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.