Wednesday, February 4, 2009

thing #23 - the end

now i have The Doors song running through my head. (this is the end, my only friend, the end.)

i made it! i must say, these past few posts have been like pulling teeth, mainly because i got burned out with this program, two jobs and a class for my masters. i've had to do most of it on my time because i'm a circ desk worker and almost always busy and i'm interrupted frequently. i apologize if some of my later posts have been a bit brief and frankly, right now i'm just tired.

but it's done and that's the important thing. i have learned new things that i've used on the job and with the odd questions that seem to wait just for me to come to the desk, they've helped.

i'm now supposed to reflect on the program. i rather enjoyed it; we went through different areas that i've only heard of but had never really played with and this program gave me the chance to do so. my favorite exercise was probably the image generators and i'm not sure why. maybe because i like creating funny pictures (pictures with smartass remarks in them).

i'm not sure how this has affected my lifelong learning goals - i started out understanding library staff needed to know a great deal about computers and online resources (Web 2.0) to assist our patrons with questions they may have or to try and reach them in different ways. my outlook on this hasn't changed, i just know a bit more about these resources.

in all, i think this was a valuable program and would recommend it for anyone who works in a library.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

thing #22 - media and book downloads

i discovered overdrive a few years ago and love it. as you may have noticed from my last post, i can listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks while i work in the back room so i go through a number of audiobooks. i also have a handheld (pda) that i enjoy reading from so i keep it stocked with e-books as well. as for MyLibraryDV, i saw that this past fall and have watched a few things using that. unfortunately, i have a slow computer at home so i haven't used that nearly as much as overdrive.
this time i decided to try Tumblebooks. i think like it most because you don't have to download software for it - something that takes patience and a computer you have administrative access to. the fact the books were interactive was also interesting. between puzzles, comprehensive questions, games and coloring i could see how kids could really enjoy all the different activities they have available. there was also a nice selection in both english and spanish. it was a very easily accessible resource that i'll recommend when parents come looking for thing for the children to do on the internet.

thing #21 - Podcasts

this is where things are a little different for me. i've spent the past year at my other job (i work at Creighton's law library as the cataloging assistant as my full time job and at Metro Community College's South library in the evenings. because Metro and OPL now have a shared facility, i therefore work with OPL patrons which is how/why i'm doing this program.) trying to make some of our in-house videos and audio recordings available online to make them more convenient for our students to access (we have a limited number of copies of the videos and limited number of VCRs available in the library). for this, i spent quite a bit of time working with podcasts and streaming media. both of these are great areas for libraries to look into as it's another way for us to reach our patrons. from offering book talks to lectures to public appearances of guest speakers, there are a number of things for libraries to offer, be them academic, special or public.
but for the sake of this program, i did a search of podcasts. i found it's kind of like blogs - for me to find a podcast (or blog) i like, it's probably going to be a recommendation or link from another site. but i did do a earch for a podcast using I browsed through their categories and looked at a number of listings. some of the book ones looked interesting, but i could really have done with a synopsis before i start listening to them. they did have a handful of old time radio podcasts that i enjoy, but these are something that i wouldn't listen to every one of them, i'd listen only to a couple of the ones from series i like so subscribing would be inefficient.
just surfing, i downloaded a couple of podcasts and listened to the beginning of them, but didn't listen to them all - sorry, short attention-span and short on time. i do regularly download a local radio program (Todd & Tyler) and was really glad when they started providing the podcasts as i'm not always able to listen to it while they're on the air. not exactly library oriented but as i can listen to them while doing tech services work or shelving (non public service aspects of my job) it keeps me sane, so i consider them valuable for libraries, if not for them to create them, then to at least know about them to help patrons who want to use them but need help.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

thing #20 - youtube

ah, youtube. a place to watch perfect strangers make fools of themselves on video. or watch a cat riding a Roomba around the house. (frankly, i prefer the second option - i like cats)
i have two options. i can talk about the cat riding the Roomba or i could talk about the actual educational videos they have on youtube. hmmm.... cat or documentaries... cat or documentaries... oh well, i'll go for the documentaries cause what more can i say about a cat riding a Roomba other than it's rather amusing? (
as interesting as it is seeing all the video clips someone has put together of their 1990 family reunion set to one of the Monkee's songs, i've found some other things on youtube i find much more interesting. documentaries. i know it sounds boring, but i like documentaries. History and Discovery channels are two of my favorite stations and if absolutely nothing else is on - i can always find something on one of these sorts of channels that catches my eye. almost always.
somewhere along the line i got interested in nuclear explosions. for the life of me, i can't remember how or why, but i did. actually, it might have been something about Chernobyl and how Russia (or USSR) handled the incident and how it's currently treated - the government supplying a small medical stipend to people living within a certain radius and all the medical problems locals have. i was also fascinated by an entire city having to be abandoned (another topic i find interesting: pictures or stories about abandoned buildings and cities) and how the radiation doesn't seem to be affecting the wildlife in the area as much as it does to humans. (Chernobyl before and after - but moving on, if you go to youtube, there are some fascinating things about Chernobyl on their site - from videos from people visiting Chernobyl now to videos taken at the time to videos of when the town was created. and a couple of documentaries on the subject have been made and posted on the site. i know that this is probably against copyright, but since i didn't post it and i'm not downloading it, just watching it, i don't see a problem with this.
i really like how they recommend similar videos as well. i could and have spend hours on this site. often watching cats riding Roomdas.

Thing #19 - Web 2.0 tools

website choice: Zoomii (
interesting. this is a bookstore website that shows the images of the books they have, sorted into categories where you can scan 20 or 30 book covers at once. i rather like how it's set up so you can browse like a bookstore (i guess that's their main feature, so duh, that's what makes it special). i am apparently guilty of judging a book by its cover or at least if a good cover draws my eye and i'll then pick it up and look at the description. i must be more of a visual person than i thought i am. i was pleased to find their prices are comparable to amazon, at least for the half-dozen i checked. it really is a neat website if you aren't searching for a specific title or author and are just browsing for something new that looks good.
as for using this in a library setting, it might be a browsing tool we recommend to browsers that really like to see the covers of books. with all of our books on the shelves, it's hard to see the covers. i've noticed books we put on display with their covers showing tend to be checked out more often than items just on the new book shelves. overall, quite a neat website.

Friday, November 28, 2008

thing 18 - web based apps

well, i'm writing this using the Google Docs program. it is an interesting program and works quite well, especially for something that's free. it has nowhere near the level of something like Microsoft Word, but most users don't use 3/4ths of the features Word offers, so in general, this program would be suitable for most people. i'm sure there are some special features in word that are also available in Google Docs - i just haven't found them yet - because the layout is pretty straight forward. the part i really like is that you can save your documents and access them elsewhere without needing to save them on flash drives or floppy disks (if any computer uses floppy discs anymore).

for a free app. i'm quite impressed and i can see myself using it at times i don't have my flash or access to it (something that happens entirely too often). i've noticed it's still listed as a beta product and hope this is something a number of people learn about and use if only to keep it available for those who don't have access to expensive word processing programs.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thing 17 - Wiki sand box

It is rather interesting to play around with our own wiki pages and this has given us a chance to look at the other side of what wikis entail. I have to say, if you restrict the users who are able to change entries into a wiki, this makes them a valuable resource with a number of applications over a broad span of areas. As nice as it sounds to allow access to everyone, not everyone is serious about a topic and way too many people think it’s funny to sabotage publically accessible sites. Allowing anyone to view but only certain people to change looks like it would be the best option as far as accuracy is concerned. (another pet peeve of mine)

It also depends on who is using the wiki and its topic. At one point we were considering a wiki for our tech services manual at my main job at Creighton’s Law Library. We eventually decided not to because we couldn’t get enough space for some of our files for things such as labels and we had a great number of screenshot images for our documented procedures. We decided to go with our Angel system for the university, but if we were able to have enough space, a wiki would have been ideal.