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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Libraries and Wikis

I'll be honest that I've had mixed feelings about wikis in general. I think at its heart it is a useful and quick way to change or edit web content by a variety of users. This could be handy as was seen in a few examples for libraries that wanted up-to-date online resources for things like subject guides or book reviews or even just general library index of terms where many staff and potentially even patrons could add or edit content.

The problem with wikis (especially on a large scale like wikipedia) comes back to control and citations. When there are constant free-flowing changes to content and numerous people can edit or change the information, how do you know who wrote what and whether the "source" is credible? In a way wikis are helpful in showing the strengths and weaknesses of the online age of constant change and updates. Wikis make the most of allowing free-flowing information and access, yet the ability to cite and control the content becomes even more and more difficult.

Library 2.0 Thoughts

After reading some blogs and posts about Library 2.0 a few immediate thoughts came to mind...
First, the whole idea of Library 2.0. IMO anyway is not far removed from library fundamentals to begin with. Libraries especially over the last century or so have been ever evolving to meet the needs and wants of its users. Collections typically are geared to the community as are programs. Plus, technology has been used before to help meet user and staff needs, just look at how card catalogs have given way to OPACs and so forth over the last 30 years. So the concept of library service using technology to meet users wants and expectations is not necessarily a new idea. The tools being used and the terminology (ie. 2.0, etc.) being created are what is new.

Library 2.0 is the next logical step in the process of having library service fully geared to the user in the modern age of integrated computers, technology and communication. Clearly the online environment has and will continue to change how people use libraries and even how people view libraries. Blogs and places like Flickr, Bloglines, and LibraryThing have shown the capacity of the online world to help people share and organize online information to suit their needs and that is, I would argue the key roll a library has always had, which is to help people find and organize information so that they can use it. So it is a natural fit to take some of these online tools and programs and learn from them to help libraries meet their patron's needs. The tools and resources within libraries are changing away from physical materials to virtual. The advantage is that now people can create, sort and share personal information, photos, books, catalogs, blogs, you name it. Library 2.0 to me is just the verbalization of the furthering concept that now library collections, services, programs, catalogs and materials are meeting and adjusting to user needs in the online environment rather than in the physical library.

Having said all this... I personally believe the are several dangers lurking ahead that will have to be addressed related to Library 2.0 and technology in general. Rick Anderson addresses a few of these concerns in his piece called, "Away from the 'Iceburgs'." Here's the URL: Ultimately, he points out how flawed it might be to have a "just in case" collection when many people will want their materials available online and they will probably find them online. Another point he brings out is, how are libraries going to keep up with user education of these new tools when there are so many potential users? I agree whole-heartedly that both of these are concerns and in fact, I'd take them a step further. One concern is that there will be a group of library users who may get left behind who are use to older ways of searching and using libraries who are not as technology savvy or computer literate. How will we be able to fit those people into the library as it changes so they don't get completely left behind?

Secondly, libraries have entered an age of print vs. electronic and in most cases electronic will win out, which is fine, except that I would question the long term health of having a mostly online collection only in the sense that how many people read a book cover to cover online? Or even to browse a book online and pick out quotes to use in a paper? I guess my concern is I would like to see more studies done to see what user preference is when it comes to print vs. online books. To me there is no doubt that online journals are better because of the ease of searching databases and the fact that articles can read and or printed off easier and quicker than a book and this of course is not even addressing the copyright issue.

Then finally, there's the whole library idea of owning vs. loaning or borrowing. Physical materials have a certain ownership to them, the library owns the item til it becomes of little value, whereas depending on the agreements at your library many online materials are not permanent, they are being rented if you will and what would happen if agreements or arrangements changed and all of sudden you no longer had a certain item. To me these are some of the top concerns I have in the Library 2.0 world. How well libraries adapt to all of these new technologies and concerns will help determine what the library of the future will look like...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Browsing Technorati

After looking around in Technorati, IMO anyway it is at least more user friendly in its interface than many tagging, searching and blog related sites. Aside from the advanced search feature, the ability to adjust your search from tags to blogs is quite helpful when trying to broaden or narrow how you want to search for a certain topic in the web 2.0 type environment. The popular search function in Technorati in all honesty did not surprise me too much as some of the more popular technology related terms and items were listed from learning 2.0 to web 2.0 to iphone and facebook. I was a little surprised though that there were not more personal names on the list like movie stars or politicians. The only "names" listed that I could see in top search were Andrea Rincon and Al Gore. That's just a few of my initial 2 cents from browsing through Technorati.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Social Bookmarking

Another small project I just did for TLC 2.0 is to explore and learn more about tagging and social bookmarking. For me one of the interesting and most useful tools in is the feature that allows you to click on the link for the other users who bookmarked (or saved) the site. It is interesting because it allows you to not only view people's notes but see all sorts of common tags associated with that particular site and what words individual users tagged (or associated) it with. This sort of free-flowing social tagging or social cataloging if you will of online sites, I believe shows a method that more libraries should learn to embrace. Because social bookmarking or tagging is useful not just in cataloging the online environment, but it could help redesign how physical materials are tagged as well. Meaning there's no reason to abandon LOC subject headings, yet by the same token if social tagging allows more people to help describe a certain item, in's case the items are web sites, then hopefully or potentially anyway it may make the items easier to find. If this is true than why not incorporate similar philosophies in libraries. After all a library's main goal is to make materials more readily available and if tagging could make them easier for people to find later on, then why not use these methods along with the methods already in place (like subject headings, etc.). Plus, tagging and cataloging from a library-type perspective under similar circumstances is already being done by sites like LibraryThing. Ultimately, IMO social bookmarking will make life easier for everyone in the long run eventually from users to librarians because of how easier it could make it to find information quickly.

Rolling with Rollyo

Today's adventure included exploring Rollyo and creating searchrolls. While, IMO the interface left something to be desired, the idea behind Rollyo is extremely useful. The ability to customize a search of web sites and search engines is always a good thing. The best example I could give is that of cable TV, imagine if you knew what stations you wanted and you could customize your subscription to just include those stations you wanted. It's similar to that with browsing search engines and sites. Customizing is always a good thing as it can eliminate unneccesary results and focus on places that are of interest to you and what you want. My example is a customized search focusing on film web sites and search engines to help people find movies and DVDs. Here is the URL for my searchroll created in Rollyo the link for the search is on the right side of the page entitled, "Film Sites". Enjoy.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The wonderful and glorious librarything

As someone who has been a volunteer cataloger before, I really enjoy librarything. Now, of course, I'm bias in more ways than one, but that being said the ease and potential usefulness of librarything is IMO anyway unmistakeable. One of the downsides of most catalogs is the lack of flexibility of subject headings and sites like librarything could potentially anyway open up a wide array of possibilities in terms of tagging items and descriptions and involving other librarians and even patrons in helping to identify ways to catalog, tag and describe books. Plus, librarything's most important aspect IMO is that it is a useful tool to get the public and book fans especially more involved in the world of books, libraries and cataloging. It allow anyone to not just catalog their own collections but to write book reviews, join groups and more. I definately think all libraries at least on a small level should look at librarything as a tool to possibly not only improve their own OPAC but as way to get the public more involved and excited about books, collections and the functionality of libraries and what we do. I also started cataloging a few of my books using LibraryThing. Here's a link to my collection: . On a side note, it appears I'm the only one on there right now anyway that has a 1866 copy of "The book of household pets". It is one of the funniest books I've ever looked at.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The fun of image generation

I played with some image generators as part of the TLC 2.0 assignment and at least from what I can tell there are at the very least creative ways to teach or display points. Clearly, the comedic element with these image generators is almost endless and could be used potentially in almost anything from a web site to a powerpoint to a handout and would definately add some needed flavor to a variety of library tools like handouts or tutorials. I personally enjoy the generator blog because of the variety and diversity of the sign generators within it... here's the URL:

And the image above was created, through the Disneyland Sign Generator from the Generator blog.

RSS Search Tools

Today, I fooled around with Feedster, Topix and Technorati to get an idea of what some of the RSS search tools are, that are out there. I felt that they are certainly decent enough and offer quick access to potential RSS feeds, however the clearity of the sites and their organization left a little bit to be desired. I tried searching broad and specific items like sports, disney and education and the results were a bit of everything. As far as I could tell on initial glance only Technorati offered any type of advanced search and the organization of the search results IMO anyway felt kind of scatter-shot. In terms of being a basic search tool for RSS, they are definately adequate. However, the results screens in the 3 tools I used could be better organized by showing how the results are being displayed and offer more specific searching functions. Just my two cents...

I also believed that sometimes you stumble upon the best discoveries, so I think that often you might find a feed you want just by browsing around the internet rather than specifically searching. It doesn't always work, but once and awhile you'll find a unique site.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The fun of RSS

In Terms of all of the TLC 2.0 tasks that I've done so have, IMO this was the most challenging and enjoyable. I'll be honest that I wasn't completely familiar with what exactly RSS is, what it does and how easy it makes it to get all of the (news and information) items that you want in one spot. It is definately a useful source of getting information in a easier and condensed way. Here is my public spot on bloglines with some of the feeds that I chose from both the library and ones that appealed to my interests of news, film and literature. I especially enjoy the ESPN, CNN and NYT feeds. Anyway, My public bloglines address is .

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Library and Flickr

After browsing around with Flickr and seeing some stuff that various people did, I think that it has some possibilities in terms helping libraries and patrons. Just as an example that I had mentioned in a previous post Flickr in many ways is somewhat like an interactive cataloging and storage tool and it could give libraries and even just regular people a way to share photographs. In a way Flickr is like a library where everyone can be a donor and you can even set your patronage through your groups. I can especially see Flickr being helpful to libraries who want to share images and photos with their patrons and vice versa. Meaning as an example, a library could use Flickr and mashups to perhaps share (and archive) images of the library itself or of its local community. Just as libraries are places to archive and store books and journals, why not images and use sites like Flickr to share them with the community? Plus, Flickr could be used in a mappr type fashion where one could take digital pictures around the library and then perhaps create an interactive map of the library for a website using photos... Those are just a few of my technological ramblings about Flickr anyway.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Flickr and mashups

Maybe it is a case of curosity killing the cat, but of the mashups that I was browsing, the one that really sounded most interesting to me anyway was the one I could not seem to get into today. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed some of the ones I found like the Flickr Toys (aka. was quite a bit of fun with lots of interactive games and choices. However the site I couldn't get to: sounded almost as fascinating as any of them. Perhaps the site was down or something when I tried to view it, but the concept sounded fascinating of matching images with location thanks in large part to Flickr and its users. I did some online searching about mappr and the concept itself sounds both exciting and useful. (Plus, I'll be sure to check back at the site to see some further examples.) From the descriptions, that type of mashup in my mind though appeals to both the librarian nature of cataloging materials but adds an interactive twist. If pictures can be connected to a spot on the map, why not scale the map down? Just as an example you could do a map of a library (or city) or even of locations throughout the library and have images matched up through a mappr-like mashup. So people could use the application to in way view a library or even library locations and materials from their home computer or where ever. Just my two cents anyway.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Using Flickr and a Photo

I recently explored Flickr a little bit and enjoyed the site quite a bit. It is a creative way to organize and share online (digital) images with just a small group of friends or even a large public group and truthfully not only could be a useful sharing tool but potentially a creative and fun way for people and students to find images on certain topics thorough the use of tagging.

My lack of a digital camera right now prevents me from joining in the fun a bit more, but I browsed some of the images and looked up some photos of one of the places I've always wanted to go but never have... the Library of Congress (LOC). There actually were a good number of images on Flickr seaching by "Library of Congress". The image itself was tagged with library of congress along with several other words including America, USA and Washington DC. The one by Christopher Chan at is one of my favorites because it gives a good idea of the space and lighting inside of part of the main building.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Lifelong Learning Habits

I recently viewed the tutorial on 7 1/2 lifelong learning habits. The tutorial itself was somewhat interesting and covered some interesting ground in terms of how people should view learning information and how people learn.

Of the 7 and 1/2 steps, I believe "Viewing Problems as Challenges" is the one that actually felt easiest for me. Whether it is work, school or whatever life is always going to give you a world full of problems and it is how we handle the problems that hopefully makes us better people and learners. I think part of being a librarian is that desire to solve problems and it is that problem-solving ability that IMO connects problems and challenges together as one and for me at least feels like an easier step.

However, the first step on the list, "Begin with the end in mind" is the one that I think I might struggle with because sometimes we do not know what the end is and even though we may set a goal, sometimes goals get reset or change and so beginning a project with the end in mind, while a good idea is something that I believe could be difficult depending on the project.