Saturday, April 3, 2010

Thing 23: I'm finished!!!

Well, I never thought I'd see the day when I was able to find time to finish this online training module. It's been a great experience, and I have learned many new things about what's out there in the web 2.0 world. Things I'd heard about, but only vaguely understood, like RSS feeds and social bookmarking sites, are much clearer to me now. And I learned about things I'd never heard of before, like Rollyo and Library Thing.

This training would be vastly improved by being kept up to date. I wasted time trying to learn about products that have changed considerably or are now nonexistent in 2010. The web is constantly changing, and an online training program that was created 4 years ago is surely going to need updating.

Another problem I ran into was carving out the time to work on the Things. Perhaps a shortened version, say 5 or 10 things, updated yearly, would be more manageable and could be more easily edited as library and web 2.0 continue to evolve.

Onward and upward!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thing 22: Audiobooks

Our library system's access to e-books and audiobooks is really marvelous, and has gotten much more user friendly over the years. The addition of more titles that are iPod compatible and the ability to download directly to your MP3 player is a great improvement. I looked at Overdrive and NetLibrary, and I only wish more "hot" titles were available. I couldn't find any Rick Riordan or J.K. Rowling books, for example, but Anthony Horowitz was available. So, it's a nice perk, but will not necessarily fit the bill for when a patron wants a particular book on CD and it's not on the shelf.

Whenever I or my colleagues talk about the e audiobooks, patrons are most often surprised and pleased to hear about it. They are very often not aware of the service, and hopefully they are taking advantage of it once they learn more about it. Perhaps more of a p.r. campaign to highlight downloadable and e-books is in order.

Thing 21: Podcasts

I am familiar with podcasts mostly from looking at the NPR website to listen to programming I missed on the radio. I've just signed up to get the feed for StoryCorps, for example. As for searching for podcasts, isn't there any longer, and I got an error message while looking for the Yahoo podcast site. So, I went to podcast alley. I did a search for "storytelling" and got 123 hits. They didn't appear to be organized in any particular way, though, and I saw some duplication of podcast titles, plus some things were not found through one search term, so I used another. I think in some instances I might be better off just using Google and typing in "podcast" and the search term I want.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thing 20: YouTube

YouTube has been a staple in our home for years. When my husband and I are reminiscing around the dinner table about some cartoon show we loved when we were kids, we can then go to the computer (after doing the dishes, of course!) and show our two girls, ages 6 and 11, what we found so transporting when we were children. Hanna-Barbara's "I Dream of Jeannie" cartoon, anyone?

Aside from trips down memory lane, YouTube is a great place to find news clips. I watched President Obama's acceptance speech after the votes were counted last November on YouTube the morning of November 5th. Plus, libraries can imbed YouTube videos to promote reading, as happened recently when I sent an email around to MCDPL J staff with a link to a Florida middle school's tribute to the Black-Eyed Peas "I Got a Feeling," "Gotta Keep Reading", which was subsequently posted on the Teen Site page.

I can't figure out how to imbed the videos in my blog post, but I'm sure there's a way. I know how to do it in Facebook; does that count? : )

Thing 19: Web 2.0 awards

Lots of marvelous new things out there I'd never heard of! However, once again the message is out of date. These awards were published in 2008, and they are useful because they introduced me to some new applications and website I hadn't heard of, but again I am stymied by how things change. I was interested to see what other online productivity tools are out there, so looked at the Online Desktop/OS awards. The second place winner, Ghost, caught my eye, but when I went to the homepage, there was an announcement that all online personal accounts have been closed. Did the people who used that system and had their files stored online lose all that information? Brings up a cautionary message about using online document creation sites. Oh, and if you live in the US, you can't use the BBC's iPlayer to watch BBC television any longer. *sigh*

Thing 18: Online Productivity Tools

I have some experience using Google Docs--I was collaborating with a fellow preschool parent on a spreadsheet to keep track of books in the preschool's library. It is a great thing to be able to create documents and store them remotely, with access at any computer anywhere. What was very useful is that that document was available to several people and we all worked on it collaboratively. You can see who edited an item and when, add notes about any revisions, and so on. Very useful tool. Zoho has not only word processing tools available online, but also spreadsheets, document storage, and PowerPoint-like presentation tools. They aren't all free to use, but look like they could be very useful to small business owners and the like. One online tool we use all the time at our library is Google Calendar. We keep the master info staff list on the calendar so all staff members simply log into the library's Google email account and can check and edit staffing levels from any computer in the branch and also from home if need be.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thing 17: Kicked out of the Sandbox

Well, after spending about 15 minutes trying to figure out how on earth to register and sign in to the Maryland Libraries Sandbox, I asked a colleague if she was able to get in, and she said it's not available any longer. *sigh* This training needs a major upgrade, and soon!