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.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Exercise 16 Zoho Writer

I'm creating this blog entry on Zoho Writer just to test out some of the features.

Can it add photos?
What are the colour features like?

The toolbar is very like MS Word and the application seems very user friendly and comprehensive. Even the Spellchecker allows you to choose English (NZ) as an option. Also the standard keyboard shortcuts are working for me.

I can see that this site could be very useful. If it is as portable and accessible as it claims it would solve a lot of those problems when patrons come into the library and are unable to open their documents on our public access PCs because they have created the document at home using MS Vista and Word 2007 and we are still operating on Windows XP and Word 2003! Well, if they know about Zoho Writer that is!

Ok - above is just the copy /paste version of my wonderful full colour illustrated document. When I tried to publish the real document to this blog, Zoho Writer repeatedly gave the message "Unable to connect your blog. Username or password may be incorrect". I'm obviously doing something wrong! Will check with the 23 things experts on Monday!

Monday 1st Sept: This was very frustrating - Zoho still will not allow me to post to my blog. I have saved the document, clicked on publish, chosen the correct blog, user name, password etc. Several of us have looked at this and we just can't work it out!

Exercise 15 - Rollyo

Well, all I can say about this is thank goodness for the instructions from 23 things on how to add Rollyo to your blog! I don't think I would have managed without them.

I have added the Rollyo widget thingy but to be honest I think I don't think I will use it much! I suppose I am now very much into the information literacy way of thinking and keen on evaluating and exploring new websites as I find them. Rollyo is good but I can see that it might trap you into using the same sites over and over without the need to go on discovering. Since the web is constantly changing and expanding, new and better sites are being produced all the time (and old favourites disappear with the same frequency). As librarians I think we are all skilled in using the appropriate search terms to find that valuable piece of information on a particular website again if necessary. And if we can't, well another one will be along soon!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Exercise # 13

I was given the code for my glowing message which despite trying dozens of different copy paste variations could only be fixed by our wonderful 2.0 mentor altering the HTML code! Apparently there was a flaw in the code not visible to the untrained eye!

Here is the site I used:

Hope everyone else has better luck than I did!

However, I did discover that my Gansta name is Da Mighty Beezy Whoa pimping!

Is there no end to this frivolity?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Exercise 12 - Sandbox

I enjoyed having a look around this site - I like the way you could view everyone's favourite books, music, etc in one place without going into to explore their individual blogs. Another way to share information. The sharing of information is really becoming a theme of 23 Things!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Exercise 11

I liked the Booklovers' Wiki from Princeton Public Library. It allows patrons to participate and feel that they are part of their library culture. It's just the sort of interactive participation we talked about in Web 2.0/Library 2.0. Patrons want to be heard and this Wiki gives them a chance to create, publish and connect.
As well as connecting with patrons, wikis are a great way for staff to share information. They are almost like an electronic version of the "Question Book" we have at the library: the invaluable little book where staff can record crucial information such as where to send empty toner cartridges, what to do if the newspapers aren't delivered and where the Christmas decorations are kept. This is as well as keeping staff up to date with current developments and sharing best practice procedures such as in the Library Success: Best Practice wiki.

Exercise 14 Library Thing

I wasn't so interested in the tagging, cataloging tools that Library Thing offers, but the great resources the site has for readers' advisory and book groups. It's great to hear others' views and recommendations and the study questions in some of the book descriptions give you new perspectives on the book that you may not have thought about.
I also really liked the Zeitgeist section - a wonderful snapshot of what the world is reading. And in "Librarians who Library Thing" there is a section called "Funny Requests from Patrons" - really funny with stories that I'm sure we can all relate to!

Monday, August 11, 2008

exercise # 10

I think that the dramatic thing about Web 2.0 is that it has changed the way we use the Internet. Internet users are no longer just the consumers of information, they are its creators. The emergence of Social media sites (YouTube, Snapfish), social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace) news sites (Oh My News, which has over 40,000 citizen journalists), podcasts, and Wikis has changed the construction and culture of the Web from one being built by a few thousand authors to one built by millions. We now want to control our media and now have enormous publishing power.

When I think back to the early 90's - before Google became a verb- I just could not have envisaged how the Internet could be such an interactive medium. It was exciting enough to be able to search an online encyclopedia and be able to jump from article to article with a click of a mouse. But now we have the tools to be able to contribute to online encyclopedias ourselves, and connect with our library users in new interactive ways. The National Library has its own MySpace page for instance and I think that our users will expect more and more of an electronic, 24/7, on demand service from us. Role on the virtual branch- but I'm not sure that I want to be rostered onto the 10pm - 6am shift!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

exercise 9 - technorati

Ok, sorry people but I could not get excited about this site. The trouble is I just don't speak geek! I did my searches for Learning 2.0 and the main results seemed to be full of all this esoteric techie stuff - Second Life - Live Mesh - Twitter - Pownce ... what the ???
Also the avatar thingy that looks like a bloated Barbie Doll advertising "IMVU the world's greatest 3D chat" was well, quite frankly creepy.
And in the list of Technorati's top searches "Viagra" came in at number 4! What does this tell you?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

excerise # 8

The great thing about social bookmarking and tagging is that it provides a way of making the vast amount of information on the web more manageable. I like the way it allows you to personalise the way you use and manage information - you can choose tags that have special importance and meaning for you.

In a work context it facilitates the sharing of information and resources. Someone else may have already tagged that great site which contains just the information you need!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bloglines vs Technorati search tools

I preferred Bloglines as it was easy to search using "search for feeds" and produced some accurate results. Like many web tools, the more specific the information requested, the better the results. For example, searching using the term "libraries" produced 6,560 feeds, whereas the term "libraries new zealand" produced a more manageable 5 results. A particular feature I liked on Bloglines was the "Matching Posts" feature which provided links to other sites that may be of interest. I found a Books on National Radio feed this way.

Technorati certainly produced some results (38,746 blogs using the keyword "libraries"). I also liked the way Technorati featured videos which enabled me to find a whole group of videos about New Zealand Libraries.

RSS feeds

Absolutely brilliant! I just love the way that news can be personalised to your specific interests and tastes. It's like having a newspaper with only the best bits in! You don't have to throw away the sports pages and that tedious real estate supplement unread. You know that the things that are served up for your perusal are going to be the things that interest you. I suppose the downside is that you may become very one-sided in your interests and completely become out of touch with what is going on in everyone else's universe. Ah well.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Things we love

This sounds like a segment from Rove, but I love the Scrabulous application on Facebook. Not only can I play frivolous (and sometimes serious) wordgames with my daughter who lives just a few kilometres away, but also with friend who has emigrated to Fiji. In fact, when we send the automated message reminding the other player that it is their turn to play, it reassures us that even though we haven't sent an email or made a phone call that contains real news, we are still keeping in touch.

Flickr mashups

With a daughter recently returned from Europe and a son currently travelling around Africa, I loved the idea of Trippermap ( This nifty little application allows you to put a world map on your blog or website & Trippermap then plots your photos from Flickr on your own personal trip map.

First Blog with a photo!

Ok, so this is not exactly a photo of "something in my branch", but as I will never remember to take the camera to work this photo of the mobile will have to do!
Flickr seemed easy enough to use and it looks as though it's a good way to store and share photos online. Having to set up yet another email account (yahoo this time) was a pain though. Soon I'll have email accounts (and the accompanying spam) for Africa!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

First Post on Blogger!

Hi to all at NSL! OK, the blog has been set up and we are ready to post! The most exciting thing about doing this was choosing the colours and design - lots of orange!!

It seems weird to be posting thoughts online for all to read. Diaries and journals used to be private - a way of expressing thoughts that no-one else would share. Now it seems as though our opinions are not worthwhile unless validated by everyone else reading them in cyberspace!