Friday, March 12, 2010

My Favorites Feature in CONTENTdm: Providing Students and Faculty with More Digital Library Power for Research and Study

The Ball State University Libraries’ Digital Media Repository (DMR) system includes more than 200,000 digital assets across 89 collections. These digital resources, each of which has a research and teaching focus, can be searched, read, played, and captured for class presentations, lectures and other research endeavors. The My Favorites module in the CONTENTdm system includes a variety of useful tools for repurposing these digital assets for academic use.

The My Favorites link can be found on the Global Menu bar in the DMR, At this site, users are presented with the My Favorites page, which includes controls in the left column and any objects marked for inclusion in My Favorites on the right. Of course, users must select digital assets as they search or browse the DMR with the “add to favorites” option to populate My Favorites. CONTENTdm allows up to 100 digital objects to be saved in My Favorites.

The BSU PowerPoint Generator is the last option in the My Favorites left column. This powerful tool was developed by library personnel for use with the CONTENTdm system. The BSU PowerPoint Generator creates presentation files with images and metadata that can be used on Windows and Mac OS X systems. The Library Insider highlighted this timesaving tool in an article in the October 2009 issue, page 11, a link to which is available on the University Libraries’ homepage.

The first four options in the My Favorites left column are viewing and sorting features for digital objects:

Slideshow viewer – Create a display of digital image files saved in My Favorites for viewing in a new window with slideshow controls. Available within every installation of CONTENTdm.

Compare feature – Select two objects in My Favorites for a side-by-side comparison in a new window. From the new window, choose another digital image to compare.

Remove item – Easily remove items from My Favorites by selecting the object number and clicking the remove button. An “are you sure” prompt is presented before the object is removed from My Favorites.

Move item – Sort or rearrange items in My Favorites using their object numbers.

The fifth option in the left column, “Save as a Web page,” provides the opportunity to create a new Web page with links to objects in My Favorites. Click the “Create” button to build a custom HTML-formatted Web page that can be loaded into Blackboard or linked on a Web site for use by students or colleagues. The objects on the saved page are clickable, leading the viewer back to the record for the object in the DMR. The filename under which the file is saved will be used to create a title presented at the top of the page.

For more information, contact Bradley D. Faust, Assistant Dean for Library Information Technology Services,, 765-285-8032.

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Friday, March 05, 2010

University Libraries Utilize Facebook: Promoting Programs, Collections, and Services

The University Libraries have recently revised their strategy for utilizing Facebook. Previously, Libraries staff updated the account periodically with photos and selected articles from the Library Insider, which were posted as photos. Beginning in December 2009, the Libraries began to keep the account more current and stepped up active promotion of the account in order to reach students, faculty, and other University Libraries fans.

The Ball State University Libraries’ Facebook account is ballstatelibraries. Anyone interested in following the Libraries can go to instead of having to search within Facebook.

Katie M. Bohnert, Marketing and Communications Manager, took on the task of regularly posting fresh and timely content to the Libraries’ Facebook account. New items and services, current and upcoming exhibits, workshops and instructional sessions have all been highlighted on the Libraries’ Facebook account. There are also reminders and links to timely services, such as reserving study rooms, checking print balances online, and employing wireless printing services. Katie also began posting selected Library Insider newsletter articles as notes instead of images, which makes the text searchable and more likely to be indexed by search engines such as Google.

Facebook also proved to be a valuable tool for communicating with students and faculty in December 2009, when the University’s Web site experienced a brief campus-wide interruption. The Libraries were able to share with our Facebook fans the direct links to unaffected resources, such as CardCat, Articles and Databases, E-Journals, and the Digital Media Repository. When service was restored, another posting alerted fans that the problem had been resolved and thanked them for their patience.

Future possibilities for the ballstatelibraries Facebook account include promotion of musical and theatrical previews in Bracken Library, taking advantage of the photo and video sharing capabilities native to Facebook, and using the Facebook Markup Language (FBML) to provide a way to search the online catalog, CardCat, as well as Articles and Databases from within Facebook, which would be especially helpful for those using mobile devices.

If you are a Facebook user and would like to be a fan of the University Libraries, join us at

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