Monday, March 30, 2015

With the many tasks that librarians are required to accomplish, it is very easy to become overwhelmed.  On my desk right now, I have six pieces of paper with notes about things I need to remember or complete.  Our students face the same challenges.  You may use planners or set reminders on our phones to help remind us of what we need to accomplish.  This month's tech tip is another tool to help organize your many endeavors. is a free online to-do-list.  It is easy to set-up and use.  You simply enter your email, create a password, and click "sign up".  You are now ready to begin.  From here you can create categories that will allow you to organize tasks into different sections or you can simply start adding tasks to your list.

You can separate your items into "top" tasks which put them at the top of the list or you can remove them from the top and put them in a secondary list if they aren't as pressing as other items.

Once you have completed the task, simply click the box in front of the task and it will remove it from your to-do-list and put it on the "completed" list that you can open and see your progress.  You can remove items from the completed list if need by deselecting the box in front of the task and it will be moved back to your to-do-list.

A great way to ensure you see your list is to set Startino as your home page or your "start-up" page if you use Chrome.  This will guarantee that you see you list everyday.

Students might find this helpful when organizing assignment for class.  They can create a category for each class and add their assignments to the list.

I hope you find this a useful tool and share it with others.  Please let us know what you think in the comments.

We hope to see you at TLA's annual conference in Austin.  The DELRT Business Meeting is Thursday, April 16 at 7:45am.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Code Academy

Khan Academy is one of our most viewed blog posts.  To compliment that, we are going to take a look at Code Academy.
This is a great place for you or your patrons to learn basic coding skills.

The tutorials are broken into 3 sections: Web Developer Skills, Language Skills, and APIs.  Each section is broken up by skill and you can choose what skills you want to learn.

Web Developer Skills include making a website, making an interactive website, and making a Rails App.  I'll be honest, I don't know what that last one is but you can learn to do that!

The Language Skills you can learn are HTML & CSS, JaveScript, jQuery, PHP, Python, and Ruby.  I've been working on the HTML & CSS and the Python languages and I'm feeling very comfortable with them.

Finally, there is the API section.  There are 21 different APIs that you can learn to use to make your own applications.

The tutorials are very hands-on.  They provide you with a paragraph or two of information and then have you try it before advancing to the next step.  There are also hints if you get stuck.

Each tutorial is independent of the other.  Once you choose a tutorial, it provides you with information such as technical skill level needed and about how long it will take you to complete it.  Each tutorial is broken apart into lessons.  You receive a recap and encouragement as you finish each lesson.

You create an account before you begin so you can stop at any point and your progress will be saved, even if you haven't completed the entire lesson.

With all the technology today, it is becoming imperative that we know at least a little code to be able to keep up with the world.  Even if you just want to tweak your library's website, you need to know a little HTML or CSS.  Code Academy is a great way to get a few basic skills so that you can hold your own in the technical realm.

Be sure to comment below to let us know what you think and Happy Coding!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Happy New Year!!

We hope everyone had a great holiday season.  Hopefully you had some down time to relax.  I know that we are back to work even though the students aren't back yet.  This is a great time to reorganize, streamline, and set new goals for the new year/semester. 

I normally post tools that can help you with your students and/or the function of the library but today I'm going to share a website that your students might find useful and it can give you some insight into what they are dealing with and what they are trying to accomplish. gives tips and tricks for almost anything.  There are articles and videos ranging anywhere from How to Pack for Freshman Week to How to Improve Your Crappy Car to How to be Successful with Online Classes

One of my favorite things on this site is an infographic about searching better with Google. I think I heard some grumbling but hear me out.

 I know that we want our students to only use the library when completing assignments but, to be realistic, that's not going to happen.  And what happens with our seniors at the end of every semester? They graduate and no long have access to all the awesomeness that is THE LIBRARY...what then?

We have to prepare our students for the inevitability of Google searching.  They already know what it is and they are comfortable navigating though it but we need to show them how to be efficient searchers. 

This infographic gives great tips about searching Google better but that can help students understand our databases a little better too.  Even though a search engine operates differently than a database, knowing that you can tell the system what you want will make our lives as librarians easier because it builds a foundation of knowledge about defining perimeters to get better results.  It even gives a plug about using the campus library!!

Like I said, HackCollege is full of all kinds of information for students and even includes "Study Breaks" which might give you a chuckle or two.  Even if you aren't a fan of searching in Google, give this infographic a look and if you choose not to share it with your students maybe it can help you in your personal searches.

Please leave us some comments below about the site, the narrative, or the inforgraphic.  We would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, November 24, 2014


Happy Turkey Week!!

We at DELRT hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We are very thankful for each and every one of you.

Today I'd like to share with you a site called  It is a great way to make quick little infographics that can be shown in presentation form as well as an image.

There are several templates to choose from or you can create your own from scratch.  My college is currently working on creating a new QEP.  I've used these piktocharts to provide visual representations for our initiatives and goals.

Here is a ready-made Thanksgiving graphic that is available from the site.  Leave a comment to let us know your thoughts and how you can see this implemented.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DocsTeach is a website from the National Archives.  Some of you may be very familiar with it but for those who aren’t, I’d like to take a minute to share a great educational resource.

The National Archives has digitized quite a few items and made them available online.  There are written letters, newspaper clippings, videos, photographs, charts, etc. from different points in American history.  They have sectioned the documents by time period and you can see the main page for that here.

Drawing for a Washing Machine


Records of the Patent and Trademark Office

National Archives Identifier: 595451

This is the printed patent drawing for a washing machine invented by Oliver B. Wright.
But they haven’t stopped there.  They have also created a program that will help you develop lessons to teach using the documents and provide you with tips to teaching students about primary sources and how to use them.  You can find that are here.  There is also a section where you can browse through lessons to use with your students.  Those are located here.

This is a fantastic source, not only for history lessons, but for any research lesson.  One of the hardest things for students to do with regards to research is understand the difference between primary and secondary sources and then find primary sources.  This site helps tackle both of those problems.   

Go check it out and let us know how you or your coworkers were able to implement this treasure.

First Report of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, From Gen. Alfred H. Terry, Montana, to Assistant Adjutant General R.C. Drum, Chicago


Records of U.S. Army Continental Commands

National Archives Identifier: 301976

Monday, September 15, 2014


ComicMaster can help you create visually attractive, comic style flyers that can help you spread the news about upcoming programming or introduce new lesson.  Super heroes are huge right now so why not use that to the library’s advantage.  

The navigation is quite tricky and it does take a minute to get familiar with how to set it up.  It isn’t the best user interface but once you get the hang of how it works it's actually fun!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t allow you to save it to a program outside of ComicMaster, meaning you can’t save it to your computer or a flash drive.  Your only option is to print it which is fine if you are making a physical flyer to post somewhere.  I was looking for something I can post digitally.  So, I clicked “Print to PDF” and was then able to save the PDF to my computer.  I was then able to save it as a JPEG image which is what you see here.

I’m sure that you creative folks out there can make some of these that are much more interesting than this one.  When you do, we would love to see it.  Please share it in our comments section.  I hope you can find some great ways to use this tool and show the world how “SUPER” your library is.

Monday, August 18, 2014


We are beginning the fall semester and that may mean some budget cuts for your library.  In case you had to cut your screen capturing software from this year’s budget, you can still make awesome videos for your library. 

Jing is a free screen capturing software that is very easy to use.  You can create videos up to 5 minutes long and save them to your computer or share them with social media.  These videos upload very easily into LibGuides.

You can also capture images with Jing.  One great use for this would be messaging with patrons.  If your library uses a chat option, you can capture an image, save it to a Jing friendly website (, and send the automatically generated link to the patron in the chat box.

There are also video tutorials to walk you through the process of capturing and customizing the features so learning how to navigate the software is very easy.

If you create a lot of video tutorials and need a free way to do it, Jing is a great option.