Friday, December 14, 2012

STELLAService an independent online retailer evaluator

I came across this article on CBS Money Watch about STELLAService a sort-of secret shopper of online companies. They have quite a comprehensive list of online retailers, which is also broken into a directory of retail niches, such as Baby Care, Jewelry, and Office Supplies, so a searcher can compare online retailers by sector.

Retailers are evaluated based on their online shopping experience, their logistical monitoring, such as deliveries and on customer support. Retailers are given one of four designations: Elite, Excellent, Approved and Not Approved, and they can display their badges for Elite or Excellent on their website. Retailers may also be evaluated multiple times, which ensures the consistency and currency of the ratings system.

This is a useful for resource for someone researching the online retail marketplace if they are planning to open their own online niche retailer, or if a client has the jitters about buying online and you wanted to suggest reputable online retailers beyond the big names, like Amazon or Overstock, or if you needed ready-reference access to an online retailer's customer service line for a client.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tiny vending machine for toddler users

Ella's Kitchen makes a vending machine for toddlers, and this might be a design to keep an eye on if your library distributes books by vending machine.

Spied on Springwise

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Finding Self-Storage Auctions

Dave Hester, the famous YUUUUP! man of A&E's Storage Wars, has claimed that highly popular Storage Wars is faked, stating that some of the items found in the storage units are planted items. What this might mean is a renewed interest, or possibly skepticism, in buying good for resale from self-storage auctions.

Clients can find out about auctions in several ways: following the websites of local self-storage facilities, which usually announce the auctions on their websites or on the websites of their affiliated auctioneers. You can find self-storage facilities by searching on the state's self-storage facility association. StorageFront provides a directory of self-storage associations or you can conduct your own search on Google by searching with the name of the state and "self storage association" or "self-storage association". You can also look for individual storage facilities, which may not belong to an association, by searching on StorageFront.

In Canada, there is a national self-storage association, but the list of vendors downloads in an Excel spreadsheet, and the list seems fairly sparse for the entire country.

Your clients can also look at auctioneer websites to find out about upcoming auctions. The National Auctioneers Association provides a Find an Auctioneer directory. You can also search on their Find an Auction service, though these search results will include more auctions than self-storage auctions. There does not appear to be a national association in Canada, so you will have to search by province and "auctioneer association" on Google.

Auction participants usually have to pre-register to attend the auction, either on the auctioneer's website or on the self-storage website. Just showing up may mean that the wannabe storage warrior is turned away or shows up on auction day to find out that the person who was delinquent on paying for the locker has paid up and saved their stuff, so the auction was cancelled. Since an auction can be held for only one unit, showing up for a cancelled auction will waste time and mileage, so pre-registering and checking on the status of the auction the day before is a good idea.

If you win at auction, you usually win the entire contents of the locker--junk and all. The winner needs to be able to haul away all the materials, usually in a truck, as well as disposing of all of the garbage in the locker and most self-storage places won't let you use their garbage bins or brooms, so you need to bring garbage bags, bins and brooms with you, since you may need to sweep out the bin to consider it completely vacated and satisfy the terms of the auction. You will probably also need your own lock so you can secure the locker during the time that you have access to the locker. So not only do you have time and mileage costs, you may need to rent a truck and hire temporary labor to haul out all of the material in the locker. In the case of Dave Hester, he owns his own trucks and has his store crew to help with this part of the process.

What do people do with the stuff they buy at self-storage auctions? On Storage Wars, the participants usually resell their items in their second hand shops. Since they are in California, they need a reseller's license to avoid paying sales tax on the items they won at auction. Other people may resell their items on Ebay, or even on their own auction websites or on Craigslist or Kijiji. Usually items are not resold quickly for the price that the storage warrior needs to recoup their various costs, so if you don't have your own storefront, you may use your home or garage to store items for resale or even rent your own storage locker to hold the items until they can be sold locally or on Ebay.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Skills shortage a self inflicted wound?

For the past few weeks, you can't open a Canadian newspaper or business blog without at least one writer going bananas over the "skills shortage" paper released by the CIBC World Markets. However, Skills shortage a self inflicted wound from the Toronto Star asks some question about the role of employers in training workers to meet their labor needs, as well as a call to be less picky when selecting employees. Less picky does not mean giving up on essential character traits--reliability, conscientiousness, attention to detail--while tolerating and filling in some skills gaps--have HTML 5 but no PHP: we can deal with that--to find qualified employees.

Oddly enough, this month's HBR has an article called Who Can Fix the Middle-Skills Gap?* that calls on employers to step up to address this issue.

I also highly recommend Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs: The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It by Peter Cappelli which the author of the article also mentions.

*need subscription to see full article

Monday, December 10, 2012

Don't confuse children's/teen literature with teen/children's librarianship

Whenever I have someone tell me that they really want to be a children's librarian because they love children's literature, it tells me that they don't know much about actually being a children's librarian. Most librarians start eye-rolling when someone tells them it sure must be great to read books all day, and the children's lit/children's librarian confusion is a subset of that argument.

If you looked at actual job postings for children's and teen librarians you will notice that loving children's literature is not the sole job duty. In fact, if you stated that this was your only qualification for the position, I can guarantee that they would not make you a job offer.

This posting from Monroe, Washington says:
  • The successful candidate for this position will demonstrate knowledge of teen culture and technologies; 
  • judgment when using reference databases and print resources; 
  • flexibility in trying new approaches to customer service; 
  • and enthusiasm when promoting library programs and initiatives.
I think this means you better like technology, know about marketing, have some customer service background and at least read a book about "teen culture".

This posting from Rawlings, Wyoming says:
The 40 hours/week position involves working with the programming team to develop programs for all 8 library locations. The position also involves collection development for the teen and children’s collections. The position reports to the Public Support Services Manager. The job includes a variety of evening and weekend hours.
I'm sure you will not only have to be able to pick a teenager out of a line-up, but you will also be working on collection development, which actually means you need to know how to develop a teen collection, as well as programming for teens, which can include media literacy, study skills, life skills, college/vocational preparation, helping youth at risk, as well as bullying, sexual identity issues, suicide and basic literacy. Of course, you could touch on these issues through fiction--and you will--but knowing the culture and the needs of the community going to take up more of your day than preparing Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers.

And this posting from Waukee Public Library
A master’s degree in Library and Information Science from an ALA-accredited institution, with coursework or experience in children’s services is preferred. Knowledge of literature for children and young adult, storytelling skills and programming experience are essential. May require travel to various locations for outreach programs.
Now, you have to know about children's and teen lit, but you also have to have presentation and programming (teaching and class planning) experience in addition to a knowledge of the literature. A driver's license will probably also be a must, not to mention a willingness to travel. 

Instead of reading your way exclusively through the VOYA booklists, I would recommend that you spend some time with real children and teens and learn about some of the issues that children and teens are facing and what their information needs are. So you have to meet some real children and teens in their natural habitats and even talk to them. It is not enough to have a firm grasp about what adult authors have composed for the edification and entertainment of children and teens.

If the library's hiring decisions come down to a choice like this:

Candidate ACandidate B
  • was a child once
  • briefly a teenager
  • knows what a Time Turner is
  • Team Gale
  • and an MLIS
One of the former:
  • teacher
  • social worker
  • youth counsellor of some type such as camp, school, addictions, etc.
  • juvenile detention center worker
  • or is a current literacy specialist
  • and holds an MLIS
I think the library's hiring committee is going to go with Candidate B, provided that the candidate expresses no disgust at spending more of their professional life in the company of children.

It is clear that loving children's lit is a must, but it is not a significant percentage of children or teen librarian's day. However, over-estimating just how much time is spent with books, as opposed to people is not solely a failing of wannabe youth librarians.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Corruption Index 2012

Transparency International has released their Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, complete with an video that explains the purpose of the index and what corruption is.

For librarians, this index can help to answer the questions:
  • How safe is my investment in this country? 
  • How much of my philanthropy/donations get to the people who really need it? 
  • If I travel to this country, how likely is it that a bribe will be necessary for business? 
  • My foreign service exam/international studies course included a question about corruption: what countries are the most corrupt?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"How to get a degree with free or laundered credit", from Chronicle of Higher Education

This is an interesting example of a student cobbling together an associate's degree by taking low cost courses from a variety of providers and placing them into on coherent transcript through the ACE transcript service.

Now, throw the MOOC offerings into the mix (as ACE seems to be implying it will evaluate), while maintaining the no residency requirement, and you can see how a student could put together their own degree at a much lower cost, with less face to face classroom time, than currently available. I could also see other "colleges" using their advisors to map out just such a plan for their students--or entrepreneurial students like Linder creating their own path.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

"Any teenager could have done what we did, with no money and better"

The Onion takes shots at TED and social networking gurus. And both deserve it, IMHO.

"Just keep looking like you're doing work, and people will pay you for it."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Maybe it's time to ask for a raise

...Provided that your boss actually reads Evil HR Lady. She summarized a report from the Center for American Progress that suggest that "the average cost of replacing an employee amounts to fully 20 percent of the person's annual salary". So to save 20% of your entire salary, maybe it would be worth it to give you a boost between 2-5%.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holiday Hiring Infographic

Though I would have loved to have embedded this infographic about holiday hiring, they stuffed the CSS stocking with coal and wouldn't me resize to fit Blogger. Cut that out you guys: it's crappy resharing. Let me resize it and put a link back to your site.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Why you can't compare a household budget to the budget of a country

Paul Solman, writing for the PBS Newhsour's The Business Desk, explains why you can't compare a family budget to the budget of a country. Essentially, his answer is that a country can tax and a family cannot, but it should make sense that lopping off some zeroes to compare the spending of an apple to orange orchard is not a sound analogy.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Social Jobs Partnership

Facebook has launched their Social Jobs Partnership, which is an aggregate of Work4Labs, Monster, Jobvite, BranchOut and, DirectEmployers US.Jobs. This is a parternship of non-profit, government, for-profit and Facebook developers into one aggregator, creating a vertical search engine of the partners' jobs.

Like most aggregators, such as Indeed or SimpliyHired, you can search a variety of job posting services and boards simultaneously from the vertical search engine interface and be redirected to the posting on the originating site's own board. So, no, you can't apply with your Facebook profile.

At this time, the service offers one filter for "veteran-friendly" posts.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I am doing research for a presentation I am preparing on crowdsourcing and I became interested in this project, iCancer, which wants to crowdfund research into a virus to treat a specific type of cancer. I wanted to spread the word about the project and I am interested in what others think about this project or crowdfunding in general.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Do you have time for a visual resume?

This article originally appeared in my employer's e-newsletter to external clients.

Do you have time for a visual resume?

Many of our student clients feel a great deal of pressure to stand out from their peers. Creating a distinct resume or portfolio is one of the methods that they could use to make an impression on an employer. But do human resource professionals have the time to view these resumes? Is a visual resume the correct method an applicant should use to stand out?

Websites for creating a visual resume

Though an applicant could create a free online presentation of their resume using a free website hosting service, such as Google Sites, or could upload a slide presentation of their resume on Slideshare, at least three start ups have created a visual resume tool. and both create an infographic-style rendering of a person’s resume, based on the user’s LinkedIn profile. allows the user to create a badge for their personal website that connects to their “vizualized” resume, as well as uploading the link to the profile on a variety of social networks. The resume includes candidate’s name, headline and highlights, as well as a career timeline. A link to the resume can be pushed out to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

However, how many new candidates have been discovered by employers clicking on theses badges? If any have turned into interviews, how many of them were new grads?

Resume on a T-shirt

The company Resume T-shirts will print a T-shirt for a person with their resume on the back, while the front of the shirt has the tagline “resume attached”. Each T-shirt costs 19.99 (US), fairly affordable for most students, or possibly a gift from a parent. Personally, I could see myself tormenting my high school age relatives with one of these, but I’m not sure if they would get any summer job offers from the T-shirts. If you saw a person in the line at a grocery store wearing their resume on their back, would you be interested in following up?

Combining visual resumes with career planning

The startup Resumup allows users to create a visual resume and then generate a chart that will show the user the steps they need to take to progress to the next level in their career. You can view a YouTube demonstration of the career mapping process, since while they are still in private beta, you need to solicit three friends to join their service before you can use the career mapping tool.

Not only does the site suggest the steps you need to take to progress from entry-level to supervisor or manager in your chosen profession, it will also scan your connections, either on LinkedIn or Facebook, to see if you can find a mentor or advisor. This augmented visual resume may actually help graduates determine how they could progress in their career, and might be something that could be used at an employer presentation. However, until it is out of private beta and has enough members to generate good career planning advice, the idea may be excellent but the execution may not be effective.

Based on the examples provided, would you be likely to contact a candidate based on a visual resume, would it make a difference if it was an online badge or a T-shirt, and would this method work for your current recruitment needs?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Job Boards, Applicant Tracking Systems and other work search methods from PBS Newshour

I would make a distinction between the employer job postings (specifically from the employer's site) and the major Internet job boards. I also endorse Peter Cappelli's Why Good People Can't Get Jobs, which provides a good explanation of how an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can defeat job seekers.

Watch Is Applying for Jobs Online an Effective Way to Find Work? on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Why you should learn to code

Though I don't think that the ability to code will save the world (or your career) some basic coding, just like some basic math, should be a requirement for most "knowledge workers". The infographic is courtesy OnlineCollege
Programming Infographic

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Gen Y Infographic

Infographic of Gen Y in the workplace. I like the stat about how more full-time, employed Gen Y workers have an MBA than have no higher education at all.

Gen Y in the Workplace

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Value of Education from offered their first Google Hangout on the Value of Education, aka is it worth it to go to college?

The discussion was wide ranging and had a good mix of speakers--a marketer, an economist and a school counsellor--though the moderator could have done a bit more to distribute time amongst all of the panelists.

A story from NPR about a high achieving student choosing the trades over college seems to echo some of the arguments made by the speakers, while also addressing the only the remedial student enters the trades argument. It's a shame that we are still dealing with that stereotype, but this weird belief that only the stupid, usually male, students become tradespeople just won't die in the minds of some parents--and kids.

One area they didn't touch on was when you needed a degree, or a graduate degree, to do the job that you want. For example, if your local authority only hires teachers with a graduate degree to teach in the K-12 schools, you can go to school for a year to be a Teaching Assistant--but that is not a Teacher. And without the four year degree you can never progress into higher level administration or even into instructional or curricular design. In some cases college is the only way to get into a profession, so suggesting that they just pursue the "lite" version of the career is also a waste of their time and money.

However, their point about taking the associate degree, getting some work experience and pursuing additional education with the assistance of their employer is one we try to impress on our students all the time.

There are also some cases where a trade and a degree can go hand in hand. For example, a person who pursues a degree in history but who also works as a carpenter--whether as a full-time worker and a part-time student, or vice versa--may be able to use their trade to leverage their degreed career. As a carpenter and a historian, they could work in a museum (or form their own company) to build and repair exhibits; they can work in historical interpretation as a carpenter; they can also use their skills and knowledge to preserve historic homes or buildings. I wish sometimes that people would consider how a trade and a college degree can enhance one another, rather than the liberal arts depriving our economy of a plumber. (In fact, a chemistry class would have helped the plumber who told me that I could boil lead out of my water--but I consider him to be unusual and not the norm.)

They are also trying to continue the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #valueofed, but they couldn't have anticipated the Twitter shutdown during their hangout.

Points to for using Google Hangouts. I'm looking forward to more of these.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pay Equity in Crimefighting

This one comes from BUST stating that Batgirl was/is a feminist. Since she is like a patron comic saint to many librarians, this is a cool plea for equal pay for equal crimefighting.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Adecco 2012 Graduate Survey

Adecco, a recruitment firm, has released their key findings for their 2012 Graduate Survey. According to their summation, the survey focused on respondents between the ages of 22 and 26, was conducted by phone and completed before graduation.

Based on the key findings, this is another "are the kids alright?" survey, where the graduates are revealed to be selfish little babies that can't be bothered to unplug from Facebook to answer a client's call. Since some of these kids found their jobs through Facebook, in some cases this is like asking people to not use the phone...and the surveyors disapproved of graduates that wanted to take a personal call, as well. According to the summary 23% of respondents said they wouldn't take a job where they couldn't make a personal phone call.

I would like a reality check on that one: how many people, no matter what their ages, would not take a job if they couldn't make a personal phone call--such as confirming a dental appointment or reminding your spouse that it is her turn to pick up the kids or your mother-in-law from her chemo appointment? C'mon, that one is just ridiculous--especially if your mother-in-law regularly notifies you by text message.

And my examples are also enforcing the stereotype, since I am implying that only "older, responsible" adults could have the same telephone needs, such as medical appointments and kids, when many 22 to 26 year old people could also have these same needs. At least I didn't assume that a personal phone call is always a booty call, like this article from the Kansas City Star did.

I would also like to take a look at the first question, which the summation seems to believe is the pinnacle of Generation-I selfishness: "...over the next 10 years, only three percent of recent grads said they’d expect to stay at any given job for more than five years.  A third (33 percent) only expect to stay for three years or less". I would like to know how this one was worded on the actual survey, since the meaning here is not clear: does this mean that they will quit and move on, or that they expect to be laid off when their company moves all their jobs to China or India? Rather than suggest that this is a question about worker loyalty, this question may be a pragmatic assessment of the current labor market and its unkindness to workers.

I really wish I could see the questions on the survey, since I think this says more about our preconceptions about graduations than their actual thoughts about the workplace.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Do Men Really Earn More than Women? Infographic from

If these arguments are correct, women should be reading Women Don't Ask before their salary negotiations.

Do Men Really Earn More Than Women?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Creating a Form with Google Docs

A slightly different version of this article appeared in the May/June edition of the CDAA Career Momentum for 2012.

Provided that you have a Google/Gmail account, Google forms are fast and free to create. Since the Form transfers the submitted data to a spreadsheet, Google Forms offers quick tools for simple data analysis, provided that the creator selects the appropriate question type. They can be shared by email or embedded in a website, which means users at a live event or after an event can use their personal computer, tablet or even web-enabled smart phone to submit responses to your form. It also means that you don’t have to pay a web designer to create a form for your website, because you can do it yourself.

Google Forms can be recycled and edited by creators, even after data has been submitted by users, which means that a creator can correct a spelling mistake on a form seconds before a presentation is about to begin, rather than scurry for new print forms or apologize for spelling the host organization’s name incorrectly. No Google Form can be left behind on top of a desk or needs to be carted around in a box from presentation to presentation: as soon as the form is ready and accepting responses, the form is available to users and for evaluation after an event.

Once you have a Gmail or Google account, you can activate Google Docs. Google Docs offers several different types of documents: word processing (Document), presentations, spreadsheets, drawings, and forms. A collection is a group of these documents put together into one folder.

When you select Form, a new form opens in a new browser window with two questions that are ready for editing.

To add a title to the form, click in the bar marked “Untitled form” and insert your title. This is what users will see when they access the form. This title is different from the name you will give to the form in your collection.

You can make changes to the supplied questions by clicking on the pencil (edit) icon at the top right hand corner of each question.  When a question is activated for editing, it is highlighted in yellow. When activated, a question can be edited, duplicated, or deleted, as well as moved up and down in its order on the form.

What Kind of Question?

Select the type of questions from menu
Google Forms offers seven different types of questions: text, paragraph text, multiple choice, checkboxes, choose from a list, scale and grid. Each of the questions allows for a specific type of data to be entered:
  • Text is for user supplied information, and in this case, short answers. Use when asking for emails, phone numbers or personal names
  • Paragraph text is for longer answers, such as tell us about your personal career path, which can’t be answered with a yes or no, or a preformed response, such as complicated/not as complicated.
Text and paragraph text can’t be analyzed by Google’s data tools, so you will have to decide if you can get the answers you need by supplying a more controlled response. For example, if you host a conference call with attendees from all across Canada, do you need to know every town and city—-and their potential misspellings—-that you could get from a text response, or could you get useful data from just asking your respondents to pick from a list, such as Alberta, British Colombia, Manitoba (etc.)?

Unlike text responses, controlled responses speed up the response process for users; for example, if you have a series of yes or no questions, you can create multiple choice questions rather than using a text box which means the user has to type in yes or no for each of these questions.

If the answers are controlled or only specific options are available (or relevant), you can use,

  • Multiple choice which allow for as many options as you need and only one answer is possible. A user supplied other response, which appears as a textbox, is available with this type of question. Multiple choice is the only question option if you want users to proceed to specific questions based on their responses.

    For example, if you want to know if people were happy with a breakfast provided at a conference, you would only ask the people who actually ate breakfast if they were happy/unhappy. So you need one question that asks if the respondent ate breakfast, and select go to page based on answer. You can then route the people who said yes to the questions about the quality of the breakfast served, and direct the people who said no to the next question on the survey, bypassing a question about breakfast. You will need to put in page breaks, after the I ate breakfast question, and after the what did you think about breakfast question, so respondents can branch and return to the survey, and the people who don't need to answer the question skip the branch entirely.

  • multiple choice options
  • Checkboxes allow you to get multiple controlled responses from your users. For example, when you ask your attendees how they heard about an event, you could use checkboxes to find out all of the multiple marketing methods influenced them, such as your website, newsletter, and/or advertisement in professional journal.

    However, if you want to find out which newsletter and to only ask the newsletter viewers about which newsletter they saw the notice in, you need to ask for these responses on a multiple choice question. A user supplied response is also possible, so, in this case, you can allow for an “other” response and find out that they heard about it on Twitter.
  • Choose from a list means that items will appear in a drop down list and only one item can be selected. Like multiple choice and checkboxes, form creators can provide as many response options as they need. They also pop up very clearly when users are entering in responses on a web-enabled cell phone or on a tablet device. On the con side, choosing from a list of options with drop down menus is usually prone to user error, and may only allow selection when using the keyboard arrow keys. Multiple choice questions usually are usually the better option for controlled response questions. 

  • Scale is for questions on a controlled range of responses, such as are you extremely satisfied, satisfied, "meh", dissatisfied or extremely dissatisfied. Google Forms has some limits on scale questions, so you can only label your first and end choices, which can confuse some of your respondents about what each of the increments could mean. For example, if you use a five point scale, with extremely satisfied and extremely dissatisfied, does the middle option mean neutral or not applicable.

  • Grids are slightly more sophisticated scale questions. The form creator can make up to five columns, such as Very satisfied, satisfied, neutral, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied, with all of the columns clearly labeled, and in the rows, ask the respondent to comment on options that can be scored using the same scale. Data for each of the options is downloaded into a separate cell in the spreadsheet.

When selecting which type of question you will use, you need to decide, what kind of information you need from the respondents. For example, information that is unique to a user, such as first name or email, should be captured in a text box—-though you have to keep in mind that users make mistakes. Responses that you will want to determine the percentage of respondents and that you want to control for user errors and reduce multiple similar responses, with only one possible response, use a multiple choice or choose from a list question. If you need multiple responses, and don’t want Google to do the math for you or no percentage response is necessary, use a checkbox.

Users Accessing the Form

Google forms can be shared in multiple ways: via email, in a website, by asking the user to input the form address into a browser window or by creating a shortcut or bookmark on a computer. If you share by email, a window will pop up asking for the email addresses of the persons who need to submit information to the form. If you embed in the website, you need to copy the embed code and paste it into the HTML on your website. Email addresses are best when you have everyone’s email address, which is not always the case at a public event or an event where registered guests can bring additional people. Embedding on a website is suitable when you need to gather data over a long period of time and when you are able to make changes to a website, which is not always the case in an organizational setting.


Forms and the submitted data can also be shared with other members of a team or with respondents. In the spreadsheet associated with your form, click on the blue Share button in the top right corner and a new window will appear. You can email the form directly to respondents, which allows them to submit answer questions on the form. You can also select specific people who can view the form, which includes the associated spreadsheet, or who can edit the form, which allows them to make changes to the questions and to edit the user responses in the spreadsheet.

To allow users to submit responses, you need to set the permissions in the Share pop up so that users with the link can submit responses. This is the appropriate sharing level if you are sharing the form (and not the results in the spreadsheet) by email or on a website, and for specific respondents, such as people on a mailing list or users that have already attended an event. If you are allowing anyone to submit, such as people who may want to sign up for your newsletter, if you have an event open to the public—or even members of a professional group that you haven’t met yet—allow anyone on the web to submit to your form. This does not allow them to share or edit the data in the spreadsheet, only to view the form.

For more on sharing and what level of permissions to grant users, refer to the Google Support page Share, publish and embed.

Show summary of responses

Based on the type of question you have prepared, Google can prepare simple charts and graphs that can be shown as soon as a response has been submitted. For example, if you wish to run a poll during a presentation, you can enter the spreadsheet associated with the form and from the Form menu, select Show summary of responses. All of the response data will be shown, but only data with only one possible user response, such as a multiple choice, can be shown in chart form.

This is perfect for showing results to a group, such as evaluating the success of an event in committee. However, the responses are not available as a summary until users press the submit button at the end of the user version of the form. This means that if you have three questions you want the respondents to answer at different points in the presentation and you want to control when the attendees see these questions, you need to create a separate form for each of the “stops” in the presentation. If you are showing the data analysis as part of a summary, create just one form and show the summary of data at the end of the presentation.

Reusing the forms

One form creates one spreadsheet, but you may be using the same form for multiple events. If you want to make each event form distinct, but use the same form, you will need to make a copy, which is in the File menu in the spreadsheet associated with your form.
You can also use make changes to these forms. For example, if you are making a presentation at a specific venue that attendees have to come to in-person, but also presenting via conference call, you can use the same form, but remove the accessible by public transportation option from the form given to the conference call attendees. You can remove the option within a question by clicking on the X at the end of the field with the option, or if the option is part of a standalone question, you can just click on the Trash can icon to delete the entire question.


With some initial planning, Google Forms are simple to create. They are highly portable, as well as easily and immediately editable. They are a simple solution for people who need to use multiple, but similar forms for a variety of events, who want to handle their own event management and mailing lists and who want to reduce the bill from their web designer. Evaluation forms can also enhance professional practice, since you can see almost immediately what is effective for your individual clients or presentation audience.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

US News and World Report announces best jobs for 2012

....And number 1 is "Registered Nurse". Librarian did not make the list, though the Top Ten was fairly tech heavy (programmer, web developer, systems analyst). Though they used the traditional BLS data, was what interesting was that they also used Glassdoor to measure job satisfaction.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

PayScale has released National Pay Trends Index which shows that wages were improving in 2011. You can also add a comparison to the national trend by metro area, by company size or by industry.
Annual Trends in Compensation for National (US)
National (US)
Get a Free Salary Report
Compensation Data Provided by PayScale, Inc.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Crowdsourcing Answers to Questions (article from CDAA Career Momentum January February 2012)

This article appeared in the January/February 2012 Career Momentum. Career Momentum is only available to CDAA members, but I have reproduced my article.

Career development specialists don’t always know the answer to every question their client asks, mainly because the world of occupations and education options is diverse and global. Some of the career information we are asked for is either too new, such as what is the employment outlook for an apps developer in Lethbridge, or too arcane, such as what kind of brain teaser questions can I expect at my interview for Palantir? A decade ago, career professionals might have turned to a search engine to find the information, knowing that the information their clients wanted may not have any documents available or be enclosed as proprietary information. In the past few years, however, answers to some of these questions have become available through the “wisdom of the crowd” or through crowdsourcing.

Most people will recognize Wikipedia which is a crowdsourced encyclopedia, which relies on volunteer writers, editors, fact checkers, bibliographers and image providers. However, crowdsourcing encompasses a broad range of services, from answering questions to fundraising. This article will focus on getting answers to questions by relying on the crowd for answers. Most of these crowdsourced Q&A services originated with a search engine in South Korea called Naver. Because there was little content written in Korean on the Internet, Naver allowed people to ask and answer questions, which generated content that could be searched and indexed by the engine. Most of the services also use a point system, which also originated on Naver, which the questioner could use to vote on the quality and usefulness of the answers they received.

Based on the Naver model, Yahoo! started Yahoo! Answers, which is a viable source for English language questions—though some readers will recognize it as a resource their children use to cheat on their homework. Anyone can see the questions posted on Yahoo! Answers, but only registered Yahoo! users can post answers. When a user poses a question, the question is open for 3 days to gather answers, though this period can be extended, and users can post their responses. The person who posed the question can vote on the best answer, which gives the both the questioner and the answerer points, which could improve an answerer’s credibility on the system. Yahoo! Answers also has several multilingual and country specific search channels which would be of use for looking for international information or for clients who can search in languages other than English. Currently, the amount of career information is fairly slight, though it is possible that a general Google search may turn up Yahoo! Answers contributions in your search results.

Many CDAA members are also members of LinkedIn, which has its own Answers service. You can see the questions and answers on LinkedIn Answers without a LinkedIn user account, but to post questions and respond to questions, you need a LinkedIn account. When asking a question on LinkedIn, the service tries to get the user to curate the questions by assigning it a topic within the LinkedIn directory. Users can also delete questions that they don’t think are useful, such as when a spammer posts a link to a service within their question, and they can also vote on the best answers received for the question. For the person who answers the question, this best answer designation is attached to their LinkedIn profile, which should encourage people to answer questions well and courteously. Supposedly, LinkedIn Answers results are indexed by Google, which is very handy, since the LinkedIn search engine within Answers is not very sophisticated.

In our office, we have used LinkedIn to find out about new trends in interviewing, salary surveys of college students and what is the etiquette involved with posting a question to Answers that you intend to use in an article. Responses have usually been helpful; however, though people are still asking questions, the number of people who are bothering to answer appears to be on the wane. LinkedIn users may be asking their questions on the forum within closed or professional groups that can offer specific expertise, which isn’t found in the free-for-all Answers forum. LinkedIn is very appropriate to business and career advice. It is also possible to close and hide questions that you have asked on the service, so as to remove them from Google search results.

Since 2006, Amazon has offered Askville. Users will need to sign in with credentials to ask and answer questions on the site. The amount of career information is slight, and some of the answers have a hectoring or sarcastic tone (example, search for “what can I do with an associates [sic] degree in science?” to get an idea). The best answer scoring system is still in place in this service, so a user can select the best answer. This service is not recommended at this time for finding answers to career-related questions.

Established in 2009, Quora appears to be the baby of the bunch of crowdsourced Q&A services, but it is the easiest to use and seems to have the most active community, at least for technology and business questions. Users may only register for an account with their full name, though you can post and ask questions anonymously on Quora. You can also connect and follow people within the Quora community, or connect with your “friends” on Twitter and Facebook who also use Quora. People do ask for career advice on Quora, such as “What are good part time jobs for college students?” or to look for salary information, so it is a legitimate source for career information.

Google Answers and a service called Aardvark, which was acquired by Google, have been shut down at this time. It is possible that Google will try again with social search and Q&A services through its Google + network.

At this point, LinkedIn Answers and Quora are probably the best services to turn to when asking a career-related question that is relatively new to the industry or is a semi-secret practice at a company, such as their case or brain teaser interview questions, which is information that may not be available through any print resource.