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Students, faculty, and staff are returning for fall classes to find a refreshed CLE. Many may not be aware of improvements to the Quiz activity, which is a popular way to assess student learning here at UCSF. Take a look at the handout provided below to learn about the Top 10 Improvements to the Quiz Activity.
Do you have questions about how to set up an upcoming CLE quiz? Or maybe you have questions about setting up and managing your course question bank? If these questions sound familiar, attend an upcoming CLE Clinic or contact the Learning Technologies Group and get your questions answered!
This photograph is comprised of four images of what appears to be a dentistry school demonstration– there seems to be too much smiling going on for a real procedure. Walter French Lillard (mustachioed) of Dixon, California; Maurice Louis Green of Alameda, California; and Anna Christina Frank Wagner of Austin, Nevada graduated from the College of Dentistry in the class of 1901.
See more of UCSF’s Historic Photographs here.
RefShare is a special feature of RefWorks that allows you to share information in your RefWorks account with others. It’s accessed from the Organize & Share Folder tab:
RefShare allows you to share your RefWorks database of just specific folders, or subfolders, from your RefWorks database with other RefWorks users at UCSF and in some cases even publicly.
RefShare users have the ability to allow exporting, printing, generating a list of references and even using custom output styles at the folder or database level. Existing RefWorks users can export from a shared database or folder directly into their own RefWorks database.
There is also a “comment” feature, so you can even attach comments to the various records.
RefShare is ideal for classes and group projects, or researchers working together from remote locations. Users can subscribe to RSS feeds of particular RefShare folders or create bibliographies in a variety of citation styles from the citations in RefShare.
You can also post your folders or databases on a shared page viewable by all RefWorks users within UCSF:
For more information view this online tutorial.
Join us on Monday, October 13th as M. Michael Thaler, M.D., M.A. (Hist.) gives a lecture in a series launched by UCSF Archives & Special Collections.
Date: Monday, October 13th, 2014
Time: 12 pm-1:20 pm
Location: Lange Room, UCSF Library, 530 Parnassus, 5th floor
This lecture is free and open to the public.
Please RSVP to reserve a seat.
Shimkin’s “Lost Colony” (1947-1953): Early Interdisciplinary Cancer Research at UCSF
The Laboratory of Experimental Oncology (LEO) was established in 1947 at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco as a “colony” of the National Institutes of Health, to be jointly administered by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and UCSF. The LEO was the brain child of Michael B. Shimkin, a career U.S.P.H.S. physician and cancer researcher at the NCI. Shimkin was a native San Franciscan, having successively graduated from Lowell High School, UC Berkeley and UCSF. After 8 years at the NCI and war service, Shimkin returned to his native city and alma mater as ideal environments for a “combined” interdisciplinary clinical and basic research unit embedded in a medical school and staffed by full-time research teams of M.D.’s and Ph.D.’s. These unprecedented ideas directly challenged the traditional separation between patient care and laboratory research. Shimkin introduced a ‘release’ form that fully informed patients with terminal cancer admitted to the LEO about the incurable nature of their illness, and clearly distinguished between therapeutic and experimental procedures. This prototypical “informed consent” approach met with mounting resistance from the clinical faculty. In response, Shimkin organized a symposium at UCSF in October 1951 on the subject on human experimentation. In his presentation, Shimkin became the first American physician to draw on the injunctions from the recently concluded Nuremberg trials against German physicians who had conducted medical experiments in Nazi concentration camps, as a source of universal guidelines for the ethical conduct of experiments with human subjects. The LEO treated 500 patients and generated over 130 publications before being replaced by the Moffitt-based Cancer Research Institute in 1953.
About M. Michael Thaler
Michael Thaler received his M.D. from the University of Toronto, trained in pediatrics, pediatric pathology and internal medicine, and completed research fellowships in cell biology at Washington University and in developmental biology at Harvard University. As professor of pediatrics at UCSF, he established the first academic division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition in North America, was awarded the first NIH Research Career Development Award in Pediatric Gastroenterology, and was P.I. of the foundational NIH Research Training Program grant in Pediatric Gastroenterology. He also directed the Laboratory of Pediatric Hepatology and served as associate director of the UCSF Liver Center. His publications include approximately 200 clinical and basic research articles on perinatal bilirubin metabolism, infantile cholestasis syndromes, Reye’s syndrome, and bile salt metabolism. As professor emeritus, he earned a M.A. degree in History of Health Sciences at UCSF in 1998, and received appointments as Visiting Scholar at the Stanford Center for Bioethics, and Research Associate at the Stanford Center for History and Philosophy of Science. For the next 12 years, he taught undergraduate courses on the history of medical sciences as Visiting Professor of History at UC Santa Cruz and UC Berkeley. He continues to lecture at the Osher Life Long Learning Institute in Berkeley, and for the fellowship program in Pediatric Gastroenterology at UCSF. His awards include the UCSF Chancellor’s Faculty Award for Public Service and the Shwachman Lifetime Achievement Award in Pediatric Gastroenterology. He presently serves as president of the UCSF Emeriti Faculty Association.
About the UCSF Archives & Special Collections Lecture Series
UCSF Archives & Special Collections launched this lecture series to introduce a wider community to treasures and collections from its holdings, to provide an opportunity for researchers to discuss how they use this material, and to celebrate clinicians, scientists, and health care professionals who donated their papers to the archives.
Interested in reading JAMA articles on the go? You’ll be happy to know that because UCSF Library is a JAMA subscriber, our patrons have access to the latest year’s worth of content from all 10 JAMA journals on the JAMA Network Reader.
The Reader works across all devices — phone, tablet, and desktop — to give you free, instant access to the research, reviews, and viewpoints in all JAMA Network journals, including those published online first and with embedded video. It’s browser based and available as a Chrome app or Safari extension to allow for offline article viewing (articles are only available for online viewing on Mozilla and Internet Explorer through the Reader website). The option to read either online or off saves storage space on your device and gives you the ability to easily access the article later.
Additionally, there are no manual updates needed, and Online First articles and new issues appear automatically.
To take advantage of this benefit to UCSF’s JAMA subscription, you will need to access the JAMA Network Reader while on the UCSF network or click through to the JAMA Network from the library catalog if you’re off campus. Look for the link to the Reader on the top of the right sidebar of every article page. For more detailed instructions, please visit the JAMA Network Reader website and see the section “How to access through your institution.”
Also visit the Reader site to learn more about installation and offline reading.
Image from JAMA.
No spoilers here. Click through to see the answers.
If you haven’t seen the crossword puzzles, yet, check out the previous post on the Children’s Hospital of San Francisco Alumnae Association collection.
Given San Francisco’s history of earthquakes, I should be better prepared.
My earthquake kit has a flashlight, portable radio, first-aid kit, and enough dehydrated food rations to last a few weeks. I’m probably better prepared than most, but I’m still lacking an adequate supply of water, spare clothes, cash, street maps, and emergency contacts. In terms of earthquake preparedness, I’m woefully short of ready. Emergency preparedness is a great analogue for data disaster recovery. Investing some time in being prepared could potentially pay huge dividends later on; preparing yourself for the worst is often easier than dealing with disasters as they unfold.
If you’ve owned a computer in the past decade, chances are you have either experienced a hard drive failure or know someone who has. Data from Backblaze –– an online backup provider –– outlines how failures can occur due to manufacturing defects, as well as wear-out failures. Wear-out failures unsurprisingly increase with disk age. Unlike traditional spinning hard disks, the increasingly popular solid state drives do not have moving components and thus are less likely to fail mechanically. Solid state drives, however, are not immune from wear-out. Regardless of the kind of drive you own, having a secure, automatic, online backup is a great practice.UCSF Box
If you’re staff, faculty, or a student here at UCSF with MyAccess privileges, you already have access to UCSF Box. Box is one in a crowd of cloud-based storage providers, competing with Dropbox, Mozy, Skydrive, SugarSync, Amazon Cloud Drive, and many others. UCSF Box provides 60 gigabytes of personal storage with a file size limit of 5 gigabytes. You can use Box to store, access, and share data.Cloud vs Network Shared Drive
Box, like many other cloud services, offers some advantages over traditional storage on a network drive. (Note that a network drive is not the hard drive on your computer — it’s backed up storage space provided on your school or workplace server. Typically, you must be on-site to use it.)
There are a few drawbacks with using Box at UCSF, most notably that it cannot be used for FERPA or ePHI information. Also, if you have data exceeding 5gb per file, or 60gb in total, traditional network storage would be more suitable. Otherwise, the benefits of portability between devices and the enhanced suite of features make Box a great option.Box Sync
Box Sync is a great feature, similar to other cloud storage offerings, that integrates a folder on your Mac or PC with your Box.com account. Anything added or modified within this folder is automatically backed up. You can modify the contents of the folder while you are offline and the changes will be applied the next time you connect to the internet.
To setup Box Sync, follow the instructions below.
In my case, I’ve setup my Box Sync folder in my User Directory (the default location). I’ve added a folder entitled “PowerPoint Presentations” as well as a sample document entitled “Sample Word Document.” The Box Sync application has syncing turned on.
When I login to my Box account, I see that both the folder and the document have been uploaded. Anything I place in the Box Sync folder will be uploaded, including documents seeded within other folders.Go On, Be Prepared
Don’t wait to take advantage of your space on UCSF Box. It could save you enormous hassle and heartache if (when!) your local hard drive fails. If you don’t have UCSF privileges, you can still use a Box.com free account or a competing solution, though your amount of space and/or cost may vary. If you take a few minutes to set up some kind of cloud-based file storage, you won’t be sorry.
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A previous post outlined a simple way to share references using EndNote’s “traveling library” features. However, EndNote Basic (previously known as EndNote Web) offers more sophisticate features for sharing references with colleagues.
Just to remind you, there are now two versions of EndNote, desktop EndNote and Endnote Basic. The latter is a separate application from the desktop version. It’s free, and was formerly known as Endnote Web. EndNote Basic is essentially a web-based stripped down version providing users with the ability to store 50,000 references, 2GB of file storage, 21 bibliographic styles, 5 online search connectors, and 9 import filters.
With EndNote Basic it is possible to create groups which you can share with others. Groups can be created on the basis of either read or read/write.
View this short online tutorial to learn more.
Note however that whilst references can be shared within a group, PDF attachments cannot be shared due to licensing restrictions.
The California Digital Library hosted a code jam earlier this month at the Oakland City Conference center.
This gathering brought together librarians and developers from University of California campuses for a series of working meetings with an eye toward system-wide projects, especially involving data curation.
In the spirit of an informal, code-jam style meeting, I presented a bit on my recent experiments using machine learning to categorize data. As a starting example, I applied a random forest to suggest subject keywords for data sets uploaded to the recently launched DataShare website.
A researcher who uploads a data set to Datashare through the datashare-ingest app is prompted to provide keyword information along with other metadata describing the data set. One relatively common keyword is “middle-aged”.
For the code jam, I showed one possible way to use these existing records to train a random forest to determine whether a new dataset should be tagged with the keyword “middle-aged”.
For this particular exercise, there isn’t a great deal of data – we’d need a much larger data set to really apply this. However, the small dataset has some advantages for exploring the use of random forests, as it’s possible to visually inspect the input and gain a better understanding of how the random forest categorization is working.
“Middle aged” is a relatively good term to use for an experiment, as it isn’t as obvious (or as objective) more technical terminology. Highly technical keywords often show up repeatedly in the data set, and are often very predictable. More subjective and less technical keywords such as “middle aged” may apply to a wide range subjects, and they may show up in some records but not in others, as some researchers include the keyword and others don’t. Random Forest classification can be particularly useful in this case, as these subjective keywords are more likely to be applied when they don’t show up in the description, title, or technical methods for a particular dataset.
For example, here’s a record tagged with the keyword “middle aged”.
To get started, I approached this with a simple “bag of words” approach, with a small modification. Rather than taking a very large bag of words for all records (or a sample of all records) in Datashare, I limited the count to words that show up in records with the keyword “middle aged”.
(for the full list, run the wordcount_summary.py script in the github repo).
I used this bag of words to populate a random forest. For each record, I created a vector indicating the word count for each of the most common words in each dataset, using the title, abstract, and methods as text fields.
Here’s the bag of words for a single record that includes the “middle-aged” subject tag:
And here’s the bag of words for a single record that doesn’t contain this keyword:
Each of these records is converted into a vector containing the word count along with information about whether it was tagged with the keyword “middle-aged” (for the python scikit-learn library, I expressed this as a binary 0 or 1).
A categorization problem like this, where a bag of words is used as the basis for determining whether a record belongs in a particular category, can be approached with a number of different supervised learning techniques. Logistic Regression and Decision Trees are common approaches, and Random Forest is a particularly accessible and often effective algorithm for many categorization problems. I used a Random Forest classifier here, though other algorithms might turn out to be more effective.
For this application, I converted each record into a vector representing the bag of words, with each position representing a common term, and each value representing the number of instances of that word. I ignore a number of stop words and common terms, but there’s a lot more that could be done here, especially around identifying common phrases rather than single words. Each vector, along with an indicator representing whether this record was tagged with the subject “middle aged”, is then used to train a random forest classifier.
The rforestDS-Middle-Age.py script contains python code using scikit-learn to train and evaluate a random forest classifier on the Datashare records for the “middle aged” keyword tag, using the strategy described above.
Note that if you run this multiple times, you’ll get slightly different output. This is probably amplified by the relatively small number of training samples.
The train data score indicates how well the random forest categorizes the records that were used to train it. Because of the small sample size and relatively specific vocabulary, the assessment is fairly high.
Train data score: 0.941176470588
While it is interesting to observe the Random Forest’s assessment of how it performs on its own training set, a common practice is to split the training data into a training set and testing set (often at a two-thirds training, one-third testing ratio). You can then use the testing data (which was not used to build or train the random forest) to evaluate the accuracy of the classifier. I didn’t in this particular case, as the training set was very small and this is a small experiment/exercise, but it would be an important step on a larger dataset where we plan to make real use of a classifier.
Random Forests can also estimate the relative importance of the classifiers (in this case, the importance of the word count for each of the most common words in determining whether a record has been tagged with the subject “middle aged”). Here’s the feature importance estimate for a run of the random forest. The numbers will change slightly each time the forest is run.
Although such a small sample size isn’t ideal for building a useful classifier, it can be illuminating, as the data set is small enough to hint at why certain words are so important. “Slice”, for instance, probably wouldn’t be such a strong predictor for whether a record should be tagged as “middle aged” in a larger data set. This is almost certainly a quirk related to our small sample size.
The output for this script is stored in the “categories” folder in a file named “1-Middle-Aged.txt”.
To apply the random forest to all subject tags, run the rforestDS.py script. You should see similar output for each keyword tag, along the training data score and feature importance estimates. To assemble all the estimates into a single file, run the MergeFiles.py script.
We’ve recently acquired a collection from the Children’s Hospital of San Francisco Nurses’ Alumnae Association, MSS 2006-17. Let’s break that down.
The California Pacific Medical Center’s historical timeline and UCSF History site prove quite useful for untangling this history. In 1875 the Pacific Dispensary for Women and Children was founded in San Francisco. It underwent a name change and became, more recognizably, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Under the leadership of the pioneering Dr. Charlotte Blake Brown (1846-1904) in 1882, the hospital began offering a two-year training program for nurses– the first official of its kind on the West Coast. And in 1887, it finds a new home at the intersection of California & Maple streets. At this point, “the two-story hospital has 25 private rooms, open wards, a cow barn, chicken yard, and laundry. Total cost, with furniture and equipment: $26,000.” The University of California Medical School (that’s us– UCSF!) begins partnering with Children’s Hospital in 1915 to teach medical students.
Which brings us just to about the time period of this collection. Donated by the granddaughter of Ruth Steuben, an alumna of the Children’s Hospital Training School for Nurses, the material covers the education of Steuben, roughly 1925-1929, and includes class notes, yearbooks, photographs, and a uniform apron. Digital copies of Steuben’s school records as well as photographs and letters from the mothers of children nursed by Steuben soon after her graduation are also included. Below, a photograph of Ruth with her graduating class, December 1927, from the Little Jim yearbook.
And a photograph of many of the same students at a nursing school reunion event in May 1948.
And now, for your further enjoyment: crossword puzzles! The 1948 Little Jim yearbook includes not one, but two crossword puzzles. The first was created by Adelaide Brown, M.D. (1868-1933) who was the daughter of Dr. Charlotte Blake Brown– both were longtime activists for women and children’s health.
Please see our other collections regarding the Children’s Hospital of San Francisco Nursing School Alumnae Association, MSS 89-20 and MSS 91-101. Read more about Dr. Charlotte Blake Brown in this fascinating article, The San Francisco Experiment: Female Medical Practitioners Caring for Women and Children, 1875-1932, by Meredith Eliassen and published online in Gender Forum.
Have you been working on CLE or multimedia projects this summer in preparation for fall courses? If you have, I am sure you have questions or even better, want to share some of the great work that you have done. Just in time for the Fall 2014 semester, we are excited to announce dates for the upcoming Tech Clinics offered through the Learning Technologies Group and UCSF Library. You can register for a Clinic today at tiny.ucsf.edu/LTGClinics.
The Learning Technologies Group will offer one Multimedia Clinic and one CLE Clinic a month throughout the rest of the year. The Clinics are offered at no cost to all UCSF community members. Here are some recent changes to the CLE that you may be interested in learning more about at an upcoming CLE Clinic:
New additions to Tech Clinics offerings include:
Each Clinic offers short presentation/demos on popular topics throughout the day as well as one-on-one support opportunities with Learning Technologies staff.
CLE Clinics Fall Schedule (click below for more information and to register)
Multimedia Clinics Fall Schedule (click below for more information and to register)
*Have the Learning Technologies Group helped you recently? During the Multimedia Clinic on Friday, September 12, we will be filming testimonials on working with the UCSF Library and Learning Technologies Group. If you are interested in participating and filming a 30-60 second testimonial during the September 12 Clinic, please register using the link above or contact the Learning Technologies Group.
We hope to see you there!
Image Credit: “Light-Bulb” designed by Phil Goodwin from the Noun Project
Image Credit: “Refresh” designed by Chris Dobbins from the Noun Project
Image Credit: “Check-Mark” designed by DEADTYPE from the Noun Project
A Traveling Library refers to the formatted citations in your Word document and is created for each Word document when formatted using EndNote and Cite-While-You-Write (CWYW): it’s a subset of your EndNote library which contains only the citations that appear in your paper. Each time you format a citation (e.g. insert a reference) EndNote will look in your open library to find the corresponding reference. If the library is not available or not open, EndNote uses the “traveling library” for reference information. This allows you to collaborate with other authors on a paper without each author having the same EndNote library because reference data is kept with each formatted citation. The reference data saved with each citation includes all fields except Notes, Abstract, and Figure.
When someone e-mails you a MS Word document that has been created with EndNote citations you can export the “traveling library” from Word into a new or existing EndNote library on your own computer by following these steps:
Please note that this will only work if the Word document citations were created using EndNote, and the EndNote coding still remains in the document (i.e. it wasn’t converted to a plain text document before you received it).
Starting a new online course can sometimes be a daunting task. A student may look at a course page and see a never-ending list of activities and resources for them to view or complete. If a student opens up a course like the one pictured below, they might become paralyzed by the dreaded scroll of death. They might wonder where do I even begin? And over time, they may wonder Which resources or activities have I already viewed or completed? How do I know if I’m even getting anywhere? Luckily, Moodle, the learning management system that powers UCSF’s CLE, provides ways for us to help students go through their online courses in a personalized fashion. This may mean selectively introducing content, branching activities based on performance, or merely keeping activities hidden until they are needed by the learner. Moodle’s conditional activity features provide a helpful way for students to see their progress in a course. This is especially useful for asynchronous learning, because it allows the learner to be in control of their progress over time versus waiting for the next content to be made available by the instructor. Some common uses of Conditional Activities might be:
Employing conditional activities in a CLE course can get complicated pretty quickly. It’s best to start simple and stay simple. So, let’s start simple! Using conditional activities has two parts: 1) Activity Completion and 2) Access restrictions. Our faithful readers may remember that we posted about Activity Completion back in November, but let’s take a deeper dive now.
When employing the conditional activity features, you’ll want to set up Activity completion first, then move on to adding access restrictions. Activity completion is enabled in the Course Settings for a course. It’s best practice to enable this for a course before you start adding Activities and Resources, so the setting is automatically enabled. If you are enabling Activity completion after you’ve added items to the course, you will have to go back and enable each Activity or Resource individually.
For each course Activity or Resource, you can set the completion settings as you choose. There are three main options for each course activity or resource:
For the option where certain conditions must be met, you can indicate the conditions you wish. The simplest is “view”. This means the student merely needs to open up the File or URL once and then, it is deemed complete. Graded items, like the Quiz, Assignment, or a SCORM package (like an Articulate presentation), can require a certain grade to be deemed complete. The Forum has the most complex activity completion criteria with options to require a certain number of posts or replies. When the conditions are met, check marks appear in the boxes for each activity.
The second part to employing Conditional Activities is using the Access restrictions. This setting enables Instructors to restrict the availability of any activity, resource, or even a course Topic according to certain conditions such as dates, viewing the activity, a certain grade obtained, or activity completion is fulfilled. The use of access restrictions personalizes the course experience for the learner. The appearance of activities depends on each student’s own completion of prior activities. When these access restrictions are set, each student’s course might look slightly different, because each student may be further along than other students are. In the Restrict access options, an Instructor can indicate a date that you expect the completion criteria to be completed by, however this date is not shown to students. It is only displayed in the Activity completion report that is available to Instructors, such as the one below. A quick, but important note about Activity completion: UCSF’s CLE server gets triggered every 10 minutes to refresh activity completions. This means that although a student may have completed the activity, the criteria won’t necessarily register for another 10 minutes. I hope this blog post has whet your appetite for exploring the course personalization options available to you with the CLE. As you can probably tell, the Restrict access options can get a lot more complicated and we’ll go into that in a later blog post. Until then, please feel free to contact the UCSF Learning Technologies Group for any of your online learning needs! Laptop Image Credit: Kristen McPeak from the Noun Project
In the spirit of UCSF’s 150th anniversary, a new addition to the archives has been made: the history of our very own Dr. Eddie Leong Way. The addition is very much relevant to the anniversary, as Dr. Way himself has contributed much to the school’s 150 years. In fact, he makes up many of those years, himself.
Born in San Francisco, Dr. Way earned his bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley before going on to obtain his PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry from UCSF’s very own School of Pharmacy. However, his involvement with the school did not simply stop at his educational background. Dr. Way worked as a professor at UCSF for years after his graduation, only retiring in 1987. His career primarily focused on the development of physical dependence and tolerance of opiates. It comes as no surprise, then, that such extensive work has contributed to creating a generally much more improved and deeper understanding of addiction.
Spending some days in the archives, I had the fascinating task of working through Dr. Way’s time and work here at UCSF, from the beginning of his career to years after its official end. As I leafed through pages and pictures, both brittle with age and sleek with freshness, I felt the pleasant weight of history at my fingertips. Some of the files dated back to as early as 1939, and some as recent as 2008.
All sorts of documents made their way to the archives. Several of his publications and publication listings; various correspondences with other faculty members and students; notes and slides from his own lectures; even invitations and party photos! Work and play all mingle together in the collection to form the personal history of this astounding individual. His files dictating his time and effort spent towards the betterment of the UCSF School of Pharmacy and even the world of pharmacy as a whole are now preserved in UCSF’s extensive and detailed archives, where they shall most certainly remain safe and sound.
Alex Giacomini was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is vastly interested in writing and the humanities, and is currently a communications intern in UCSF’s School of Pharmacy. Alex is a rising senior at UC Berkeley, where she is working to attain her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature.
The video capabilities of smartphones are improving all the time, and the iPhone remains the most-used camera on the planet. Most of us are not trained videographers, however, so we often end up with shaky, blurry video and poor sound quality.The tips provided in this post will help you shoot better looking and sounding videos!1 – Tilt that phone
The eyes in our noggin are oriented horizontally, as are the displays on our televisions and computer monitors. We are used to holding our mobile phones vertically, though, and you know what happens next… vertically oriented video. Oh nooo! We all make this mistake at least once, and it’s a doozy, because you can’t “fix it in post” unless you want to cut off two-thirds of your video. Just remember – tilt that phone to landscape orientation before you press the video capture button!
And if you need an app for that, Horizon has you covered.2 – Go to the light
New camera features are added to our mobile phones every year, but one thing remains relatively constant – the small size of our phones. Small phones means small camera sensors, small camera sensors means less surface area to capture light, and that means grainy, blurry pictures in low-light conditions! Have you ever tried to capture mobile phone video in a dimly lit classroom, or in a restaurant? Yeah, good luck! Sure, you can brighten up the video with an editing app, but that will just add more grain to your video. The only solutions are to move yourself and your subject to brighter locations (the preferred option), or to add light to the scene artificially. Some phones have a video light built-in, but those will drain your phone’s battery, and a small, harsh light source like that is not flattering on your subject. Here are a few external LED light options worth considering:
Grainy or even blurry video is tolerable for most viewers. Distorted, hissy or unclear audio is definitely not. Just as the size of the camera sensor limits a mobile phone’s ability to work in low light conditions, so does the size of the mobile phone’s microphone limit its ability to capture a wide dynamic range of audio signals. Even in quiet, wind-free environments, mobile phone audio can sound weak and echoey, and in loud environments the audio will be distorted or clip off altogether. Investing in an external microphone is recommended. There are many options, including microphones with their own power source (they take batteries) for producing better sound, and they may connect via the headphone port, the charging port, or via Bluetooth. Small shotgun mics are often preferred choice, but lavaliere mics work better for recording audio from one person… that is, if you don’t mind dealing with a long cable that can get in the way.
Experienced users can record audio with a separate audio recorder and microphone, and then “sync” them together in a video editor:
Shaky video that tilts and pans around the scene too quickly is one of most telling signs of an amateur videographer. It is much harder to a hold small camera steady, than it is to hold a large camera steady, and there are no lighter, smaller cameras than those in mobile phones. There a number strategies that will help us capture smoother video, including (a) turning yourself into a human tripod by widening your stance, bending your knees, and leaning against stationary objects, (b) being very deliberate and gradual with your camera movements, and (c) investing in a rig that helps you hold the camera steady.
Another telltale sign of amateur video is poor framing. This includes cutting off people’s bodies in odd places, subjects moving in and out of the frame, or even cutting out the most important part of the scene altogether. The Rule of Thirds is a good technique to start with, which breaks the frame into a tic-tac-toe grid, and states that placing important elements along the lines or intersections of lines contributes to strong composition. For example, it is common to place your subject’s eyes along the top horizontal line. Here are few more framing tips:
Good luck, and please add your own suggestions to the comments area below this post!
Earlier this month, Rich Trott and I delivered a session at the University of California Computing Services Conference (UCCSC) in San Francisco. It was about our experience using an approach of continuous iterative improvements and frequent feedback to help keep our site fresh and meeting user needs. We talked about why this approach has been working better than the tradition complete redesign that might happen every few years (or not.)
If you can’t wait to hear more, see the slides with notes.
Or if you’re more of the video type, you can check that out too.
Let us know about your experiences using this kind of approach to website upkeep and positive user experience. What works for your site or organization?
Photo by chexee
Before me there stood a great, big wall. An obstacle. A fortress. Well, metaphorically speaking, in any case. However, the five archival boxes full of various documents and files seemed as large as the tallest gate to me. Being a lowly intern, I must admit that I was a bit intimidated. After all, it was my responsibility to sort and organize all of these files.
The documents all pertained to the life and career of Dr. E (‘Eddie’) Leong Way, one of UCSF’s oldest alumni, and a great contributor to the understanding of opiate addiction and reliance. Unfortunately, their previous keepers did not properly store the files. They were in some small state of disarray, stuffed in varying folders and envelopes, stacked on top of each other, and even, in some cases, in incorrect boxes.
It was my job to remove the files from their initial place and sort them properly. I took them out of their different folders and placed them in official, archival ones, meant for preserving and protecting files more efficiently than other folders. Each folder must be labeled and numbered properly as well. After that, they are to be placed in official, archival boxes. And, lastly, I had to write up the inventories for each of the boxes.
It was a long, time-consuming task, requiring precision and a good deal of attention. Admittedly, it was a bit frustrating at times. However, that did not prevent it from being a great experience. It was fascinating to get insight into the work required in the archives. More importantly, it helped me understand the hard work others put into these tasks and others, as well as appreciate the importance of preserving and organizing the archives affectively and efficiently. If I were to be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
Alex Giacomini was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is vastly interested in writing and the humanities, and is currently a communications intern in UCSF’s School of Pharmacy. Alex is a rising senior at UC Berkeley, where she is working to attain her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature.
Some of us dread the arrival of summer because that’s when the EndNote folks usually announce the release of a new version of the software and we have to start thinking about whether or not it’s worth upgrading (and if you have it installed on multiple workstations in a teaching lab, where are you going to get the money?). As September approaches I was wondering what was the delay with X8. According to a post I found on Facebook there will be no new update this year. You can read EndNote’s explanation here:
My thanks to Pedro from Brazil!
If you’ve working with version X7 you might want to upgrade to X7.1, for free. There are some enhancements to syncing between the desktop and online versions, so you might want to check this out. Details here. Download here.
The UCSF Archives & Special Collections would like to announce the opening of the new exhibit, “Eric L. Berne Archive: The Birth of Transactional Analysis.” This exhibit marks the conclusion of the first phase of the Eric Berne Archive Processing project.
Eric L. Berne (1910-1970) was a practicing psychiatrist, lecturer and author. Best known for his development of the theory of Transactional Analysis, Berne published dozens of scholarly articles in the field of psychoanalysis and was the author of eight major books, including the bestseller Games People Play.
The materials in the Archive were created by Dr. Berne (1910-1970) and by the organizations he founded: the San Francisco Social Psychiatry Seminars (SFSPS) and the International Transactional Analysis Association (ITAA). The Archive holds Berne’s personal and professional papers, including correspondence, writings, notes, conference programs, administrative records, photographs, and audio-visual recordings.
In the past nine months (September 2013-May 2014) project archivist, Kate Tasker has been working diligently to process six existing collections and two recently added accessions. As a result of this effort six detailed finding aids for the Eric Bern Archive consisting of 77 boxes or 41.8 linear feet were added to the Online Archive of California. Kate also organized and compiled an inventory for the Eric L. Berne Rare Book collection that includes over 300 books from Berne’s personal library and copies of his published works. With the help of our cataloger, Bea Mallek, these volumes were added to the UCSF Library catalog and can be consulted in the Archives & Special Collections reading room.
Another important achievement was the digitization of more than 400 unique documents, containing Eric Berne correspondence (including letters from significant figures such as Alfred C. Kinsey, Paul Federn, and Karl Menninger), writings, educational records, lecture drafts, announcements and publications from the SFSPS and the ITAA as well as photographs. The Eric L. Berne digital collection, an educational portal containing information about Eric Berne, his studies and writings is now accessible to researchers and general public worldwide.
The exhibit highlights selected artifacts, photos and documents from the Eric L. Berne Archive at UCSF.
The visitors will be able to view Berne’s correspondence concerning the design and promotion of the board game “Games People Play” and a fully intact game set, edited typescript of his first book The Mind in Action, his glasses, an announcement about the opening of his practice in San Francisco, a selection of English and foreign language
editions of his book Games People Play and numerous photographs.
The Eric L. Berne Archive is housed in the UCSF Archives and Special Collections. Detailed processing and digitization for these materials were made possible by generous support from 23 TA Associations worldwide and many individual donors through the ITAA. The UCSF Archives will continue working with the ITAA and its supporters to secure funding for the digitization of additional items.
Please view the online companion for this exhibit on the UCSF library website.
The exhibit will be on view on the 5th floor of the Parnassus Campus Library, beginning August 8th, 2014.
The web’s leading resource for online video tutorials is now available in CL240 of the Tech Commons! Lynda.com offers thousands of professionally produced video tutorials on a wide variety of subjects. This includes many of the tools that the Help Desk and Learning Technologies Group support, like Moodle, Articulate, Camtasia, and iMovie.
You can also sharpen your presentation skills, learn to properly light a video interview, or improve your screencasting techniques. Here are a few of our staff picks!
In the future, we would like to expand this service to more than one workstation, so show your support by visiting us in CL240, watching some tutorials, and helping us spread the word to your colleagues!
Please note, the workstations in CL240 provide students, faculty and staff with the resources to create dynamic, multimedia content in supplement of the teaching and learning process at UCSF. Use of these workstations and Lynda.com for personal projects is strongly discouraged during normal business hours, and should never interfere with users working on UCSF sanctioned projects.