Monday, February 28, 2011

Email Mountains

In my day, we be sendin' messages to buccaneers in other ships usin' our flags t' let 'em know t' come ahead or stay away. Now, I hear, ye's doin' this fancier.

Electronic mail, commonly called email, is a method of exchanging digital messages across the Internet or other computer networks. HCPL understands how important communicating by email is for the library system, and provides an email address and access to sending, receiving, and storage for all HCPL employees.

 A complete email message includes these components:
  1. The email address of the author of the message
  2. The email addresses of one or more recipients of the message
    • Put the primary recipients of your message in the "To" line.
    • Include others who you would also like to see the message in the "cc" [carbon copy] line.
    • If there are others who you want to see the message, but whose names/addresses you don't want to reveal, put them on the "bcc" [blind carbon copy] line. This is also a useful way to 1) protect the privacy of  addresses (e.g. for book club members) and 2) a way to avoid having long list of recipient names clutter up the appearance of your message.
  3. The subject line that describes the content of the messageNever omit the Subject Line. It is the only way that recipients have to evaluate what is in your message. If you don't give them a way to decide if your message is important or safe, they may just delete it without even opening it.
  4. The content of the message itself
     Follow these basic rules of email etiquette:
    • Be concise and to the point.
    • Answer promptly.
    • Do not write in CAPITALS, as it seems like SHOUTING.
    • Do not use email to discuss confidential information.
    • Don't send or forward emails containing offensive, racist or obscene remarks.
    • Do not forward chain letters.
    • Don't reply to spam.
    • Do not overuse the opportunity to mark your message as "high priority."
  1. And optionally, one or more attachments to the message, such as a file or photo.
Once an email is received, you can take several additional actions.
Replies don't include
Forwards do.

  • REPLY:  This sends the message back to the original sender with your response.
  • REPLY ALL: This sends the message back to the original sender, plus all additional recipients named in the "cc" [carbon copy] line.
Use this only on the rare occasion when all recipients really need to see your response.

  • FORWARD: This sends the messages on to new recipients who you specify. 
There are three types of email programs available through HCPL. Their features vary, and the program you use will depend on what job you have at HCPL, whether or not you are inside or outside of the library, and what your personal preferences are. The chart below summarizes some of the main features:

Below there be doors of three.
Click below the one that beckons thee.
Behind each one challenges await.
Complete one door's tasks to seal your fate.
It’s the only way to win this key!
Squirrel MailRound CubeOutlook
Squirrel MailRoundCubeOutlook

Monday, February 21, 2011

Catalog Cape

All hands on deck!  We be headed straight for Catalog Cape!
Consortium - A 
among groups 
or institutions.
The Library catalog is a database of book, DVD, video, CD, cassette, downloadable eBook, audio book  and music records in our HCPL library group. It also contains records for items in our HARMONIC consortium.  We share our catalog with Montgomery County Public Library and Lone Star College.  While we have reciprocal borrowing with Lone Star College, this is not the case with Montgomery County.  
Ahoy, me hearties!  We be changing course fer Customers Accounts.  
Customers can manage their own accounts by clicking on the link “My Account/Renew” on the home page.  They will need their library card number and PIN.  If the customer does not have a library card, there is information on the bottom of the page directing them to the “New User” icon which allows the customer to create a temporary number, which is good for 30 days.  With a temporary number, a customer can use it to place holds or access the library online databases.  They will need to come into a branch to get their actual card before they can check out an item.
There are links across the top of the page to help our customers navigate through their account.
  • Overview: Once logged into your account you can see an overview of the account.
  • Checked Out: You can view all items you have currently checked out and can also renew items.
  • Holds: You can view a list of all items you have placed on hold.  You can check the status of the item, locate where you are in line and cancel any requests if needed.  You can suspend your hold by clicking next to the title and click “change status.”
  • Fines/Blocks: You can see any fines that have been assessed to your account.  You can also see if any blocks have been placed on the account.
  • Paying Online: You are able to pay fines online with a credit or debit card.  There is a one dollar minimum for online payments. 
  • Changing Address: You can change an address. 
  • Profile: You are able to change an email address and also a pin number.
Shiver me timbers it's the Public Catalog:  There are links across the top of the main catalog page, HCPL ADA catalog, HCPL Spanish catalog, Login and Help. 

  • HCPL ADA catalog gives you a larger print for viewing your catalog searches.  This catalog is also great for Smart Phones and PDA because the text is larger and there are no pictures.
  • HCPL Spanish catalog offers our Spanish speaking customers the same searches in Spanish.
  • Login allows you to log into your account.
  • Help gives you guidance to log into your account.
    Tips for Better
    Search Results
    Aye, now we be searchin' the Catalog: There are different types of searches you can do when looking for an item. 
    • Basic Search: Basic search lets you search your library's catalog by a single author, title, or subject keyword
    • Advanced Search: Advanced search lets you refine your search by entering more criteria than the Basic search.  Advanced search lets you define limits and allows you to sort your search results by specific criteria.
    • Browse Search: You can browse a catalog index until you find items of interest. For example, you can type just the first few letters of an author's last name and then browse the Author index. When you browse the Subject index, you may find cross-references that can lead you to related subjects. You can browse the Title, Author, Subject, Call Number, or Series indexes of the catalog.
    • Wildcards: You can also search for items using a "wildcard" symbol or a truncation symbol.  This is useful if you do not know the exact term for which you want to search, e.g. how to spell an author's name.
    Limiting a Keyword Search
    Limiting is a way to focus the results of your search to retrieve only those items you want. Limiting is available by language, material type and location. Search results are displayed in date order, but there is an option to sort alphabetically by title or by relevance.

    Ahoy, we be placin' an item on hold – When you find an item in the catalog that you would like and you find it is not available you can request a hold on the item. 

    You click on the “Request Item” icon and this will take you to a screen where you will need to login with your library card number and pin. 

    Next you will get a request confirmation.  This page will tell you your position in the queue, how you will be notified, gives you the opportunity to choose your pick up location from a drop down menu and tells you how long the request will be in effect.

    If ye don’t complete this challenge I’ll see ye measured for chains ye scallywag! An' be quick about it, I be shippin' out soon.

    On to the Hunt...
    Search through HCPL catalog for the following items and fill out the form by recording the requested information.
    1. Keyword Searching
      1. In the catalog, using general keyword search, search for pirate treasure. How many results were there?
      2. Limit your results to adult fiction.  How many results are there now and who are the authors of the books?
    2. Holds
      1. Pick one of the books from your pirate treasure search and place a hold on it.  What book did you reserve and what number are you in the queue?
      2. One of the things customers can do is a suspend a hold.  Explain why you would suspend a hold.  Hint:  See Harriet
        Before moving on, cancel your hold, if you don't want the book.
    3. Browse Search
      1. What are the four New Title browse options?
      2. Do a title browse search for Pirate. How many results did you get?
    4. My Account
      1. What can customers add or update themselves in their profile?
      2. What is the link to change your address?   Copy and paste the link.
    5. If a customer is searching the catalog and wants to request a copy of The Pirate Primer: Mastering the Language of Swashbucklers and Rogues, which of course has multiple holds on it, but does not have a library card what can they do (provide a link)?
    Congratulations! Searching for the answers to these exercises and submitting the form has earned you the Catalog key to the Treasure Chest!

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Website Wetlands

    The website is our main communication outside library walls with our customers.  With a 26 branch system, you know it covers a lot of information.  On this hunt, you’ll be finding some hidden gems, but let’s go over the general map of the area first before you hunt down your treasure key.  You have three main navigation areas: the Primary Tabs, the Secondary Links, and the left hand side Navigation box.  In addition you have some quick link images such as the Teens Know on the lower right hand side.

    And just below decks …

    The Primary Tabs include About, Locations, Books, Movies, Audio, Websites, Databases, Español, Kids, and Teens. 
    • What is About about? Policies, services, and some of the general questions customers might have about our library system.
    • Location, Location, Location? -  If you want to know who is nearby, when their hours are, or hunt down a branch, this is the tab for you.
    • Books! - From genre to clubs and author biographies (called interviews) as well, this tab has the information on getting titles from other systems and suggestion forms on getting titles added to ours. 
    • Movies and Audio Tabs – what’s new and being talked about in movies and TV.
    • Websites – convenient links to great websites.
    • Databases – what we have in databases as well as print periodical (magazine) holdings.
    • Español – find the policies, catalog, and Spanish literature information here.
    • Kids – blog and links to the Kids website with information, games, and resources for those just exploring reading and links parents and teachers can use such as story time themes.
    • Teens – there’s a lot going on in teens’ lives and there’s a lot on this page, too, to help with everything from school now and in the future to life struggles.
    • Searching – and if you don’t know exactly where it is, put your keywords in that handy Search this Site box on the blue bar on the right, and the site will hunt down what you’re wanting to find.
    Take it from the Topsail
    • Catalog – you’ll find out more when searching for another key!
    • My Account/Renew - that you will explore in another hunt.
    • Events Calendar – a searchable tool to find out what’s happening at each branch
    • New Titles – lists of not only what’s new but what’s requested the most and what title checked out oftenest.
    • Ask a Librarian  - when an emailed question will do.
    • Chat – when you have to have an answer now, but it may not be from one of our staff as this service is covered by a nationwide system.
    • Jobs, ADA Info, Toolbar, and Help finish out the list
    Port Side  Navigation (Left Hand Side For Ye Landlubbers)
    Here there are direct links to information about Meeting Rooms, links to staff who post to the website through blogs, as well as Frequently Asked Questions.

    Batten down your hatches!  The hunt is on!
    Record your entries using the form on Harriet.  Be sure to submit when you are done.  
    1. Storytime Database
      1. How many books are listed in the Asia story time?  
      2. Who created that story time database theme?  
      3. What is the newest story time database theme?
    2. What are the subject tabs listed on the Teens Know: Life page? 
    3. List all branches that carry the print copy of Texas Observer magazine.
    4.      a. What branches provide event type Baby Time on Wednesday?
      1. Find a Book Sale going on in the month of October. Which branch(es) has one and what date(s) is it on?
    5. Meeting Room Policy
      1. Which branch has a different Meeting Room policy from the others? 
      2. Besides the Meeting Room Policy shortcut link, under which Primary Tab would you find this information?
    6. Outline the steps for three ways to reach Interlibrary Loan information from the front page.
    Congratulations! Searching for the answers to these exercises and submitting the form has earned you the Website key to the Treasure Chest!

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Circulation Cove

    So, back agin, are ye? 'Bout time that you scurvy scallywags drug yer sorry keesters outa th' ship' t' have ye another grand great adventuaaarrr!

    Wildcard Harry's not wantin'  t' keelhaul ye f'r gettin inter th' grog behind his back! So git on with yer huntin' to find out how yer mates keep track a' yer books and whose got'em.

    Check out this SlideShare Presentation:
    Circulation Treasure Hunt
    View more presentations from kcgreen.
    Click Menu to View Fullscreen.

    See Circulation Policies
    On to the Hunt...
    Record your entries using the form on Harriet.  Be sure to submit when you are done.  

    Note: Admin staff on county computers will need to use a non-county computer for Horizon exercises.  The computers in the training lab can be used.
    1. List 5 HCPL Btypes and what they stand for. 
    2. Acceptable Identification and Who May Register
      1. Name 3 types of identification that can be used to get a library card.
      2. What is the definition of Head of Household?
      3. Name the 3 exceptions to regular borrowing privileges that are placed on Visitor Cards.
      4. Do we have to see proof that a child is an emancipated minor?
      5. Name the circumstances under which a child would be allowed to have more than one library account.
    3. Reciprocal Borrowing
      1. Do customers at all HCPL locations have access to Lone Star College (LSC) materials?  
      2. Customers from which 3 HCPL Locations also have access to Montgomery County Memorial Library System  (MCMLS) Materials? 
    4. In Horizon, look up the account for the patron named Daisy Mae Duck.
      1. What is Daisy's library card number?
      2. What is Daisy's address?
      3. What is her phone number?
      4. At what branch did she apply for her library card?

        On Daisy's account search for the following information:
      5. How many times has she checked out?
      6. On what date did she last check out?
      7. What books does she have on request?
      8. Search Daisy's payment history back to her registration date.  What is the highest payment amount waived from her account?

    Congratulations! Searching for the answers to these exercises and submitting the form has earned you the Circulation key to the Treasure Chest!