Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thing 23: Reflection

I don't know how I feel about 23 Things. I think it is worthy for people to know these things in order to do their jobs, and certainly most people (esp. librarians) aren't as interested in tech as I am, but I feel that these are all things that shouldn't have to be "taught" to people. If you come across it, if patrons are asking about it, I think that the onus is on the library staff to find out what it is instead of passively waiting for someone to teach it to them. But then, I also realize that some of these things are hard for people who are not tech savvy to understand, less do. In fact, technology is going at such a fast right that I don't feel on top of it. I heard a story about a movie that was coming out this weekend (District 9) that uses augmented reality where you can scan the picture on their ads into a webcam and it does something to your computer. That makes less than no sense to me!

All right, so let's decipher that: Evan is holding up a postcard that has the District 9 logo on it. You might have seen it on billboards -- the outline of an scary beetle-like creature. Evan puts the card in front of the camera that's attached to his computer. Out of nowhere the scary beetle thing shows up on the screen and bingo, you're controlling it in an augmented reality game.

How crazy is that? The game's website doesn't work without an ad and camera...

But back to libraries I think that technology evolves and it is up to us to keep up. And 23 Things helped me do that in a formatted way

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thing 22: Develop my own 23 Things

This is sort of my ideal 23, not necessarily for librarians, but the things I find important.

1. One massive multi-online role playing game (MMORPG) that is NOT Second Life. Repeat, NOT Second Life! I don't know why librarians think this is so great but its not. I've only ever met two people IRL that played second life and one of them was my sister who is always looking for ways to make money and she had heard that SL might be a good way. The other was the TechNet 2008 main speaker who hilariously told the audience that they might even want to be furries on second life if they like cats. I am afraid she doesn't know what kind of negative, sexual connotation being a "furry" is.

2. Facebook--for obvious reasons.

3. Myspace--because FB and Myspace are two separate identities with very different missions and people on them. Some overlap, but not all. Our lower income people use this.

4. A useful online photo manipulation website such as This would be much more useful to librarians in general than how to make a lolcats poster. And it would also free up money from having to buy Photoshop for people who only use it to crop and touch up pictures.

5. Flickr does go along with the previous post but I think any site like Flickr should mainly be in context of how the library can use the content (creative commons).

6. RSS Feeds--we use these at our library and it would be good to let the staff know what they are

7. blog readers--useful tool for librarians to keep track of professional development blogs... although I've personally noticed specifically library blogs are not that up to date or relevant anymore.

8. Tagging in a library context

9. delicious-- we are going to try to use this instead of old style link lists on our website.

10. Library Thing--in context with tagging, like the Bedford Public Library's site.

11. blogs--our staff isn't even all that familiary with blogs in general much less blog readers

12. widgets--widgets are tools that make other sites part of your site and vice versa and that is a useful marketing tool/relevancy issue

13. instant messaging--focusing on ask a librarian type things. We use meebo in a limited context right now.

14. twitter/texting--since twitter is so similar to texting, I think these should be lumped together.

15. Online Video--I think YouTube is too simplistic. I think this should encompass more than just youtube. Youtube is a brand... "vodcasts" existed before these... and will continue to exist afterwards.

16. GoogleDocs

17. "Learning 2.0"--except I think 2.0 isn't anything except a faster form of distribution... I challenge people to learn... especially from presentations such as this:

I don't know what else would be useful... but not wikis or podcasts...

Thing 21: podcasts

I am a religious user of podcasts, even though I feel that many of the modes of transmitting them are outdated. I have an iphone and can get many podcasts that way, although its not easily browseable. On my iphone I've listened to The Meditation Podcast, as well as the Rachel Maddow show in podcast format, among others. I listen to NPR while I am doing the money at work. My favorite shows are To The Best of Our Knowledge, This American Life and Radiolab. TTBOOK uses windows media player (and always crashes my browser), This American Life uses .mp3s that you download (they used to stream, but I think it was costing too much money), and Radiolab has a player embedded on its site.

As far as library podcasts, I did not dig the voice of the guy doing LisNews (it grates on my nerves, and he sounds full of himself). NTRLS has done some useful podcasts with Nell and others asking questions, but the sound production isn't great and sometimes the podcasts get too talky. I guess that is why my all time favorite is Radiolab because its a sound experience reaching into my brain and pulling out wonder and excitement. And their subjects can be pretty boring. We've been thinking about putting a couple of stories up on our website done by the children's librarians, but I think we should focus on getting our website out of the year 2000.

My new favorite is Stuff You Should Know by Chuck and Josh have a good rapport and it is like listening to someone having a conversation with another person. They make even toxoplasma sound like something I should know about.

Thing 20: Youtube

I actually just saw the best You Tube video that was posted on

I think that it is essential that libraries "get with the times" about digital technology. Our library did a commercial with the mayor that I'm not sure where it was shown, but it was "typical library". This time we are getting teens to do a commercial of their own where they can win $500 (the prize is sponsored).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thing 19: Google Docs

So I use Google Docs alot and in fact did a talk for TechNet 2008 about the possibilities of using it for presentations that are portable instead of using a gigantic Powerpoint file. I find it pretty decent. My husband and I have a budget we share on the Excel portion of it and my resume is in the document form. I took the template from one of google's online templates that was submitted by its users.

There are parts of google docs that are simply not as good as word, but the potential for use is too great to ignore.

Thing 18: Wikis

Ugh. This is the one I do not, do not want to do. I do not like them, Sam I am! And being a mentor, I saw all the emails about the problems that different people had with the wetpaint wiki. What I don't like about most wikis is that you need an account on the wiki server to change any content. Sure I have a wikipedia account, but why do I need one for every random wiki I come across. I know that NTRLS uses them with some of their committees, but I'm still not feeling this one--unless the software is more like wikipedia and less like a clunky web page editor.

See, I've even edited some wikipedia pages...

20:22, 5 June 2007 (hist) (diff) Audiobook ‎ (Removed opinion sentence)
17:00, 15 February 2007 (hist) (diff) Talk:Sedition Act of 1918
15:47, 10 February 2007 (hist) (diff) David Sedaris

More than that, but you get the idea.

Well after doing the paint, it is a lot easier than the pbwiki and has a nicer editing surface as well. Recommended much more than pbwiki

Thing 17: LibWorm

The last thing that was "blogged" about the arlington public library that is not virginia or ohio was a job posting from a year and a half ago. That was kind of disappointing. I also had trouble searching for The Time Traveler's Wife which I tried searching without the apostrophe, but it didn't like it either way because it took forever to load. It doesn't have all libraries and it looks like they aren't trying to be comprehensive, which is a shame. It also says its in beta, and I think this site has been around for quite awhile, so that is not good in my eyes. Doing a work related subject also did not turn up much. I don't think I would recommend this to anyone.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thing LibraryThing

I'm at work so I can't catalog things I own truly, so I am going to try to remember which version I have on a couple. I chose Gate to Women's Country by Sheri Tepper. It asked me which site I prefer LibraryThing to browse which I think is kind of interesting. I am going to choose the Library of Congress since it might save more metadata than amazon. I've used goodreads and I can definitely seen the difference. GoodReads is for the books I've read, and LibraryThing is for the books I own, and even if those two groups overlap, they are not the same. One thing that bothers me is that I have to pay to put more than 200 books on there, but they also let you do a lifetime sliding scale membership. I remember when they had $10 on there. I should have done it then!

Lilly Pulitzer Cosmetic Bag Giveaway

This is a GORGEOUS bag! And you can enter to win it at

Thing 15: Digg

I don't know how I feel about Digg. It seems like an interesting site to see what the current "news" of the day is, but I already use SO many other 2.0 things... It reminds me of which aggregates news stories in a funny way, which is a 1.0 site. It is pretty sad, but I tend to use Boing Boing as my news source since I don't seem to find time to read newspapers or other magazines. I feel well read in books, but not in current events. Case in point: the Sotomayor hearings. The only thing I've heard about them is that one of the senator's asking her questions had once been turned down for a federal judgeship because he was (an accused) racist.

It is personally gratifying to see that one of the Harry Potter actors is a drug dealer on a visceral reality show, entertainment tonight way (I don't watch either of those things).

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thing 14: Delicious

So I like my delicious account because it is a portable bookmarks device. I've used it for awhile now, my first bookmark being in April 2007. It became really useful at my job because I am always moving from computer to computer and it wasn't keeping my favorites. Also when I go home and am trying to remember something I saw during the day? Forget it. My links are at The only thing I don't like are the random tags where I've only tagged one thing. Hello startrek and starwars! We are starting to use this at work thanks to a senior reference assistant at the main branch who is also doing 23things. I find great potential in using it as a depository of links so we can remember them and not just email them to each other when we think it might be useful.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thing 13: Tagging

I love tagging. I know that there should be some set of agreed upon words to describe a thing, or a subject, but we as librarians need to get away from the antiquated versions of these. "Young Adults" or "Juvenile" anyone? How about my favorite pet peeve from our OPAC: "nonmusical sound recording"... perhaps you mean audiobook?

This is where my other pet peeve comes into play. It is almost impossible in a traditional OPAC to look up a genre. Or especially a subgenre. One place you can is at the Bedford Public Library because they have embraced library things tags and integrated them in the system.

For instance, when I look up Neuromancer, it gives me the regular subject headings, such as

Science fiction.
Hugo Award winner -- 1985.
Hugo Award winners.
Nebula Award winner -- 1984.
Nebula Award winners.
But it also gives me the option at the bottom to look up these tags

20th century artificial intelligence computers cyberpunk cyberspace dystopia Gibson Nebula
sci-fi science fiction sf sff speculative fiction virtual reality William Gibson
which I find much more useful if I am wanting more books like this.

Twitter 2

I just have to give props to Brent Spiner on Twitter. He was Data on Star Trek and I am not a HUGE star trek nerd but his tweets are almost like reading a story or sitcom or ... they are FUNNY.

Thing 12: Twitter

I started a twitter account a couple of months ago. My first tweet:

Playing with the iPhone and twitted from mobile

The last time I heard about twitter? I guess that was in my car yesterday morning listening to 102.1 the edge and they said something about how they were on Twitter as they talked... I didn't try to look them up. [ed. I just did and I couldn't find it on their website so maybe I was wrong]. Diane Rehm from NPR does the same thing. The guys on MSNBC's Morning Joe do it too. And on NPR this morning they were talking about how the rest of the world is getting information out about Iran. You guessed it: Twitter...

My library is doing Twitter... we've got it posted on the front page I'm not in charge of it but it looks interesting (I'm nominally "in charge" of the adult blog).

Thing 11: Instant Messaging

I used to instant message 9 years ago. I stopped doing it, partially because I only have one friend that still uses AIM (he won't get a facebook page). There was some point when it was cool to randomly chat with people that lived near you and I remember doing that was kind of fun... and I guess potentially dangerous as well even though I never tried to meet up with anyone. Our library is practicing with meebo and I really hope we start using it in a more publicized manner because I think that it would give people who either are shy on the phone or perhaps even our deaf patrons a way to communicate with us. I've used the facebook IM fairly recently as well as the Yahoo Messenger via Yahoo Mail.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Thing 10: Ning

From what I can tell about ning from an administrative standpoint, it would only be useful if you have a specific use for it. Arlington Reads tried to set one up for its volunteers to be able to connect and get useful information. You can see that there are sort of spammer joiners, which isn't helpful.

From a user standpoint, I don't see what the point of it is, unless I went to a website that I really liked and their community pages were on ning. For instance, Texas Prairie Farms updates the people that buy their produce on what is going on.

I don't think I will use this beyond this Thing, especially with their terms of service.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Thing 9: more Facebook

Organizational pages are interesting on facebook. Currently I am a fan of UNT Media Library, Texas, Target, Inappropriate Giggling, Mexican Food, Sarcasm!, Not being on fire, BORDERS BOOKS & MUSIC, Hugs, sleeping, Reading, NPR Marketplace, {Jane Austen}, Buddha, and Nine Inch Nails.

As you can see only5 of those could actually be considered an "organization" by any real standards. So should my library be right next to giggling or sarcasm? I think if it done right, absolutely yes. Because you are going where the people are. Borders does this really well. They have videos, free content, including recipes and free chapters of books. This makes me want to shop at Borders when I would really have gone to Barnes & Noble before. So why am I a fan of Borders and not B&N on facebook? It is because one of my friends was a fan and it suggested that I be a fan. That is the only reason I am a fan of any of these things because I wouldn't purposefully go out and look for Borders or Target. But there it was on one of my friends pages and one click added me. Simple. Easy. Viral Marketing.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Thing 8: Facebook

I migrated from Myspace to Facebook about a month ago. A couple of things I've noticed:

  • Not all of my Myspace friends are on facebook. And it is almost exclusively those that have degrees vs. those that don't. Those that don't still use Myspace. My husband won't get a facebook account because of their terms of service.
  • It is easier to use. Everything is in one place and I don't have to click to a million different terribly layed out pages to see what people are up to. Myspace tried to attempt this with the home screen, but they separate all of the categories which makes it confusing.
  • Games on facebook are easier to do. But at the same time they are just about as annoying. I signed up for a bunch when I first started, but the only ones I am interested in continuing is a farmer game and a vampire game. The rest I could care less, but I'm still getting sweets or drinks or fish sent to me. *sigh* I feel if I opt out of them other people will get annoyed.
  • I like the idea of being able to send links to people, especially since no one I know uses the sharing function on google reader or publicizes their delicious account.
  • One thing I've noticed is you have to be really careful what you say regardless. Does your step-mother need to know where you went drinking or (as one of my facebook friends found out) your co-workers know you are looking for another job?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Thing 7: RSS feeds

In my last post I mentioned that I've had Google Reader for awhile now, but one thing occured to me in watching the Common Craft video (I LOVE their work)--why don't I subscribe to any non-blog RSS feeds. The answer is I'm not really sure... I just know that most of the time I don't need to know if a website has changed recently.

Although I like the idea of Snack Upon. You put in a delicious username and it brings a feed of different RSS content that person might like.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thing 6: Blog Readers

I used to use bloglines last year, but migrated to Google when I realized just how more convenient Google is. It is really a one stop shop. Which is also kind of scary in its own way.

I have my blogs set up into distinct categories: librarian, culturetech, and kids. I am trying to separate my work from personal life in these distinctions, but it is hard. The only one I know isn't work is kids. In my culturetech folder I use many blog posts from the blogs I follow as inspiration. Or I find out things for work. In fact, from Lifehacker, I found a tip that cut down on the amount of blog posts I had to slog through. Now I show my blogs in list form instead of expanded, and with the categories don't have to click through to each single blog.

From your 46 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 771 items, starred 0 items, shared 30 items, and emailed 7 items.

So even though that seems like a lot, in reality I only read in between 20 and 30% of those 46 blogs (with the exception of Free Range Kids 100%!). When I am sharing an item, I've really only been doing that so I can remember to go back and read it in depth later.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Thing 5: Image Generators

Something my nine year old said to me yesterday: "Love is when you buy me sweet things." How sad and how cute at the same time. There is one of these that is potentially useful for libraries where you can make a READ poster. It is from ALA. This thing is really similar to the last one except this time the point is to create something that didn't exist before, instead of altering it. I like it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here's a question

I wonder how you delete a blog? I did a test one for work that I don't need anymore...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thing 4: redux

m19 e46mex L I letter S South this is the happiest place on earth?

I used to be so obsessed with my name that I had speakers of different languages write out what my name would be in their alphabet.

I'm digging this one too.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thing 4: More Flickr

So I went ahead and uploaded some new pictures and tried to use the Big Huge Labs tools. One of them wasn't very web page friendly (it was gigantic when it put all my pics together). But I love this one. I chose to use my nine year olds photo since I've been kind of obsessed with the new baby and Ben should get his "props". This was back in 2007 at the zoo. That day I got a call from my temp library job asking if I could come in. But hanging out with him was way more important!

This was my first time using anything like this and while it is kind of cool, I don't know what use it would be for my library except to show other people how they can do cool stuff too. :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thing 3: Flickr

Its the next thing from North Texas 23 (that link is mainly for me).

I do have a flickr account, but I haven't updated it in over a year, with most of the photos I put up in 2007. I think that is a little strange. I take pictures all the time with my phone's camera (or I did until I got the iphone--I don't like the camera on it). I have a digital camera that will hold a jillion photos or 10 hours of movie. And to top it all off, I actually intended to minor in photography in college, so I even have a solid pre-digital background in photography. I guess the reason I stopped uploading the photos is because I didn't think anyone wanted to see them. If I do think someone wants to see them, I put them on facebook or myspace. I've uploaded TONS of photos to snapfish, with the sole purpose of getting them printed out at a Walgreens, but in order to share your photos there you have to email each individual person you want to see your photos.

One way that I've used flickr in my professional capacity is finding creative common licensed photos for use on fliers. It is hard to find interesting photos. I know I've seen the same Microsoft clipart on tons of libraries fliers. For instance, when I wanted to do an altered book program, there weren't any photos for that. So I went to flickr and found Teresa Stton, who has let people use her photos as long as they are attributed to her. Anyone interested in this should go to The Creative Commons part of flickr. It is amazing.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Thing 2

So I really don't think of web 2.0 as a separate idea set apart from what was originally the world wide web. I very much think that humans like to catalog and identify what is different and what is the same about different objects. Quantifying the new social networking as 2.0 is disengenous because the internet has always been about sharing. Are we doing it in a new way? I don't really think so.

I remember when I was 16 and on a BBS (bulletin board system). This was when most people were still not on the internet and you had to dial in to other people's computers to receive information. It was very unregulated and wild west-ish. There were different forums on different topics and I ended up sending a few emails back and forth with Bruce Sterling. I didn't know who he was at the time, but I've later learned that he's a pretty famous author in his own right (and from Austin, where I lived at the time). A couple of years later I emailed Maureen F. McHugh and received a response back (You can tell I like science fiction).

I will say that, especially in the world of science fiction writers, the internet blogging culture has given rise to the "in" authors: Cory Doctorow, John Scalzi, Charles Stross. I read a blog post that said the only reason these guys are nominated this year is because they have a cult of personality that follows them. I tend to agree even though I enjoy all of their writings.

My boss asked me why I would want to do 23 things since I do know about technology. I have always learned new technologies ad hoc and I think this might be a good way to break the cycle.

23 Things North Texas Style

Hello North Texas 23! My name is Melissa Jeffrey and I am currently the adult services librarian at the SW Branch of the Arlington Public Library. I have done teens, childrens and genealogy, but my position right now is just about the adults within a 2 mile radius of me. I am also on our web team here and I sent the link to this to people on my team.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


SO I've never made quiche before and never really had an interest too except that we don't have a lot of money so I've got to use what we've got. I read this book called the Flavor Bible that tells you what goes good with what. So when I looked up beets (gotta eat what you've got), I found boiled eggs. I ended up making Boston beets last week and they weren't terrible, so this week I am trying something new. I just feel like the kids don't get enough variety when it is nothing but chicken nuggets and hamburgers. Why don't we eat the same foods that people used to?