Making a Pizza video (in Spanish)!

So what better way to get students to produce a good cooking video in Spanish than to have one you created yourself! I enlisted my daughter to help with the tasting and tech support just in case anything went wrong with the ingredients. On a more serious note, the fundamentals of video creation and organization are emphasized in the video with titles throughout and the instructions (in Spanish) are voiced over, with the whole package created within iMovie on the Mac. My students are going through my lessons on pre-production, recording, and editing of the video in class, and since this is my 5th year doing this, I can say that these steps really do help students to better organize and execute their videos. Best of luck to all of you doing similar projects in whatever subject you happen to be teaching or supporting!

Video created by Fernando Herranz.


Screencasting with Quicktime: iMovie on iPhone! (In 2 parts)

(Part 1: Getting started.) 

 (Part 2: Adding text and saving/uploading to YouTube)
So this isn't necessarily a new discovery for all you teachers and librarians out there but it sure is a great resource for explaining how something works on the iPhone or the iPad. In this case, I'm teaching a video creation lesson for my Spanish 3 Honors students where they prepare a food dish using the Imperative or command verb form. Many of them will be using their iPhones and iMovie, so I figured I would show them through this screencast I made how it works on their phones, and hopefully they can create some great videos with this small but great app. Making this all happen is Quicktime which helps to record the screen on your iPhone or iPad on your Mac, as long as you connect via USB. For a detailed description of this feature (called mirroring) check out this link. Enjoy!

Screencast by Fernando Herranz.


Big, Beautiful Data!

Here's a great article on the connection between data and art. SAIC and NU have joined forces to connect these 2 areas that were once often seen as separate entities: the sciences and the arts. "The new, interdisciplinary course Data as Art combined big data with collaborative research, studio arts, and visual communication design, enabling engineering and art students to translate mountains of information into visual art." Sounds so cool! Click here to read and be impressed.

And of course there's a video! https://vimeo.com/73251605


Getting Started with Audacity!

I am in love with Audacity! Why? Well, in this screencast I created, I show some of the basic features of this powerful audio recorder that gives you a lot of control over almost any aspect of the audio recording process. And it's free and open-source! If you're a librarian or student that needs to make a recording for a podcast or a project, this just might be the tool for you. If you need to record yourself with your smartphone, you can export the audio into Audacity and do all sorts of things to it like amplify, speed up, slow down, raise an octave, remove noise, or other edits to tweak your sound with the use of filters and controls. This will work with a USB mic or USB audio interface (I use the Scarlett 2i4) on a Mac, PC, or Linux computer. If you use another audio recording software like Garageband, Reaper, Logic, Ableton, or other tool, Audacity complements these by being able to edit individual tracks from these with no loss of quality. I can't encourage folks enough to give this app a try (desktop only) and see what they can do with this fab audio recorder. Visit http://www.audacityteam.org/ and also http://audacity.sourceforge.net/about/features to download and see features. Looks like the updated version (2.2.0) even has support for MIDI! Great!

Screencast by Fernando Herranz. 


Some great tools for teaching TECH!

Below you will find links to an interesting EdTech blogger (Eric Curts) who discusses some handy tools for screencasting and world language fluency using several online apps, several of which are free. If you are a school librarian, these may be of special interest to you as a way to enhance your collaborative efforts with your colleagues and their students. These screencasting tools can also be used for demos in explaining search strategies, among other applications. Enjoy!

Great links:




Brief Introduction to using Zotero Reference Manager

Zotero is one of those great reference managers that happens to be free and contains a lot of great features that will help you keep those resources organized. For a full list of features, compatible systems, and to download, visit https://www.zotero.org/. Just in case you wondering, Mendeley offers very similar features, but has a mobile app and a more robust online academic community. However, it's owned by Elsevier which is a private company (to my understanding) which to some people may not be a great thing. You know, privacy of information and data in the hands of the giant companies we all use but maybe fear. Elsevier also has a big hand in the academic publishing world, to the apprehension of Open Access advocates who feel academic publishing needs to be more accessible and free to as many people as possible. Zotero, for those of us who are fans of Open Source and Open Access, may be a better fit for you...

"Zotero is a project of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, and was initially funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. "

Screencast by Fernando Herranz.


Using the Exposure adjustment layer in Photoshop CC 2017

As I said in previous posts from this series, this screen-cast is for those students, teachers, and librarians looking to adjust their images and make improvements like exposure, color, brightness and contrast, etc. Adjustment layers are pretty easy to do and make your life simpler when you need to make quick adjustments yet want to maintain control of your images. Hope this video helps! Good luck!

Screencast by Fernando Herranz. 


How to use Adjustment Layers in Adobe Photoshop

This video will show you how to create adjustment layers in Adobe Photoshop CC 2017. Adjustment layers are very handy in helping us change things about an image like exposure, brightness, contrast, color, etc. The video is meant as a supplement to the previous video on creating Contact Sheets. This screencast was created on a Mac but the steps are very similar on the PC platform. Enjoy!

Screencast by Fernando Herranz. 


How to create a Contact Sheet using Adobe Bridge and Photoshop 2017

This video is for those students, teachers, and librarians that need to create a contact sheet of images to see a series of photos for a project, a yearbook, or an event and be able to compare them to each other. Like the good old days of film cameras, contact sheets were handy to be able to see your film negative exposures and be able to get an idea of what you did over several images at a glance. Now in the digital age, they're handy as well for the same reason and are MUCH easier to create!

Although this screencast was created on a Mac, the steps are very similar to what they would be on a PC. Also, even though I'm using Adobe Bridge and Photoshop CC 2017, the steps haven't changed much since possibly Adobe CS3 at the earliest. Enjoy!

Screencast by Fernando Herranz. 


Coming soon: the Librem 5 open source smart phone!

So why am I talking about a smart phone? Well, I must admit that I do have a soft spot for cutting edge tech when it relates to open source anything, so here it is. Purism is the Social Purpose Corporation behind the development of the Librem 5 Linux-driven smart phone. They even have a funding campaign that has so far surpassed everybody's expectations. Although the phone isn't quite ready to ship, it will be soon by the look of things. What fascinates me about this in relation to libraries is that these phones may bring with them a whole set of benefits (and maybe problems) to people accessing information within the library. Their focus on privacy and security (they won't be tracing our location with these) is a very appealing draw. Hopefully they'll be able to run the apps that we've come to use like Mendeley and Zotero, among many others.


My NU and UIC Practicum Document

To view my slide show, click here.

More info to come shortly!

Mendeley and Zotero Resource Managers

I'll be doing some exploring of these 2 freely available reference managers very soon. In the meantime, check out the links below that compare Mendeley and Zotero, among a few other reference managers.

Helpful links:

Have fun!


A little something I found on Bibliometrics...

I've been very intrigued by Bibliometrics and have been seeking out interesting articles and slide presentations that can shed some light on this new field that focuses on research impact. There are some details that I was surprised about, notably that it seems to be more relevant in the sciences where there is a great deal of article publishing. The Arts or Humanities don't have quite as much, so research impact is harder to measure. More great tidbits in this slide show from, Research Support Librarian at Maynooth University, Ireland.
Enjoy! (You can click here to watch.)

The Public Library of Science (PLOS)




Q: What is PLOS? What does PLOS stand for?

"The Public Library of Science (PLOS) was founded in 2001 as a nonprofit organization to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. We strive to bring scientists together and to share their work as rapidly and as widely as possible, to advance science and to benefit society as a whole. We are constantly looking for ways to use emerging technology and new ideas to open up scientific communication—to make it faster, more efficient, more connected and more useful.
Learn more about PLOS."

PLOS promotes itself as a leader in Open Access (OA) publishing, a large trend that is transforming academic publishing globally.

Here is a Wikipedia article about PLOS One, their journal.

After some time away...

Yes, I have returned to Library in the City! It's been a while, and a lot has happened since I last posted, but I must admit that I am excited to be back and share public, academic, and K-12 library resources and stories.

Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy these resources as much as I do!




Savvy Web 2.0 Teens Forge Critical Thinking Skills

By Lauren Barack Jun 15, 2010 06:36AM on SLJ online

Teens are crafting new ways to connect online, says a Toronto, Canada-based researcher, who's studying how students use Web 2.0 social media tools to make friends-and are inadvertently transferring these skills to the classroom. Natalia Sinitskaya Ronda, a PhD candidate with Toronto-based York University, discovered that a handful of 14-year-old girls in a pilot study used critical thinking skills independently online.

"How teenagers use Web 2.0 tools has huge implications for teaching critical thinking skills," says Ronda, citing Wikipedia as one example. "While adolescents are using tools like Wikipedia in their social lives (one of my participants actually admitted she read Wikipedia for fun), they are frequently discouraged from using Wikipedia in the school.

 Read more here or visit SLJ online at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com.

Take Pictures, Tell Stories: Flickr Extras

Submitted by Cindi Trainor on June 3, 2010 - 9:53am on www.alatechsource.org

"I use Flickr all the time personally, and my library has two accounts, a general library account and a University Archives account. Flickr has been around for a few years now, and librarians all over the world use it to share images from their personal and professional lives.  Flickr is more than a great place to post and share photos with your community; it's a community in itself, and a starting place for all sorts of activities.  Here are a few extra tools that can be found at and around flickr, to add a little extra to your photo experience."

Since summer is here, maybe getting those photos together with a little help from Flickr would be just the thing we need to make those September school beginnings even more interesting. Check out the article here or visit www.alatechsource.org . You can also visit Flickr here.


School Librarian Creates Web Lesson on Oil Spill

Lauren Barack -- School Library Journal, 5/24/2010 10:42:00 AM

"Melissa Corey helped turn a catastrophe into a teachable moment. After the explosion of Deepwater Horizon, a drilling rig leased by BP PLC on April 20 off the coast of Louisiana, Corey, a library media specialist at Benton High School in St. Joseph, MO, had a teacher ask her to conduct a mini-unit with his students, incorporating the oil spill into lessons on environmental disasters.

Corey logged online and developed a LibGuide on the oil spill combining news links, a Delicious linkroll, an RSS feed, and a Google Map that compares the relative size of the spill to Manhattan, Paris, and other global cities."

Talk about teachable moments! This article is great and you really should read it. It's not very long and gives some resources at the end of it. Read it here or visit SLJ at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com.


New iPhone App Lets Kids Access School Library Databases

From School Library Journal, 5/19/2010 2:05:00 PM

"Add this to the growing list of popular iPhone apps for kids—AccessMyLibrary School Edition, which makes remote searches of media center databases just a click away.

The latest app from Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, comes on the heels of last year’s launch of an iPhone application that helps users find their local libraries. This latest K-12 version asks students to enter a password, then search for their local school library. Once in, they can pull up the vast array of Gale online resources within a 10-mile radius that were purchased by their media specialist."

How might this work in CPS? It might be a great way to locate resources anywhere in the system, even though we have SOAR. Might be a good may to do inventory in your own library...what do you think? Read the article here or visit  SLJ at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com.

Free Speech Groups Protest GLBT Book-Banning at NJ School District

By SLJ Staff -- School Library Journal, 5/19/2010 2:00:00 PM

"A coalition of free speech groups is protesting the recent banning of the book Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology (Alyson) from New Jersey’s Rancocas Valley High School library following a complaint by a conservative group.

Leaders of the National Coalition Against Censorship, the National Council of Teachers of English, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, and People For the American Way Foundation wrote a letter to Rancocas Valley Regional High School."

It is unfortunate that in this day and age, there are still these types of challenges to our collection choices. This may not be happening in Chicago now, but you never know. Read the full article at SLJ here or visit them at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com.