Monday, October 6, 2008

Exercise 23

Well here we are at exercise 23- the end - but also in many ways the beginning! 23 Things has been fun- an interesting programme with many exercises that I would like to revisit. I loved Flickr, RSS feeds, & LibraryThing. Technorati I can live without!

I think the most important thing about the whole programme though, is not any one individual exercise, but the fact that it has opened my eyes to the possibilities offered by Web 2.0 and Library 2.0. It has also reinforced the fact that we can never stop learning, the pace of change is accelerating and the future is exciting.

For many of the exercises I gave myself a time limit - just so that I would actually get the programme completed. Now that it is over, I'm looking forward to revisiting a lot of the applications and exploring further.

Finally, a big thank you to the NSL 23 Things co-ordinators - your patience & enthuasiasm were contagious and certainly kept me motivated!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Exercise 22

The best example I found of libraries using social networking in a creative way is the National Library of New Zealand's page on MySpace:
The creation of this MySpace page is a novel attempt by the National Library to raise awareness among musicians of New Zealand's legal deposit obligations and the provision of quality cataloguing and storage for their work. This is a genuine and valuable example of how social networking sites can be used in a positive and practical way.

However, I felt that most of the other MySpace pages that libraries have set up are vapid and trivial and just seem to be trying too hard. To really engage with young people we need to offer some real content. Library users are quick to distinguish real value from surface gloss, however trendily it is dressed up.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Exercise 21

I'm not a great fan of of social networking. Yes, I know I'm a dinosaur! I suppose I would rather interact face-to-face with someone in the real world that bother with the false instant "friendships" that seem to be the norm in Bebo and Facebook. Having observed umpteen students (who are absolutely hooked on Bebo)I've concluded that social networking dynamics can often invoke the schoolyard with gossip, bullying and popularity contests an insidious part of the equation. Trying to collect as many friends as possible as a means to prove your ‘coolness’, means that many virtual relationships are never anything more than fickle.

Of the sites I explored though, I preferred Facebook - it seems to be a more grown up version of Bebo. At least most people converse in a more highly evolved version of English than the text language that proliferates on Bebo!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Exercise 20 - ebooks

I explored Project Gutenberg for this exercise and was surprised at just how many classics could be found online. Shakespeare had pretty thorough coverage; a search for Othello gave you the opportunity to download the work in languages such as French, German and Finnish as well as English! You could also supplement your study with lectures on Shakespearean Tragedy by eminent professors. Poetry was well represented also - Keats, Byron, Wordsworth all had very comprehensive collections on Project Gutenberg. There were also works by 20th century authors such as Virginia Woolf and Joseph Conrad.

However, there was still the need to download onto my PC. I would love to examine a Kindle just to see how user-friendly a real ebook is. To me, a book just isn't a book unless you can take it to the beach and read it happily in the sun!

Exercise 19 - podcasts

I really like the podcasts produced by children at Point England Primary School in Auckland. They produce book reviews & news items and seem to be such confident users of this technology. The link to the site is:

However, I found this via Google, not the listed podcast directories! My favourite directory was Yahoo Audio Search though, - the clearest and easiest to use.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Exercise 18 YouTube

Wow, there's a wide variety of videos on YouTube - everything from Her Majesty the Queen's Christmas message to K.D. Lang in concert! There also seems to be lot of very frivolous rubbish posted by sad wannabes all looking for their 15 minutes of fame!

However, I can see the benefits for public libraries. How about a guided tour pointing out where our collections are housed, or You Tube storytimes for those parents whose kids are sick and so cannot make it to Rhymetime?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Exercise 17 - Web 2.0 Awards

For this exercise I decided to explore the Travel Award winner, Farecast.

This site allows you to easily compare, filter and sort flight results from hundreds of airline, hotel and agency websites to find the right trip. It also predicts if fares are rising or dropping. Based on the prediction, it provides a recommendation to buy now or buy later.

It all sounds good in theory but when I put it to the test, the results weren't that impressive. I tried to find the best price for two tickets to Melbourne next month. Unfortunately the site was unable to offer any predictions about prices in this area. The site is standardised American (dates back to front) and prices in U.S. dollars which means you have to convert currencies. And the list of flights it found for me consisted of pages of flights from "multiple airlines" all at the same price of $1926. At the end of the day I would have been better off by going to the Air New Zealand, Qantas or Pacific Blue websites.

However, the site might be a better prospect if you plan to travel in the U.S or Canada - it claims to offer price predictions for all the major routes here. Or maybe for travel in Europe where Farecast can trawl the plethora of discount airlines like EasyJet and Ryanair to find you a bargain.