Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thing 23: Reflection

I would like to add my thanks to the folks at Norrth Texas Library Partners for setting up this program. For me, the more fomalized setting helped me to stick with it 'til the end and I experienced a lot of web2.0 things I never would have done on my own.

The "Things" I liked best were Flickr, Facebook and LibraryThing. Things I like least were probably Twitter and Ning. The Systems side of me gets nervous with too much information out there about me and not being able to control who has access to it. My daughter also does tech support, and I could not talk her in to signing up for some of these things to practice with me. Facebook, at least allows some minimal control--only your friends (and their friends) can actually read your posts. I also like the way Facebook pushes info to your email.

There seemed to be a lot of duplication--rather like everyone, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft had to offer their own version of a "thing." I guess that makes sense since we have a gazillion browsers.

One of the things that I saw at the SD conference in Dallas was ChiliFresh. ChiliFresh is Beta testing a new product which at this point is called "Connections." Its a good simple way to integrate Web 2.0 things with your catalog and yet keep some control over what is ultimately visible to the public. We were invited to participate in the Beta testing, but had to decline because we do not have a test server. Bummer!

Thanks again for a great experience!

Thing 22: Developing your own 23 Things for your library

Although we started out with five of us participating in the library, at this point I am the only one likely to see this project to completion. Unfortunately, the stresses of Summer Reading Club and the fact the Information Services had blocked access to many of the function from desks on the public library floor made it difficult for many of our librarians to complete these tasks.

I am committed to the belief that if we want to reach our public we must hang out where our patrons do and it is not just the young adults who spend time on Twitter and Facebook! One of our volunteers in Tech Services is an 88 year old retired gentleman who is one of my Facebook friends.

I have done a lot of thinking about how our library can best use some of this technology and I believe that the first step is to get as many people as I can to complete as many of these "things" as possible. For one thing, I believe that will help eliminate the fear of the unknown. We have been able to establish a twitter page for pushing out Summer Reading Club activities. Recently City Hall started a Facebook page (which was rather nice when our fiber line recently got cut--they posted updates on the repair progress which those of us with Smartphones could access.

I have learned a lot in this process and tried many things that I otherwise would not have tried. Some I liked a lot and will continue to use and some I was just not comfortable with and will probably never use again, but learning them all has helped me to make a better informed decision and made me want everyone to get on involved so we can collaborate on our decisions. I plan to work with some of the staff to get them to eventually complete the project.

If you have been reading my blog, by now you probably realized that I admit to pretty much being a Geek, but I don't see technology as the only answer to a problem. There are still some things that can be done more efficiently without technology. My philosophy is that I should use it were it makes my life easier. If it doesn't simplify thingsk then don't use it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thing 11: Instant Messaging Redux

In my life away from the library, I am taking over our orchestra web page (again). Matt is no longer able to play with us due to a concert day change so I get the web page back. Matt created his version of the webpages on his Mac using iWeb software.

Mac offers this very cool version of chat or instant messaging and since Matt and I are both using Macs we can take advantage of it. We had to transfer the files from his mobileme space to mine. To transfer a file is incredibly easy--you just drop the file into the conversation box and voila! its now on my computer. This is a really cool way to transfer files that are too large to email. Since I do desktop publishing, I get alot of those. Through it he can also take over my computer should I really screw something up.

Mac uses the aol AIM software but in addition can connect with Jabber and Google talk. You can do audio conversations and video chats.

Could be useful. I think I will get my grandson to chat with me!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thing 21: Podcasts

I have found that Podcast vary wildly in quality. When I checked the listing of libraries who have Podcast, I found very few Public Libraries listed. The first public library selected produced a 404, Page not found. I checked my Alma Mater, WSU, and found that the libraries there had used PodCasts as tutorials for students to learn how to use their catalog. Not a bad idea, but the narrator talked too slowly.

Denver Public users their podcast for reading childrens' stories. DeKalb county publicizes programs with podcasts. Boulder Public produces Teen PodCasts. PodCasting seems to be difficult to sustain. Many libraries only produce two or three a year. And it seems to be most successful at the college and university level.

Many of the podcasts listed on the wiki proved to be available. I would imagine that to make podcasts available takes an unbelievable amount of time. If we could find someone with both the talent and time, I could see these being used to teach patrons how to use the online reference databases. The biggest problem is that these databases are constantly changing and it might be hard to keep the podcast current.

For myself, I have found several technology podcasts that I find useful and entertaining. I like a lot of the NPR podcasts, especially the Car Talk Guys and Wait, Wait don't tell me!

Thing 20: YouTube

YouTube is a lot of fun!

There are videos on anything you can imagine. Lots of technical help and answers! There is even a recording of a PDQ Bach concert that was performed for the musicians retirement fund when I lived in Boston with Itzhak Perlman as one of the soloists.

There is a wonderful series of spoofs on the Mac/PC ads with the Allen County Library:


There are videos from ALA conferences. The Burbank(Ca) library did a simple but elegant video for their One Book, One Community Reads program. I like the Burbank video because it was simple to produce and could involve a lot of patrons in the mix (although one reviewer called it "boring.") Burbank has a pretty active blog, too.


I think that simple is more effective and doesn't cloud the message. I can see using you tube for library produced "help" files, links to our calendar of events.

Thing 19: Google Docs

Google Docs is an extremely convenient way to share doc and collaborate on them. I also like that they can easily be converted in Adobe. I often send docs in Adobe formate because I do not want them to be modified in any way. I had the ability to convert to Adobe Reader for quite some time because I own Adobe Pagemaker for Desktop publishing. Now everyone else has this ability, too.

One of my pc's is a netBook and I think it makes more sense to use Google Docs than to store a full version of Office on the PC. The formatting at Google Docs was a bit different than of Office 2007. Spacing between the paragraphs was removed. This was a little annoying, but then I sometimes find Office 2007 annoying. Actually to tell the truth, I find any Office product annoying. They always try to think that they know what I really want and often they are so wrong. WordPerfect was the first program I learned and I still can accomplish any fancy formatting so much better and faster in it!

I think it will be so much easier to use Google docs than to have to transfer everything to a Flash Drive.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thing 17: LibWorm

On Saturday I could not access LibWorm either from the library or from home so imagine my surprise when today I was able to get it from my office.

I searched RFID and various permutation of RFID including specific vendors, open source RFID and the majority of articles I received in response were in german or french. The few I received in English were old, 2006. I wanted something newer so for this topic it did not meet my purposes.

I also tried open source as in ILS's, again foreign info and old info.

Decided to try one of the recommended searches, OPAC. This did contain some more current info, references to John Blyberg from July 2009 but the top hit was an article in what I believe to be Dutch (its certainly not German because I can read German).

The search for Hurst Public Library yielded only a bunch of unrelated searches containing the word Hurst.

I must reluctlantly conclude that LibWorm is not going to be helpful to me.