Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Summary of Learning 2.0

It became clear to me a few weeks back that a good deal of the frustration I was experiencing with these technologies and applications in the beginning of the semester had disappeared.  I thought about why I was less agitated when sitting down to explore these tools now than I was the first few weeks of this class.  I think the answer is in becoming familiar with the technology, the way its set up, and in discovering my own set of preferences for tools I like and those I don't.  Just as I wouldn't frequent certain bricks-and-mortar social establishments, so I have determined which type of virtual social platforms and tools aren't a good fit for me.  In the beginning, I was struggling with the management of information.  I felt obligated to try everything, read everything, understand everything.  The thought that there was an account out there that held a bunch of bookmarks or pictures that I'd organized for some use not yet defined really bothered me.  Since setting some of those accounts up however, I have actually used a few of them.  Zotero, delicious, and Flickr are the main winners.  Podcasts are my new favorite companion as I whittle away the day in front of this computer that I used to resent having to sit in front of.  I guess what I'm saying is that I used to feel controlled by the information and now I feel more in control of it.  That makes me more comfortable and willing to explore the possibilities of implementing more of the Web2.0 technologies in my life and in libraries in general.

The nature of this Learning2.0 module is that it will change as the technology changes.  I felt that the tools we explored were all relevant to LIS and the objectives of information management.

Yelp and Mango

I visited Yelp and immediately searched the restaurant my husband and I own, Falafel Bar.  The search function is great for searching restaurants because you can search by food type, restaurant name, or any other descriptive word for food (think "spicy").  Then you add a zip code or city and Yelp returns a list of possible matches complete with user reviews.  The browse feature is also great with subject specific headings and a "Best Of" list for  each category.  I've lived in this area my whole life and I'm a small business owner but I still find myself wondering where the best place is for this or that service from time to time.  I can't wait to use this site more, having the user reviews is so helpful.  I can imagine this site would be more than useful in a public library setting where I'm sure the librarians and staff are regularly quizzed on where the best place is for  (fill in the blank).

Mango Languages is an amazing tool!  I went to their site, viewed the demo and then remembered seeing something about Mango on the public library's website.  Sure enough, Buffalo & Erie County Public Libraries offer Mango Languages to card holders!  I spent a ridiculous amount of time with this tool and plan to spend more as soon as I can.  My daughter also spent about an hour with the first 2 lessons in Hebrew and loved it!  This is a powerful tool, engaging, interactive, and super easy to use.  I can see why the Buffalo libraries subscribe to it and I think it's a wonderful alternative to some of the outrageously expensive language software packages on the market today.  As we become a more global society, tools for sharing languages will rise to the top of new technologies.  That reminds me of Google translate, another great tool for language sharing!  That was just one of the more interesting gadgets I put on my iGoogle homepage.  Which reminds me, I'd better go feed that little hamster.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Library 2.0

I found Dr. Wendy Schultz's blog To a Temporary Place in Time.....
resonated most loudly with me.  "Libraries aren't just in communities, they are communities."  If, as librarians, educators, administrators, and patrons we strive to think of the library in this context the future of libraries everywhere will be secure.  I loved her Library 1.0 - 4.0 progression model, it puts the library as community at the center and therefore, the library doesn't have to "keep up" with technology, the library (the community) incorporates the technology through absorption into our routine, the same  way we all do when something proves valuable.  It is exactly this idea of "absorption" that is key to understanding the future of libraries (successful future that is).  Library 2.0 is just the beginning, Library 3.0 and 4.0 will absorb 1.0 and 2.0, but they will still exist inside the model.  All the knowledge, all the experience the library contains is really a collection of knowledge we have gained as a community (local, global, virtual).  We are on a path of progression (we always were) and libraries will evolve and change along with the world with librarians as "tour guides" and someday soon we'll talk about the "old days" of Library2.0.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I've found Zotero particularly useful as a sharing source for literary information.  I am currently using it with a group to share resource information on an instructional presentation.  It's been helpful to see the information others have sourced regarding our topic that I've missed.  We are having some technical difficulty however.  For some reason it has been a problem to make the group library accessible to everyone in the group for editing.  Currently, only the creator of the group has editing rights.  If anyone knows how to fix this problem, I'd greatly appreciate the knowledge.  Zotero is different than other social bookmarking in that it allows you to post the article in full format with annotation and bibliographic information.  This is particularly useful for LIS students and professionals.  I downloaded the Google Chrome plug-in as well as the Firefox as I don't usually work in Firefox.  So far, everything has gone well while working in Chrome with this app.
I see Zotero's applications in LIS as more relevant than other applications in the same neighborhood since the ability to annotate scholarly resources is crucial and time-saving.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Social bookmarking as a research tool.  Interesting yes.  Efficient no.  I lost the better portion of my morning to creating stacks and then browsing other's stacks. is great for browsing when you have some time to kill (use the Inbox) but isn't going to be effective as a pointed research tool.  As for creating a stack that will organize all of your research in a particular area, it does that just fine.  Add the accessibility factor and you've got yourself a powerful, portable portfolio of information relevant to you.  Of course, you could invest some time finding others with similar information interests and follow their stacks for updates and news you may have missed.  I think it is with as with many of the other web2.0 technologies that we've get out of it what you put into it.  The more you tend to use and frequent these tools, the more useful they become.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Full of Feeds

So, I'm learning about RSS feeds, having a good time, minding my own business when BAM!, an actual mountain of information crushed my spirit.
Seriously though, I was enjoying Google reader and the prospect of getting all my news on one "station".  I started browsing some possible feeds to add and decide the comic strip Unshelved is a good pick.  Hhmmmm, what else?  Well, the links in the CMLibrary don't go anywhere and the link is broken too.  Scroll down a bit, click on Technorati.  Now we're talkin, stem cell research and human embryo cloning.  Where is the RSS tag for this (this, this....wait a minute what is this?).  It's a blog and I don't know this guy or enough about stem cell research to know if anything I just read is true.  Wait, this is a blog search engine.  Not what I'm looking for.  I'm back on Google reader page and click Browse for stuff and there is a "bundle" of news feeds that look decent enough so I subscribe and BAM!, 192 items fill my reading list.  And like that, the light has gone out, my spark for RSS feeds is dead.
I walked away for awhile and thought about it.  I decided to unsubscribe to everything and then try choosing again, more selectively this time.  I did just that and started to see value in having all my news on one page, although I have to admit that it will take some time to collect the feeds from all the sources I generally enjoy.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wiki wiki

I think what I found most interesting in exploring wikis was the notion of a learning community that polices itself. Meredith Farkas noted when discussing the ALA wiki she set up, members of the wiki community were policing the site for spam and fixing the pages on a regular basis. It reminded me of a Neighborhood Watch. It proves that wikis have value to the people who are using them.

I like the idea of a wiki as one-stop browsing. They can provide a forum that you trust where all the current information on your subject area can be accessed. A combination of Wegman's (especially back in their dry cleaning and photo developing days) and the local pub.

Libraries can and do use wikis with success. I think adding a book review wiki to a library's website or blog would add value and insight many patrons would appreciate. Pathfinder wikis could be extremely helpful not only for the patron but also for the librarian in offering reference resources. As a professional resource, wikis can provide librarians a community rich with information regarding new technologies, best practices, and even job lists.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Seattle Public Library Flash Mob

I have to admit that YouTube is not my favorite.  In fact, my kids are not allowed to peruse the site unaccompanied by a parent.  The possibility of inappropriate content popping up during an innocent search is too great.  I would define YouTube as another stop on the Information Overload train that comes rumbling through my inbox more often than welcome.  I guess if I try hard I can imagine a scenario where a library could upload a video of an instructional tutorial on how to use the OPAC or something similar and then place that information somewhere near the OPAC or on it's website or Facebook page.  However, that might subtract a potential  face-to-face encounter with a live librarian from an equation that might ultimately encourage a user to use such services.

At any rate, I found a wealth of information on YouTube where Vimeo produced nothing of what I was looking for.  Enjoy the flash mob in Rem Koolhaas' incredible Seattle Public library.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Easy Button

Podcasts!  I never tried them even though they have been lurking on my iTunes sidebar for years.  I love listening to the radio, especially NPR so I was thrilled to see the NPR podcast directory.  The best part is that accessing a podcast is so simple even a neophyte like myself can do it right the first time.  I also enjoy being able to hop around if I don't necessarily like what I've gotten myself into.  Its browsing with a search option, I"m hooked!

I found a few news podcasts in Hebrew  on which made my husband very happy and kept him busy for awhile.  As for library related podcasts, check out the following on NPR:

All About Books Podcast


A weekly NET Radio book review and discussion program hosted by Charles Stephen.

Raw Bytes Podcast[KPBX]    

Frank Delaney's comments on technology today and the information revolution, as read on Spokane Public Radio.

PRI's The World - The World's Books Podcast[PRI]

The World Books is a spotlight on international literary news, trends, and authors. The podcast features interviews with authors, critics, publishers, and translators from around the globe. Hosted by The World's Bill Marx.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Time Lost in Flickr

I ran into some problems setting up my Flickr account due to some mysterious email address confusion detected by Flickr that resulted in my adding a Yahoo account to my arsenal of weapons.  Sounds shady to me but the real downside was that after I'd spent a sizable chunk of time organizing photos into sets with titles and tags and privacy controls etc, I had to start from scratch.  However, I do like the app and can see the tremendous appeal it offers to a broad spectrum of users.

One aspect of the app that especially intrigued me was that of "The Commons".  The objectives of The Commons are stated as follows:
  1. To increase access to publicly-held photography collections, and
  2. To provide a way for the general public to contribute information and knowledge. (Then watch what happens when they do!)
I lost a LOT of time in this section, mesmerized by the historical photos in these collections.  I'm still unsure however, what "happens" when the general public contributes information to the individual photos.  I mean, I saw that it was possible to leave a comment, add a tag, or identify a person but what is the result of anybody defining these identifiers?  If anybody has more information on how this section works in the "big picture", please leave me a comment.

I started a photo library of some interesting art and architecture I've photographed.  Labels, tags, and descriptions will be added as time permits but the photos are there!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Blogging and Browsing

Lately I've been thinking about the concept of browsing.  Whether it's done in a library, bookstore, yard sale, or online, browsing offers us the luxury of a leisurely examination of information.  I remember when I used the internet for little more than browsing, it felt like shopping and voyeurism rolled into one.  However, somewhere along the way I stopped browsing and started searching.  Search engines and search features within sites have all but done away with our need to browse for information, delivering instant results to match our criteria.  I realize now that there was an element of pleasure that was lost when I began treating my computer as an encyclopedia.

Blogging, or at least browsing through others' blogs is one way to bring that element of leisure back to the examination of information we do online.  I can look all I want without obligation to reply.  I might even learn something.  Other web technologies, like Flickr, offer the same browsing pleasure I've been missing without even knowing I was missing it!  Maybe that's what prevented me from keeping up with technology this long, it had lost its' appeal.  I'm definitely interested now and am working at trying to piece together exactly how the bricks-and-mortar library fits into the puzzle.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Technology Tether

I am not the type of person who spends hours tethered to a computer, at least not of my own free will.  Nor do I carry around a device that "allows" me to stay "connected" to the world at large.  I like to get my information when I want it but I don't want that information to follow me around all day like a 5 year old that's poking and prodding me every few minutes with "Hey, guess what?".  I have witnessed the transformation of individuals from engaging and interesting conversationalists to distracted and vacant warm bodies in the room.  I miss some of these people.

So, the challenge I face in learning about and using Web2.0 technologies will be determining how I can lasso these apps into working for me and not against me.  I aim to discuss each of the technologies we explore in Learning2.0 in the context of how it worked for me as a student of LIS, business owner, and mother.  So far, setting up the blog was pretty painless.  Now, lets see if I can figure out how to find my fellow bloggers....