Monday, January 26, 2009

#23 End or Beginning

#23 The End or the Beginning

My favorite discoveries on this learning journey would have to be RSS feeds, Web Apps--especially Google Docs--wikis and podcasts.
I like receiving current information and programming without having to go out and search for it, which RSS feeds and podcsts do.
I think a wiki would be a good alternative to so many committee meetings for planning events. It could be limited to committee members until tentative plans are made and then opened to others for feedback as desired.
Google Docs appear to be a way to bridge the barrier between the Mac and PC platforms. Both can contribute to these documents. It’s also a good way to take work home without carrying anything and running the risk of leaving vital information in the wrong place.

This program has helped me learn a host of new things and broadened my horizons as to what may in the future become common practice.

One benefit to this program that surprised me was the information, websites, shared slideshows, etc. I came across on organizing everything from paper, to my desk, to my life. I can always benefit from inspiration to better organize my “stuff” and my life.

One regret I have is that family events beyond my control interrupted my work on this program in October and I had a hard time catching up. I really had to hurry at the end. Your plan for taking a week with each thing is a good one, and could perhaps be emphasized more. I would prefer to have done one thing per week so I could be more at ease with using each of them before I had to move on.

If you offered another discovery program like this in the future I would want to participate. I would work on keeping my schedule as uncluttered as possible to take my time learning each “thing”.

One last point I would like to make is that we spent far more than 15 or even 23 hours on this program to get our 15 hours of CE credit. I think the time was well spent, but there is an inequity between the effort needed for these credits and that of others.

Thank you Allana, Christa, Michael and Susan for all the work you put into preparing and monitoring this program for us!!! Will you be leaving the 23 Things up after January 30 so we can come back and review if we want to?

Friday, January 23, 2009

#23 Podcasts

I searched most of the listed resources and found some interesting things.

From the NLC Interchange I learned about iPodder, which can be used to capture podcasts when a person has a schedule conflict at the time they are presented and then listen to them anywhere, any time. How convenient!

In searching Google for library podcasts I found LibrarySpot which has a wide variety of good podcasts. Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, while too advanced for the elementary school library where I work, would be good for a high school library. I wonder if it could be incorporated into the school website? A feature on LibrarySpot that would be appropriate for the elementary school is Booktalks Quick and Simple. It is simply short talks about a large number of children’s books designed to arouse interest in reading each book. The talks I listened to are very effective.

In the iTunes Podcast store I found podcasts from and a very interesting episode on whether antibacterial soap is really beneficial or not. (It’s hard to stick strictly to library topics.) This would be a fun reference for a public library, I would think. I subscribed to this podcast, but it came into my iTunes library rather than Bloglines.

I added All About Books from NET Radio to my Bloglines, even though it’s definitely not elementary school level, just to fulfill this exercise.

There certainly is a wide variety of podcast topics. I’m not sure I even scratched the surface, but this experience has been interesting anyway.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

#21 You Tube

Right now You Tube has a lot of videos about the Obama inauguration, but I was pleased to see that it also has videos of past presidents' inauguration speeches as well. I would have liked to listen to them, but can't justify the time from my regular library work.

I had a hard time finding a video, other than those I just mentioned, that I really liked. My tastes are apparently not mainstream YouTube. But I found one by singer Michael W. Smith that I relate to. It is located at: The song he sings is called, "How to Say Goodbye." The video is about a father whose daughter is getting married, but I relate as a mother whose son is far away overseas. The embedding of this video was disabled by request so I can't get it into my blog.

I also found videos from the CommonCraft show, some of which we've watched for Nebraska Learns 2.0. I found a financial one about how to apply for and get a loan. This and some of the other CommonCraft show videos would be useful tools at school or in a public library.

The YouTube site is easy to navigate and has an unimaginable variety of content, all the way from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

#20 Web 2.0 Tools

You're right, there are so many Web 2.0 tools that it is difficult to choose!

I explored My Heritage in the geneology category because I would like to know more information about my great-great grandfather. My Heritage has a powerful search engine for doing ancestor research that they say is constantly updated, a Family Tree Builder that makes it easy to add photos and anecdotes, plus family web sites where you can share information with your relatives.

The foundation of all this is the Family Tree Builder, which is downloadable. With this I ran into a brick wall because it is for Windows computers and I have a Mac. Bummer! Perhaps I can still use their search engine to research my great-great grandfather. But I’ll have to figure out something else if I decide to make a family tree.

I also looked into the start page igoogle and I plan to put that on my computer at home (the school homepage is automatically the start page on school computers here). I can tailor my home start page to show my interests each time I open my browser.

#19 Web Apps

As I first read up on Google Docs I questioned the difference between its function and that of wikis, since they both seem to be about collaboration. But the features of Google Docs make it best for collaborating on specific documents (especially the inclusion of a record of past revisions) while wikis are more about a freer collaborating of ideas and events.

This also has great potential for working at home on documents for the library without carrying a flash drive or worrying about multiple platforms.

I explored the templates that are available in Google Docs and the number and variety are truly amazing.

I made two documents in Google Docs, this one and a four sided folding card from a template. (I still haven't figured out how to print my card without all the directions too, but I will work on it.)

(I'm sure there's a way to upload this document into my blog but I'm running out of time to figure it out so I will just copy and paste instead.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

#18 Playing with Wikis

It’s been fun reading about the favorites of Nebraska librarians. And the wiki format made it easy to navigate among the pages and add my own favorites.

I was able to follow the directions for placing my blog on the favorite blogs page. I also added my favorite book to the books page and my favorite Christmas book to the seasonal books page.

Another thing I appreciated about the wiki format is that, after thinking about what I had posted, I could return and add a word or two without going through a time-consuming procedure.

I like the spontaneity and informality of wikis and was disappointed that there weren’t more favorite wikis posted.

Thanks for introducing us to wikis!

Monday, January 19, 2009

#17 Wikis

A wiki seems to be a good means of communicating constantly updated information to a group of people. It invites the expertise of all its readers to contribute to its content.

However, it is a double-edged sword. The very openness of a wiki can allow misuse through members who choose, for their own reasons, not to be honest, objective or kind.

The library wikis that I've been reading about either have a limited group of contributors or else some form of special editing to remove inaccurate or malicious entries. Human nature seems to require one or the other.

I think a wiki would be a good way to plan an event without requiring the planners to schedule and attend meetings. It would also be a good way to invite reactions to proposals within a school system or library system.

An entirely different use would be having readers write reviews of the books they read for inclusion on the library website, catalog or other place (after some screening of the reviews).

The possible uses of a wiki are wide and varied.

#16 Library 2.0

My job in this elementary school library has been more involved with day-to-day operations of the library than with philosophical discussions about the future of libraries.

But after reading these perspectives, I agree with Michael Stephens that we must be sure to plan for our users and base our services, materials and outreach on their needs and wants. This includes being a trendspotter and controlling technolust (neither of which are easy!). But perhaps the most important role is getting access to good reliable content. Chip Nilges says something similar when he talks about building better data.

I find myself somewhat in disagreement with Rick Anderson when he says we must "focus our attention, not on teaching research skills but on eliminating the barriers that exist between patrons and the information they need so they spend as little time as possible wrestling with lousy search interfaces and as much time as possible actually reading and learning." I agree that we should eliminate as many barriers and lousy search interfaces as possible, but, as an elementary school library, we must teach good research skills. The biggest task facing all people today isn't finding information, it's sorting through the deluge of information to find reliable and relevant information. Not everything on the internet is true or objective.

I commend Nebraskaccess as a good example of Library 2.0 in getting good, reliable content, and for going the second mile, so to speak, in putting such good slideshows on Slideshare to teach people how to access the information they personally need. This, I think, is taking the library to the people, which I see as part of Library 2.0.

Friday, January 16, 2009

#15 SlideShare

SlideShare has the potential for being enormously helpful, especially to busy educators who don't have the time to put together a presentation for every topic they teach. However, I found some slideshows more informative than others.

I am interested in origami and found one slideshow that consisted simply of the scanned-in pages of an origami instruction book. This is very helpful in learning to do origami, but I wonder if it isn't a copyright infringement.

The slideshows that are my favorites relate to organizing paper and clutter and I can always use help in that department. I left a comment on one of them.

My SlideShare account is at

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

#14 Delicious

The video on Delicious was very informative and helpful. I think Delicious is a wonderful thing. I will refer to it often in the future, I’m sure.

I love the Delicious tagroll on the Holdrege Public Library website. What an attractive and concise way to direct people to a variety of good websites!

If I were to assign tags to the NebraskAccess website I would use the following: reference databases Nebraska. I also think that the tag, NebraskAccess, would be appropriate since it encompasses so very much material.

Delicious is a good way to access your bookmarks from anywhere, but the open, social aspect of Delicious also makes it a good tool for research, as well as sharing bookmarks with friends, family, groups, etc.

Monday, January 12, 2009

#13 Twitter

I have explored the Twitter resources, followed Jessamyn West and Michael Sauers to some extent, set up my account and made a couple tweets. It seems that Twitter can be as simple or as complicated as each person desires.

Perhaps the most helpful information I saw was the Five Fast Twitter Tips at the end of Ellyssa Kroski’s article, just under the pictures of the 10 more followed librarians. It helped some of the tweets make more sense to me.

I didn’t get any results when I searched for references to my town, so we must not be Twittering yet. I also searched a few topics of interest and found references to, which I have just recently found as well.

I think the most practical professional use of Twitter is embedded in Library web sites for reference questions (especially the NLC_Reference) or announcements of late-breaking occurrences.

Something I also discovered is that Twitter can take up a lot of time!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

#12 LibraryThing

LibraryThing is amazing. I wish I had more time to check it out. When I browsed the authors I found that Michael Sauers is listed there!

After I added my books I was dismayed to find that no one else had a couple of them. And these are my favorite authors! But upon browsing the catalogs of people who did have some of my books I found that at least one had other books by these authors. I'm always glad to find others who enjoy their books too.

My catalog can be found at:

#11 Technology Blog

I would echo what others have said, technology is wonderful when it is working right and a pain when it's not.

But I think there's another dimension to the issue as well. Technology gives us more control over our jobs, schedules, communications, etc., but the more we use it, the more dependent we become upon it. Should our computer crash or our internet connection go down, our day can be ruined. That control is gone, at least temporarily. If the internet should be disrupted or (heaven forbid!) the power grid go down for more than a few minutes, our lives would be thrust into chaos in short order. We gain control by yielding it to an entity that we view to be stronger than we are. Thankfully, most of the time, it works.

On the lighter side, I have often chuckled to myself that if I ever have to go to a nursing home I'll have to pick one that will let me have my computer and a high speed internet hookup in my room!