Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Voyage of discovery

This journey of discovery has been a technological banquet. I had no idea what was under the Web 2.0 umbrella when I started. But like any feast you can only taste a little of everything, so that identifying my favourite discoveries amongst the exercises is impossible. Finally coming to grips with podcasts probably makes Podcastalley.com my favourite, but that may be because success makes you feel good. I enjoyed reading the other participants' blogs where I often found the hints I needed to help me backtrack and try the exercise again. I'm still frustrated by my limited technological knowledge I still have lots to learn, but surprisingly, I'm now much less afraid to experiment.

Social networking

Exploring MySpace has been interesting. Although the list of libraries using MySpace is aimed at teens the sites vary enormously. Some are very busy while others have nice clear screens. More important is the message that social networking is here to stay. Meredith Farkas (2006) in her article 'Libraries in social networking software' says that MySpace and Facebook are being used predominently by the 16 - 25 age group so seeing these websites being used effectively in library situations means that this section of the community is being catered for and is being encouraged to participate in ways previously unfamiliar in the library world. Recommending new books to the library acquisiions team takes on the new meaning when friends can question, comment, share and get ideas for their next read, next film (DVD), or next music (CD). To be vital, the site must be current and have constant contributors.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I've just been exploring Podcastalley.com
I searched 'book news' which brought up an interesting list. My favourites are 'Compulsive reader talks' with author interviews and readings, and 'Radiobook lounge' which also has author interviews and readings, as well as audio reviews and storycasts for kids and adults. The list is quite extensive for just this one heading. I'm looking forward to revisiting the site and investigating further topics.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bebo - Facebook

I didn't find the Auckland City libraries Bebo site easy to negotiate. The Rotorua public library Bebo site was clearer and for me, more informative and appealing. The idea of using these social networkign sites in the library situation is useful and would be a good way of finding out what our participating patrons like or don't like, in the context of services, collection content, and even ease of access to our subscription databases. It could be used for survey purposes. The trick would be how to achieve an across the spectrum sample response, which is a fair representation of the whole of our library community, in terms of age, race, gender and cultures. Even if it's only within the computer-literate clientele, a survey of this sort could be of use to identify where improvements could be made to existing services.

Friday, October 2, 2009


I've had a good scout around google books and found and read some of my all-time favourite Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night What you will. It's not a relaxing way to read, at a computer. But it's convenient to know it's there to browse through. I like the way you can choose a genre from the list and the book selection changes giving a visual option to choose from. I had a good read of the beginning of a Nora Roberts book from the romance selection. I've never read one of her books. This is a good way to see if you like an author's writing style. Just one more way to get ideas for your next read. I can't see myself doing more than just dipping. Have to be careful not to get too engrossed in a book, or many hours later I may find myself cross and cross-eyed from reading the screen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

YouTube - Tango

I really couldn't get into YouTube. Sure there are some interesting videos, however, that was before I viewed Vera's blog. As a tango dancer I loved Libertango (Piazzolla) on Vera's blog. As I explored the site I found Libertango with dancer Pablo Alonzo and partner. This video has some good basic tango steps (except for the splits and lifts). I have to agree with Vera that video clips could be quite useful in the library. I was thinking along the lines of user education for specific patrons. Maybe OPAC instruction for Seniors; and/or as we have a large Asian population maybe also in Korean, Cantonese and Mandarin. Perhaps they could be imbedded in the library home page? The promotional aspect with videos of our services has huge potential..with many possibilities.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Web 2.0 - Reader 2.com

Out of the Web 2.0 top 1000 I chose to look at http://reader2.com
This is a good site to list the books you've read and /or recommend. You can add books, view someone else's books, and they can view yours. There's the option to add extra data to each book, eg. description, link or tags.
Tags will categorize books these are shown on left of the screen - click on - to find new and interesting books to read.
To join you need to add 10-20 books first.
One thing I disliked is that the list format doesn't show the book's publication date. An interesting site all the same.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Zoho Writer

Zoho Writer... This word processor means that you can use any computer, anywhere. No need for a USB except for back-up convenience. Having your documents online means, no more emailing back and forth, colleagues can review from the original, make inline comments, or use the chat facilities. The privacy issue would be my concers. There are enormous possibilities with this site, with many features which can be applied using the drop-down menus.
o One would have to know the site thoroughly
o Working online all the time could be costly for home users - though there's the option of taking your document offline to view and to edit.
It's an interesting site with heaps to explore when I've got more time.

LibrarytThing url


Rollyo action

With Rolllyo You can choose the sites you want to search or that you frequently search and a custom search engine called a 'Searchroll' will be created for you. This way you use the sources you trust rather than having to sift through heaps of irrelevant search results for your information. For students, dictionaries and encyclopedia sites can be combined into a single site so that searches are all in one place - under the topic you've designated. Have a look at some of the interesting topics such as 'Gluten-free search' or 'Ask Mr. Fix-it', or 'String theory'. A 'reference' topic could also include a 'thesaurus'.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Apart from taking ages to register this is a great site. It's quite exciting seeing books that you own catalogued. I can imagine this working really with book club members who read each other's books. It's a great way to see what everyone's reading.

Though I've only added six book to the site you may like to take a look.


Image generators

I played around with some of the image generators. Photoblender was fun but I couldn't save the image I created without registering. I could print which I did with amazing results as it was a moving image. I did manage to save an another image in image chef to my desktop which I posted in the photo square of the blog.

Having fun with wetpaint

Exploring Wetpaint has been great fun. It was much easier to negotiate than any of the other exercise sites I've visited. It was interesting to read the about peoples favourite, places to visit, books, films, wildlife etc on the NSL Learning site. Playing in the 'Sandbox' was lots of fun.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wiki mania

I've only ever used Wikipedia out of curiosity and though I've seen the posts I've never been tempted to contribute. A Wiki website for the library could work quite well, where patrons and staff can share ideas, news, and great reads with each other and the wider Wiki world. An expiry date built-in to posts so they would self-delete on a certain date could work. The site may need a police watchdog to monitor the 'naughty' unsuitable contributions.

Watching the Rod Stewart and Nigella Lawson interviews on Youtube, makes me think that a link from the library home page with recent interviews with authors would make interesting viewing.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Exercise 10 - Web 2.0

Remember the days.....
when a visit to the library meant browsing the shelves, selecting a book and sitting in comfortable window-facing chairs, where you could enjoy the view while reading the beginning of your book to see if it was worth taking home?

You can still sit, read and enjoy, but life has changed momentum. Our new digital lifestyle means that whether we are at work or at play, we are constantly connected to each other and to the Web via our mobile and non-mobile devices.

Technological advances deliver instant information to us without having to move. Sites like Facebook and Flickr have shrunk the world so that the interchange of information is very quick. There's no waiting for mail to arrive to share news with loved ones. We can now share photographs similtaneously with family and friends and watch with amusement for comments, tags, and sometimes even discover some home truths we would rather have not known.

Rick Anderson's 'Icebergs'
I understand that there needs to be a balance when providing a 'collection'. Physical and digital collections and implementing ways to access the world come at a cost. However progressing too fast away from a physical collection can creat a huge chasm between the 'haves' and 'have nots'. Yes books are now being downloaded for reading online but how does this compare with sitting and enjoying a book you can hold in your hands. For recreation at least, I can't envisage this changing too much. The research field is a different matter. The changes have already made huge differences to the amount and depth of information that can be accessed and also to the time it takes for retrieval.
The vision of finding new ways to bring services to patrons makes sense if the library is to survive.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Technorati - a mind boggler

Perusing Technorati is an interesting experience. I was surprised by the top 100 tags. The print size feature is an eye-opener, indicating the popularity. I would have thought that 'books' would have rated larger print size! How can there be 88,029 posts tagged 'Microsoft'? Is technology moving too fast for some of us? Via 'Blogger Central I searched 'Mashable'. The Ted Kennedy site brought up 30866 results. There are lots of people with lots to say on this one man. Some read a little like a confessional or a 'Dear Abby..' on a voyage of self-discovery.

In blog posts "Learning 2.0" brought up 2095 posts. There are some blogs here worth revisiting when time allows.
In 'tags' I had to drop the inverted comma's. This produced 545 posts. I haven't worked out why there is such a huge difference.
In the Blog directory, advanced - exact search - without the inverted commas, my search produced 2092 posts.

Technorati was a little mind boggling for me and I can't see how I will use it. More exploration may change my view. I need convincing.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Playing tag

Exploring this has been just like playing 'tag'. From one screen to the next to the next. I can see how useful this would be for research. The flexibility of being able to use any computer to access your list of sites for an assignment would make referencing and bibliographies a breeze. On a different note - under the travel tag in the Del.icio.us - PLCMCL2 account - I found something very interesting...has anyone been to the 'couch surfing' site? MMMMMmm, very interesting!!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Exercise 7.2

If you know the URL it seems easier to use bloglines' search tool. With the google blog search you know that you are accessing sites with RSS news feeds. Google news is an interesting site for world news. If you only want New Zealand sourced news you have the option to click on fewer stories, and alternatively you can access more stories as well, depending on what you want, and time constraints.

Exercise #7.1

This has been an interesting journey. RSS and newsreaders were foreign words before this exercise. I'm still not totally on top of it I keep straying from the path by following interesting links which has made it more time-consuming. I have subscribed to some interesting feeds including, Accidental Hedonist, which had some interesting trivia on 'beer'. The BBC news/ news front page world edition has interesting snippets I can follow up if I want to read the full article. Articles I would rarely see elsewhere. I have feeds to Film, news, Book news, fashion, food and new librarian websites, as well as subscribing to two co-workers' feeds. I can see this being useful to many of our information and computer literate patrons who want to keep up-to-date with their favourite topics. Librarians can open up a whole new information-source pathway to our patrons.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Technology - Exercise #6

I resisted digital cameras for a long time on the grounds that I prefer to have a film developed and have a hard copy to show family and friends. Now, I never go anywhere without my digital camera in my bag. I bring it out to give family and friends a 'slide' show. When I fly home I bore my family silly with photo after photo stored on my memory stick - aren't laptops wonderful? Keeping in touch has changed so much in a short time. It has gone from Sunday afternoon visiting to comunicating via landline and mobile phones to emails to facebook to sharing photo's on Flickr to face to face conversing on Skype - and the snowball keeps rolling!

Exploration exercise 5

Exploring Flickr mashups has been lots of fun. Bubblr for creating comic strips was particularly interesting. I created two and sent them to myself. Retrievr was pretty much a puzzle. How the random drawings that I did brought up the corresponding photo's is a real mystery. A few of the lines I drew curved the same way as some of the lines in the photo's... mmm...but... fairly random overall.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Exercise #4

Using Flickr has been very interesting. It gives a totally different view to storing and showing photos. I do find though, that I tend to show the photo's either straight from my camera or via a computer screen from my memory stick these days, so Flickr is not far removed from that. Hard copies are still my preferrence, trouble is with a digital camera you often don't get round to printing them off. I did a bit of exploring and found some interesting photographs. By keying in 'Grand Canyon' I got some beautiful shots with some spectacular lighting effects in the Getty collection. I do have a few problems finding screens that I've looked at before. There are so many links and trails to follow that I often can't find my way back. It's been an intereting exercise and I'll be exploring Flickr some more.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Not becoming my mother

Not becoming my mother was written by Ruth Reichl. Ruth is a 'foodie' non-fiction author and in her previous books she frequently presented her mother as a person she did not want to be and/or become. While her previous 'mother' stories were humorous and bordered on the 'zany' this book which evolves out of letters and memorabilia which were stored in the basement, show a side of her mother that Ruth never dreamed existed.