Thursday, June 26, 2008

Banner down June 30

Banner and BannerWeb will be down June 30 for the end-of-the-fiscal-year accounting. Here is the official message:
Banner (i.e. In-Person transactions-registrations/payments/other inquiries) and Banner Web (i.e. Online registrations/ Online payments/ Other Online inquires) will be inaccessible on Monday, June 30th from 12:00PM (noon) until July 1st- 12:00AM (midnight). Access to Banner Web Online (registrations and payments) will be available after 12:00AM on July 1st. Banner (In-Person transactions) will recommence with normal business hours on July 1st.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

SearchTogether Tutorial

Microsoft is creating an interesting new search feature with some library implications: SearchTogether. According to the SearchTogether Tutorial on the Microsoft Research site, SearchTogether allows you, either in real time or asynchronously, to collaborate on searches in Google, Yahoo!, or Live Search (Microsoft/MSN). You can view search history, parcel out results to review, rate results, and even follow along as someone else searches in real time.

As Internet search assistance for library patrons, this is tempting. The librarian could demo some searches in the real time mode, and students could leave search results and ratings for the librarian to review. For online courses, a group could use it for research on a group project.

Of course, in order to do this all participants need to have IE7, a Windows Live account, and install a plug in to IE. I'd be tempted to try it out as search assistance, but one of my rules is to only require accounts and downloads when it is absolutely necessary. There are other services that allow someone else to follow my web browser without an account, mostly video conferencing systems. I've tried Vyew most recently. A little slow and the connection was fussy, but overall it worked.

Right now, this system is very experimental and it only works in the major search engines. However, I suspect (and so do others) that similar systems will eventually become common.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Library closing at 6 pm today

The library is closing early tonight due to a facilities problem of some sort (we've heard it's a very leaky air conditioner). So the reference desk, circulation desk, and the computing labs will all be closed (and unavailable by phone for distance students and faculty).

Our apologies for any incovenience.

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Firefox 3 released today!

Firefox version 3 is scheduled for release at 1 pm today (Eastern). See the Download Day Kickoff! post on the Mozilla blog. They are trying to set a world record for software downloads in 24 hours. I just want my Firefox!

I've had the test release on my Mac at home (thanks to lots of freezes in 2) and it's been very nice. Definitely faster (though, of course, I've also got fewer extensions installed, since not all the extensions work in 3 yet.) Here's the most comprehensive guide to Firefox 3, though there are also plenty of reports available on the web.

I'll definitely see what I can turn up for research and education related add-ons/extensions for a future post.

Update: After a couple of hours, I finally managed to get to the download site, and downloaded a copy to my work computer. Unfortunately, the Add-Ons site is down (presumably overloaded), so I can't get my updates for things like the add-on. Oh, well, better luck tomorrow.

Another Update: I just checked the Firefox site, and they are still having trouble with the download displaying version 2. You might want to wait until tomorrow!

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