Monday, December 17, 2007
I'm probably going to spend some more time looking at our electronic collection, too. I really hadn't paid any attention to it, until I realized that we had Douglas Adams.
It was fun to try to see the Big Picture of how we can make these Web 2.0 tools work for the library and IF we should make them work for the library. The half hour of work time per week really wasn't enough to do it properly, though. I think we should allow people to budget more time for this program, should we offer it again. Would I do something like this? Yes, I probably would. (I think I'm going to maintain this blog and put more information about the books I'm reading on it, so I can keep track of them all, share ideas for readalikes, etc.)
Also, while I was downloading the audiobook, there was a box in the bottom right corner of the screen telling me that I could purchase the item from Napster. I think we should be careful about mentioning for-profit services on our webpage. We are still a non-profit organization; if we don't allow people to offer services for a charge at programs at the library, I think it's equally important not to offer fee-based services on our webpages as well.
Friday, December 7, 2007
We might be able to use podcasts to record Library program's musical performances, so that people who can't make it to that branch or wish to listen to a concert again could be able to attend a "virtual" program; and we could also put links to other items that might be of interest to our customers as part of a podcast pathfinder; a page that had a podcast of a concert of Cole Porter music could also have links to CDs we have of Cole Porter's music; books about Cole Porter and Jazz in general; and movies about Cole Porter (though the only movie I know that would qualify is De-Lovely.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
However, it was easier to post that YouTube video to my blog than it was to post pictures to my blog.
I think this was a wonderful speech and I was so pleased that I got a free copy on DVD before CSPAN decided that demand was enough to justify charging for it; fortunately for everyone else, someone else put it on YouTube.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
However Google has some interesting Terms of Service that I'm not sure are appropriate; Google explains that the Terms of Service were written in English and if there's any difference between a foreign language translation and the English version the English version is correct and a user will be held to the English Terms of Service. I don't feel comfortable pushing a service that is that unfriendly to people who don't speak English fluently enough to read (and understand) Terms of Service in English.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
I then tried to upload something to ThinkFree from home. ThinkFree spent 15 minutes trying to upload something with Java (which would annoy our customers because it would waste their time on the machines) and then it opened up an empty document. When I tried to upload the same document from work (because the document is showing as in my ThinkFree account) I had to sign on, try to open the document, at which point another window opened and I had to sign on again, and then it couldn't open the document because it was a Microsoft Works document and not MS Word (though I swear I've got MS Word at home as part of MS Office Suite) Then we tried another document that was created with the same word processing program and it downloaded the Java program, then it told me to look at it with Power Edit, and then told me to "please sign in to open the document" ignoring the fact that I was already signed in. That's how I was able to get to the screen that let me choose which document to open. But ThinkFree insists I have to upgrade to ThinkFree Premium before I can edit anything, so this program will not be useful to our customers.
So these free applications would not be helpful to our customers (if they've got the bandwidth to use them properly at home, they've got the bandwidth to send themselves attachments via email and just pass documents back home that way, as opposed to needing a desk), and I'm not really sure they'd be of much help to us, either for the same reason. They're not opening up on my computer.
I could successfully upload and open MS Works Documents with Google Documents, but I wasn't able to share them with people who weren't using a Google, Gmail or Yahoo account. This would be useful as a means to send a document to yourself (when our customers forget to bring disks), but I still feel uncomfortable pushing one company over another (yes, Google Documents is a better service, but only if you're using their email accounts).
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Now, I Facebook might be an alternative to doing book groups online, and if we're looking to do outreach that way, Facebook might be a good means of doing that. Facebook would also allow people to be members of book clubs in branches other than the one closest to them. This might be a really good thing in terms of engaging people in their 20s and 30s who would like to participate in book clubs but don't have the time or inclination to get to the physical library.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
My first impression of Wikipedia was skeptical; who knew who was posting what, and for what reasons? However, that was before examining Wikipedia. I'm still a little suspicious; Wikipedia spends an awful lot of time citing different articles that also appear within Wikipedia, and that always makes me suspicious. I would prefer it if a source cites someone other than herself when proving her point, but of course, the different article in Wikipedia isn't the same source, it's just "published" (disseminated seems a more appropriate term) by the same resource. But the resources listed at the end of each Wikipedia entry are marvelous, and very imformative. If I just wanted to give people a place to start researching, I'm not sure I'd tell them to read the Wikipedia article, but I might suggest that they start looking at the sources Wikipedia lists.
I then went to the Wikipedia on Internet Filters, or "Content Control Software" as Wikipedia calls it. I didn't think I could add anything to the entry, but it did need some proper citations. I spent more than 15 minutes trying to figure out how I could edit the citations in the entry. Wikipedia's citation method is so basic that it's counterintuitive to those of use who learned citation standards in school (at least, that's my opinion).
You know how bookstores frequently have a collection called "Employee picks?" Why couldn't we do something like that using a Wiki? The Princeton Library did, and I think it looks like a good idea.
I think the idea that there's a library somewhere with a community so small that a popular book could just be passed around without people getting upset that "Joe got it before I did, and I read so much faster than Joe," is just amusing. I'm sure those communities are out there, small towns where most of the people know each other, it's just that I've never worked in one.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
How useful is the idea of listening to your users needs in a system such as mine? We serve over 1 million people, some of whom are very tech-savvy, many of whom think they're tech-savvy but aren't, and many of whom (still!) who barely know how to move a mouse. Why should we be ignoring our print collection because the cool people aren't using it? We've all had those awful days when the computer system goes down and we don't have access to it. This is when the "just in case" collection comes in handy. To say that it is impossible to teach everyone to use the print material, or to teach people to surf the Internet successfully, isn't helpful. We can't be everything to everyone, as much as we can try, and I don't think that the tools of Web 2.0 will help us bridge the digital divide.
I don't even know how Technocrati is tagging the blogs it's tagging. The Widgets are of no value to me. I don't care what everyone else is looking for right now, I only want to find what I'm looking for. Again, Show Me They Money! (with all due respect to Tom Cruise and Jerry Maguire.)
By encouraging our users to use these networking sites, are we just giving data away to marketers to be used? Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?
OCLC has published a study, Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World, that looks very pertinent to my concerns.
But using these bookmarks to help "“less tech-savvy librarians have an equal voice in the collection,” instead of having one or two librarians editing a static web page."? Don't you have to be rather tech-savvy to feel comfortable using the bookmarks to begin with?
I don't particularly like Internet Explorer, and I much prefer my Firefox browser at home. Del.icio.us looks like it's intended to be used only with IE which I resent. What about people who are using older computers that don't work well with IE? What about people using linux to avoid the Microsoft issue altogether. Why is IE necessary?
Thursday, November 15, 2007
It's not really fantasy; it falls into that middle area where I'd put Rankin's Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse. It's due out in December and I want to encourage people to read it. I think it could be the 21st century Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy, in terms of cult classics.
And The Word Was by Bruce Bauman is a powerful novel about the ability to continue living when faced with unimaginable loss. The book was very compelling and I would have stayed up all night reading it, if I hadn't had to go to work the next day. If you know you're going to be on a plane for 2 hours and want to be distracted, And The Word Was is the perfect book for you.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
However, in terms of "sharing" rollyos, it's not terribly useful because the rollyos aren't sorted at all! You can "explore" the rollyos, which is a very unhelpful term because you're not exploring, you're searching through the rollyos looking for ones that use search terms that you're looking for.
Professionally, I think I should be looking at book review sites, and this might be a good resource for it. While I'm designing a My Books & Authors rollyo, I think it would be much easier if the search sites were automatically alphabetized while I was editing them, because it would be easier for me to find one or double check that a particular site was part of the rollyo, however I like that the sites included in the rollyo are listed on the page with the results of my search.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
This is tedious, and since the information that should have been embedded in the code that I copied and pasted into the "Random Books from My Library" entry had changed, I don't really understand why the information on my blog didn't change with it. Am I the only person who thinks that doesn't make sense. I assumed that the link to LibraryThing was not static, because if it is, it isn't as useful as I'd like.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
In "The Complete Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" there is a plot point where Claudia is so determined that when she is looking through a newspaper to find out information about Angel, a sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she completely misses an small news story about her parents who are frantic about her diappearance. (Claudia had mailed them a note telling them not to worry, but clearly the note didn't work.) The narrator points out that this is a prime example of letting the goal of your search dictate your search strategy and control what you see, and the nature of your results can be compromised because of one's focus.
On The Other Hand, I also know that bookstores often have a section called "Employees' Favorites" so that regulars of the bookstores can go to that section and use a similar search strategy (The "I know I like the books Jean likes" algorithm) and I also know from experience that sometimes customers know that they like books that a particular librarian likes, so they go up to her for recommendations.
LibraryThing's Book Suggester is more annoying than helpful, because it requires at least one more step for me to figure out what the book that's being suggested is about. I might have liked "The Other Rebecca" for any number of reasons, and because LibraryThing hasn't figured out how to manage tags (while Novelist has) means that I won't find it professionally useful, yet.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
So to sum up, I don't think RSS really makes my life that much more simple.
Why are its gender selections so "hip?" What's wrong with my wanting to identify myself as a "woman," not as a "grrl," "lady," or "female"? It's not a BIG deal, I know, but it might just be enough to put off women of a certain generation who fought to be called women in the workplace.
Monday, October 15, 2007
I find the standardized presentation on Firefox much easier to navigate than I find Internet Explorer.
But there is just so much out there! And some of it's great, and some of it isn't at all interesting, but the medium doesn't give me enough control to limit what I can look at so eventually I'm just overwhelmed. The news feeds make it even worse.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I know Flickr tries to control for this, because they do give people an option of restricting who has access to what's posted, but it still makes me feel a little uneasy.
I did however put pictures from my grandfather's birthday party up and invited my relatives to go look at them. We live all over the country and never really get a chance to see all the pictures we've taken of one another.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
I took piano lessons for 7 years, and I never thought that practicing was "work" until the very last year. I think I got to be pretty good at the piano because I didn't consider exercises or practicing "work."
Beginning with the end in mind often prevents me from enjoying the learning experience, because all I'm concerned with is my intended "destintion;" getting there is half the fun, and staying aware of other possible uses for what I'm studying can make the process more interesting.
I also don't understand why the post time isn't right; I click on "Post Options" and a post time and date are listed, but the time has always been wrong by about 3 hours.
I just found this fabulous site, Off-Off Blogway, and I think other people should see it because it's pretty impressive. I wish I'd put up a blog like that.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I'll probably also be talking about the plays and concerts I'm going to, also.