Monday, September 17, 2007

And now we come to the end...

I've made it to the end, and none too soon. I start a series of Web Wednesday classes for our adoring public this week on some of the more relevant (how subjective is that?!) technologies from MD's 23 Things.

I appreciated the opportunity to spend time with each of the technologies that we have explored over the last few months. Most of them were not new to me, but I certainly wouldn't have learned as much about them without 23 Things. This was a good format for continuing education about new technologies and social networking opportunities... I'm glad to see that ongoing versions of the program are sprouting up and I look forward to learning more as we progress into the techie future!

Thing 22... E-reading

#1 question we get at the desk regarding the e-library offerings: "Where can I find this e-book? The catalog says there is one available..." Yes, well... it may or not be available and it isn't really "here" so much as virtually here. It will be super cool when our catalog is clever enough to bring over accurate availability info from Overdrive -- it's mildly frustrating for patrons to see "available" in our catalog only to go into Overdrive and find that there are 6 people waiting for the book...

I've downloaded books from Overdrive (both audio and print) and been satisfied with both offerings. I have a little trouble with the audio books--moving them to a mp3 player -- but the player could be at fault there - I haven't devoted enough time to figuring that one out. There seems to be something about the Overdrive files-- a DMA (am I remembering the right combination of letters?) security settings on the WMA files that my mp3 player can't decipher, but I'm playing with NetLibrary this morning to see if those files have the same issues. Hopefully not!

All in all, it is a wonderful service, though the borrowing times on Overdrive are a little strange in that you can't return a title early, so if there are 3 people ahead of you in line, it's going to be 63 days before you get a title that is checked out - no hoping that someone 'brings it back on time.'

Saturday, September 15, 2007

#21 In search of Podcasts

I'm teaching a series of web 2.0 classes for the public this fall so the tools for locating podcasts are very handy. Most of us have seen the Ask a Ninja video from You Tube on podcasts - something about apple pie and whales... Anyhoo, it seems like some podcasts might help describe the components of web 2.0 to my classes. Since I don't subscribe to podcasts at present, the search tools are useful. The ways libraries are using podcasts - new book reviews, etc... is interesting. I don't see any immediate applications that I'd want to use in my library, but it's good to have these things in my head for possible future projects! As I learned from thing 21, what separates podcasts from normal streams of video or audio is that they generally accompany an RSS feed. Too much pressure there for me! I'd like to do some audio - maybe video - tutorials on the site about how to get to e-books for example... but having to come up with a regular _____ seems like more committment that I can handle at present! (wimpy I know!)

A podcast I do enjoy is the Science Friday program from NPR - good stuff that I usually miss during its original airing.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

#19 Web 2.0 award winners

There were some neat sites in the list of award winners but I must admit that I am not feeling patient enough to create any new user accounts! (The mapping sites which I was tempted to explore required accounts to see what others had done or to create one's own map/event/etc...)

I browsed Craig's list and was interested to see that there is a new "Western Maryland" geographical select available. Thought there wasn't as much stuff listed there as one can find in the metro DC or Baltimore areas.

Many of the other sites were interesting too, but after half an hour it is time to write this up and move on! (After bookmarking the list to of course)

Although I don't feel like making any new accounts, being able to log in to a site and retrieve one's work is a really great function of the 2.0 sites. I'd love to see this integrated into the library catalog. I have nothing new to add to this discussion, but seeing patron reviews, being able to keep book lists (that the FBI couldn't play with?) and having the catalog show me what people who read this book are also reading - would be great. Perhaps it is already happening?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Thing 20 - You Tube

In a "Washington Post" editorial a couple weeks back, the author marked the anniversary of Diana's death by watching Tony Blair tribute on You Tube... but now that a couple of weeks have passed, Britney is so much more newsworthy. Did I really just write that?! I have to confess that I spent about half an hour reading about her train wreck of a performance at the VMA, finally watched the video and checked out various blogs... What is it about a startlet's journey of self-destruction that is so gripping? So I won't post the Britney bashing (and even funnier defenses) that litter YouTube these days - but that leads me to say that it is a very easy site to search.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thing #18 - now this we can use!

Online productivity... kind of like having a hard drive online - although not exactly, though there are companies who will store data digitally (another intriguing idea if privacy and security were guaranteed). The potential for joint project and writing assignments is very cool - this could potentially speed up some things - group work is notoriously difficult, but being able to share files in real-time would be a bonus. I like the idea of a program tracking editions like a wikipedia entry. Pretty neat.

Playing in the Sandbox #17

The sandbox wiki is nifty. I checked out My Recent Good Reads, What I am Reading, 23 of mahjchick's favorite romance writers, and many of the random travel and favorite things sites that folks had created. Kudos to everyone who has discovered how to create a blog.

I'm going to skip the doing part of this exercise as I have already created a wiki. I question too whether creating a list of my favorite things is really a good subject for a wiki. How will people contribute to my favorite things--they don't know me, though I suppose they could add ideas of what else might appeal to me. Though that might be helpful to me, it doesn't really add to the common knowledge or promote wider community involvement.

I have two wiki ideas that I want to persue here at my library. A community wiki and a reader's advisory wiki. I also really like the idea of making our adult summer reading group into a wiki (though that might not be quite the right technology). Re. the community wiki, the local newspaper does a wonderful community guide each fall that would make a perfect base for a wiki: churches, clubs, restaurants, parks, recreation, culture, etc... I'm not sure how they will feel about copyright issues but we shall see!