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Posts Tagged Computers

Dissecting the Catalog Record

by John Pecoraro, Assistant Director

The Manhattan Public Library’s catalog is much more than a list of the books, DVDs, CDs, and other types of materials in the library’s collection. If we dissect a catalog record, we find a treasure trove of information about books and authors to enhance the searching experience.

Let’s search for Harper Lee’s new novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” for example. The first screen, the results of your catalog search, gives you what’s called a brief record. In addition to the title and author, this includes the call number, copies available, cover image, and buttons on the right for the full display, and to place a request or hold on an item that is checked out. You might be tempted to stop there, but don’t.

By clicking the Full Display button, or on the title, you’ll discovery much more. The full record includes a brief summary of the title, a list of subject headings assigned to the title, and genres. The author, subjects, and genres are hot links. Click on them for additional titles by the author, or of the same subject or genre. You might even be tempted to stop there, but again, don’t.

Scroll down the page for a link to expert fiction and nonfiction recommendations for books and audiobooks provide by NoveList. Click on the NoveList bar for reviews of “Go Set a Watchman,” author and title read-alikes, and an extensive list of the book’s appeal terms. Appeal terms address the question of why readers enjoy a particular book, and include genre, tone, location of the story, writing style, and subject. You can get to NoveList from your catalog search, or by selecting it from the Research page of the library’s website. Avid readers use NoveList to browse by genre (mysteries, romance, and science fiction among others), appeal terms, and award winners.

Continue to scroll down for suggestions of other titles in a series, similar series by other authors, similar titles, and a list of authors you might also find appealing. Keep scrolling for recommended lists and articles from NoveList, followed by reader reviews and ratings provided by Goodreads.

Goodreads is the largest social network for readers. Its members rate and review books, offering personal opinions to help other readers determine if they would enjoy a title. In our example, “Go Set a Watchman,” Goodreads includes over 8,500 reviews by readers just like you. Not bad for a book that was only published July 15. You can browse other readers’ reviews, or add your own. Click the write a review button, and sign up for Goodreads with your email address. If you’re already a member, click the sign in button on the right.

Don’t stop yet. Scroll on for professional reviews from trade journals including “Library Journal,” “School Library Journal,” “Publishers Weekly,” and “Booklist.”

Once you’ve found a great title to read (or view, or listen to), don’t stop yet. There is so much more you can do in the library’s catalog. Do you need to change your address, phone number, or email address? You can do so by logging into your account with your library card number and password. You can see a list of the items checked out to you, and their due dates. You can renew items. You can place items on hold. You can request to borrow an item through interlibrary loan, or make a purchase request for items you don’t find in the catalog. You can request a personalized reading list prepared by one of our expert librarians.  You can create a list of titles you might want to read later, or save a search you made in the catalog, that will remain a part of your account after you log out. In addition the catalog features lists of newly arrived books on CD, music CDs, books, and videos. You can even see what items the library has on order.

Your library catalog takes the guess work out of choosing something good to read, view, or listen to. Remember that if you need assistance, library staff is another excellent resource for ideas on what to check out.

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults, library services, Mercury Column, News

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Scared of technology?

By Danielle Schapaugh, Public Relations Coordinator

There’s a secret group of people out there (code name EVERYONE) who can sometimes feel intimidated by technology. It almost seems as if technology has constructed a new culture with a set of encrypted rules and customs that are frightening to outsiders. If you didn’t learn the language of the tech-y as a child, never fear! There are plenty of ways to catch up, and the library is here to help.

Here are a few best practices that will serve you well. If you’re a pro, it’s still a good idea to brush up on the basics now and again, so keep reading.

First, you need a system for keeping your information safe online. This is the most important step. Once you’re safe, you can explore and try new things without fear.

Which brings us to PASSWORDS. *Cue scary music.* You need strong passwords for every account, and it isn’t safe to re-use them. Think of the Titanic: if there’s a breach, you want all the security measures and safety locks in place to keep the ship from going down. But how do you manage to remember it all? You don’t. You get to write it down in a password book.

A password book is like an address book for all your accounts. “But how is that safe?” you ask. It’s safe because it’s kept in a physically secure location, and you can write hints rather than passwords if you want to be extra sure the information won’t leak out. Step 1) Find a password book, address book, or even a notebook to use. Step 2) Write down your information whenever you add an account, and keep it up-to-date. Step 3) Stash the book in a safe place that you can still access when needed. Don’t keep the password book on top of your desk or in your purse. Create a physical barrier of some sort so the information isn’t easy for someone else to find.

Next, develop a code for creating and remembering your passwords so you don’t always need to check the book. For example, if I am interested in astrology, I might use the signs of the zodiac as my code. I could start with the sentence “Aquarius likes water,” and replace a few of the letters with symbols such as @ for lowercase “a” and $ for “s.” The result is Aqu@riu$like$w@ter. That’s good, but not great. It needs a little more code, so I will use H20 instead of “water,” and add 3 instead of “e”. The result is a rock-solid password like Aqu@riu$lik3$H20 that’s difficult to hack, but relatively easy to remember because it has meaning for me. If you use the same substitutions for all your passwords, you’ve got yourself a secret code. (Which kind of makes you a superspy!)

Once you have solid passwords in place, you can explore the internet without fear. “But what about all the devices, social media, apps, and everything else? What the heck is a hashtag? This is only the tip of the iceberg!” you plead.

It’s difficult for print materials to keep up with the trends, thus it’s almost impossible to recommend a good book for reference. Instead, try learning online so you can practice as you explore. Start with sites like Microsoft.com tutorials, Learning Express training through the library’s website www.MHKLibrary.org, or www.visualsteps.com, which offer the basics.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You will be surprised at how many other people are looking for the answers, too. If you ask, you will either find an ally in your search or a sage who can answer your question. There’s no shame in the search for knowledge!

Just make sure you’re asking for advice from people you trust. Visit the library, talk to a librarian, and use one of our computers if you want to explore risk-free. Type in your questions online and look at sites with names you recognize like Apple and Microsoft, read instruction booklets that come with devices, ask your friends, or enroll in a class.

UFM offers computer training classes, the library has Tech Tuesday courses, and you can make appointments at the library for one-on-one training, too. Call the Manhattan Public Library at 776-4741 ext. 141 to schedule a session.

Most importantly, don’t give up! It’s better to try and fail than to do nothing and succeed. The world of technology is all around us, and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

 

Posted in: For Adults, Mercury Column, News

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Why You Should Consider the Assistive Technology Center

by Wandean Rivers, Assistive Technology Instructor

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Learning how to use new technology can be exciting, freeing, and totally frustrating all at the same time. If you find you need help, consider making an appointment for personal, one-on-one training in the Assistive Technology Center at Manhattan Public Library. The best part of the ATC experience is that you can explore hardware, software, and devices at your own pace, with a trainer, and without others looking over your shoulder. You’ll gain confidence with each new skill learned, and your experience will greatly reduce anxiety about technology.

We’ll start off your first session with a technology interview and we’ll address two questions – what challenges stand in the way of your using technology, and what are the hardware/software solutions available? Next, we list a few goals, set up a timeframe for completion, schedule a weekly appointment time, and then re-evaluate at the end of that timeframe.

The Assistive Technology Center serves a wide audience. Clients may fall within a profile that includes those with low vision, blindness, limited mobility, learning disabilities, and hearing or cognitively impairments, and their advocates, such as teachers, parents, and caregivers. But we’re also happy to work with patrons who have limited experience with technology or who have a short term, targeted project or skill need, such as downloading e-Books, fine-tuning a PowerPoint, or learning how to navigate Facebook. (more…)

Posted in: Adult Services, library services, Mercury Column, News

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Read an E-Book/Library Tips and Tricks

by Amber Keck, Children’s Librarian

overdrive

September 18th was recently celebrated as ‘Read an eBook’ Day.  At Manhattan Public Library, we value the use of eReaders, and strive to give patrons access to a wide variety of digital materials.  In order to give you more access to digital titles, Manhattan Public Library joined the Sunflower eLibrary consortium, a group of Kansas libraries that have pooled resources in order to provide a greater number of digital titles that are available to you for free with your library card.

Through the Sunflower eLibrary, MPL offers access to more than nineteen thousand titles available for checkout to library card holders. These eBooks can be checked out from any internet connected computer or compatible device—iPads, Kindles, and most newer-model tablets can be used!  Patrons are allowed to check out up to five titles at a time for a one-to-two-week checkout period. (more…)

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New Scanner at the Library!

scannerYou’ve been coming to the library for books, DVDs, music, computers, and printing…and now we’ve got something new for you! Brought to you by popular demand, as of this month, MPL has a brand-new scanner available for your use. Located right next to the first floor copier by the Information Desk, the scanner is free of charge. Scanned items can be either saved to a flash drive or emailed. Items scan in color and with great resolution. The scanner also allows you to see what you’ve scanned before you send it, saving you time and frustration.

New to the world of scanners? Just ask one of the staff members at the Information Desk to give you a quick tutorial on using the different features of this great new machine.

Posted in: Adult Services, library services

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Safe to Surf

by John Pecoraro
Assistant Director, Manhattan Public Library

Is the Internet safe for my children? This is the question most parents want answered. Parents, grandparents, and caregivers all want to keep their children safe wherever they are and whatever they are doing. That certainly includes online. But it’s a jungle out there. Stories of online predators, identity thieves, cyberbullies, and child pornographers fill the daily news. Where can adults turn to find resources for keeping their children safe online?

Start at the public library. There are several books available that can assist parents anxious about the online safety of their children.

facebook“Talking Back to Facebook: A Common Sense Guide to Raising Kids in the Digital Age,” by James P. Steyer offers parents essential tools to help filter content, preserve good relationships with their children, and make common sense, value-driven judgments for kids of all ages. This comprehensive, no-nonsense guide to the online world, media, and mobile devices is a must-have for all parents and educators raising kids in today’s digital age.

It’s no secret that the availability of the Internet and social media has erased the boundaries that protect children from some of the more unsavory aspects of adult life. In “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age,” renowned clinical psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair offers insights and advice to help parents achieve greater understanding, authority, and confidence in confronting the technology revolution unfolding in their living rooms. (more…)

Posted in: Adult Services, Children's Dept, For Adults, library services, Mercury Column, News, Parents

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Need help with learning computers?

Do you or a family member struggle with using your computer? Or is there someone you know that could use some help with computer skills? We can help! Sign up for a 1-hour, one-on-one basic computer class to help get started in the digital world. Bring your questions and we will help fine the answers! For more information, check our web site or call 776-4741 x173 to sign up for a class.

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

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