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.