Friday, September 14, 2007

Out of the Labyrinth...

The journey is complete. :-)

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

Downloadable Audio Books

I really like audio books. And downloadable audio books are a good idea. However, for people (like me) who are limited by that pesky dial-up connection, this technology is also difficult to utilize. So, for the sake of this exercise, I just pretended I had a fast internet connection and wanted to download some audio books. :-) I first visited Project Gutenberg, which I felt left a bit to be desired. I couldn't find any of my favorite authors via the author search, so I assume they don't have them. I then cruised over to Netlibrary, where I had much better luck. I found a few books by Anne Tyler and Julia Alvarez. No Amy Tan, Margaret Atwood, or John Irving, though. So I suppose if I really wanted any of those authors on talking book, I'd need to visit the library!

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've heard a lot about Podcasts, but didn't really know what they were until I completed this exercise. They're actually very cool, especially if you aren't able to catch your favorite shows during their original airings. Still, I'm once again hindered by my dial-up connection when it comes to enjoying this technology. That's probably one of the reasons I didn't bother to learn more about Podcasts before, because I knew they weren't anything I could play around with from home.

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

YouTube, ITube, WeALLTube!

Well, I must say, YouTube is potentially addictive. Luckily, I only have a dial-up connection at home that is in no way conducive to watching videos online. So, hopefully, I'm not in too much danger of getting hooked! I had to do my YouTubing at work where we have this lovely DSL connection. And I have really had fun looking up all sorts of things (mostly silly nostalgic stuff from my childhood.) I found lots of cool Labyrinth videos, one of which I might try to post on my blog if time allows. I also found some old cartoons and commercials from when I was a kid, which were fun to look at. There's also lots of Deadwood stuff, but, as is the nature of the show, most of those are laced with profanity, so I won't post any of those here (you are free to search on your own, though, if you are so inclined!)

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

Web 2.0 Awards

This was a fun list to peruse. My personal favorites from the list are Bloglines and Librarything. I was curious about Craigslist, Facebook, and all of the winners in the Philanthropy category, so I decided to check those out.

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, 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!

Google Documents, Etc.

Well, I am very impressed with all of the online productivity tools that are available online--for free! Before we learned of some of these at the Tech Fair, I had no idea they existed! This is great for anyone who can't spend the large sum of money needed to purchase MS Office software.

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


Okay, so I finally added my blog to the MD Libraries Sandbox Wiki. That was a little more complicated than I thought it would be. I found the site itself is a bit confusing and jumbled looking (just my humble opinion!) :-)

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

Library 2.0

I read several of the perspectives on Library 2.0. The ones I read all basically saw Library 2.0 as a positive development for libraries, and I agree. I have so enjoyed learning all of the new Learning 2.0 technology, and I look forward to putting this knowledge to use in service to our patrons. As librarians, we are basically in the lifelong learning business (so to speak) so we of all people should embrace the phenomenon that is Learning 2.0. It certainly isn't going to go away, even if there might be some of us who are reluctant to jump on board! ;-) The trick is to figure out just how we can make use of all of this technology in a practical sense. Libraries are already making use of tools such as blogs, MySpace, and Wikis as a way to reach out to and interact with their communities. When I think of all the various ways we could utilize this new technology, the possibilities seem endless. I think we've only just begun, and I am excited about what the future holds.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Technorati Time

Today, I surfed around Technorati. First, I searched for "Learning 2.0" in Blogs, Tags, and Posts. These searches all returned different results, and I suppose I found the Blog results to be most relevant and useful in this instance. I then went on and looked at the "Most Favorited" Blogs ( that a new word?) ;-) I saw a few political blogs I had read before, but other than that, there wasn't too much I was interested in. I did enjoy the search function, as I searched for several of my interests and found some other blogs I might like to read. While searching for "libraries", I came across The View From Here, which looks pretty interesting. I might have to add that one to my Bloglines account. I was not surprised that the top searches included Harry Potter, but I was disheartened that they also included Paris Hilton (her 15 minutes of fame feel more like 15 years...ugh.)

Monday, July 16, 2007 = Another Cool Discovery

I've had fun giving this a try. I've already tagged several of my favorite websites, and I will definitely be adding more. I have a plethora of bookmarks on my Firefox browser, and while they are all organized by folders, I think could help me even more. And it will also help to have all the same bookmarks available whether I'm on my laptop, desktop PC, or work PC.

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 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

Rollyo just isn't as fun or useful to me as some of the other Learning 2.0 technology. Maybe if I spent more time with it, I'd grow to love it. (???)

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

Image Generator Fun

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!

For the Love of LibraryThing!

I have known the joy that is LibraryThing for some time now. Still, this exercise prompted me to catalog even more books. Before, I just listed books that were on my own personal library shelves. But then, I don't necessarily own every single book that I have read and enjoyed (thanks to the library, of course!) :-) So, I thought, I really should list all the books I have read that I really liked or loved (no point that I could see in listing the ones I'd rather forget, and that includes some that are still on my shelves!) So my list has now broken the 100 book mark, and I'm still going strong. I just have to crank up my memory...!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Some Libary-Related Feeds

I first heard of The Feel Good Librarian in a Library Journal article. I hadn't read this blog in a while, but this week's Library 2.0 assignment prompted a visit. It's a fun blog that tells the tales of the Reference Desk front lines. I've added it to my Bloglines list of feeds.

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

RSS: Hot Off the Digital Press!

I gave Bloglines a try today. I've seen the orange RSS thingie all over the place for quite some time. But it's only now that I understand what a useful service this could be for me. I have yet to sign up for the "at least 10 newsfeeds", as directed by our Learning 2.0 assignment, but I am working on it! I am enthralled by the HBO drama Deadwood, so the first thing I signed up for was the Save Deadwood feed. I also signed up for some political feeds and a couple movie related ones. I have many other interests, too, so it shouldn't be too difficult to reach the magic number 10.

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!

"Hot off the press" in the old Deadwood days...

Itunes is Pretty Cool...

I decided to write my "anything technology-related" post about Itunes. Before the Tech Fair, I thought you needed an Ipod in order to make use of the Itunes website. But actually, you really just need a computer.

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, 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

Flickr Mashups

So I've been checking out some Flickr Mashups. I found a website that has listed the 10 Best Flickr Mashups (according to them, of may find some that you like better!)

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


This site is great. I had heard of it before the Tech Fair, but had never actually visited the site. I adore hydrangeas (hence, my username "nikko blue", which is one of my favorite hydrangea cultivars) so I decided to do a simple search for "nikko blue" and see what came up. I was so surprised to see all of the beautiful results--over 100 hits! My own hydrangea plants (I believe I'm up to six now) are all very young, with only one finally blooming this year, so of course I am envious of all the beauties found on Flickr!

~Nikko *Beautiful* Results!~

Lifelong Learning

After completing the 7 1/2 Habits of Lifelong Learners, I wondered: Do I love to read because I love to learn, or do I love to learn because I love to read? Hmmm...

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

The Journey Begins...

Hello, all! Welcome to the

Jareth welcomes you, too...

My fellow children of the 80s may recognize Jareth, *The Goblin King*, from Jim Henson's masterpiece film, ~*Labyrinth*~. Others may just recognize him as David Bowie! :-)

Coming Soon: Further tales of my adventures in the Library 2.0 Labyrinth! Goodnight!