Welcome Back

IMG284GREETINGS and Happy Spring Semester! A special welcome to new students and a salute to continuing ones. For newbies, SLIS bits is the bite-sized school blog devoted to apps relevant to higher education and library and information science served with a dash of tangentially related info and analog treats. More extensive app sites for libraries and higher ed are featured at the top of the right-hand column.


Keep yourself together and on task this semester with any.do, a family of apps for Apple, PC and Chrome products. The beauty of the to-do list app is its simplicity and its ability to deliver the “check it off the list” feeling of satisfaction list-makers desire with a “Done” button. Add items with the “Today” button, postpone and rollover action items with the “Later” button or Delete re-thought of plans such as “Organize my Books chronologically in the order that I read them.” In addition to the to-do app, any.do offers Calendar, Mail and Memo apps.



Electronic note-taking has been kicked up a notch as Penultimate offers users an improved experience of faster, more natural-feeling stylus-to-pad note taking. The upgraded Penultmate works together with the recently released Adonit Jot Script Evernote Edition stylus. This stylus sports a 1.9 mm tip, one third the size of the standard stylus tip. Penultimate for iPad and iPhone is free, but users must have Evernote ($4.99/month). The Adonit JotScript Evernote stylus is pricey ($75), but it comes closer to a natural writing experience than others on the market. Check out VentureBeat.com for more Penultimate/JotScript info as well as 2014 tech predictions.



Nothing says education like a whiteboard. Now it’s as easy as ABC to get one instantly on your computer, iPad or smart phone from A Web Whiteboard. Draw and write solo or e-share with study-buddies. Invite others to work with you or instantly post. Free.



Most of us still love the smell and feel of real books. And when we let our books out of our sight, we want to know they’re going to be returned. Claiming ownership in Latin lets people know you mean business. Here’s some help keeping books where they belong: with old-fashioned printable bookplates.

These stylish silhouettes from Besotted Blog were featured recently in Country Living magazine. Design Sponge delivers retro charm via an open mouth, a hand holding a card and a serpent with flowers (which look nicer than they sound). Just Something I Made has printable options based on German wood block animal prints circa 1832. If you’re more of a “From the Library of … ” sort, peruse My Home Library’s selection in various sizes and colors.

Still with me? Enjoy an online bookplate exhibit from Stanford University Libraries. Digital exhibits are a big part of the present and future of LIS. If interested, be sure to take relevant technology classes from Dr. Lewis.



Are you a Lipstick Librarian? Do you have a passion for fashion and for Melville Dewey? If so, you probably already know the answer, but it never hurts to double check.

Of Mice and ENIAC

Mice huddled under a log

We all know the computer mice that we use for moving the cursor about the screen. However, there was a time when actual furry mice were employed in computer planning.

In the 1940s, real mice helped with wire selection for ENIAC, generally considered the first practical, working digital computer.

ENIAC’s home was the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Electronics, in a building that was also home to numerous mice. The resident mice enjoyed chewing wire insulation which would bring computer operations to a stop. What could be done?

Someone came up with the idea of the mouse test. The idea was to figure out which wire insulation was least liked by the mice. To determine this, samples of available wires were placed in a box together with some of the resident mice. Only wires the mice did not eat were used for ENIAC.

This information came from an interview with J. Presper Eckert, one of the co-developers of ENIAC. On the more serious side, Eckert talked about what it was like to have his life’s work placed on a microprocessor chip, less than a tenth of a square inch.

Black and white photo of the ENIAC computer
ENIAC (Public Domain)

The serious, the humorous, along with insights into people involved with ENIAC are revealed in the 1989 interview. The interview was conducted by Alexander Randall 5th and published in Computerworld for ENIAC’s 60th anniversary.

Q&A: A lost interview with ENIAC co-inventor J. Presper Eckert. Computerworld, February 14, 2006.


Hard times

IBM 305 RAMAC: The Grandaddy of Modern Hard Drives - Gizmodo. March 16, 2010
Courtesy Gawker Media

Read More At – Gizmodo.
This shows the hard drive of the IBM 305 RAMAC, the first computer to have a hard drive.
It would take 1,600 RAMAC’s to store the 8 GB of today’s common flash drive.
Year: 1956.  Size:16 square feet.  Capacity: 5 MB.  Weight: More than one ton.

Other RAMAC 305 pictures and stories: