Friday, April 4, 2008

twitter, continued

So I just had to add that the White House (183 followers) and 10 Downing Street (889 followers) both twitter. They are not very interesting, so I'm pretty sure they are the real deal. I thought it was very interesting that 10 Downing Street actually responds to questions. Cool.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

That's a wrap!

I have finished the 22 FVRL Discover 2.0 assignments, and this the the 23rd and final. The wrap-up. I heard about this program right after I started work at FVRL and I was very excited. I think it is awesome to work for an organization that values continuing education for all staff. I work behind the scenes, so won't have the immediate gratification of interacting with patrons and explaining/discussing these web 2.0 services, but I will definitely use them in my work. The tool that has been the most useful to me in my work has been Bloglines. I had used it in the past and quit using it, but I have really enjoyed using it again the past few months. There are so many online review blogs and I try to read many of them. It's so much easier with Bloglines to see if there are new posts or not. Also, I have increasingly more friends with personal blogs which they sporadically post on. Now I don't have to check them on a regular basis, I only visit the blogs when I know they've made a new post.

It was nice to look with fresh eyes at some of the technology I use in my personal life, and see how it might apply to libraries. Instant messaging, Flickr, and Youtube are services that I am very familiar with, but their uses in and for libraries are different than my own personal use of them. I visited some sites I probably wouldn't have otherwise, Jacketflap, Twitter, and Tumblr among them.

I think this was a great experience and really appreciate that not only were we encouraged to do this on work time, we are being rewarded for completing the program. So cool! My only suggestions for the program would be to break some of the assignments up. Since I'm not on a public desk, I was able to determine when and for how long I would work on the assignments. Some of them that had several articles and several examples to check out could really eat up time. I like to do things thoroughly, so I would visit each site listed and play with it. The time went by quickly. I think it might be difficult for some branch folks to have enough time to do the reading, visit the sites, AND create a blog post. But maybe I'm wrong. I think the blog format was very clever and enabled participants to actually use a 2.0 technology to discuss what they're learning.

Some things I thought we'd cover but we didn't: Ning, a program the library could use to create their own social network. YAABs and branches could have their own Nings. There are already several libraries on Ning as well as ALA, YALSA, and my library school. But what I really REALLY want to learn about is Second Life, World of War Craft and other online, multi-player games. I'm unlikely to use these on my off time, but I would appreciate some hands-on knowledge of them. So maybe Discover 2.0 could continue and we could get monthly suggestions for new technology to try out? Because, of course, technology is constantly changing and what we learned this year may be obsolete by next year!

Alt Blogging

I checked out Twitter and Tumblr. For personal use, I don't anticipate using either of these. Twitter reminds me of Facebook's option to say what you're doing. I like it ok on Facebook, it's fun to see what clever thing my friends say they're doing, but I don't need a whole website devoted to it and I don't need it on my cell phone. I can see that younger people and people with more active social lives than mine would like it. I saw a few libraries on Twitter and I can see the advantage of the library having an account IF our patrons are using Twitter. I don't know if it would be any better than sending out email with announcements about upcoming library events. Tumblr was much like Twitter and blogs. I don't really know what makes it that different than posting short blog posts of links. Interesting, but probably not something I'll revisit.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Unfortunately, I can't download itunes on to my work computer, my favorite method of collecting and organizing my podcasts. I tried all three of the podcast directories and still had the best luck with doing a google search on my topic and adding the word podcast. Podcast.net never loaded on my computer, I kept getting the File not Found page. Podcastalley required downloading a podcast aggregator, which I assume I also cannot do on my work computer. So I was left with the Yahoo audio search. When I typed in "children's book review" I got 3 results, 2 of which were PRINT not audio. The one audio result was for a podcast I am already familiar with, Just One More Book, which reviews kid's books. Another library-related podcast I listen to is A Fuse #8 Production, by New York Public Librarian Betsy Bird. She review books, does booktalks and shares industry news. When I did my google search for podcasts, I found the Seattle Public Library's podcast for teens. It was fun to listen to and a great example of what public libraries are using the technology for. It featured a book review by an actual teen, an informal discussion with a group of teens, and the chance to win a prize at the end. It was short and sweet.

When I left Multnomah County Library they were experimenting with podcasting. They had recorded booktalks for all of the current YRCA titles, but I don't see them posted on the library's site yet. They also recorded School Corps' Gotta Read This booktalking program for educators which I was a part of, but I don't think they ended up getting good quality sound. One thing I noticed about the podcasts I listened to was that they mostly sounded like they were recorded in a cave. Compared to the NPR podcasts that I regularly listen to the quality of home-grown podcasts leaves something to be desired.

I think a podcast of FVRL's newsletter would be nice, maybe some book reviews and booktalks. In general, I feel like we've passed audio podcasts and it's time to get creative with the video podcasts. I think Sam's One Minute Critic booktalk site is a great example of what library's can do with video podcasting. I especially like that he is getting other staff involved AND anyone can make a video and he'll link to it. Very cool.

Like with any new technology at the library, before we put alot of time and money into it, we should determine if there is any desire for it. Will people subscribe/listen/view what we are producing? Will we need to educate patrons on how to use the new media? Stuff to think about...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Audio continued

Ok, there were a few more sites I needed to look at for the first audio portion, but I felt the post was getting too long and texty, so I started a new one. I've been to the Internet Archive site many times, but always only to use the "way back machine." I love to see how websites looked 8-10 years ago and I LOVE to show it to students and remind them that NOTHING is ever really gone from the Internet, so don't put those skanky photos of you and your friends on your myspace page! I see I have a lot more playing around to do with this site. I watched one old Pall Mall (they pronounced it Pell Mell) cigarette ad. I'm definitely going to check this out from home and see what classic movies they have. And of course, who doesn't LOVE watching home movies of someone's vacation? Hours of entertainment! I'm not even going to get started, because I know it would suck up the rest of my day. And it looks like there is a good selection of audio, too. Fun!
I think I've used the Sound Effects Archive before, back in my movie-making phase. Gutenberg is hit or miss (if I'm remembering correctly) as far as audio quality goes. Some of the recordings I've heard are real duds. Mango Languages is new to me and seems pretty cool. I like that you can get 50 lessons for free. I'd definitely do the free 50 lessons before traveling to a non-english speaking country. I think it would give me a few phrases to have on hand, though certainly wouldn't make me fluent!


Alright, I'm checking out the audio sites. First up: last fm, the social music revolution. Right away one thing I don't like about the site is that you can't listen to a song while navigating around the site. That's weird for a music site. I do like the social aspect...connecting with other users, finding similar music,etc. I could see myself using it to find music similar to stuff I already like and previewing it. I didn't like that it wanted me to sign up to listen to some music. I just don't need another user name and password, so I'm going to skip that! Next up: Pandora. I've been using Pandora for a year or more and I really like it. I think Pandora does a good job of selecting similar music. Sometimes I just like to have it on in the background while I work (though not very often AT work due to the bandwidth issues.) I like it's simple interface as opposed to last fm's very cluttered and busy site. And finally, Imeem. I hadn't heard of this site. It looks like it might be better for music videos, I'm having a hard time just find audio. Again, it seems like I need to create a profile before I can access full length songs, and I'm not going to do that. My absolute favorite music audio site (at the moment,) is Songza. I don't need an account, I type in the exact song I want to hear and it plays it! It's that simple. It really is like having a free jukebox. Yeah, not all the songs play, but the majority of them do and I've found lot's of covers and re-mixes that I probably wouldn't have heard otherwise. Oh, and I love that I can email a song to a friend or post a song to my blog, like I did here.

Are CDs dead? Not yet. My preferred method of music acquisition remains checking out CDs from Multnomah County Library and saving them to my computer. However, when I just want to OWN that one song, I do go to Itunes and buy it for .99. Instant gratification. Vinyl isn't dead yet, so I don't think we need to worry too much about CDs just yet. But what about the library? Should a library, like FVRL, who doesn't currently have a CD collection consider starting one? That's a tough one. I have a new car that has a port for my ipod, but the majority of people don't have new cars. Do they have ipods and ipod speakers? Are there companies out there providing downloadable music for libraries like the ebooks, video and audio book providers? I'm not sure, but if they haven't started, I would think they will soon. It's the never-ending dilemma between keeping up with current technology while attempting to provide access to everyone.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I skipped ahead and did the video assignment this morning. Because of our bandwidth issues I needed to do it first thing this morning, even though it felt wrong to be watching TV at my desk at 9 am. (Somehow more wrong than watching TV at my desk at 3 pm. Go figure.) I checked all of the suggested sites (because it's so important to me to do the assignments correctly!) and saved youtube for last. I'm already quite familiar with youtube but had never seen any of the rest. I tried searching sewing and vegetarian cooking on each of the sights. Some had no results, some few, and some quite a few. Youtube won hands-down on every search. I did find Threadheads on Meta Cafe and it was my favorite sewing video. I thought that the two science video sites, ScienceHack and Jove, were excellent. I can see how these would be really useful for teaching and you don't have to wade through all the softcore to get to the videos. The other video related sites were all interesting and I'd never heard of any of them. I have reservations about the suggestion to use Dabble to collect how-to videos into a library account to share with the public due to the amount of potentially offensive videos in their most popular videos section. I like the idea of libraries collecting online videos to share with patrons, but I don't think a commercial sight is the way to go.

Here are a couple of public library ads I found on youtube. They're clever and well-done. I like the idea of YAAB groups making commercials for the library and maybe competing in a contest for the best video. I think that would be a great way to get teens excited about the library AND to make sure they know all the great resources the library has to offer.

Here's Cambridge Public Library's Locker Ad:

Here's one from Fulton County Public Library:

And don't forget my Topeka Barbie bookgroup post!

Ok, I guess now I should do some real work!