Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thing 16 - When is My Paper Due?

I think the assignment calculator and research project calculator look like pretty good tools. I don't think I would use this if I were a student, but I'm sure it would be helpful for some. For a teacher the research tool gave some good ideas. I know that there is a link to the research project calculator on the Duluth Public Library website but have no idea if it is ever looked at.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thing 15 - Are You A Playa?

Gaming. I don't have an open mind about it, though I know that I should probably just get over it and embrace this new reality. When I was a kid my mom was (and still is) a bartender, and in middle school we lived over the bar in an apartment. Often after school I would stop by, and Mom would hand me some quarters so I could play PacMan and Donkey Kong. I would also go to video arcades and play various games. They are great for eye/hand coordination, but really I didn't learn a thing from them. They were just a way to have fun and waste time. And today's games often serve the same purpose, though I know some educate about this or that. Back then "social networking" meant that I would play basketball with neighborhood friends or talk on the phone at night.
I believe we've become people who are way out of touch with nature, silence, self-reflection, substantive human contact. I'm bothered by the amount of screen time kids experience now, especially babies and toddlers.
So, I think the whole 2nd Life thing is odd. But now that I think about it, people have often found a way to escape their current reality and move into an alternate realm (some healthy, some not so) - fiction reading, writing, daydreaming, drugs...
I checked out a few of the gaming sites and probably will not go back to them. I do think it's valuable to learn about these things, since they have such a presence in today's world. I thought the 2nd life video of the library tour was intriguing with good music, but at the end I again found myself asking why?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Thing 14 - LibraryDream

I LOVE LIBRARYTHING. A few months back I decided I wanted to figure out a way to track the books I've read, so I started looking online and discovered LibraryThing. I was hooked immediately, and have already gotten an inordinate amount of pleasure from this website. I started an account (dpltech) and quickly filled it. Being too cheap and uncertain if I really wanted to stick with this, I didn't pay to expand my library beyond the free 200 titles. Instead I opened a second account under the name dpltech2.
I think it's a great tool to gather one's collection and share it with others. I have found it interesting to look at other people's libraries. I love the visuals and the way you can organize and sort the titles.
I like how the libraries added LibraryThing to their websites. It's easy and visually appealing. One is semi-limited as far as options on the site, but really I'm satisfied.
I do intend to take the time to backup the info, as I don't have full confidence that something won't go wrong with a web-based program.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thing 13 - Lucky!

The number 13 tends to get a bad wrap, but really it used to be considered a lucky and powerful number. I especially feel its power because this means that I am already more than 1/2 way through this program!
These productivity tools, like so much I've been learning, are like those matryoshka nesting dolls. Look inside and there is yet another layer. Or maybe it's more like an onion, which is why I cry sometimes while working on this (smiley face emoticon).
Google is quite an amazing amalgam of ideas. I liked the Page Flakes layout a bit better though than IGoogle. I don't envision using this sort of thing for myself, but it could be a productivity enhancer for someone.
I tried installing a countdown to "days until Bush is out of office" but could not get the darn thing to operate.
I also tried setting up a stick note account and was unsuccessful with this as well. The computer I was working on wouldn't allow the download.
Zamzar looks really neat, and I'll hope I remember to use it the next time I need to change an attachment or something.
I especially enjoyed the Top 25 Web 2.0 Apps article. It presented a lot of information in a readable way.
The potential to use some of these web 2.0 tools, including these productivity ones, to organize a group is interesting. I could see a library having a website page with a calendar, countdown timer, local happenings, etc.
I have my beautiful artists daybook and do fine with writing myself notes to remember stuff. I already spend lots of time at work looking at a computer screen and don't have any desire to do more of this.
P.S. Scroll down to the bottom of this page and you will see the lovely slideshow I added. It's just a simple download from photobucket. (Ignore the shots of people - I don't know who they are and wish they weren't there.) Fun!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thing 12 - Socialism

How do we maintain our grounding in this age of information? These social media sites are yet another portal to what's happening. The thing is, how much of this stuff do we really need to know? Is it so important to always be right on top of the latest "news" item? I can see the possible relevance of this for reference librarians, but it could also become another time waster. If the librarian is always looking at the computer, will a patron feel comfortable approaching her or assume that she is busy?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thing 11 - Tag, You're It

How did the name come into play? I would have chosen a name that relates more directly to the function of the site, but that's really neither here nor there. If I ever make my own web application, then I get to make the rules.
I'm thinking of starting grad school and can see how a tool like this could be useful. I especially like that I could access my account from any computer. (Of course this means I would need to remember yet another login id and password!)
It's interesting to see how a few of the libraries organized their tags. I especially liked San Mateo which used Dewey, and Menasha which used nice subject categories. I can see the virtues in both systems.
I only use the web semi-frequently, so I don't have that much information to organize in my life. I tend to be something of a minimalist in general and try and live an uncluttered life. I suppose there could come a time though when I might think, "I'm ready to make something".

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thing 10 - WWW (Wide World of Wikis)

I've been using Wikipedia for some time, though there aren't that many minutiae that I take the time to learn about. I've heard some of the pro's and con's about this site, but I think if it's used appropriately it is great. I'm not a journalist or researcher who needs true primary sources, so just as a layperson it can give me what I'm looking for.
I added a line to the 23 things wiki just 'cause this is what we were asked to do. Otherwise I didn't see much value in that site.
I can see how a Wiki could be a useful collaborative tool. On a particular subject it can be much more interesting when people from various walks of life are able add their own insights and expertise. A library can put a wiki or two on their website which might deal with a local event, a reading club, a current topic in the media, or what's happening in the teen scene.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Thing 9 - Togetherness

I'm thinking about the disconnect between a certain technology and its purported virtues vs. what a user's real experience is when trying to apply the technology. When I read about Zoho and Google Docs I felt excited because they seemed like sensible, interesting and useful programs. However I read the comments from other 23 Things users and realized that there is so much frustration with these things.
I know that there's always the learning curve aspect, but if semi-savy people have a hard time with something it makes me think its not ready for the world beyond the tech heads. Time will tell which of these 23 things stick around, and which become dinosaurs.
It was interesting to see how people edited the document in Zoho and Google Docs. More has been done on the Google one, but I slightly prefer the Zoho spread and features just from my initial overview. Some of the comments were thoughtful, others too cheeky for my taste. Public collaboration is a fascinating realm - I'm sure some gems can come forward that wouldn't have been included otherwise. It's really a cool lesson in democracy. Unless participants are working for the "greater good" though it seems like things could get out of hand (especially if writers decide to just try and be funny... not that I don't like funny).
I can see how a library could use these tools, either with inhouse (or outhouse, meaning inter-library) staff collaborations or with something the public can come in on. What if we were to put our mission statements or other policies out there and see what the public might have to say?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thing 8 - Who's Bringing the Popcorn?

I am still amazed at the array of tools on the web. At first I was going to make a mosiac but couldn't quite figure out how to do it. I explored various other links, and especially like Big Huge Lab. I embedded a slideshow from Slideshare on my blog (see top of page). Maybe someday I'll create my own. I love the written word but am hooked on the image presentations too.
I was not familiar with efolio's and realize that I'm really in the dark about some things. I assume this is the way young people are handling their resumes/vitae now.
I think Lazybase is ok but doesn't look visually interesting. The 50 Web 2.0 Ways offers so many more possiblilities, and sometimes I almost experience a feeling of vertigo.
Since starting this 23 Things program I've been waking in the night and thinking about what I've learned and what I want to do with my blog. I'm mostly enjoying the process but feel like I might be obsessing too much about it. I still think the whole virtual world is yes, an exciting realm, but always beware the dark side.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

DPS Book Depository Interior HDR


Thing 7 - Are You My Friend?

Email, IM, text messaging (SMS), web conferencing, OPAL discussions, Google groups, twitter...........................................................................................................................................
And this is only the tip of the iceberg!
Not that I can claim proficiency with any of these tools, but at least I have a basic understanding now of each one. I'm trying to keep an open mind, but it's more like a slit right now. I can see how each of these can be applied to a library setting, but thinking in an Amish kind of way might be a good idea. With every technology there are positive and negative effects - do we have the wisdom to evaluate and discern what we'll adopt?
The Duluth Public Library seems to be behind the curve. We do have an automatic emailing and phone computer system that lets patrons know about holds and overdues. And patrons can access their account online and do renewals, holds, etc. I believe we have some kind of "ask a librarian" tool via. the computer, but it's not IM to my knowledge.
I plan on participating in one of the web conferencing courses. I have done a few of these sorts of things and have found them to work pretty well, assuming the technology is working on all ends.
Real flesh and blood interaction should remain the cornerstone of what we do at a library, but expanding in these virtual directions can perhaps add something to our gumbo.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Things 5 and 6 - Imag(e)ination

Zowey! What a world of possiblities to do some cool things. I experimented with making a movie poster but didn't post it on my blog because I decided I didn't really like it. I think it's very fun playing with these tools and can see the benefit for library websites. The librarian trading cards that Carleton College put together are awesome. Staying in a creative state of mind is one way to success for a library. Visual messages can have such power, and if we learn how to use them in clever ways can keep us on the forefront in our communites.