Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Week 9, Thing 23

Woo Hoo! Finished just in time!!! I thoroughly enjoyed this program. Learned SO much, and had fun doing it. My hubby is a programmer and it was fun to finally be able to talk to him on his level (somewhat!) about web 2.0. He really wasn't very familiar with some of the things I did, since his work doesn't involve a lot of social networking 2.0 stuff. So it was fun to actually be ahead of him on some things.
We are going to offer the Web 2.0 for teachers to the district, and I've offered to be a cheerleader. I look forward to seeing how the teachers use the tools, and the blogs they create.
I'm wondering what I do with my blog now that it's over. I'd like to link it to my library web site and start all over with a library blog - student book reviews, suggestions, etc. The kids don't need to see all my Web 2.0 posts, so maybe I'll delete them and start fresh. I'd also like to fine-tune some of the page elements so it's more attractive and user-friendly.
Thanks ever so much for this program! What a kick it's been! Glad I finished just in time!!

Week 9, Thing 22

The Gutenberg Project costs $ to join and download books. It's cheap (only $8.95) but I don't like ebooks, so would never use it, so didn't join. itunes downloadable books are even more expensive. I was REALLY impressed with the LA Public Library's selection and availability of ebooks, but needed a PC to run the software and I'm on my Macbook right now, so no luck there. I'm surprised such a big operation like LAPL doesn't support Macs. The LAPL allows you to burn CDs of their audiobooks, too. Pretty cool. I'm just not a big fan of audiobooks. When I'm in the car or exercising I prefer to listen to music, and if I'm going to read I need the tactile experience of a book. I just like the feel of a book in my hands! But I know that Follett's Playaways are a HUGE success and would like to try them in my library, but don't have the funds right now (they are HORRIFYINGLY expensive). I know the kids are comfortable being "plugged in" and that may be the way to get the reluctant readers engaged.

Week 9, Thing 21

I have been confused for awhile about podcasts and what the difference is between podcasts and YouTube. Now I get it! I surfed around at some different podcasts, tried to get a daily Yoga one to load onto the blog, but couldn't. Also subscribed to a daily French for beginners on itunes, but couldn't figure out how to load that onto the blog either! Finally loaded the Pottercast, and it's pretty fun. Also looked into Twitter, but again, way too narcissistic. Who cares what I'm doing every second of every day?? Of course, it's been suggested that Twitter may be useful for us librarians trying to prove our worth - show EXACTLY what it is we do all day. But I think it would be way too time consuming.

Week 9, Thing 20

You Tube rocks! I wasted TONS of time watching the librarian videos, and the '70s commercials (geez, I remember the cigarette jingles - yipes!) I liked the TeacherTube videos. People are SO creative.
I don't know if I embedded the "twilight" video correctly. Web 2.0 directions mention using an "embeddable player" but I couldn't find it on YouTube or in Blogger. I guess I'm a little confused about how to do it correctly. But I was able to post a link.
YouTube is so incredible - I am amazed at the breadth of what's out there.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Week 8, Thing 19

How fun is LibraryThing!!! I created an account and added about 8 books. Can't wait to spend lots more time rating and reviewing my library. I loved surfing around and seeing what other people have said and are doing with it. I was interested in the number of other readers who also chose my books for their libraries. Only ONE other person added "Act of Contrition", which I really liked. Outdated, yes, but I liked it. What a fun tool this is! Oh - I have to now see that I add it as a link on my blog.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Week 8, Thing 18

I have heard a lot about Zoho writer, and it does look nifty, but the thought of yet another place to store stuff, and yet ANOTHER username and password almost drove me over the edge of web 2.0!! So I decided not to reinvent the wheel, and I went to Google Docs (which I have never used). Since I already have a google account, I just thought it would be easier. And it is - to a certain extent! This assignment was to create a document in Zoho or GoogleDocs. I decided to use GoogleDocs to create a HIT list of responses to a CALIB post I made on Friday. GoogleDocs gives you the choice of posting your doc as a URL, or post it on your blog. I wanted to just post it as a link on my blog. I thought I could click on the link, and have it go to the doc. What a dummy - of course it posted the whole darn document! So then I figured out how to post it as link in a page element, but I wish I knew how to make the document read-only so no one can mess it up.
I really like the idea of using these web tools to manage docs, pictures, etc. so that you can get to them from anywhere (provided you remember the usernames, etc!!). Many are the times I've been frustrated at work because something I needed was on a computer at home. I do wonder about the security of it, though. Can't hackers get in to my photos or documents and do malicious things? Maybe I'm just paranoid...

Week 7, Thing 17

OK - I visited the "Sandbox" and tested my theory about wikis. WAY TOO LITTLE CONTROL! Unless you are wiki-ing with close associates, I don't know how you maintain any kind of integrity. I was able to just "blah blah blah" right in the middle of another person's post! Yipes! Not sure how this would work with middle schoolers. No, I take that back - I know EXACTLY how this would work!
Is there any way to monitor posts to a Wiki like you can with a blog? I like the free-form style of the Wiki as opposed to the "post a comment" structure of the blog, but am deterred from using it for my library because of the lack of control. I also surfed around the California Curriculum CSLA 2.0 portion of the wiki. It reminded me that there are even more things I want to try with web 2.0.

Week 7, Thing 16

I explored some of the Wikis on the list. Some of them were old - no posts for a long time - and the ones I found most interesting were from middle or high schools. I found some of them confusing and couldn't understand why they were classified as Wikis since there was no way to participate. I particularly liked it when a teacher librarian would use a Wiki to promote reading. I would like to try that - to post my own book reviews, and have students post theirs. I'm a little confused as to how to do this - is the Wiki part of the blog, or is it separate (like a link)?
Also, I watched the Common Craft video on Wikis and it was the easiest and clearest explanation I've seen.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Week 6, Thing #15

Web 2.0 Future of Libraries: I have a few thoughts that have no real connection, but here goes:
As a librarian, I always feel pulled in two different directions. One points toward the technology aspect of a library, and the other toward the love of reading aspect. Sometimes I think they are two things fighting against each other. Studies show that kids who spend lots of time in front of screens (be they computer or television) read less for pleasure. Yet as a librarian, I'm expected to provide lots of screens and unrestricted (at least time-wise) access to them. I'm also expected to instill in my students a love of that most un-technological of diversions - reading books.
I've discovered that my students are what I call "keystroke smart" - they can download videos and music, navigate the web, email, create with Photoshop, muck around with the settings on my computers, etc. The problem is that they have no critical thinking skills! So when these computer whiz kids have to do research, their brains can't formulate the proper questions to ask the computer in order for them to they get what they need. So we had a teacher who asked them, "Tell me what you might find in Betsey Ross' basement." So what do they do? They go to google and type in "What would I find in Betsey Ross' basement?" And they actually think they will get an itemized list! I've been saying for a long time, "They have the computer skills - We need to teach research skills!!"
I read several of the articles listed for this "Thing," and found them most interesting. They challenged my current mindset. Rick Anderson stated, "We need to focus our efforts not on teaching research skills but on eliminating the barriers that exist between patrons and the information they need, so they can spend as little time as possible wrestling with lousy search interfaces and as much time as possible actually reading and learning." But in my experience, the biggest barrier between a middle schooler and information is his BRAIN! The best search engine in the world isn't going to answer that ridiculous question about Betsey Ross!
I did agree with John Reimer, though, when he stated that libraries should be more open to including patron reviews, tags, and other user participation, in the services libraries make available. My motto is, "You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too many subject headings!"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Week 6, Thing 14

OK - I need to vent here. I like learning about all the social networking 2.0 stuff, I really do. But I think it's terribly narcissistic. All this very slick computer stuff is just a way for incredibly ordinary people to puff themselves up and feel self-important. Why do all these people think what they say or feel is worth publishing to the world?? I have been writing in a journal since I was eleven, and I would NEVER think of making it public. I can see the lure of facebook, myspace, blogs, etc. for teenagers because teenagers think they are so very fabulous and the earth, stars, and sun revolve around them!
So, this assignment was about exploring Technorati. I did, and all the while was thinking, "Why would I -or anyone else, for that matter - care how I rate on Technorati? Why do I need to have my blog accessible to SO MANY people? Is anything I say on my blog THAT important? Do I really need yet ANOTHER username and password?? Who ARE all these people, why do they feel the need to spill their guts on the internet, and do I have NOTHING better to do than read their ramblings???" So although I understood the purpose of Technorati, I think Delicious suits my needs for now, and I declined to subscribe to Technorati at this time. If some poor librarian in Pigsknuckle, Arkansas can't get to my blog, oh well!
My daughters - 24, 21, and 17 - use facebook, etc. to keep up with friends. They'd rather sit silently in front of a screen and read their friends' postings than pick up a phone and have an intimate, two-way conversation! Some of these people they never actually speak with. Do they feel a close bond with someone they only read about, never talk to??? How can you? And if spending that much time reading a blog doesn't bring you closer, why in the world do it? One of my girls told me today that one of MY friends (I'm 44) has a facebook page, and my first thought was "Grow up! Why does she think anyone CARES?" I mean, of course I care about her as a person, but I care enough to learn about her and become close to her by spending time with her, conversing, getting to know her family, etc. not reading about her online as if she was Paris Hilton or something. I guess I just would never presume that my life is important or interesting enough that I would expect others to spend their precious time on earth reading about my fabulosity (yes, I made up that word, but it fits).
Of course, the ironic thing about this is that I am expecting you, dear cheerleader, to spend YOUR precious time reading MY screed! So enough, already! On to "Thing 15"! (But I very much would like to hear your opinions on these topics)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Week 6, Thing #13

Woo Hoo! Added the cool Delicious tag cloud to the blog!

Week 6, Thing #13

I spent the whole day today in training for our new library software - Alexandria. I can't wait to actually use it in the library! (Winnebago is so outdated) I am in a small district and it's been fun working with the other 5 librarians researching library automation software and choosing what's right for us. It's been about a year-and-a-half since we started the search, and we are all excited to get up and running on Alexandria.
Thanks, Becca, for replying to my email! OK - here we go: - I watched the tutorial linked in the "23 Things" list. It was helpful, but not nearly as interesting as another one I found on Youtube. It is the "In Plain English" videos by ( This really made social bookmarking understandable for me (probably because they are written on about a third-grade level!).
I surfed around Delicious, and found it overwhelming. SO MUCH STUFF! But I set up an account in hopes of creating a cool link list.
I Clicked on many of the Delicious links and have spent about 2 hours boppin' around. One click takes you to another, which takes you to another and before you know it you're about 20 pages from where you started! I really just looked at the ones that had the most visitors. Figured that anything that had 437 people save it has got to be worth a look. I can see how this would be useful to students doing research, or even just looking for something fun. I looked at some of the other CSLA members' sites and found some of their delicious links useful - so I stole them and put them on my Delicious site! I guess theft is the "social" part of "social bookmarking"!
Just realized that I haven't posted my Delicious link to the blog - I'll try to figure that out!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Week 5, Things 11 & 12

I toured a few of the sites from the Web 2.0 list and it was lots of fun. I've actually been doing this since I started the "23 Things." I'm a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel. I'm also a firm believer in stealing other people's good ideas! I always give credit, though, (when I remember)...
For example, I found "Library Thing" on another blog, and The Shakespeare Insult Generator I saw on someone else's computer.
Surfing around other people's blogs makes me feel pretty insecure. There is so much out there. I spent some time last week with our district tech teacher and she helped me get set up with Moodle. So now I have a moodle account, and am not entirely sure how to best utilize it for the library. I have user names and passwords for dozens of sites, and even another blog floating around out there in cyberspace (I didn't like the way it was laid out, so I just ignored it. I have no idea how to delete it). My point is, with technology too much of a good thing gets crazy. I need a lot more practice to keep it all sorted out.
This assignment also included learning about Rollyo. I had a hard time trying to decipher exactly what the advantage was of Rollyo. Not many of the other Web 2.0 sites have Rollyo. I guess it might be something I could use for the Renaissance Fair - a custom search engine just for all things Renaissance. But I'm just not sold on Rollyo yet. It seems like technlogy overload.
I know that using these tools (and technology in general) will become more second-nature the more I immerse myself in it - just look at all the kids out there who are so techno-saavy. But they spend HOURS marinating in technology, and I really have no desire to spend that much time staring at a screen.

Week 4 and 5, Things 9 & 10

I am back after a long hiatus! Actually, I got frustrated and quit doing Web 2.0. I still hope I can finish by May 1st, but that will take some work. Some of my frustration stemmed from technical difficulties - I couldn't get the darned image generator to post to my blog. I spent HOURS and then gave up and tried some of the other Web 2.0 steps. But then I felt so overwhelmed! How do I winnow out what I don't need when I don't know what I need! There is just so much, and I am constantly feeling like I can never keep up.
OK back to my assignment: I added a few links to some library-related sites, and some news-related feeds. I also managed to get the online image generator to work. I did EXACTLY what I did before, but this time it worked. Why does that happen with technical stuff????
Also, I attended the CSLA Southern Section workshop at Taft High and was all gung-ho about setting up a Google calendar for the library. But once I got into it - and spent tons of time on it- I realized I don't like the layout of the Google calendar. I wanted to try to post it to my blog, but as you can see I can't figure out how to configure it to fit on the blog properly. I'll keep trying. I tried to post it only in the weekly format, but it didn't work.
The more I do, the more confidence I gain. So I guess I should keep going!