Friday, August 20, 2010

Back It Up!

You are backing up your important files, aren't you?  I was reminded just last week in a discussion with a faculty member that not everyone is, but most of us would be devastated to lose the stuff we keep on our computers.  Here's a quote from New York Times technology columnist David Pogue, whose computer's hard drive failed several years ago, leading to the loss of all of his files: "There's two kinds of people in the world: those who have good regular backup systems and those who will."  Pogue was able to recover most, but not all of his files through a data recovery company, but it cost him a lot of money

An external hard drive is a good place to start, but it may not be a sufficient solution alone.  The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) has a good article that details the issues, threats, and options concerning backups.  They advocate the 3-2-1 rule: three copies (primary and two backups), two types of media,  with one copy stored off site.  While professional photographers might find the expense of online backups to be prohibitive due to the size of their professional archives, scholars and students may wish to consider a service like Dropbox. See Ryan Cordell's article over at ProfHacker for more information.

ASMP reminds us that the threats to are data are numerous:
  • Device failure
  • Viruses
  • Malicious damage
  • Volume and Directory glitches
  • Transfer corruption
  • Lightning strike/Voltage surge
  • Theft
  • Fire or water damage
  • Human error
There is a reason why the data recovery company with whom David Pogue worked keeps a suicide counselor on staff.  If you haven't already, find a good, automated system for backups today.  Start with these articles written by Jason B. JonesMerlin Mann, and John Gruber

Image: Eric Hart (Eqqman), Filed,  2009.  Available from Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

11 Techy Things for Teachers to Try This Year

Looking for ways to incorporate more technology in the classroom?  Over at Free Technology for Teachers Richard Byrne has shared 11 Techy Things for Teachers to Try This Year.  Each of these entries is accompanied by suggestions for free resources that educators can use.

1. Build a Blog or Build a Better Blog
2. Build a Wiki With Your Students
3. Build a Website
4. Create Videos Without Purchasing any Equipment
5. Create Maps to Tell a Story
6. Try Backchanneling in Your Classroom
7. Join a Social Network for Your Professional Development
8. Use an Online Service to Save Your Bookmarks
9. Get Your Students Searching More Than Just
10. Have Your Students Create Podcasts
11. Eliminate Inbox Overload

Richard Byrne's blog is well worth following. Recent entries include Tech Tip - Easy Sharing of Long URLs; Wetoku - Conduct, Record, and Share Video Conferences; An Overview of the History of Visual Thinking; and How to Choose a Safe Password.  I have just added his blog to my RSS reader.

Via Ellyssa Kroski at iLibrarian.

Image: Vernon Fowler (vfowler), computers, 2007, available from Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

ARTstor Subject Guides

ARTstor now offers twenty-two subject guides on a broad range of topics.  These one-page PDF documents "highlight relevant collections, unique interdisciplinary content, search strategies, and search terms that greatly aid discoverability across disciplines in the Digital Library."

These guides illustrate that, despite the emphasis on "art" in ARTstor's name, its content is useful to scholars and students in a wide range of disciplines, especially across the humanities and social sciences.

The current subjects covered are: African and African American Studies; American Studies; Anthropology; Architecture and the Built Environment; Asian Studies; Classical Studies; Design; Decorative Arts; Fashion and Costume; History of Medicine and Natural Science; Languages and Literature; Latin American Studies; Maps and Geography; Medieval Studies; Middle Eastern Studies; Music History; Native American Studies; Photography; Religious Studies; Renaissance Studies; Theater and Dance; and Women's Studies.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Visual Literacy Standards

I am back from an incredible month in Uganda (highly recommended, especially if you are not too attached to hot water showers), and waiting for me in my inbox was an announcement about a new blog on developing Visual Literacy Competency Standards from the Image Resources Interest Group (IRIG) of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).  ACRL brought us the much used Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, so this is a very welcome development for educators who teach visual literacy.  As our culture and so many others have increasingly adopted images to communicate, including selling, convincing, illustrating, etc., visual literacy is really an important topic for everyone, not just those in the arts.

IRIG has posted five potential definitions of visual literacy proposed at their meeting during this year's American Library Association conference in Washington, DC.  What do you think about these definitions?  I look forward to the final product, which will be an especially helpful instruction guide for academic librarians and visual resources professionals.

Image: Trey Ratcliff (Stuck in Customs), The Sunset of Your Childhood, 2008.  Available from Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 GenericLicense.