Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thing #23 - One Last Thing!

I actually finished - I can't believe it!. Doing this was a real accomplishment. I've gone from someone who had only a vague knowledge of a few of these sites to someone, who if not totally proficient in them, at least has a little experience. Having to actually participate and actually"do things" was so much better than just reading about them. Even though I've already forgotten many of the actual how-to's, I know I can go back to the 23 things on a stick site and review them, and perhaps they will become second nature at some point.

Anyway, I'm grateful for the opportunity I had. Now I just have to concentrate on how I can use them in a library situation. I seem to be little weak on imagination, but I'll be working on that.

Thing #22 - What Have I Learned Today

I don't know how I'll ever be able to keep up with all I've learned. I like the idea of 15 minutes a day. It doesn't sound too overwhelming. so I should be able to do it. I'll try to keep up on some of the RSS feeds that I've subscribed to, and will add any other sites I come across that sound interesting to me. There is just so much out there, that I don't know how anyone keeps up regularly.

I'll try to keep up (or at least visit occasionally) WebJunction Minnesota, Ning's 23 things Minnesota, and the Minitex Webinars. Flickr and YouTube are wonderful time wasters. I'll try to think of a way to make them more usable for me as a librarian, though. I have the "Librarian in Black" and "The Shifted Librarian' on my RSS feeds as well as several other sites, so all in all, I think that will definitely cover my 15 minutes a day.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thing #21 - Beyond MySpace

I think if I were ever going to join a social networking group it would be something like this rather than Facebook or MySpace. It seems for the most part to be directed toward adults rather than teens or young people. I read the articles, and came to see that there is a place for social networking within the library. I don't know if our library is quite ready for it, since it seems to take us a great deal of time to set up anything new, but it may happen someday.

I explored Ning and set up an account, added some pictures and posted my Ning badge on my Blog. (I even got a comment from someone and replied to her.) I visited Gather and looked around there. I have to admit I am amazed that there are so many social networking sites and so many people who are a part of them and contribute regularly. I don't see that I would ever do that, but maybe if I had more time or had a really specific interest I wanted to share, perhaps I would get involved.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Thing #20 - Libraries and Social Networks

I spent some time on MySpace because I didn't want to set up a profile on Facebook in order to simply look at it. After checking it out, I'm not sure about a library page on a social networking site. I know I'm going to sound extremely old fashioned and prudish, but so manyof the pages I saw were crude and full of profanity. However, I did look at Hennepin County's page and it looks like it offers a lot of reading lists, new book suggestions, programs of interest to teens, photos, etc. It looks good, but all the comments that I saw on the page were from authors pushing their books. Most of the "friends" on the Dakota County Library page also seemed to be authors. Are we really reaching the group the page is directed at? Lots of libraries around the US have pages. Is there a way of tracking who is accessing them?

Is this more appealing than a web page? Is it just because it's on MySpace that makes it more appealing to teens? I suppose they might be more likely to access the library from that point than from any other entry point, so if that's the case it does make sense to have a presence in MySpace or Facebook. (However, after looking at a few library pages, I can see room for improvement on many of them...misspellings, lack of ability to connect to the library catalog, etc. My own library system is at fault here, too. I don;'t know who is responsible for it, but I suppose after learning all about Library 2.0 we should be able to make improvements...)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Thing#19 - Podcasts

I checked out a couple different types of podcasts - one by Nancy Pearl on book reviews which was a radio-style podcast, and another podcast by an elementary school which was a television style podcast. It was interesting to listen to Nancy because she added much more to the book review than the material that was printed on the website.

The elementary school podcast seemed to me to be very professional, considering the age of the kids. In a way, it made me think of when my kids were in middle school a hundred years ago and had to do a "radio broadcast". The kids doing the podcast each had a subject they were responsible for and appeared very much at ease in front of the camera. If nothing else, being exposed to this technology at an early age will prepare them for life as a newscaster in the future...

I thought the directory was easy to use, but the Educational Podcast directory was more confusing and harder to locate a podcast of interest. I can't imagine that I would personally ever do a podcast, but while talking to another librarian, she mentioned that they were having a teen contest in their library - that might be fun and a draw for kids.

Thing #18 - YouTube

I knew a little bit about YouTube before I started doing 23 Things, but I guess I had no idea of how much was available there. I had lots of fun checking out the various films that came up under "Libraries" or "Librarians" Here is the video I decided to upload to my blog as a possibility for our staff day entertainment. Perhaps our library director would like to lead us...

Another video I really enjoyed was the laughing baby - not library related, but really, really cute.

Once again, however, I have a hard time figuring out how these things apply to the library. It seems like there would be lots of library uses for a video for teaching purposes, but If you spend your time making a video, how do you guarantee that your intended audience sees them? It's not like a public library has a built in audience like a school library or a classroom where viewing it can be an assignment. Library patrons might only find it by accident.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thing #17 Elm Productivity Tools

I'll have to admit I had no idea that all these things were available through ELM. I've used the databases for a long time, but never explored any other options. However, as usual, I had some problems...

Gale Cengage: I couldn't get an RSS feed from Infotrac to Google Reader - I just kept getting an error message. It sounds like I wasn't theonly one who had problems when I looked at the comments at the end of the write-up on Thing #17.

Also- Infotrac Student Edition looks much different on our library website than it does when I access it through I think our student edition is for younger kids. It certainly doesn't look like it's directed at high school level searchers. Also the video shows another interface from the two previously mentioned ways of accessing Infotrac Student Edition... What's going on?
I did manage to listen to the broadcast via NPR and add the NPR news feed to Google Reader.

Ebsco Academic Search Premier: Ebsco also has some material I didn't realize was there. I did manage to set up a web page. However, it seemed to be rather a lot of work. I don't know if I'd be particularly inclined to do this. It's probably just as easy to email citations and links to people. I did manage too set up the link to the Ebsco Search Box and put it on the web page.

Proquest: I wasn't able to find a radio button for "suggest topics" It seemed like other related topics just appeared at the top of the search results. I thought it was much easier to create a web page in Proquest, although there were no options for backgrounds, etc. I think I might use it more often, though, compared to the Ebsco database web page composer.

NetLibrary: Once again, I don't think I knew that you could add notes to pages in NetLibrary. I can see that it might be handy for those doing research in NetLibrary books, but at this point, I don't see much use for me to use it.

I don't collaborate much with other librarians on doing searches for information, so I don't think I'd do much with shared folders. However, I do see that there are lots of tools that I wasn't aware of that, even if I don't use them, would helpful for certain patrons to know they are there.