Friday, May 9, 2008

Time for mashups

The mashup I chose to explore was Weather Bonk. Here is the page for my area, Lexington, Kentucky. It's a blend of the following interfaces: Google AdWords + Google Maps + + Microsoft Virtual Earth + NASA + NOAA Weather Service + WeatherBug + Yahoo Geocoding + Yahoo Maps + Yahoo Traffic.

Basically it has temperatures, radar images, precipitation, and satellite data overlaid onto a Google Map. It also shows webcams and forecasts.

I suppose the thing I like most about this and probably other mashups is how seemless they've brought everything together and melded it together into one thing.

The other thing we were to explore this time were search rolls. Search roll services such as Rollyo allow the user to create a set of blogs in which to search and then provides the interface to do so. One of the oness I found for 'privacy', the search term we were supposed to use, was the Annoyed Librarian's post on anonymity and pseudonymity online and why it's important. I created my own search roll of reference items called rabidreference. Have fun with it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Gee it's been awhile

One of our assigments is to find a library video on YouTube and embed it on the blog. Here is mine:

Okay, so it's not really serious, but I thought I'd bring some fun into ths rather dry blog.

As far as using YouTube (and I have for awhile), I find that it's very easy to find whatever's out there, between the search feature and the tags. There are a lot of libraries who have made videos (mostly humourous) to promote themselves, and of course there are all sorts of how-to/instructional videos out there, such as the ones for our class. So I think it's definitely useful. Unfortunately a lot of institutions block the service (because let's face it, there's a lot of frivolity there).

We were also supposed to check out podcasts. I went to Odeo and subscribed to the City of Casa Grande (Arizona) Public Library's monthly news. There wasn't much in the way of medical library stuff yet, although I did find one on Library 2.0, but it was a one-time thing, and we were asked to subscribe to an ongoing one.

Podcasting seems to be an excellent way to get announcements and news of the library into the hands of users, at least those that are savy. Since they can be embedded in a blog (I didn't do that here, because you have to give the service permission to access your blog and I'm not sure how I feel about that yet), people don't have to go anywhere to find the podcast. Odeo also searches for other podcasts not on its system and allows you to share the podcasts with others. Overall, I was impressed and would like to explore this further.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ever wonder what a proto-librarian looks like?

Originally uploaded by eilir
This is me at age 13 or 14. I was always an avid reader (especially of fantasy), but I never really considered being a librarian until I'd graduated from college, gone through a divorce, and realised I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Back when this picture was taken, I wanted to be an optometrist. I'd probably make a lot more money, but I love what I do now, too.

This week we're working on photo sharing, using services like

There are some great things about using a photo sharing site. One, you don't have to have your own server or pay someone to host. A lot of free websites won't let you host pictures in your space due to bandwidth issues, for example. This way, you get to populate your blogs, websites, and other pages with pictures easily.

You can also share a picture easily among friends, family, co-workers, etc. So, you can post that picture you took at the conference, put it on your website, and tell people all about it. You can tag (creating a folksonomy) and organise photos as well to find them easier. And you can comment on other people's pictures. :)

I can see flickr as especially great for small libraries that may not have banks of servers at their disposal. It's also good for networking with colleagues and putting a face onto the library for patrons, humanising it if you will.

That's all I can think of right now, but I'm sure there are lots of other uses out there. I need to read some of my colleagues' blogs and get their ideas.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Look-y what I can do! (with Google Docs)

I also have my resume and a spreadsheet for tracking my weight and blood glucose up and working.

One nice thing, too, is that Google Docs isn't blocked by my organisation (actually so far I've only found that YouTube, MySpace, and presumably Facebook are). I'm not allowed to blog at work (long story), hence why I am behind on blogging, but Blogger itself isn't blocked.

As to our assignment, the question is whether or not this is the future of all software products? I'm not sure about that, but it sure may be for products that would benefit from collaboration, because basically there's no need for multiple copies of the software if it's hosted online, it's portable, and presumably not too difficult to use.

It took me a little while to get to where I could insert rows into my spreadsheet and get some of the formatting, etc., but it didn't take more than a few minutes to get the gist of it. There was a little lag when I uploaded my spreadsheet, but it had several worksheets. The graphics didn't translate up from Excel, but it was easy to create new ones in Google Docs (I actually prefer theirs).

For any sort of shared project, I think this is an excellent way to go.

PS Since I use Gmail, Google Reader, and now Google Docs, I threw in the Calendar as well. It's fun. I've already printed out sheets for the roleplaying game I play in and have added dates for moon phases and pagan holidays. Yay!

And now I'm caught up! Double yay!

I am behind in class

Not so much in doing the actual homework, but in blogging about it. So you'll see a flurry of posts as I catch up.

Topic for this post? Social bookmarking...

So I signed up for I really like making portable bookmarks. The only drawback I see is that you can't always use the downloaded browser buttongs in a workplace, networked system where nothing can be downloaded without administrator privileges, but at least you can still type in the address as you find things.

I'm curious about folksonomies and how people tag--and how it can interact with actual library catalogues. I like the feature too that shows how many people bookmarked a site. I'm surprised only 12 have marked our class wiki, for example. :)

I can definitely see it as useful as a custom bibliography/research suggestion sheet that libraries can put up on various topics, too.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Up to social networking

I signed up for Facebook tonight. I found someone I knew in high school and sent a request to her to be a Facebook friend. She sent me zombies. I'm still not sure what the etiquette is about dealing with zombies, so I let them be, rather than passing them on. My Facebook profile can be viewed. For those of you in the class, feel free to request me as a friend.

I have a MySpace page already, so I have a little experience there.

Here's the questions we were asked...

How can social networking be used by MLA to connect members

It's easy to make connexions using social networking, so long as people are willing to participate. It's just a matter of clicking to send a friend request. If you have a centralised site for the MLA in terms of MySpace, that probably makes it easier. I'm not familiar enough with Facebook yet to know how best to go about using it specifically to help connect MLA, but once they are connected, it's fun to see differences and similarities...something far beyond just a name and contact info.

Should your library have a Facebook or MySpace page?

I think there's definitely an audience for public libraries. I don't know about hospital or medical ones. So much of the social networking arena is blocked by our tech departments, I don't know how useful it would be.

Are there privacy concerns for individuals when using social networking sites?

Of course, especially about minors, but they're the same as anywhere you go online--don't post information you wouldn't want you worst enemy to see. Simple as that!

What did you like or not like about your experience with Facebook or MySpace? I really like the applications they have, some just fun, some really useful. I did go into the zombie application and accidentally bit Bart Ragon, only to find that he is a super zombie lord with several zombies under him. :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

So we're up to wikis...

I've started a wiki called 'Rabid for 2.0' at WetPaint. There's a link to it and to the MLA class wiki on my blogroll.

So what are the differences between blogs? Whilst more than one person can contribute to a blog, they're meant as posts, much like news articles. Wikis, on the other hand, allow for total collaboration. They are a good way to disseminate information because 1) there's a certain shared authority, 2) everyone contributes a little to the whole, and 3) the results can be viewed like a regular web page rather than scrolling through lots of blog posts. Blogs are better for announcements or sharing links through a blogroll. Wikis are better for providing information that is meant to stay up in one place but can still be dynamic rather than static, such as policies, hours of operation, procedures, that sort of thing. This can be really useful for a library, as various staff members can work on the project and provide users with information, but they themselves can see what's up there, what needs to be changed, a history of edits, and generally not work at cross purposes but build something worthwhile.