Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Library 2.0 Ideas Generator

While reading the SecondLife Library 2.0 group posting, I came across this from Kathryn Greenhill from the Australian Libraries at Cybrary City (210,70,24).

DavePattern Ah, left his Library 2.0 Ideas Generator in the Australian Libraries Building. This first came out on his website in July. He's now embedded it in a granite monolith. Your avatar can touch it and it will create a random Library 2.0 idea..just for you. My favorite so far is: "Write a poem about the wonders of Michael Stephens and reach Library 2.0 Nirvana overnight." Just...one...more...mouseclick. Enjoy :)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

#23 Comments on Learning 2.0

I must admit that I really enjoyed all of the discovery exercises that were offered in Learning 2.0. The Technology Summit pumped me up to dive into the program. Self-paced learning is one of the hallmarks of a library. Now that I've completed PLCMC's 23 I'll go over to Stephen Abram's 43 things and explore what he mentions.

Everyone I've spoken with really seemed to enjoy adding avatars to their blogs. Whether they used Yahoo! Avatars or Meez.com it was a hit with everyone. This carried over to the Librarian Trading Cards mentioned as part of Thing #6 Flickr 3rd Party Tools.

With Thing #10 Image Generators I got to bring my Librarian Action Hero to life with movie poster! I can see that others enjoyed them too based on the latest entry in Learning 2.0 - The L2 Image Slideshow. I know that many enjoyed Thing # 20 You Tube, Thing #21 Podcasting and Thing #22 Netlibrary but there wasn't as much making them "your own expression" as with the others mentioned.

Now I'd like to take that "avatar happiness" and hopefully apply it to the next generation of Library 2.0 and 3D Online Reference. A personal creative outlet meets service where the patrons are! And with my sharable customized start pages that I discovered as part of Thing #19 Web 2.0 tools I can keep track of all of these cool Learning 2.0 "things" in one place. Keeping track of these tools easily is the key to using them for resources and projects.

One thing that I would like to mention is that in order to complete each of the "23 Things" I found myself exploring while I was at work but posting my blog entries while I was at home so I wouldn't be distracted. For those staff that do not have computers at home, finding time to complete each of the entries was very much a challenge. I was especially concerned for the circulation staff because the majority of the circulation workstations to not have access to the open Internet, only sites on the PLCMC "yes" list through the proxy server.

If we did the project all over I would recommend that we:
1-Allow more time to complete the "23 Things". Some staff I spoke with lost their motivation to complete the project when they fell behind.
2-Put all the websites we are going to explore on the proxy server "yes" list so that circulation staff can access them from their workstations or have open Internet available on those workstations for the duration of the program.
3-Consider offering workshops for the "23 things". Even though some staff thrive on self-paced learning, others prefer workshops where they feel comfortable asking an instructor questions. Some staff felt uncomfortable asking others for help because they didn't want to prevent the helpers from completing their "things" too. Having a classroom setting lets a staff member step away from the day-to-day tasks and be able to focus on learning in an undistracted environment.

At my branch I felt these elements were there but I also want to say that everyone was very encouraging to each other. Anytime someone had a question there were mentors who were there to help. We all shared our successes and urged each other to continue so they could receive their MP3 player too!

If there was ever an incentive program like this in the future I know that I would probably participate. I'm sure the motivation from Learning 2.0 will inspire many other projects for some time to come. Now that we know about so many collabration tools it will hopefully make our jobs easier by not having to recreate the wheel everytime for resources and programming ideas but learn from others who shared through these Web 2.0 Tools.

Now I can go and read and comment on what other participants are saying and do a little sprucing up on my own little blog. :)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

#22 Netlibrary : Downloadable eBooks

In exploring Netlibrary.com I actually found several audiobook titles that I was interested in. I have created my account and added many books to my favorites list. I'll be ready to download them on my MP3 player! This will give me a chance to listen to adult and children's classics and other authors such as Marion Zimmer Bradley, Brian Jacques and Elizabeth Peters that I may not have otherwise read due to time constraints. Our patrons will really enjoy having access to the audiobook collection of ESL and Foreign Language materials and the full text of the Holy Bible. I'll be sure to refer them to Netlibrary.

I deceided to download The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters from Netlibrary. I chose "Download CD Quality" so that I could transfer it to the MP3 player. It said that it would download in 14 minutes over a cable modem. My file downloaded in about 6 minutes over a DSL modem. This was a 163 MB file with 6 Hours 39 Minutes of playing time. I opened it in Windows MediaPlayer and I was able play the audiobook. One thing I noticed right away is that there is no breakdown by chapter for easy reference. It is just one long audio stream. I had to remember to pause MediaPlayer and not stop it or I'd lose what time the story stopped on. I also tested it by closing out of MediaPlayer and opening it back up and sure enough it went back to the beginning. It does not remember where you stopped.

I hope that the MP3 player will have a way to pause the story even if it's turned off and then resume when it's turned back on again. Also, how is the MP3 player's battery charged and for how long? Would it be advisable to get a charger or is it automatically charged by putting it in a USB port? I hope to find out when I receive it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

#21 Podcasting - Directories and Creation Tools

Gabcast! Libraries & Technology #1 - Podcasting - Directories and Creation Tools

A verbal reproduction of my blog post about Learning 2.0 "thing" #21 - Podcasting.

Using Podcast.net I came across Talking with Talis and Amazon Wire.

Talking with Talis is hosted by Paul Miller from the UK. The focus is Library 2.0--where the movers and shakers of Web 2.0 and libraries come together to share their thoughts. Amazon Wire is the free podcast from Amazon.com which has interviews with the creators of books, music, and film.

Using the Podcastalley.com directory I found LibVibe. This is podcasts of the latest library headline news. At Yahoo! Podcasts I discovered NPR Books. This lead me to explore all the podcasting options available from NPR. There are a lot to choose from!

I was going to try to post a podcast of my own using Audioblogger.com but it is going away as of Nov. 1, 2006. They did offer other alternatives one of which is Gabcast.com. It does everything that Audioblogger does plus it has a 1-800 number too. It even has a feature where you can conference call a podcast. Great for interviews! So I went and set up an account. The instructions were straightforward and now you can hear this blog post as well as read it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

#20 YouTube : Video - The Mummy - In the Library

OK, I couldn't help myself. In keeping with the theme of the "librarian action hero" I chose The Library scene from the movie The Mummy (1999) featuring Rachel Weisz as librarian Evelyn Carnahan to add to my blog. Sometimes I feel that all librarians have had days like this! I almost chose Conan The Librarian as a post instead but it didn't have quite the "action hero" mold I was looking for.

It was really interesting to see what others had posted with the tags: library and librarian in YouTube. I really enjoyed the creative use that the folks at ImaginOn did with the clip, Troy Story. But also it seemed that searching for something specific was more difficult. Just typing in "library" brought up videos from inside actual libraries but also had quite a few spoofs like the Silent Library from Japan.

After looking at the site I thought it would be handy to have a library video search feature for the PLCMC family of websites. It would make a nice reference and PR tool. "Find Stars in Your Library!"

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

#19 Web 2.0 Tools - Start pages : "Pimped Out" Personalized Home Pages

It was very hard to just pick out "one" Web 2.0 Tool to talk about. I know that I didn't want to choose a tool similar to what we have already covered in the Learning 2.0 project so after looking at many types of resources I deceided that it would be best to look at start pages because it would be nice to have in one place all of these neat "things" we have been talking about. That way I can keep track of many more things that I could put in the sidebar of my blog. You could even create a separate library start page to help with reference questions or programming ideas if you wanted.

The three start page winners mentioned in the SEOmoz's Web 2.0 Awards grabbed my attention. I have been curious to know about what My Yahoo! alternatives were available. I was hard pressed to decide between the first two: Pageflakes.com and Google's Personalized Start Page.

Since I already have a Google account because of Blogger Beta I knew I had to try it out. Google's Content Directory is nicely separated out into category tabs for easy selection. It also lets you add your own modules or feeds. Nice. Although not as snazzy looking as Pageflakes, its ease of use was hard to beat.

Pageflakes has an AJAX start page which is more readable and easier on the eyes. It also has lots of feeds and "flakes" to populate your personal page with. It also organizes its content into categories but via drop down menus.

In both you could add your modules (pageflakes calls modules "flakes") or feeds and drag and drop them how ever you would like in you homepage layout. This is definately something that My Yahoo does not have. You can quicly add your own feed in both Pageflakes and the Google Start Page but Pageflakes doesn't have a way to let you add your own module yet. Google Start Page will let you add one via URL.

I probably use the Google Start Page for work related things and Pageflakes for personal stuff so that I can continue to monitor both for progress. I'm sure that at some point Pageflakes will let you add your own modules too. Overall start pages make a nice one stop shop for all of your personalized content.

#18 Web Based Apps - Writely

I discovered that Writely is also not supporting Blogger Beta yet so again I had to view my document as HTML, copy and paste the code into a post and do some clean up just like in Zoho Writer. Both are about the same in ease of use. The HTML tab in Writely is handy and only shows the code for the document. I did have to import the image directly into my blog post though and place it in the table in the blog. With Zoho Writer I didn't have to do that. So both have their pros and cons. I'll just be waiting for Blogger Beta support for either one so I can export directly.

Title: Egyptology : search for the tomb of Osiris : being the journal of Miss Emily Sands, November 1926-.
Author: Emily Sands; Ian P Andrew; Nick Harris; Helen Ward; Dugald Steer      
Illustrator: Emily Sands; Nick Harris; Ian P Andrew; Helen Ward      
Publisher: Candlewick Press   
Pub Date: 2004   
ISBN: 0763626384     

Have you ever wanted to be an archaeologist like Indiana Jones? Then you would enjoy exploring the wonders of Ancient Egypt along with Emily Sands, explorer extraordinaire. Follow along in her journal scrapbook as she searches for the lost tomb of Osiris.  The illustrations are very captivating. Every page will inspire you to explore the special features. These include postcards, envelopes, papyrus scrolls, foldouts, maps, treasure samples, minibooks, popups, and even playing pieces for a game of Egyptian Senet which is similar to checkers. Bring your magnifying glass because some of the text is hard to read. Will Miss Sands discover the mysterious tomb? Read and find out!

If you would like other suggestions for reading take a look at Readers Club for adults and teens or Bookhive for young readers (or the young at heart!).

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

#18 Web Based Apps - Zoho Writer

I thought I would take the book review that I did for the previous "thing" with wikis and see if I could create it with Zoho Writer and then save as .html code the way I wanted it.

Egyptology Title:
Egyptology : search for the tomb of Osiris : being the journal of Miss Emily Sands, November 1926-.

Author: Emily Sands; Ian P Andrew; Nick Harris; Helen Ward; Dugald Steer
Illustrator: Emily Sands; Nick Harris; Ian P Andrew; Helen Ward     
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 2004
ISBN: 0763626384
Have you ever wanted to be an archaeologist like Indiana Jones? Then you would enjoy exploring the wonders of Ancient Egypt along with Emily Sands, explorer extraordinaire. Follow along in her journal scrapbook as she searches for the lost tomb of Osiris.  The illustrations are very captivating. Every page will inspire you to explore the special features. These include postcards, envelopes, papyrus scrolls, foldouts, maps, treasure samples, minibooks, popups, and even playing pieces for a game of Egyptian Senet which is similar to checkers. Bring your magnifying glass because some of the text is hard to read. Will Miss Sands discover the mysterious tomb? Read and find out!
If you would like other suggestions for reading take a look at Readers Club for adults and teens or Bookhive for young readers (or young at heart!).

Once I figured out that I had to right click on the table to adjust
it the way I wanted things went a lot more smoothly. Having a
full feature text editor is really handy. This has so many more
features than the typical blog editor. It uses many of the standard
keyboard shortcuts already known to MS Office users. I did notice
however, that like many web based products that there is a delay
with saving if the Internet is very busy. The automatic save
feature helps in this matter. But otherwise it has many features
that I have come appreciate in a regular word processor. I wish it
had more help features and FAQs. That would have helped in my
struggle with understanding how to use the table feature.

Unfortunately Zoho writer does not support Blogger Beta so I can't publish directly to my blog. frown
I had to export the document and then copy and paste the source code into a blog post. Then I had to take out a lot of page breaks to get it to look somewhat decent. Oh well. I'm going to try Writely and see if I get better results.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

#17 PBWiki - Group Edited Webpage Creation Tool

I've added the Questing Librarian to the wiki plcmclearning : Favorite Blogs section. I also added a couple of Favorite Restaurants to the wiki as well. Then I experimented with adding a new page linked to the Favorite Books section. It is a book review on Egyptology from the popular "Ologies" series which include Dragonology, Wizardology, and Pirateology. Fairyopolis is similar to the "Ologies" series but is by a different publisher. I have also sent Egyptology and Fairyopolis to the children's book review site Bookhive for addition.

I just did some simple formatting for the book review entry in PBWiki because I'd have to look up how to put the text next to the book cover instead of underneath. It's a handy tool for easy editing of web pages. However, I'd have to consider all the factors of a software tool before I deceided to use it for what ever project I had in mind.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Blogger & Blogger Beta Comments

According to Blogger Buzz--Blogger beta and regular Blogger users are able to comment on each others blogs again. Hurray!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

#16 Wikis - Group Edited Resources

I could easily see creating wikis for subject guides on topics similar to SJCPL's Subject Guides that we get asked about all the time. Especially for popular topics such as: local information, careers and jobs, geneology and local history, and senior exit projects. The IS File pathfinders on the Staff Intranet would be an excellent candidate for conversion. Also, I'm sure that every branch has staff finding lists for reader's advisory and homework support that would translate well to a wiki. The thing for any group wanting to create a wiki is to deceide--are we all going to create our own wiki on our topic and then link them in another wiki that links back to all of ours OR will there be one centralized library wiki and everyone goes in and adds posts on their topic? And how will we facilitate customer feedback? Will it be something that only librarians will contribute to or will patrons be able to contribute too? Also consider the costs of conversion, especially staff time required to do it.

The Book Lover's wiki looks like something the library already does with the Reader's Club website but with the ability of readers to add comments to a book that has been reviewed.

Library Success : a best practices wiki is a great idea. But like any group project it's only as good as it's contributions. Some areas don't have any entries yet.

The ALA 2006 New Orleans wiki was very easy to follow and understand. Everyone who is a conference participant would want to read the wiki to find out more information and topics of interest. They could also post what discoveries they had to share with others. I could see turning large library events into wikis such as the Novello Festival of Reading.

The Bull Run Library Wiki seemed like an example of a work in progress. It had features that were a cross between a blog and a wiki.

Other wiki examples that I found useful were:
1. The UCONN Library Staff Wiki. After looking at this site I immediately thought of our staff Intranet. If it was a wiki then all staff could post updates directly without having to go though a webmaster.

2. Biz Wiki from Ohio University. This is similar to our Bizling.org website. If conversion was an option, the same things that applied to the subject guides listed above would be factors here. Something else to consider--would it be better to just create a wiki separately as an adjunct to the website? Is there any other information that would be worthwhile adding that isn't already provided by the website?

3. The USC Aiken Gregg-Graniteville Library Wiki is sharp. Everything is so easy to find. I especially how they made finding articles in their online databases intuitive. It's not a cluttered site but everything seems within easy reach. What is difficult for any library homepage is to facilitate the fewest mouse clicks possible but still have the page not appear "busy". Also consider how much accessibility are you willing to give with the site--only have library staff add updates or have it open for all patrons? How will patron comments be presented? Will there be an assigned moderator of comments or will this be allowed to be moderated collectively?

4. The FLICC/Fedlink Environmental Scan Project blew me away with it's information. It's findings should make libraries take notice. A must read for anyone in libraries. Content and accessiblilty to all parts of the project were easy to follow with the outline in the sidebar and in the body of the page.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

#15 Library 2.0 - More Than Teen Gaming Night

There are several Web 2.0 technologies that I can see libraries incorporating with a little help from their vendors. If vendors deceide to not offer them they should at least make their products to where the library itself can add these features. For the library catalog these technology features include: built-in RSS feeds for keyword searches and popular groupings such as new feature films, user tagging with outdisrupting the original subject headers on the collection, and the ability for user commenting and ratings on books and articles. Comments and tags one patron adds will help the next one looking for the same topic. Library vendors could also adopt the features of Amazon.com and Google of interest to patrons. You could have personalized catalog logins where patrons can add these features to their "My Library Catalog". Give them a place to list their favorite titles, authors and genres and be able to share it with others. Library users should be able to use these resources inside or outside the library.

A great example is the Endeca-based NC State catalog. I got a chance to hear about it from from a presentation by Andrew Pace, Head of Systems at NCSU at the Spring 2006 ANCHASL Meeting.They took their old Dynix catalog and dumped it into Endeca. Endeca offers the ability to choose from numerous ways to navigate. It offers reference linking and next generation multisearch. You can limit by document type or browse the the entire collection by call number. It has an automatic citation builder that is available in various styles. It even has automatic spell check similar to Google's "did you mean this" feature. Librarians can create a Q&A on the fly and add to the library FAQ.

If the library offers in-house resources such as websites then these could also have RSS feeds, user access points for the submission of reviews, assignment of keywords (“tagging”), addition of scholarly commentary, and other forms of user participation. A good example of this is the Reader's Club website.

Also the library will want to plan content for the new communication services that are available today. These include: graphics tablets, Ipods & MP3 players, smart phones, PDA's, E-book readers, smart watches, and Blackberries. Patrons will get excited if you have content for their new gadget. Incorporating Web 2.0 technologies in the library will help provide content for these devices. Examples of how libraries are using Web 2.0 tools that I've read about include:

-a public information blog for library news, events & discussion of community needs
-a story-time Podcast for younger patrons
-using Flickr to photoshare library events
-creating a Wiki-style town history where residents can browse a list of historic homes and adding their memories to the public record with a simple Web form
-wikis for genealogists
-wikis for local information
-wikis to pool library information and standards
-blogs for internal library communication--library managers blog, reference blog, branch blog, circulation blog, library teams blog, IT communications with library staff blog, etc.
-An internal library PC and server inventory wiki.
-Voice and Video over IP for digital meetings when travel is difficult
-pushing content via RSS
-content creation resouces for patrons to record podcasts and develop digital videos
-interlibrary loan (ILL) purchase-on-demand from online used-book retailers
-open source wiki software to create a successful subject guide that facilitates customer feedback
-personalization of library web pages
-allowing customers to call impromptu book talks or discussion groups
-offering collaborative online MS Office alternative resources such as Writely and Writeboard, 37 Signals products - Basecamp, Backpack, and Ta-da Lists and Microsoft Office Live
-instant messaging reference services
-downloadable music, video, and audiobook services
-an iPod Shuffle loan program
-podcast of a teen band competition at the library
-podcasts for library classes and grand tours of the library

If we use Web 2.0 technology between library staff first and get comfortable with it then we can use it with our patrons and market the library.

You might say, "Wow, Library 2.0 is is all that and a bag of chips but what about the future?"

I really enjoyed Dr. Wendy Schultz's article To a temporary place in time... the best out of the 5 perspectives in the OCLC Next Space Newsletter article Web 2.0 : Where will the next generation Web take libraries?. I think about what the the Joker said in Batman.."Think about the future, the future, the future..." It will transform and change us but also give us our special place where we can be in that fantasy zen zone for the mind--that place of wonder and exploration as a child--that we are all desperately trying to get back to when the world turned serious and growing up meant putting toys aside. I kind of equate it with moving from childrens resources with pictures and whizbang features like popups gizmos and textures to adult resources with boring text only. Yes it looks serious and authoritative. But who wants to read that? I'd much rather take the Japanese manga approch and have textbooks and manuals in picture format. They claim that learning is so much better. You absorb much more and the information is interesting. And that is really what we want. Information retrieval that is easy, pleasing to the eye, and facinating but with authority and expertise and a librarian guide to lead us to what we want with options--but not too many or we get information overload.

This librarian guide can be seen in person or online in 3D as an avatar in a virtual representation of the library. Each librarian has their subject specialties. When in a branch there is always one librarian that is the "go to" source for a particular topic be it scrapbooking or starting a business or travel tips. Patrons will collect trading cards on their favorite librarians and pass them on to other users. (Psst-Dude..check out this librarian...she pwns. Check her out if you need info on anything!)

But don't stop there! Create the library environment you have always wanted and integrate it with the virtual world. The virtual reality game Second Life has been host to many dual events online and live on location. Check out Jonathan Fildes article : BBC starts to rock online world. I can see the same thing happening in libraries. Library programming can be sent to the online game and show up on a video monitor for all avatars ingame to see. This would also be vice versa. If an event is going on in Second Life, all inside the library could see what is going on. Like satellite broadcasts of an event that has sold out in a stadium. Now those on the outside can see the show after all. No need to fight scalpers for tickets! Hmm..how about the Novello festival in Second Life?

And finally, make the library where you want to be in real life. Take a look at the OCLC Newsletter article Staying in the game! : How to create environments for Boomers and Gamers in your library especially the section Zone in on your users. People play virtual reality games to be in that fantasy zone where they want to live, create, and express themselves. Make it so in the library too. I want a library that partners with private vendors to offer a Starbucks Coffee/ Tea House type environment that everyone wants to be in. I want a community space thats buzzing with programming hipness and sound proof areas for quiet study to reach that "zen" state of lifelong learning. I want good natural lighting, plenty of windows, and comforable chairs. Take that zen feeling and make an enclosed Japanese style tea garden or an outdoor cafe. Have access to porches that open onto an arboretum with picnic benches and electrical outlets on the outside. I want all of that plus an information hub that is second to none. If I want to learn how to paint I can find it--online or with a guidebook and have access to digital tools to create on the spot. If I want to understand how DNA makes the world go round I should be able to find it at home, at work, or wherever I am. If the library doesn't have a book I want, I would like to walk over to a bookmaker machine, type in the ISBN and the machine prints it in 15 minutes--cataloged and ready to check out. Libraries can become the new star attraction that will put a city on the map. Make it something that every visitor will put on their "must see and do" list. Golden Gate Bridge, check, Broadway musical, check, Seattle Public Library, check, Salt Lake City Public Library, check...

So when are we going to have video games for checkout like Blockbuster? Patience young Padawan.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

#14 Technorati : Tagging = Blog Marketing & Better Search Results

I searched Technorati using the keyword "Learning 2.0" and got very different results when I used the limiters of posts, tags, and Blog Directory. Also if you put the phrase in quotes you seem to get more accurate results.

I got 27,452 results from Learning 2.0 (no quotes) in blog posts.
I got 1,282 results using "Learning 2.0" in blog posts.
I got 51 posts tagged Learning 2.0 (no quotes) in tags.
I got 59 posts tagged "Learning 2.0" in tags.
I got 10 blogs about Learning 2.0 (no quotes) sorted by authority in blog directory.
I got 10 blogs about "Learning 2.0" sorted by authority in blog directory.

I'm assuming that "authority" means that someone tagged their blog with Learning 2.0. The tags list seemed to bring up the most matches for the Learning 2.0 project. I enjoyed the Advanced Search screen because it described what was being searched much better.

It was no surprise to me that the most popular blogs were on the topics of technology and news and top videos were hosted on YouTube. I was surprised to see Gregory Maguire's Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and Carol Rose's Giants, Monsters, and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth in the Popular Books listing. I know that Wicked inspired a Broadway musical. It's nice to see that fantasy and folklore are so popular.

I don't have to worry about adding HTML code to my blog posts because since Blogger Beta incorporates labels (called categories in other blogging software) and publishes to a RSS/Atom feed Technorati will automatically read them as my tags for my blog in Technorati. Sweet! So I went back and added labels to all of my posts and created a section in my sidebar for my label categories. All of my blog posts have the label PLCMCL2. I have both "Learning 2.0" and "PLCMCL2" in my watchlist. I "claimed" my blog in an earlier post on RSS Feed Search Tools.

Technorati Tag:


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Flickr Support for Blogger Beta

Hurray Flickr now supports Blogger Beta! Check out the article Flickr Support for Blogger in Beta in the Blogger Buzz blog. Now I can post pictures directly from Flickr to my blog!

Now if I could just get the Rollyo Searchbox to work. Hmmm. I guess I'll just have to wait for those improvements. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

#13 Del.icio.us : Social Bookmarking with Tags

I have created a Del.icio.us account for the Questing Librarian from my home computer using the Firefox web browser. I have also added PLCMCL2 to my network. Now I can add all those nifty bookmarks that have been piling up and check PLCMCL2's bookmarks too while logged in. I went a step further than just adding a Network Badge. I added a Link Roll which also shows the latest bookmarks I've added to Del.icio.us.

After looking at Del.icio.us I could see the potential for uses by a group. A tagged bookmark list would allow, for instance, staff at a library branch to collectively create a list tagged by topic for easy reference assistance. I used to do a web browser bookmark list for our branch and when we upgraded our computers I was no longer able to update it due to access restrictions. I can think of two ways this could be done with Del.icio.us: 1-If staff all used the same tag for topics then we could pull up the list by tag for homework and reference support or 2-staff could just use a collective account and add bookmarks that way.

I also immediately thought of instructors creating a bookmark list of required reading for a class. Individuals that had accounts could collectively use specific tags for a special interest such as "gaming in libraries" and then everyone in that special interest group that added articles on the topic could collectively see all the articles that used the same tag.

I also noticed when I looked at the PLCMCL2 Del.icio.us list, it seemed that in order to comment you have to have a Del.icio.us account. Over all it looks like a personal web based bookmark list like Yahoo! Bookmarks with the added feature of social searching and linking by tags and users.

Friday, September 08, 2006

#12 Rollyo - Rolling a Customized Search Tool

I created an account with Rollyo and rolled two custom searches. VideoGamesInStock will look for video games in all major gaming retailers. I created it to look for new releases. I also rolled a second search called GameBooksInStock. This was designed to check all major retailers and publishers of video game tip books.

I tried to add the Rollyo Searchbox to my sidebar but it never loaded properly. The searchbox would show but all of my search engine selections were listed below the drop box as text. You could not select one to do a search. Very strange. You could do a search using what ever was the first search engine you selected in the list and that was it. I'm not sure how to fix the code to make it work right. Hopefully it will be corrected in an update to either Blogger Beta or Rollyo and I can attempt to add it to my blog at a later point.

I also took a look at fellow L2.0 blogger MarkS and his JazzRecordings custom search. Cool Daddy-O! I would post a comment on his blog but since he does not have a beta account and I do I can't post to his blog yet. Blogger beta says that will be available in a later patch. Oh well. Rock on Mark!

I could also see using this for local resource searches very easily.

#11 LibraryThing - Sharing a Personal Book List

I have added 15 books to my LibraryThing catalog and added a LibraryThing book widget and search tool in my sidebar. The site is very easy to use. I like that there is no extra long account signup process. I could see book clubs using this to share their selections. It is an excellent tool for anyone to keep up with what they are reading. It's so easy to forget that over time one can read many titles and then forget what you've read.

One thing about adding the search tool. I had to keep editing it to fit inside my sidebar. Once it fit though it was good to go. Overall a fun experience.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

#10 Librarian Action Hero, Movie Poster & Other Image Generators

This says "Questing Librarian, forever." Created using an Egyptian Name Generator called Hieroglyphs.net

I created my Questing Librarian Action Hero using a fantasy character generator called HeroMachine.
To get a copy of your creation you must make a screenshot using the Ctrl + PrintScreen keys and paste it into some sort of image editing software such as MS Paint. Then you'll have to crop the picture to get just the image of the hero. Save that image and you're ready to do things with it. Remember to copy and paste the code for your character in some sort of word processor such as Notepad. That way if you want to go back and edit your character in HeroMachine you can just copy and paste the code back into HeroMachine and resume updating your work. I added the speech bubble using a speech bubble generator called Make Your Own Speech Bubble!

I created the movie poster using the Movie Poster Generator from fd's Flickr Toys. It took me a while but I realized that I could not use the title line because it went right over my characters face. So I ended up using one of the taglines for the title line.

There were several other generators that I enjoyed that I just have to share:

I found out that The Questing Librarian's name in elvish from Middle Earth is Andúnë of Dorthonion using the Elvish Name Generator.

QL's fairy name is Fen Saturntree I also found out that:

She is a trouble maker.

She lives in reed marshes and lonely fenland.

She is only seen when the first leaves fall from the trees.

She wears pale pink marshmallow flowers. She has delicate pale pink wings like a cicada.

Find our your fairy name using the Original Fairy Name Generator.

And last but not least I could not pass up using the Jedi Training Generator for a little night school class. Choose where you would like your training to take place and be sure to "Yodify" to get a great response.

May the force be with you!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Happy Blog Day : 5 L2.0 Participant Blogs I'm Reading

Oooo--This is so hard to deceide which 5 participant blogs I'm reading for Blogday 2006. There are so many that I enjoy. I'll just mention 5 that I have read recently.

I'm reading Library at Lunch and Star Wars Girl because I enjoy the Star Wars references. I'm playing Star Wars : Galaxies at the moment.

The other 3 have things on their blogs that I have on my "to do" list to accomplish. (Plus they just have very nice blogs ;) I want to go to Meez.com and create a moving avatar like in Ian's Other Journal. I would like to follow the example that Salad Days mentioned in their post and create expandable posts in my blog so that each entry doesn't take up too much real estate on the front page. Also, I want to take a deeper look at the website Mediasnackers.com that was mentioned on the Youth Tech blog. So many teens think that even email is only for grown ups or business and is so "old school" already.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

#9 RSS Feed Search Tools & "Claiming" My Blog

I found the Bloglines Search Tool to be the most useful when I am looking for information from feeds I already subscribe to. For example I can put in the search term "blogroll" and see how many folks have commented on the topic. Speaking of blogrolls, I went ahead and added one for the Questing Librarian in the side bar. Sorry it's so long! Everything is so interesting and I don't want to miss out.

For the other search tools I tried the keyword phrases: "learning 2.0", "library 2.0", "web 2.0", and "second life". Feedster has a Google type interface and seemed straightforward to use. It seemed best for specific searches instead of general browsing. Be sure to use Feedster's proper syntax (such as putting quotes around a phrase) and sort in the order you want for the kind of hits you are looking for (date or relavance).

Topix.net is more browser centric, similar to Yahoo. Having the large topic categories at the top of the screen was useful to get an idea of what the site offered. It reminded me of what Google News and Yahoo! News offer but with the ability for readers to comment on articles. I really liked the news channel guide to help me see what was available. There is literally a category for everything under the sun. I still can't believe that there is a category for foie-gras, luther burgers, and turduckens (that's a turkey-duck-chicken put together in a roll for slicing). I guess folks want news for just about anything.

I found Syndic8.com the most confusing. I really started to feel information overload looking at this one. At first it seemed to be targeted more to webmasters that to the normal joe surfer. I had to go to feed categories to start making sense of it. Even then I really had to dig through the categories to find anything useful. Category wise it seemed focused on the investor or business or sports. When I did find the library feeds they were mostly focused on technical services.

I have "claimed" my blog on Technorati.com. It was a very simple process. Now I have a blog search tool that I've added to the Questing Librarian so that readers can search by key word for what ever topic they are interested in on the blog. I can also see who has linked to my blog. Very neat! This seems to carry some of the best features of both a search tool and a browsing directory. The layout was very easy to follow. The popular blog listing made it easy to see what was useful to alot of people. The search box at the top of the home page let you search by keyword if that was simpler for you.

I also tried Google Blogsearch. It was very much like Feedster.com except that it had Google's advanced search features and preferences options. You can sort by relevance or date and also quickly link to just those blogs that have posted for the last hour, 12 hours, day, week, or longer period of time.

Overall I'd use Technorati or Topix to search for feeds if I just want to browse to see what's out there. If I had something specific I was looking for then I'd probably use any of them except Syndic8.com. It was by far the most confusing resourse. I'd only use it if the others didn't yield any results.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

#8 RSS Feeds & Newsreaders - Bloglines vs. My Yahoo!

Ok-I must admit I spent wayyyy to much time exploring Bloglines and adding many blogs to my account. You give an obsessive compulsive organizer an organizing tool and it's so hard to stop! Just one...more...blog!

I have put together a public Bloglines account for the Questing Librarian. I made some of my blog subscriptions private to test if they would show up in the public account. What is nice is that you can select an entire folder to be marked private. Newsreaders give me a chance to look at a large number of resources on one page without having to go to every site. What a time saver! Now I can cancel all those newsletters I get in my email and I check them in the blog. Hurray!

I've had a My Yahoo! account for about a year now. Both Bloglines and My Yahoo! have features that are useful. But I think that My Yahoo! is more useful if you don't have as many blogs to keep up with. It has some very nice content layout customizations.

Sharing blogrolls is something that is a unique feature of Bloglines. Since My Yahoo! also includes personal content (such as links to your email) I think that is why they don't offer this feature.

The nice thing about newsreaders for libraries is that they can keep up with what their peers are doing to get new ideas. Having a fresh injection of creativity from others is so helpful for many things that libraries do.

I'll try not to get so lost in my explorations next time. Newsreaders rule!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

#7 3-D Online Reference - 2nd Life, Google Earth & Other Musings

With all of this online communcation technology it will only be a matter of time before we start seeing 3-D library reference. 2-D reference like NCKnows/Questionpoint seems like online reference on steriods to librarians now, but 3-D reference will include an avatar for both librarian and patron. More and more businesses are creating a 3-D representation of themselves on the web. One of the most dynamic examples of that is in the online game Second Life. A virtual world that is completely created by the players themselves. The game developers just supply the servers and moderate the game. Everything else is done by the players. It costs nothing to download the software for the game onto your computer and create an account with your avatar. But if you want to buy land and put a building on it you will need to upgrade to a premium account which costs $9.95 a month.

Who is creating a virtual representation of themselves in Second Life? Some examples are: CBS News, Wells Fargo, and even Harvard Law School.

The article "Your Second Life is Ready" from the September 2006 issue of Popular Science says it best, "...if I was online banking in SL, I wouldn't have to browse through several static screens of text. I could just walk into a virtual bank, stroll up to a teller, and deposit real-life money the newfangled, old-fashioned way: by talking to a person." (Newitz, p. 76) Other examples of 3-D use include: touring a college campus before you visit in person or visiting virtually your vacation destination to get the best hotel in relation to what you want to do. Clothing stores are setting up shops where you can put your actual measurements on an avatar and try on clothes before you buy.

I know that other services will probably be next. Enter what OPAL and the Alliance Library System are doing with the Second Life Library 2.0 These folks are going where the patrons are. In April 2006 they put out a call for librarians interested in participating in a project to set up a library presence in Second Life. In less than a month, more than two dozen librarians from around the world were meeting at a brand new virtual library to staff the reference desk and discuss collection development, online programming, and library services. The response has only grown, and Second Life citizens are taking advantage of all the library has offer. Our very own Kelly C from ImaginOn is heading up the Virtual Teen Library : Second Life. Go Kelly! The nice thing about Second Life is that it will allow librarians to iron out the kinks of offering this sort of service and troubleshoot problems in a controlled environment.

Not to be outdone, enter Google Earth. This is a 3-D representation of planet Earth taken from satellite photos. Google also released recently a popular 3-D modeling program called SketchUp. Google developers are encouraging folks to use SketchUp to create 3-D layers on top of Google Earth.

In the article, Future Boy: Google moves into virtual worlds Chris Taylor from CNN/Money.com says, "The result could be that we'll soon populate a virtual version of planet Earth instead of the made-from-scratch metaverses like online games or Second Life. The main element Google Earth is missing today is avatars, but at least one observer believes those to be added soon."

A virtual earth..hmmm....something to ponder. Online reference in your PJ's?

Poll - Internet Librarian Conference Oct. 23-25, 2006

Ok, I guess it's my turn to do a little sample poll. As for myself I will not be able to go to this conference but am eager to see the results that come out of it. The website is www.infotoday.com/il2006 They will also have an IL Conference wiki, and a Conference Blog with "tags" of IL2006 and I@SW2006.

Are you going to the Internet Librarian Conference, October 23-25, 2006 in Monterey, California?
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Friday, August 25, 2006

#6 Flickr 3rd Party Tools, Mashups, & Other Photo Sharing Sites

Tabblo: IRL Library Tabblo

Welcome to the library! Come inside. There are many resources to discover in your branch.

... See my Tabblo>

I must admit that like Helene I like fd's Flickr Toys selection of third party apps. They seem the most practical to use. The others just seem like a novelty to me. Of course I'm sure that someone will put them to good use and I will be amazed.

It was hard for me to choose just one that was my favorite. I'd have to say the Trading Card Maker and the Captioner are my favorite Flickr tools so far. I wanted to have my very own Harry Potter / Yu-Gi-Oh trading card with a comic book speech balloon but alas my Yahoo! Avatar photo is too small. The speech balloon covered the whole picture! I tried enlarging it but MS Paint could not enlarge the picture without distorting it. Oh well.

Other photo sharing sites that I enjoyed off of other participant blogs are Slide.com from Chris' blog, Photography, ImaginOn, Learning 2.0, and Other Nonsense, Tabblo from Russ' blog, R U Learning, and Bubbleshare featured on Chris Bates' blog, The Relevant Library.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Librarian Trading Card

I created a Librarian Trading Card using fd's Flickr Toys - Trading Card Maker. My decription was inspired by Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons. Beep! Beep!

Tagged my Librarian Trading Card for the Flickr librariantradingcard and librariantradingcards clusters. Be sure to consider plurals when adding tags to your photos.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

#5 Playing with Flickr - Photo Gallery

Just made some photos using our branch's digital camera. (Thanks to our KidsBookDiva for showing me how to use a digital camera since I do not own one.) I've created a Flickr Account for the Questing Librarian and uploaded the shots. You can quickly create a Flickr web address alias. Here's how. I also joined the Librararies and Librarians group. It's amazing how many libraries are already using Flickr.

I created an HTML badge for it and added it to the sidebar of this blog. I tried to create a Flash Badge but it didn't want to load. I don't know if that is a problem with Blogger Beta or not so I resorted to the HTML badge.

I also tried to post a photo from PLCMC's "Game Zone" with commentary from Flickr and it said that it was sent to my blog but it has never showed up. I don't know if there is a delay because of network traffic or because of Blogger Beta again. I'll try to send a photo again from Flickr at a later point.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Blogger Beta Account

I was able to get a new Beta Blogger Account. I just made the transition.

There was an information box on my dashboard when I logged in underneath my profile. It didn't say anything about being preselected. I just clicked on the link for the information and then Blogger walked me through transfering my account to Beta.

***Note you must make a Google Account before you can begin the transfer process. This does NOT give you a GMail account only a Google Account. It saved a copy of my original template. Then I had to add back all the original code that I had added to my sidebar but it retained all of my posts and all of the links I made. You can also keep or change your template style at that time.

You'll have fun moving parts of your layout by dragging and dropping with a mouse. The layout and the selections are much more intuitive. There is alot more ways to customize your blog. You can add all sorts of categories to any part of your blog including: lists, list links, pictures, text, HTML/JavaScript, Feeds, Labels, and Blog Logos. I'll be spending quite some time just checking out what's available.

The New Page Element is very handy for adding new things to your blog. Just select what you want to add, put in your stuff, and click save. Then the new "thing" becomes a moveable block that you can drag and drop around on your layout.

I hope that others will be able to convert soon. The extra features are very useful.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Created Site Feed for Questing Librarian

RSS Site Feed

I created a "RSS Site Feed" for the Questing Librarian. You should see the site feed "Chicklet" right under my avatar in the sidebar.

Blogger's site feed help files are extremely useful in walking you through in setting up your site feed. I then added my own feed to my other RSS feed listings in My Yahoo!. My Yahoo! lets me organize the layout of my feeds for easier scanning and reading.

I have yet to play around with the Bloglines Newsreader. I'll compare them in another post.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Yahoo! Avatar Badge

Yahoo! Avatars

I've had a couple of folks ask if the Yahoo! Avatar could be made into a badge. Yahoo! does give the html code to export the avatar to a blog or web page. It updates everytime you make changes to your avatar. Just log into Yahoo! Avatars and click on "Export Your Avatar" and follow the wizard. Then copy and paste the code into your blog.

Yahoo! Avatars

Monday, August 07, 2006

#2 Thoughts About Lifelong Learning

Photo of Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker" taken from Artcyclopedia

After going through the tutorial and going through my notes, I immediately noted that the hardest habit for me is the first one. Setting goals. My problem is that I want to do everything! Technolust is always lurking somewhere in my psyche. Ooo! New gadgets! Wow--look at that! I find my self exploring paths but not having any goal for the end. My obstacles are 1. focusing on getting work done first and 2. making time to do one thing at a time and just focus on it and finish it before moving on to the next item.

Naturally the easiest habit for me would be the last one--play. I like to explore everything! So I guess my goals are to:
1. Complete the "23 things" by October 6th
2. Complete the rest of Stephan Abram's "43 things" at some point--hopefully before the end of the year.
3. Post my discoveries in my blog.

Lastly I have always tried to realize that just because I have learned something today doesn't mean that it won't change too. That is life's only constant. There's always 3.0. I guess life long learning is here to stay.

Also, I appreciate that Helene Blowers has taken the time to keep a finger on the pulse of what's new in the library technology world. For those of us frontline staff that's a welcome time saver. Library Techbytes rocks!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Flickr Badge

Way cool stuff! Check out how to make a Flickr badge and add to your blog! Click on the design your badge link and follow along with the wizard. Then you can copy and paste your badge code into your blog template and "Presto!" you have a Flickr badge.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Summer Reading Avatar

Summer Reading Avatar
Originally uploaded by QuestingLibrarian.

Testing blogging photos from flickr to my blog, The Questing Librarian.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Trying to upload picture from Yahoo Avatars

Hope this works. Trying to save a picture for my profile.

**Yay success! Try creating an avatar for yourself at Yahoo! Avatars.

How did I come up with the name of this blog?

Funny you should ask. :) Ok take a blender and put in Indiana Jones + Laura Croft + NPR Librarians Kee Malesky and Alphonse Vinh blend well and what to you get? The Librarian : Quest for the Spear! (Hint: Click the Logo to take the library tour ;) IMDB did a very nice job with the cast listing.

This little mini-series aired on TNT. It's out on DVD and I'm sure it's probably podcasted too.

Inspired Description

Of course I was inspired for my description from NPR's A Prarie Home Companion and the reoccuring character, Guy Noir - Private Eye segment. Check out the link for more inspiration from everyone's favorite radio gumshoe.

The Adventures of Guy Noir : Radio Private Eye

#1, #3 & #4 First Post, Finding Out About Learning 2.0, & Registering The Questing Librarian Blog

Hello All,
This is my very first blog post! I am very excited about learning the 23 things in the Learning 2.0 program. I hope to be able to use the medium to its fullest potential. I have also registered this blog in the L2 Tracking Log and am a part of the List of Participants so I'm ready to join the party! If you would like to participate in the Learning 2.0 experience along with staff you can log your progress at 43 things.com. Just create your account and you are ready to participate too.
Wish me luck!


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