Thursday, August 23, 2007

"The End Has Come . . .

. . . and found us here, with our 23 Things scattered all around us here". (With apologizes to Glen Campbell. Although his song does go on to mention a playground, to which perhaps our entire 23 Things journey could serve as analogy.)

This series of exercises has assisted my lifelong learning goals by providing me with brief introductions to many emerging technologies that I would never have explored without this nudge. Some I found more valuable than others. Rollyo's worth I'm still trying to figure out. I still plan to look at other's blogs on that topic to see if perhaps I'm missing something; did others see value where I saw none? Which serves as an excellent segue to the topic of which were my favorite/non-favorite exercises. You've already seen my reaction to Rollyo. I enjoyed Library Thing, not so much for the opportunity to set up my own library shelf, but for the suggestion element, which is useful for readers' advisory and for finding other titles that may be of interest to me as a reader. I also enjoyed learning about the productivity tools, although I will probably not make any great use of them. Social networking is just not for me. So, while I appreciate the opportunity to learn about sites like, I will not be using them.

I wouldn't call the outcome unexpected, but I did have my eyes opened to a great variety of sites that I had no idea existed. At the very least, I won't have that deer in the headlights look if a customer uses the names of some of these sites in asking for assistance.

One of things that I found most annoying (and so did many others, if casual conversation is any indicator) was the need to create accounts all over the place. I realize that these sites are not in any way related to the compilers of 23 Things and that each one exists independently of the others but if there were any way that could be devised to cut down on these many accounts, that would improve the program.

Given the difficulty of accessing a computer, for those of us in the branches, more time could have been given for completing the program in order to be eligible for system premiums. On a related topic, the issue of how few staff computers exist in the branches is something that needs to be addressed by system administration. This 23 Things program is proof positive that more and more work is being done and shared via electronic means. Having to stand in line for a computer in order to accomplish work is both inefficient and frustrating.

If another discovery program were offered in the future would I participate? Cop-out answer is "it depends". It depends on how long was allotted for completion and my projected workload at the time. This would be my primary consideration, with interest in the overall topic and relevancy to my work a close second.

To sum it up in a few words/phrases - new, different, learning together, wheat and chaff, overview.


This has been a most instructive "thing". Last year I received an MP3 player from my spouse and had every intention of using it right away. But I was intimidated by the many steps necessary to download audiobooks and have not used it - shame on me. Having taken the time to go through the steps with Overdrive systematically, I am now more confident that I can successfully download audiobooks to my MP3.

Although the selection isn't large, I expect that it will grow. Even with a fairly small selection, I saw several audiobooks that I'd like to download: titles by Laura Lippman, titles by Michael Connelly, and one that's been on my "to be read" list for many years - "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

#21 - Podcasting

I looked at all three of the podcast directories/finding tools and did find an interesting Nancy Pearl podcast. One thing that I tried very hard to find and couldn't was a podcast from any of my county officials. There have been some changes in my county relative to trash collection and recycling. Informational postcards have been sent to residents but the information they have conveyed is very basic. While I have no quarrel with the changes, it would be interesting to know more about the decision-making that went into the changes. I know that a county official did appear on a local cable television station to talk about the new procedures. Had he created a podcast, I could have viewed his comments "on demand".

The most useful thing about podcasts is the ability to see and listen to people who may be at a distance or who may charge copious quantities of money for delivering speeches in person. The second most useful thing is that they are available 24/7. I can see many local benefits as well, one of which I mentioned in my first paragraph. Once the local hospital administrator has had his say in the news about new services provided by the hospital, it's over. I missed it, or perhaps I saw it and don't remember all of it. But, if he creates a podcast, I can receive the information when I need or want it.

Friday, July 27, 2007


C-5 Galaxy landing at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. I was honored to have worked around this type of aircraft for 20 years. It's on the top of my list of favorite military aircraft. (The other contemporary favorite is the B-52.)

There are a LOT of what I consider to be huge wastes of time on this site. Do I really want to watch someone getting falling down drunk? Or someone stepping in dog excrement? Uh, NO! Comment all you wish, but it sure seems like an awful lot of people posting to YouTube have quite an exaggerated opinion of themselves and their activities.

Where I can see a possibility for library website use is to advertise programs, especially ongoing or recurring ones such as the summer reading program. Did Sneaks make a particularly memorable visit to your library? Post the video to YouTube and add it to the library's website as well. Highlight portions of your collection. Is there an appropriate YouTube video of backyard mechanics? Add that to your library's website with a banner that advertises your car repair resources.

Looking over the most watched videos illustrates for me the phenomenon of information, in this case a video, moving at breakneck speed across the world and becoming fodder for the water cooler. Here we have the electronic equivalent of the water cooler.

Web 2.0 Awards

Nothing like getting paid to play games at work, is there! I liked the variety of games on Arcaplay - much larger than Yahoo has. I also liked that the list had a large number of sites and that they were grouped by topic. I used Zillow and was gratified that the house the spouse, the bank, and I own has appreciated quite nicely since we bought it, if this site can be believed. (I've heard that the figures are inflated on this site.) It was also fun to see the aerial view of the neighborhoods at which I looked. I browsed Etsy and saw some interesting things for sale. I also looked at some travel sites that gave me an idea of what airline tickets might cost. This site also let me know exactly which flights go where I want to go.

What I didn't like is that there weren't more sites! I could play with this list for a very long time!

I could see using this in a library setting as a referral tool. Almost like a "read-alike" site - as in, "I really liked this site. Are there others like it?" It could also function as a starting point for those interested in pursuing a particular topic but unsure of which websites might be helpful, but who are put off by the hundreds of thousands of hits that a Google search might return.

Zoho Writer

OK, I created a document. Thoughts on this - while I can see that being able to access documents from anywhere I can snag a computer is worthwhile, I have a real concern about security. Yes, you ARE noticing a theme running through my ruminations! Perhaps that is due to my military background, where security is of paramount importance, especially of the written word which is so easily compromised. I can see the usefulness of this site for a group project, so that other team members can log on from wherever they might be and contribute. This would have been valuable in college and library school where students came from a large geographic area and plans had to constantly be made to meet and hand off work or to get together and discuss. There are also applications for telecommunicating, as documents can be saved in various formats. (How about it, boss, may I stay home on Monday?) :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sand between my toes

Now - what did I say in my last post about wikis regarding the potential for "hacking"? The first thing I see when I go to the Sandbox Wiki is this "Here's the BAD news... someone edited the HOME page for our wiki and deleted all the labels that linked to all the pages that belong to other folks. Here's what has to happen to bring them back..." See what I mean? OK, off my soapbox.

Well, I managed not to make a bunch of stuff disappear. I duly logged my blog address and added to a couple of wikis. I think I'm ready to leave wiki world behind for a while now.