Friday, December 19, 2008

Thing #20: YouTube

Well, I never did this the official way (looking for library related items) - too many internet users here at the library. I will post about a couple of videos I've found in my explorations at home.
The first video is a hilarious Christmas song, to put everyone in the Holiday mood...

The second video is one my husband loves to mock. A friend told him about it. It takes all kinds of people to make a world...

It would be fun if the library could implement their own youtube style postings, with videos from storytimes, events, booktalks, etc.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thing #23: The End?

My favorite exercises were ones that I will probably use in either my personal life or at work. This includes things like Rollyo, LibraryThing, and RSS feeds.

This program has affected my lifelong learning goals, because now I look at more things as opportunities for learning – when a customer asks about unfamiliar technology, I don’t get as flustered. I simply say, “I’m not sure, but I’ll take a look.”

I also see more of the benefits of some websites, like YouTube. They don’t exist just as a reason for people to waste time, but can also have valuable material on them. Granted, some people will never discover the value, but it is out there to be found.

It is a great concept. I hope to see a follow-up with other Web 2.0 sites, such as I also would like to see some type of a program, like a technology petting zoo at each branch, featuring new (and not-so-new) electronics that people may come in asking about – like how to download things onto their mp3 player, or if they can connect to the wireless with their Nintendo DS, or how to scan a text document. That way we don’t have to look clueless, but can answer them confidently.

Thing #22: Media and Book Downloads

I chose the TumbleBooks, because I had never used it before. It was fairly easy to use, especially when I chose to view online. Then I didn’t need to try to download it or do anything to it. And once you selected the one you wanted, it just started playing. You don’t need to click to continue or anything. It makes it very easy, especially for busy parents, or to have available on a library computer for the kids. TumbleBooks is a nice thing to offer, and it works great. Granted, it would be best if the parent was reading to the child, but for those kids that want 20 books read to them, or have parents that aren’t home much, this is wonderful. You can also make a playlist for back-to-back reading. There are even learning activities available for some of the books. I feel comfortable using TumbleBooks, and could assist the customers with it.

Thing #21: Podcasts

Yes, I know, I realize I skipped another number. If only there weren't customers using up all of the internet bandwidth! I'll eventually come back to #20...

Anyway, I used Podcast Directory as my search tool. That one seemed more comprehensive, without you being required to download extra things. The Yahoo search assumed I was looking for MUSIC, not PODCASTS, and was giving me inaccurate results. Podcast Directory was very simple to use, and even grouped things together so you can browse for other related casts.
There are podcasts for almost any topic. Libraries can easily use podcasts to do book reviews/recommendations, promote events, or even to broadcast some events like Poetry Bash.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thing #19: Discovering Web 2.0 Tools

Wow. I just tried for a time-management helper. It (so far) seems to be great. I had it send me a reminder to do something, promptly forgot I was supposed to do something, and then it reminded me at the time I specified! Definitely a worthwhile tool. Hopefully it continues to work this well. All you do is specify your day, time, and then type in your reminder and email address. The only problem I can see is if your power or internet were down when you needed the reminder. But that doesn’t happen that frequently…

This would be great in the library setting in a number of ways. We could send out meeting-date reminders, project deadline reminders, program/event reminders, etc.

Thing #18: Web-based Apps

This is a test document for O What a Geek Thing #18.
Google Docs is a way for people to create and share documents without the need to email. No more worrying if you typed their email address correctly, if they have space in their inbox, or whatever. Google Docs offers a variety of different applications, similar to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, which will all work on whatever computer you are on. After playing around a little, it should be fairly easy for anyone remotely familiar with Microsoft products to be able to use this.

Again, this is similar to a wiki. Users can create documents that others can view or edit. But you can also restrict editing access to specified users. My previous employer did that. Everyone could view the schedules, but only supervisors had the authority granted to go in and edit them if there needed to be changes.

The only thing I worry about a little is: What if the site suddenly quits? Hopefully you backed up all your documents and aren't relying on their server or their staying in business...

I'm more-or-less sold on Google Docs. Now, it's just breaking the habit of going to Microsoft all the time...

Thing #16: What's in a Wiki?

One interesting thing I found is that very few libraries seem to allow the individual users to also participate in the wiki. Most were either by or for librarians and not the end user, and the user couldn’t edit or add to anything. I can see the point for both sides of this issue. If vandalism, misinformation, etc. occur on the site, chances are good that the librarians wouldn’t notice because most places don’t have enough staff to devote someone to just tracking the wiki. However, you would want to tap into the knowledge of your customers. You never know who is using the library and who may be able to expand on certain topics. Some libraries use wikis for staff only and not for public use at all – like schedules, website links for doing readers’ advisory, or staff information. All of the above are valid uses for wikis. It is another way that libraries are changing to fit the times.