Friday, August 28, 2009

Reflection - It's A Brave New World

The biggest challenge during this 'course' was finding the time to complete the activities. Summer's a bad time for stuff like this - our gate count explodes, and there really is no time for thoughtful investigation of new information, unless you are in a really quiet spot for a good length of time. I didn't want to rush through this - I wanted to learn, and I think I did.

My least favorite thing was a tie between Digg and Twitter, but I think Digg would have to win if it came to a must choose. Digg is dumb in my opinion, and Twitter at least has some redeeming qualities. I definitely cannot see using Digg ever in the future. My favorite thing is Facebook. So useful, so intuitive, and so helpful for networking and contacts. I can see a library using this for younger generations to connect.

It's hard to say which technologies our library would use. What I do intend to do in the very near future is revisit a lot of these things and mess around and try to understand each of them better. That takes a commitment to reflect over the course of time what might work and what might not. I do think I will use the Flickr mashups in conjunction with the CC licenses to make cool flyers and advertisements. I would really love to develop an in house training session, over the course of many months, for everyone interested who didn't get a chance to participate or finish. I think if we put our heads together some good potential uses of the technology would surface. 23 things might get reduced to 10 or 12, but that's OK.

Onward and upward....

Podcast - Hook Line And Sinker

I like podcasts, even though I am not normally an auditory learner. I like when they are short and to the point, and maybe get me excited about learning something new by going to an event, reading a new book, or checking out a new website.

The podcasts residing on the site were pretty interesting for the most part. I LOVED the Boulder PL's teen podcast section - while the quality wasn't all that great, it was wonderful to hear the teens weigh in on current events, art exhibits, and more at their library. This could be a hit with our teens, if we could set up a podcast team and post it on the library website. The booktalks by adults were, well, only as good as the written preparation. I checked out some on books that I have read and ones that I have not. The booktalks for books I had not read actually got me interested in reading the book, or adding it to our collection. Then I checked out MedlinePlus's podcasts, and found them informative and accurate but boring. I think they should hire the guys who do RadioLab and have them make podcasts on medical topics! I found the audio quality OK on most of the ones I listened to, although the teens tended to 'eat' the mike a little too much, but that's OK.

I can see many possibilities for podcasts with our library. I would love to do something like the Lincoln City Libraries "Casting About" podcast - sort of like The View on books. And I did add it to my Google Reader subscriptions. You could perhaps get more people excited about coming to the library and checking out some interesting titles. Another use of podcasts would be advertisements for programs coming up - if you incorporated snippets of the performers or presenters, you might be able to whet more appetites and boost attendance. Something to think about to be sure.

I used to subscribe to a farm related podcast, but stopped because it became too much to keep up with. I might, however, revisit subscribing to podcasts if I find some consistently interesting ones and keeping the subscriptions to maybe two or three.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Developing 23 Things For My Library

There are many of the technologies presented that could prove to be beneficial to my library. What I would develop to help the staff get comfortable using some of these technologies would be a series of specific exercises,from which a staff member could choose, connected to each "thing" involving scenarios that relate to the community which we serve, . Then I would have everyone share their results, and discuss why they would or would not like to see any particular "thing" incorporated into our resources/offerings. I would encourage generous and honest input of pros and cons for each 'thing'. For a particular 'thing' which everyone likes, I would probably have our library create an internal test pilot program, so we could play and succeed and fail safely. ;-)

I think I would also choose different articles and videos for some of the technologies than what were included here.

As The LibWorm Turns

I found uneven results through my searches within LibWorm. I think the site could be vastly improved with a more robust, advanced search feature that employs Boolean terms. It seemed to me that there were a lot of hits from sites/blogs in the UK.

On my first phrase search, I entered "chick lit" and got a lot of blogs. Some of those went to the entire blog itself and did not narrow it down to the particular posting within the blog, which is totally unuseful. Perhaps that is a function of how the blog is set up. There was already one dead link within the first 5 hits. Lots of book reviews of course, and I definitely needed to put the phrase in quotations.

I did like the subject area and category sections. There was a mixed bag of results, which is kind of fun. Under Young Adults, I got a hit for a conservative blogger complaining about Obama's health care policy-proposal, so I am not quite sure how that fits into the scheme of library related RSS feeds. There were lots of foreign language feeds that came up under "Public Libraries"; it would be nice to be able to filter those out. I especially liked the Medical category and subject areas - very interesting stuff. And, I found an amusing blog in the Personal blog section that I think I will follow!

I am not so sure how useful the tags are; some of the terms within the clouds are just way too broad. I did click on "copyright" and got some pretty interesting feeds, and that term alone might yield some good results.

What LibWorm needs is more refinement, with an Advanced Search and filters. Fun site to visit, but watch your time!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wiki Wiki Wiki

I finally was able to figure out how to enter text into my Wiki page, thanks to Jesse. Thanks, Jesse!! Turned out I had to click on the EasyEdit button once, then close it out, then click on it again before I could access the text box.

Anyway, I am not a huge fan of wikis. I used one in a group project during library school, and while I could appreciate having an online document available at any time, I did not like that we could not save previous versions. It bothered me that we couldn't go back to what we had originally written, especially if we had changed things extensively. I thought the wiki that we used was very intuitive and easy to use, but I just have a preference for having a 'paper trail', so to speak.

I do use Wikipedia for current cultural things - especially celebrity ephemera that I just do not pay attention to on a regular basis. I decided to test Wikipedia's accuracy on a serious subject, and searched ADHD. The page had 14 sections, and there were at least 500 revisions to it. I found all of the information I read was pretty accurate and balanced, which is a good thing. There were 43 discussion forums, and that was interesting to see. I think from this I can conclude that Wikipedia's powers that be are being fairly vigilant about accuracy on stuff that matters, and that is good. I wouldn't recommend that a student use this as his/her major source for information, but it is a good place to start, even just to get ideas on what to research.

The explanation of wikis on the North Texas 23 Things says, "Some libraries use internal wikis to manage their policies and procedures." This is an example, to me, where a paper trail is important. If there is a 'history' section like in Wikipedia, perhaps this would work.

But I do love the name, Wiki!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Libraries On YouTube

I concentrated on videos resulting from a search of "library event", which brought up 3,370 results. One was a promotional video for a fundraiser involving Chef Martin Yan, urging people to buy tickets as proceeds benefited the library. Another was a video of a past event at a public library, involving a knitting group and a visit by the Guinness world record holder for speed knitting. Then I went to the videos showing gaming events at various libraries. These were decidedly very boring - no voice over, and some were several minutes of just a shot of Guitar Hero on a TV screen. I think the only people that visited those were the kids who had participated, just to see if they could spot themselves.

There's potential here for promotion of library events, promotion of the library as a place that has a diverse offering of presentations, concerts, etc.. There are many people that might come to see the library as a great place to visit as a result. I think a library could make a video, post it on YouTube, but also post it on their library site. There's lot of people that don't visit YouTube, so you would need to do both. I wonder to myself how libraries have handled getting permission from all of the people visible in a video to include them without "fuzzying" their face. When people arrive at an event, do they automatically receive a permission form, and how does a library identify those on a video that perhaps did not or would not give permission to have their faces shown? Posting on YouTube, after all, is a forum for world-wide exposure, and some people might not want that. I would be interested to hear how other libraries have handled this.

Google Docs

Based on the video, Google Docs looks to me like a very useful tool for large corporate environments. The fact that it is web-based might help with people who are very mobile and need to communicate this way. I am not sure of its application in smaller public libraries, however. I did like that I could save my document as a pdf, which I did. I did not like that the choices for fonts were so limited, however. And, I could not find an option that specifically said, "Share with Others." I did email the document to another of my email addresses, and it came through fine. If I had sent it as a word-like document the receiver could edit it - much like a wiki.

A co-worker of mine utilized Google Docs to send a proposed revision to a library policy, and what we really liked about it was that every receiver could insert their comments into the document without removing the original language, with the comments, name, and time clearly visible. This, to me, is what makes the features of Google Docs superior to some of the web-based wikis.

Keeping up with all of the changes through the googledocs blog, would to me, be mind-numbing. I would much rather have Google post changes in folders easily accessible from the Google Docs site, and not have to go to a separate blog.

The ability for the form responses to automatically fill in a spreadsheet appealed to me - this would be very efficient when dealing with a lot of co-workers' responses.

It might have been nice to read about examples of actual libraries using this feature, and what they think of it.