Author Archives: kendraperkins

About kendraperkins

I'm Coordinator for the Shanghai Librarian's Network in Shanghai, a community of over 100 librarian professionals from more than 20 schools. I'm Head Librarian at an international school in Shanghai & Extended Essay Co-Coordinator. I'm currently completing my ALA accredited Masters in Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta while trying to keep up with the latest apps & tech.

If This, Then That: Link Apps Together to Double Your Productivity!

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I recently discovered the amazing website: If this, then that 

What does it do?

  • link apps together to automatically work together
  • saves you time!

How does it work?

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Create a recipe, or choose from combinations that have already been created for you.

You can create connections between apps/products that you love to make them work more efficiently for you – if this… then that happens (aka you are making conditional statements)

Their about page explains this in more detail (https://ifttt.com/wtf – I love that the URL is wtf instead of about 🙂

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Pre-made recipes are categorized for you and include all kinds of cool websites, news channels, media, etc…

Clicking on existing recipes allows you to quickly connect them:

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They continue adding more apps all the time. Most are useful, some are interesting…

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Enjoy!

Kendra Perkins

http://www.theinspiredlibrarian.com

http://www.about.me/kendraperkins

Pocket: An Easy & Quick Bookmarking Tool that’s Free

I love Pocket! It’s a Chrome extension, and it’s something that I actually use. Yes, you have to sign up first, but that’s pretty painless. And it’s free. There is a premium version, but it seems unnecessary. Everything that I use is available on the free version.

Why Do I think it’s useful?

I use this to quickly save articles, videos and whatever else to read later. I find this particularly helpful when I’m scanning through Twitter, Flipboard or my favourite blogs. If I see anything that seems interesting I simply ‘pocket’ it to go through later. Create tags that are easy to remember, these can as silly or as practical as you want, whatever will help you remember it.

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How do you use it?

To access all the cool stuff you’ve saved click on the cute little pocket to the right of the address bar (I used Chrome browser).

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When you get started you have “My List” where you find everything that you’ve ‘pocketed’ for later. You end up with what looks like a Pinterest board, it’s really visually appealing, and you can scroll through everything you’ve saved.

The search feature is excellent. I’ve always preferred to use search features in my email or spotlight on my Mac to find everything so I find this makes it very easy to find anything I now have time to read/watch. I’m really bad about not making folders to organize stuff properly (I know, not very librarian-like), so I heavily depend on good search functions.

Here’s what what Pocket looked like when I made this blog (I am constantly removing things as I finish reading them and adding new content, it changes almost daily):

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Automatically syncs! Yay!

It automatically syncs to your phone, other computers and tablets. You can view articles offline, excellent for commuting on the metro or bus. This is particularly time saving when you use multiple devices like me. My work laptop and home laptop are now seamlessly connected. No more links saved to my bookmarks on one laptop, which inevitably I forget which one I saved it to and then waste a lot of time hunting around.

Looking for more time saving extensions/apps?

Check out what else there is under the category “productivity”. Tons of great products out there, though it’s easy to waste more time looking through these and testing them than actually saving time by using them…

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Kendra Perkins

http://www.theinspiredlibrarian.com

http://www.about.me/kendraperkins

Rasterbation: Just as Fun as it Sounds!

Have you always wanted to print off amazing infographics but they only want to print off so small that you can’t read it? Or have you ever wanted to create amazing displays or artwork using images spanning multiple sheets?

www.Rasterbator.net is for you.

This strangely named software is:

  • completely free
  • does not require signing up
  • has multiple options & fun settings
  • quick!

Mini Tutorial to create a printable infographic:

  1. Click create your poster

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2. Choose from 3 different easy options to drop in whatever file you want to rasterbate

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3. Moving onto step #2 Paper & Size

Here is where you start to have a lot of options. This could take some playing around with to print out correctly. Be careful, the default output size is set to 4 wide, which means 16 pages (4×4) will be used (highlighted in purple to show where it displays the amount of papers used).

  • Choose your paper size
  • Choose your margin size
  • Choose the number of pages you want to use (output size)

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4.Next, Step #3 Style

Have fun taking a look through the different poster styles available. The default is rasterbation. For me, No Effects is enough. I mostly just want to print fun infographics

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5. Step #4 Color

Simplest settings to just print an infographic

  • Raster colour – multicolor
  • Presets – Boring Panda (the names for the color options are awesome – read through them!)
  • Background colour – white (if you’re cutting off the margins after printing leave this as white)

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6. Step #5 Options

Already set to plain enlargement – perfect for printing the image as is

  • choose other options only if you want to alter how the image looks

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7. Before going ahead and rasterbating

  • double check that the margin size is okay (click Show margin)
  • Crop marks – selected this leaves marks that make it easier to cut out, if you want the border to be white all around (i.e. if you are not going to cut off the border) deselect this!

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8. This page makes you think you have to pay money, but take a closer look, it’s optional. I used Chrome browser and my image automatically downloaded and was waiting for me in the downloads folder of my Mac.

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9. Done! You know have a printable PDF file 🙂

  • Inside the purple square are the crop marks (crop marked box checked)

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Fun Facts:

“Rasterbation is often the subject of record-breaking attempts to create the largest and most impressive tiled prints”.

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“In June 2012, another graduating class from the University of Toronto Schools produced 74 9’x9′ rasterbations in one night, each incorporating 143 sheets of 8.5″x11″ letter-sized paper, for a record-shattering total of 10,582 sheets. Each rasterbation included the face of one of the graduating students with a doorway cut out of his or her gaping mouth – altogether, they created a corridor of mouths throughout the school’s hallways”. – taken from Wikipedia

 

 

And…

Check out their Stats page full of fun statistics like total number of rasterbations, favourite times for rasterbating, etc.

Have fun!

Kendra Perkins

http://www.theinspiredlibrarian.com

http://www.about.me/kendraperkins

RefME: The Best Reference Generator Around & it’s Free!

With more and more reference generators starting to charge money for premium versions and providing less and less features on those free versions I sought to find a better solution for our students. By far the best one I found was RefME. 

Favourite Features:

1) Syncs your saved references to all your devices (Android phone app,iPhone, iPad, Chrome Browser extension, from the website itself)

2) Scan barcodes! As a librarian I was thrilled with this feature – fastest way to create print material citations – works with ISBN, ISSN

3) FAST – I love the Chrome extension version, click on the extension on any webpage and viola! Reference generated

4) Huge variety of citation styles (7000+) and formats (30+) available – FREE

5) Export feature allows you to quickly export citations to multiple other apps, Word doc, simple copy & pasting is made easier

6) Import feature – awesome for saving time when you want to keep all your references in one place – for example, if you started creating a reference list on a Word Doc, you can import them quickly to keep them organized and without losing formatting

7) Easy Collaboration – Group Work feature that allows you to add others to your project to keep all references in one place 🙂

8) Flexibility – Need your students to add the URL to citations? Or don’t want your students to? RefME allows for both, easily

9) Educator’s Toolkit is available  – request one!

Quick Tutorial (browser version):

1. Sign up! Easy…

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2. You’re ready to go! Create a project on the left by clicking Add Project, Click Select Style to choose from over 7000 citation styles and then get started by clicking +Create Reference

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3. From the +Create Reference Page it’s very easy to choose the format of the item you need to generate a reference for.

Website: copy and paste or type in URL

Book: Use DOI (excellent for citing journal articles!), title, author, ISBN (can scan a book from a scanner hooked up to your computer), URL

Journal: Title, author, URL, DOI

Video: Title or URL

or Choose More — many formats available (see Format Options (extensive!) below)

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Enter Manually

This let’s you type in all the information yourself. Great for providing a framework for students.

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4. Choose your citation style by typing in the name and then selecting from the multitude of choices. They highlight the most common version that is the most current (i.e. below the 7th edition of MLA is highlighted, APA, Chicago, Harvard, etc. all highlight the most current standard version so it’s easy to ensure you’re using the most recent edition).

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Excellent for IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) students who need to add a URL to citations for their EEs (extended essays). RefME allows you to choose between adding the URL to the citation or not, for example:

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5. Add notes – you can highlight text from webpages, or manually type it in and save it with the citation for later use!

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6. Finished? Export feature is fantastic! Save the formatting, don’t risk losing italics or underlining when copying and pasting from different software.

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Android App version:

The Android app version was very quick and easy to use. It synced well with my browser version. Great for working in the library. I can quickly scan barcodes, find quotes or information that I need and put the book back without worrying about needing another detail.

iPad app version:

No real notable differences in usage. Easy, scanning barcodes worked without a problem 🙂

Format Options (extensive!): 

·       Artwork

·       Blog Post

·       Book

·       Book Chapter

·       Book Review

·       Classical Work

·       Conference Paper

·       Dictionary Entry

·       E-Book

·       Encyclopedia Entry

·       Figure

·       Film/Movie (DVD, Etc.)

·       Gazette

·       Hearing

·       Interview

·       Journal Article

·       Legal Bill

·       Legal Case

·       Legislation (Act / Statute)

·       Magazine Article

·       Manuscript

·       Map

·       Musical Score

·       News Article

·       Pamphlet

·       Patent

·       Periodical

·       Personal Communication

·       Post

·       Regulation

·       Report

·       Review

·       Scientific Dataset

·       Song (CD, Etc.)

·       Speech

·       Standard

·       Thesis (Or Dissertation)

·       Treaty

·       TV/Radio Broadcast

·       Video

·       Webpage

 

Other Reference Generators that I’ve used (paid & free versions) with Students and why I’m no longer using them:

EasyBib.com now only allows you to use MLA for free and with the paid for version they have made significant changes in pricing that is leaving many schools questioning if it’s worth keeping anymore. Often confuses the date when websites are from countries that list dates in different orders (i.e. UK: day-month-year, USA: month-day-year, China: year-month-day). This leaves you with incorrect citations when any combination of these are mixed up.

NoodleTools is a great paid subscription option, but again it’s a paid for subscription. It does not offer as many citation styles and formats as RefME. Additionally, we had trouble with pages loading slowly (Note: our school is in China). We discontinued our school’s subscription.

Kendra Perkins

http://www.theinspiredlibrarian.com

http://www.about.me/kendraperkins

Source:
 https://www.refme.com/?utm_source=Educators&utm_medium=formconfirmationpage&utm_campaign=Edu_General