Saturday, February 17, 2007

You Tube

Well, I'm not sure about finding a U Tube video that's useful in libraries but I have found a couple that are entertaining: Betty Glover Library Workout Tape Ad & the one I choose to insert No Cookies in the Library.

I did come across a video that a library created for it's new building campaign, New Vestavia Hills Library Campaign Video as well as one a college library used to encourage students and faculty to use the library - Library Welcome Video.

Videos that had quality video and sound whether voices or music were more interesting and enjoyable. Maybe YouTube could be used to show major programs such as the Ren Fest or introducing teens to different sections of the library.

Here are some other video titles that are amusing. Dexter's Lab - Dexter's Library, Turbo Hamster, Tic in a Spin Dryer, and Crasy Cats (yes they spelled it with an "s").

Podcasts are non-musical audio or video broadcasts on the Internet. Podcasts often use RSS feeds which makes them different from streaming videos. You can use an iPod, MP3 player or any PC for podcasts. One explanation of a podcasts is "Podcasts are like a radio show that you can listen to anytime." They allow anyone to broadcast their opinions and imagination. Yahoo's Podcast search gives you staff suggestions and top 100 most popular podcasts that other Yahoo users are viewing. I choose to do my other search. It found a whole bunch of library related podcasts. I choose The Library Channel to add to my bloglines account. It was as easy to subscribe and add it to Bloglines as it was to add newsfeeds and blogs. Now, to just find the time to listen and read all of these.

Tags, Delicious, Technorati and Library Thing

I decided to go back and do this lesson even though I had started when that week was skipped. I thought it would be good to know this information too.

The last article in the list, Several Habits of wildly successful users summed up the basic practical use of for a lot of people. It allows you to organize and access your bookmarks from any computer any where. It also helped me just by comparing the organization of tags to Gmail's use of "labels" instead of folders, though honestly, I still use the labels in a similar fashion to how I used folders in my email accounts in the past. Unfortunately, I was only able to read the first paragraph before receiving an error message and the article closed. I will try at home.

Tagging is using keywords to mark links, items, photos etc. on the Internet. A Folksonomy is an open tagging of bookmarks that can be combined and shared with other users. uses this open tagging to create social bookmarking which allows you to find good material on a topic, then share your findings with other people.

After watching the pod cast, I learned that to use that you have to create an account then install it to your personal tool bar. This makes sense after learning how it works, but eliminates it's practical use on public computers. As a registered user you can now post items directly from your browser while doing topic searches to your account. This means you are also replacing the old form of saving web sites by bookmarking on your computer. The pod cast gave good examples of using this for research and to organize your RSS feeds. I found it interesting that in web 2.0 terminology "reading list" not only means a list of items, books, websites etc., to read but also listing RSS feeds to read. The creator of the pod cast also cautioned about posting information before checking out the copyright.

How this becomes a shared list: Once you tag an URL you can then view "all" or "popular" sites that have been given the same tag by other people. This could lead you to information you wouldn't have found in your search or at least not as quickly. will then also show you how many people have tagged that site or RSS with the same tag and the user names of those people. You can check out other things each person has tagged as well. Over time you'll find people with similar interest/tastes/level of scholarship. This is sort of similar to our library patrons using the staff recommendations to find new titles or authors to read. Her example of a shared reading list was the alal2. To make a shared reading list first create a unique tag then have everyone in the group post their findings to the shared tag. This method of tagging lets you filter the massive amount of information now available on the web and you can have some confidence of filtering with authority.

If/when I'm ready to set-up a account then the Useful article will be a nice step-by-step explanation of which options to choose and why. But until then it really didn't do a good job of explaining why to use exempt that it's the new thing in the academic world.

After checking out MRRL's account I have to agree with postings on the lesson from other staff members that it's not as easy to use as the pod cast implied. Finding related articles was somewhat easy, but checking out different tags and different users was a multi-step process and I wasn't able to duplicate my results by doing the same steps with my second search. I will admit here to being very linear in my thinking and this would appeal more to someone who prefers a spatial arrangement. It appeared cluttered to me, which I had get past to use it. This and some of the new search engines really do remind me of trying to follow a professor's lecture when he goes of on one tangent followed by another and another only sometimes ending up coming back to the point by the end of class. This meandering or circular thinking can lead to quality results that would not be found in the traditional way and may spark a whole new topic for research, which is great if you are a grad student looking for a research project, or an original angle on a topic but not so great if you just need the information. So for a fact finding search, it would be quite annoying. However, I realize this is a personal preference and for the sake of the patrons and to keep up with how things may be arranged in the future, I'm willing to give it another try.

Technorati is a filter for blogs but it does appear to have a bit of the "popularity" contest kind of filter. It shows what's new and hot and being searched for the most right now. For example Anna Nicole Smith is near the top of the list this week. This might be relevant for teen librarians to keep up with the "in thing" or for those ordering music and videos. Searching Technorati in different ways yielding vastly different results. Search for "Web 2.0" in blog posts it found 2,553 blogs, but using tags it only found 183 and searching the blog directory found only 71 blogs. Checking out the popular section of technorati also found videos and movie clips. I thought it was interesting the variety of videos out of the 8 featured: One on Bill Gates Vs. Steve Jobs right next to Monty Python's Dead Parrot Sketch and a Web 2.0 video too.

Library Thing: The following is my first thoughts after doing the tour of this site online: Okay, I'm confused. Why would I want to catalog my personal library "online" for the world to see? That's why it's called personal. Isn't privacy the whole reason ALA is fighting against the government or anyone else being able to see a patron's checkout record? So, our library reading lists are private but our collection of titles at home is shared online. This just doesn't make sense to me. There are lots of reader's advisories out there to find ideas of other authors and titles to read without having to give out personal information.

Part Two: I revisited this sight today, knowing I was in a snarky mood the first day I went to Library Thing and after re-reading the About Library Thing information. I 'm still not interested in having my personal library viewable by everybody but today I did find a private setting which would allow me to catalog my books, but not have them available for everyone to see. I think I may have to pay something to get the privacy setting though. I also like that to set up an account you don't have to give out any personal information at all. Here's a link to the catalog I set-up today using books from the Osage County Collection.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Web 2.0 Awards

I decided to just check out the winners list so I wouldn't be tempted to look at too many apps. Hurray for Flickr, first place winner for photos and digital images. Hurray for Google docs for first place for Collaborative Writing & Word Processing (under the previous name Writely), Hurray for Craig's List, which is the only one I had previously used prior to these lessons and lastly, Hurray to Robin and Bobbie for choosing award winning applications for the staff to learn about.

The awards are given by SEOmoz, a Seattle-based search engine optimization company, serves as a hub for search marketers worldwide, providing education, tools, resources and paid services.

Since I was looking for something that might have library use, I decided to check out the Supreme Court Zeitgeist. This site was the first place winner for MashUps. It brings together links to news stories, websites, blogs, books and magazine links about the supreme court, current cases and issues facing the court. It also has links to do research on the supreme court. I thought this page could be useful answering reference questions and also following issues of censorship, privacy laws concerning libraries (patron checkout records, computer usage etc.) and minors access to the Internet. It also gave me a different view of mashups since the ones I had checked out during the mashups lesson were mainly fun but not practical.

Google Lab

Ooohhh! What won't those clever guys and gals at Google think up next? I was happy to see that they are doing some applications for users with visual impairment too. Hurray! They have stuff just for Macs! Not that we own one anymore, but I often wish we did. I miss our Mac. I also was initially impressed that they were provided a route planner for users of public transit, but at this stage it seemed more usable for someone going on vacation rather than someone who regularly lived in the city. It's also currently only available for a few cities.

I did the lab project at home since several of them require downloads to operate and I can't do that at work. I was also able to use Corey's FireFox preview screen to get a quick glance at some of their new ideas without having to open it completely or download it. This feature is part of the Google Extensions for FireFox which is still in the development list adds extensions to the Google tool bar. Corey already had the toolbar and the FireFox extensions installed on our home computer. So, far it's his favorite new feature from that application.

The applications I spent the most time testing myself were Google Notebook and Google Trends. The notebook application doesn't seem like something I would use at this time, but I'm still a "take notes on real paper gal." I did think it would be useful if I was a college student or a researcher working with others on a project. It will allow multiple users to see the notebooks so I could share information and web links with the other team members across campus or across the country. Also, if I was a person who used a PDA, a laptop and a desktop computer for business and I needed to transfer web links, notes to self, or other notebook type information I could see this being useful. Again the Google Trends would be more practical if I was doing research. It was interesting and fun to play around with however and see what topics and websites have been searched recently by city and how that has changed over time.

Since I was home Corey wanted to check out Google Mars and Google Code Search. This is not my thing and I eventually left him looking up programs and code terms on the computer. He did comment that the code search may pose a problem for teachers of computer programming since he found some of the beginning assignments easily using the code search.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Final Thoughts

I've enjoyed learning about all these different applications. There is so much out there for free and so little time to explore and find it. Thank you Robin and Bobbie for taking the time to create these lessons and introducing me to an online world of new options.

I would also like to say thank you to Bill for giving the staff extra time to complete the lessons. I'm not sure what my time line has actually been, but knowing that I had a few more weeks, made it less stressful for me and I was able to concentrate more on the lessons instead of how long it was taking. Since I'm doing all my lessons at the circ desk (except when I did some at home), it was hard to find time to work on this. I know I re-read a lot of things, because I needed to assist patrons. I really did think I was going to be doing at least half of the stuff at home just to have enough time. So, Thank You Bill! The snow/ice days did help out since we had fewer patrons some days.

I feel like I've learned so much in the last few weeks that I may need some time for all of it to sink in and really take hold. I'm already learning more about flickr by working on the OCP, Inc. page and would like to set-up a private section on my own flickr account to share family photos. I hope I am able to use these applications in the future and I now feel more confident about helping patrons with questions when they come up. I think I may need a personal tutorial (FYI to Robin and Bobbie) on MySpace however, to be able to help any patrons with questions about it besides the very basics, as I found it difficult to use to customize my page.

These lessons have brought out the best and worst points about Web 2.0. That it encourages people to use the Internet in a collaborative way and a social way is good. Encouraging people to share everything about themselves however is dangerous. I think most people are trusting and don't think about the possible ways their data could be misused. On one hand, we're all being cautioned about identity theft in financial records, medical records etc., then on the other hand we're being encouraged to share what's even more personal, like choices of reading material, music preferences, thoughts, values, opinions and the stuff that really gives each of us our own individual identity.

I would like to learn more about Google Docs. Perhaps some practical "assignments" like we did with the Microsoft lessons that Michael had the staff do a few years ago. I would also like to know about more features in Flickr. Perhaps a lesson on Facebook to be able to compare it to MySpace. Any of the other tools from the Web 2.0 awards list that could be useful in a library or that we might need to know about to help patrons. But, I think our first lesson should be on how to use the mp3 players. That's only partially a joke. I'm sure we can all figure out the basics but it'll probably do neat stuff that some of us will never know about without some assistance.

Google/blogger problem

I did have trouble getting my Google document to post to my blog. Even though I sign in as a new user at and didn't start my blog until blogger was out of beta. I had to choose blogger (beta version) before it would accept my log-in and password. But then, hurray! It did publish and it kept the italics.
Google Docs

This is so neat! I didn't realize that Google had all these different applications set-up already. If you only needed basic stuff they could replace MS Office. Of course that won't go over well in Seattle.

The big advantage, besides currently being free applications is that you don't have to worry about the format the person/company that you want to send it to has.

I had recently been sent a Google document and didn't even realize it, until I clicked on docs and spreadsheets today and there was this flier I had looked at by opening the attachment. It's spacing and set-up was so much better looking directly at the document as my friend intended rather than as an attachment.

I didn't immediately figure out how to change the name of my document from the first few words on the page to what I actually wanted as a title. But then I remembered this is on the Web, so I tried clicking on the title and that let me change it.

Also, this may have just solved two problems for Corey and I. His dad is wanting a calendar program and his mom wants to do presentations but was shocked when she learned how much PowerPoint costs. She had a class at William Woods and learned how to use it, but her computer would also have to be upgraded just to run it, so it's cost prohibitive. His parents already have a Gmail account (something I set-up for them earlier) so now, if I can just find the time to thoroughly test the two programs (because they will come up with all sorts of questions), then they can both do what they want and need to do without purchasing expense software.

The Zoho applications look interesting too. I also plan to check into the Zoho calendar marking more thoroughly before recommended this to Corey's Dad.

I decided to make this all in italics to see what happens when I publish it to my blog. Just to see if the italic type transfers.