Friday, September 14, 2007
I have enjoyed this excursion, and I think I've come away with some valuable knowledge. My most favorite discoveries were LibraryThing and Bloglines. I visit Bloglines nearly every day, and I have built up quite a growing "bookshelf" on LibraryThing. And while I really had fun exploring some of the other technology (Youtube and Podcasts in particular) my slow connection from home keeps me from taking full advantage. Too bad. Maybe some day Verizon will get it together and those of us who live in the middle-of-nowhere-land can finally YouTube and Podcast away with the rest of the world. ;-)
Before beginning this journey, I had previously heard of and even explored a lot of this technology, but there were some pleasant surprises. The best one was the free online productivity software. What a find! I wonder why more people don't know about these free tools. Is it a Microsoft conspiracy?? Hmmm... Well, anyway, I hope people will spread the word now that we are all aware. I certainly will!
I did find some of the technology to be confusing and/or not applicable to my own personal needs. I even found some to be annoying! Rollyo, for example, was something I just didn't see the point of. It seemed to make searching more complicated than it needed to be, and I found that I could get what I was looking for in other, more convenient ways. I also didn't really care for Technorati or several of the Web Award winners (Craigslist, Facebook, etc.) And while I do enjoy and appreciate the wonder of Flickr, I have no interest in the Flickr Mashups. Still, even though I didn't care for all of the technology, I'm glad I learned about it. I do feel smarter! :-D
If another training like this were to be offered again, I would surely be on board. The librarian in me always loves a good challenge, and the opportunity to learn. I miss being in college, so this learning adventure was great fun for me. Yes, I like having "homework" to do (I admit, I'm a geek!) It keeps the brain busy and opens new doors. So yes, I would definitely be up for another challenge. I would even look forward to it.
Thank you for joining me on this journey...a worthwhile "thing", indeed. Good luck, everyone!
Friday, August 31, 2007
As far as selection goes, Netlibrary seems to be better than Project Gutenberg. So if I really was going to try to download a book, I'd probably go with Netlibrary.
I did manage to find some interesting Podcasts that I would like to subscribe to if I had a faster internet connection. Yahoo's Podcast search was particularly helpful in finding some cool Podcasts. I found one for The Charlie Rose Show, which is a show that I like but rarely catch on t.v. (although, I do have Tivo, so I suppose I could just Tivo it, but I never thought to do so.) I also found some librarian-related Podcasts that sounded intriguing (Open Stacks and Librarians Matter, to name a couple.) But, again, I would be more excited about this technology if I could take full advantage, but I can't! Oh well...C'est la vie!
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
I think libraries could certainly find ways to put YouTube to use. HCPL has already used it as a place to view short videos from last year's most excellent Staff Day (who can forget Elvis and the Saturday Night Fever dancers??) :-) I think we could possibly use it for training videos, too. And I was even thinking about how we could use it in conjunction with the HCPL website. For example, we could digitally record virtual "tours" of the library, and post them on YouTube, and then post the YouTube video on our website (something like "Check Us Out! Take a Virtual Tour of the Library!") Just a thought!
Saturday, August 4, 2007
First of all, I think Craigslist is very overhyped. I find the interface particularly annoying, as it reminds me of a website one might have seen circa 1995. It just looks very amateurish, and I have to wonder, is that on purpose, or did the site's creator only know the most basic HTML? (Okay, I'm being snarky...sorry.) ;-) It's just that I'm always hearing/reading about Craigslist, and I finally go there, and I thought, "this is it?" That site design just really turns me off. I don't like ugly, jumbled websites, so I probably won't go there again unless I really need to. Oh, and I briefly checked in on some of the forums they have, and those were pretty bad, too. They seemed to be full of internet "trolls" posting all sorts ridiculous stuff, so I assume they are not moderated. And again, couldn't they use a cleaner, better organized design for their message boards? I would expect more in 2007 from such a popular site. Oh well.
I've been reading a lot of news stories lately about Facebook, so I decided to check it out. Unfortunatley, there's not much to look at unless you register (which I didn't want to do.) There is a site "Tour" you can take, but that left a bit to be desired, too. Still, I will keep this one in mind, as it is being hailed as a good alternative to MySpace (which, like Craigslist, is also uneasy on the eyes.)
On a more positive note, I was very pleased to see the Philanthropy category. I care a lot about many different causes and issues, and would love to find new ways to get active. So I visited Care2.com, which is very intriguing. There's a lot of information on the homepage, but it is organized well, and the site has a very pleasant design. I will definitely be exploring this site further. It's a keeper!
I <3 Google, so of course, I had to try out Google Documents. I played around with a couple of different documents, changing the text colors, font faces, and font sizes. I even printed one of my documents to see if everything comes out the same as it appears on screen (it did.) Again, I am amazed that this is available for free. I wish I would have known about this when I was still in college. I would have loved to have shared this tip with my fellow online classmates. I will definitely keep these in mind to share with my patrons.
Good stuff! :-)
Thursday, August 2, 2007
I do generally like the idea of Wikis, although it has taken me a while to warm to Wikipedia. I thought it was a dreadful idea when I first learned about it a few years back. Was that the librarian in me? It probably was...I really don't like the idea of wrong/junk information being eaten up by the masses, and I guess I thought that's what Wikipedia was all about. It still does bother me that people might use Wikipedia as their only source of information for a report or just for their own general knowledge. I do not think colleges or even high school and elementary schools should allow students to site Wikipedia as a source for their reports, but then, hopefully most of them have already made that their policy. I see Wikipedia as more of a fun, frivolous source of information, that I take with a grain of salt. This just highlights the fact that we need librarians now more than ever (to help weed out the junk, and provide quality information.)
I can see how Wikis could be helpful to library workers, perhaps as a collaborative tool for committees or departments that are working on a specific project. And our new Staff News wiki on Passport looks pretty cool so far. So I'll keep my mind open when it comes to wikis.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
I think this tool could be useful to librarians. Usually when we find a useful website for a particular school project or some other hot topic, we go around to each Info Desk PC and create a bookmark in Internet Explorer. However, if we set up a del.ici.ous account for our department, we wouldn't have to add a bookmark to each PC's browser. We could just tag the site under our del.icio.us account, and make it available to all department librarians in an instant. And that's just one of the possible timesavers del.ici.ous could provide.
On a more personal level, this tool could have been useful to me when I was working on my Bachelor's degree. I kind of wish I knew about it then, as it would have been great to have at my fingertips when working on various research papers. It would have been especially helpful, too, because I took most of my classes online and had to keep track of a lot of links provided by my professors. Well, at least now I'm in the know and can use this tool for graduate school!
While clicking on sites tagged by other users, I found something relevant to us here in library-world. It was a WikiHow on falling asleep to audio books. It recommends checking out audio books from your library and playing them on very low-volume while laying in bed. Apparently, nonfiction and classic literature are great for lulling one to sleep! I'm not sure how I feel about this. Classic literature as a sleep aid? Hmmmmmm....
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I created my own personal News Searchroll, as I love to read the news online, and I consistently use the same favorite news sources. But I actually find that Google News does pretty much the same job this searchroll does, but better. I suppose I just need to play around a bit more with Rollyo to discover its usefullness to me, but so far, I find it kind of blah. Oh well, we don't have to fall in love with every one of the 23 Things, do we?
Monday, July 9, 2007
I have a Yahoo account, so it made sense for me to play around with Yahoo's Avatar Image Generator. And it was fun! I love playing around with stuff like this, so I took my time perusing all the options and "trying on" different things. This is what I finally settled on, and although the woman in the image does not quite resemble me in every way, :-) the setting and the accessories (doggie and books) are very accurate! The dog even looks very much like my own beloved mutt!
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
I also added:
Libraries and Librarians Rock (because it sounded cool, and looks very interesting...haven't had a chance to read through it yet, though!)
The Hip Librarians' Book Blog (yes, it also sounded cool, :-) and it looks like it could be a helpful Reader Advisory tool.)
Library Grrrls (I love the "riot grrrl" reference, and it is a good resource aimed at aspiring female librarians.)
Now, I just have to remember to check my Bloglines account so I don't miss anything good!
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
If you are a bit of an information junkie (which I assume many of us in this profession to be) :-), then you will probably appreciate what Bloglines can do for you. Go ahead and put it to work...and have fun!
I am a music junkie, and between my husband and I, we have several hundred CDs. But sometimes, you just want that one song, and not the whole CD. This is where Itunes comes in handy. At Itunes.com, you can search their library of thousands of songs, most of which may be purchased for 99 cents. I found a bunch of songs I've been wanting for a long time, including one from a rare Tori Amos CD that is no longer available to buy in stores. That was a cool find! Now, because I live in The Middle of Nowhere, Pennsylvania, I connect to the internet via an archaic dial-up connection. This means very slow-going when it comes to downloads (it took each song roughly 20 minutes to download.) Still, it was worth the wait. By the time I had chosen, purchased, and downloaded all of my songs, I was ready to burn a fabulous new mix CD. And I did just that! I was very pleased to listen to my creation in the car this morning on the way to work!
So, don't discount Itunes just because you don't have an Ipod or other MP3 player. If you have a computer with a CD-burner, you can make good use of this technology.
***A tip: Make sure the song you decide to purchase is really the one you want, by the artist you want. (Upon listening to my newly burned CD, I realized I accidentally bought a far inferior cover version of one of the songs I wanted. So I've definitely learned my lesson. :-)
***One more thing: You will have to download the Itunes software onto your computer in order to buy music or movies. On my turtle-paced dial-up, this download took over an hour, but for those of you living in the the 21st century, it should be quicker.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
I must say that I've had a hard time wrapping my head around this whole Mashup thing. Before the Tech Fair, when I heard the word "Mashup", I thought this was something strictly related to music (like when the musician Danger Mouse blended the music of the Beatles and Metallica.) As I learned more about Mashups, I just kept thinking, what is the point??? The whole thing seemed rather complicated to me. But, now, I'm starting to get it.
I did find a Mashup called Fastr that is kind of cool. It's actually a game where you are shown several Flickr images, and you have to identify the common "tag." Kinda fun if you are bored!
Thursday, June 21, 2007
And it also made me think about why I love my job in Children's Services. One of my favorite things about the job is that I constantly learn new things. Children often come to us for information about animals or people I've never heard of, so in the process of helping them, I get to gain some new information! I learn about all kinds of things I might never have known about, had it not been for a random 5th grader's school project!
I think being a lifelong learner is so important. The world is so full of fascinating things to learn about, I don't see how anyone would not want to continue learning throughout their whole life. And hey, if your'e a lifelong learner, you get really good at "Trivial Pursuit." Everyone will want to be on your team! :-)
***Well, that was going to be the end of my post, but then I decided to share something I just learned (hello, Habit #7!) I wanted to link to the 7 1/2 Habits in my post, but I kept having problems when I tried to do so. Here is the trick...
1. Type the words you want to appear as the link (i.e. 7 1/2 Habits of Lifelong Learners.)
2. Highlight the words you just typed.
3. Now, click the "Link" icon on your toolbar (the globe with the little chainlink.)
4. In the little box that pops up, type in the URL, then click OK.
5. The link should now show up neatly in your post!
Let me know if you have any trouble with those directions, and if you have any other helpful tips, feel free to share those as well--we can learn from each other!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Jareth welcomes you, too...