Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sandbox - Thing 17 - Not Happening Here

So close, yet so far. The signin is there, they even give you a password. I tried signing in with my MCPL email address, and then gmail address. Nada. I looked back on other blogs, and somewhat reassured to find that I'm not alone with these problems. So how do I fulfill this task? It's too cold to locate a read sandbox, possibly it would be covered with snow. So what's a librarian to do? Give up and read a book.

I'm DONE - Thing 23

Time consuming, sometimes fun, interesting, frustrating, useful - all terms I would use to describe this program. And yes, expand it, and I'll come back for more.

Positives: It put a little more depth to my knowledge. Sure, I knew about PodCasts, RSS feeds, and web organizers, but I admit that I had not used a lot of them. Or when I used them it was with one of my children holding my hand. GoogleReader - it was just a tab on my email, and now I use it daily to get valuable and useless information. I'm a fan. I've always loved YouTube and have a little more knowledge. Wait Wait Don't Tell Me has always been my favorite podcast, and after looking at many others, it hasn't lost 1st place. Library podcasts are still a little boring in my mind, especially as a tool for teen service. Web organizers - what a nice discovery.

Negatives: Signup - It took me several weeks to navigate the system. I just worked with a colleague yesterday to assist her in what should be an easy and inviting task. Still had major problems. Update the links!!!!! Sure, it becomes an adventure to find sources on our own, we're all librarians, and can do so with ease. But it just does not look like a professionally organized training with all those dead ends.

Downloadable ebooks

Because of "life on the info desk" I did know about these resources. Patrons at public libraries are increasingly aware of the existence of these resources. However delivering the resources to the patron often is problematic. A quick response at the info desk could be, "just go to net library, open an account, select a title and follow the directions to download" is similar to giving a bike riding novice a bike, telling them that physics is on their side, and it will all come together once they push off. Netlibrary resources, Project Gutenberg and similar resources are amazing, and will continue to grow. The issue is marketing the product to the public, and providing hands on instruction. I know that is in the works at MCPL, and hope the initiative is expanded to all staff and then to patron workshops.

Podcasts - Thing 21

Podcasts are an audio program distributed via the Internet, through RSS. Length can be from 10 minutes to an hour. Shorter of course. It is important to consider the audience. Boredom should not occur from listening to a podcast! Most of the sites listed in "Thing 21" are no longer active. No problem, I'm getting used to that. I thought the most helpful information was found in "Beginner's guide to podcast and podcasting." We have considered doing podcasts with our teen group, and then dropped the idea as we became increasingly short staffed. After listening to several book podcasts, I'm thinking that's okay, that going the YouTube direction might be more interesting especially for teens.

Directories -, and All were good directories, but I found that just going on google, putting in libraries got some good results.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thing 19 Web 2.0 Awards - Pandora

Checked out the list, and was amazed at the number of sites. Craigs List to more specific, real estate, finance etc. I love music, so stopped at the Pandora site. What fun! Create your own music profile, and listen for free. First you name a few favorite artists. True confessions, Amy Winehouse. I know, my kids roll their eyes. Still went from her to Norah Jones, and then to many more artists. All types of music represented. Of course you can buy the songs for your Ipod, or do as I do, and listen for free.

Google Docs, ZohoWriter and other online productivity tools

Online productivity tools are certainly an enhancement to group projects. I'm comfortable with Google Docs, but looked at ZohoWriter to compare formats. GoogleDocs wins in my mind hands down. For familiarity yes, but another major reason is easy of use. Plus anyone with a gmail account already is signed up for GoogleDocs. I have signed up for so many services thanks to 23 Things, each with a different account signin. At some point, consolidation looks most appealing.

GoogleDocs helped as a planning tool for a family wedding. Professionally, I have used it for edits with CapitolChoices projects. We did book annotations this way, and are now working on a planning for the future document. The book annotations, accessing the page etc. were easy. The most recent CapChoices doc is causing members some trouble.

For our Teen Services Annual Reports and Work Plan, maybe a switch to Google Docs would be helpful for us all.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thing 16 - Wikis

I spent some interesting time looking at the suggested wikis.
SJCPL Subject Guides - liked the "Local Authors" - and it would be a wonderful addition to MCPL given the wonderful resource of local authors that we have in this community. Also liked the Business Seciiont - nice roadmap to resources.

Library 2.0 in 15 minutes a Day - dead link as was Librarian Instruction wiki and Book Lovers Wiki.

Library Success: A Best practices wiki. Obviously (from looking at postings) updated on regular basis. Liked the ract that they circulate video games, labeling them E (everyone) and T (Teen) with over 300 titles. We could learn from that.

ALA Wikis - have looked at them before attending conferences. Wealth of info for librarians, but what would you expect?

Research libraries wiki was interesting - good tool for advanced research.
MERLIN - I had looked at that before in an attempts to sign on to 23 Things. Love their training calendar, and blogs and wiki links. Yeah Annette with her photo blog.

Lots of food for thought. The wiki design with open input could be problematic in a public library, but obviously with monitering it does work. Liked the idea of an Amazon model re patrons rating books.