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.