ASIST/Cool Tool Days

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Upcoming Cool Tool Days

Our next COOL TOOLS DAY will be in fall 2013

Things you would like to see (requests/suggestions)?

let us know!

Previous Cool Tool Days

Cool Tool Day #12: Tuesday, Feb 5th, 2012

(13 participants)

In the first half Robert Stibravy from UBC Digital Initiatives gave insights into Digitization.

  • ScanTailor [1] - create an e-book from page scans > Scan Tailor How To Video [2]
  • HathiTrust Digital Library [3] - Aggregates book scans from 78 partner institutions and Google's book project. > HathiTrust video [4]
  • Digital Koot Finland's National Library uses Facebook games to help digitize its archives. [5] > Games Mole Bridge [6] and Mole Hunt [7]

Cool Tool Day #11: January 8, 2013

(12 participants)

The first half of the Cool Tools Day featured Angela Lam giving an overview about UBC Connect.

Cool Tool Day #10: November 14, 2012

The first half of the Cool Tools Day featureed UBC Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Librarian Tom Brittnacher who gave an overview of how GIS works and some of its applications.

Cool Tool Day #9: October 9, 2012

  • Angela Lam from Arts ISIT will talk about Connect and iSchool Central CANCELLED

Cool Tool Day #8: March 7, 2012

Cool Tool Day #7: February 1, 2012

  • Jonathan K: ShiftEdit - A free web-based IDE that syncs with FTP or dropbox. Great for web development in the lab!
  • Andrew: Greenshot and Snagit - two screenshot tools. Greenshot is free, Snagit is not, but has more features. Also Gyazo, suggested by Justin.
  • Josh: How Excel's concatenate function lets you format large data sets really quickly.
  • Jamie: Library Learning Express Resource for practice tests & skill-building [access via VPL].
  • Nicholle: Reader's Advisory Tools: Bibliocommons and NoveList
  • Trevor: Pivot Tables in Excel (if we have time I will also show you slicers and Dashboards). Perhaps one of the greatest skills you will learn on a computer because everyone will think you're a freakin' genius for something really simple!

Things people wanted to see (requests/suggestions)

  • Plain text notetaking tools (Andrew)
  • did anyone pick up citavi and use it since the last cool tool day? (Adam)

Cool Tool Day #6: November 8, 2011

Number of participants: 9 (low) to 13 (high)

  • Jonathan added Acquia during the session: https://network.acquia.com/downloads/7.x Acquia Dev Desktop for easy installation on computer, taking out technical intricacies. Great for prototyping offline.

Cool Tool Day #5: October 2, 2011

  • Adam: http://www.padmapper.com/ Not really a tool for school, but a cool use of information in a visual manner. [EDIT: Incidentally, I used Padmapper to find my current rental unit this past summer. Great tool! -Jamie]
  • Jamie: http://vpl.bibliocommons.com A couple unadvertised tips about VPL's Bibliocommons OPAC.
  • Trevor: citavi think of Zotero, Mendelay, or Refworks ... but useful! A combination of citation and knowledge management makes this program the best kept secret out there. Designed by a German university a decade ago, it has now been release in English and it is the tool that all researchers should have!
  • Andrew: I can do SpiderOak. It's like Dropbox, but more secure and less flexible (it's a bit of a trade-off). I could also do Dropbox if there's demand for it and no one else wants to do it. [Don't worry about installing this one. I just set it up on another laptop and the process is too involved to go through on a lab computer. - Andrew]
  • Jonathan K: If there's time, I can introduce people to http://codeacademy.com, a site that teaches the basics of programming in a unique way without any prior knowledge required. It should only take 2 or 3 minutes.

Note: if there's more demand for 5 minute spots, we can split up these 10 minute spots.


A couple of people added more tools/resources during the session:

  • Michelle talked about a couple of items:
  1. Digital Research Tools - A wiki with information about and links to digital tools designed to help people do research.
  2. Sente - This is a citation/reference manager aimed at academics. Michelle brought it up as a posisble Mac alternative to Citavi, which currently does not have a Mac version.
  • Andrew mentioned altternative.to - This site allows you to enter the name of a piece of software and search for alternatives that do the same or similar things. Very helpful if you see something that runs on one operating system and you want to find something similar that will work on a different system.

Cool Tool Day #4: March 15, 2011

  • Kate will do a quick & dirty show and tell on how to use Mendeley Desktop to organize your Pdf library and access it across computers and devices
  • Jonathan K. can discuss using Dropbox Folder Sync and SyncToy, a couple of Windows utilities, to keep your important files backed up and accessible. (I could also talk about viewing and annotating course readings on my Android phone, but without screen-casting software, I'm not sure how I would show people my tiny screen.)
  • Mahria will talk about Markup, a doodle on top of a webpage tool and maybe touch on the best gmail labs, if the audience is right
  • Justin has returned from the internet wastes with a way to crack the DRM on your Kindle (or whatever) ebooks so you can keep them forever and ever!
  • Bonnie: Gickr photos in motion, a free online gif maker;KeepVid: download online Video and video converter.
  • Schuyler: Mac OSX Spaces for organization
  • Jonathan S.: F.Lux Changes the colour warmth of your computer display to match the appropriate lighting of your room for that time of day. May even help you sleep better!
  • Mahria: Gmail Labs "Undo Send" "Insert Images"
  • Tosha: Digital Koot Finland's National Library uses Facebook games to help digitize its archives.

Cool Tool Day #3: January 25, 2011

Blog recap

  • Justin -- Quora is a question-answering engine as opposed to a search engine.
  • Bonnie -- Web of Trust(WOT) a small user-friendly add-on for Firefox.A community-based safe surfing tool.
  • Andrew -- Readability and Readefine. Both applications reformat text for easier reading. Readability is for browsers; Readefine can be used in a browser or on a desktop.
  • Catie -- [8] AND [9]. Two completely unrelated things. The former is a library value calculator. The latter is the greatest Twitter page ever.

Cool Tool Day # 2: November 9, 2010

Blog recap

  • Alex -- I promise I will do some Yahoo Pipes this time around (unless somebody else wants to, in which case I'll do Mendeley or something)
  • Will -- Firebug (which is a firefox extension I'll need installed or I can use my own laptop). I will also mention Firesheep sidejacking unless someone else wants to talk about it.
  • Franklin - Super-simple way to scrape the information from SLAIS course syllabuses into a Google Spreadsheet.
  • Meghan -- cIRcle, UBC's Digital Archive--what it is and why SLAISers might want to use it
  • Catie -- Blekko and the magic of slashtags
  • Cynthia -- Foxit (PDF reader/tool which needs to be installed or I can use my laptop). For reference: article on tools to organize PDFs (talk about its editing capabilities too! --alex)
  • Tosha -- GazoPa.com An image search engine that can use images and image content to search in addition to or instead of keywords. (TinEye.com -- wasn't shown, but is a similar concept, designed to find identical image for provenance)
  • Justin -- Calibre and Manybooks - loading up an ereader for free (sadly I don't have a good easy reliable DRM cracking method for letting you own your Kindle books yet, maybe next Cool Tools day. Also, I don't have any annotation tools/methods. I just read things, damnit.)
  • Qinqin -- Wink, a lightweight screencasting tool for online tutorials development http://www.debugmode.com/wink/

Cool Tool Day # 1: October 5, 2010

Blog recap