Tuesday, March 31, 2009

23 Things Have Come & Gone

Well, I'm officially finished with the 23 Things program. I've revisited a lot of my favorite sites and been introduced to a number of new technologies but this is just the beginning. I love to find new and interesting technologies to sign up for so if you ever see the user BookOkie out there any where in the World Wide Web don't forget to say hi!

Audio Books

While I've heard all the details about our new audio books I've failed to talk with anyone who has actually been through the process. So, I set down at my laptop last night to try it out. It was a very easy to download the player and locate the titles for my cart or my wishlist. It must be pretty popular seeing how almost everything was checked out. Well, at least the fiction I look at. My only difficulty was that I needed to download a newer version of Windows Media Player. I got that out of the way quickly and set to downloading The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The five parts took about 2 minutes to download and I was ready to go. I listened to it while I was drifting off the sleep and awoke at 3am to it still playing. While I'm not a big audio book fan (still need the tangible form of a book) I do see the appeal of this technology. Now to tackle transferring it to my iPod. Eek!

Monday, March 30, 2009


Well, you learn something new every day. I never knew what the pod stood for in podcasting. In fact, I didn't know exactly what a podcast was. But after the instructional video and exploring PodcastAlley I now have a better understanding. There are so many feeds to subscribe to. It's a bit overwhelming. After perusing several podcasts I finally decided to visit NPR to see if they had any podcasts online. They have over 643 podcasts posted. I signed up to receive feeds for Nancy Pearls book reviews and NPR's In Character series that examines fictional characters in pop culture. While NPR only showed subscription links to iTunes and Yahoo readers, it did have a link to copy and paste into your personal reader if it wasn't posted. It was very easy to add to Bloglines. Just like adding any other RSS feed. As for great uses for podcasting in libraries are author interviews for book clubs, instructional podcasts for computers, investing, etc. and demonstrations for programming (ex. knitting).

YouTube Explored

I really enjoy YouTube. It's a great place to find tv shows, music videos, movie trailers or just a laugh-out loud snippet. It is very easy to use whether you are simply browsing videos or uploading your own. I personally use it both ways and often post concert videos when I get a chance.

My only complaint about YouTube is that there is just so much out there. Everyone names there videos so similarly and often times inappropriately that you don't always get the best results. For example, try looking for an official movie trailer and you'll find all kinds of videos not just the studio's version.

As far as applying YouTube to library services, it would be great to have video of some of our fantastic festivals. It's a lot more interactive and attractive to customers, I think. Also, there is a new trend of book trailers (similar to movie trailers) and I've always wanted to create a teen program in which the teens write and act out a trailer for their favorite book. I've just never come up with a good arrangement for this. It's also a great place to find author interviews to use with book clubs.

Check out this video about my favorite character...Babymouse!

My YouTube

Yes, that's right...I post my own videos on YouTube for all to enjoy. I've embedded one particularly fascinating video of the NKOTB concert below for your enjoyment! Don't you wish you had been there?


As part of #19 Discovering Web 2.0 Tools, I explored the 2nd place Start Page, Pageflakes. It's a one-stop shop for all your online activities. Basically, it's a way to create a personalized home page with all the information you need at hand daily. For example, once you create an account you will have a page of basic Pageflake info. This includes local news, weather, calendars, RSS feeds, etc. You can then customize your page with different themes, layouts and widgets. I created a page with a funkadelic background/color scheme then added widgets for Facebook, Wikipedia, my email, comic strips, games, bookmarks (like Delicious) and more. A widget is simply an embedded piece of code that allows you to, for example, check your Facebook account on Pageflakes. The more widgets you add to Pageflakes the fewer additional sites you have to visit. It can all be done on Pageflakes. I love the ability of tools like Pageflakes to customize your profile or account because I need to express the true me at all times!!!

Google Docs

I have used Google Docs in the past just as the Plain English video described as a place for several students to work on a term paper together.  It's also helpful just to have it online for someone to proofread for you.  I've very big on proofreading.  I never trust myself when it comes to commas.  Ha! 

Google Docs does have some cool features beyond simply word processing.  You can save as RTF, PDF, see a revision history and much more.  It really is better than attaching documents to emails.  That being said, I've spent the last 40 minutes playing around with Google Docs and it's not very easy to figure out how to publish your document as a blog post.  Turns out the spreadsheet won't post.  So I tried creating a plain Word-like document with a table and it posted but it looked funky with lots of extra spaces.  I not only tried to fix it in Google Docs but also tried to fix the HTML on Blogger.  I consider myself pretty knowledge but just couldn't figure it out.  So here I am with a basic document as a post to my blog.  I was trying to be all fancy but to no avail!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Wiki

Okay, that's PBWiki but even they throw in the PB&J icon to comments so I'm not too crazy.

This was my first experience to actually contribute to a wiki even though I'm an avid user of Wikipedia. I originally was very confused by the instructions to add my blog to the wiki. Then I realized some of the pages did not already have content so the "create page" screen I got was to get it started. That took me a minute to catch on to. I was also confused by the content added by others. The point of a wiki is to add information within the page not simply as a comment, right? I understand you can do both on PBWiki but I entered my information within the original page. To differentiate my post from others on the original page I changed the font color and added my name in parenthesis. Hope this was what I was suppose to do.

So What's In a Wiki?

I see a wiki being a great idea for subject guides, readers' advisory tools and more. For example, instead of one person creating a readalike list for an author, we could use a wiki to share the responsibility. Different people have different specialities or interests. Using all our professional brains would create something even more beneficial for customers. Much like Fiction-L listervs we could create a TCCL wiki featuring readalikes and thematic fiction. At this point, I'm a little apprehensive about opening up any type of TCCL wiki content to patrons. We would need to develop a protocol for their sharing process. But I think we could easily utilize wikis to create webpage content through staff.

Has anyone ever used WikiSpaces?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Librarians 2.0 (AKA Informed Tour Guides of the Future)

"Away From the Icebergs"

I agree that we, as librarians, need to shift with the waves of oncoming technologies and reach beyond our environment to be beneficial to techno-savvy patrons but I also think it's important that we don't forget those patrons who still need us to be a so-called "typical" library. I still see numbers of customers who come in and need assistance with understanding the Dewey Decimal system or how to use a mouse. No matter the technology, we will still have those customers. The future of libraris requires a synergy of these two approaches.

"Into A New World"

I am pleased to say that TCCL leaders have been very open to new technologies and as suggested in this article, they made good, fast decisions and there are a wealth of trenspotters on staff to help lead the way. No wonder we're a 5-star library.

"Powerful Ways to Cooperate"

I would love to see TCCL allow for some sort of user added value to our website. The problem becomes who and how we will control the content. Check out Hennepin County's Bookspace. That's my RA fantasy!

"Temporary Place in Time"

Amen! I like the idea of being an informed tour guide. Makes me want to have a routine like flight attendants. The exits are here and here....Ha!

Delicious Update

That sounds way more exciting than it is. I just wanted to say that I am now seriously addicted to adding every site I enjoy to Delicious. I've never had an effective way to track all the sites I'm interested in. To keep my favorites list down (I don't like overwhelming myself), I was very cutthroat on what I added but now I'm free to add all those okay-someday-it-might-be-useful sites to Delicious. Thanks a lot! Sinister or Heartfelt Thanks? You Be the Judge!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Several things I found interesting:

  • One was the popular books tag. There were some very interesting titles being tagged frequently.

  • I liked the watchlist options and the ability to blurb any post.

  • I also like the levels of searching. Not only can you search for blogs but you can also search within those blogs for a specific posting.

I'm still a little confused as to what claiming a blog means. How do you get authority? Aah, I used the handy-dandy support feature and found that "Technorati Authority is the number of blogs linking to a website in the last six months." I do have authority (an MLIS) just no one important knows it. Ha!


I had heard of Delicious but it wasn't something I had ever tried out. But I must say I'm seeing the appeal of it. I've discovered a lot of other interesting sites using the tags applied to some of my personal favorite sites.

Okay, now this is a excellent way to get rid of all the favorites on our work computers. We can use the same log-in for all staff and have access to the same bookmarks on each computer. This would definitely save Lee a lot of time in keeping track of what's on each of them.

I've never been a big tagger but I think in the long run it would be helpful for me to go back to sites like LibraryThing and tag all my items. An overwhelming task...maybe I'll just start from now.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I was not familiar with this concept. It's a nice way to create your own search engine from sites you are comfortable with. I played around and created two search rolls...book review sources and my favorite gaming sites. I'm addicted to playing hidden object games except I'm cheap and only play the free one hour trial. So it's nice to be able to easily search the sites I trust for downloads.

Check out my search rolls!

I could see this being useful at work on several levels. At MR we frequently use IE's favorites for potentially useful sites. Now we could create a search roll for a some of our similar sites and only have one link. For example, we could put all our car sites on a roll, social services on a roll and so on. That would save so much space and let staff search all related sites at one time. Very helpful!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I've already blogged a tribute to LibraryThing but here I go again! It's the greatest site ever. I think I'm a cataloger at heart. I really do because I find as much enjoyment in cataloging the books I've read in LibraryThing as I do in reading them. I use it primarily as a "books I've read" site so check out the books I can remember reading in the last three years.

Image Generators (Part 2)

Okay, this is entirely too much fun to be work. Ran across this and had a blast playing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Image Generator (Part 1)

RSS Feeds

Most of my previous experience with RSS feeds was simply running across sites I liked and noticing they had RSS feeds available. It seemed a serendipitous way to find fun information because we all know how unserious I am and how all the feeds I subscribe to are feature random fun facts, trivia, celebrity gossip, book reviews and stupid videos about cats.

I tried the more logical approach and used the search engines suggested in Exercise #9. The Bloglines search was okay since I am getting use to it layout. But I truly hated both Syndic8 and Topix. I was instantly turned off by Syndic8's design. I know, I know...don't judge a book by its' cover but tried I really did and sorry but no thanks. Just not visually pleasing. Topix, on the other hand, was too news center for me. But like Goldilock's search for the perfect bed, I found Technorati to be just right. Simply, user-friendly layout with directory (helps my librarian brain), manageable results and ta da!...relevant videos. Definitely my personal favorite. What do you think?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Technology Talk

Given the opportunity to blog about anything technology related I've decided to write about some of my favorite online technologies.

My absolute fave:

Most of you are probably already familiar with this site. But I use it to record all the books I've read. I started this feat in 2007 and my library already houses 663 titles. It is very helpful to me because I remember more about the book by seeing the cover. It's also helpful to see their recommendations. Check out my catalog.


Google Books
Here I keep track of all the books I want to read. But, of course, it's a never-ending quest because I'm always adding new books. Check out my to read list.

Also fun:
For all you children's librarians out there, this site lets you look through easy pictures titles before you buy them. It's new so there are only 300 titles so far but I've found some good ones to check out like Chickerella by Mary Jane Auch.

This is a great site to design custom online invitations, e-cards, scrapbooks and photo albums. It's free but you do have to register.

As I think of them, I'll add more of my favorite sites.