Big Things from a Small Company

You know the saying “Good things come in small packages”? Well, sometimes, big things come from small companies!  I’ve been doing some work for a group of library technology consultants who I want to let you all know about.  They have a small company called Law Library Management and, among other solutions, they develop custom applications for libraries using the Quickbase platform.

One of the applications they have developed is a complete library management system that’s fully customizable called HOLMES.  It’s unique in that it’s built on top of the Intuit Quickbase platform, which is a very powerful application development environment that offers complete flexibility to tailor your individual application for your library’s needs.  You may have heard of Intuit’s other applications which include Quickbooks and Turbo Tax.  This solution is perfect for small and solo libraries and yet can scale for larger academic libraries as well.

They are also currently working with the library community to develop a project management application that will take into account the specific needs of librarians.  And they are currently looking for beta testers, so if you’re interested please sign up here.

These folks are doing some pretty unique things.  In addition to these two apps, they also develop specific custom applications for libraries according to their specifications.  Quickbase is an incredibly versatile cloud application platform so the possibilities really are endless.  You can find out more about Law Library Management and the HOLMES application here – and while you’re there sign up for the next webinar!

Online Colleges That Offer Laptops and iPads


Are you about to start your online college career? Did you know that many online college programs offer either free or deeply discounted laptops to their students? And others provide free iPads to those enrolled in their programs!

It goes without saying that you will need to have a reliable computing device throughout your years of study so that you can access lectures, learning management systems, word processing software, and more. Online colleges have become quite savvy about this and have started to create lists of “minimum requirements” that students’ computers must have in order for them to be involved in their programs. (*See below for an example). In addition, many of these Web-based degree programs have started to offer to send their new students a device that matches these computing requirements to make sure that the technology barrier is not one that prevents them from completing their education.

What’s the Catch?

Like every promise of a “free lunch”, or in this case, a “free laptop”, there are some strings and stipulations attached. The bottom line is that you can’t just sign up with an online program for a few weeks to score a free laptop. You must remain in the program, and graduate from it in order to be granted full ownership of your laptop with most schools. And while most online colleges with student laptop programs allow their alums to keep their laptops upon graduation, other schools such as Wake Forest University ask for them to be returned. One good way to think about this is that you will have a brand new laptop to use while you’re enrolled in school, after which time the life of the laptop will probably be nearing its end and you would want to purchase a new one anyway.

Is it Completely Free?

Yes. And maybe not. Be sure to read the fine print and consider all the factors involved. If the program promises a free laptop, then yes, you will receive it for free, however many schools that offer laptop programs are actually only offering steep discounts for students to purchase devices through their programs. And others do offer free laptops, but charge more in tuition to make up for it, so be sure to do a final comparison of the total costs involved before choosing.

Which Online Schools Are Offering Free Laptops?

There are many online colleges that are offering new students the opportunity for a free or low cost laptop. But as previously mentioned, there may be certain caveats involved. Here’s a segmented list of programs with laptop programs and their respective conditions for obtaining the devices.

Free laptops that may be kept after graduation

Free laptops that must be returned upon graduation

Deeply discounted laptops that students will own

Note: Even if your online college is not listed here, most colleges and universities do offer some sort of discount for students to purchase both hardware and software that they will need during their course of study. Search their website for “computers” or “laptops”, or contact their student services department to find out if you have discounts available.


Online Colleges that Offer Free iPads

The emerging trend seems to be to offer new/incoming students an iPad, rather than a laptop at many online universities, and also universities which have online programs as well as on-campus ones.   Here’s the current list of colleges offering iPads to students:


How to Choose a Quality Laptop for Back to School

If your online school of choice does not currently offer a free laptop or iPad initiative, fear not. There are many low cost options out there for a quality back-to-school device. Before you start shopping, however, it’s recommended that you locate your school’s minimum computing requirements (*see example below) so that you’re sure to purchase a machine that meets them.

Making the Choice; Laptops vs. Tablets

If you’re wondering whether to spend your back-to-school money on a laptop purchase, or go with the ultra-mobile tablet device instead, there’s a lot to consider. Not only will you need too consider the minimum requirements of your school, but also, you’ll want to think about what type of program you’ll be joining. If you’ll be studying any sort of graphic design, film making, or any course of study that would necessitate the creation of videos or major image creation/editing, you would want to go the way of the laptop.   If you’ll be using this device mainly for accessing your files on the go, taking notes in class, and light schoolwork, you may choose the lighter, more mobile tablet. But for those who are still undecided and want to gain a clear picture of all of the pros and cons, here are several resources that discuss the issue:



*Example Minimum Computing Requirements

These example requirements were taken from Kaplan University’s website here.

To enroll in classes online, you must have access to a computer with the following minimum requirements:


  • A PC running a Microsoft Windows Operating System (XP, Vista, or Windows 7; please note, release candidate versions are not supported) or Mac OS X with the operating system’s minimum requirements for processor, memory, and hard drive (See the Microsoft or Apple website for minimum requirements)
  • At least 10.0 GB of free hard-drive space (additional space may be needed for multimedia files)
  • 1024 x 768 monitor with a 16-bit or greater video card (24-bit preferred)
  • DVD-ROM drive or CD-ROM drive
  • Sound card with speakers and microphone (for selected courses)


  • A Microsoft Windows® Operating System (XP, Vista, or Windows 7; please note, release candidate versions are not supported) or Mac OS X
  • Microsoft Office 2007 or a more recent version of the Microsoft Office software suite; students also have the option of accessing Microsoft Office web applications through KU Campus§
  • A current antivirus and antispyware application that is updated regularly
  • Internet Explorer 8.0 or a more recent version, or Firefox 5.0 or a more recent version
  • Adobe® Reader® 8.0 or a more recent version (free download)
  • Adobe® Flash Player 9.0 or a more recent version (free download)
  • Sun Java 2 SDK (Java 1.5) or a more recent version for PC (free download)
  • Classic Java (MRJ 2.2.5) or a more recent version for Mac (free download)


  • An Internet service provider (ISP)
  • A dedicated, reliable 128 Kbps or faster Internet connection


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Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries Has Launched


After months of planning, and thanks to a team of exceptional writers, my new blog Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries has gone live!

I decided to start this blog, not only because I am a self-proclaimed geek, cosplayer, and comics reader and collector myself, but because this is a cutting-edge area of growth in libraries with significant appeal to today’s patrons. I think that there is much that we can do to expand and develop this type of programming and collection development. And I’m not alone. I’ve been joined by a talented group of international writers, librarians, information professionals, and library patrons to provide articles and inspiration to libraries seeking to incorporate cosplay, comics, and geek culture in their libraries!

This is an exciting time for geeks of all kinds to be involved with libraries as today’s savvy libraries have begun to embrace new ways to engage library patrons such as fandom events, comic book and graphic novel collections, comic cons, cosplay events.

The intersection of these interests with libraries is a perfect match as libraries are striving to develop entertaining and educational new programs and services that will appeal to not only children but young adults as well as “kids at heart” of all ages. And these new programs and resources fit well with the interests of cosplayers who can utilize the equipment in library makerspaces such as 3D printers and sewing machines to create many of their props and costume pieces, as well as comics fans who can come to the library to read comics and graphic novel collections, video and board game enthusiasts who attend library gaming events, and geeks of all types who are drawn to “nerd nights”, Dr. Who marathons, and Harry Potter socials, etc.

Please come by and check us out and help support us by spreading the word!

Contribute to Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries?

I’m starting a brand new blog and I’m inviting interested writers to contribute!

Are you interested in contributing to a new blog which will be called Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries? After 7+ years as the iLibrarian (with over 100,000 unique monthly readers), I’m striking out on my own. The new website will spotlight all things geek and will stress their relevance to libraries, library culture, and librarian/patron interest.

Why will this new venture be a success?

  • I successfully built the readership at iLibrarian from 500 monthly viewers up to 20,000 and eventually to over 100,000.
  • My writing and editing skills have been recognized with numerous awards in varied topics including the 2014 Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award and the 2011 Greenwood Publishing Group Award for the Best Book in Library Literature awarded by The American Library Association.
  • My books have resulted in sales of nearly half a million dollars for publishers, or $471,434 to-date to be exact.
  • Cosplay, comics, and geek culture have hit the mainstream over recent years to become one of today’s hottest topics.
  • I’ve got a built-in platform of readers as well as credentials in both the library and cosplay worlds including a hyper-connected social media presence in this space including; Twitter (3,500 followers), Facebook(s) 1,400 friends/followers, LinkedIn (700+ contacts).

About me:

What’s the value to you?

This is an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of what will be a very well-read blog and have your writing in front of librarians who may be looking to hire for related positions, for consultants or event organizers as well as publishers who may be seeking writers.

Here’s the site in progress: (It’s only got placeholder content right now as the site hasn’t launched yet!)

If you’re interested please contact me at and I’ll send you the blog scope statement and writing topics.

Farewell to iLibrarian


After 7+ wonderful years of blogging for the OEDb, it’s time to say goodbye to iLibrarian. Although the iLibrarian blog will no longer be updated, I will still be blogging!

Please follow me on Twitter at and here on my blog ( for updates about my new ventures!!! And you can always contact me at

It’s been an absolute pleasure blogging at iLibrarian, thank you to all of my readers for your loyal support and attention all these years. A post similar to this one will be going up on OEDb/iLibrarian in a week or two as well. Thank you!

Privacy Tip: How to Delete All Your Facebook Messages at Once


Over the past month two of my Facebook friends have had their accounts hacked (that I know of). In both of these cases the hacker chose to go through the person’s Facebook emails to read all of their messages and then use that information to message their friends – posing as them. I was one of those people that each hacker messaged. It was a sobering experience to realize that someone could potentially have access to all of your personal discussions that you’ve had with family and friends, going back for years!

After this experience I decided that I wanted to delete all of my past Facebook messages so that if I was ever hacked, at least I could limit what they would have access to. But I discovered that this wasn’t as easy as you would think as there is no global “Delete All” option for Facebook messages and conversations. Instead, you must click into each conversation, click on the “Actions” button, and choose “Delete Conversation”. To do this for the hundreds of conversations that I’ve had on Facebook over the past several years would have been far too time-consuming. However, I did find an amazing plug-in for the Chrome browser called Facebook – Delete All Messages that did the trick.

The process is simple. Open up your Chrome browser and navigate to the plugin. Click “Add to Chrome” in order to download/install the plugin. It currently has over 82,000 users and I found it to be virus/bug-free as of two weeks ago, so I can highly recommend it.

Once it’s installed, simply sign into Facebook. Open up the full messages window and click on the plugin icon that sits on the far right of the address bar.


Then click “Launch”. It will delete all the messages on that entire page. If you have a lot of old messages you may need to scroll down and click Launch a few times until they’re all gone.


But within a few minutes you should be rid of all your old conversations, and they will not reappear when the person messages you again. You’ll have a clean slate!

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The Latest in EdTech Trends: 70 Resources Roundup


Trying to keep up with the latest in EdTech trends? Discover all the latest news happening in EdTech with this roundup post. And if you’re still getting up to speed in this area, also check out the post: 7 Ed Tech Trends to Watch in 2014.


  1. Universities Rethinking Their Use of Massive Online Courses
  2. The Real Revolution in Online Education Isn’t MOOCs
  3. Moocs ‘will not transform education’, says FutureLearn chief
  4. Disrupting and Transforming the University
  5. Weekly Trend: The MOOC Revolution Changes Shape
  6. MOOC U: The Revolution Isn’t Over
  7. edX turns attention to high school MOOCs
  8. Why Free Online Classes Are Still the Future of Education
  9. Online Learning is Just as Effective as Traditional Education, According to a New MIT Study
  10. Invasion of the MOOCs: The Promise and Perils of Massive Open Online Courses (eBook)

  11. Big Data

  12. Big Data MOOC Research Breakthrough: Learning Activities Lead to Achievement
  13. Big data and education: the power of transformation
  14. Can Universities Use Data to Fix What Ails the Lecture?
  15. Big Data: An Evolution in Higher Education’s Technology Landscape
  16. Can Data Analytics Make Teachers Better Educators?
  17. Education is the Next Great Opportunity for Big Data
  18. The Modern Classroom: Students, Teachers and Data-Driven Education
  19. The Mathematics of Effectiveness
  20. Empower Teachers with Data and They Can Spark Change
  21. The Coming Big Data Education Revolution

  22. Gamification

  23. Gamification: Why It’s Good
  24. Using Gaming Principles to Engage Students
  25. The 15 Best Gamification Resources for Trainers and Educators
  26. Gamification and Game-Based Learning: What’s the Difference?
  27. A Guide to Game-Based Learning
  28. Gamification of Education Infographic
  29. Game On: Why Gamification Works
  30. Digital Badges for the That-Was-Due-Last-Week-Student
  31. Are Serious Video Games Ready For School Time?
  32. Gamification 101: Introducing Gamification in Education

  33. The Flipped Classroom

  34. Flipped classrooms test new ways of learning
  35. Starting a Project-Based School
  36. Flipping Your Classroom? 5 Technology Details You’ll Need to Succeed
  37. Flipped Classrooms Can’t Be Passive Environments
  38. Transforming the Lecture Space
  39. 27 Ideas for Flipping The Classroom: Infographic
  40. The Top 5 Blended And Flipped Classroom Tools
  41. Summer Reading List: What You Need to Know To Flip Your Classroom Next Year
  42. Flipped Learning – turning traditional teaching on its head!
  43. Flipping the classroom – from the student’s perspective

  44. 3D Printing

  45. World’s first live concert with ’3D-printed band’
  46. Colleges Offer Hands-On Tech Engagement
  47. 7 Hands-On Projects That Use 3D Printers
  48. Making Sense of Makerspaces: Do-it-yourself ed tech opportunities abound for some schools.
  49. New Future Takes Shape for 3D Printers in Schools
  50. NASA Educator Sees Bright STEM Future in 3D Printing
  51. 3D Printing Made Cool: MIT Students Print Ice Cream
  52. 3D Printing – Coming to a Classroom Near you (Sooner Than you Think)!
  53. How (And Why) To Get Started With 3D Printing In The Classroom
  54. High school students in Texas create prosthetic hand for young boy

  55. Mobile learning

  56. Six Tips to Implement a Mobile Learning Initiative
  57. 50 Resources For Teaching With iPads
  58. Mobile Learning: Resource Roundup
  59. 9 Ways Mobile Learning is Moving into Academia
  60. 50 questions to start your mobile learning strategy
  61. 10 Mobile Learning Stats You Need to See and Why
  62. Trends | K-12 Students See A Brighter Future Learning with Tablets
  63. The merging of Informal and Mobile Learning
  64. 3 Ways Mobile Learning Stands Out From Other Learning Technologies
  65. The Ultimate Guide to Mobile eLearning

  66. Digital Textbooks

  67. There’s Something Missing From This College Bookstore: Books
  68. Digital textbooks for increasing educational outcomes
  69. Students Fail to Embrace Digital Textbooks
  70. Changing how people learn with digital textbooks
  71. Speak Up: The current state of digital learning
  72. This University Has a Revolutionary Idea to Make Students’ Textbooks Free
  73. Experts share tips on digital textbook transition
  74. Realizing the Promise of Digital Textbooks
  75. El Paso uses digital textbooks for high school science
  76. 10 Reasons Why Students Aren’t Using eTextbooks

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The 4 Flavors of Makerspaces

Did you know that there are many different types of makerspaces, each with their own set of unique characteristics? This was news to me until recently so I thought I’d pass along my research on what I found were the important distinctions as well as important links.



Amsterdam Fab Lab at The Waag Society

A FabLab is a type of makerspace that was created by the Center for Bits and Atoms headed by Prof. Dr. Neil Gershenfeld at MIT. It began as an outreach project to provide access to modern means for invention such as electronics equipment, laser cutters, routers and milling machines in order to enable makers to create nearly anything. There are currently over 200 FabLabs in over 30 countries around the world.

Learn More:




NYC Resistor Hackerspace

Also called a hacklab or hackspace, hackerspaces are places where computer programmers, makers, DIY’ers and artists converge to collaborate and socialize. Hackerspaces have been around since 1995 with the founding of c-base in Berlin which according to Wikipedia is one of the first independent, stand-alone hackerspaces in the world, not affiliated with a school, university, or company. Hackerspaces were originally started by computer hackers however they have since expanded to encompass many other activities such as creating physical objects, conducting instructional workshops, etc. There are currently over 1,800 hackerspaces in over 20 countries around the world.

Learn More:





TechShops are a chain of for-profit spaces which offer public access to industrial tools and equipment such as welding equipment, sewing machines, woodworking equipment, 3D printers, and more to build their own projects. They charge a membership fee beginning a $125/month. They currently have 8 shops in the US with their flagship shop in San Francisco and future locations in Dublin and Munich.

Learn More:




Milwaukee Makerspace

Makerspaces are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. The usually have 3D printers as well as electronic equipment available, some also have metalworking, woodworking, and traditional arts and crafts equipment available. They are used by schools and libraries to provide valuable skills in math and engineering to children and patrons of all ages.

Learn More:



And even more resources are available here:

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50 Library Stories You May Have Missed in September

September was back-to-school and back to writing for many librarians.  Blogs, journals, and news outlets were jam-packed with library and information stories ranging from articles about makerspaces, digital collections, 3D printing, and free technology for libraries as well as some offbeat topics such as medieval selfies and snapchats from Harry Potter!  Check out these 50 posts, infographics, and articles to get you caught up on what’s happening in the LIS world.

  1. 15 Geeky Back-to-School Supplies
  2. 28 Snapchats From Harry Potter
  3. Stay Focused! 5 Tools to Avoid Distractions
  4. Polling the Classroom: 4 Free Polling Tools to Keep Students Engaged
  5. 25 Great Resources for Breaking into Academic Publishing
  6. 15 Free Technologies for Libraries
  7. New OverDrive app eliminates Adobe authorization step
  8. (Rethinking) Makerspaces
  9. Engaging Adventures with Gamification
  10. Rosa Parks papers go to Library of Congress
  11. Librarianship: A philosophical investigation
  12. 6 Ways To Become a Power User of the Public Library
  13. The Case for 3D Printing
  14. 9 great books on library marketing
  15. For library web developers: Performance and austerity
  16. Collect library fines with an online payment app
  17. Long Nights build library use
  18. Digitize old slides on the cheap
  19. Collaborating with your public librarian
  20. Makerspaces can make new patrons
  21. Libraries balk at OverDrive changes
  22. 48 Library Stories You May Have Missed in August
  23. Getting into schools for booktalks
  24. Eight fun children’s libraries
  25. Self-service library technology
  26. New Austin Public Library will have food demos
  27. Seed libraries: Challenges and opportunities
  28. Teaser for new series, The Librarians
  29. Artist uses LC images to animate his GIFs
  30. Utica woman organizes refugee library in Thailand
  31. Czech National Library digitizes rare collections
  32. Younger Americans and public libraries
  33. Checking out America’s libraries
  34. Getting staff and patrons to accept RFID tags
  35. Serving adults with special needs in the children’s library
  36. Libraries that lend tools
  37. OSU seeks help transcribing Cold War letters
  38. Library jobs math
  39. Massachusetts librarians work to ensure privacy
  40. The Loeb Classical Library goes digital
  41. Jane Austen fans break world record
  42. The Value of Information Professionals
  43. Five best language translation tools
  44. New York insists on more school librarians
  45. Library student helps create Ebola tracking site
  46. Create an online catalog with Google Drive
  47. ProQuest digitizes Thomas Edison
  48. Famous historical book bannings
  49. Art painted on discarded library books
  50. Medieval selfies

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A Quick Guide to the Flipped Classroom


The flipped classroom is a teaching model in which the traditional lecture and homework assignments are reversed. Students watch video lectures before class and the class session is made up of exercises, discussions, and problem solving with students receiving personalized attention from the professor. This model has grown in popularity over the past several years




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