Monday, December 24, 2007

Where in the World Has Tom Been?

I've been using TripAdvisor for some time but recently found TravelPod which uses Google Maps to document where you've been in your travels. I'm just glad it doesn't open another website that I'd need to log into. One of the on-going issues with all my social networking sites is that they don't necessarily "play well together."
Anyway if you got down the right column of this blog you will eventually reach the map. Clicking on it will take yuou to a site where I've entered all the places I've ever been (365 and counting!) and places I want to go. Give it a look--it's kinda fun. I'm at my folks in Glendale, CA, right now typing this on Christmas Eve. That's kinda neat also.
On the topic of not playing well with each other, I've done a lot of Simpy-ing and would like to start doing more del.ici.ous tagging but I don't want to re-invent what I've already done--any suggestions?

New wiki

I'm serving on the local arrangements committee for the IASL conference to be held next summer at UC Berkeley. The committee met last Saturday and decided a great use of Web 2.0 technology would be to set up a wiki where we could share our ongoing planning. I set one up on PBwiki, which I find pretty easy to use and have used before. Now it's up to the members of the planning group to go ahead and take advantage of the power of the wiki to share our planning tasks. If you'd like to get involved contact me.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Book Is a Book Is a Book?

Fascinating discussion on See Also about the definition of "book" which really makes one think about the notion and how it's (might be) changing.
I do agree that a book as a physical object is very different from any electronic or digital version. As the article and comments imply, we're nowhere near the perfect e-book reader/format.
It also raises the issue of how we teach kids about the beauty and value of the printed word. I'm afraid I don't take a lot of time doing that and get distracted by the need for information over the need to interact with the physical thing which is the book. Maybe this year I can figure out better ways to help my students and staff really appreciate books for their own sake as well as for the information and entertainment they contain.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New Blog

I haven't posted here in a while because I've been working on my library news blog, the Bessie Chin Library Leaves. I've been adding postings to that blog from my hotel room in Taipei, Taiwan. I also have a web album going with many pictures taken while in Taiwan. One technical detail I needed to find a solution for was that at first when I brought my blog up the links, tabs, etc. used for editing the blog were all in Chinese. I had to remember (or use trial and error!) to discover what each link lead to. Eventually I was able to ask one of the student volunteers which link to use to change the language back to English. Once I found that and changed it the going has been much simpler.
Please check out my new blog. I plan on using it to disseminate information about the Bessie Chin Library to the school community ... and the entire world!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Webware 100

The results of a poll about the best Web 2.0 sites are in and you can see the list at Here is the announcement for the Webware polling:

"We're kicking off the first user-generated Web 2.0 awards program: The Webware 100.

Why? Because there are more new sites and services than any mortal can possibly process, much less evaluate. And because the community of Webware users, in the aggregate, has a very good idea of what works and what's worth your time. This awards program will collate and organize that wisdom."

In the end almost 500,000 votes were cast. A lot!

The ten top vote getters in each category are listed in alpha order. Categories include: Browsing, Communications, Community, Data, Entertainment, Media, Mobile, Productivity and Commerce, Publishing, and Reference.

Certainly worth taking a look at and maybe adding to SLL 2.0 as a link.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bong Hits 4 Jesus

The most recent post on the Britannica blog (worth pursuing if you haven't) talks about ten ways to test facts. It seems to me that the list would make a wonderful curriculum on the high school level and lower, as well as in the higher ed field.
It was more than a bit scary to read in Debra J. Saunders' column today this quote from Justice Thomas from his concurring opinion in the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case: "'the Constitution does not afford students a right to free speech in public schools.' Thomas cited Justice Hugo Black's dissent in the 1969 Tinker armband decision: 'Taxpayers send children to school on the premise, that at their age[!], they need to learn, not teach.'"
Without double checking the quotes (which may get me in some trouble) I think there is only one response to such Neanderthal thinking.
It seems to me that in this day and age students need to learn AND teach. And teachers need to learn AND teach as well. Certainly the premise which we are currently following in education seems to be heading in this direction. That's not to say that teachers and students don't have different roles in this dynamic but to baldly say students "need to learn, not teach" flies in the face of what is happening in education today. And to base Supreme Court freedom of speech decisions on such a premise is treading on very thin ice indeed.
I really can't believe that the principal and school district prevailed in this case given the fact that whatever the student did was off campus and was only done to attract attention. I definitely think we're going backwards here, folks, and Debra (not known as a raving liberal) seems to agree. At least California provides some protection from such an outcome here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Camels in Kenya!?

Here's another, more serious, video from a site called Rocketboom about a camel-transported book delivery system in Kenya. Camels carry books to remote schools which can't be reached by motor transport.
Also from ALA Direct.

Dexter: The Anti-Librarian

Hilarious! I found this referred on ALA Direct (one of my favorite sources for professional info). Since I already use SpongeBob SquarePants in my orientation for 9th graders I'm going to come up with a way of sharing this video with the kids. I think I'll refer to myself as the "anti-Dexter!"-- at least that's what I hope I am!!??

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

How to Add a Label Cloud

I'd seen some "tag clouds" on various blogs and wondered how I could add one to "Continuing Education!" After some searching using the help button on the Blogger edit page I found a site with complete (and fairly complex) instructions. I tried it and it works. Be patient when attempting this edit but the instructions are clear if followed carefully. Instructions are found at Give it a try if you're willing to experiment like I am.
One thing--you do have to have some posts with "labels" already in place to make it work.
While I was at it I deleted my Flickr slide show and replaced it with a Picasa slide show. I have lots more pictures on Picasa and found another widget on Phydeau's blog (see above) which sets up a slide show using Picasa. You'd have thought Google would already have done this and I guess they did but evidently it's not quite as good as this one. Take a look--it's toward the bottom of the page and shows photos I took in 2003 in a trip to South Africa.
I can see how this would be useful on a website as well for a collection of photos of the library, school, etc.
Have fun!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Title change

After giving it some thought I decided to change the title of my log to reflect better what I think I'm trying to do here and be less confusing to those looking for the "School Library Learning 2.0" blog. I love the quote from Eric Hoffer, which appears at the head of chapter 1 in a new book I'm reading, called Homo Zappiens: Growing Up in a Digital Age. The authors are two Dutch gentlemen, one a professor, the other a graduate student at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. In later posts I'll give some insight into what these two see as they investigate those we have come to call digital natives.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

School's out!

Well, school is out as of yesterday and I am immediately looking forward to summer activities. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get AquaBrowser installed before the end of school (problems on both sides) but it shouldn't be too long. I'm really looking forward to sharing it with everyone when it's up and running.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A new award made possible by technology

Recently on the LM_NET list serve there has been a sharing of members' greatest accomplishments of the past year. I really couldn't think of much (well. of course, starting this little project would certainly count!) but then I thought of something which would be useful for this blog as well as for the list serve.
This year, for the first time, we were able to find out the senior who had checked the greatest number of books out their four years of high school. Follett's most recent upgrade of its Circ Plus software give us the whole list of what students have ever checked out. Now, of course, there has been some controversy about whether this is a good thing or not. But I decided I could use it to good purpose and so I did.
One girl, graduating tomorrow, was by far the most prolific library user during her high school years. I was able to present her with a nice certificate proclaiming her as the winner of the "Redwood Reads! Award," along with a gift card for $25.00 to a local book store. I'm the advisor to the Redwood Honor Society so I was able to make the presentation at our end-of-year senior honors banquet. The girl was so gracious and the crowd was so pleased that I'm sure it will become annual event!
I have to admit that reading promotion is not my strongest suit as an LMT and I'm always trying to figure out ways to get better at that part of my job. This seems to be one.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Khaled Hosseini at Book Expo

While perusing the NY Times Book Review online I ran across this video of Khaled Hosseini at the Book Expo. He is interviewed about hit to best-selling books The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. He reads from his most recent book about the friendship between two women of very different backgrounds in Afghanistan. I will put the link in the 856 field of the MARC record for his current book when I catalog it. I try to add such links to records whenever I run across tem since it's so easy. Want to find out how? Just ask!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Technology--can't live with it, can't live without it!

I got remote access to my web catalog back today after a short hiatus when my IT guru, Becky, who I couldn't live without, was able to convince the district-level folks they need to open a port on the server so that users could see the catalog.
One of the issues we all face as we improve access to resources which are more and more digital is that we are part of a larger community and that most of us don't control every aspect of our environments as much we think we'd like to. In fact, I'm very happy leaving the technical side of things to those whose job it is to handle it.
This just hearkens back to the time when we initially set up the web OPAC and had the same issues about remote access. Many schools/school districts don't allow remote access to their OPACs for various reasons centering around security and hacking threats. There is evidently a real concern that people outside the system can bypass the security firewalls by accessing our OPACs. As I said I don't know enough about security to be able to say whether this concern is well-founded but I do trust those who say it can be a problem. In any case I'm glad to work for a district which values my professional judgment about such matters and is willing to make the system work for our libraries.
I'm sure I've mentioned AquaBrowser on this blog before. I'm hoping soon to be able to share this new interface with everyone. The same issue which arose with the web OPAC was also holding up the deployment of AB so I think we'll see some progress soon.

Friday, June 1, 2007

InfoLitLibrarian recently announced the development of a new undergraduate research custom search engine (CSE) for her students and is asking for contributions. In my response to her I explained that I had set up several CSEs for my students and staff and explained that they were much more specific than hers. I think it would be a huge task to come up with general research CSE since it would have to cover everything in the universe (like a library!). I much prefer the approach I have taken with CSEs linked to specific searches.
She also states in her post that she specifically excluded Wikipedia from her CSE. In most cases I haven't done that because I'm a Wikipedia user and advocate and believe, at least on the secondary level, that it is, like any other encyclopedia, a starting place for research.
I recently read a couple classes worth of papers written by tenth graders in response to their reading 1984 by Orwell. Their task in the paper was to find similarities between the themes of the novel and current events. Topics they chose to write about: the PATRIOT ACT, the uses of propaganda, torture, the right to privacy, etc. were fairly obvious but some really ran with the project and produced original and interesting papers. One thing I was impressed by was the references which they used. Although many did use Wikipedia, they also had many other references to articles from the libraries subscription databases, as well as things they had found on other online sites. Most included at least a book or two! I think kids do get the notion, if we tell them, that such tools as Wikipedia are useful in certain ways but not in others. Even at the college level, I have to ask: Is it right to encourage kids to "lie" about their use of "forbidden" resources like encyclopedias, Wiki or other? I'd much rather know a student is finding information someplace and posting it in their list of "Works Consulted" than the intellectual dishonesty exhibited when teachers and professors forbid students to even consult such tools.
If anybody else out there is developing CSEs I'd love to start setting up a little index to them so we are not, once again, having to "re-invent the wheel."
BTW, I just found a CSE directory which I will explore and report on later.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Big Welcome to New SLL 2.0 Users!

This is just my welcome to new folks starting the journey today or very soon.
  • School Library Learning 2.0 runs from June 1-September 1, 2007.
  • The URL is
  • I have been through the course as a "test driver" and it's been a real learning experience--one of the best professional development experience I've had in a long time.
  • California School Library Association (CSLA) members who have been through the course (including me) will "cheer on" participants who are taking the course over the summer. We really want you to succeed and cheering and otherwise encouraging one another along the way is a key part of the "summer 2.0 fun" experience.
  • School Library Learning 2.0 is the first and only learning 2.0 program designed especially for K12 library folks and with California Curriculum Connections.
  • School Library Learning 2.0 is the first and only learning 2.0 program that includes avatars. Why? Because in addition to it being fun, school teacher-librarians and their colleagues need to model safe Internet behavior to students--student photos and glamor shots don't belong on blogs for the whole wide world to see!
  • School Library Learning 2.0 participants can also get academic credit (2 units)--a nice incentive for teacher-librarians and other teachers. The link to Fresno Pacific University's Continuing Education registration site is now available. See and go to the "About" section for details.
  • I encourage you to take a look at my blog and those maintained by other test drivers to see what we were able to accomplish in our nine weeks. It's been a great deal of fun and I am planning on keeping my blog going. After all, with things moving at the pace they have been we really cannot afford to ever stop learning.
  • And finally, I hope by the end of the nine weeks you'll see just how wonderful belonging to a learning community can be!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Teacher's new blog

I had a bit of a success story today when the architectural design teacher came to me with a request for some information for his students about sustainable architecture. It seems the students are analyzing their projects for the use of green or sustainable technologies and he wanted to give them a head start by pointing them to some resources. After discussing the assignment a bit, I suggested that maybe a wiki or a blog would be appropriate. While I think in the longer term a wiki might be the better approach, my confidence with setting one up is not as great as my blog experience so I told him I'd set up a blog where students could, through comments, make statements about their projects.
He left and I was very shortly able to set up a blog called RHS Sustainable Architecture on Blogger. I added some links so that kids could immediately have a starting place for their investigation.
The proof, of course, will be in the pudding. I'm looking forward to seeing whether he encourages them to add their comments and how many will take advantage of the blog.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Why the OPAC sucks

The three previous posts were added from another blog where Karen Schneider has conveniently listed all the reasons she thinks OPACs suck. I happen to agree that they suck but it will take me some time to go though her reasons and see exactly what she's thinking.
In the meantime I am still in the process of getting AquaBrowser installed at school and will let everyone know when it's available. I'm not only installing AB but my tech has also set up a new server for the library which I will be able to use for library wikis, etc. Sometime next year I'm expecting the district to migrate to Follett's Destiny and the whole shebang will move to a server at the district office. I do feel I'm pushing the boundaries but that's nothing new.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The end!? (Week 9, Thing #23)

Well, this is it. I must say I'm disappointed to reach the end. I'm already looking forward to Library Learning 3.0
Some thoughts:
What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey? I would have to say that so far the most useful tool I discovered is LibraryThing. I have to confess that I had already discovered it and was beginning to use it at home when the assignment came up but the assignment gave me some ideas for school related uses and I took the time to do more exploring of the site. But there were so many "things" that were fun and interesting and useful that I will certainly keep exploring.
How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
I've been a librarian since 1974 and it's never been as exciting a profession as it is right now. I have no idea where we're ultimately headed but I'm looking forward to continuing to learn and grow in retirement when it eventually comes in the next few years. It's wonderful that I won't have to give up my connection to this wonderful field even if I'm living halfway around the world.
Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
There were many things I had heard of but not explored but in general I think I was ready for what came in the sense that the world of the Internet has become so intertwined with the world of work and leisure in my life that I'm eager to see what's just around the corner. I was surprised by the range and depth of the experiences provided by School Library Learning 2.0. Whoever set this up really did their homework.
What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
I can't think of anything right now except to keep exploring and finding new things to add.
If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?
How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote CSLA learning activities?
"I was surprised by the range and depth of the experiences provided by School Library Learning 2.0. Whoever set this up really did their homework."
A big thanks to the School Library Learning team and the folks at the Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Library system for this wonderful experience.

eBooks, etc (Week 9, Thing #22)

Well, I'm almost through this experience.

I tried to download some audiobooks using a couple different sites. My main reaction is that we have to perfect the technology before this is widely used (I need to get a new computer which I'm in the process of doing!) In general, it takes too long to download the books and there is no standard technology yet. I'm still looking into audiobook services offered through Califa, the California state library consortium. I know they offer special rates on subscriptions to eBooks but when I last looked the emphasis was still too much on recent best-sellers. I am more than happy to look up a title for a student (and hopefully encourage them to do the same on their own) to see if it's available through the public library system.

I'm also still a skeptic about textual eBooks (pdf or html). Next year I am going to have a school subscription to Questia which includes thousands of eBooks and I'm going to be able to get a better sense of how students use the texts. My hypothesis is that they will use eBooks in much the same way they use print books, taking snippets of information from here or there in a book. Of course, they can't really cut-and-paste with print materials.

BTW, speaking of really useful materials, we have so many e-materials available these days that the challenge is, like with everything we do, getting the info into the user's "hands." That's why I catalog every issue of CQ Researcher, every issue of Congressional digest and its siblings. The kids find them doing keyword or subject searches in the catalog and then are able to log on to the database and find the article online. A tremendous resource but it won't "sell" itself!

Last post coming!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Video and podcast exploration (Week 9, #s 20-21)

I already posted a video to this blog (see April 17th) but I haven't seen anything yet that I'd want to put on my web page. I just found a site which gives awards to the best slide show presentation (can't find the the link just now!?) and emailed a link to one of the shows about sustainable development to my ecology teacher. We are celebrating sustainable development week at Redwood and I thought he might enjoy it.
I also found an interesting podcast by a librarian--sort of like a weekly radio show--which I though I might listen to regularly I RSS-ed to my Google homepage so I'll be reminded to listen in when something new is posted. On that note I also made a tab on my Google homepage just for RSS feeds. I don't like the aggregator because too much comes across and it's hard to keep up. I find that if I just have a feed for each blog or ... it's easier to see something new. I probably have about ten that I regularly follow now. And I have to admit I'm a bit addicted to the Mr Nice Guy Show!

Online applications and tools (Week 8, #18-19)

Here's my test document on Zoho.
I'm giving this a try to see how easy it is to use.
The first thing I notice is how small the little icons are. I solved that by using CTRL -+. It works.
I'll do a little formatting here.
How nice. Unlike Word it doesn't keep the formatting when you move to the next line!
ooo It doesn't automatically add a space between paragraphs which I don't like (an annoying trait of Word)
Spell check seems to work OK.
special character insertion βββΩ♥

As a follow up to my LibraryThing widget, I've now got 100 items added to the list of new books. Check it out form the library's home page.
Bessie Chin Library laughing

Monday, May 14, 2007

Wikis (Week 7; #s 16-17)

Well finally to wikis.
I've used wikis for a long time and even set one up on PBwiki thinking I would use it for library instruction. As with so many things (including Bessie's Blog) I find I don't have the time to work on it. I've looked at some of the examples of school library wikis provided in the lessons and some look kind of intriguing although many seem to show the problem people have distinguishing wikis and blogs. It's a problem I have myself although conceptually I think I can tell them apart.
I recently asked my district's tech director if he couldn't download MediaWiki software (the software that runs Wikipedia) and it turns out we already had it on one of district's servers. Not much there though, just some guides to choosing an LCD projector. I tried setting up a page and right away ran into a problem (Whenever they say something is easy or fool-proof just let me at it--I'll show them how easy it is to mess up and just how easy it is to make fool of oneself. ;>)
The best tool I saw among the examples was the subject guides put uo by the St. Joseph County Public Library system. They were well done and seemed easy to use. I think I'd be willing to give something like those for my library web site.
I'm also thinking that a wiki could be used for bibliographies I've developed over the years of books in different genres. Once again time is the enemy. Moving something form one medium to another is takes time. I'm really looking forward to getting AquaBrowser up and running and seeing what could be done to develop lists (tagging--back to Week 6) of read-alikes, etc.
Aha, I just though of something that might be wiki-able. I need to publish the summer reading list soon and maybe instead of just doing a web page I could do a wiki. I'm also working on a list of books that have been approved by the Board of Trustees for use in the various English classes. That might be worth wiki-ing as well.
Keep posted.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

LibraryThing on my website (Week 8, #19)

I did go ahead and add a LibraryThing widget to the library home page. It's still a work in progress. I tried experimenting with book covers but found that some books didn't have covers and came up with the little icon that indicates a nonexistent graphic file. I didn't like that. There is an option to only show books with a cover picture but it hasn't worked properly yet. So for now I just have the titles listed (only 4 currently because I don't want the list to go off the screen). I have a link to the whole list right at the top of the box, however, so the user can just click on that. I also see that by clicking on the "D" format once you get to the LibraryThing page you can order the materials by the date they were added which might be useful. Unfortunately there's no way you can know that except by experimenting. Perhaps I can find a way of making that the default. I just haven't found it yet.
I also started adding tags to the titles. It takes a little time but in the long run I think it could be useful.
Another really neat thing about LT is that if you click on the title of the work it takes you to a page which shows similar items (based, I assume on tagging) and if you click on the cover picture it takes you to That's useful for us because we've been adding a link to Amazon for every book we have in our library and this just gives us a slightly easier way to find the record for a particular book.
Interactive, collaborative, powerful!!!!! Library 2.0

Monday, May 7, 2007

New library materials using LibraryThing

I just got my widget up that shows new materials in the library using LibraryThing. Originally I had trouble because the site was blocked as a social networking forum. I got my tech director to unblock it which was relatively easy to do.
I set up an account for my library (setting up an account on LibraryThing is extremely (too?) easy). It's also easy to add items to to the list especially using the bar code reader at my desk.
I also put a link on my library newsletter in the place where I usually, painstakingly, add new titles one-by-one. Users will now just click on the link to LibraryThing to get to the BCL list.
I'm also going to put a link on the library home page and the catalog home page.
At some point I may be able to add a widget to the home page but until I look at the layout and figure where it will go I'm going to hold off. I do like the fact that you can show book covers just for the graphic interest it can create.
I'm not going to add tags right away, partly because it takes time which I don't have. But I may encourage others to do it at some point.
I did also add a Clustrmap widget to my library home page. I'll now be able to see if anyone outside of Larkspur actually uses the site!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Web 2.0 tools (Week 6, #13-15)

I'm combining several task here because I've played with before and it hasn't really caught on with me. Right now I'm using Simpy to tag my sites and it seems to work just fine.
I'm still adding books from my home library to LibraryThing but haven't made it public yet. I was thinking that LibraryThing might be useful to post a new book list instead of typing out the new books by hand, especially since I've got bar code scanners at school which makes the job particularly easy. I had to get the district tech coordinator to open it up because it was blocked as social-networking.
On that note: I got the message through LM_NET about the Ning page which Joyce Valenza has set up and it was also blocked from school as well so I got it unblocked. I just love filters. Not!
Anyway, on to the most important discovery this week. I really enjoyed reading the OCLC newsletter issue about Web 2.0.
The very first article "Away from the 'icebergs,'" by the acquisitions librarian at UNR, struck a note because I got to get over the obsession (maybe a little strong but...?) with having everything. Of course, I don't have everything but I think you can all empathize with the feeling. I'm referring the section which talks about the "just in case" collection. In a very practical recent move I've decided to subscribe to Questia through a school-wide subscription. The cost for their premium service is $4700 annually which is a lot of money. It will mean that I won't be buying $4700 worth of printed books so I'll have to be more judicious in my book selection. But I think it's going to be worth it.
Now his second point about user education is also a challenge to those of us in schools because, of course, we see ourselves, hopefully, as teachers first and librarians second (I'll admit it's sometimes a close race for me). But his point is that "one-button" commands are the future. How do we make it as easy as possible for our patrons to get to the information they really need? It's a challenge and one which we struggle with every day.
The third point is something I pride myself on in my library. I've been managing a "cybrary" for a long time. On Monday I will submit my annual "Welcome to Redwood" article for our parent newsletter. This is the last issue of the year and will go to incoming 9th graders as well as parents of current students. I want them all to know that the library doesn't close during the summer and that they are more than welcome to use the library's online resources 24/7.
So that's my very superficial take on just the first article. Probably more later.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Her Last Posting?

I really connected to this blog posting. The author, Kathy Sierra, claims it is her last partly because she's getting too many threatening comments but getting beyond that read the whole thing to get the real message. I loved the term she quotes from Linda Stone, the problem of Continuous Partial Attention. I used to have a small poster on my office door (I need to print it out again!) which said "Librarianship is interruptions interrupted by interruptions." I've mentioned this to my assistant and we both agree that if we didn't have the ability to focus we would never get anything done because we are continually distracted. Web 2.0 and its attendant distractions just make it harder (more interesting!?) to focus.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pay Attention

This is little bit off topic (although I know it's coming up) but for those who don't get LM_NET you might not have seen the post about the this powerful video.
Take a look (more than once... it's a very rich seven plus minutes) I used the "embed" code from TeacherTube, a YouTube-like site. For the original webcast go to T4 - Pay Attention.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Rollyo experiment (Week 5, #12)

Here's my Rollyo search box. I did the U.S. Congress because kids are currently doing research for their mock Senate project and need info on specific states, senators and legislative issues. Tomorrow from school I will add the search box to my government page. Try it out by choosing the U.S. Congress (under Select) and then entering the name of a politician, e.g. Barbara Boxer or Barak Obama. One thing I don't like about Rollyo is the ads. Using the Google Custom Search Engine you can specifically request that ads don't show on the search results page which I think is generally a good thing for school.


I am at school after our Spring Break and discovered that I can't see the slide show I made for the previous blog entry. I'm assuming it's because the site is blocked for "adult-language" through Lightspeed, our filtering software.
I was chatting with my principal earlier today and told her about the Library Learning 2.0 project. I sent her the link to the blog so she can see what I've been having fun with the past few weeks... but no "Old Library Photos."

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Old library photos (Week 5, #11)

I scanned some photos from the early days of the library and put them together using I removed the captions because the pictures are pretty self-evident. I'm still trying to figure the best way to get the photos on the library website. I figure old photos are better than new ones because you shouldn't have a problem with IDing current students, etc. I just had Flash installed on my computer at school but need a few lessons on Atomic Learning before I can start taking advantage of it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My license plate (Week 5, #10)

Well, this would be my license if I had just a boring stock CA plate. Mine, however is the support Yosemite kind so you don't see the Yosemite Valley image here. Anyway, now you know my secret! Honk when you see me on the street.
This is kind of fun. I'm going to keep trying things like this out on my library home page.
The web site for this particular image generator is I used the "link to a URL" option so I don't have to save the image on a specific server.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Catching up and a blog Link about Web 2.0 on YouTube (Week 4, #s 7 and 8)

It's fascinating to me how many ways we get info these days and how hard it is (for me at least) to keep things organized. I use Google Notebook (now out of beta) to note websites I'm interested in. I've tried delicious but haven't really caught the bug. I used A9 for a while and loved it because it was basically a bookmarks tool that I could use at home or at school--but they went belly up recently and I haven't seen anything that I like as much since then.
I've been away from the blog for a while because I've had my annual nasty winter cold and haven't really felt like writing. But I haven't been idle. I'm working on my presentation for IASL in Taiwan on the OPAC and new discovery tools and it's definitely proving to be a moving target. I got approval to purchase AquaBrowser software and a new server for my library automation system (still Follett Circ+). I'm hoping I'll be able to demo my new catalog interface at the conference but if not, there are many others elsewhere I can use. I told a class just today that I expect to have our library's collection on WorldCat before too long--the teacher seemed impressed!?
I did double check my news feeds on my Bloglines blog, Bessie's Blog, which I started almost a year ago but which I've been very spotty at adding to. I was surprised to find out I had 19 news feeds on the site and I decided to organize them a bit.
Finally, I just found and interesting blog called Learning and Teaching in the 21st Century and specifically a post entitled What is the Web 2.0?. In the blog the author, Jo Schiffbauer, points to several YouTube videos which help explain Web 2.0. I was able to view three of the five videos and all were pretty fascinating, short takes with comments by folks in the field about the business and technology of Web 2.0. I particularly liked the definition given by Andi Gutmans in the video called "What is Web 2.0" (catchy title) in which he defines the concept as comprising three things: rich Internet applications (RIA) like Flash and Ajax (need to investigate); service oriented architecture (SOA including feeds, rss, web services and mashups; and finally social interactivity like tagging, wikis, blogs, and podcasts.
Another of the videos had the following comment by (I believe) Gautam Godhwani which I liked. He said that the successful companies (read libraries) of the future will involve search, tools/applications, content (some user-generated) and community.
It seems to me that we need to get these kinds of thing integrated into our catalogs so that patrons looking for information get what they need but are also encouraged to interact with the information and add to the information.
That's a lot--it's challenging--especially when many of us are still struggling to get access to materials for our patrons but I think it's a challenge we must meet if we are to remain relevant.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Tech post (Thing #7)

This week I discovered how to add a search box for WorldCat to my webpage. It's on my test page if you'd like to take a look.
I'm really intrigued after visiting Google and realizing the potential for making it work for our local libraries that I want kids to get to know WorldCat.
I suggested to one of mu U.S. history teachers that rather than fighting Wikipedia, he have the students use the list of references from articles about the topic they were researching. They were told they had to use Google Book Search to find out whether the book was available online and if it wasn't they needed to use Find in a Library to see where the book's closest location was. They seemed to enjoy the exercise and were able to see how local libraries can be helpful for their research. I'm waiting for the day when my library can be the closest "librar[y] near you."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

flickr Fun (Thing #5)

Went into flickr today and uploaded some photos. I realized that one of the most frustrating things about digital cameras is the way they label photos. Aside from the date there is no easy way to labels photos so you know what's in them except looking one by one. I'm sure somebody's already come up with an answer but my camera doesn't know about it yet. Since my photos (8 of them) came from a variety of times and places I decided to add them to the map. I have photos from Portugal, Ireland and my own house here in Richmond. There's also a photo I took at my 40th high school reunion and one somebody took of me and my family on my 50th birthday (more than ten years ago now!). Anyway here's the link to my flickr page
I eventually plan on making a page for my library with historic and current photos as well and I'm going to recommend that the folks running the high school's 50th anniversary program develop a flickr page as well.

Avatar, avatar where are you?

Well, I finally got my Yahoo avatar to appear on my blog.
I do think the instructions for posting the avatar need to be more explicit than they currently are. Specifically, instructions on how to make the avatar and then how to "Export" the avatar including the simplest options for making the avatar available for the blog. (I think the URL option seems easiest.) Then once you get back to Blogger rather than using Edit HTML to customize (add the avatar URL) just do it from the main customize page.
I realize it's kind of fun to explore and make mistakes in the process of learning but we need to consider the frustration level of folks who are going to be using the program as well--we don't want them turned off too early in the process!
BTW, I just discovered that Blogger is now available from school, which is really helpful. It had been blocked earlier by our filtering software.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Blogger Blog (Thing #3)

I've got a blog (Bessie's Blog) on Bloglines already but hadn't used Blogger before because it's blocked at the school where I work. I've set up the blog now and will add to it as the course continues.

Lifelong Learning (Thing #2)

The learning contract seems like a good idea although as I stated in the first post I'm usually helped most by reminders and feedback. Nevertheless, I've never stopped being a learner. The profession I chose was really one of adapt or die (if that's not saying it too strongly!)
I guess I've always been an explorer and never afraid to fail which is also really helpful when doing something at the cutting edge.

Getting Started (Thing #1)

This program looks very interesting not only for we librarians but also for other who might want to get started learning a bit more about Web 2.0.
I have been taking online courses for a while now and find that I can stay on task if I'm given some reminders and deadlines as the course continues.
I'm usually up late at night working (I'm a night person) but right now it's only 8:40 p.m. which isn't late at all.