Wednesday, October 31, 2007

2.0 Journey

Over the last month or so, I've done the "23 steps" for our TLC 2.0 challenge. I personally have found it useful in a wide variety of ways. Some of the tools I found more easy to use than others. Just as an example I personally thought LibraryThing and learning about RSS feeds were easy to understand and do and most importantly for me showed me ways to immediately make an impact in my life and job. LibraryThing with its tagging and personal cataloging features to me appeals both to libraries in potentially helping users find items they are looking for, plus has the capability to be a personal cataloging site where you can easily catalog your own book collection.

I just thought LibraryThing has a lot of value for both librarians and casual book lovers alike. RSS feeds, which I did not know a lot about and bloglines in particular was simple to use... either click on the RSS button or use the specified URL and through bloglines (and other sites) you create your own personalized database of web materials. You pick and choose the sites and place you want information from and weed out a lot of the extra content... to me that is almost the definition of usefulness.

Some of the other tools from Rollyo to to Flickr were interesting from my perspective as I was not as familiar with some of their tools and capabilities. Thus, it provided with the chance to get familiarized with tools that will be useful now and in the future hopefully. Ultimately, that is what I got out of the 2.0 exercises was a chance to learn and play with a variety of tools (some that I knew about, some I did not) that help me as a professional and stay up to date with some of the growing technological trends. As everyone knows, in the 21st century it is extremely important for libraries and librarians to have knowledge and skill set that is far reaching so we can always be enabled to help our users find what they need.
(And if similar programs are offered in the future I would definitely participate.)

The Many Faces of Facebook

In all honesty I've held a bit of a dislike for Facebook in the sense that for me anyway, I found it somewhat unnecessary. That was my own bias because I saw it only from the social relationship point of view. I had seen it only from afar as a librarian and an internet user who had little need for that kind of product. I'm not always the type of person who likes to broadcast what I do and who I am and since I'm engaged I certainly don't need a relationship site. Of course at one of my jobs I'd see how so many people at the internet computers around the library would be posting and playing around in facebook and wonder why is this site so much more popular than many others.

At least after this exercise I can see some of the reasons behind it, especially in terms of how its not just a site to meet friends and discover groups, it's way more than that. It is a true social networking site, it is a tool to not only meet people but to reach some of your target audience. As a librarian, I could see facebook as a useful tool to reach one target audience (academic students) in much the same fashion as ask-a-librarian chats and roving reference do now. Plus, since Facebook is set up with target networks and groups such as colleges like Nova, you can easily log into the Nova network and find other students and faculty who also have facebook pages. Plus, on a professional level it is another way to communicate with not only your co-workers, but at least find people or groups who have similiar interests and ideas (in my case: other librarians and literature and film lovers). I will say I'm still pretty new at navigating around in some of the web and library 2.0 tools, but if anything Facebook is a pretty good example of at least seeing the value in something that previously I had found more annoying than useful.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Podcasting and its relatives

My initial thought on podcasting is sometimes I have hard time distinguishing podcasting from webcasting. It is not so much the fact that I don't know the differences as there are several major differences including how the information is retrieved whether it is RSS or streaming and audio vs. visual, etc. However in my mind they are like brothers or relatives because of their capabilities of allowing audio or visual content to be shared and displayed regardless of whether it is through RSS, web streaming or whatever... it is simply they both offer similar ideas in that they provide a quick way to share information with others through audio (and sometimes in the case of webcasts especially visuals as well).

In terms of libraries, I think one of the things that podcasts offer is a way to communicate with other library professionals and offer training, tutorials and more both for colleagues and for our patrons as well potentially. Plus, since many of these podcasting sites offer search functions, it's pretty easy to find podcasts related to your subject area. For the purposes of the exercise discussed for us in TLC 2.0, I found the "Library Channel" by ASU was listed in several of the podcasting sites and listened to a couple of the podcasts (including one talking quite a bit about helping students with scholar articles) and added to the RSS to my account. The Library Channel RSS can be noticed here (Also, for future reference I noticed on the Yahoo! podcasting site that starting on Oct. 31 it looks like Yahoo's podcasting site will not be running any more, at least according to message displayed on their site.)

I think reviewing and looking into podcasts for me anyway, was very helpful especially in terms of understanding not only what they can offer but in seeing the differences between webcasts, audio blogs, podcasts, and alike.

Friday, October 26, 2007

YouTube Thoughts

YouTube has already been one of the my favorite sites for quite a while as it is just loaded with a wide variety of really creative and funny home-made videos. Personally, I enjoy finding home made videos, old commercials and some music performances on YouTube. I've also used it as a video resource when people want to view certain speeches by famous people. I do think one of the small problems I've run into YouTube as a librarian is numerous times I've had students who want to be able to save videos from YouTube and other sites right on their flash drives or PowerPoints either for assignments or personal pleasure, however for many reasons copying and saving videos is not usually an option other than copying the embedded script or copy the URL. Sometimes I think some students especially younger students who were used to Napster and similar places are still wishing for the age of free content with little regard for copyright.

All that being said YouTube and similar sites are some of the better 2.0 type sites IMO. I've always been a film and video lover and places like YouTube allow everyone to at least be able to view and share all kinds of old and new videos and it allows for pretty easy keyword searching as well. In the age information sharing, YouTube is a valuable resource and tool. On this post I've included (the embeddable player of) one of my favorite videos on YouTube about librarians... it is a mock video called "March of the Librarians" posted by the user "nnnicck" on YouTube parodying librarians and the documentary March of the Penguins. I think its pretty funny.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Discovering Lulu

After looking around at some differing web 2.0 tools, I zeroed in on one area in particular and that is books. I was already a little familiar with book related 2.0 places such as LibraryThing and so my eyes gazed at a site I'm not familiar with: The site itself is pretty easy to follow at first because it has a basic interface to start with that advertises all the varying tools lulu has to offer: publishing, buying, selling, etc. It is pretty clear the benefits of Lulu especially in terms of 2.0 tools. Part of what 2.0 is about IMO is connecting users more easily with resources and the world around them using online tools. Lulu in many ways is no different in that it allows people sort of an easy to use connection with the publishing aspect of books. The world is filled with thousands if not millions of would-be artists and writers and a site like Lulu is designed to give people of all types a chance to be their own publisher if you will and create their own book or work. It even advertises that for a fee you can create your own book with its own ISBN number! The search features are pretty advanced although I would have some suggestions. On the main web page for Lulu the search box is almost hidden in the upper right corner, IMO that should be more pronounced. The other small things I noticed is that it would be nice to have more "samples" if you will of people's works on the site. You can see some very brief descriptions about each book and see the cover, but that is about it. Also the place has a "connect" function to connect with other online writers, but it probably could use some advancement especially in relation to what other 2.0 sites do in terms of online communication.

Some small flaws aside, I definitely see the value in Lulu as a self-publishing tool for the 21st century and hopefully makes it possible for many more people of all backgrounds to be able to create a work or book if they really want to. A cynic might say it just allows people who may not be qualified to write about something a window to do it, but I believe the more open doors to allow people to try new things the better it is for people, libraries and the world of information.

Friday, October 19, 2007


I'm actually typing the text for this blog post up in Zoho Writer. It will be interesting to see as time goes on how "popular" Zoho Writer and similar web-based applications become. I don't really see a time and place in the immediate future where desktop applications become outdated, however I do think it gives people another option in which to do their work. Just as a sidebar, on computers like the ones behind the reference desk which actually don't have the MS Office suite this would be one type of solution and it certainly offers people a degree of flexibility because since its web-based you don't really have to worry about file extensions or anything like that and with email and HTML export it makes it fairly easy to transfer the document. That's just my two cents...


I'm also glad I did this assignment as in all honesty I was not that familiar with web-based applications like Zoho Writer even though I have heard about them. It was a least good to get a little bit of practice.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Adding to a Wiki

As part of the assignment for TLC 2.0, I added my blog and favorite book to the NSULibs wiki. I'll be honest that it took me a few seconds to figure out exactly how to edit and add content especially URLs to the actual page, but after that there's no doubt it is fairly easy to use and has some potential as a tool especially with subject guides or as a way to create free-flowing favorites "lists" for staff or patrons to be able to show their favorite books, databases, etc. I definitely think wikis provide a unique option to keep information up-to-date and free flowing among a variety of users, so that people can share their information with others quicker than ever before... although as I've mentioned before I'm still slightly leery of wikis on a large scale especially for information purposes when you might not be able to cite it properly because of the author's identity and credibility.