Our Cataloging Data: The Future of Sharing and Creating

Chris CatalfoMonday, 3:30 – 5:00

Suddenly our catalog records are hot commodities The Library of Congress wants out of its “alpha role” in providing cataloging. OCLC wants to clarify who may share contributed records with whom. Biblios.net and Open Library offer open access alternatives. RDS disseminates catalog records into web-based entities. Where is all this leading? How will our data be created and shared in the future? Chris Catalfo, programmer at LibraryThing.com, shares his thoughts on the future of cataloging data. The NETSL business meeting and reception are included.

Available tools: OCLC, Open Library (good for sharing with web users), Biblos.net (good for sharing between libraries), Hathi Trust (online digital hosting)

How are we doing?

  • Sharing: ineffectual. Mechanism are out-dated, not everyone can participate. Needs good software to support sharing and finding of records (OCLC does do this, but still not all libraries can afford it)
  • Z39.50 – permits standardized sharing, but dates to the 70’s so it is a bit old and is a barrier to non-librarian programmers who could help make our data more available
  • New/better protocols: OAI Protocol, SRW/U
  • Another issue is who owns the data and records? OCLC? The libraries? Can they be owned?
  • OPACs: need to embed metadata into html catalog page, using OpenURL COins, Zotero (Firefox plugin), Librarything for Libraries catalog plugin

Looking to the future, none of these tools quite meet all needs: sharing between libraries, easy to use for non-librarian web searchers. So how should we share in the future?

Sharing is important:

  • The more we share with each other, the cheaper it is for libraries
  • The easier the data is to find, the better for our patrons (and libraries, since we’re easier to find)

What do we need?

  • More modern protocol XML over HTTP?
  • Clear up the ownership question
  • A platform to share to

How do we create data, and how can we improve?

  • Copy catalog or original cataloging (then keep internally or share back with OCLC)
  • Non-libraries: Google Books data comes from publishers, libraries, OCR scans (this is not perfect); Amazon mostly comes from publishers; flickr and LibraryThing (the wider web world) mostly comes from users
  • Libraries can learn a little from each of these alternatives: users are not always accurate, but it is large volume, powerful and popular
  • Can cataloging rules be streamlined – AACR, Dublin Core – and give catalogers more time to focus on other things
  • Need to get past political arguments of today and work towards the betterment of the data

Questions and Answers

Where to publishers get their data?
They type it in, so we shouldn’t need to duplicate that effort?

Is there copyright issues if they are creating it?
-Not sure…
It is part of their marketing effort, so they want it out there. So you’d think they’d want it accurate, but that isn’t always the case – so we also need a shared maintenance system
-Yes, it’d be like open source software, where everyone has access to various versions

Does Librarything do data cleanup of contributed data?
LT staff doesn’t, but dedicated users do authority control of author cleanup and cross-references

Is it in our long-term best interest to consider record sharing by itself? OCLC isn’t just a source for records, it provides a service

Does LT have tag guidelines?
I don’t think LT does much (I work more with LTfL) – there was a tag combining feature, but it was turned off – so it’s all user-generated.

Tags have the great benefit of not just connecting users to books, but connects users to users, but it could benefit from standardization (“my sister” is subjective, not objective).
Right, tags should compliment a structured language, not used exclusively.


From Information to Intelligence: Using the Social Web to Transform Communities

Stephen Abram and Social Web and LibrariesMonday, 1:00 – 2:30

We know that libraries make a difference. A big difference. Can we challenge ourselves to move to the next plateau quickly? Can we do that in an era of restricted budgets and financial pressures? What strategies will work? What technologies show the most promise? Are our communities ready for this? Stephen Abram, VP Innovation at Sirsi Dynix, shows us some of the innovations that are working in libraryland and some opportunities for us to transform our communities.

Slides available [pdf] at Stephen’s Lighthouse

Start with Is Social Media a Fad? video

Do you pay attention to the ads you see? In this day, information (and ads) find you – Google ads change depend on what you’re searching for, Facebook ads change depend on what you ad/upload, geotagging can customize a message for different parts of the country.

DVDs make up a large percentage of our circs – what is our plan in 5 years when DVDs are outdated? YouTube? Hulu?

Does anyone have 100 million books in the library? Google books does (will). How do we compete?

The critical advantage of libraries is librarians. But our websites have no photos of staff, no videos, no bios – we don’t tell people why to use us – instead we hide. Professionals should not be anonymous (do you want to know your doctor’s name?). How can we use social media to push our critical competitive advantage?

What are libraries really for?

  • Economic impact: libraries are the only social service people use by choice (no one wants the police, or fire, or medical personal to show up at their door)
  • Equity: diminishing the digital and generational divides by integrating population growth and supporting the process of learning, not just facts
  • Student performance: schools with libraries have 25% increase in test scores – add 5% more for schools with close ties to the public library
  • Seek competitive advantage: we’re falling behind Canada, EC, India China, etc. We now know genes influence learning styles, so schools (and libraries) need to respond and cater
  • Social glue and democracy: the top two things people value in libraries are 1) community and 2) learning – we need to support these interactions

Need to combat the idea that Google can do everything – this is shallow thinking (eg: most laws are online – do you still need a lawyer?) Do you want a heart surgeon who has watch a how-to video on YouTube? Also, Search Engine Optimization can cause false information to rise to the surface (Where was Obama born?).

People trust the opinion of their peers, so social web tools that allow interaction (LibraryThing, Chili Fresh, Sopac, etc) are valuable.

People are online: Facebook, Twitter, etc. They choose to Friend who they want, not be pushed to. But if you’re not there, you’re not part of their life. This is especially when we lose kids – they come to the library when learning to read, then move away when they become social.

Computer technology can be a love/hate relationship, but it’s the direction of the 21st century (printing and publishing dates to the 16th century). Social media permits different learning styles – not just one-way, but has feedback, and lets you treat students like students and adults like adults (if they’re looking for information on divorce, they’re probably looking for different things).

Two stickiest things for websites: news and weather. Put them on your website! This is the IKEA method – put everything in one place, and let the patrons put it together. We filter resources for context and relevance to save the time of the patrons. Get their feedback (using Surveymonkey polls, et. al.) to build community by building relationships.

Most people use cell phone – if you don’t pay attention to them, you will miss them. That’s why Iowa polls for 2008 election were wrong – they only polled land line home phones, but most voters were young first-time voters, who have cell phones and not land lines.

Libraries exist at the intersection of community need and social trends. This is especially true for broadband – libraries often have best internet access in small communities, but Google is soon to offer broadband on old analog TV signals.

More videos for Social Media Trends

Program idea: instead of having an “internet safety” class (which only parents would come to), have a “pimp my myspace” page – kids will attend, and you can teach them internet safety in a context that matters ro them.

Google is designed to meet the needs of its customers – that is not you. If you use Google for free, you’re not a Google customer – everything Google does is catered to help their advertisers.

Is this a “journal world” or an “article world” – what good are bound periodicals:

What problem do you serve for your patrons? Patrons don’t want to search, they want to find. Context is King, not content.

The future is complex – where do libraries fit in?
Social Graph Platform Wars

Laughing Matters: Using Humor as a Healthy Habit

Program Description: Laughing Matters: Using Humor as a Healthy Habit – 10/18/08 – 1:15-2:45 – Program Slides

Humor and laughter have long been used to cope with anxiety, pain and crisis and can also be used to alleviate workplace stress. Recent studies show how humor works those miracles. Licensed social worker Jane de Colgyll discusses the effects of stress, the healing qualities of humor and laughter, and ways to bring these qualities into our lives.

Impressions –

Jane de Colgyll was an effervescent and lively person to start the conference off with. Her program was light, though the topic is serious, and she made us move. Getting on our feet and thinking creatively is something not often seen at professional conferences and, in my opinion, really should be encouraged. Most of the session involved hands-on activities in groups, though she did spend some time in the beginning of the health benefits of laughter and important guidelines for healing humor. The issue of the effects of stress wasn’t directly addressed like the benefits of humor. The only thing I would liked to have seen were some thoughts on how to defuse negativity in the workplace when simply having humor there isn’t enough. But, I recognize that that may be a different discussion and would certainly require more time.

Session Notes –

Jane de Colgyll is a licensed social worker with AllOne Health Employee Assistance Program doing part clinical work and part program development for workplaces. The work we will do for this program is both participatory and hands on and she gets an early commitment to contribute from the group. She is associated with libraries both through her daughter who works in a library in Ohio and her sister who is a librarian in Singapore.

Especially in the current economic times it’s important to laugh to relieve the stress. But, it’ crucial not to be insulting but be able to laugh at yourself. Keeping life in perspective is the ticket. Things that are stressful become funny when you change the perspective that you are looking from. She referenced Joel Goodman and The Humor Project as a good source of stories relating to this line of thinking. “Instead of grin and bear it, grin and share it.”

There are a myriad of physical benefits of laughter from improved immune function, heart health, relaxation, muscle conditioning, oxygen efficiency. The bottom line is that laughter heals, mind and body.

It is important to remember to use humor as a tool not a weapon, making things better rather than making problems. Workplace humor needs to be both appropriate and light.

Activity 1 –

The first group activity was 9 people in 3 groups of 3 – whiners, exaggerators, and redirectors . The point was to poke fun at all the kinds of negativity and complaints we make as a profession and turn it into a laugh.

Whiners –

Patrons smell – I didn’t get my MLS to point out the bathroom – we work nights and weekends but get no overtime – the sign says turn off your freaking cell phone.

Exagerators –

We’re paid mere pennies – she was hovering over me with her cell phone – it’s like there is no such thing as parenting anymore.

Redirectors –

It doesn’t look as bad as it sounds – we can accommodate the people with our cell area, they just don’t use it – we’ve been working to improve that – there’s always something good in everything bad

Activity 2 –

The second activity involved the whole room in groups of 4-5. We were charged with creating a tagline, like “army strong” is for the army, about the mission of libraries and then create a cheer to perform for the group using the tagline. Though I didn’t get the whole taglines because I was participating myself, the heart of the lines were: we’re not quiet, know it alls, have it all, heart of the community, and a couple that emphasized library resources through words starting with “E” or “L” as part of their cheer. Most of the performances were skits or singing.

Activity 3 –

The final activity also involved the whole room in 3 teams. We were given extra large post-it notes and asked how we inject humor into our workplaces. The object was to be the group with the most ideas on sticky notes at the end. We all had a good laugh when we read them and stickers, prizes and chocolate were enjoyed by all. Below are the results of the post-it session, with the instructor caveat that some are not really appropriate, but there are here in their entirety regardless. You be the judge!

Team 1

  • Librarian trading cards
  • Green St. Patty’s Day potlucks
  • Edible book titles
  • Yankee (re)gift swap
  • Dress as your favorite author
  • Dress as your favorite character
  • Wii/Gaming night
  • Safe sex day
  • Dirty READ posters
  • Boxing Day (not the Canadian kind)
  • Performance evaluations with Dilbert puppets
  • Puppets in general
  • Subscribe to Unshelved
  • Sniff your markers
  • Plastic snakes/bugs
  • Funny shirt day
  • Subscribe to joke a day
  • Show your tattoos day
  • Dopey patron stories
  • Fake library journal covers for staff
  • April 1st Staff news

Team 2

  • Take turns as director for a day
  • Top 10 stupid reference questions
  • Pub quiz
  • Fun house mirror in the entrance
  • Turn directors office into mini golf
  • Patron free day
  • Let patrons answer telephones
  • Dress up day
  • Read Will Manley’s column every month
  • Sensible shoe day
  • Hang balloons on the monitors
  • Charge fines in Euros
  • Hang up comics
  • Smiley stickers
  • Write silly screensavers
  • Eliminate all employee evaluations
  • Official Director memo ordering humor in the workplace
  • Run staff meetings with finger puppets

Team 3

  • Dress up for holidays
  • Laughter packages (like care packages)
  • Nitrous in the ventilation
  • Participate in ridiculous holidays
  • Laugh at self first in teaching library services
  • Lighthearted loud speaker announcements
  • Blue light special on new books
  • Themed tees, buttons, bags, etc.
  • Laughter lunches
  • Humor bulletin board
  • Watch “Who’s on first” Abbott & Costello once a year
  • Fun house mirrors in the bathrooms
  • Spirit week
  • Patron nicknames
  • Tiaras on birthdays
  • B.U.M. Committee (Boost Up Morale)
  • Lolcat desktops
  • Pieces of flair

Finally, stressed spelled backwards is desserts.

Will Manley on Retirement

How many of the audience are retired? Thinking of retirement?

One of the nice things about retirement is you can be yourself. You have no one to report to–boss–boards.

Post retirement resume–career Goals: Golf     Life Goal: Have fun with 4 grandchildren    Library Goals: Spread cheer to librarians and spend 10 hours a week as a problem patron.

Life is very hard. More so now than ever. It can be stressful. But there is light at the end of the tunnel called retirement.  How did Manley decide to retire? He woke up one morning and said, “I can’t take this anymore.” His wife was a third grade teacher for years and she said they would retire at the end of her school year. He almost didn’t make it (he was a city manager).  In that time two sons moved to California and began having children. Manley and his wife began traveling a lot to California and upon retirement they sold their house and moved to California.

Why did he need to get out of city management? Manley never golfed until retirement–why? Think library patrons are bad–try municipal golf course patrons. The worse golf player they are-they more they complain.

Manley did not have a retirement plan. But he knew his time had come. Some people however are planners. It is good to surround yourself with people of other points of view–gives you perspective. One of the first things he did was “get rid of his cell phone”  Then he got rid of the television–advice from another retired person–it is so easy to become addicted to the tv especially when retired. He lived for months without a computer but felt without it he was locked out of this society (banking, social).  Now he is working on an internet addiction.

During the four months without a computer he would visit his local branch library to use a computer. Now he became “a regular” (looser).

What does he do all day? He has two grandchildren he and his wife take care of during the week.  Being a city manager prepared him for working with grandchildren with skills such as “sharing.” 

It is important to have a purpose–self value. Librarianship is noble work. All the jokes aside–people need librarians. People can be afraid of retirement for fear of loosing purpose or self value. Terms: Put out to pasture, put on a shelf, ride off into the sunset.  Our culture–we define ourselves by our occupations. Retirement can be scary because we need to redefine ourselves.  Librarians are often more prepared for retirement. We have been exposed to so many resource. Manley ask–Are you ready to take a risk? What do you really want to do with your life?

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book

NERTCL presented this program with Anita Silvey-author of the new book “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book”.

She usually tells how other authors made their journey’s, but today she wanted to talk about her own journey, especially since NELA has played a big part in her journey as a part of NERTCL years back.

In early 1970’s she came to Boston and interviewed for an assistant editor position with Horn Book and at the age of 22 began working with authors like Maurice Sendack and Ezra Jack Keats. When she came to present book awards at NELA she felt she was in heaven with all the great authors present. After seeing Jean Fritz at a conference, Silvey felt she really wanted to write non-fiction for children. From there she set to do just that and went through a time of writing some not so great books.

Silvey continued in her career as Editor and Publisher, but her dream as an author continued. Silvey admired authors like Jim Murphy and James Cross Giblin whom were previous editors whom went onto write non-fiction.

When Silvey’s employer was being sold, she decided to take a leap of faith and work as an author again. Dinah Stevenson pushed Silvey to write non fiction for children. Silvey decided to write about Deborah Sampson but found most history on her could not be verified.

She however did find a lot of information on women in the Civil War.  Thus the book “I’ll Pass for Your Comrade-Women Soldiers in the Civil War” Reality was that many civil war women decided not to let their men leave them behind but go with them. One was to provide provisions to the troops or do laundry. Some wanted a more military life and enlist. While there was no laws against women joining, they were told so. Many became “daughters of the regiment” and then leave the side lines and go into actual battle.

Some women this was not enough–they wanted to be part of the troop–not support them. Dress of the time made it necessary for women to dress as men. The huge number of boys (under 18) joining made it easier for women to dress as men to be part of the troops. These women had to do what men did such as training. There was field hand to hand combat. Hospitals and prisons were troublesome for a woman trying to pass as a man.

Silvey is also the author of “100 Best Books for Children” and “500 Great Books for Teens”. Coming out next year is “Henry Knox-Bookseller, Soldier, Patriot” with paintings by Wendell Minor.

While writing “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book” about 1/3 of those notables contributing to the book opted to be interviewed by Silvey. She spoke of some of her favorite interviews and contributors book choices. There is a huge link in what children read and what they do as adults. These books not only direct our careers, but can give us a sense of place, family or social perspective. Some books tie generations of the family together.

What did Silvey learn in writing this book? That the contributors not only remembered the book, but who gave them the book, the library or librarian or what was happening to them at the time.

We are hunting for the Right Book for the Right Child at the Right Time. We as librarians are affecting the next generation. This book should help us as librarians to understand the importance of what we do.

Discussion Group: Boundaries in Reference Service

Reference Service Discussion PanelMonday, 9:00 – 10:00

The landscape of reference service has been changing. Library users with nontraditional needs and varying competencies are appearing in libraries faced with staffing and facility challenges. Discover how different types of libraries are adapting and setting new boundaries from Matthew Jaquith, Springfield (MA) City Library and Chris Bigelow and Sheri Sochrin from Babson Library at Springfield (MA) College.

Matthew Jaquith
Important terms:

  • Information literacy: where information and technology intersect
  • Life-long learning: helping people keep their skills up with the changing demands of our culture (especially informal training)
  • Teaching and training: one-on-one teaching, but more group instruction
  • Reference room as computer lab: where do we draw the line in helping people with tech support? Everyone expects it, and as ready ref decreases, this is an opportunity for us to meet a new need
  • Roving/roaming reference and field librarians: meet the need at the point of need, especially by going out into the community
  • Disintermediation: people are doing more for themselves, and we should provide tools that encourage this
  • Library 2.0: self-renewal of our institution is built into the services we offer, incorporating input/feedback from our community

Chris Bigelow
Ref librarians are finding we are spending less time at the desk, people are coming to the library less, our desk stats are going down. But use of electronic services are increasing.

Students usually come to the library for group work, but not so much to come to the desk (unless specifically assigned). They prefer Google and self-searches. Faculty continue to assign the same work they’ve assigned for years, and continue to only look at the same few journals they’ve always read. We need to encourage both groups to use a wider spectrum of library services.

Three problems:

  • Outreach: get the word out. Get out of the building when possible – visit patrons where patrons are (especially to areas that are distant from library) – focus on “work” areas, not “social” areas
  • Ease of access (to librarians and services): Since they’re not coming in, we need to make it easy for them to contact us: email form, call, IM/chat (Pigeon and Libraryh3lp – doesn’t require patrons to have their own account), Text a Librarian (replies go right to students’ phones). Links to these services are all over the website, not just in one place (which might be hard to find)
  • Education: Students don’t know why using the library is important (and better than Google) – traditional bibliographic instruction, but embedded into every department’s curriculum via subject expert library liaisons

Sheri Sochrin
Library Liaisons: Slightly different when working with graduate students or adult learners, since they have jobs and families, generally are off-campus, often take weekend classes, many are “digital immigrants.”

Every patron group needs to be considered when evaluating print and online services – full-text online resources are convenient for most, but vital for this group. They are also heavy users of online reference services (chat and email). Make use of other organizational resources, such as video conferencing (not just the library’s, but available to the library) – it puts a human face on the library, so it’s not just a faceless institution.

Use communication channels – use email to send updates to handouts and other resources (make sure handouts are dated so you know when a student is using out-of-date material). Also using Elluminate conference software (as pilot) – web-based technology that supports traditional teach methods (feedback, breaking into small groups, push technology, etc). And if you can use it for classes, you can use it for one-on-one instruction (better they can see your screen instead of trying to explain a complex process to them over the phone). We are also staying open later (with reference assistants).

Questions and Answers
Do you have tutorial software?
-Chris: We have some: Searchpath (which is just linked static html) and some flash-based (created with Captivate), but they’re not getting much traffic, so we’re putting less focus on them. The thing that gets used the most is our small faq page.
-Matthew: SCL uses QuestionPoint co-browsing, and it turns out that’s not what patrons want.

How does text service work since you’re not available 24 hours a day?
Online form tells them we’re not online when we’re away, and refers them to other services.

Not sure, but if it were really expensive, we wouldn’t have it.

What about text-a-librarian?
They set up an account for us and handle the technical end, and all we do is advertise it and answer the questions.

How do you schedule your staff? We have small staff and one is always roaming, so it’s hard to do chat.
Chris: Chat staff is off-desk, but only available to patrons when staff is available to answer – questions go to everyone, and whoever can will “claim” it.
Matthew: We treat our chat as another desk, with scheduled hours. Email is done in-between questions.

How do you convince faculty to update assignments so library can support them?
Delicately: “your students are having trouble with this assignment…” – we also offer curriculum support, find out beforehand what they plan to do.

With so many communication methods, how do you track stats, and is it accurate?
We do once-a-semester reference count. The current chat system gives stat reports (vendor does it all).

Are other public libraries doing roving-only?
Hartford does this, Darien Library, use phone headsets/cordless phones, tablet PCs. Sometimes easier in smaller branches than main library.

How to encourage staff who resist boundary changes?
Matthew: Change is a part of our world, and rate is increasing, so this is often approached from an overall organizational point of view.

Yonkers(?) Library is letting people book reference appointments (especially for social service type questions)
But where do we draw the line? I do not handle patrons credit cards or make purchase decisions for them – can help with finding flights, but not buying flights. The line is drawn at financial outlay (taxes, purchasing, etc)
-Matthew: be sure to explain this to patron – you’re not refusing them service, it’s library policy to protect them.

OS Smackdown: This Time It’s Personal

Sunday: 4:00-5:00

See what all the excitement is as ITS panelists Wes “The Penguin” Hamilton, Scott “iEverything” Kehoe, and Rick “800-Pound Gorilla” Levine face off with demonstrations and discussions of the latest and greatest offerings in operating systems.

Rick Levine shows Windows 7Windows 7 (Rick Levine)
Anyone like Vista? Not so bad, but Windows 7 is better. Some of Win7’s best features are already in Vista, but Microsoft didn’t do a good job of letting us know.

  • Lets you customize to make user experience better (“don’t dim the desktop”)
  • Wordpad is new and improved, to the point it looks more like Word 2007 (with ribbons et. al.) – it still defaults to .rtf, but can also open and create .dotx
  • Other new/unknown items: gadgets aren’t stuck in the sidebar; no more My Documents: instead it’s all just in a user “library” (similar to Windows Media Player libraries to organize music – lets you organize into “categories” regardless of where it actually lives in the directory structure); actually helpful troubleshooters; just start typing in Start Menu to find things

Taskbar is very different – not quick Mac’s rollover/icon zoom thing, but more useful – rollover application, and it shows thumbnail of every window open in that application to make it easy to go right to a window. Things can also be pinned to taskbar or Start Menu – and pinned items stay in the same place on the taskbar, instead of icons being ordered by the order in which they were opened. Quickstart is gone, but pinning can sort of replace.

By the way, all of this needs good graphics card.

Alt-tab has fanicer applications scroll (two options).

Shortcuts: Peek = taskbar icon makes active windows transparent so you can see the desktop; Shake (just click/hold/shake active window minimizes all other windows; Snap: automatically snaps two windows side-by-side, without you having to resize both windows.

Compatibility mode: older windows let you pretend to run application in Vista as XP. Win7 actually creates a virtual machine so the applications really are running on that OS – only comes on some Win7 editions (maybe only the lowest doesn’t come with it) – Rick recommends getting Professional edition.

Wes Hamilton has fun with UbuntuUbuntu 9 on Linux (Wes Hamilton)
Ubuntu 9 is designed to fix a lot of problems from other distributions. Bootup should take no longer than 18 seconds.

Very easy to install – everything just worked. Designers tried to make a lot of decisions for users, by bringing together lots of software and combined it all together, polished it so it all works well together, and makes desktop very clean and simple. OS is an all-in-one system – includes Firefox, Open Office, and everything is up-to-date (don’t have to go to Windows Update six or seven times to get latest versions).

System has many notification alerts, to always let you know how things are working (or not working).

Some pieces are still missing – sound and video comes to mind. Sometimes it’s because proprietary systems are involved which prevents developers from including in install – but usually they are available.

Desktop is a “cube” so you have four desktop to flip through. OS is very keyboard-centric (Windows is usually mouse-centric).

Windows 7 is designed to be a replacement for WinXP, as computers will need to be replaced (Vista just did not cut it). Ubuntu is designed for people who can’t afford replace their computers – it will run just fine on older machines.

Soctt Kehoe gets to the PointSnow Leopard on Mac (Scott Kehoe)delicious links
Macs are good for libraries, because it’s what many kids use in school. And, no virus (which is why it’s good to have a mix of Windows, Linux and Macs, or at least be familiar with them, because this mix is not going to go away).

Only one version of OSX (no different editions like Windows) and no product keys (like Windows) so upgrade works with just one disk and reboot.

Scott’s favorite features:

  • Time machine: makes backup to external or network drives easy (can also be automated) – do it hourly, so you can almost always get deleted things back. It also self-manages, so it can delete old files when it runs out of room.
  • Exposé: show you everything you have open, using different numbers of finger combinations and button clicks
  • Hot corner: lets you have multiple desktops, easy to flip between them (including just by clicking that icon in the Dock) – this is a feature shared by all three OS’, so it is something to get used to
  • Finder: (heart of the Mac; Windows equivalent is Windows Explorer, but Finder is better) – when dragging and dropping into a folder, that folder opens up so you’re sure you’re putting it in the right place. It also gives you a thumbnail preview, which can be zoomed by clicking on spacebar
  • Spotlight: search for anything on the computer – not just file names, but also body of files, emails, and shows results in realtime (not like Windows that has to run search while you wait)
  • Built-in pdf support (including editor), so you don’t need Adobe Reader at all