Category Archives: Lunch & Learn

Field Note Taking with the iPad



Field note taking can involve documenting observations or research with video, photographs, audio, and writing down observations on a type of device or on a good old pencil and paper. The iPad has all these features built into it and there are apps out there that can access these features and keep all your notes in one place. The advantage of the iPad is that it’s portable and fairly easy to use. We decided to take a look at apps that will help with field note taking. Continue reading

Lunch & Learn: William Howarth on Chrome and Chromebooks for Research and Writing.

William Howarth uses Chrome to write, research, and work.

William Howarth

William Howarth

On February 13th, 2013, William Howarth, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University was joined by John LeMasney and Janet Temos of Princeton’s Educational Technologies Center (ETC) to talk about the use of Google’s Chrome browser and the Chromebook in writing and research. Chrome is a web browser created by Google and allows you to visit and interact with web sites and services on the Internet. The Chromebook is a laptop from Google (collaborating with manufacturers) that runs only Chrome and nothing else.

Howarth began by showing the way that he uses Chrome as a browser on Mac OS. He discussed how he uses Chrome’s New Tab Page to store shortcuts to key applications that he uses every day. Previously, he has used an iPad, a Kindle Fire, and is now focusing on using Chrome as his main place of doing work digitally.  He said that part of the reason that he has settled on Chrome is that he feels like Google is the contemporary technology thought leader, set to dominate in business, mobile, and shopping. “Google runs the Web”, says Howarth, citing that in January 2013, they were the most used search engine, far ahead of others, and that in December of 2012, they had the leading browser, 47% of users, far ahead of Firefox or Internet Explorer. He suggested that their leadership and success is due to their emphasis on both speed and universal, cross-platform access.


As a browser, Chrome is fast (, and it runs on all major platforms, including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, and Linux ( It works on desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones. But it is more than a browser, according to Howarth, because it strongly supports and integrates web services and can function as an operating system, especially in the case of the Chromebook, where the browser has settings for the display, sound, and hardware ( When Chrome is an operating system, it is referred to as ChromeOS, to signify the extra abilities of hardware management, etc. You do not need to have a Chromebook to use ChromeOS, because you can boot ChromeOS from a USB key using the Vanilla Bootable USB Key Chrome OS project ( managed by a Googler named Liam McLoughlin.

Chrome is self-upgrading: just restart it, about an eight-second reboot on the Chromebook, to upgrade to the latest version. Customize Chrome via themes (, extensions (, and apps ( Chrome comes with basic cloud storage of 5 Gigabytes via Google Drive (, though you may use other cloud storage as well. Extensions add functionality to the browser itself, such as the ability to select text, and upon copy, automatically add surrounding quotes, URLs and other citation material to the buffered text (Copy URL Plus). When you sign into Chrome with a Google account, you track all the changes you make to the settings, history, extensions, and web apps, which are the synchronized and made available to all of your other Chrome installs. In Chrome, if you install a web app on one running instance, the web app becomes available to your other instances of Chrome.

Researchers and writers can use Chrome for notes, files, and storage. Some notable apps in this regard are Evernote, Dropbox,, and Google Drive, all available for install at the Chrome Web Store. Google Drive‘s docs features allow you to share, edit, distribute, and collaborate on files with others in real-time for free. If you decide to adopt Google’s cloud based lifestyle provided by Chrome, Howarth suggested getting familiar with Google’s Drive, in which you can create documents, spreadsheets, drawings, forms, and presentations. It has an integrated PDF viewer and the ability to create PDFs, Word documents, and other Office documents. It also has a print preview and print features. You can upload, share and store any kind of file you wish in Drive (


The Chromebook is a simple idea, executed simply: A laptop form factor that does only one thing: run ChromeOS. Howarth explained that the Chromebook solves some mobile computing issues for him. He can’t type easily on an iPhone or iPad screen keyboard, and prefers a physical keyboard. The iPad bluetooth keyboards work for many, but not for him. “This machine is low-cost, lightweight, easily portable, and is more durable than a netbook” says Howarth.

The recent Samsung model is 2.4 pounds, has an 11 inch screen, costs $199 or $249 depending on configuration. The Mac Air, by comparison, is about $1,000. In 2013, there are four known makers of Chromebooks: Samsung, Acer, Lenovo, and HP, though the most commonly sold devices are from Samsung and Acer ( Howarth suggests that a bluetooth mouse may be helpful, but that the screen and keyboard are very good, while the trackpad is usable. You can store and move files to and from a USB key to extend the storage of the Chromebook.

He notes that there are some differences in the user interface for Chrome on other operating systems and Chrome on the Chromebook. But essentially, the experience is the same. If you work online most of the time, as Howarth does, he suggests that you look at Chrome as a solution. “No matter what machine I’m using, I’m in the Chrome browser” he says.

Pros and Cons of Chrome:


Some fear a Google technology monopoly, privacy issues, and invasive advertising. (
There is some question of the future of Google’s two operating systems, Chrome and Android, and if and how they will coexist. (
Cloud: is it a fad, or is it here to stay? With cloud based storage, different problems may emerge, such as synchronization failures. (
A Chrome user who does not use a traditional operating system is more or less dependent on online access, despite progress in offline use of Chrome applications, such as those in this app collection (


Lower costs than traditional laptops
Google constantly grows, innovates, and integrates as part of their brand (

Chromebooks will come in bigger, faster versions (HP has a 14″ Chromebook coming, Google HD display in the works).
Howarth believes that Chrome will have its biggest impact in education, from primary and secondary right up to Universities.

For the recorded portion of Professor Howarth’s talk, please see the video below.

Lunch & Learn: Jane Holmquist on e-books versus p-books at Princeton Libraries

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Lunch & Learn logo

Jane Holmquist, a Princeton Librarian specializing in Astrophysics at the Peter B. Lewis Science Library, talked to the Lunch & Learn audience for the premiere of the Spring 2013 season of Lunch & Learn. She wanted to discuss the issues surrounding the purchase, selection and distribution of books for Princeton Libraries, patron wants, and the future of books in academic libraries. She focused mostly on the issue of choosing electronic books (e-books) or print books (p-books) and the pros and cons of each depending on the particular academic patron group.

Holmquist started with the iClicker immediate response feedback system to ask several questions to find the audience’s demographics, experience, and opinions before moving into her discussion and demonstration. She asked questions about occupation, gender, generation, device ownership, e-book usage, downloading practices, library visitation, book format preference, and a final prediction question about when libraries might only buy e-books.

She also made a point of giving both a digital feedback tool in the clickers and note cards at each seat to write questions, reflecting her unbiased support of both digital and analog methods.

She spoke about the ideology behind the Peter B. Lewis Science Library, where most spaces have no print books, wireless network activity is omnipresent, and no computers exist in study spaces, and students are encouraged to bring their own devices.

Holmquist then described some of the various situations and patron concerns created by e-book vendors and their distribution methods. For instance, some patrons want a print version of a book, but only the electronic version is available. (O’Reilly/Safari books) For example, some patrons want to save an e-book to their iPad for offline consumption, but that option is not always available. (Safari books requires a personal account for this.) Sometimes an e-book is available, but only 60 pages can be downloaded at a time. (ebrary, adobe digital editions) In some cases, only 1 page may be printed at a time. In other cases, the library has an e-book of a journal but the patron can download only individual articles (Cambridge, CJO) or individual chapters (SpringerLink).

She said that an ideal situation for course reserves is to have a combination of both print book and e-book versions. However, this is potentially very expensive as a solution. Also, eBooks are distributed as either MUPO (multi-user) or SUPO (single-user), and of course, MUPO is always preferred, but not always available or affordable.

In a live demonstration given on the iPad, the following resources were demonstrated.

Safari Books online. (link to Safari’s Android Development collection) “Safari Books Online is the premier on-demand digital library providing over 23102 technology, digital media, and business books and videos online to academic and library users.” (Safari Books Online)

ebrary. (link to collections) Contains an extensive collection of ebooks on the following topics: “Agriculture, Auxiliary Sciences of History, Bibliography, Library Science, Information Resources (General), Education, Fine Arts, General Works, Geography, Anthropology, Recreation, History (General) and History of Europe, History: America, Language and Literature, Law, Medicine, Military Science, Music and Books on Music, Naval Science, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion, Political Science, Science, Social Sciences, Technology” (ebrary)

SpringerLink (link to physics and astronomy collection) This service has millions of items in the following topic areas: Biomedical and Life Sciences (1,200,267), Medicine (1,194,910), Chemistry and Materials Science (825,929), Physics and Astronomy (543,268), Computer Science (474,917), Mathematics and Statistics (365,477), Earth and Environmental Science (334,561), Engineering (322,607) (Springer)

In order to see the presentation that Holmquist gave before her iPad demo, please watch the following video.

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Lunch and Learn: Brady, Johnston and Temos: Tablets in the Classroom

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Lunch & Learn logo

Wednesday December 5
12:00 noon
Frist Multipurpose Room B
Tablets in the Classroom
Angel Brady, Ben Johnston, Janet Temos

Congratulations! You recently purchased a tablet and you are enjoying all its capabilities and productive apps. Now, you are wondering how you can use this device inside your classroom. This Lunch and Learn will discuss apps you can use for lecturing and presenting with your tablet device.

If you are interested in getting updates, video or other information about this session, please register here.*

*If you have trouble with the link, copy the following URL into your web browser:

About the speakers: Angel Brady is an Educational Technologist at the Humanities Resource Center at Princeton University. Prior to coming to Princeton, she was an Instructional Technologist and Training Specialist at Rider University. She earned her Master’s of Science in Biomedical Visualization from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Ben Johnston is Senior Instructional Technologist in the Educational Technologies Center and Manager of the Humanities Resource Center at Princeton University.  He holds a Master’s degree in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and has worked at Princeton since 2006.

Janet Temos is the Director of the Educational Technologies Center at Princeton. She is a member of the Princeton class of 1982, and received her PhD at Princeton in 2001. The ETC helps faculty use technology in teaching and research, and includes Blackboard, the New Media Center, the Humanities Resource Center. We also offer consulting, training and outreach in educational technologies.

Materials from this session follow:

The “Doceri” presentation from this session:

The “tablets” presentation from this session:

Audio from this session:

The first part of the presentation in screencast:

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Lunch & Learn: Jill Moraca on Website options at Princeton University

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Lunch & Learn logo

Jill Moraca of Web Development Services (WDS) at Princeton University talked to the Lunch & Learn crowd about the various options offered to the Princeton community for creating websites. She explained that the conversation usually starts with the idea that the options available to you depend on who you are (e.g. individual, group, or project), what your specific needs are (e.g. how much support you need and how development-savvy you are), and how much you have in your spending budget (e.g. no budget, some money set aside, or a dedicated budget for the effort) for the site’s creation, development, and maintenance.

Jill Moraca

Moraca begins by assessing a customer’s specific needs and their audience’s needs by asking questions such as:

  • How much time can you devote to your website?
  • What content do you have or need to have for the site?
  • Do you have the technical skills to update and patch the website?
  • What are your goals and outcomes for the site?
  • Who will read the site?
  • What are they looking for?
  • What do they need to do?

When developing official sites that represent the University and its various departments, Moraca always makes people aware that there are specific IT security and usage policies, requirements and recommendations ( such as those that prevent the selling of items, biased or political representation, and so on. The Office of Communications has its own set of required elements, such as site owner contact information, and highly suggested features, such as  the prominent presence of your site’s title on every page (

Moraca noted that there are now 8 options for publishing at Princeton, shown here in this handy chart from her slide deck:

What Who OIT Support Cost
Google Sites
Students Not yet Free
Faculty, Researchers, Graduate Students Yes Free
Departments, Faculty, and Staff Yes Free
Central File Server
Everyone Limited Free
(Departmental and Personal)
Everyone Limited Free
Departments, ODUS-recognized student groups, Courses Yes Free
Departments Yes Free – $50/hour
Departments Yes Custom projects only available at this time ($50/hour). Free option on the horizon.

Moraca described the options in some detail, organizing the options according to those available for individuals, individuals & groups, and groups only.

Individual options:

Google sites for students integrates with Google Apps, calendaring, blogs, and is templated, quick, easy to use, and has a point-and-click interface. OIT provides some light support, and the service is free to students. There is no fee-based customization for this service.

Open Scholar is available for faculty, researchers and grad students who want to have a professional online presence with CV options. It is templated, quick to edit, easy to use, offers a point and click interface, and offers biography, publication and bibliography information, calendaring, classes, and more. It is supported, managed, patched, and secured by OIT. It is not very customizable, and there is a 2 GB quota.

For individuals and groups:

SharePoint is available for faculty, staff and groups. It is templated, and best used for sharing information and documents. At Princeton, it is typically used as an intranet for internal, protected sharing, and not as a world-facing site. NetID is required for creation, but guest access is available. It is well supported, and users can get training. It is free, and there is no customization available.

cPanel is available to departments, programs, centers, labs, and individuals. It primarily provides a LAMP-based (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) environment for building applications, but also offers Scriptaculous, which allows for quick, one-click  installs of popular packages such as WordPress for low-bandwidth access by the world. Support is limited, and the user builds and secures the site themselves. It is free and has a 2 GB quota. More information is available at

WordPress is available to departments, groups recognized by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS), and faculty. WordPress is a blog-based web content management system. OIT offers vetted templates and plugins and limited support is available. Patching and updates are done by OIT, and the ETC offers specific support for faculty use in courses. It is free and comes with a 250 MB quota. It is available at

Only for groups:

Roxen is available to departments, programs, centers, and labs, but not individuals. Open scholar is a good alternative for those individuals looking for personal publishing. Roxen is a Content Management System (CMS), meaning that for users, no knowledge of code is necessary to create or edit a site. Templates and customizability, as well as many functionality modules  (e.g. directory listings, news items, etc.) are available. It is highly monitored, and training is available. OIT offers customization for Roxen in a few levels of service: free, (a standard template), low-cost, (some tweaks to CSS), and fully customized, (a group builds the site from scratch with full support and help from OIT). Documentation, training, and a variety of themes are available. It’s hosted, patched, and updated by OIT

Finally, Drupal is similar to Roxen, but far more customizable. It is also very well supported by OIT, with 24/7 monitoring, per-site training, with OIT managing all patches and upgrades. If you decide you want customization, there is a $50/hour rate for help. A recent pilot of Drupal has ended successfully, and OIT is launching production-ready sites.

For more information or to get started with your website at Princeton, please contact Jill Moraca at, or visit

Below is the presentation and video from Moraca’s session.

20121128_moraca Powerpoint file