’d like to see. It will take less than a minute to do and it will help us plan upcoming presentation on topics that YOU want. We’d love to hear from you by August 5th!

Julie Raynor, Vice-Chair, TNT RoundTable

Come back next Friday, August 3rd for our next installment of Free Fridays!

Free Friday: Visual Readers Advisory Tool

As a public librarian, we are asked all the time for recommendations for books, movies, even music sometimes.

Here’s a free tool to use for this that’s very visual in nature (and fun, too).

If you don’t know about it already, check out GNOD: the global network of discovery (www.gnod.com). Today’s libraries are all about discovery, so this site will fit right into that aspect of library service!

This site is unique because it uses a mapping tool that allows you to see visually how similar books, music,  movies, and even artists are with each other. There are ads on the pages that are only slightly distracting, but you can turn them off.

For books (gnooks) and movies (gnovies), you type in the name of an author and film, respectively, and the site produces a visual map of author names/movie titles with your selection in the center and a wide variety of options that are similar spaced around it. The names move around on the screen until they reach their final similarity map. The closer the options are to each other, the more similar they are. For this example, I chose JoJo Moyes. If you click on another author (or movie), the map shuffles the names to place that new choice in the center and adds in similar options around that one.

gnod for TNT blog

For the music (gnusic) and art (gnod art), you type in 3 groups/musicians or artists.

gnusic1 for TNT blog

From that it displays options (“predictions”) and allows the viewer to “filter” their options based on their preferences (like, don’t like, or i don’t know). Not quite as visual, but definitely interactive.

gnusic2 for TNT blog

I don’t know what criteria they use to make their recommendations, but the mapping and “predicitons” approaches are both very serendipitous (also desirable for discovery).

So the next time you’re faced with a patron wanting some quick recommendations, why not give gnod a try. They will be impressed by your access to such a unique tool and they’ll leave with some good suggestions. A win-win!

Julie Raynor, Vice-Chair, TNT RoundTable

Come back next Friday, July 22 for our next installment of Free Fridays!