Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thing 17

In Thing 17, we continue on with the trend from Thing 16 of expirimenting with wikis. Except this time, I need to try to figure out how to edit it a wiki. I tried the 23 things wiki but I'm thinking that now that the official program is over that the wiki is no longer available for editing (because I created a PBwiki account but now all I can do is comment - I don't have the option to edit the page).

So why not see if I can edit the all powerful Wikipedia - the encyclopedia of the people, by the people, for the people.... While I didn't actually edit anything, it definitely seems pretty straightforward to do. I created an account, found a random article, clicked on "edit this page" and voila - there was a document I could edit. Oh the power! It's almost a bit scary how simple it is to edit Wikipedia. Though I've done research and I believe you can be sanctioned or banned from editing if you make too many malicious edits on Wikipedia. So it's not a complete free-for-all....

Another technology related thing I didn't know how to do before beginning this project! :)

17 down, 6 to go!

Thing 16

No, I didn't forget how to count. According to the outline laid by my instructor for the course I'm doing this blog for, I'm supposed to skip thing 15 (for now) and move along to 16. So stay tuned for thing 15. How's that for a cliff hanger?

OK, so thing 16 is wikis. Sure we've all heard of Wikipedia, but do we really understand the Wiki part? At my last place of employment, we had an internal wiki that was used for procedural type information (that didn't really fit in official documents like company policy etc) It seemed to be mostly managers that edited and added content to it, but it was still quite useful.

Anyhou, so I poked around one of the example wikis suggested by the 23 things blog - I looked at the wiki for Bull Run library in VA. It was interesting because I'm not sure it's a true wiki. The "about the wiki" page says it's only being edited by 1 person - and that person isn't even a library staff person..... It was also interesting because it had an odd hodgepodge of content. There was typical stuff (information on programming, new books, etc there was also random stuff like basic spanish phrases..... Helpful information, though a library wiki is probably not the first place I would think to look.

So using wikis in a public library environment. I think they could be used for staff information - such as I described as being done at my previou workplace, but I think they could also be used for book reviews, event promotion, policy info, and a whole host of other things.

15 down, 8 to go!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thing 14

Topic of my 14th delve into the Web 2.0 World: Technorati. Technorati is essentially Google for blogs. You can search for either blogs, blog posts, or blog tags (though I wasn't able to locate where you search for tags - I found the list of "popular tags used on Technorati in the last month, but it was browsable, not searchable). And I found some interesting blogs (and on one of them discovered that there is an official White House photostream on Flickr).

Is Technorati useful as a librarian? It's another way to find information on the internet. And I'm sure I could find some very good blogs out there that would have great information about technology, books, book reviews, and other things applicable to my job and my field. I don't feel like I would use it much with assisting patrons. If a person is coming to me asking for help finding information, a blog is probably not a good place to look - maybe I'm wrong.

One thing I'm beginning to realize is that there is just SO MUCH information on the internet. You could spend hours and hours and hours and just touch the surface of what's out there. I am feeling so overwhelmed right now.

14 down, 9 to go!

Thing 13

Delicious is one of those sites I've been meaning to experiment with and start using. Anyone I talk to about it thinks its the best thing since sliced bread. I think it could be quite useful for reference work. You can bookmark sites once, organize them and then they'll be accessible from every reference desk computer.

So I decided to do a little experimenting with it. I use firefox as my browser, so I downloaded the firefox add on so that I can bookmark sites as I go (and when I bookmark them a helpful little window pops up where I can tag them right away). Delicious seems to be pretty easy to use. I also like the fact that you can see how others have tagged sites - and then you can click on their tags to find other sites they've tagged that way. When you bookmark a site, you are also given suggestions for tags.

Two thumbs way up for Deliscious!!

13 down, 10 to go

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thing 12

So I'm over the halfway point in this technology journey. It definitely has been an adventure to explore all these different sites and tools - some useful personally and/or professionally, others just plain fun.

Thing 12 is creating my own personal search engine based on sites that I prefer to use. This reminds me somewhat of bookmarking sites (like Delicious) except that instead of just saving them to use later, you can actually search them. So I went to It is possible to use this search engine with out creating your own.... and you can choose a category you want to search (gossip, tehcnology, parenting, health, etc....)

Creating a search roll is pretty painless. You name it, type in the URLs you want to be part of your roll (up to 25), select a category & add tags (if you want - these last two steps are completely optional) and BAM a search roll is born. I like that you don't HAVE to create an account to create a roll. However, after I created my roll, I realized I had neglected some sites and wanted to add them. I tried to click on the edit option, but it didn't work, so I thought if I registered for an account, I'd be able to edit my roll.

After I registered, I opted not to fill out the remainder of my profile, and then waited for the page to load.....several times Rollyo was slow to load, and I received page load errors a few times too. Even after I was registered and logged in, I still couldn't use the "edit search roll option" so I tried the dashboard - where I was able to add sites, but by this point I had forgotten some of the sites I wanted to add, and then once I clicked that Iwas done editing, the page again took forever to load. I closed the site, and then re-opened it to find that on the main search page there were 2 copies of my search roll. I clicked on dashboard to see what was going on. And then got another page load error. So, I'm giving up on Rollyo!

Perhaps this could be a very useful site and maybe it's just my computer.... but I'm frustrated so am ending my post on Thing 12 here. This does give me good perspective when assisting patrons who are encountering difficulties with technology.

12 down, 11 to go - over the halfway mark!

Thing 11

Now we come to a website that I absolutely ADORE. I was introduced to LibraryThing a number of years ago by a friend who is an avid reader. Ever since then I've become a LibraryThing addict.

If you're not familiar with LibraryThing - shame on you! :) Just kidding.... LibraryThing is a book lover's paradise. As a Type A personality, I thoroughly enjoy the fact that you can catalog your personal library - which I have definitely done and always catalog new books when I get them. Here's my catalog on LibraryThing Though I use the catalog to keep track of what I have, I know of others that use the catalog feature as a "reading log" of sorts - things they've read and things they want to read.

But there are tons of other aspects to LibraryThing (the catalog is what I love the most). There are groups, discussion boards, recommendations.... I just discovered that I can see what series, awards, characters, and places are part of my library which I think is pretty cool.

I've used this site several times in my work as a reference assistant when doing Reader's Advisory. NoveList is often slow to load on our reference desk computers, so I'll often use the reccomendations portion of LibraryThing as an alternative.

So in summary, I LOVE LIBRARYTHING because of it's usefulness both personally and professonally!!! :)

11 down, 12 to go!

Thing 10

So things 10, 11, and 12 are labeled as "play week" and this was definitely the case with thing 10. My task for thing 10 was to experiment with an online image generator. An online image generator is basically where you take either your own photos or photos the site provides and do funny/funky things with them.

I tried out Big Huge Labs and enjoyed this site alot ( There are tons of different "effects" you can do - make your photo into a puzzle, a collage, a mosaic, an inspirational poster, etc etc etc. Once you select the effect, you can then either upload photos from your computer OR use photos you've already uploaded to Flickr, Facebook, or Photobucket (I really liked this option of using photos I had on other sites). Once you've decided on the photo, it's just a couple more clicks and voila - you have a photo work of art.

Example A: I took a picture that a friend of mine snapped of the Navy Pier Ferris wheel and used the pop art effect. I think it turned out pretty neat!:)

Anyhou, so I'm not really sure how knowing how to do cool things with pictures could help me in a library setting (other than knowing the tool exists and how to use it should patrons ask about it) But what I am sure is that it was a great time expirimenting with this technology!

10 Things down, 13 Things to go.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thing 9

Thing 9 is continuing to explore Bloglines and RSS feeds, more specifically finding blogs that are not listed in Bloglines and adding those to my feed. I first tried searching Bloglines for more blogs to add to my feed. I just simply searched for "library" and was able to find a Library Journal book review blog, which could be really helpful. Once I found the blog and clicked on it, I was brought to the actual homepage of the blog, where it was then easy enough to subsribe to the RSS feed (there was a lot of clicking to do though, which I find annoying sometimes).

Finding a blog outside of Bloglines and then adding it to my feeds was a little more difficult. I went to a blog of a radio station that I listen to, clicked on "subscribe to our RSS feed", elected to subscribe to the blog via Bloglines, which brought me to the now somewhat familiar Bloglines subscribe page, and then I don't recall what happened after that but the blog wasn't added to my feed. I then elected to just subsribe on Bloglines using the URL of the blog. I tried doing this process for a second blog, and it worked as it should without having to go the URL route so I don't know what I did wrong.

So how does finding new blogs and adding them to my Blogline feed benefit me/help me do my job as a librarian better? Well I suppose the generic answer is that I know how to do it and thus can help patrons do so. It is also beneficial to be aware of blogs as another potential source of information and to know how to find the information that's available within blogs efficiently. And I'm sure there's tons of other reasons for me to have this knowledge as well, but these two are the most obvious for me at this moment.

9 down, 14 to go.

Thing 8

Thing #8 is experimenting with Bloglines, which is a site that allows you to see if there are new posts on many individual blogs without having to go to each blog separately. There are tons of popular blogs listed on Bloglines that you can simply select OR you have the option of typing/pasting in a URL of any blog that isn't listed. This site was definitely user friendly enough.... And if I were a follower of blogs, I think this could have great benefits - time saving galore. As a librarian, this site is a great way to keep up with new things - technology, books, current events, things in the library science realm, etc. Now if only there were a similar site for e-mail so I wouldn't have to check 3 different e-mail addresses! :) (And yes, I know I could have mail forwarded but it's easier for me to keep them seperate because 1 I use for school, 1 I use for junk, and the 3rd I use for personal stuff & work.)

8 down, 15 to go!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thing 7

So Thing 7 is talking about ANYTHING technology related..... that sure is open-ended.....

Hmmm..... well this may be a little out there BUT..... this past weekend I went and cheered my sister on as she ran a marathon. The technology related part is that each runner is given a band to put on their shoes (or around their ankle for some runners who ran barefoot....that's another story). This band has some sort of chip or something in it that recorded her time as she crossed the finish line. Not only that though, but I was just looking at the results online and it also recorded her time at 2 other points during the race....... This makes me think about track and field days back in elementary school when they had to have multiple people with stop watches. Oh how times have changed! (And I'm only 24 by the times have changed rather quickly)

7 down, 16 to go!

Thing 6

More fun with photos - this time it's Flickr 3rd party applications and mashups. There are a couple different ones discussed in the 23 Things instructions for this week. One, Mappr, seems to have been superseded by Flickr's geotagging function (see my last post for discussion of this) and once you go to the site, it pretty much doesn't exist.

Another Flickr Color Picker is quite interesting in that you choose a color from a pallete (and there are many different palletes) and it will find and stream pictures from Flickr that are that color. It was really interesting to expiriment with the different patterns.....

The one I found most interesting though was Montagr This tool creates mosaics of pictures that have the tag you type into the search box. And if that wasn't cool enough, the shape of the mosaic IS a picture from Flickr (that also has the tag you typed in. You can also mouse over all the little pictures and see them a little bigger. If you click on the small photo, that photo will become the "model" for the mosaic - so amazing. I am completely in awe of the person that thought this up and then actually had the techie know how to do it. Makes me feel like a doofus when it comes to technology!

6 down, 17 to go!

Thing 5

Though I don't have a ton of experience with Flickr, I do use other photo sites (such as the photos area on Facebook and Snapfish) so as I was reading through the Flickr tool, a lot of it was very familiar. What is different on Flickr than on different sites I've used is the tags (but I'm familiar with Tags from LibraryThing.... and Blogspot), the organizational scheme (I'm used to photos only being allowed to be in one album, instead of sets and collections).

The most intruiging feature I discovered that is different from other photo sites I've used is the geographical tagging tool. I think this is amazing! I think this has great possibilities for tourists....though in exploring this, I also found photos that really didn't have anything to do with the geographical location it was tagged with.

Anyhou, so I decided to use this feature and find some fun pictures. I grew up in rural southern Minnesota and thought I'd see if there were any photos geotagged around my hometown - suprisingly enough, I found an interesting picture. Near where I grew up, a wind farm has recently been built....and there is a set of photos of the windmills. One of the pictures (the best in the bunch) is geographically tagged:

Though libraries can definitely use Flickr to post pictures of their library/events and such, I'm not sure the geotagging tool is helpful for PR uses.... but I still think it's cool! Perhaps it could be a reference tool though....

5 down, 18 to go!