Monday, June 30, 2008

Thing 18 - YouTube & other Online video

I loved this segment of "Muppets Tonight" when I first saw it. I thought it would be fitting for it to be seen on this blog. This was uploaded by Nemue on June 11, 2008. I am thankful that this person from Sweden added this, and it was so recent, too. Please enjoy Thor God of Thunder at the library.

I think doing online book talks would be a great activity for a teen advisory board. (If we had one...) I didn't have trouble with the sites. But, I did spend a bit more time poking around than I probably should have. It is time for dinner!! Put Down the Ducky! Uploaded by RolloSmokes February 20, 2007.

Thing 17 - ELM Productivity Tools

I got the search alert set up. My topic is kind of esoteric, so I won't expect frequent feedback.

At first I thought that creating a website through EBSCO would be silly, but when I e-mailed it to myself and saw how easy it then was to access the articles I thought it was pretty neat. It makes we wonder why EBSCO would allow this kind of sharing of documents (for anyone, anywhere could receive the e-mail and look at the articles), but it is not for me to always wonder why.

I like that in Proquest, you don't need to set up an account to create the webpage. But, this method allows me to lose my file, while the EBSCO log in will keep the information for me off site.

I created a NetLibrary account many years ago and it was a challenge to remember what my account name and password are. I think I used NetLibrary in college and grad school, and because of my own usage, I have recommended this particular database to patrons.

Unfortunately, the e-content was not available because my library did not own the book recommended. I found a different book and clicked around in it for a bit.

The RSS feeds can help patrons receive new information on their topic without them having to search again. This is useful for students and for everyday people who have an interest in new information on a topic of their choice. Results from the RSS feeds are informational treats that show up when unexpected. Staff can use the website feature of EBSCO and ProQuest to seek assistance from other staff members in answering a question. They could put "this is what I have found... this is how I searched... what can you think of that I missed?... oh, and btw, this is why they were asking..."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Thing 16 - Student 2.0 tools

At first I didn't see any real draw in the University of Minnesota Assignment Calculator, until I saw that they did indeed suggest indexes to use to seek information on the topic. That is truly helpful! If you have access to that index or database, that is.

I like to think that university students already know how to research and write an assignment. But it is good that they have a time line with quick references to refresh their memories on best practices.

The Research Project Calculator is great! Many times we will have students in the library asking for books when they haven't thought out their papers. Other times we get students in who have completely thought out a science experiment and then wanted a book that proves them right. Erm...

I do like the teacher instructions. It gives teachers the option to read through the research process in detail, or to get a quick overview. I like that they get to see exactly what the student sees and then see what their guiding roll should be.

The Research Project Calculator has been added to our library's website because our webmaster did the first round of 23 Things On a Stick. I don' t know how much use it has had.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thing 15 - Online Games and Libraries

Puzzle Pirates Adventures! isn't working. :-(

I try to create a new account and I get "Logon failed: Either there is a temporary network outage or the server is down for maintenance. Please wait a moment before reconnecting."

I have not played online games. I have purchased games and downloaded them over the internet - anyone try Snood? Fantastic. I played frequently when I was in grad school. It got to the point that I would see their little faces every time I blinked. I am not meant to play games because I get obsessed for varying amounts of time. When I first started Sudoku, I got to the point I would continue to try to solve a stuck puzzle when I was trying to fall asleep. No paper in front of me. Just my memory of how the puzzle was laid out. Truly a waist of brain power. And not a power I have been able to use in other aspects of my life.

Ah, you know what? I have played online games. It's that darn Sudoku, again!

I watched the tour of Info Island. I think that was enough Second Life for me. I could stare old brick wall screen saver for hours. I don't want to be wandering around hour after hour. I would feel the need to get a new computer and high-speed internet. Then my real life, as I know it, would be over. Aside from that, there is no way Second Life will load correctly on our work computers, or on my dial up connected computer at home. Sorry.

We have teens and preteens come into the library and play virtual games. RuneScape is one of the favorites at the moment. This just reminded me that we need to set up a new copy of the physical game "Guess Who?"

I have read that women in their middle years are the largest population of gamers. These would be the women who unwind at the end of the day by playing bridge or Sudoku or something else online. Some of these women come into the library, too. It isn't just teens and preteens.

Thing 14 - LibraryThing

I don't know if I would use this for the teen blog. I think I wouldn't because I am already putting covers and thoughts about the book in the postings. We use Bookletters with our website and that links directly to our catalog, so I don't see where we would use this. It is interesting, however.

I put in 20 books and someone had 15 of those books in her library. Her library consists of 100 books, so she had the jump on me. I added 6 more books, and now when I look at the "member with your books list" I have more people to choose from, but when I click on some of them, they have none of the books on their bookshelf that I do. How weird is that? Very.

You know, I might want to add this to the teen blog, if only for its recommendations. But, I would rather the teens comment on our blog then get sucked into LibraryThing and leave us in the lurch. Hmmm. But the rotating sample of the bookshelf could be interesting. But, then again, how much time should I be spending on this? On the one hand... on the other hand... but then again...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thing 13 - Online Productivity Tools

I set up a start page with iGoogle. I tried to enter a countdown clock for when my expected death might be, but the clock only goes through next year and I plan on living much longer then that. So, I used the Google interface to search for more widgets (gadgets) and found one that allowed me to both add it to iGoogle and have the countdown go for many years. Ahh. Much better. Yet still slightly morbid. and for your information.

I signed up for a Google Calendar. I tried to link it to the iGoogle page but that didn't fly. Hmm, I just went back and putzed with the settings and added weather, but I don't see it anywhere... Ah, that is because I am not that intelligent. I didn't tell it where I was. That feature adds a calendar to the account. Kind of cool. - But not here today. It is warm. But it is supposed to rain.

I think that I will pass on all of these. I live a very simple life and don't need to have an intricate calendar system set up. My to do lists are usually short enough to keep in my head if it is something that I am actually going to do in the near future. Or, I just write a note on a piece of paper and stick it somewhere I will see it. At home, those notes go on the patio door. At work, they live on the desk, or on the computer monitor. Extremely short term to do lists go on my left wrist. (I have been doing that for 19 years.)

I don't want to rely on a computer to tell me what I need to do because I can't rely on the computers to do what they need to do. We don' t have enough of them at work for everyone to have one to use, and really, too many websites and passwords. (Yes, I could the address, but argh!)

I looked at Backpack, but I didn't sign up for the 30 day free trial.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thing 12 - Do you Digg?

Victory!! I have a Digg account. Alas, I created the account 2 weeks ago and can no longer remember my login/password. I do recall that receiving the original verification e-mail took 20 minutes...

I find this to be a time suck. Really, there a lot of interesting products available on the Internet to help us find information and share information, but I think it is too much to expect one person to use all of them. It is good to know that these things are out there, but I don't want to use them for work or for play.

My brother was telling me about StumbleUpon a few years ago (was it that long, already?). I just played on the site for a few minutes. It seems like play, and not so informative. I should be walking the dog, rather than Stumbling around on the net. (Or reading a book. Or cleaning the house... Mowing the lawn?)

I did see some cool things with StumbleUpon. But I don't find it necessary for my life or my work.

Still waiting for the password/login help e-mail...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thing 11 - Tagging and

I think that this would be useful for research assistance as long as the person didn't go overboard in tagging everything. It is too easy to tag websites. It think that people will tag things that are marginally interesting and will clutter up their accounts making a particular website more difficult to look for than using a search engine. However, if a person uses care in the tags and the amount of websites that are tagged, this could be a very useful tool.

I like how San Mateo Public Library uses Dewey to organize its tags. But I really like how Mensha Public Library just uses major subject categories to bundle the tags. I think that this method is more useful for the public. It organizes the tags which otherwise would be very confusing.

I don't like the looks of tag clouds. I find them confusing. This is how my brain is wired, and I don't expect others to be like me. It is just too much for me to look at so I just gaze over it, seeing nothing. I would need bundling for this to make any useful visual sense to me.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Thing 10 - Wikis

I edited the front page of the 23 things on a stick wiki. I am the one who commented on how messy this particular wiki is. I like the idea of a group of people being able to work on a "project" at the same time. It looked to me that some of the projects had been abandoned, however.

I think internet subject guides would work well for a wiki. It would be worrisome to allow public input on the wiki - but if the "collective" can really enforce its will on the wiki, it might be safe. But, even with allowing only library staff to vet the sites and maintain the links, the programs are easy to use and multiple people can be working on the project and the information can be updated immediately. This is better than having one person in charge of the website, because that person usually has too much to do already.

I would think that teachers/faculty would allow Wikipedia to be used as a source but not by itself. If they require multiple sources, all of which agree, there should be no problem in using a Wikipedia article. The articles are quick overviews of subjects - for further reading or information, a person must continue researching.

I can understand limiting by format only if the idea of the project is to use a particular format in lieu of others. Such as, in this paper, you are only to use print journal articles. The next paper, books. The next paper, online journal articles.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Thing 9 - Online Collaboration Tools

I haven't yet been invited to alter the 23 things on a stick postings...

However, a colleague of mine who is also doing the 23 things sent me an invite to her Zoho article. I clicked on the 23 things on a stick Google doc and was invited to join Google docs and was given access to Sarah's Google doc that she shared with me without my knowing. Get it? Terrible run on sentence... Zoho sent me an e-mail about the document - Google said nada.

I think that both are easy to use. Google has an as you go spell checker - which I find helpful because my spelling is terrible and my typing isn't as accurate as I would like. Zoho can do an after the fact spell check and it makes the text red and underlines it (that way if your text is in red, you can still see that it found a spelling error). It accepts gonna as a word. Weird. So does this. When did gonna become an acceptable word?

I think that the founding fathers would have had an easier time working on the document if they could all see it at the same time and make alterations. Although, there could have been one wily one that would have just messed around because he could.

Anyhow, now I have add my embellishments to the document. My opinion hasn't changed. (My typing has gotten no better...)