Friday, September 21, 2007

Final Thoughts (thing 23) - Hurrah!

1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?

This has been a very enjoyable learning experience. I had a great time playing with the image generators (what a way to kill time!) and having a legitimate excuse to play some more with YouTube and

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?

I would have to say that this program confirmed my approach to lifelong learning. I already knew about and was actively using a number of the activity applications that were part of this program. This is in part because of great deal of my current hobby is conducted online, so out of necessity I have grown familiar and comfortable with many things that appear to be new to others. I have a very pragmatic approach – find something you like to do and that will make your learning experience that much easier.

3. Were there any take-aways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

Not really. See above.

4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

Consider a format that allows people to choose more from available options. While some of the applications were fun or interesting, I’m not too certain of their staying power – so items like that might be lumped together.

5. If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you again chose to participate?

Definitely – taking the time to look at these applications in a more structured fashion and also examine some that I really wouldn’t have ordinarily used at all has been a very valuable experience. I liked the format and the content a great deal.

6. How would you describe your learning experience in a few words or a few sentences, so we can share our successes and promote this program?

The MD23Things program was an eclectic blend of Web 2.0 applications chosen with an eye to both immediate applicability and downright fun.

Audiobooks (thing 22)

Hmmm... I know a little too much about some of the behind the scenes stuff about NetLibrary and Overdrive, so I think I will take a look at Project Gutenberg's offerings.

I like that Project Gutenberg offers a variety of file formats for many (if not most) of the audiobooks. I wonder what the most popular choice is? As I stated earlier, I am an iPod owner, so I tend to purchase my audiobooks from iTunes, but now I have an alternative with Project Gutenberg for some of the classics.

I find the number of recordings that some of the titles have rather humorous - Beowulf is a good example. Apparently many people wanted to record this one.

Podcasts (thing 21)

I've added a spot for NPR's podcasts on PopCulture to my sidebar. I'm an iTunes user, though, so I'm much more likely to get my podcasts from that source.

Although the suggested podcast directories were interesting, I had better luck googling potential sources with the addition of the word "podcast" - i.e. " NPR podcast".

Monday, September 17, 2007

YouTube (thing 20)

Goodbye to the Normals

This is one of my favorite YouTube short films - I should warn for language, though. According to one of the original YouTube posters, it was created as promotion for Robbie Williams' album, Rudebox. I like it just for itself.

I also know a number of people who vid together movie and TV clips, set them to a piece of music they think is fitting and create their own music videos (usually to tell a story not present in the original movie or TV show).

I notice that there are a number of short training vids, as well as those great commercials you've always wished you could see again (cat herding).

Web 2.0 Awards (thing 19)

This was an interesting list of categories as well as companies. Some I’ve already used and some were a part of the Library 2.0 training. Some applications were for services or functions I hadn’t considered. I didn’t look at everything listed, but here are my thoughts on those that caught my attention:

Rollyo, Picasa and Flickr are all sites that I used as a part of the Library 2.0 training. I’m not sure if I will continue to use them, I am rather pragmatic and so if I don’t have a need for something (or a current interest), I won’t really use it much.

Now, for current interest and need you can’t beat Etsy. Etsy is a site I really like and use frequently because I prefer to give gifts to my friends that are as unique as they are. Etsy puts you in touch with more than 30,000 sellers most of whom hand-craft their varied items. So far, all of the purchases I have made were completed in a timely fashion and definitely met my expectations.

Threadless, on the other hand, is all about t-shirts. This is the place for inexpensive, offbeat, strange and really cute graphic t-shirts. But, the thing to remember is that the supply is limited and they don’t re-print very many. Where else could you find a t-shirt explanation for why things get lost: I mentioned this application in an earlier blog post. I love it: ♥ ♥ ♥
I have 2 active and one inactive accounts, all used for different purposes. Working between multiple workstations meant that I never had the bookmark I wanted on the PC I was using when I needed it. Now I really make an effort to tag a site rather than bookmark it.

Kayak: I have booked travel through Kayak, so it is nice to see it is considered award-worthy.

One type of travel service that I didn’t see represented was the airline / flight tracking sites that provide information on how often certain airlines, or more specifically certain flights, are delayed or canceled. One that I have used is FlightAware. When making decisions for my up-coming business trip, I checked into the flights I was considering to see if they were usually on-time. You can also create a profile that will allow you to have flight data for the specific flight you are interested in tracking sent to your cell phone or other mobile device. If you are tracking a flight from home, you can also see how far along it is on its route and its approximate geographic location. Lots of interesting information.

YouTube: I think by now everyone has seen a YouTube video. This application had the most name recognition for people I talk with and although IMEEM is becoming popular among my friends who have had content on YouTube removed (fanvideos with re-purposed copyrighted material), I think it is hard to not know about YouTube these days.

Zoho (thing 18, cont.)

So, Zoho has some interesting standard features and some which I think are fee-based (which they let you try for free).

I tested their Poll feature with a weather-based poll for a business trip I'm taking next week:

This is really fun and I was able to figure out where and about how much to tweak the width and height settings to get the poll to display nicely.

Zoho has some other very interesting applications to offer, but as with Google, your productivity will be dependent on web-access. (So I also place important documents on a flash drive.)

Online Productivity (thing 18)

Online Productivity Tools

Online productivity tools are terrific for collaboration; I have used GoogleDocs to place committee documents (and spreadsheets) online and have them usable for other committee members to add information or change it. I have even used the Discuss feature to chat online with colleagues as we all examined the same document and edited it.

Exploring some of GoogleDocs Publish features lead me to the discovery that, like Zoho, GoogeDocs can be configured to publish to your blog as well as having a feature that allows you to publish your document as a webpage and/or imbed it into another webpage.

Of course, anything you place on a Google server stays there, even after you’ve deleted it from your account, I would think about what you are putting up there. Just like with email, unless you’re paying for a certain level of security and privacy, I wouldn’t put anything up there that I didn’t want public.

Next I’ll look at Zoho.

ETA: I posted this entry through GoogleDocs, but then had to edit it to add tags & the heading.

Wikis (thing 16 & 17)

After repreated tries, I was finally able to add my hyperlinked blog name to the Learning 2.0 Sandbox wiki. In spite of Ellen's excellent instructions, I was only able to get my blog name added correctly by viewing the source code for the page and adding the URL address at that point.

Using the "insert link" method left me with the insert link box still on the page (after clicking OK) for up to 45 minutes. At that point I canceled the action. Grr.

However, other libraries are certainly using Wikis in interesting fashions. The Oregon Library Instruction wiki is an interesting example of a collaborative instruction resource for librarians. This place where the Library 2.0 in 15 minutes a day wiki is hosted. Oddly enough I wasn't able to figure out from their main page how to navigate to the Library 2.0 page - until I looked at the recent changes page.

Training page like this one and the collaborative compilaiton of topic specific knowledge seem to be the best use for the model.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Library 2.0 (thing 15)

This webpage provides a handy collection of Library 2.0 blog posts and articles. Since it is the by-product of a course, it very nicely starts off with several definitions of “Library 2.0”.

Library 2.0:
A user-focused paradigm centered on continuing to serve current customers while reaching out to potential customers; embracing new ideas and technologies that revitalize delivery models for services and encourage participation and collaboration as new models and services are developed and evaluated. A framework that supports rapid change, flexible organization structure and the re-evaluation of all aspects of traditional library service with the “end goal of usability and findability in mind”.
(Michael Casey; Michael Stevens; John Blyberg)

Blogger David Lee King has come up with a spectrum for Library 2.0 with traditional libraries (Luddites) on one extreme and ultra Library 2.0 at the other. His post and the graphic representation of this spectrum is here. It is very interesting and thought provoking. I don’t think that the term Luddite was perhaps the best one (that is always better as a verbal joke during a presentation), but his placement of certain behaviors could certainly shake up a few folks who thought they were doing just fine with technology.

So… my thoughts. I think that this is truly where libraries need to go – and I’m on-board for this. Constant up-dating of technology skills for staff will be an on-going need. It will be a challenge to figure out what is useful and what is simply a fad. (I still think that Second Life is a fad.) But here is what David King has to say about new technologies, like twitter:

“With emerging trends, you really should play with the stuff you’re interested in, and let others mess with things that don’t interest you. But then - and this is important - SHARE. So with Twitter, I’ll watch twitter and tell you if I find something useful for libraries. You go watch something else, and report back, too - that’s how the blogosphere works! Make sense?” David Lee King, Twitter Explained for Librarians
And that makes sense to me. If you can’t see a use for something, how successful are you going to be at learning and implementing it? OTOH, once some other folks have knocked the bugs out, a really cool application may have developed and then ALL WILL HAVE BEEN MADE CLEAR.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Technorati tags (thing 14)

So... Technorati Tags. The most important thing to know about Technorati Tags is that Blogger Labels are indeed picked up by Technorati and displayed on their tags page. Blogger A Consuming Experience has spent a great deal of time investigating this and has written up some findings... here.

Benefits of tagging:
  • Search engines pick up your journal post and send more traffic to you
  • Your journal has an index of sorts, particularly if you keep a running list of your tags in a sidebar
  • You can index any posts you contribute on other blogs (see Meblogging)
So, has trained me pretty well - I've been "labeling" this blog from the start