Friday, August 14, 2009

Relections on 23 Things

Wow! This is without a doubt the most practical continuous education training that I have ever experienced. I have learned so much by doing. I will immediately continue using LibWorm, Google Reader and Facebook. My library is using Delicious, Twitter, IM, and Wikis, so I will participate in those activities.
I have re-read all of my blog posts, and I can see that I have come a long way. I remember looking ahead a little and feeling trepidation about some upcoming exercise. Once in a while, I asked someone for clarification or a little help, usually one of my kids. Which just illustrates that the up and coming generations are living online. They have not only integrated these technologies, but they are creating them and morphing them into new "things" every day.
The experience of writing in a blog regularly was sort of addictive. I regret that I never took the time to really personalize my blog and add the bells and whistles. I'm not sure I want to give it up. I'll have to think about that. One of the things I have not done as much as I wanted to was read everyone else's posts. I hope to be able to take a little time to do that over the next couple of weeks. I assume that anyone who is going to finish the series will be wrapping it up between now and then.
It's been a great training experience. Thanks, teachers and monitors!

Passing it On

For Thing 22, I have been thinking about who needs to know what around here. We have some sharp librarians who have already integrated 2.0 technology into their lives to keep current and save time doing it. That's my goal, and this program is helping me to get there.
For others, managing email seems to be challenging enough and their perspective is that all this other stuff (23 things) just isn't for me.
I think we could build on what we are already doing and show all the staff how the librarians are doing the blogging for the reader's advisory section on the web page and where to find it. I could probably throw a rock and hit two staff members who don't even know we do that. We are also working with Delicious and Twitter. The process of discussing these things that we already do would help everyone with the vocabulary, to facilitate discussion.
After that, I would like to work with some folks who have time management issues or who feel lost when techie topics are discussed in meetings about blog readers and LibWorm and those "things" that are just really useful professional tools.


We were planning to do some podcasts for book reviews by our adult services team and post them on our website. At the time, our techie advisor informed us that we didn't have the equipment for good quality sound broadcasts, and that what we had tried previously in our organization was not overwhelmingly well received. There was also a bandwidth problem. Podcasts sucked up a lot of it, but video could be parked on YouTube. After listening to some podcasts of book reviews and also watching some video book reviews, we decided that video was the way to go. It's just more interesting looking at someone talking, even if they aren't wearing a funny hat, but even better if they are. Or two people can have a conversation, or show you around the library.
For this assignment, I listened to quite a few more podcasts. Frequently, the sound quality was poor, echoing or tinny. The voices didn't always sound professional. This was disappointing, and generally I stopped listening before it was over. Strangely, I have more tolerance for grainy film, shaky cameras and real people who look a little nervous to be on camera. Is this the influence of YouTube? On the other hand, my experience with audio is NPR and audiobooks, with silky smooth voices and professional actors.
I did like a podcast from Australia. The accents were great, and hearing about issues from people so far away was interesting. My opinion is that there are specific applications or situations that would lend themselves to audio, but I am not inclined to subscribe to a lot of them. I would rather read the content online or watch a video.

Sharing Docs

I can see that Google Docs could be useful. The ability to share and collaborate without a miles-long string of emails is very attractive. I set up my document and emailed its link to my group, who unanimously ignored it. It was just a simple shopping list of things needed, and I encouraged them to look at it and add to it. I was able to get back to it through the email link and add to it, so I think it was working. Since no one even told me that they couldn't get to it, I'm going to assume they didn't try. Not yet, anyway. Things are a little overwhelming around here with Summer Reading Club just ending and all the children's librarians on vacation. I'll give them a little more time, and then show them how it works. Pretty impressive, really.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

YouTube is a part of life

I have been watching YouTube videos for at least 3 years--it seems longer--because I have a teenaged son. "Mom! Come look at this!" usually means that I am about to be:

  1. disgusted

  2. revolted

  3. mildly amused

  4. amazed

  5. entertained

  6. informed

My son is older now, and he deigns to admit that I may actually know what's going on in the world, so he will ask me if I've seen whatever--the man who can sing like a girl or mean kitty. Library Ninja is the name chosen by the teens for their page on our library website.

Increasingly, there are videos created by my family and friends there, and I can watch them whenever I want. I was going to refer you to one or two, but after viewing them again, I've had second thoughts. We are using video more on our library website because we can "park it" on YouTube. I know that's not the correct terminology, but in other words, it doesn't drain our capacity.

I prefer videos or vblogs to podcasts for most communication that might lend itself to one or the other. More about that in the podcast blog.

I am out of order with my blog posts. I am waiting for a reaction from some other people before I discuss Google Docs.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I think I would have been happier if I had never known about the Discussion and History tabs in Wikipedia. It's just terrifying to see the process revealed. How do we decide that a particular piece of information is a fact? This is especially hard for librarians, I think. We worry so much about credible sources. Of course, we have always issued a disclaimer for any information from Wikipedia. Do editorial boards of venerable reference sources have similar heated discussions? Of course they do. In the end, someone has to make a judgment call about what gets published. Ultimately, the user of the information must look at everything that's out there and make choices about what to accept as fact.
Making wiki pages was pretty easy. I did have trouble trying to title one of my pages "Interests" or "Interests & Hobbies." Each time it would jump to someone else's page who liked scuba diving. Finally, I titled it "Stuff I Like" and I was able to proceed. My pages are under "Debi" if anyone wants to look.

Friday, August 7, 2009

LibWorm is a Keeper

I never have to sit in a meeting again and be clueless when someone says, "Did you hear about that library that took away that 7-year-old's library card?" or something like that. Sometimes those routed journals don't get to your desk for 3-6 months!
I am using Google Reader and feeling very efficient about it, and I do have some professional subscriptions there, but LibWorm really just wraps it up for me. I like the categories, so I can focus primarily on what I do every day and what I am interested in. I like not having to have an account and remember the password. I also like that I will never have to explain to the city's IT department how and why this is job-related.
One of my favorite "things."