Friday, April 2, 2010

Thing 23- Final thoughts about this training

This has been a good training- very hands-on with a lot of flexibility in how to progress and try out various things. I read a lot of other bloggers' postings, which enriched my own experience. I would definitely participate in any future offerings. I have learned about new things I'd never heard of, I've watched podcasts and tutorials on things I'd heard of, but never experienced, and I've looked more in-depth at things I'd already done some things with before. One of the most positive byproducts is that some of the terminology is being used more widely, like mashups or delicious, and I now have a point-of-reference for their adaptation into the wider language. Of particular value to me have been FLICKR and the image-generator, as I am a yahoo email user- so my image is now on my email, and I have a site for posting my pictures. I am glad to have started a list of RSS feeds, which I have been checking back on, and to learn to easily recognize the icon for this possibility. Also, knowing about Zoho and Google docs may be helpful with customers at our public computers. And MERLIN is a site we all need to know. The negatives are quibbles compared to the positives. The broken links were no fun, but then again they do illustrate the ever-changing environment of technology on the web, and I was encouraged to find out how other people had dealt with workarounds, if there were any. Perhaps somebody could get CEUS for recreating those exercises with new links-
Also, as a part-time person, the logistics of doing this training have been challenging. Without enough time off the desk, and without my own computer and in a common workspace environment, it has often been too difficult to focus and have the necessary time to follow-through. My most successful explorations, and the ones I have remembered the best, have come from doing the exercises at home. I hope future trainings like this will be offered. They provide a lot of value.

Thng 22- Audiobooks

Just discovered I have a follower through Googlefriends- cool- It was good to review both Overdrive and NetLibrary procedures for downloading books, as we get questions at the information desk. I viewed the tutorials for each and signed in to each to view the offerings- I don't have an MP3 player, and have never been a fan of using my desk top for audiobooks- but I have recently acquired a laptop, so realize that I may in future I may want to use it to download something , if I am on the road- I also had not realized that some items offer the option to burn to a CD, which is also a possibility for my next long car trip. As with our books, the hot titles seem to have waits. Nothing really grabbed me to download immediately, so I will wait until a car trip is upon me to give it a personal try. It is also good to be reminded about Project Gutenberg, which I had looked at once upon a time, but not in recent memory. I see keeping up with audiobooks mostly about helping our customers, rather than my own personal interest. Will be interesting to see what impact the Kindle and the new Ipad have on our ebook offerings (as well as our print ones!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Things 21: pocasting

Pocasts have been used to good effect throughout this training. Doing the Discovery exercise, however, revealed that Yahoo no longer has a podcasts site and that the link is broken. I did get through to and spent some time searching, but found it hard to yield much in the way of podcasts I could easily use for free, although I did find an interesting discussion of selected science fiction titles. Reading the blogs from Montgomery participants, I discovered others having the same difficulty, so I took the suggestion of one and googled instead, using libraries and podcasts. This brought up, a best practices wiki. From there I was able to follow links to a number of libraries using podcasts. I looked at a couple of academic libraries using podcasts for tutorials, introducing library services and procedures to students. Following the links for various public libraries, I found some using podcasts for booktalking, some for promoting library programs, some to present library programs like author talks; one presented an interview with the new library director. Not all had been kept up to date, which, as this training is proving, is one of the biggest challenges to online presentations of various kinds. Montgomery County might be able make use of podcasts on our site in the next fiscal year to explain the changes in hours and services coming with out budget cuts and also to explain the enhanced ways service will be available online and through Ask-A-Librarian. Podcasts would also be useful to promote, introduce and explain any online tutorials we decide to offer in the future, as has been discussed in the Learning Organization.
I do agree with the Montgomery blogger who felt that for teens, a presence on YouTube is probably more effective than podcasting. The RSS feed I decided to add to my bloglines account is Booktalks quick and simple by Nancy Keane, who does booktalking for K-12. I am interested in YA titles, so I will keep up with any of those she is adding.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thing 20: YouTube

YouTube is a wonderful experience- the good, the bad, and the ugly. The quality of findings depend search terms used- For me, it is mostly a place to go when I've heard about it from somebody else. I am not a YouTube surfer. But it is a wonderful visual communication tool. I found two YouTube videos to share. Pi day happens in March. The calculus teacher at my son's school does an assembly each year in honor of Pi day, after which pie is offered to each student in honor of pi day. She also honors the day in song with her original lyrics- it's quite entertaining. Her presentation for 2010 is not on YouTube yet, but her 2009 pi day presentation is on YouTube, searchable by Burke pi. Also found a very entertaining Dewey Decimal rap searchable by those terms. It illustrates the use of a site like this for publicizing library-related information for students. Libraries could use YouTube to promote services in a catchy-entertaining way- or put up summary videos perhaps about the upcoming renovations of two of our library branches, or the unfortunate changes coming to our library system in terms of hours changes at the branches. These are the links to the two YouTube videos I enjoyed. The first is Burke Pi Day, the second is The Dewey Decimal Rap.

I also took a look at Yahoo Videos. We are planning a spring trip to Vermont, so I looked for items of interest related to our trip. Many of the postings were actually links to videos on other sites, like YouTube.

Thing 19: Any site from Web 2.0 awards list

I took a look at, the 2nd place winner from the short list of Employment website listings on the Web 2.0 awards list. It seemed appropriate in the current economic climate, not only for our customers but also for our own County employees, who may be facing layoffs. The site has a lot to offer employers and job seekers. Employers post job listings. Job seekers can ask to search posted jobs in predetermined categories or by keyword, specifying specific locations or not. Each listing says how long ago it was posted, a complete job description, a link to a mapit feature to get a specific location for the job offering and by clicking on the company name, information about the company offering the employment. There are options for saving, emailing, sharing the job listings- Options offered include a salary calculator for specific job markets, setting up a job alert to keep abreast of new developments and an RSS feed- a resume poster, as well as a free resume review and a caution about detecting fraudulent job postings. Under advice and resources there are career tests to get ideas for choosing a career, links to online skills training offerings, links to career fairs, career resources and educational resources. It is a complete employment site and easy to navigate. We have a lot of job seekers in the public library, and I would feel confident directing them to this site, if they are looking for job-seeking direction.

Thing 18: Zoho writer

This is the document I created on Zoho writer- This seems like the wave of the future- not having to worry about a flash drive (I have already lost mine since starting 23 things, and have had to recreate my log sheet as a result)- I could see making good use of a site like this or Google Docs, as it is only dependent on being able to access the site, independently of applications available. This is good to know for our library customers, who may be using public PCs that don't have the necessary apps or have a way to save and store their documents.

National Poetry Month

I am working on a list of novels in verse to use in a library display for National Poetry month in April 2010.

I recently finished Helen Frost's Crossing Stones, a recent young adult book written in this format. It is not only

verse fiction, but within the verse it uses different structures of verse depending on the character narrating.

It is a wonderful way to make verse accessible for the less poetic among us.

Thing #17 : Sandbox Wiki

I followed the links in the learning exercises to the Maryland Libraries Sandbox and created an account with password: but the password sent in the confirmation didn't work, so I asked to have it reset, and the new one didn't work either. So I started reading other blogs and found that some people early on in the process had gotten in and others later on had not. Then I saw Kate Tavakolian's email from last September directing one to go to and create an Open ID account- I did this and successfully got an account with pb works- but when I went to the marylandlibraries sandbox I still could not get in, and I could not find any favorites blog on the pbworks page. At this point, I've spent three times the amount of time just trying to figure out how to get onto the wiki and failed- anything this difficult to access can't possibly be worth it. I did however, learn what an open ID is, so all is not lost. This thing should definitely be reworked. It's giving the wiki a bad name.