Library Biz

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Ending or beginning?

Helene, I agree that it is hard to believe this learning journey is almost over. I can honestly say that although frequently the time involved to achieve the tasks was overwhelming (particularly on payroll processing weeks) it was always worth it in the end. I began the tasks thinking I was pretty computer savvy but quickly learned that I had no idea to what extent technology had passed me by. Although "blogging" was on my radar "wikis" certainly were not, and even though I had visited YouTube before I had not heard of del.icio.us (and yes, I still have to double check the placement of those pesky dots!). I can see the relevance of these types of sites to the libraries of today, who are scrambling to stay relevant while honoring traditions at the same time. It is harder to directly connect what I do to the technology, but as a firm believer in learning for learning's sake I can appreciate being offered the opportunity to at least be exposed to what's new. And several of the sites have already become favorite bookmarked places (ie Library Thing and flickr) even though they are more private life related than work related. I would like to thank PLCMC for sponsoring this adventure, and I hope that the success of this one spawns more programs like it. And yes, I would participate again! Thanks also to the author(s) of this program--it had to be a lot of work, but it showed in the quality of the product. Well done, and thanks again!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Rss Feeds and the hazards thereof

I think I have had more problems with RSS feeds than with any of our other exercises. I had no problem setting up Bloglines and subscribing to feeds, but the tool that posts to your blog defies my understanding. I have tried repeatedly to post links here to "Unshelved", my favorite of all the library-related sites I discovered. The best I can do is the URL: http://www.overduemedia.com/. Many of the cartoons, I must admit, are too "librarian" oriented for me. Even though I've worked in many library departments I am mystified by some of the references that I know I should find funny. Oh, well. You librarians probably wouldn't find accounting jokes funny either :)

NetLibrary

Of all the interesting sites we have visited I know that I will probably use this one the most. I have been wanting to download audio books for quite a while but had nothing to download them to (as I've mentioned before my home computer is a clunker that is out of memory). And my husband, who I hate to admit is not a reader, loves listening to audio books...I can already see that he will be borrowing my MP3 player. If he likes it I will have to get him his own! I don't know why, but I had the idea that downloadable books took up many more GBs than they actually do. On NetLibrary I have already established an account and earmarked several favorites--books I've read that I know he will like also. I can already picture that MP3 player in my hands! I just have to decide what to download first!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Podcasts

I find podcasts to be fairly self-grandizing for the podcaster and kind of boring for the listener. Most of what I heard (and I sampled podcasts on all 3 of the sites mentioned in the exercise directions) was people using it not to educate or enlighten but just to pontificate about their beliefs or ideas. I'm not saying that is particularly a bad thing, just not something I want to waste my time hearing. I would imagine that if I spent enough time on the sites I could probably find someone whose views and speaking manner pleased me enough to subscribe. But I am beginning to be overwhelmed by all that cyberspace has to offer, and find that to keep my sanity I need to limit my "online addictions" to what I'm really interested in spending time doing. I don't think listening to podcasts will make my cut from all the other choices you have given me in this sampling exercise known as "Learning 2.0". But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the sampling--you never know when you will find something that really sparks your interest. So thanks, Helene, for starting me on this journey. If I'm really honest I'll admit it started as just a means to the end of receiving a new MP3 player, but it has become so much more as I've been introduced to a whole new world I was unaware existed!
Eric Clapton - Layla featuring Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page

Viewing "Layla"

So ok, now I am officially addicted to YouTube like millions of others are. I spent more than an hour "auditioning" various renditions of my guitar god, Eric Clapton, playing my favorite song of all time, "Layla", live and otherwise. Here is my favorite, which I might add was uploaded to YouTube dozens of times by dozens of different people. That is the only drawback to YouTube that I can see--too much duplication of the videos.

MusicStrands.com

I looked at several of the Web2.0 award winners' sites and was most excited about MusicStrands (http://www.mystrands.com/) Yesterday I finally quit "building and comparing" on the Dell site and ordered my new computer, which will be quite a step up from the clunker I have now. I built it for multimedia use mainly (photos and music to be specific) so I will probably wait until I get the new computer to download and use Musicstrands. As someone who was enamoured of the old original Napster site back in the "free download" heyday I will be glad to get back to my hobby of increasing my music collection. And to have a new MP3 player to put some of it on is driving my interest in some of these sites, for sure! Anyway, check out this site if you like music and exploring others' tastes in it. I have an eclectic taste in music and think it is interesting to see what others' tastes run to as well.

Learning Zoho

I can't wait to explore further the online web-based spreadsheet apps. I confess I am WAY out of my comfort zone dealing with a word processing tool. But this is pretty user friendly, even if the user is more at home with numbers than with words. My home computer only has MS Works on it, which is more than enough to satisfy my meager word processing needs, and if I have to I can make it accept Word files I bring home from work. I'm wondering if you can use Zoho in the same way. Hmmm..something else to explore! (I did try to publish the previous posting directly from Zoho to this blog, with no success. Once again I had to copy and paste. I don't know if this is a problem with my clunker home computer or if I just don't get the directions on these sites. I just always seem to have problems posting directly to this blog. Oh, well, maybe the light bulb will click on sooner or later if I keep plugging away at it!)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

PBWiki

PBWiki was kind of fun. I can see some usefulness here in sharing opinions (ie restaurant reviews, book reviews, movie reviews, etc) Since I was among the first to post there I plan to go back later in the week to see what others have posted about! Once I got the hang of the brackets thing it was really easy. Much more user-friendly than HTML, that's for sure! This was a pretty fun week...now if I could just get rid of Helene's Gizmoz-from-hell that cranks up every time I go to the Learning 2.0 blog I'd be happy :)

To Wiki or not to Wiki

Hmm. I can see both sides of the Wiki debate. While I do see some interesting uses for them I also see where popular ones can get out of hand with folks who are just interested in spouting off about their personal biases eating up bandwidth chatting about nothing. Of course, the same argument could be made about blogging, with some justification. That is the big dichotomy of Web 2.0 in general--while it encourages self-expression and community it also fosters blow-hardiness and ego. I don't even find MY musings all that interesting, so how could I possibly be that fascinated by anyone else's? For me, I think the new will wear off soon. I am enjoying seeing all that is out there, and truthfully without PLCMC's Learning 2.0 I'm not sure I would have ever visited or even heard of most of these sites. So since I believe in the concept of education being important in and of itself I do believe this is a worthwhile exercise. Will it change my habits or enrich my life? The jury is still out! But back to Wikis. I can see from some of the library-related sites some ways that Reader's Club in particular could become more of a community by allowing participation and imput from other readers than just our staff. I think they are moving in that direction anyway, so maybe a Wiki is the form it should take.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Library 2.0 debate

I read 4 of the OCLC articles about the Library 2.0 debate, and while they are pretty interesting it was hard for me to generate passionate feelings one way or the other because I am not a librarian. Also I do believe age has a lot to do with your stand on issues like this. Most folks my age (and no, I won't say exactly what that is--use your imagination) will either turn a deaf ear to changes of any kind technological or have their feet halfway in both camps--torn as it were between the call of the new and the familiarity of the traditional. I do fall in the second category, but I am realistic to know that we can't hold onto the old traditions and survive. Nostalgia keeps me believing that there will always be a place for the written word, but reality forces me to question whether that belief will be sustained. So I will try to adapt, and for the most part I do find new technologies enjoyable and interesting. It truly amazes me how the world has changed since the computer revolution. And I do believe that, for the most part, it has changed for the better. Meanwhile, the debate rages on....

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Flickr redux

Apparently in my haste to post my original flickr find I forgot to play with the other Flickr toys. So I went back and had fun discovering Flickr all over again. I just spent about an hour searching for pictures to make this mosaic:http://flagrantdisregard.com/flickr/output/mosaic8932025.jpg Now I want to find out how to reposition the pictures and maybe print a copy to frame. Such sweet memories!

Technorati

Technorati was an interesting site, and I can see where it could be useful for those with much more time on their hands than I have! Under "Learning 2.0" there were more than 20,000 blog posts. There were many fewer entries under tags and still less under directories. I did spend some time reading blog posts from "library alley", which I at first thought was one of my co-workers but now I believe isn't. Whoever this is they are on an Australian holiday and went to the Australia Zoo the day after Steve Irwin died. Interesting first hand accounts of how Australia is reacting to the death. Anyway, I don't really feel my personal blog (even if it is mostly work-related) needs to be shared with the world, so I did not "claim" my blog. I did see that several familiar nom-de-plumes from our list of participants were represented when I searched on Learning 2.0 in Technorati. http://www.technorati.com/search/learning%202.0
(Way to represent, Questing Librarian!)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Del.icio.us is bittersweet

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about Del.icio.us. I think it is kind of a neat tool, but I guess I tend to view my bookmarks as "private property" and don't see the need to share them with others. It was kind of neat to bounce around other people's bookmarks, though. You do find some interesting stuff. Here's an example of a fun image generator I just happened upon while I was cruising around Del.icio.us:
http://www.says-it.com/record/index_2.php Of course I would like to publish the cute image I made here, but as usual I can't figure out how to get it to copy. I'm afraid I have just enough techno knowledge to get everything about halfway accomplished. I keep waiting for the switch to "turn on" so that I could finally finish something. I had this same problem getting the Rollyo searchbox to publish here in my blog. I'm sure there is probably an easy procedure I'm just overlooking when I try to post, so if anyone can enlighten me on where I am going wrong I surely would appreciate it!