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Month: June 2016

Downloadable EndNote Output Styles for MLA 8th Edition

Last time MLA changed its citation style, it took EndNote several years to update its built in MLA style. So if you’re looking for an Output Style to use with EndNote that conforms (as much as possible) to the new MLA Handbook, 8th Edition, I’ve created files you can download and install.

  1. Drag the two style files that you find in this folder into the Styles folder that EndNote looks at (you can see where your own installation is looking by going to Preferences > Folder Locations).
  2. Set MLA 8th as your output style by opening EndNote, clicking the “Edit” menu and then “Output Styles.” You may need to click on “Open Style Manager” the first time, at which point it might be useful to check the box next to the new MLA styles so that they’re listed with your other “favorites.”
  3. Download and read this ReadMe file that includes special instructions on using EndNote with this Output Style. (For the sake of convenience, I will also put the ReadMe information here in this blog post.)

If you run into problems or come up with improvements, please let me know!

Using the Style

To make sure that EndNote generates good citations, here are some important things to know:

  • URLs for web sources other than library databases should be included, but do not include the “http://“ or “https://“ part. You will have to make this edit individually in the records for your items as there is no way that I know of to programmatically take those prefixes out of the URL in EndNote.
  • Fill in the “Date” field with the day and month, but not year, like so: “21 Jan.”
  • If your work has no listed author, be sure to include a “short title” in your record because this is what will show up in your in-text citations.
  • If your work’s author is also the publisher, leave the Author field blank.
  • If you are focusing on an aspect of the work done by a person who is not the creator of the main content, put that person’s name in the “Author” field. Then put a descriptive label (editor, performer, translator, etc.) in the “Label” field.
  • If you are looking at an “unexpected type of work” (a transcript of a broadcast, a manuscript of a published work, etc), put a descriptive word into the “Type of work” field (such as “Transcript” or “Manuscript”).

Special Instructions by Reference Type

Web Page:

  • Add the name of the web page within a site to the “Title” field, and the name of the full web site to “Series Title” field.
  • Do not include the year of the “Last updated date” as that will be duplicated from the “year” field. Instead enter the date in the this way: “26 Jan.”
  • Add the name of the organization that sponsored or published the web site to the “Publisher” field.

Film or Broadcast:

  • If you are treating the director as an author, put the name into the “Director” field. If you are treating the director as an Other Contributor, put the name into the “Credits” field.


  • If your map is part of a collection that has a title (such as “Google Maps”) put that title into the “Series Title” field.


  • If you experienced a work first hand, put the location name (museum name, city name, etc) in the “Place Published” field.
  • If you found the work reproduced online, use the “Artwork” reference type and put the online database name in the “Database Name” field.
  • If you found the work reproduced in a book, magazine, etc., use the reference type that matches the thing where you found the reproduced artwork (“Book Section,” “Newspaper,” etc.)


  • Put the word “Manuscript” in the “Type of Material” field. If you are using the Manuscript field for something other than a manuscript, then put a similarly descriptive word in the “Type of Material” field.


The new MLA style gives people many, many options. Sadly, none of the reference managers that I know of are currently that flexible, so there are some things that are options in the style that people will not be able to do automatically using EndNote or any other software in their current states. Most notably, there is no good way, currently, to do the following:

  • Use a description (without quotation marks or italics) in place of a title for untitled works
  • Add the optional place of publication to citations
  • Add the optional access date to citations

To do these things and the other optional descriptive work allowed in the 8th edition, you’ll want to finish your final draft, save a new copy of your document, use the “Convert to plain text” option under “Tools” on your EndNote toolbar to break the connection with the EndNote program, and then do any final edits that the program cannot do for you.

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Building a LibX Edition for Primo

As of yesterday, we’re a Primo library. So for the last couple of days we’ve been working to change all the things that need changing after you get a new catalog. One librarian is doing most of the work to change all of our links to our old catalog or items in the catalog in all of our LibGuides. Meanwhile, I took on trying to get LibX to recognize our new catalog.

The LibX thing turned out not to be the least bit straightforward, so I thought I’d post what I did in case a) you want to try this and can benefit from my hours of fumbling, or b) you are good at this and can help me make what I did better. I was helped to get this far by a librarian from the LSW.

Start an Edition

In the Edition Builder, it might be a good idea to first search for the Carleton College edition and copy that to use as a base, or you can click “Build a New Edition” on the right of the page.

From here, there’s one confusing thing that will help for the rest of the time. To find your edition and edit and test it, you’ll click on the “my editions” tab. Then click on the edition name on the lower left side. THEN click on the revision you want to work on in the list of revisions that shows up to the right of the “Select an Edition” box. THEN, if you don’t see a “Revision x is being worked on” notification, you’ll have to either click “Open Revision x (modify)” or, if you have a live revision that you want to modify you’ll have to click “Copy Revision x Forward.” At this point you’ll end up with tabs across the top to configure the various different functions of the LibX extension.

Configuring your Primo instance with LibX

You’ll need the Web Developer extension (chrome or firefox) to find the variable names LibX asks for. Once you’re armed with that, click on the “Catalogs & Databases” tab in the LibX Edition Builder for your new Edition.

LibX catalog

I tried to get LibX to auto-detect my catalog’s settings, but it kept saying that it couldn’t do it, so I had to resort to manual set-up. So under “Manual Configuration” I chose ExLibris Primo and then clicked “Add Catalog.” After this you’ll need to add information to both the “Required Settings” and the “Optional Settings” for the catalog (my edition didn’t work at all until I added some things to the “optional” settings… so apparently they aren’t terribly optional).

The URL you need is JUST the base URL up to the .com. All the other parameters that ExLibris puts into Primo URLs have to be added in other spots.

Then you’ll need to find things that LibX calls “Advanced Search Choice Variable 1,” “Advanced Search Mode Variable 1,” etc. Fire up the Web Developer “Inspector” tool and point it to the boxes I’ve labeled here:

advanced search variables

When you click the Inspector tool on the Advanced Search Choice Variable 1 (the first search box), you’ll find the variable name in the Web Developer browser pane:

variable name

Put that value into the corresponding field in LibX, finding and entering each of the variable names in the required fields in LibX.

You’ll find your VID in the standard URL for your catalog. I’ve bolded our VID in our URL here:

In the Optional settings, you’ll need to fill in 5 of the fields, as far as I can tell:

  1. In “Path” put “/primo_library/libweb”
  2. In “Search Function” put “search”
  3. In “Basic Mode Variable” try putting in “vl(1UIStartWith0)” — you may have to adjust this, but it’s worth a try.
  4. In “Tab Variable” put “default_tab”
  5. And in Title Search Mode put “contains”

Beyond the Catalog

The thing I use LibX most for is the added right-click context menu in my browser that allows me to reload the page through my library’s off-campus access, so I highly recommend putting your proxy information into the “Proxy Access” tab on the LibX Edition Builder.

You can also add your Open URL base url to the OpenURL Resolvers tab. If you do this and select a logo, then that logo will appear next to citations online, allowing you to click on the logo and check for library access. (You can add your own logo in the “File Management” tab.)

Testing your Edition

Back in the “My Editions” page, click on the Revision you’ve been working on and then click the link that appears below it called “revision test page.” If you can search your catalog through the test page, congratulations! If not, I don’t have a lot of advice beyond asking around and maybe trying to have the LibX folks help you out (you can click “help me with x edition” in the “Select an Edition” box to the left of the list of revisions).

Go Live

Once things are ready, click on the revision you’ve been perfecting and then click “Make Revision x Live.”  Now people will be able to download the LibX extension for Chrome or Firefox, tell it which library they want, and start using it.



Adventures in CSS: Changing the way LibGuides gallery boxes display

We weren’t happy with the default way that LibGuides displayed labels and captions on the images in Gallery boxes, so I started tinkering with the CSS. We didn’t want the labels and captions to be white, and we didn’t want them to be on top of the images in the gallery. And we didn’t like the font sizes. So I fired up the Web Developer extension and started poking away, figuring out how the original CSS worked and what I could over-write to make some changes.

I don’t know that I would have made it too far without help from people who responded to my plea for help from the Library Society of the World, but in the end a few lines of CSS shifted the label and caption fields down below the images, and shifted the navigation buttons up above the images where they could be in a consistent spot no matter what size the image.

If you’d like to do something similar, go into the Custom CSS area of LibGuides and add the following:


.carousel-caption {position: relative; text-align: left; left: 2%; color: #5C5757 !important; text-shadow: 0 0px 0px rgba(0,0,0,.6); padding-top: 20px; padding-bottom: 0px;}
.carousel-caption h4 {font-size:16px;}
.carousel-caption p {font-size:12px; margin-bottom: 1px;}

.carousel-indicators {position:relative; margin-top: 20px; margin-bottom: -10px;}
.carousel-indicators .active {background-color: #5C5757;border: 1px solid #fff;}
.carousel-indicators li {background-color:#fff; border: 1px solid  #5C5757;}

.carousel-control.right {background-image: none;}
.carousel-control.left {background-image: none;}
.carousel-control {color: #000; margin-top: -25px;}


And if you come up with great ideas for tweaks beyond this, I’m all ears!


Selecting a Sample of Papers to Assess for Information Literacy

Here at Carleton we’re getting ready to do our next ILSW reading. It’s my first time coordinating the project (the amazing Heather Tompkins who coordinated in the past has moved on to another institution), and I’m working with our fantastic Institutional Research folks to select a sample of papers, but I’m also curious to know any ideas or advice you, gentle reader, might have about the sample selection process.
We select our papers from the campus-wide Sophomore Writing Portfolio, where every sophomore has to submit 3-5 papers for rating by the Writing Program and faculty and staff volunteers (which is actually going on as I type). We typically select 100 portfolios (sometimes a little more), creating a representative stratified sample… and of course the first big question is “representative of what.” In the past we’ve used gender and portfolio reader score for this first selection, making sure that we read portfolios from about the same proportion of men and women as we have on our campus, and reading proportional numbers of portfolios that were given a Pass, Needs Work, and Exemplary score. This year we’re also balancing proportional U.S. White, U.S. Student of Color, and International Student portfolios.
Once the portfolios are gathered, we then run at least one more pass to select individual papers from those portfolios (we read one paper per student). We have the option of balancing out papers based on:
  • What the Writing Program calls “Gen Ed:” Science, Reasoning, Social Inquiry, Arts Practice, Humanistic Inquiry, Lit/Art Analysis
  • Characteristics the students identify about each their submitted papers, choosing from: reporting an observation, analyzing complex information, interpretation (of data, text, art, etc), documenting sources, articulating and supporting a thesis driven argument. (Papers can fall into more than one category but must fall into at least one category).
  • Department housing the course for which the paper was written (History, Biology, etc)
  • “Overlay” (A Carleton thing where faculty have the option of saying that their courses are Writing Rich, enhance Quantitative Reasoning, Intercultural Domestic Studies, and International Studies)
The big questions, of course, are how far we want to control the sample given our relatively modest sample size, and exactly what controls matter to how we’re thinking about our reading and our results. If you were faced with these choices, what might you use to select that single paper from the full portfolio? And are there other demographics that you would use to select the portfolios themselves?
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