Saturday, November 14, 2009

THING 23!!!!!!

YEAH - I've made it to the end of this journey. I definitely have learned a lot of things along the way. But I think the two central things that I've learned is through my failure with some of these technological tools, I've learned to be empathetic with patrons who are struggling with technology and are frustrated that they are struggling. And the second thing is that there is SOOOOOO much information out there on the web. During some of these explorations, I really had to limit myself from spending too much time exploring the site and its content, otherwise I may never have gotten all 23 things (or anything else) done.

What were my favorite discoveries? Well the geographic tagging tool on Flickr was very interesting and could be used in so many different ways. I also enjoyed Thing 10 - experimenting with online image generators - Big Huge Labs was amazing - the pop art image I created of the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel looks so professional. I love LibraryThing (Thing 11), but I already loved it before embarking on this journey, so that doesn't really count as a discovery. I also think that online document creators/editors are quite useful - they negate the neccessity of purchasing very expensive Office software (take that Microsoft). And finally YouTube is amazing - you can find just about anything.

Though it was a great experience to discover all these technologies, I honestly believe there are a lot of these sites/types of sites that I will probably never go back to. I just think there's such a thing as having too much technology in your life. I'm not one of those people that can spend hours and hours just poking around the web. I get on, check my e-mail, check Facebook, etc and am typically done in less than half an hour.

So, in summary, it is definitely useful to be aware of all 23 of these Things. However, some will be in my daily life more than others.

0 Things left!!!!!!! Woohoo!

Thing 15

Backtracking a bit here, Thing 15 is looking at Library 2.o. This whole 23 Things experience has been all about exploring different Web 2.0 tools and services. So Library 2.0 is taking these kind of tools and using them in libraries or using their principals of user created content to create library specific tools and models of service.

Library 2.0 is certainly a buzz word in the library world, and has been for about 4 or 5 years now (according to the Wikipedia article on Library 2.0). I think we are very much still figuring out what it is and what it means and what it looks like.

So far, the major ways I've seen libraries embracing this whole 2.0 philosophy is through things like NextGen catalogs (that allow patrons to tag and review books), blogs created/maintained by libraries, libraries posting pictures to Flickr, etc. And what do I think about this new trend? I think that anything we as libraries can do to involve patrons in our processes is definitely worth doing. This makes the library less library centered and more patron centered. Or something like that. Honestly, I'm not really sure how or why Libraries 2.0 is beneficial (or if it is even beneficial at all). I think we're all still figuring this idea out and testing it out as individual libraries to see what it can do to improve our services to patrons.

Just 1 thing left!!!

Thing 22

As an avid user of audiobooks, I've been meaning for awhile to check out sites like NetLibrary that provide downloadable audiobooks that are free to download (a library you have access to has to subscribe to the service though).

NetLibrary is an easy enough site to use. There is a browse option that breaks the 2,000+ e-audiobooks into subjects like children's fiction, humor, biography, and classics. There is also the option to browse all titles. Additionally, there is both a basic search and an advanced search option - which allow searching by title, author, keyword, subject, narrator, etc.

Though the number of e-audiobooks Net Library has avaiable seems like they have a decent collection, there were a few popular titles I searched for (both via searching and browsing) and wa not able to locate them. Most notalby, none of the Harry Potter (or anything narrated by Jim Dale) are available, which I found a bit surprising.

I think the usefullness of NetLibrary as a librarian is that it allows me to catch up on what's new while doing other things by listening to an e-audiobook. Because there are indeed too many books and too little time.

21 down, 2 to go!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thing 21

Thing 21 is similar to Thing 20 (YouTube) except that instead of searching for videos on one site, I'm tasked with searching for audio files. I am not at all familiar with this (like I am with YouTube). So here goes!

Since I'm already familiar with Yahoo, I'll use Yahoo Podcasts as my podcast search engine. Except psych - Yahoo doesn't have a podcast search engine anymore. Back to the drawing board - and from there to Podcast Alley (the only of the 3 Podcast Search Engines listed on the 23 Things Blog that still exists). Except this still requires software to be downloaded so if I'm going to download software I might as well use I-tunes. Sigh... can I just go back to watching videos on YouTube?

Anyhou... waiting for I-tunes to download (and watching some sweet Sesame Street on YouTube while I wait)..... I-tunes is downloaded now (it's now importing the music on my computer into my I-tunes library. I see that there is a podcast tab.... but the podcasts in I-tunes you have to buy from the I-tunes store. So I'm giving up. I'm also giving up because I should have been in bed like half an hour ago.

Anyhou, it's quite possible that Podcasts are very useful and I'd like to learn more about them. But I'm frustrated and tired.

20 down, 3 to go!

Thing 20

Wow - am I really at 20 already!!?!?! Awesome!

And even more awesome is that thing 20 is exploring YouTube. I was kinda surprised this was included - doesn't EVERYONE who knows anything about the internet know about YouTube? Maybe I'm over assuming but I feel like YouTube is pretty widely used. Anyhou, I'll use this as an excuse to poke around YouTube....

Among my favorite YouTube videos are:

One Semester of Spanish Love Song -
Baby Dancing to Beyonce's "Single Ladies"

I also enjoy looking for clips of old TV shows... like Sesame Street ( or Animaniacs (

But I also know that YouTube can be for more than just a good laugh. There are instructional videos on anything under the sun that patrons (or librarians could use to learn a new skill).

Anyhou, I love YouTube. Who doesn't?

Thing 19, 4 to go!

Thing 19

Thing 19 is picking a Web 2.0 from the Web 2.0 Awards sponsored by The awards are broken down into 41 categories. I chose the "Fun Stuff" category since I love finding websites that make me laugh (my most recent favorite is - guaranteed for a laugh)

Under the "Fun Stuff" category, I chose On this site you can take pictures of two people and mix their faces/hairstyles. So I uploaded a headshot picture of myself and then played around a bit - I put my head on Drew Barrymore, Kate Gosslin (Jon & Kate + 8), Taylor Swift, my sister, and a friend of mine - and, in honor of Sesame Street's 40th Anniversary- ELMO! :) This could perhaps be a practical way to try out new hairstyle, but mostly I think it's a fun, easy way to do photoshopping.

I think what I enjoyed most about this site is that you don't have to create an account - which can sometimes be a barrier to patrons using various website.

18 down, 5 to go!

Thing 18

Thing 18 is expirimenting with online document creation sites (like Google Docs and Zoho Writer - I had honestly never heard of Zoho, though I have used Google Docs).

I think websites like these are great. Purchasing Microsoft Office can be somewhat expensive and so for people that only use document creation software occasionally it makes no sense to spend the money. Sites like Google Docs and Zoho have pretty much every feature that Office does.

There are also additional features (like being able to share a document between people without having multiple versions around) about these kinds of websites that make them valuable.

As far as how this might be useful as a reference librarian, I can see two diffierent uses. First, the sharing capability would be great for any kind of collaborative project (like a grant proposal or something). I can also see recommending it to patrons - saving documents on Google Docs or Zoho would eliminate the need for a flash drive for people that cannot afford one.

17 Down, 6 to go - home stretch!