Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Okay maybe not quite done

I saw a post last week of someone else who was still working on their 23 things. Now that person is on vacation so I'm not sure if she will finish or not. She was up to #20 the last I saw. Overall, I think at one point there were 47 people listed on the Moodle site. Some never got started, some got started but didn't get far. Many got halfway through. Only a few made it to the end. I did a quick count last week and saw that 6 were done completely. Only 1 or 2 people I couldn't identify. "Smile4" is a mystery to me. I have no idea who that blogger is. Others were easier to spot, and probably weren't trying to be anonymous anyway.

Oh well. I hope I can remember some of what I learned. I was working on one of my other blogs the other day and trying to remember how to put an image into my blog.It took a few tries but I finally got it. That was something I learned here.

Probably the most useful thing for me is the RSS feeds. I am reading a lot about other libraries, books, things in the "business" etc. from these feeds. Definitely educational. I am also trying Twitter occasionally and I know I could do more with it. I'm getting better with Facebook too.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Are we done?

I'm not positive, but I think everyone is done now. I see Miss Information is posting still, but I'm pretty sure our access to Moodle has probably been cut by now.

So my next question is what do I do now? Do I delete this blog? Or just stop checking in on it. I'll probably just let it sit here and do nothing with it for a long time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cleaning up!

I've decided that I like Google Reader better than Bloglines so I just went through and opened up all my Bloglines feeds and decided what to move over to my Reader account and what to just delete. Do I really need Dilbert? No, I didn't think so. I don't need LOL Cats either as cute as it is.
I also read Disabled Kitty's post about Delicious. I have been really bad about putting my bookmarks into Delicious. I have many, many bookmarks on my work computer, and I very rarely take the time to put them into Delicious. The day will come when I will be out with my laptop and I will be cursing myself for this.
My newest goal is to try to figure out how to read things offline, and compose responses and blog posts offline too. I don't think this is going to be easy, but it's a goal. I don't sleep well at night, so maybe I could do a little reading at 2am. That could be nice. A netbook is still on my xmas list as well. :-)

Another thing I did this week was start filtering my Facebook settings so I don't get all the Mafia Wars stuff that my friends post, and other applications too. I enjoy playing games on my lunch break, but I can do without the notifications and status updates from my friends and the applications.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just did a little test

I currently have 3 blogs floating about on blogger under various accounts. I just went into Google and searched for them. I only found one of them, and that was because I knew a very specific keyword to use to find it. Searching by my name is useless. There are just too many people out there who I share a name with, a great way to stay anonymous, but a lousy way to do a search.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Just musing on what everyone else is doing..

I just took a peek at some of the blogs and noticed that some folks are up to #16 and others are still back on #3 or #4. I think it's a good thing about this class how everyone can just work on this when it's convenient and be at different places. I am surprised at how many people are not going to complete it, some have just given up. I thought it was fun, and I thought everyone else would think so too. Shows you what I know!

Farewell to Lucinda. From reading her blog I can guess that she is not sad to be leaving. Today is her last day I believe. I hope she enjoys that garden and feels better soon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

NELINET Classes for the fall!

I've been following NELINET on Twitter. I don't check it all the time, but today I noticed that there are some classes announced for the fall. I know some people have said they might not finish the "23 Things", and a few others said they might be interested in exploring some of these things in more detail. So I thought this might be of interest to you.


Thu 09/10 Facebook Privacy Settings: Take Control of Your Profile (online)
Mon 09/14 Learning 2.0: The 23 Things (online)

Wed 09/23 Social Media Monitoring (online)
Thu 09/24 Technical Services Efficiency: Beyond one-by-one OCLC Online Cataloging (online)
Fri 09/25 Twitter Basics (online)

Monday, August 10, 2009

More exploring

So yeah, I'm officially done, but as I promised I am still doing some exploring. I spent some time this weekend exploring Picassa 3 on my laptop at home. I managed to work on a slide show, and edit some pictures. Now I'm thinking about making some home movies with some of my older pictures. I think it might be within my reach, although getting some good music might be a little challenge for me, but challenge is what it's all about, right?

I also took a good look at my husband's netbook. My opinion for the most part has been that they are too small, but he left it in the living room yesterday, and I took a poke at it, and found a whole collection of games! Within seconds I was playing a game of Yahtzee, well a Linux version of it anyway. I was actually able to deal with the small size of the keyboard and mouse relatively easily, much to my surprise. So now I'm thinking maybe I'd like to get one after all. The laptop is just so big and heavy, and the netbooks are so much more portable. I don't think it would replace my laptop, but it would be good for weekends or other times when I just want something portable for checking email at the library or coffee shop or something.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Week 10, #23 Congratulations!- wrapping up

I think my favorites were Facebook, Bloglines, Delicious, and Twitter. Although I haven't really used Delicious enough, it has great potential for when I get serious about it.
As far as lifelong learning goes, Bloglines introduced me to a lot of librarian blogs and now I feel I'm more in the loop on things. Unfortunately, I also have several on Google Reader, so I need to find a way to either merge my lists, or just get more efficient with my time because keeping up with it all can be time consuming. Right now I'm skipping a lot.
I was disappointed by Twitter. I thought there would be more going on there that interested me. I'm still going to keep an eye on it, and see if it gets better in the fall, but so far it's been a disappointment.
If I was to improve something for the course, I'd have something different for #23. :)
I would do another class like this though. I like things that are online and self-paced, it works well for me.

I do plan to continue to follow what others are doing. It was always my goal to finish this before my fall ordering started in August, but I know I rushed through some of the assignments and skipped some details. I'm curious to see what other people come up with, and I will probably back-track a little when I have time, and do some more.

Week 10, #22 Social Networking

Wow, there certainly are a lot of social network sites. MySpace seems to be on the way out from what I read, and FaceBook is very popular now with people I know. I'm not sure if I'm "professional enough" to be on LinkedIn.

I looked at the 350+ sites- wow! How do people and organizations choose? I think I'll just stick to what I've got. I was glad to see that they were organized at least. I've done the BookCrossing one before, a few years ago. I left some books in various places, but I don't know if they ever got found or not. I can't remember my log in information to go back and check.

I am starting to think the Commoncraft videos are kind of cool. Maybe I've seen too many of them. Did anyone watch "Zombies in Plain English". Well done, and funny.

The commentary about how users don't necessarily WANT the library to be on Facebook or Twitter is interesting. When people log into Facebook they aren't going there to do research. They are going there to see what their friends are doing, find out what their Hippie Name is, play Bejeweled, or Mafia Wars, or post photos of their friends and family. They aren't going to Facebook to find out info they need for their research paper, or to get a list of the New York Times Bestsellers for the week. However, Facebook is useful for librarians, and everyone else as a social network. It helps us to connect with our peers. If a librarian in Maine ends up connected to a librarian in Oregon, and they decide to get married. Maybe they will have a mutual friend in Kansas who knows of a library that is looking to hire 2 librarians. Yeah, right! But it could happen. Isn't that what CommonCraft said that social networks were all about? Extending your relationships. It might not be to our patrons though, it might be to our peers. And maybe one of our peers has posted a link to a blog about how great Cataloguers are, and how much he appreciates them. Sharing links is another great use of Facebook as well, and that's useful to all of us I think.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Week 10, Assignment #21 Microblogging & Mashups

Twittervision- would be better if I could control the map.
Twitterholic- Ashton Kutcher has the most followers. Application is interesting because you can see what's popular and who updates a lot, but other than that, it's not great.
Twitterment- The link from Moodle doesn't work. Google the word though, and you can find a link. After all of that I didn't see any beer graphs.
Twitterific & Twitteroo- I don't need these
List of Mashups- Nothing too useful

Beyond Twitter
BrightKite- Looks ok, but I don't need more
FriendFeed- ok, but I don't need it
Identica- For all those Linux users, right?
Jaiku- I don't need more of the same
Posterous- I don't need more of the same
Plurk- another Twitter-like thing
Seesmic- Puts Facebook and Twitter together for you, convenient I guess
Utterli- another Twitter thing I think, I don't need these

I already made my comments about Twitter in my last post, and as you can see here I didn't find the mashups to be particularly helpful. I was actually hoping that a couple of them would be decent, but they just weren't user-friendly enough, or the links were broken or whatever... not much success.

Week 10, Assignment #20 Twitter

This is one the assignments that I was really looking forward to. I'm glad to have finally reached it. The two parts to it, and I did both, were to do some Searching and/or to set up a Twitter account.

A. Twitter Search- I found several UMass entities on Twitter, and I could see how useful it could be for posting updates about events and things going on all over campus. The #1 UMass thing seemed to be an alum joining an NFL team (Dolphins). As far as "trending topics" go, it seemed like that was mostly music and quizes. I didn't know people did quizzes through Twitter. "Nifty Queries" boasted a "Cool filter: links" and the first thing I got was a porn thing. No thanks! When I did advanced searching I was unable to find what I was looking for. I think the abbreviations used on Twitter make it a little tricky to find what you are looking for sometimes.

B. Getting brave, I moved on to creating my own account. Finding a UserName was harder than I thought. Several of the names I tried were already taken. I guess that's a testament to how popular Twitter has become, or maybe it says something about my choice of names. Anyway, I finally found one that worked, and got myself set up. I imported some people to follow, and quickly had a list of a couple of dozen feeds- a mix of entertainment, news, friends, library related stuff (Found the Learning Commons FINALLY!) etc. Also very quickly I noticed I had a follower. I checked it out, and it turned out to be some sort of porn-bot thing I had to block. As I continued to poke around, checking out to see what things my friends were following, I noticed I had another follower. Sure enough, another porn-bot. Sigh. Maybe I should make myself hidden so I don't get these, or take out my real name in my profile or something. I definitely need to do something to filter out these annoyances.

On another note, I read the Wiki article, and noticed the section about privacy on Twitter. On Wikipedia it says that Twitter "collects personally identifiable information". I'm not sure I like that.

Practically speaking, Twitter is more useful than I expected. Although I do not need to tweet about the coffee I'm drinking, I see that Twitter is used by CNN, Barak Obama, the NRA, and lots of other organizations. Etsy is on there too! Politics, news, retailers, and others are using Twitter to advertise. I think Digg is kind of cool. So for this, Twitter could be useful. Getting news and updates quickly. That was a feature I had not expected to find.

Now I'm off to tweak my twitter to get rid of the porn-bots!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Week 9, Assignment #19 Ebooks and Audio Books

This is a very relevant assignment. We are ordering more and more E-things at the library all the time. Electronic journals and electronic resources have been part of the library catalog for many years. We are expecting to be ordering more E-books in the future. I think we have some E-books in the library now, but I'm not sure how to access them. Guess I should figure that out, huh?

My husband has a Kindle, and before that he downloaded e-books to his laptop, and before that he had them on his desktop computer at home. He has long been a fan of e-books. In the laptop or Kindle form, they are very portable, and he can carry around a lot of "books" without the weight or the bulk of the actual book. Somehow he also finds them easier to read, it's just how his brain works I guess.

Personally I prefer the paper version. I like holding a book in my hands, clipping on the booklight late at night, and curling up in bed with my newest favorite book. However, when was the last time I did that? It's been a while. For children's books, I think paper is the way to go. A lot goes into the illustrations in books and choosing the right size format, and the right font, and everything else for kids. The books are educational and a work of art at the same time. I don't think the E-version can capture this, no matter what. Besides, people spend enough time torturing their eyes on computer monitors, and cell phone screens, etc.. Reading a real book is just a better way to relax.

If you are doing research though, e-books are great. You can have all those heavy books in a portable format that is searchable and easy to use. I think for that, they are great.

Audio books, like podcasts, have a place, but I get lost on them. Without the visual, I don't focus on it, and it just becomes something in the background to me. I end up multi-tasking because I need to do something with my eyes. I suppose if you are driving back and forth to work, then audio books and podcasts would be great, but I don't think they'd be good for research, and I probably wouldn't retain much of what was said.

I checked out the resources and at first I felt like the selection was very limited. A lot of classics out there, but not much current stuff. The art books didn't have good quality scans, and something got lost in the transfer to the E-format. However, after doing a little clicking around, I found an ebook everything site that offered books that weren't free, and this site did have current books.
Pricing was similar to print books, which always surprises me, but the selection was there. So if you are willing to pay for what you read, then yes, you can find quite a bit. Personally I think ebooks should be cheaper than print books since the publishers aren't paying for printing costs, but what do I know? I think the whole pricing of ebooks is still being figured out, and will be figured out by minds greater than mine.

Are ebooks as valuable as traditional print books? I think they each have their place. Doing research is immensely more easy with ebooks and electronic resources. Relaxing with a good memoir or mystery or whatever, is better with the old print version.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

more with Google Reader

Well I just wanted to say I just discovered Bundles. I can subscribe to whole bunches of things like "library" and "writing" with the Google Reader and Bundles. I suspect this might lead to subscribing to more than I can handle, but wow... how convenient. I know I can unsubscribe later if it's too overwhelming. I like it though. You don't always know what is out there, or where to find it, and this helps a great deal.

I also notice that the Google Reader has a way to follow people. I suspect this is similar to Twitter, and I haven't checked it out yet. I think Google really does try to do everything possible to be one-stop shopping, and I appreciate that. It does mean that the Google folks know a lot about me, what I like, etc, but logging in once, with one user name and one password is so much easier than having everything scattered around in different places. I wonder if Google does podcasts... hmm?

off to discover more.

Week 9, Assignment #18 Podcasts

"Hello? Systems? Hi Luke! I,uh, just did something stupid to my computer."

One lousy Disney podcast downloaded to my computer was enough to get a nice big error message on my computer about how I'd exceeded my profile space and needed to call Systems right away to get it fixed. Luke did assure me that this was because the file had saved to the wrong place, but it was enough to give me a scare on the whole process.

I think doing all of these technology things can be a bit draining. Talking to other people in the class, and we are saying "WOW! There is so much! How do we keep up with it all?" Creating accounts in lots of different places, subscribing to blogs, RSS feeds, Flickr accounts, etc, etc, etc,.... and now podcasts.

One thing I don't like about podcasts right away is that you have to download something to your computer to make them work. The act of downloading means that if you download this to your work computer, then you won't have it with you at home or whatever. I guess that's why these things are good for iPods instead. I suppose I could try this assignment again with my laptop from home. I might have better luck with that. I couldn't download iTunes to my work computer because I'm not an administrator, and then once I downloaded Juice or Juicer or whatever, I got the error when I downloaded a single podcast. I will also have to do some more exploring to find the way to send the podcasts to my Google Reader because I didn't see that option anywhere, oh, but I don't think that the podcasts themselves will actually go to the Reader, will they? Just a notification saying that a new podcast is available. Hmm... I wish I had good internet at home. This could be a wonderful way to listen to music, news, commentary, etc, while doing other things. It's just not very practical for me in the limitations that I have since I don't have an iPod.

Twitter- New service lets Jews tweet a prayer to God

I haven't gotten as far as learning Twitter yet, but this caught my attention on Bloglines--

New service lets Jews tweet a prayer to God
July 23rd, 2009

The Associated Press – “Judaism’s holiest prayer site has entered the Twitter age. The Western Wall now has its own address on the social networking service, allowing believers around the globe to have their prayers placed between its 2,000 year-old-stones without even leaving their armchairs.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Attempting Week 9, Assignment #17

I'm going to attempt to put a Burning Man video here, maybe even 2 if I can manage it. These are from YouTube. I feel like I'm really challenging myself on doing anything that involves code so this is good. I was frustrated that I couldn't find EXACTLY what I was looking for, but I guess that's because what I wanted wasn't actually on YouTube. Oh well. Sometimes life is meant to be LIVED, not watched through a video camera, so I can't fault anyone for not taping what I was hoping to watch. :-)

Here goes. This is from Burning Man 2004, which is the last year I was able to go...

I'm so happy that it worked! Here is one from Burning Man 2005. I wasn't there for this one, and I'm feeling a little "homesick" for the place these days.

Another spelling one

W é B letter d letter U B O i26mex letter S L letter I B letter R letter A KMcElman_090516_R3 Crackeleur Capital Letter Y & Curtain (Silver Spring, MD)

attempting Spell with Flickr

letter B U R n28mex i N G M A letter N

Misc. plans right now

I took out the image in the banner. It was just so big that I felt like it was a waste of space. Maybe I'll find something smaller to put in later.

Yeah, I blew right through a few assignments and got the first 15 done pretty quickly, but I didn't do every SINGLE thing that you can do. I explored Flickr but I didn't do all the mash-up stuff. I just got the idea of some of it and moved on. Now some folks are asking me how to do certain stuff and I haven't got a clue. So I think I will be doing a little back tracking, especially with Flickr. I'm also going to see if I can figure out how to get a tag cloud for my labels on here. I saw some "hacks", but when I tried to do it, it didn't work. Eventually I'll be on to assignment #17- trying to get a YouTube video to show up in the blog. That should be interesting.

Looks like there are still about a half dozen people who haven't even logged into the Moodle site yet, so I know there are still some blogs out there that haven't been created or registered yet. I'm looking forward to seeing them. I think it's great how everyone is finding different angles to learn on these assignments. We're all doing the same work but coming up with different answers so to speak. Very cool! Reading the other blogs is a lot of fun. I hope Erin likes her job. :-)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Week 8, Assignment #16 Explore a site from the awards list

I went straight to the "short list" on this one. After that last assignment, I was ready for something quick and easy, and I was glad to be able to complete this assignment very quickly!

Books and classifieds. Seem like reasonable things of interest to our patrons. I know there are several job seekers in the learning commons looking up job ads on the public computers, or pretending to at least. So I checked out Oodle, and that looked like a great place for finding employment ads because it pulls classifieds from other websites. Instead of having to go to each website HOPING to find what you are looking for, you can just read Oodle and get the listings all in one place. Great idea, and very convenient!

I also checked out Craigslist. Craigslist seems to be very hit and miss, because the listings are posted in chronological order, it's easy to miss something. I tried selling some books a couple of times on Craigslist and didn't have any luck. Ebay worked better for me. Still, I know that Craigslist has some very local ads for meeting people, selling stuff that you might want to get rid of or put in a tag sale, and finding apartments and things like that. It is free and accessible and good for finding LOCAL stuff posted by people, not companies for the most part. Probably not the best job finding tool.

I was excited to see something called "Parking Search" as one of the sites. What a great resource that could be! If you are going to a meeting somewhere, or a big conference, or maybe you just want to take your kids to a museum, or go shopping somewhere... great.. One problem though, I couldn't get any hits for Amherst, Northampton, Holyoke, or even Hampton Beach, NH. So I guess this site isn't so great afterall.

Books, books, books. Here's something we can all relate to. I think the librarians use WorldCat regularly, don't they? Isn't that the public side of OCLC? So that's a natural.

Biblio.com is like Alibris & Abe. It's another source for rare, used, and out of print books. I might have used them occasionally, but they aren't usually my first stop in my searching process.

Finally, Lulu... I (heart) Lulu. Lulu is for print on demand. It makes it easier for people to publish their books and sell them. It's a great way for non-bestselling authors to print and distribute their books. Since Lulu takes credit ards, the library can even purchase these books with no hassle. The downside is that fulfillment of orders might take a little longer than a book already printed, but RUSH delivery is available. My husband and his business partner have published their book on Lulu, available for only $19.99!!

We've explored all teh news and blog guides already, so I won't rehash those. There really is a lot of stuff out there, and I might revisit some of the sites I skipped later on, but that's all on this for now.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Week 8, Assignment #15 Online Productivity- A long post!

Week 8, Assignment #15 Online Productivity- this is going to be a LONG post!

"Create a blog post about your discoveries:How does the application you chose compare to word processing software you’re familiar with? What features did you like/dislike the most? Can you think of any ways the application you chose would be useful to you?"

So I am going to attempt to write this in Google docs, and then send it to the blog. We'll see how that goes.

Today I caved and went back to the 45 minute You Tube video of David Allen's "Getting Things Done". I actually took a few notes even. As I said before, there is a lot in this assignment, especially in the Resources and Discovery sides of things. I've taken several handwritten pages of notes, kind of ironic since this is supposed to be an online project.

Anyway for the Top 10 Productivity Sites
1. Tiny URL- I've seen it used by others, but never bothered myself.
2. Google Desktop- I know some people love it, but I never see my desktop so I'm not sure if it'd be useful for me.
3. Backpack- Sounds cool, but can't Google do all that?
4. Remember the Milk- again, I have Google.
5. Calendar Tools- GOOOOOGLLLLE
6. GMAIL- LOVE IT obviously.
7. Bloglines- I was introduced to this by the 23 Things. Still need to check in today. Need to check iGoogle too.
8. Google Docs and Spreadsheets- I've used these before for home and work, and like them a lot.
9. Joe's Goals- Cool! I wish I could find a practical use for them, maybe if I do a "43 things" (we'll get to that later). I think it would be great for someone losing weight, trying to get his/her degree, change jobs, or maybe for teens doing chores or trying to earn some reward from their parents or something.
10. My Stickies- I'm not sold on these. Clicking on "properties" on a bookmark does the same thing I think.

LifeHacker 46 Free thing list
No, I'm not going to list all 46 things!
#1 Firefox,
#8 Gmail,
#13 Google & #17 Thunderbird-- my lifelines
#4 Open Office- this is what I have on my personal laptop
#11 Picassa- I've used version 2, and finally got version 3. Still learning it.
#15 Gimp, on my list to learn about
#19 Dropbox- could be useful, haven't checked it out yet
Winamp, Google Apps, Google Calendar, Avast Anivirus-- use all of these
My father-in-law has been using Skype for quite a while.
And of course Linux... my husband is a Linux pro, but I refuse to give up Windows on my computers.

Moving on to David Allen and GTD... a lot of common sense in this video, and I won't rehash all my notes here. Interesting to think about though- You lose speed when you are not relaxed. That is so true. You really need to be "in the moment" in order to be productive. My most productive days are days when I have a lot to do and set my personal brain aside, and just focus. When work is slow I tend to work more slowly, and I get distracted more easily.

Onward to Discovery--

I had never heard of "Mind mapping tools" before. I had no idea what that meant so I was curious to check these out. I didn't really understand the Del.ic.ious/mindmapping thing, but maybe I just wasn't relaxed enough to absorb it. I did like Gliffy better than Mindomo. It looked more versatile, and I liked the room diagrams and things like that. Seemed like it would be useful for reorganizing office space, or home furniture. I didn't feel motivated to sign up for either one.

Personal Web Pages- Never used Pageflakes, but it looked easy enough. I do use iGoogle, although I don't check it often, and I have the Yahoo thing set up on one of my pages. Mostly I use it to look at the current headlines in the news and check the weather.

Not much use for the PDF Converters. Goign to skip right over that, and I'm skipping over the Sticky Notes too.

Online Productivity- As I've said repeatedly, I use Google and I'm happy with that. Zoho looked very similar and okay. Basecamp looked interesting for collaboration and Lazybase looked okay too, but I'm not sure if I need them. Maybe if I was in a collaborative project with someone I could, but I like one stop shopping, and Google pretty much has everything.

Going back to Goal Setting- I liked "43 Things". I thought it was just going to be an expanded version of "23 things" but it was different. At first I told myself "maybe later I'll come back and set up an account" but then I started browsing around, and saw other people's things, and decided I could contribute to what others were doing so I set up an account just to do that. Maybe later I'll go back and try to set up a long-term goal. In the process, I dug up some material that makes me want to vent elsewhere. So getting updated on an old interest of mine, is leading me to another thing to put on my "to do" list. Sigh. So many distractions!!!

So getting back to the original questions of the exercise- I like Google and it's many applications. I can be in GMail, and have my calendar and tasks there with me. I can set up iGoogle and have a whole range of things in front of me. Or I can simply click on "Reader" or "Maps" or "Documents" to get to what I need. Read the news, plan activities for the weekend, send a thank you note to a friend, write a grocery list, or itemize what I need to get done at work, I can do it all under a single login if I want to. Easy, convenient, user-friendly, and free. Love it.

Now let's see if I can get this into the blog.... I did, and only had to make some minor edits to the formatting. Yay!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Week 8, Assignment #15, first post- online productivity tools

This assignment is going to take some time folks. If you are reading this before you do it yourself, there is a 45 minute You Tube video to watch. That alone takes a while, personally I don't have the patience for it. There is a lot of reading and exploring to do on this assignment, and it is definitely going to take me several hours to get through it. I've been working on it some this afternoon, but I still have quite a bit left to discover, post about, and explore. So for everyone else, be prepared. This isn't something you're going to finish in an hour or two, like you might have with some of the other assignments.

Another attempt at images in the blog

This seems to be my downfall so far. I used the BigHugeLabs thing to make a trading card, but it's not showing up. I just saved it to my computer, maybe I can get it to work from there.

BigHugeLabs: Do fun stuff with your photos

BigHugeLabs: Do fun stuff with your photos

Posted using ShareThis

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Getting images to appear in banners

I've heard from a couple of people that they were having trouble getting images to show up in their banners. People using WordPress seem to be having more success than those using Blogger. I'm not sure why. I am playing around with my banner to see what happens.

On my first attempt I did an image from my computer, and the image was way too big. On my second attempt I did an image from Flickr. At first I got an "invalid URL" message, and then I noticed that somehow the URL was listed as "http://http://blahblahblah..." I took out the first "http" and now it is working fine. I am going to attempt to get images from another source, and see what happens with those.

I got the current image from Photobucket. Seems to be working okay for me. I guess I'll go to the Drop-in session on Thursday, and see if I can help anyone else figure it out. I'm not sure what I did to make it work, but it's working for me now.

Here's the image link--


Friday, July 10, 2009

Week 7, Assignment #14 Add an entry to a Wiki, etc.

I am not going to create a Wiki, because I really don't need to. We do have a Wiki at the library that several of us post on and use. I have contributed to this one--

I did add my blog to the blogroll on the NELINET site, but I didn't post any favorites. Just didn't appeal to me. Not much to say on this since most of the comments about Wikis were on #13.

Week 7, Assignment #13 Learn about Wikis

" What did you find interesting? Would you use a wiki for information? What are the benefits and drawbacks to finding information this way? What do you like or dislike about using a Wiki? What types of applications within libraries might work well with a wiki?"

Looking through the Wikis that were suggested, I found some of them wouldn't load. Of the ones that did, several were entertaining. I was surprised by how much information Nancy Pearl's site had. BookLoversWiki was fun too, although not as complex as Pearl's. I've seen Library Success before, and who hasn't seen Wikipedia?? The Bull Run Library was interesting. I noticed it wasn't an official library thing though. It had some dead links in it too. Wikihow and WikiMusic seemed to be lacking a lot. I put in searches and got no results sometimes. I think the people who do the SimpsonsWiki have too much time on their hands. Of course the same could be said about the people who do the Star Wars Wiki too- http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

or the Star Trek Wiki- http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Portal:Main

I have looked up information on Wikipedia numerous times. It can be helpful for a quick reference. We also have been setting up a Wiki in the library to help share information between staff about how we do things. Sort of an online manual for our jobs. This seems to be something that the Wiki is very useful for. A centralized place to keep instructions on how to do our jobs, or where to keep lists of vendors, and other things.

As many have said before me, there are 3 things that people want- Fast, cheap, and good. You can never have all 3. Usually you have to pick 2. Wikis are fast and cheap, but not necessarily good. It has been proven many times that because Wikipedia is fairly open, misinformation can be broadcast through it, and people can be misinformed. However, if someone is looking for a free/cheap way to share information quickly with a large group of people, then Wikis are very good. I think the way we are using it- as a manual etc- is a great way for libraries and other organizations to utilize Wikis.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Week 6, Assignment 12- Perspectives of Library 2.0

Well anything that says "video" is going to grab my attention a lot more than a "Horizon Report" or whatever, so I went straight to the A Librarians 2.0 Manifesto. I have been to Burning Man twice, and was thrilled to see pictures of the playa. I watched the video twice. Then I headed down the list to We Asked for 2.0 Libraries and We Got 2.0 Librarians and The Cult of Twopointopia.

Defining a "librarian" as anyone who works in a library struck a chord with me. I have heard myself say "I'm not a librarian. I'm just an office drone who happens to work in a library." I don't have an MLS. So am I librarian or not? Depends on who you talk to. The idea of "Educate myself about the information culture of my users"- I think that was from the video. That's a good one. Isn't that why everyone was learning "Second Life" a while ago? At the time I thought they were nuts, and just looking for an excuse to "play games", but now I'm starting to understand the mentality of learning those things. Reading "The Cult of..." is entertaining, and it's great to see the dialogue and comments that follow it. There are definitely people in the library who I would say are Twopointopians, and I'm sure a few are in the class. I wonder what they thought about the article.

"User-centered", libraries have always been that. "User-determined", well as I heard it said in a meeting recently, you have to balance that. Obviously if the users all want to play "Mafia Wars" on Facebook and check out porn dvds from Reserves, you aren't going to support that. On the other hand, we're not going to censor what websites our users go to on the public computers either.

"Reducing the boundaries" and "heightened awareness of social software and technologies"- Our libraries are doing this. We are open 24/5, we have a great Learning Commons, we have a vast amount of electronic resources for our users, and we're trimming the print and adding the "E" all the time. For me personally this means learning about streaming videos and e-books, and how to incorporate them into our catalog and our budgets. It means that in order to be able to afford these new medias, we may have to collaborate with other libraries and share our resources because there is no way one institution can possibly absorb the costs of all these new things.

Personally, I can't stand reading E-books, but my husband loves them, so I know that even though I'm not embracing them personally, they are coming and they have an audience. I need to keep an open mind for that.

Week 6, Assignment 11- Technorati & tags

Bleh! There are a lot of numbers out there, aren't there? Personally, for the most part, I don't care if anyone is reading my blog. I'm not doing it for the money etc. However, if I was doing a blog for the library, or for a business, etc, I definitely WOULD care. It is definitely helpful for the reference and research librarians to know which sites are popular, and for the appropriate staff to know how to market our libraries, and engage our users. Outreach is essential for our organization or else we won't reach our patrons. So these statistics about how many hits libraries are getting, and learning about how to tag the posts, etc. are important from that point of view.

I did the Discovery exercise. My first time through I was very unimpressed by Technorati. It looked boring. IceRocket seemed much cooler, and drew me in faster. It took me a while to find what I was looking for on Yahoo and Google. In fact on Google, I never did find "Collaborative" and "Library and Information Science". I gave up after a while. After going through all of the material for this assignment, I did go back and go the Challenge. I signed up with Technorati, and submitted my blog to be claimed. I didn't set up a WatchList though.

One thing that is frustrating is that even with RSS feeds, there is still so many places and so many sites to use. Lots of resources, and some of them do different things, but there are some overlaps too. It wasn't mentioned, but I also like Google Analytics, and I think that might cover some of the same material that these sites had as well. At least with Google, all the different appls are under one account. I don't have to go from site to site, trying to remember user names and passwords for each one etc.

Numbers are really not my thing though, and although I'd love to make money at this stuff, I know it's not going to happen. I'm not writing a Disney blog, with paid sponsers, I'm not writing a booksellers blog and selling books. I'm just blogging here about these 23 things. Nothing commercial about it, and it really doesn't matter how many visitors I get or anything else.

Okay, enough. Onwards to a lighter assignment in #12 I think.

For Technorati


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Week 6, Assignment #10 Delicious & Social Tagging

Watch video, read, explore, and blog....

Delicious could really be a great tool for doing research, especially if you were working on a book or a thesis or something, where you were working on it for a long period of time. Also very useful for a Reference Librarian. Setup the bookmarks while on your personal computer, and then when you are working the reference desk you would have them right there. Great! I saw some UMass library stuff in there already. I think for anyone who uses multiple computers this could be a great tool. You could also set up something that you were willing to share with the public so that the librarian could just give the student/researcher a link, and they would have instant access to all these sites that the librarians had already found. Very cool and useful.

I saw the Library of Congress Call Number System, Google News Archive, and many other helpful sites. I plugged in "Orlando" and saw several helpful trip planning sites. This is definitely one of the more useful and relevant sites I've seen so far.

On another tangent, my husband once set up his Christmas list this way. He tagged all the things on his wish list, and then told me his user name. All I had to do was look him up, and I could see all the expensive little things that he was hoping to get that year. I don't think he got any of them, but he certainly tried!

The downside to this site is that it does take a while to set everything up. The Optional assignment is to replace your traditional browser bookmarks with the Delicious links, and possibly add links to your blog. Great idea, but time consuming. I don't think I'll be doing that right now. Although it would be wonderful to have access to all of my bookmarks in one place, it would take forever to replicate them. It has taken me many years to build my lists of bookmarks that I have saved on my computer at work. I am not sure if I want to take the time to copy them all into Delicious, tag them all, etc, etc etc... that seems a bit overwhelming. Maybe someday, but not right now.

Week 5, PLAY!!!

Rolling right along, I almost missed this! It's not a numbered assignment, and didn't show up on my nicely printed to-do list.

Okay, I've spent a couple of hours playing now. I messed around with the Avatars on Yahoo. Not sure if I am allowed to use the Yahoo Avatars on Facebook, but I tried. I also found an Avatar thing called DoppleMe, not nearly as good. Tried to put that on Facebook but failed I think. Oh well.

Checked out Rollyo. It's just not for me. What can I say? It's too much work and I don't like it.

LibraryThing- hey, we're already there! I think this could be very useful for the serious reader, someone who is organized, etc. I see UMass Libraries is on it, Maxine S is there, and maybe some others too. Cool!... but I don't need it for anything. I'm too much of a peon. If I need a book review I go to Amazon or the New York Times Books. Oh well.

-Nice to see more and more blogs coming along too. I just saw a nice one done on WordPress that I liked. Seems like people are slowly coming around and getting going. I'm sure more than a few of us skipped ahead a little and set up Facebook accounts too. :-)

Random off-topic post- fixing the blog a bit

I realized that I had a personal blog and this blog, and they were connected somehow on Blogger. I just moved this blog over to a separate Gmail account to help separate them out. Hopefully I did it correctly!

Week 4, Assignment #9 Useful blogs and feeds

1. Explore the search tools
2. Blog about it

Well there are a lot of ways to look for blogs! I used Bloglines and ended up with too many, and had to narrow it down. I used the Yahoo directory and that worked okay, but I kept going. The LIS Wiki Article was a little overwhelming. Too much! No way to get through them all. I totally did not understand the Open Directory Project, and gave up on that pretty quickly.

Moving on to the Google Blog Search I found an ISEL update blog, SCUA, and some cool kid stuff. This was definitely my favorite, and of course I can link these blogs to my Dashboard on Blogger, and follow them when I am in the mood to be posting to my own blog etc.

I checked out Syndic8.com, but again was overwhelmed. Way too much information for my purposes. Technorati looked well organized, but I already felt like I had found my comfort zone with Bloglines and Google Blog Search so I think I'm done with this now.

On an unrelated topic, I'm going to go back now and see if I can separate my personal blog from this work related blog.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Week 4, Assignment #8 4th Clip (last one)


"Ars Technica – “If information isn’t online, it may as well not exist. In the latest sign that the world of traditional print has become a world of hurt, the American Chemical Society is reported to be planning to switch to an online-only publishing model for its journals.”"

I am not surprised by this one bit. I have seen our Acquisitions budget shift from print to online. The science librarians want the online version for their patrons more than they want the print version too. What does surprise me is that the online version always seems to cost more. I would think less paper, less postage, less hassle, but that doesn't seem to be the way it works. We spend millions of dollars on electronic journals, so why should the ACS keep doing the print ones? They will probably make more money going this route. Seems like a smart business decision to me.

Week 4, Assignment #8, Third Clip


Getting dad a library... outreach, customer service, etc... I can relate to this one on a number of levels. My dad does go to the library but my mother doesn't. She doesn't understand computers and probably wouldn't be able to use the modern card catalogs. The only books she reads are the ones she buys at the second-hand store. My dad goes to his local library, uses the internet, and is friendly with the librarian. Then again, he also works for WRMLS now too.

For me, I waited until our local library joined CW MARS before I got our family a library card. We go once or twice a month, but I am only getting things for my 3 year old daughter there. The staff is nice, but the space is tiny, and the hours are limited. As a consequence, I've also become a patron at other nearby libraries as well. Wendell has a bigger library, with better Saturday hours, but they don't have good internet service and their catalog isn't online that I know of. Actually, I'm not sure if I've seen their library catalog. I just browse the shelves and look for something interesting. They aren't part of the CW MARS thing and still check out books and do library cards the old fashioned way. Leverett is good, but out of my way, so I haven't spent much time there. Since it's so close to the elementary school though, I'm sure the kids use it a lot. I've heard good things about Pelham too, but haven't gotten over there yet.

Customer service has got to be difficult for local libraries. I know their staffing is limited and so are their resources, but if they want to draw people in, they really need to be on their toes. I think for the most part the ones around here are doing that, but I'm sure it's a struggle.

Week 4, Assignment #8 Second Clip


Holy cow! Ohio might lose all their libraries completely???? That's insane. I thought things were bad here, where my local library is only open 15 hours a week or whatever, but this just sucks!

Week 4, Assignment #8 First Clip


This whole thing about how hard it can be to find things on the internet sometimes. A conversation on Twitter at ALA, and how it got archived and now it's hard to find and there was good information in there etc.... well I haven't gotten as far as Twitter yet, but I can see some truth to this. I have heard this kind of comment before too. When you don't own the content, when you aren't hosting the site, etc... you can't control the information. When you have your own website and you post something, it stays put. However, if you put something on Facebook or Twitter, or MySpace or whatever, and then the people who run those services decide to do a reformat or if they go down or whatever, you lose your stuff and have to start all over again etc etc etc. It's something to consider. There are lots of places to put your stuff. Facebook might be popular now, but if something better comes along, or if Facebook does something stupid, then you have to start all over again. Just a thought.

Week 4, Assignment #8 RSS Feeds and Readers

This assignment seems like a big one. The Discovery Exercise has a dozen steps. So it's no surprise that I've been working on this thing all day.

The Common Craft video is the same one that was shown during the kick-off presentation so I didn't bother watching it again. I wasn't too impressed with Kevin Dixon's thing either. A slideshow with no audio doesn't hold my attention very well. Similarly, Helen Bowers audio thing wasn't effective for me because it lacked video. Moving onward I went to Bloglines. After dealing with some network glitches in my computer (thanks Luke!), I was finally able to register and set up my RSS feeds. I have done RSS feeds with iGoogle and Yahoo before, so I'm not in alien territory here. The hard part with RSS is that it's easy to subscribe to a lot of stuff, way more than I actually have time to read in a reasonable period of time. Weeding through everything took some time, and I hope that the ones I have left are manageable. I am familiar with the Readers, but I am not used to Clipping, and I've never used Bloglines before so these things are new to me at least. I have a few clips to post about. I'll do them in separate posts and see if it works. Hopefully I did it right.

Week 3, #7 Create a blog post about technology

I'm still messing with the format of this thing I think. Nice to see what other people have started doing. I spent a lot of time yesterday on Flickr stuff, and after all of that, I'm still not a fan of it. I thought I'd like it better once I understood it, but so far I haven't been converted.

Technology.. most people haven't done this assignment on their blogs yet. I did post some comments on the blogs of Sarah, Carol, and AireTales, but they weren't specifically in response to this assignment. I guess I'll have to come back to that later once others have put up their posts. It's quiet in my department this week so it's a good time for me to be working on this stuff.

Technology has always interested me. In the early 1980s when personal computers were just coming out, I begged my father for months and months for a computer. I did tons of research, saved my money, and pleaded for a long time. I finally got a second-hand Apple ][e+. I kept it for years until the monitor didn't survive a move, and I couldn't afford to replace it. As a teenager I was online on "BBSes", before the Internet was accessible to most people. I took computer classes at G.C.C. during the summer, and I had boyfriends who were interested in electronics and were building their own computers and video games in their basement or their father's workshop.

When I first came to UMass as a freshman in 1989 I wanted to be a COINS major- I think that's what the computer science degree has morphed into. Unfortunately, I was lousy at Calculus, and not very good at Pascal- the computer language we needed to learn for one of my classes. I realized that I was not meant to be a computer programmer, even if I could write a video game in BASIC.

Years pass, and computers and technology still interest me. Privacy issues in the cyber world can get very political, and watching how the pendulum swings between people wanting easy access to things, and yet still wanting to be free of bureaucracy is interesting. National ID cards? No thanks! Too reminiscent of Germany during WW2 etc, and yet we seem to be gravitating towards that slowly. Sure I'd like to be able to copy whatever I see into my own blog or whatever, but on the other hand, I wouldn't be very happy if a photo of myself or my daughter showed up as an ad for a Czech grocery store-- http://www.neatorama.com/2009/06/11/missouri-family-christmas-photo-turns-up-in-czech-ad/ . There are lots of things to consider here, and the issue of privacy is a broad one, and very complex.

On a less complex scale, I do get emails from Slashdot which I generally archive to read later. Lots of tech related stuff is there, and I like to skim it all over, and have a general sense of what is going on, even if some of it is over my head.

I set up iGoogle for myself a long time ago, but I don't check it very often anymore. They have changed the formatting more than once, and I got tired of having to reset my RSS feeds for the news all the time etc. At one point I had several comic strips that I liked to follow, but I just don't have time anymore. I like Google though. I don't know if their applications are "2.0" or "1.0", but I find it to be user-friendly, and I have no difficulty using Google Maps, Google Documents, and other applications.

I especially like the Internet when I am traveling or planning a vacation. Trip Advisor can be very useful for finding hotels, or finding which hotels to stay away from. There are a couple of good road trip planners out there, and of course planning a Disney itinerary would have been impossible without access to all the Disney stuff out there. It's amazing at how much is available these days. Sometimes too much!

Library catalogs of course are online, and my local town library recently joined the CW MARS thing so I can renew my daughter's library books if we forget to bring them back on time. This is very convenient. I wish all small town libraries had this feature (Wendell doesn't) since their library hours can be somewhat limited. I also like being able to search for a title and then having it held for me either at UMass or my local library. Even my dad uses this feature. I don't consider my dad to be very tech-smart, but even he has figured this one out.

What does surprise me these days is how much is still NOT available. Every once in a while I'll look for something like the hours for a local business, or a good price on furniture, and I won't be able to find it. It seems a lot of places simply have not set up decent websites or don't want to list their prices online.

I do a lot of online shopping, especially for the library. I prefer vendors that list their inventory online. That way I know they have it in stock and can provide it. When I have to send a "paper order" off to someone I am always wondering whether the vendor will be able to fill it or not. Phone calls can work too, but sometimes the person on the other end of the phone forgets to input the order. At least online or with an email I have proof of what I ordered and when.

Security and privacy are potential issues when shopping online. For work related purposes I want the vendor to keep records of what I bought and when, but for personal shopping I'd probably prefer that they didn't. Of course in either case, I don't want that information to be given or sold to other marketers.

Okay, this is far too long now, and I've covered a lot of territory. I know that's not good blog-etiquette. Technology is a very broad subject though, and there are a lot of different directions you can go with this assignment. I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone else has to say.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Week 3, Assignment #6 Flickr meshups etc...

Messing around with stuff. This is supposed to be a Flickr badge, not sure if it will work. I don't think it will..... These seem to be random photos from what I can tell.


More photos and video on Flickr

Messed around with Montager, but it is too slow for me. Mosaic looks similar to a Picassa thing. I've used Picassa 2.0. I need to explore more with the 3.0 version. Not today because I'm focused on this Flickr stuff, but soon. I didn't understand the graph thing at all.

Week 3, Assignment #5 Explore Flickr

There are 2 choices here- Option B is create an account, take some pictures, post them etc... NOPE. Not going to happen. Option A, is find an image you want to blog about and include a link, or create a Flickr account and ......

I've seen some of the videos on Flickr, I've learned about tagging, and groups, and I've seen some images from other libraries....

then after all that I started doing some searches to see what I could find. I searched for names like my daughter's name, and found pictures of other people's kids. I searched for "Burning Man", and found a lot there, but not all of it under the Creative Commons thing, and of course I searched for photos of our library. I like this one...

wait, that's the "attribution", not the actual photo... the photo is called "Disappearing Act", and can be found at http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3207/3091000720_7637785f11.jpg?v=0

Hope I did this all right.

Week 2, Assignment #4- Register it!

Done! Now if only I could see what everyone else has done. List doesn't seem to be created yet on Moodle.

Week 2, Assignment #3- Set up the blog and post!

Did that! Still tweaking it a bit. Not sure I'm thrilled with the ad placement, and I'd like to figure out how to put a list of labels somewhere, but yeah... we're here.

Hardest part was trying to think of a name I think. I'm curious to see what everyone else came up with.

Week 1, Assignment #2- Lifelong Learning Habits

Watched the video, saw the thing about the Learning Contract or whatever, and printed it out. I don't think I'll fill it out right now.

7 1/2 Habits of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners

While I can see that I have used these habits well to take classes and workshops at the university, and elsewhere, I can also see where I have difficulties in the longer-term stuff. If the class is a short one, just a few weeks, etc, and I can see the "end" easily, it is more likely that I will succeed. For longer term things, I get bogged down with #3- viewing problems as challenges, and #4- have confidence in yourself as a competent, effective learner.

I'd LIKE to get my 4-year degree, or maybe even a higher one, but I'm not confident in myself at all. There are some subject areas that I have attempted many times, and not succeeded with. Right now isn't the time anyway because I don't have the time or money or support to attempt it, but it is always in the back of my mind.

For shorter term stuff though- I took a writing class, and I felt it helped me with my job immediately. It was much easier to have confidence in myself because it was only a 12-week class, and I was familiar with the material. I also have a lot of confidence in myself for doing these 23 things. I'm sure most people do.

Week 1, Assignment #1- About this Program

Backing up a bit-- our first assignment was just to get signed up, attend the kick-off session (if we could, or watch it online), etc.

Logging into the Moodle site, I did notice a few typos. "Survey Monkey" is misspelled, under Blog Rolls, and there is place where it says when the course will run, and the dates are all wrong--


I figure Erin has a life, and hasn't customized our Umass stuff for us, and probably just copied from another class she gave, but I do tend to notice stuff like this, and there it is....

I am hoping to "work ahead" and complete the 23 things before the 10 weeks are up. This week in particular is slow at work since they are doing a system upgrade to our Aleph program, so I should have lots of time to do this stuff.

Here we go!!!

Okay, we're kicking this thing off finally! I know some people are ahead of me, but I haven't seen their blogs yet.

Recently the Staff Training Committee invited Erin L., a consultant from NELINET, to come to the W.E.B. DuBois Library and get us started on learning some Web 2.0 technologies. Erin gave us a presentation last week, and got us all enthused to learn 23 things in 10 weeks. We're due to have this all done just before Labor Day I think.

This blog is part of that. Each participant is required to create a blog, and register it, to keep track of all we are learning, etc. Creating the blog itself and posting this first post is #3 on the list.

If you are reading this, you probably know all that already, and are in the class too. However, I do have it set up right now, that anyone can find this blog on the internet. I have another blog that I use as well. I'm hoping to learn how to make that blog better, and who knows? Maybe I will find a professional use for blogging as well.