Tell Us What You Think!

Hey, Club UGL. You know we love to hear from you. Whether it’s answering your questions via Ask a Librarian or the research desk, getting your feedback via our suggestions box, or hearing your purchase recommendations, we’re all ears for what you have to say. This week, we’ve got a special survey to solicit your opinions about our loanable technology program.

The tech desk is on the upper level of the UGL near the circ desk.

This is where the magic happens. The magic that you will influence, via this survey.

We are constantly seeking to expand and improve what’s available in our loanable technology pool, and we want to hear from you about how we can best do that. That’s why we’ve created this survey to ask what you think about various topics – iPads and iPad apps, Chromebooks, potential new items, and any other ideas or thoughts you want to share with us. The survey opens today (Monday, October 14th) and runs all the way through next Sunday, October 20th. That’s almost a whole week, so you’ve got plenty of time to mull it over and be thoughtful – but don’t forget! If you’d rather take the survey on paper, that’s an option, too – there will be paper forms attached to the whiteboard near the entrance on the upper level. You can turn completed paper surveys in at the circulation desk (and you might get something nice if you do…).

This week we’re asking for you opinions, but coming up in the next week we’ll have some suggestions for *you* – about events on campus, resources you can use, and a project we’ve been working on. We’re looking forward to hearing from you, and we hope you’ll stick around to hear from us.

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Easy E-Reading

In the flurry of wrapping paper and obstinate sellotape that often represents Christmas, did you, dear reader, perhaps suddenly find yourself to be the proud new owner of an e-reader? Or have you long been the possessor of a Kindle, Nook, or iPad, acquired by some other means?

In any case, congratulations. In order to help you get the most out of your device and your library experience, we’re excited to enlighten (or remind) you of the wonders of using library e-books. The library has over 280,000 electronic books available for your use; putting them on your e-reader instead of reading them on a computer could save you a lot of frustration. Think about it: you could read that important article or book chapter on the bus. Or in the bathtub. The options are infinite.

The idea of our patrons using their e-readers to access library content happens to make us so excited that we went and made you a LibGuide for it. The LibGuide is the place to go for in-depth information about how to plunder the e-book treasure troves, including how to make sure they’ll work with your device, but we’ll go ahead and brief you on it here, because that’s what we do for fun.

Finding E-Books

You can find e-books at the library through Easy Search (that friendly-looking search bar at the top of the UGL page), or through the Catalog. In Easy Search, just type in your keywords and press the ‘Search’ button. When you get to the results screen, look for these links to appear in the list of results:

Catalog results are listed under theading "Books, Ebooks, Media in UIUC and Illinois Libraries"

It’s the mother lode!

If you’re going through the catalog, click on the ‘advanced search’ button below the search bar, and on the advanced search screen make sure that the ‘electronic resource’ and ‘book’ limiters are selected, like so:

Choose 'electronic' as your version, and 'book' as your format.

E-books can neither run nor hide from you, because you are a master searcher, and they are inanimate.

Then press the ‘find’ button, and tada! You should have plenty of results to choose from. (Note: Due to licensing issues, e-books are currently not available over I-Share. This means if an e-book is in our catalog but listed as belonging to another library, you won’t be able to access it online. It’s a bummer, but if you’re having trouble finding a copy of a book that you can access, you can always Ask a Librarian about it!)

Getting E-Books onto Your Device

Once you’ve found the e-book that you want, the first step is to download the file to your computer. When you’re actually viewing the e-book online, look around for a button or link that says ‘download’ or ‘PDF.’ The location on the screen will vary depending on who provides the e-book, but it should be around there somewhere. You can always use CTRL+F to do a “find” search for it. Once you click it, the file should be downloaded to your computer.

Most of the electronic resources available from UIUC are available as DRM-free PDFs. Most e-readers should let you open these PDFs with no problems; if you’re using a tablet or smartphone, you may have to download an app for reading PDFs, but there are free ones available!

To figure out how to get the files onto your e-reader from your computer, check out that LibGuide we told you about earlier—there should be tabs at the top for different kinds of devices. Hover over the tab that matches your device, and from the drop-down menu that appears, select the type of e-reader you have. You should then be given step-by-step instructions for how to move the files onto your gadget. Most of them use a simple drag-and-drop procedure, so you should be ready to go in no time.

That should cover the basics! If you find yourself getting really into e-books, here is a list of other sources you can peruse. And as always, if you find yourself confused or stuck or just eager to know more at any point in your searching, just ask us for help!

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Loanable Tech, At Your Service

Cats and students all want to know: can I has this shiny device?
As active and informed members of Club UGL, you obviously know all about our loanable technology options, right? “Of course!” you say. “We check out laptops and chargers and headphones to help us study, all the time!” We know you do, you studious, busy little bees, and we’re glad you get so much use out of them—but don’t forget about all the other tech options that are available to you! For use on assignments or just for funsies and personal projects, we also have cameras, voice recorders, handheld gaming consoles (different kinds!), and tablets—most available for checkout for up to a week at a time. There’s a great big world of shiny technology here for you to explore. Isn’t that exciting?

Not only is our pool of technology large and diverse, but we’re constantly striving to expand it and include more useful gadgets for you. Lately, we’ve been adding lots of video cameras and related equipment for all your amateur and academic videography needs; here are a few we’d like to spotlight and make you more aware of.

The camcorder has a screen that folds out for easier viewing while filming.

It’s a camera! Whee!

HC-V700M HD Camera
If you’re making a video, whether for class or yourself, your primary need is, of course, a camera—and voila, we have just added 10 of these cameras into circulation! They have handy touch-screens to make them more intuitive to work with, and they can capture still images simultaneously with video, at pretty impressive frame rates. These cameras have 16GB of internal memory, but if you need to store even more video, they also accept SD cards. Go ahead, shoot video to your heart’s content!

The tripod is highly adjustable.

Keep it steady.

Tripods
If horror-movie-style shaky cams aren’t what you’re going for in your video project, why not check out a handy tripod to use with your camera? We’ve got itty-bitty 5-inch tripods, and quite tall 72-inch tripods, and some sizes in-between. Keep your camera still, rotate it smoothly, adjust the angle easily—tripods make it possible, and we just added several more. Snap one up!

Flash with mount for different cameras.

She blinded me with science, and LED lights.

Digital Juice Miniburst 128 Light
If you’re trying to film in less than optimum lighting—and it sure is getting dark early nowadays—you can check out one of these LED lights. They will mount onto any of the Panasonic cameras we offer (though you can use them with any camera), and will brighten that scene right up!

The backpack makes it convenient to carry the video camera kits.

It may look plain, but its contents grant untold powers.

Panasonic Video Camera Backpack
If you’re a Serious Videographer with Serious Videographer Needs, we’ve got some goodies for you, too. We just added some unassuming but pretty awesome backpacks that contain not only our Panasonic HC-V700M camcorder (see description above), but also a lavalier mic and a condenser shotgun mic, just to make things extra fancy. If those terms make sense to you and get you going, this is the rig for you. Combine it with the tripods and LED lights, or even a 3D conversion lens (we have those, too!) if you want a really comprehensive setup. Not for the faint of heart, or those with only basic needs.

That’s what we’ve added most recently in terms of video equipment—we also have brand spankin’ new Apple Lightning to USB converters, so that those of you with the newest iPhone can charge ‘em up while you’re visiting us. We have loads and loads of things that we’re just itching to loan out to you—why don’t you glance over our list and see what we can help you with? If you want a more visual interface, you can also browse our Loanable Tech Pinterest board, which is also shiny and new.

You live in the future and have all these gadgets at your disposal to make your life easier (and more fun)—come and get ‘em!

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How app-licable!

Here at the UGL we’re always busy creating new and better ways for you to use the library’s resources and services. In fact, we’re pretty much devoted to it. So we’re super excited to announce a shiny new app that helps you find what you’re looking for more quickly and more easily than ever before.

Well-lit and lookin' knowledgeable.

Bronze bust of the goddess Minerva in Bath, UK. (CC license from Flickr user john.purvis)

The app, called Minrva, is the result of several months of research and development undertaken by UGL librarian Jim “Laser” Hahn and superstar student programmer Nate Ryckman. Minrva – named for Minerva, the Greek goddess of wisdom - features several interactive modules that let you look for UGL resources quickly and easily using your Android mobile phone (iPhone/Pad app forthcoming!).

With Minrva you can…

1. Check for available loanable tech items: If you wake up in the middle of the night dreaming of completing a project for class using a Flip camera, check in with Minrva to see if one’s available. The idea for this feature of the app came directly out of a focus group with students just like you that expressed their desire to look at the loanable tech availability while on the go. Don’t you just love when your dreams get turned into app-reality?

2. Locate stuff in the UGL: Minrva’s locate module lets you look up books in the catalog, and then guides you to their locations on the lower level. Before you know it, you’ll be an expert navigator of the stacks (that’s library lingo for bookshelves…).

3. Scan books using your phone: Find yourself browsing in the UGL stacks and want to know more about a great book you stumble upon? Simply use Minrva on your mobile device to scan the book’s barcode and read a summary to see if it’s worth your time before you take it home.

Minrva is now up and running with more modules planned to roll out before Fall semester begins. Check it out!

 

 

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Super in the Summer

UGL basking in the summer sun

UGL basking in the summer sun

In case you’re currently cursing your summer-class-taking fate, let us reassure you that the UGL (and maybe even the whole campus) stays pretty awesome during the summer. We found at least five reasons the UGL rocks in the off-season. Can you think of more? Let us know!

1) You can always sit in your favorite spot: Okay, we can’t guarantee this because there is a small chance that someone else who is here for a summer class also likes your UGL study spot. But in general, it’s pretty quiet around the UGL and you can snag an entire table all for yourself. A little different than finals week, huh?

2) The line at Espresso is short: So short, they’ve taken down their line-forming barriers. It’s so easy to get a latte these days, maybe too easy. And you’re guaranteed a fresh sandwich.

3) The bathrooms are…well…cleaner: We realize this is an ongoing issue for you guys. We’re working on it as hard as we can! But it’s a fact that since it’s quieter in here during the summer, the bathrooms aren’t used as much and thus stay cleaner.

4) No wait time for group collaboration rooms: So, like No. 1, this isn’t a complete guarantee. There might be some massive run on group projects all of a sudden when pretty much every instructor assigns a group project the same week. But, let’s be real–that’s not too likely. So you should be able to waltz into the UGL and pick up a key for a collaboration room anytime we’re open–no lines, no waiting.

5) Finally check out a Flip camera and an iPad (and a Nook, and a Macbook Pro, and an external hard drive…): The UGL’s unique collection of rockin’ technology is here for you to use all year long, but it’s insanely popular and we can’t even keep some items in stock! This summer, get your hands on one of our new iPads, Nook Colors, and more. Plus when you’re in the UGL doing work (or just soaking up the A/C while catching up on Netflix), we can pretty much guarantee you’ll get your pick of laptops.

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Finally Summer!

vintage image of a merry-go-round

Image courtesy of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums via Flickr.

It’s practically summer! Hopefully you’re preparing to do something fun/amazing, whether it’s finishing gen-eds with some summer classes, doing an internship in your major, traveling around the world, heading home to earn some moola, or something else we haven’t thought of (do tell!).

The UGL will not be doing any of the aforementioned things this summer, since it’s a building, but if you’re staying around campus (or even if you’re off campus and need research assistance) the UGL will be here for you. During the dog days of summer, you can basically do everything you normally do at the UGL, just not for as many hours each day.  Here are some ideas:

Taking a short trip and need a camera? Planning to work on a media portfolio? Studying like crazy for the GRE, LSAT or MCAT? During summer, you can still book and checkout the loanable technology items, collaboration rooms, and other library items you’ll need to accomplish these tasks.

Sadly, research papers do not disappear during summer classes. Never fear! You can also still get plenty of research assistance in person at the research desk and online via chat Mon-Thurs 11-6 and Fri 11-5. On the weekends, you can get research help at the circulation desk.

Here’s a look at our summertime schedule, which begins on Monday, May 14th:

Summer I & Summer II:

Mon-Thurs: 8:30-6

Fri: 8:30-5:00

Sat & Sun: 1-5

You can find the summer schedules for other campus libraries here.

Note: The UGL will close on Friday, May 11th at 7PM, and will reopen again on Monday, May 14th at 8:30AM.

 

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Learn to create iPhone / iPad apps!

Ever had a great idea for an iPhone app and the only thing keeping you from making it was your lack of app-making knowledge?  Well, now you can turn your app dreams into “re-app-lities” (OK, that doesn’t really make sense… but you get what we’re saying, right? You can learn to make iPhone apps!). Come to the UGL (Room 289) next Friday, April 27th from 6:30-8:00PM for an app-making workshop specifically designed for beginners.  No programming experience required! In fact, we encourage those with little or no experience to attend!

This is the second session we’re offering this month.  The first session filled up quickly, so we expect this one will, too! Register now to secure your spot.  More details below:

Learn to make iPhone apps!

The Undergrad Library is pleased to announce a free workshop for developing iPhone and iPad applications.  While these workshops are primarily aimed at undergraduate students, all interested campus affiliates are welcome to participate. Advanced registration is requested due to limited seating. All materials will be provided.  We will be using templates from Apple’s Dashcode development environment, which takes a web-based approach for application design.

Where: Room 289, Undergraduate Library

When: Friday, April 27th, 6:30PM – 8:00PM

Register: https://illinois.edu/fb/sec/7656395

 

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Nooks and iPads…here at last!

iPads come with chargers and other accessories.

Yes! We have iPads!

The UGL would like to introduce you to the newest members of our loanable technology family: iPads and Nook Colors!

Nooks also come with charger and guide.

Yes, we’re serious. You can now check out an iPad or Nook Color to take home and play with (ahem, we mean use for very serious homework and research…) for one week. Just like our other loanable tech, you can book these in advance of when you need them, use them for whatever you need them for, and return them a week later (just call us @ 333-3477 or visit the Circulation Desk to make your reservation). You can load them with e-books, apps, and other tablet-y things. All of which we promptly wipe away after you return the tablet, so that the next person can put their own touch (ha!) on it.

You might be wondering a couple of things about these new little bundles of flat-screen joy. Like, why did the UGL decide to start loaning out tablets? And, why didn’t we start sooner?!?!

We were wondering about that, too, so we asked our very own librarian, Jim Hahn, who spearheaded the UGL’s adoption of tablet tech. Given that tablets are designed to be personalized, the UGL – and libraries everywhere! – have been studying them to be sure they are a good investment and can actually stand up to being used by multiple patrons. Hahn conducted a research study to examine the uses of iPads in a university learning environment, wrapping up with focus groups this past winter, in which he found that iPads in particular have numerous applications for internet-based class work. So… these findings encouraged the UGL to start circulating a few tablets.  We’re still in something of a trial period, so we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

What do you think about these new tablets at the UGL? How do you use them? Reserve one today and let us know!

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