Links Roundup #35: Writing, Reading, Libraries and phone apps

saddle and ropeMore Writing Tips

Mendeley recently published a nice tips paper on scientific writing called Clarity and Impact: Key Tips for Writing a good Scientific Paper.  They also reference in the article, an infographic on the topic.  Unfortunately, the link in the Mendeley article isn’t working.  I did some digging and found the correct link:  Infographic: How to write better science papers.

Congratulations to Internet Archive!

On May 15th, Internet Archive received the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award from the Webby Awards.  The Webby’s themselves explain it best:  Archive.org wins

“for its commitment to making the world’s knowledge available online and preserving the history of the Internet itself. With a vast collection of digitized materials and tools like the Wayback Machine, Archive.org has become a vital resource not only to catalogue an ever-changing medium, but to safeguard a free and open Internet for everyone.”

I have always considered the Wayback Machine to be something of a miracle.  I am so happy that others have recognized the important contribution archive.org is making as well.

Thinking about Graduate School…

As many people are standing in lines at their college graduation ceremonies, some are no doubt considering continuing their academic studies at the graduate level.  I recently came across two nice articles on tips for success in STEM focused graduate school.  How to be a Successful Graduate Student in the Sciences  and  “So long, and thanks for the Ph.D.!” a.k.a.“Everything I wanted to know about C.S. graduate school at the beginning but didn’t learn until later.”

Chrome Library Extension

Have you tried the Chrome Library Extension for Amazon?  This is one extension that I think it totally cool!  You add the extension to your Chrome browser and identify your public library.  Everytime you search Amazon for a book, the extension will show up on the right side of your screen and notify you if your public library has the item.  There will be a direct link so you can log in and request the book right away.  Profhacker recently had a post on this feature, showing you how it works for Multiple (!)  libraries.

Online Reading Skills

Michael Larkin, Professor of Writing at Berkeley and author of the blog Culture Mulching, posted an excellent article entitled “To Read Well on Screens, Change Your Mindset.” Make sure you read all the way to the bottom of the article.  He and his Berkeley colleague have put together several helpful handouts for helping students get the most out of online reading.

Organizing your Phone

Mindful Magazine offers us this story on 5 Ways to Organize Your Phone to Unhijack Your Mind.  And from Updato, we have this article on How to Organize Your Phone and Turn it into a Distraction-free Productivity Tool.  And how about all those photos?  Gizmodo addresses that organization challenge in The 4 Best Apps  to Organize Your Phone’s Photos.  Frankly, I just connected my Dropbox to my phone photos.. .every photo immediately gets sent to Dropbox, so my phone organization of photos isn’t a problem, but I do have to organize and clean out my Dropbox, lol.

 

cover of May 2017 Computers in LibrariesProject Management with Trello

Kudos to two of my co-workers, Xueying Chen and Li Chen, for their publication of “How to Manage Library Projects with Trello” in the May issue of Computers in Libraries.    They demonstrate how they used Trello to manage a research project involving international student usage of library resources.  I love the colorful way that Infotoday presents their article with attention-grabbing illustrations.

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Book Reviews: Search Inside Yourself and Joy on Demand

Search Inside Yourself Book CoverChade-Meng Tan, was originally an engineer at Google.  While working there, he was nicknamed by his co-workers as “Jolly Good Fellow”.  It is now part of his business card, and he is a NY Times Best Selling author of his mindfulness book Search Inside Yourself and his followup book Joy on Demand.

Search Inside Yourself was a mindfulness based training program that Tan developed while working at Google.  The success of his subsequent book and Ted talk led him to establish his Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute ( whose acronym is pronounced “silly”)  Tan’s dream and life’s work is to spread mindfulness compassion throughout corporate businesses by showing how compassion will be good for their bottom line.  Once accomplished, he believes this will spread compassion throughout the world and lead to his ultimate goal of world peace.

It all started for Tan during a walk on the Google grounds.  And a series of questions that he began posing to himself:

“What if people can use contemplative practices to help them succeed in life and at work? In other words, what if contemplative practices can be made beneficial both to people’s careers and to business bottom lines?”

The course that Tan created at Google in 2007 was called: Search Inside Yourself, so named as to be a humorous inside joke for the engineer who spent his life working on optimizing the Giant’s search engine. His program had three basic areas of focus:

  1. Attention Training
  2. Self knowledge…leading to self mastery
  3. Creating Useful Mental habits (for example:  What if your thought on meeting each person throughout your day was one of wishing happiness for that person?)

He explains his Search Inside Yourself theory in this talk which he delivered at Dreamforce.

 

In 2016, Tan returned with his sequel book, Joy on Demand: The Art of Discovering the Happiness Within.  Scientists have documented the positive neurological changes in a person’s brain after beginning a practice of mindfulness meditation. And Tan is likewise convinced of the power of mindful meditation in changing the set-point of a person’s response system from a negative state to a more positive, happier one. In his new book, he sets out to do that, providing us with the “skills to access joy”  He begins with exercises to help the reader cultivate inner peace.  He then gently and humorously turns our attention to the recognition of inner joy.  Inner joy leads naturally into a cycle of goodness that includes compassion and kindness. He also addresses the co-existence of inner joy and pain. Even if you only sample a few of the ideas offered in this engaging read, you will find yourself feeling lighter inside and perhaps even fighting a smile.

In closing, if you have never tried meditation before, here is a short 10 minute guided meditation about feeling present in this very moment for you to experience:

https://siyli.org/resources/being-present-with-marc-lesser

Enjoy!

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Links Roundup #34: Tidbits from around the web.

saddle and rope

Have the recent changes to Evernote’s pricing structure left you less than enamored with it as your go-to organization tool?  Michael Hyatt, who has written often on his use of Evernote, recently took a second look at several of Evernote’s top competitors and created a great comparison review in his article: Three Evernote Alternatives and How They Stack Up.

Also, our favorite folks at Evernote were busy taking notes for us at the 2017 SXSW Conference. Check their notebook here for highlights from the 30+ sessions in the Workplace Track discussing topics on workplace productivity and diversity.  My favorite note was from Carmen Medina’s talk, “Update Your Critical Thinking Skills”, where she says “Whatever information comes to us, we believe that it’s an accurate representation of reality when in fact it’s just the information we’ve received.”  Doesn’t that elegantly describe every Googling University Student you’ve ever met?

Next we turn to Podcasts.  For those of you who love to listen to podcasts while exercising or commuting, Bonnie Stachowiak offers her Podcast Greats for 2017.  While Bonnie’s list focuses on Teaching and Higher Ed, Kylie, a brand new librarian, listed her favorite librarian podcasts recently on her blog. If you are trying to find podcasts for your library users, Nicole Hennig has discusses ways to find Diverse and Accessible Podcasts in her recent Dispatches article in American Libraries.

The gurus at The Next Web reviewed the Best Chrome Extensions to Boost Your Productivity in 2017. And while LifeHacker and Tom’s Guide both reviewed the best Firefox add-ons last year, Mozilla is reminding us that they will be transferring from add-on features to WebExtensions by the end of this year.

Do you use the Public Folder option in your Dropbox in order to share files with others?  If so, this alert is for you!  Dropbox has announced that they will discontinuing their public folder options.  Individuals can share individual files by using a shared link. The public links were to quit working on March 15th.  See all the details here.

And finally, a shameless personal plug.  My article, “The Use of Visual Tools in the Academic Research Process: A Literature Review” was published this month in the Journal of Academic Librarianship (volume 43, Issue 2).  To quote from my own abstract,

“A number of visual tools including concept mappers and mind mappers are well suited to help advanced students, faculty, researchers and librarians to organize the ideas and knowledge throughout the various stages of complex research, from envisioning an idea to the early stages of actively researching and documenting research findings. This paper will discuss the potential uses of visual mapping tools and review the current state of academic literature surrounding the topics of mind mapping and concept mapping.”

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Book Review: Finishing School: THe Happy Ending to that Ending to that Writing Project you can’t seem to get done

Book cover for Finishing SchoolProfessional librarians today are expected to be active in our organizations and in many cases, to be active writers, producing peer reviewed articles, book chapters and even books.  But writing does not come easily to many, and even the most prolific writers sometimes encounter the dreaded writer’s block.

Enter the subject of today’s book review, Finishing School.  The Happy Ending to That Writing Project You Can’t Seem to Get Done, by Cary Tennis and Danelle Morton.  Tennis, an advise columnist, created the Finishing School method to solve his own writer’s block in completing his first novel.  He collaborates here with Morton, a multi-book author and journalist, who, like Tennis, had hit a wall when trying to finish a project that was near and dear to her heart. By following the Finishing School method, they were each able to finish a stymied project after only three months. They credit their success to the systematic method they share in this book.  Because, as the authors’ remind us, “Not finishing a piece of writing can feel like the death of a dream.”

This past year I participated in a Professional Writing Group at my library. I found the camaraderie of meeting with other librarians who were also committed to producing several pieces of academic writing over the year-long program to be inspiring and motivational.  We were able to support one another as we each experienced snags in our projects, and projects that may have been abandoned, gained new life through the encouragement of fellow writers.  I found myself to be more prolific than ever, maintaining my monthly posts to this blog, completing several book reviews for Library Journal, and completing both a feature article due to appear in CR&L News in April, and a scholarly literature review which as been accepted for publication in the Journal of Academic Librarianship.

Throughout the process of completing the literature review, I hit several walls that were very difficult to break through.  I wish I had found Tennis’ and Morton’s book early on during those stressful times.  In their book, the authors describe the six emotional pitfalls that most writers may face during their writing projects, often in an escalating spiral: Doubt, Shame, Yearning, Fear, Judgement and Arrogance. After we understand the emotions behind our blocks, the authors then describe the Finishing School Method, with Morton sharing her experiences as a participant in Tennis’ school for the first time. The focus of the Finishing School is not on critique of the writing itself, but on the systematic production of product, good or bad. Accountability to a fellow school participant provides the incentive to continue to meet agreed upon goals, and setting consistent, achievable goals helps cement the writing process that will carry the writer to successful completion.  The book concludes with suggestions for developing your own Finishing School group in your area.

I enjoyed reading Finishing School. Alas, since both of my writing projects were completed prior to finding this book, I find myself currently struggling with a totally different writer’s dilemma: finding another interesting topic to write about.  Ah well.  I wonder if there is another book for that?

How about you? How is your professional writing going?  What do you find helpful when hitting a writer’s block?  How do you find new topics to write about?  Share with us so we can all learn together.

 

Links Roundup #33 : A Happy New and Productive Year!

saddle and rope

OneNote Tips

There have recently been a number of new blog posts and articles on power user tips for OneNote.  Blog posters at Petri.com have a series they are labeling as “Leveraging OneNote”  which I found well worth reading.  Recent posts in the series has talked about manipulating lists and using OneNote for project management.

 

Tackling Writer’s Block

While not a new post, this post from Eva Lantsoght over at PhD Talk might prove helpful to those of us with academic writing goals for the new year. Check out Writer’s Lab: 30 Ways to Tackle Writer’s Block.

 

Scanning Applications

If you are looking for better ways to quickly scan documents on the go and are tired with the resolution of your phone’s camera, try one of these scanning apps recommended recently by PC Magazine: The Best Mobile Scanning Apps of 2016.

 

Best Posts in 2016:

Several of my favorite sources have posted summaries of their best posts in 2016.  In case you missed them the first time around, they are worth visiting now:   Michael Hyatt’s Top 10 posts/podcasts of 2016  and also his list for Top 5 Business Books of 2016. (One of which is Cal Newport’s book, Deep Work, that I also reviewed here in October!

From Bonnie Stachowiak at Teaching in Higher Ed we have her Top 10 Downloaded podcasts of 2016.

And while we are visiting the Teaching in Higher Ed site, Bonnie also had a great post recently on her recently updated Personal Knowledge Management System.

From the Greater Good Science Center we have Their Top 10 Insights from ‘The Science of a Meaningful Life’ in 2016.  The folks at this Berkeley center always have interesting posts.  And the librarian in me couldn’t pass up the opportunity to highlight their post on Our Favorite Books of 2016.   By the way, their great MOOC, The Science of Happiness started up again on Jan 3rd.  You can still register and catch up.  I really loved this study when I did it in 2014 (see my discussion of it here) and recommend it to all of my readers as well.

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