Wednesday, November 3, 2010

OuiBox - Never Write a Paper Again?

I recently read an item in our Herald-Leader newspaper about a 25-year-old local man who is launching a website that promises the student user, "Never write a paper again." OuiBox uses technology to make composing easier, but does it really work?

As a librarian, I hate to feel that I am making things more difficult than they have to be for students, but like most things, the quick fix doesn't work very well. I signed up for a free OuiBox account to check it out.

When you write papers on OuiBox's site, you can use its "Genius" technology to research your paper as you write it. For example, if you topic is smoking bans' impact on lung cancer rates, you can highlight the words "smoking ban" in your paper and instantly be given links to websites on this topic. I am sure this would delight many students at first use. However, the real problem is that the links are, of course, just websites on the free, open web. Wikipedia is usually at or near the top of the list.

I think students, at least college students, will not be so delighted when they receive their grades. Even with links to academic journal articles, I wonder how well thought out most papers are when students try to write before thinking through their topics. Still, though, the technology is innovative, and I think the young entrepreneur of the company has a bright future ahead of him.

Monday, February 8, 2010

How I Spent My Winter Vacation

I've felt a little out of the library world lately. My 12 month contract at Eastern Kentucky University Libraries ended in October, and then at the beginning of December I gave birth to my baby daughter. Since then I've been consumed by the world of The Infant. It's been extremely rewarding, but all-consuming. Now, though, she's nine weeks old, and I'm starting to have the energy for some other things. I hope to be blogging more often now, and returning to the library world, online at least.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Library 101: The finished product

I'm excited to see that the Library 101 video is not only finished, but is appearing today on

If you look closely, you can see still photos and video of my colleagues at EKU that they let me film. Very exciting!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Need a Mentor? / Want to be a Mentor?

The New Members Round Table of the American Library Association offers a great program to match up librarian mentors with five or more years experience with librarian mentees with five or less years experience.

You must be an ALA member, but you don't have to attend conferences or be an NMRT member (although NMRT is a great resource for newer librarians, and I highly recommend it).

To sign up or for more information, see the NMRT Mentoring Program website.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Louisville Public Library needs your help

photo from

Yesterday, parts of Louisville, Kentucky were horribly flooded from massive amounts of rainfall. The main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library was particularly hard hit.

To contribute to the recovery:

The Library Foundation
Attn: Flood
301 York St.
Louisville, KY 40203
(502) 574-1709

To contribute online, you can donate through the Steve Lawson's See Also blog.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Library 101

Michael Porter of Libraryman blog fame has put out a call for participants to be part of his new song and video: Library 101. I took a few still photographs at our library instruction retreat, but then a call went out for actual video. I had never used a Flip (or any video camera for that matter), but I tried my best to capture a few moments on the camera, including what was supposed to be a few of our librarians saying, "We are Library 101!"

Of course, I totally missed the moment and only got myself talking on camera, and couldn't cajole my co-workers into a fourth take. I posted two of my three attempts to the group pool on flickr anyway, and today I find two positive comments! Librarians are so nice. (Including my colleagues, who I think still don't quite understand what I videoed them for, but were game anyway.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

2009 ALA Annual Conference: My first poster session

I had an excellent time co-presenting my first poster session with Stacey Greenwell. We presented on the University of Kentucky's annual freshmen orientation event, The Hubbub, which I've written about before.

I was a little nervous about doing a poster session, which was a new format for me, but I actually loved talking to all the people who stopped in to learn more about how to show their students what a great place the library can be.

If you would like more information, please check out our posting at the ALA Conference Materials Archive.