Tuesday, November 20, 2007

#23 Is this really the end? Or just the beginning ...AND #7 Blog about technology

This program has been a real eye-opener. Some of my friends had been talking about how wonderful sites like FaceBook and Blogs are. I had been trying to avoid it, as I know what I'm like when I find something new like this - I get obsessed and can't stop! As a librarian though, it really is my duty to familiarise myself with such sites. This task has allowed me to do that. It doesn't mean I have to use it all the time - but I have enjoyed finding updates on people I went to school with on FaceBook, for example. If I was overseas, these sites would be a godsend, as I'd be able to keep up with family at the click of a button. What really worries me though is people reducing their face-to-face contact with people in favour of cyber contact. I don't think I will be one of those people. And I often wondered where people find the time to continually update their blogs, MySpace pages, FaceBook pages, Bloglines? I can think of nothing worse than going online at home for a few hours after looking at the computer screen at work all day! And I HATE all that cyber-speak. You know all the abbreviations people use like LOL etc. Grrr! All in all though, the program gave me a wonderful experience. YouTube was a real favourite - you now have the opportunity to see footage that you never thought you'd see again.

It took quite a long time to complete this program. Fortunately I was able to find time at work, as my computer at home is a dinosaur and going online is a nightmare. One thing I found really frustrating was not being able to access and sign up to a lot of the services - this was because of firewalls here in the library. I am looking to update my home PC in the next few months, so I will be able to continue the learning!

Okay, I didn't realise I'd missed #7 so I thought I had better do it now. What I would have blogged about at the time is how frustrating technology can be. I know it's wonderful - we wouldn't be able to provide half of our library service if it wasn't for the computer system and some of the amazing digital technology we have recently acquired. However, I still like to write things down - I'm not fully trusting of the the technology we use daily yet. Last year, our computer system crashed, and we lost 3 days worth of work. Fortunately, I had written notes on all of the calls I had taken from borrowers, so although it was a pain to have to re-do my work, I at least knew what I had done. Perhaps I am being too critical - there are so many things that wouldn't be possible if it weren't for advances in technology. Even day-to-day things we take for granted, like the co-ordination of traffic lights, getting through the checkout quickly (okay, that's not always the case!) and email. What did we do at work before the Internet and email? Oh yeah, we would walk to a colleague's desk to tell them something. I kinda miss that.

#22 Audiobooks (or "The end is in sight ")

Downloading eBooks is something we often get asked about at our library, as all of our borrowers are vision impaired. We provide audio books and Braille books as part of our service, but being able to download the text would be wonderful. Some of the books I came across in my travels (like some of the children's books on www.openlibrary.org) were scans of the book pages - this would be problematic for our borrowers, as it doesn't comply with screen reading software like JAWS. I didn't particularly like the structure of World EBook Fair - I would prefer to be able to browse the titles and see a list of most popular downloads, for example. The 'Browse Collections' option didn't break the collection up into genres like I thought it would. I don't believe eBook sites are available in Australia yet, but I'm sure it can't be too far down the track.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

#21 Podcasts, Smodcasts!

This was one of my least favourite exercises. I did not enjoy exploring podcasts at all. Well, I couldn't actually get any of them to play on my computer at work, but that wasn't the worst part. I found browsing terribly difficult. I think in the case of podcasts, you really need to search for a specific podcast rather than browse the many categories, as there is so much garbage out there. I imagine you would have to listen to many to find one that is relevant or interesting.

I found Podcastalley to be the most user-friendly. I did a search for 'library news', and I like how you could click one of the results and explanation of it appeared below without taking you to another screen. I chose to add a 'Library Geeks' feed to my Bloglines account.

I can see how podcasts would be useful for libraries. Author visits and book nights could be recorded and uploaded to the website for those who couldn't attend, for example.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

#20 You too can YouTube


This is the blog I choose to direct you to - I chose it because this guy says everything I think most of us would LIKE to say as librarians! I especially like the woman doing sign language - funny stuff. I could watch the Johnny Depp clip over and over! And Conan the Librarian had me in hysterics. The very old Librarianship video was absolutely fascinating. I only really had a chance to look at the librarian-based videos, but I could spend hours exploring this site. I like that 'related videos' similar to the one I am watching are displayed on the page.

You Tube would be very useful for posting videos from library conferences on a library's website. It would also be nice to have a 'video of the week' on the library website. It could be a funny or interesting video that one of the librarians has found and posted for patrons to have a look at.

I just found an even funnier video - Human Tetris!

#19 Discovering Web 2.0 tools


This site is wonderful! If I was having a cocktail party I would be doing some research on this site beforehand. The 'some random cocktails' list has changed even from when I visited the site last week. I have always wondered what's in a 'Cosmopolitan'. I just typed the name into the 'find cocktails...' search box and it came up. I love that when you click on the drink's name, the ingredients slide down below it, and you aren't taken to another page. You can still see the rest of the results list. You can even add drinks to your own personal bar menu - when you click on the bar menu next time, the list of cocktails you selected are displayed. All drinks are given a star rating too, which is handy for me as I'm not a big drinker and I'm not sure what's good. You can even type in ingredients you have in your bar, and it will find a drink you can make from them. It's wonderful and a well deserved winner of an award! Not too sure it would be relevant in a library setting though. Then again...hehehe ;o)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

#17 Playing around with PBWiki

I had a play around with PBWiki - there wasn't any Vision Australia blogs posted yet, so I added our library name under the Victorian section and posted the link to my blog below it. I hope this was the right thing to do! I said in my previous post that in setting up a wiki I would go to 'Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki', but I think the 'PB Wiki Central Tips' (http://pbwikicentral.pbwiki.com/PBwikiTips) is just as useful. I made a little contribution to the Favourite Vacation Spots section - Inverloch in Victoria.

#16 So what’s in a wiki?

I have often used Wikipedia to gather info quickly (for example, what books or papers someone has had published) but I have never thought of it as an authoritative source. I think a library wiki is a great idea! It's not much different to the reader advisory resources already on offer on most library websites, but it would allow members to contribute too. As one of the article mentioned it can be difficult for librarians to find the time to update the library's reader advisory web pages, but allowing clients to post their comments about books and recommend others (much like Amazon) is fantastic. You could get a real community going. Plus it would be very satisfying for borrowers to see their words posted on the website. I'm not sure about internal library wikis though - we have an Intranet here at work and it seems to be sufficient. I don't think I could keep up with another forum! I see that Wikipedia now requires an email address because of vandalism - this would be a good practice to adopt when setting up a wiki. If I was to set up a wiki for our library, my first port of call would be the 'Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki' (http://libsuccess.org/index.php?title=Main_Page).