Monday, July 30, 2007

Week 9: Summary - Thing #23

  1. Creating a blog was so simple (if the blog was as basic and template-based as mine), but it made me feel that perhaps, even I, could function in the world of today’s rapidly changing technology. Moving a video to my blog also felt like an accomplishment.

  1. When I completed my master’s degree 9 years ago, I felt that I was aware of many of the new trends in technology. As I worked through the 23 Things program, I felt somewhat like the portrayed Rip Van Winkle character—the world of technology had dramatically changed when I wasn’t looking! This certainly reinforces the fact that one must continually be focused on learning new things; the world of information does not stand still.

  1. The most unexpected outcome, for me, was that I was able to finish the program.

  1. I thought that the program was very well organized and introduced a great variety of web resources. However, since it was virtually all new to me, it seemed that I (as Trekker would phrase it) was always either on “mountain tops” or at the “bottom of mountains”—either delighted that I had accomplished the task for the week or intensely focused on accomplishing the current week’s task. I would really have liked some “plateau” time to gain a greater level of comfort and familiarity with the new tools.

  1. Embarking on another similar training program would depend on several factors-- the relevancy to my work, the time frame, the availability of “on-the-job” training time, and the CEUs.

  1. I found the 23 Things program to be interesting, informative, challenging, fatiguing, and rewarding—as are all learning experiences!

Week 9: AudioBooks - Thing #22

I looked at the Overdrive site; the media guided tour was very nice. I opened an account with NetLibrary. I really liked many things about this site. The tutorial was thorough; the site was well organized. I liked the “categories” tool; the “similar items” prompts; the available audio “preview”; the “show more” feature in the description; and the “favorites” tool.

I listened to the preview for Rip Van Winkle, by Washington Irving, and downloaded Parable of the Talents, by Octavia Butler.

Although the library system has offered this service for some period, this was my first usage of the resource. It brings a wealth of information to the user on a 24/7 basis—very nice.

Week 9: Locating Podcasts - Thing #21

In searching and, when I tried to listen to a podcast, I would receive a message that “needed plug-ins were not installed.” Clicking to “proceed” with the installation did not enable me to access the podcasts. I did not have this problem with Yahoo Podcasts. I really liked the format of the Yahoo Podcasts site; the category list was helpful and the “search” tool yielded relevant results. I explored the “music” category and the featured “what we like this week” section.

I searched for book reviews and library news and looked at LibVibe: the library news podcast; Book Voyages (children’s literature); The Mr. Nice Guy Show; and NPR: Books. They were all good; but I decided to add the NPR: Books podcast to my Bloglines account.

I also searched Google for book review podcasts and found Just One More Book Podcast (about children’s books), which I added to my Bloglines account.

I explored the Merlin site and their listing of how libraries are using podcasts. I thought that the stories for kids and the booktalks were really effective.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Week 9: Discover YouTube - Thing #20

I looked at many YouTube videos; I tried using the "categories" tab to find things that might interest me. In the "How To & DIY" section, I found a video on "Cool multiplication techniques for large numbers"; unfortunately, the sound quality was extremely poor. I also found "Tutorial on how to make a bottle cap bomb"; "How to Die--a Step by Step Short Cut"; and "Weaponology --Sniper Rifles, Pt. 1"--oh, which to try first!!! Moving quickly on to "Politics," I found much in the way of personal beliefs--little in the way of factual information. Undaunted, I moved on to "Travel." Ignoring many videos that seemed to have absolutely nothing to do with travel, as I would interpret it, I found a video on Aladaglar, a mountain range in Turkey, that seemed appropriate for this Trekker's blog. This is a beautiful video of the area that would certainly be helpful for library users seeking travel information (or for YouTube users seeking tranquility after exploring the site).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Week 8: Web 2.0 Awards List Sites - Thing #19

Even the “short list” of the winners of the Web 2.0 Awards presents a daunting challenge to select only one to discover. The interest-peaking names of some sites makes one want to explore them.

There are the social sites—“43 Things” and “Cocktail Builder.” I have some trouble thinking of library applications for “43 Things”; but it is interesting to explore. It gives one an idea of the customer base to which libraries need to relate.

I tried to explore Google Docs & Spreadsheets, but couldn’t get further than the general site information. I went through the procedure to set up an account. Each time it seemed to work, but the page went blank. I checked the FAQs; that provided some instructions on how to change my computer settings to allow “cookies.”

I decided to explore another site; I have already noted earlier in this blog how much I like LibraryThing and can see its potential for use by library customers.

This time, I explored Yelp—Real Reviews by Real People. By entering the city, state, and zip code, one receives a varied and certainly potentially helpful guide to businesses, restaurants, gas stations, etc. in the designated search city—along with a map of the area.

I can see where this information could be more current, and therefore more accurate, than the print travel guides found on library shelves. The information is certainly more specific to the area of interest than one would normally find in a print travel guide that needs to provide similar information for a larger overall area. The personal reviews of restaurants provide a practical level of useful information not found in print travel guides that often seem to be worded with the objective of promoting, and thereby retaining, the publication-supporting businesses listed therein.

This bias works in the online format as well; businesses could add embellished positive reviews for promotional purposes. Submitters of reviews could be voicing their emotions of the experience rather than the professional perspective of the person whose life work is to make these travel reviews. The user of this online information needs to evaluate the reviews accordingly. Still, the site certainly does have appeal and value.

Week 8: Online Productivity Tools - Thing #18

I created an account in Zoho Writer. The site seemed nicely organized, and movement between tool options seemed easy. I used the Zoho Writer online word processor to create a document. When I tried to publish the document to my blog, I kept receiving a message that a match to my information could not be found. I was able to email the document, as an attachment, to my email.

This is the document that I prepared using Zoho Writer:

Trekker Watchword

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-Tzu
Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC)

I looked at the Template Library, and was very impressed with the availability of such a variety of practical templates. I expected to find resume templates; I did not expect to find an "Outline for a Talk" or "Creating Recipe" templates. I saved the recipe template to my "Template Library"; however, I found it difficult to work with to adapt the format to a recipe that I wanted to use. The site offered an extensive and fairly well organized FAQ section; I was not able to find information on templates to assist me with their usage.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Week 7: Sandbox Wiki Entry - Thing #17

I created a login account with the Maryland Libraries Sandbox and added this blog to the Favorites Blogs page. I added my favorite to the Favorite Vacation Spot wiki. As I said in a previous blog entry for Thing #16, I really can see the value of wikis; it is a quick and easy means of gathering collective knowledge. I do prefer a Wiki format that has some degree of structure and organization; I guess it is that ingrained librarian thinking!