Sunday, December 6, 2009

Learning 2.0

As much as I dreaded signing up for new accounts, I found this to be such a helpful exercise. As much as I like to think I'm completely up to date on technology, the RSS feeds and the image generators scared me a little bit. It was great to have a reason to jump in. Learning new forms of technology can tend to be pretty intimidating, but going through the steps was an empowering experience. I also like that I can still access this in the future through PLCMC's Web site and share it with others. (Cheesy alert: And Web 2.0 comes full circle.) I also found it important to hear the opinions of others in the field. Even though I was familiar with some of the sites we used, I now have a new set of tools that I can turn to and share with others.

Thoughts on Web 2.0 and libraries

Web 2.0 technology has definitely changed libraries because we have altered our lives to include it. This technology has empowered the public because now everyday people have a voice that can be viewed by anyone in the world. Rick Anderson states three major traps that he feels libraries need to be wary of: the "just in case" collection, reliance on user education, and the "come to us" model of library service. While I do agree that some reference collections are being whittled down, I don't feel that a print collection should be completely dismissed. Reference librarians who are familiar with their print collections frequently know directly where to look in a print collection for answers, and their expertise is valued. People also may be finding information on specific topics, but librarians can help in providing how to find quality information. I also have to disagree when Anderson says that we should be skeptical of a library collection. I think we need to learn and understand how are collections are changing. Familiarize yourself with your print and electronic materials. Know what you don't have, and attempt to create ways of finding information through online or other materials. The Internet has definitely changed how people get information, but I don't think the public is familiar with why an article in a database might be a preferable choice to an article using Google. I do think we have a lot to rethink. And while I agree that many librarians may be resistant to change, others are on the opposite side of that spectrum, implementing changes that are ahead of the game. We need to have an open mind, and we will continue to adjust to the changes prompted by technology. But that doesn't mean that all traditional modes need to be abandoned.

Dr. Wendy Schultz brings up a whole new list of ideas, some of which I hadn't thought about. I agree with her on most parts, especially in that all forms of technology, whether old or new, will be welcome within the library setting. And the library will always be there to provide that library atmosphere to those who seek it. I think she said it well in that people will always be in need of a tour guide, and I think that is a great way of putting it, considering that technology will constantly be changing.

audio books

I had a little difficulty with figuring out the downloadable audio book section on the Web site. I then attempted to download some from the South Central Library System here in Wisconsin, but again, I ran into some trouble. Even though a book can be played on an iPod, it does not necessarily mean it will work on a Mac. I called one of my fellow library friends because I thought I was just being incompetent, but she said there are very few that will play on Macs. So I felt a little bit better. I just found the Web site slightly confusing, and if I weren't going to library school, I probably would have just given up at that point. But my friend has inspired me to try, try again. I just looked again, and I can't find any downloadable books that will play on a Mac. I'm sad now. It'll be OK.

Friday, November 27, 2009

YouTube, podcast searches

I can't remember how long I've used and loved YouTube. To use it is to love it. That's where I go to find all of the commercials and cartoons from my childhood. If you miss a great clip from TV, you can find it on YouTube. I especially love checking out music, and you can always find shows posted in installments. (Hulu has definitely improved that type of service.) But sometimes it's also fun to just find the cute, everyday situations that appeal to all. I think libraries could benefit from YouTube by posting videos from the library on their Web sites. They could just give a tour of the library, feature clips from programs, or maybe even have patrons give video book reviews. But this way, community members who aren't really sure if they want to visit their library can see what it has to offer. The clip that I'm posting was a huge YouTube sensation a couple of years ago, but I didn't learn about it until this year. I think is hilarious.

As for the podcast searches, the first one was a broken link. The second one worked, but I wasn't a huge fan of the web site. I didn't like how it was set up, and I felt like the podcasts should have been more easily accessible. On the other hand, I liked that you could browse by popular podcasts, which is a helpful tool. I actually prefer just searching for podcasts via Google searches because they can lead you directly to their sites. I have recently become somewhat obsessed with podcasts. I especially enjoy listening to various NPR programs (Wait, wait, Don't Tell Me, and their Music shows are excellent), BBC News, and the Bugle. And I am used to iTunes, so I'm familiar with how to search it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Zoho and Web 2.0 awards

I just signed up for my Zoho account, and I've just been messing around with a new document. I was just introduced to Google Docs last fall in grad school, and I was absolutely blown away by the idea that you could create a regular document and have different group members make changes at any time. So I've been familiar with the idea for a while, but I am a huge fan of this technology. I think Google Docs has made some major strides in the past year, and it further along, but both programs are great. They are so useful. And I love how these programs are able to supply similar tools as programs such as Microsoft Word for free. It's amazing, and I totally plan to spread the word. It's fantastic!

As for the Web 2.0 awards list, there were so many awesome sites to explore. I was intrigued by the cocktail builder and hair mixer. I will definitely be going back to those. But there were so many options, which was great.

The site I chose to really explore was Farecast, which actually ended up being, when I clicked on the link. I have been a huge fan of Kayak for a long time, so when I saw that Farecast was ranked higher, I had to check it out. It predicts fares and let's customers book tickets, and if the predictions are wrong they provide refunds. So I've just been looking around at this site, checking flight prices for potential days. I've heard about Bing recently, so it's been interesting to look at their services.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

That's wiki-tastic

I've got to say I'm a huge fan of the wiki. Aside from Wikipedia, the first time I was really introduced to using them was last fall with Google Docs. I thought it was incredible that I could work on what looked like a Word document and others could at the same time, as well. I think they are such a helpful tool for students -- especially when it comes to group work. As for the library world, the library I work at uses them for trouble-shooting computer issues and FAQs at the reference desk. And I really think they're taking off when it comes to teen book reviews. Sooo helpful and fun.

I was not so convinced about the effectiveness of the PBwiki. Maybe it was because I found the layout to be pretty boring, or maybe it's just because there are so many specialized web sites out there that cater to people's individualized taste, but I don't think I would use this site very often. I was just browsing through some of the various favorite sites, and the interests are just all across the board, but maybe it could be more useful when helping out people with very different tastes. I suppose in that way, it could work similarly to the tools offered through Amazon, but I'm pretty sure I would just go with Amazon. I may play around with it a little more to see if I can find some of the site's greater strengths. The idea is good, but I'm just not sure if I would turn to this site for anything.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Working with Rollyo, delicious, and tagging

I decided to create a search tool using some of my favorite news sites. Not being very creative, I even called it "Favorite News Sites." Awesome, I know. But I think this will be a pretty useful tool. Especially after I finally land a job. That way, I can plug in what will be local news sites, as well. A lot of the sites I chose will have very similar stories, but I think I'm more interested in the difference in the coverage. I've included many national sites, along with a Canadian and a British site.

Delicious (please don't mind the deleted punctuation) is one of those sites that looks like a portal to the rest of the world and it's endless possibilities. You may go to the site with one thing in mind but then get completely side-tracked and forget what you had originally intended to do. I am easily distracted, so this looks like trouble. On the other hand, I think that by creating an account, users could greatly benefit by their own methods of organization. I would personally also want to keep some kind of print record for later use, but it looks very helpful. I've already looked at about 30 Web sites that I didn't really need to. But it reminds me that I really want to figure out Zotero because I've heard nothing but amazing things. The fact that users can use this tool from any computer makes it a very valuable source.

On Technorati: I am probably less likely to use Technorati on a daily basis than I am for most of the other sites. I do feel that it has its merits. For example, if I want a first-hand account of a travel experience, or if I want to search for a blogger with similar music tastes, Technorati has a great directory. But as for where things stand for me right now, I can't really imagine using it too much -- unless there comes a time when I'm trying to get my name out there (in which case I would have my blog listed officially). These few tools have continued to open my eyes to the opportunities made available through Web 2.0.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Image generators

I've never really messed around with image generators, but this was a lot of fun. There is so much potential to do fun/crazy things with your photos. I decided to "Mad Men" myself by going to this site. I absolutely love the show, so I had a blast putting this together. I now want to go back and create my relatives. Sad, I know. But here is the image I came up with.

I am the one with the newspaper and coffee. Joan and I are wearing the same dress just in a different color, so I bet she'll ignore me today. Man, I love that show.

Also, I just created a LibraryThing account. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to keep all of these usernames and passwords straight. (Have I said this before?) But it's pretty amazing what you can do with the site. LibraryThing is so well linked to information that is sought by aspiring librarians like me. I also love that when you start building your library, the LC classification is right there.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Real Simple Syndication

I've managed to compile a list of my favorite news services (BBC, CNN, and NYTimes), local weather, and some library blogs to check out on my Bloglines account. I can see how this is going to be a useful tool, and I'm actually looking forward to helping my parents out with this stuff.

But I'm also worried about getting lost in the land of forgotten usernames and passwords. I have so many now. I know they have managers for this sort of thing, but it makes things like just remembering your ZIP code or phone number so much more confusing. All that information seems to be lost in my head at times. It used to be that we memorized phone numbers, but now that we don't have to do that, we have to remember to stay on top of so many more accounts. And now that it's all online, it can be so much easier to forget. I love you, bookmarks.

But ANYWAY, I've decided to try out a few different library blogs, including the Annoyed Librarian, an ALA update on articles for new librarians, and a blog called In the Library with the Lead Pipe, which focuses on the importance of collaboration in libraries. This should be cool. Now if I can only remember which e-mail address I chose...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Trying to stay on top of new technologies

This summer, I went from feeling like my technological gadgets were completely outdated, to owning some that I still don't even know how to use. In one month, I got a new phone, a new computer, and as a perk for buying that new computer, I also got an iPod Touch. My phone is supposed to double as a Walk-Man, but I still don't have the piece that is supposed to act as an antenna. And I also have to watch it so that I don't accidentally go online because of the huge fees that would accrue. I'm a new Mac owner, so I'm starting to understand why so many of their users are such devoted followers, even though they are expensive. And I'm loving the programs that seem to do things like magic -- such as iPhoto and iMovie. But I'm going to be honest and say that the Touch, the gadget I was probably most excited about, has gathered dust because of lack of use -- and that's mainly because I've struggled to even get it to connect to the Internet -- even on campus. So why am I letting this one hang-up get in the way of my enjoying hours of fun from a complex handheld device? To be honest, I don't know. I know it can't be that tough, and I've overcome much more difficult technological issues than this. But I also know that I've got a lot of technologies I can't seem to live without: my phone, my iPod shuffle, and my computer. I'm just going to enjoy this short amount of time before I really become aware of this tiny gadget's capabilities -- and can't imagine my day without it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Oh, Twitter.

So I've just opened up a Twitter account, and I can't even make myself type my first tweet. I think it's because with Facebook, I already had some friends online. I knew I wasn't just typing for nothing. But I've decided to follow a strange selection of celebrities, etc., including Danny Masterson, The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, Ryan Seacrest (not a huge fan), and the Onion. Meanwhile, I have zero followers. I prefer it that way. Twitter's all right, I guess. I just know that this feature already exists on Facebook, so it just feels a little excessive. At least I understand the format. But what will be my first tweet? How about "studying library stuff in Madison"? Finally, the pressure of the first tweet can just go away.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What's this all about?

For my reference course, I've started this blog to encourage and promote the benefits of life-long learning, especially in the area of technology. Looking at the list here, I've got to say that this class is going to push me out of my comfort zone. I've never really felt that I was very advanced in this area, but I've also never felt too far behind the times ... until I examined this list. To be honest, RSS feeds, Flickr mashups, and an online image generator sound slightly intimidating to me. But I'm hoping that's mostly due to their names. :) Regardless, I will be here to fill you in on the ups and downs and lessons I've learned while playing around with these different Web tools. Talk to you later.