Monday, September 28, 2009

Number 18: Online Video

I'm well-versed in all that is Youtube. I even have my own account and have uploaded a few videos. The public library where I work even has its own Youtube account and has uploaded videos from our various festivals and celebrations. Here's a video from our 2007 Native American Festival:

I think this is a terrific use of web 2.0 for libraries. Putting videos like this online exposes more people to what a library has to offer- especially to people who might not normally attend events such as the Native American Festival. Too often libraries are written off as dusty repositories of books. Public libraries especially are so much more than that- community centers full of life, and video is a wonderful way to show that!

Number 17: I'm not sure what this thing is

So Thing 17 appears to be about something called the Electronic Library for Minnesota. I'm not in Minnesota. I'm in Oklahoma. But, reading the Thing, the ELM appears to just be a collection of databases that is purchased by the state for the public's use. Okay. We have that in Oklahoma too, although slightly different. I am familiar with the databases that Oklahoma state provides, as I have to instruct customers on how to use them at the public library. However, all the "save to my page" tools and whatnot as described in this Thing were new to me. I'm not even sure if that would work on our public computers at the reference desk at the public library. I'll give it a go tonight.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Number 16: Student 2.0

23 Things asks:
  • How might the RPC and the Teacher Guide help you help students plan and manage research projects?
  • Can you think of any uses for library projects—could you use it to help manage a timeline for a project of your own?

Alright, I'll stop with my web 2.0 whining and I'll admit- HOLY COW THESE TOOLS ARE AWESOME!!!

Yeah. The Assignment Calculator blew me away. What a great idea! How come I've never heard of this before!? Can I use it in a project of my own? You betcha! I totally plugged in the dates for a 10 page research paper I have due in another class, and looked at the schedule it gave me. I am someone who works best under deadlines, so semester-long projects can sometimes be difficult and stressful for me. I always worry, "Have I done enough yet? What exactly *should* I be doing at this point?" Well Assignment Calculator told me! I am seriously going to use this for that paper, it will help me a lot. Even though the links are for Minnesota-specific things, the timeline it generated is incredibly helpful to me. Finally, a web 2.0 productivity tool that doesn't just create more STUFF in my life and actually applies itself to my *current* life.

I would like to see this idea extrapolated for use in the workplace. Projects at libraries aren't exactly the same as research papers for students. What about a program manager for public librarians? You describe the type of program it is, when it will be, and a tool like this could tell you what all you need to have completed by when to be ready for the project! The full-time librarians I work with at the public library would love that kind of tool, and it would really help some of them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Number 15: Gaming

I am not a gamer. I have not played video games regularly since I was about 12, and then it was only an occassional afternoon spent on Mario Kart. I just never got into it beyond that. I'm still not into it. I've played Guitar Hero and Rock Band a couple of times (mostly at my public library!), and those are fun, but I can't imagine spending hundreds of dollars on purchasing a system.

The Norman Public Library has been offering gaming events for awhile, now. We have a gaming series for teens called Game On, where multiple consoles and games are offered (all age-appropriate). A few times, we've offered adult gaming nights, with some of the more mature games.

23 Things asks:
  • If you chose Second Life, write a blog post about your findings and thoughts on Second Life. Is there a role for Second Life in libraries?

I had never explored Second Life before. I thought this was funny though. This is another thing that I really just don't get the point of. I can see why some people would enjoy it, and get sucked into it. I just don't have the time for something like that in my life. I suppose it could be good for libraries to have a presence in the game, because there is a whole community of users who might not otherwise know much about the library (because they spend too much time at home playing games!). We have a librarian at the public library who I know would love to do something like this, and she'd be good at it. So, I think if there is a librarian on staff who is immersed in gaming culture, then why not have a presence? It's just like any other demographic or group the library would try to attract.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Number 14: LibraryThing

23 Things asks:
  • How can you use LibraryThing for your library?
  • How else do you share booklists, etc. with library patrons? Would LibraryThing offer an alternative?

Behold, the only LibraryThing widget I could get to work on this blog, I don't know why:

So that will link you to the mini-catalog I created.

I had poked around on LibraryThing way back in the day when it first started. It's improved a lot since then! It seems like the kind of thing I could get sucked into. If only they had a widget that let you print out call number labels for your personal library...

As for its use in libraries... I am undecided. I suppose it would be helpful for creating booklists, but how do you get it out of LibraryThing? I couldn't find a widget or tool that would extrapolate your information into a list.

Number 13: Online Productivity Tools

23 Things asks:
  • Did you find a tool that has some uses for you at the library or at home? Which tool(s) would you recommend to others?

This thing suggests trying out iGoogle and Google Calendars, both of which I have used before! I like that those services are integrated into my email. Some time ago I set up my iGoogle home page, though I do not regularly use it. At the time I was studying for the GRE, and added a gadget that gave me a GRE word of the day. I also added a weather gadget. I found it really helpful when I was using it regularly.

As for the Calendar feature, I am a regular user, even though in an oddball kind of way. Maybe that's what's great about these web 2.0 tools, that you can use them however best it suits you. Anyways, I pay all my bills online. I hate writing checks and I hate getting paper bills in the mail, so I do everything online. It's harder to remember those due dates though, when you don't get a paper bill reminding you every month. So, I set up recurring Calendar reminders for my due dates. For each bill, I set it up so that I would get an email reminder a week before it's due. Since I'm in my email nearly 24/7, I can just stare at those suckers and it helps me to remember to pay my bills. After I pay the bill, I delete the reminder from my email, so that I can remember that I did in fact pay it (a lot of e-bill services STILL don't send you an email confirmation that they received your payment). I really really like this service, it helps me a lot. There have definitely been times when I would've forgotten to pay a bill if I hadn't seen the reminder in my inbox.

Also mentioned in this Thing is Zamzar, which I have also used. I discovered it very recently when I needed to email a copy of my paper program plan to my advisor at OU SLIS. I scanned it, and then created a PDF using Zamzar. Totally helpful and awesome!

So, A+ to these Things. I like them. I recommend them.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Number 12: Social Media Sites

23 Things asks:
  • How do you think you can use these tools in your library or at home?
  • Do these tools seem to be a productivity enhancer or a productivity detractor?

Before I completed this "thing," I was familiar with what sites like Digg and Reddit were. But, I had never been to one before. (That seems to be a reoccuring theme with these web 2.0 sites- I'm familiar with the concepts, but haven't actually tried many of them out.)

I don't foresee using these tools at work or at home. Again, I did not like them. I especially found the Digg website to be just a cluttered mess of information. I don't think Krug would like it! I see their usefulness for someone who maybe doesn't want to spend a lot of time "digging" (har har) through pages and pages of news sites. However, I'm someone who likes to do that! I prefer to seek out information on my own, as opposed to going with what other people find interesting. This is probably partially because I have tastes and interests that run contrary to most people's. :)

Again, whether or not these sites would be a productivity enhancer or detractor would depend on the person using them, and how they prefer to browse the web. For someone like myself, it would probably be a productivity detractor. I already scan several websites first thing in the morning for my news. Going to a cluttered site like Digg would not help my morning!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Number 11: Tagging

23 Things asks:
  • Can you see the potential of this tool for research assistance? Or just as an easy way to create bookmarks that can be accessed from anywhere?
  • How can your library or media center take advantage of tagging and

I do not like It just seems like a big fat mess to me. I understand tagging, and why it's beneficial for things like this here blog (and you'll see that I've been tagging all of my entries), but this? It's like a really unorganized search engine. If I'm looking to browse a particular category or topic on the web, I'll go to Google and search for it that way. Looking up individual tags on this website isn't nearly as thorough. I suppose that it could be useful as a way to store your own personal bookmarks. But couldn't you also just save them in your email? Or something? Boo.

I don't know why I dislike it this much. It just doesn't sit well with me for some reason. Maybe it's the design of the site itself. It's bland. And ugly to look at.

I also have mixed thoughts on user-generated tagging in libraries. I think it has the potential to get messy.

Number 10: Wikis

While I am waiting for posting access to be granted at a wiki, I will go ahead and blog my thoughts about wikis. After I've edited a page I will provide a link to it here.

23 Things asks:
  • What did you find interesting about the wiki concept?
  • What types of applications within libraries and schools might work well with a wiki?

I've been familiar with wikis for awhile, mostly because of the lovely and handy and controversial (Don't worry, I've never used it for a research paper and would never dream of doing so- it's just a fun way to learn random things.) Editing wikis is a new venture for me, and my final project for 5433 will be to create a wiki!

I really like the idea of wikis as a collaborative learning tool. I think they work best when the subject matter being wiki-d (hah!) lends itself to community usefulness. Like that old saying, two heads are better than one. Except with a wiki, it might be 200 heads. Or 2,000. Wikis are a great way for experts to share their knowledge with neophytes. That's the beauty of wikipedia: Bob knows a lot about the history of ancient Greece, so he can wiki about that, but he doesn't know anything about the atmosphere of Jupiter, which Susan happens to know quite a bit about. Bob gets to benefit from Susan's expertise, and vice versa.

In libraries, wikis can be a powerful library 2.0 tool. Instead of the library website being all about what We, The Mighty Librarians know and what We, The Mighty Librarians think is best for you to know, we can open up our digital space to the benefit of collaborative knowledge. This could work well for subject guides or reader's advisory tools, or, as my project for 5433 will hopefully do, it can be a space for unique community information. That concept was touched on in this article featured on the 23 Things website:

"What about making the library’s website the online hub of the community? Libraries could create a community wiki that would be a one-stop-shop for community information. With the input of the entire community, it could become whatever the community needs it to be. Want to know who the best mechanic is for fixing old Toyotas? Check the automotive reviews on the wiki. Want to know when your child’s next Little League game is? Check the team information page the coach set up on the wiki. Want to find the spiciest Thai food in town? Read the member reviews in the restaurant section. Anyone could add new informative content. The library could team up with other local organizations to develop, maintain and add content to the wiki, but the bulk of the content will come from average member of the community. Opening up a community guide to the public allows a wealth of information to flow in that can make the library’s website a true community resource."

YES! Yes I say!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Number 9: Online Collaboration

For this entry I'll blog about Google Docs, since I'm already familiar with it. But only recently! As in, just started using it a couple of weeks ago for school. I'm using it as an online storage place for articles I'm using for a research paper. Since I use up to three or four computers each day for work and school, it's handy to have those things stored online, as opposed to having to carry around a USB drive. And since I work on my homework at work (shh, don't tell!), it's also convenient to upload versions of that work to Google Docs for portability.

I realize this isn't exactly one of the intended uses of it, because I'm not really sharing my work with other people. I'm sharing it with myself! Across different computers. I like it. It will be a helpful tool in keeping myself organized this semester.

Number 8: Sharing

(photos courtesy Pioneer Library System's flickr page.)

23 Things asks:
  • Was the tool you used easy to navigate and understand?
    Would you recommend it to others?

NO! The sharing aspect of Big Huge Lab's Mosaic Maker didn't work at all. Or at least I couldn't get it to work with blogger. I had to right click and steal the actual URL of the .jpg image to upload it to my blogger account. That's all fine and dandy, but if you didn't know how to do that... Then all the helpfulness of the Big Huge Lab's website would be for naught. I would recommend it to others, but only people who understood that not all the bells and whistles work perfectly. Sometimes they require a little digital jerry-riggin'.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Number 7: Communication Tools

23 Things asks:
  • Describe how your library uses email. Has it improved productivity?
  • Share your thoughts on online reference using some of the other Web 2.0 communication tools.
  • Are you an active user of text messaging, IM, or other communication tools?

I was already familiar with most of the communication tools explained in this Thing. At the public library, I do not think that email has improved productivity. Every day I get anywhere from five to ten email messages, and 99% of them do not apply to me. Because we are such a large organization, blanket messages are often sent out to big groups of us. It is helpful for me as a part-time employee because I can stay on top of things from a distance, but most of the time it is information overload. I used to be really good about deleting read messages and filing away ones I wanted to keep into various folders... Then I just let it get out of control and I think my inbox has around 1200 read messages in it.

The public library just started offering a "text a librarian" reference tool. However, it's not done in house. It's a service we purchased, so some "librarians for hire" somewhere (who knows where) are the ones answering our customers' requests. A fellow librarian who didn't realize this was an outside service sent a few joking text messages to the number, thinking it was our own virtual librarian receiving them... Needless to say he was quite embarrassed when the outside librarians on the other end revealed the truth to him. I don't like the idea that this is an external service that we purchased. I realize that our library is not really equipped to have someone available 24/7 to answer texts, but it seems like there would have to be a middle ground.

Personally, I am a texting fool. I didn't use to text message at all. But in the past three years or so it's become one of the main ways that I communicate with my friends. I've also used various IM services since the mid-1990s, first on AIM and now primarily through GChat.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Number 6: Online Image Generators

Okay. I had fun with this one. Towards the end. First I made a trading card:

Blurry and not that exciting. Then I made a pop art poster:

That's a little cooler. But oh... I had to... I made a lolcat. Using my own cat, Beatrice:

I couldn't help myself.

This could also be a really useful tool for creating signage and posters for programs at my library. The only problem would be that our library likes to have unified graphics and posters, throughout the system. Librarians do not have much creative license to create their own posters. Most, if not all, of that material comes from our central PR department. I'm not sure if management would be supportive or not of using tools such as these to create posters.

Number 5: Flickr Mashups

letter O N A letter S letter T I letter C K

23 Things says:
  • How can you use any of these tools in your library and media center? Reading programs, posters promoting library events, librarian trading cards all come to mind as possibilities.
  • What do you think of sharing photos online?

This is a pretty nifty tool! I could particularly see my library's teen librarian using this mashup to create signs for teen events, or for promoting teen collections. Mashups are a creative, free way to generate content for library marketing tools.

Sharing photos online is great. I used to use Photobucket, but with the advent of Facebook... I find less of a need to upload photos to Photobucket for the express purpose of sharing. I share photos that I want my friends to see on Facebook.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Number 4: Flickr

Surprise! My library already has a Flickr account. Our account can be found here. Our account name is "jsyk," which is an abbreviation of our motto, "Just So You Know." If you search Flickr for "Pioneer Library System," our account will come up. I like the way they have our page organized. First you can select the year, going as far back as 2007. From there, the photos are organized into collections that are named with the branch library they're from, and the event they capture. Our library system is really great about taking photos of all our events. Some of my favorites are from our cultural festivals, especially the Hispanic Festival and the Native American Festival. Below you can see some pictures from those events.

I think Flickr is great, and I love that our library has such a significant presence on it. I think it's a great way to market the events that happen at the library.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Number 3: RSS Feeds

23 Things on a Stick asks:

  • What do you like about RSS and newsreaders?
  • How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your school or personal life?

To the left, you will see some links to fellow classmates' blogs that I added to my RSS account with Google Reader. RSS Feeds are a good example of something that, as a Millenial, I know about, but I've never tried... And holy moly I was confused. I use Gmail and Google Documents (great for the student on the go who works on sometimes up to three or four different computers in one day), so I thought I would just use Google Reader. Someone I chat with frequently on GChat already had a Reader account set up, and suddenly all these things he'd shared were visible to me. Whoa! Too much information! All at once! I understood easily enough how to add subscriptions... But then what? I added them to the blog, but I think I just added links to individual posts, rather than the entire blogs of my fellow students. I'm confused. This will all need more sorting out later. Maybe it will make sense the more I just stare at it.

So, this was overwhelming. So far, I'm not crazy about it. I don't even really like or use tabbed browsing, much less the idea of seeing stories from multiple sites in one window. For now, I don't anticipate using this technology for either school or work. It feels like one too many bricks in the wall of information overload that is my life.

Number 2: Library 2.0

23 Things on a Stick asks:

  • How has the Internet and the vast resource it can be affected your use of time at work and/or at home?
  • Where are you in your knowledge and use of Web 2.0 tools? How about your library?

These questions are related to me, because I work a lot. Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 have their sticky fingers all over my life, almost 24/7. I am constantly wired to a constant stream of information- personal information, work information for two jobs, and school information. Checking my email is one of the first things I do when I wake up, and one of the last things I do before I go to sleep. It has occurred to me on more than one occassion that my "lifestyle" wouldn't even have been capable of existing say, more than ten years ago. The internet lets me keep up with the goings-on, drama, policy changes, and problems at two jobs. The internet lets me take graduate level classes while I am also working these two jobs. Without the internet, this really wouldn't be possible.

I have a layman's knowledge of and experience with Web 2.0. I fall at the very beginning of the Millenial generation, but I didn't grow up with computers in hand since infancy. My earliest memories of using libraries include browsing through a card catalog, and I didn't get high-speed internet at home until after I graduated college. Being that I am on the computer and the internet almost 24/7 doing all those life-oriented things, I have been a "quick adapter" of things like YouTube, flickr, etc. I've used these sites in passing, as most other people my age would. As far as *creating* content goes, though, I am a relative novice.

The libraries I work at are just starting to adopt Web 2.0 technologies. We have "Ask a Librarian" IM services, and the public library has its own flickr account. Change though, seems to be occurring at a snail's pace, and is met with considerable resistance. The public library is skeptical of social networking sites, and refuses (thus far) to adopt an official presence on any of them. I think this is a mistake. People in my generation are growing accustomed to experiencing life through these channels; I believe if libraries don't have a presence in them, then libraries will be overlooked or even forgotten.

Number 1: First things first

Welcome to my bloggy blog blog about the 23 Things on a Stick experience. I have obviously completed the first step, which was setting up this blog, and as you can see to the left, I have a digital representation of myself in Yahoo Avatar form.