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.