Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Into the West

I can now say that I have blogged. This is just one take away from this Learning 2.0 Experience that I never thought I would do. I have known for a long time that I learn best when I am able to take the time to sit and write about something. This experience has given me just that excuse. This program has also enabled me to gain a passing knowledge of some of today’s key web tools. Before this I was not all that inclined towards technology. I was, and in many way still am, intimidated by it, but through this experience and through other classes I am coming to recognize that technology and the ability to use it and adapt to it are essential tools for librarians. As a fan of science fiction, I always admired the system designers, hackers, scientists, and other tech savvy characters of this world, but I never felt like I could be one of them. I know that I have a long way to go from a tea drinking, Jane Austen worshiping, history and science fiction enthusiast to a tech savvy librarian, but this brief introduction to web 2.0 has motivated me to not settle for my current level of knowledge. I want to keep learning and growing until I can hack Skynet, track an anomaly through subspace, or write in code.

I found many of the Learning  2.0 Modules to be nice mixture of creative and organizational tools. I have to say that exploring Flickr was one of my favorite exercises. I liked being able to create tags and sentimental descriptions for my pictures. I also was very interested in the RSS Feed applications. I have been able to use it to learn new words courtesy of word a day calendars, I have been able to read poetry and quotes all courtesy of my RSS Feed; however it has also proven infinitely useful for enabling me to stay current on recent developments in the LIS World. Pod casts were an interesting exploration. I had actually never heard of such a thing until I found it here. I am glad that something like this is offered s away for people to put their thoughts and investigations out there for others to find. Podcasts remind me of the golden age of radio because they are a medium for learning that encourages you to listen, which is something that we are not as apt to do these days.

I also really appreciated being able to read my classmate’s thoughts on the assignments and on life in general. I am often a take things as they are kind of person, but the thoughts of my classmates and peers encouraged me to look deeper into each application and really evaluate it for pros and cons. I know I shouldn’t be surprised that learning in a community is often more engaging than learning by oneself, but it was nice to be able to discover this for what feels like the hundredth time. On a related by slightly tangential note,  It might be interesting if you were able to create a section on your website that hosted current blogs for students so that we can more easily find each other in the great digital realm.

So in closing, I am excited to continue my journey Into the West. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Bright White Cave of Possibilities.

Today I did some spelunking in the bright white cave (ironic allusion to Plato intended) of web tools, and it really is astounding how many ways there are to endeavor. The tools available and their applications range from business, to personal, to networking, to social, to life management, to collaboration, to shortcuts, and so on. There are so many applications and tools that help you do the same kinds of things. It really is a pick and choose environment. You can decide what would benefit you and suddenly you can use it…
Since I enjoy writing, I thought that I would check out Whiteboard. Whiteboard, like Google Docs, allows a person to work on documents, share them, co edit, group edit, whatever to their hearts content. I thought that the interface was easy to use and that the options were excellent. You can name any single document; you can assign any single document a password so that it can only be accessed by those who have that password which would be useful in large businesses where not every memo is all eyes material. In the write and then drag to delete world of Word, it is easy to eradicate previous drafts, but when one wants access to them they are typically gone. The history of the process of creation is gone.

For example, I was working on a poem and there were several versions of it as I couldn’t decide which I liked best. I had to keep copying and pasting into new documents every time I changed something for fear that I would like the old way better, but not remember what it had been. With White board you can save these drafts and create new ones with relative ease. Text Expander, a tool which allows you to type in a code and get a predetermined selection of text instantly is an interesting idea. I would be afraid that with the rest of the codes I have to remember that I would forget the code for making my “whatever I wanted to type and type often” appear. Then I would end up typing it anyway.  Write is another interesting tool that allows for tracking the progress of several people’s writing. This could be useful in a newspaper or other kind of writing +deadline+ editor setting. Technorati, a blog searching tool, was an interesting tool. I am constantly having issues finding blogs that are exactly what I started out looking for. 

GOOGLE SITES IS FANTASTIC! I am involved in a club on campus, and I can think of so many great uses for this tool. I wanted to create a library catalog/database for the club’s library, but I wasn’t sure how to make it something that the members would use. Now that I found Google sites I can imagine a really great library homepage linked to from the club’s current pages. Google makes it very easy to get everything you need into your site, including great design tools like templates for different types of pages.
Google’s translation tool is also immensely helpful. I have been able to use it to translate articles for my research.  This tool is very simple to use and gives a great side by side display that allows you to see the two versions side by side, line to line.
Google Books Search is nice tool for trying to find information within a larger book. For example: On my Pathfinder assignment for LIS 518 I was able to read encyclopedia articles about my subject from whole books without having to scroll forever.
Google Calendar was easy to use. I like how you are able to edit your events, including built in alerts and reminders. It has some nice sharing options; however make public is scary with its “this will make your life available to a Google search”. With that being said, Here is the link to my week.....

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Straight on Till Morning"

Neverland and Libraries" or The Library 2.0 Discussion

One thing that I particularly liked about the discussion on Libraries in the wed 2.0 world was the emphasis on the ways the world is changing. Sometimes I think it is too easy to forget that in a time of tremendous change there is also a time of tremendous chance. We see both of these aspects every day from libraries loaning out Kindles to the last ten years of shifting technological platforms and evolving patron needs. Anderson, in his “icebergs” discussion, talks about how libraries are doing well keeping the proverbial library boat afloat with the current current (please pardon puns) but that we are in danger of not seeing the potential dangers ahead. The dangers that Anderson sees are very relevant. We need to evaluate the reasons that we collect materials, we need to equip ourselves for a growing emphasis on education, and we need to make strides towards breaking forth from the bubble of our buildings. This will all take a great deal of courage on the part of our profession and a great deal of creativity on the part of individual libraries.

Another key to the Library 2.0 model is what Michael Stevens said about ensuring that we provide “user-centered libraries” and content. The key is not in just how many books we can collect but in how well we enable the creation, exploration, and dissemination of information. We are living in a time when people expect their voice to be heard and expect what they have to say to matter to someone. This desire and expectation is a principle applied in the discussion of cooperative learning and libraries. Patrons have something to offer. We have to be open to creating a cooperative environment in libraries. Wendy Schultz’s take on the Library 2.0 question. The idea of the conversation focused library is becoming more and more interesting to me as I read various views on the future of libraries. There can be an element of give and take in our libraries. We want to give patrons a great experience, access to great materials, and a great level of service, but they too can offer the same to us.
On a side note, I love the idea of having a classic library section for quiet contemplation and aethetic enjoyment alongside an emerging library of conversaton and interaction.
The journay into a new experience is always frought with complications and sacrifices, but with good directions we can find the way to a land where seeking and living knowledge doesn't just happen in an escapist enviroment.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Citation Nation

Good Morning,
Like some of my classmates, I am just now discovering how useful this tool can be and am kicking myself for not having used it before. I was always satisfied living paper to paper with Microsoft Word's Manage References tool, but now that I have found Zotero I can tell  I will be using it to organize my sources for a good long while. I had begun to feel overwhelmed by the sheer mass of articles I had begun to amass in my research for my four LIS classes, but now I have a way of keeping things organized and accessible at a moment's notice. I can see how this could be a great tool for people doing research.
ALAS!!! I could not figure out how to make a public version of  my library. SO NOBODY MESS WITH MY SETTINGS TILL I FIGURE IT OUT. :)
 Check out my library so far:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Some Thoughts on What is Delcious.

Well I ltried to find the tutorial to teach me how to use Delicious, but I couldn't find it. I then figured I will look at it and muddle my way through. So I looked at the socal bookmarking site Delicious. I made an account, I looked up some things, and didn't find much. I like the fact that the list was more narrow than with a browser search. It is also nice in that smaller buisnesses can advertise their products on a smaller platform where they can be noticed more easily. It might also be interesting for libraies to explore, but overall I was not too impressed with the tool.  I was able to link to a few pages and add tags, but they were not any moe insightful that the ones already applied. It might make for interesting bookmarking capabilities for very specific projects.  If the language is in the tags then you could probably find some very specific links.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What in the world is that orange button about?

So apparently the inerfaces for exploration of the web have been changeing rabidly over the years. I never paid much attention to the different kinds of options theyre were out there for streamlining the web expereince. Now that I have been introduced to the RSS feed concept, I am beginning to notice that orange button everywhere. I can see where this might be a useful tool for many people who gather their news and information over the web. I like the way that it can create a storgae facility of your commonly visited sites enabling you to get everything you need at one place. I suscribed to several of my classmates blogs. This should help me to comment more efficiantly. I am also excited about my subscriptions to library news sites. I want to be able to stay more apprised of what is going on in the library and information world, and RSS feeds will make that easier for me. I think that RSS feeds will be an interesting addition to my web  tool knowledge. I also think that it very evidently influenced by the personalization of technology movement. With so much information avaliable and so many places to go to find it, the weeb is quickly becoming overwhelming, but like a little pathfinder RSS feeds adn reader accounts enable people to make their own way to information in a more personal and  streamlined way.
I suscribed to several book review feeds, that wil help me to keep updated on what is out there and what people are saying about it. I aslo subscribed to Points of Reference, Shifted Librarian, and I also grabbed a few quote of the day and word of the day feeds becasue I always wanted to try something like that and this seemed like a good meduim for it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

We're Off to See the Wizard, The Wonderful Wizard of WIKI.

Because, because, because, because, because.... Because of the wonderful things it does. Okay, blog world, by way of explanation for the above, it is late, I am caffeinated, and I like (self proclaimed) witty titles. Here are some one of a kind things that you can find in wiki land. The following information was posted on the wiki for the Bull Run Library

Cemetery Symbolism: What Can You Learn About Your Ancestors From Their Tombstones? Presented by Diane Nesmeyer, Tuesday, September 27, 7:00 p.m. Unravel the mysteries of cemetery symbols from a genealogy instructor. How cool is this?  This comes from a library patron, maintaining a wiki about their library's events. How fantastic is that? I also looked at the Archivopedia for a while, because that is one of my interest areas. I was hoping to find a bit more information from this site, but it was not up to date; however, it linked to some other useful sites. It also gave me an idea for how wikis could be used by professionals in any given field of Library or Information Science. A Wiki could allow for networking and sharing across continents an d outside of the typical range of communication. So much could be shared. What if School Librarians had a wiki, academic, specials, etc? I think that wiki's could help people in smaller disciplines and fields as well as larger ones stay connected and feel a part of a learning community. I know that In several of my classes this semester I have used a class wiki for the first time, and I was pleasantly pleased with how we could try to share and collaborate on a project. Also, unlike Wikipedia or more mainstream wiki's I feel as though library related wiki's might not be the target for some of the more challenging elements of public editing.

I also enjoyed the book review wikis that I came across in my explorations. This could be a great tool for schools, and for library programs such as summer reading. A public library wiki could also be a fantastic way for patrons of libraries who may not know each other or feel connected in a community, to share interests and reading insights, and perhaps try new books based on others recommendations. There is so much information out there, and why not employ the readers in the process of sharing it with one another?

On a side note wiki's are also great tools for random interests that are not very mainstream. For example, I can waste a whole lot of time looking up character biographies written by fellow fans of Star Wars novels on Wikipedia.

On a fianl side note,

Saturday, September 24, 2011

This video takes one into the Manuscript Collection of the Library of Congress. I chose this video because I am interested in manuscripts, archives, and historic artifacts, and as such, I enjoyed this video immensely. It gives a great deal of valuable information and is presented in a way that enables the excitement of the librarians to come through. I must say that You Tube and video sharing sites were one of the only web 2.0 technologies which I was familiar with before starting this class. The ability to search in a site like you tube for videos of interest is easy and typically fruitful. The side bars created from similarly tagged items also enables one to explore for hours on topics of interest. The video sharing technology also enables the transmission of excitement and information about learning I can see a video like the one above being shown in classrooms across the country to introduce students to the wonders of the library systems and the importance of historical preservation.  Videos have a special place in the learning structure and the exploration of interests. As we all know, learning  comes in different forms. It can be acquired though auditory, visual, and textual methods, and we would be missing opportunities to learn if we did not pursue all avenues.

Tagging and associative searching are useful tools that I believe library technology could adopt. One of the beautiful things about the tagging system is the depth and variety which can come from a simple search entitled libraries.  You can go from a tour of the Library of Congress to information on illuminated manuscripts of the middle ages in the span of two clicks. One of the downsides of video sharing site is the propensity for copyright infringement, lack of "filtering", and the lack of permanency in videos.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Podcasts and beyond

Okay, so I looked up podcast directories and found a few. I was not too thrilled with most of them. The information about specific types and topics was not easy to find on most of the sites. I found one, however, that enabled me to search under interests of mine, and this led me to two hours of podcast listening. "What was this podcast" you may ask? I listened to several interviews they conducted with trek actors, directors, and so on. As a special features fan, I enjoyed this look behind the scenes of the shows. I was thrilled that these podcasts were able to download onto my computer through windows media player and that I didn't have to find and i tunes or related application.Then I went on the hunt for some library related podcasts and found one  on the home page of When I went to listen then a few didn't work. This was a bit of a let down. The ones that did work were interesting though. I listened to the daily almanac. I was surprised that they only offered a few days though. Then I moved on to look at other library related podcasts and found a plethora on the site of the Seattle Public Library. These were very in depth interviews and book discussions.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Citadel of Knowledge! Gateway to Learning!


"Stand by the gray stone as the thrush knocks, and the last light of the setting sun will shine upon the keyhole" A quote from the Animated version of The Hobbit. I felt that it was appropriate for the content of today's blog.

The picture above, was taken a few months ago during a trip to New York City. It is a picture of me in front of the New York Public Library Building. Let me just say that it was quite the experience being able to stand beneath the arches of such a monumental building (alas that was all I could do seeing as the library was closed that day). I know that I am being remarkably transcendentalist in saying this, but as Michael Gorman stresses, idealistic notions are not new to those in the Library and Information Fields. The library is truly an entryway or a "keyhole" into untold treasures.

On a side note this picture is from a set in my Flickr account which I just created today. I will also admit to getting carried away with the fun of creating tags and sets, and titles, and descriptions. I don't tend to do things halfway. I spent nearly all of Saturday morning exploring the options offered in Flickr and in uploading and editing pictures. It is a nice way to share beauty with the rest of the world, and I appreciated that by tagging my pictures I could maybe help others on the internet find pictures of something they were looking for. Maybe a picture that I took of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden would come up in somebody's internet image search and inspire them to visit a place that I found amazing.

On the subject of Libraries and photographs and sharing things, I can see how a photo sharing element could be a wonderful addition to a library's community presence. It could be a place where the library is personalized for patrons. It is essential in this day and age for us to be activists for the library. If by creating and advertizing a Flickr (or other similar presence) the library can show how it serves people then I think it would be very helpful. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Here is the address to my Flickr space.