Week 9 Thing 20: YouTube

I was a little shocked a few months ago when my husband sent me a link to a video of me on YouTube at a recent visit to the zoo. First of all there was the fact that I didn't realize that I was being recorded. Then there was the fact that this video is up on the Internet for anyone to see. A little bizarre. However once you get over the privacy issue it is kind of fun.

Today I heard that there is a new Tickle Me Elmo doll coming out for Christmas. I wanted to see what the fuss was all about and what you get for the $200 + price tag on eBay. So I did a quick search in YouTube and here it is...TMX Elmo:

Week 8 Thing 19: Web 2.0 Tools

I was surprised after looking at this list how many of these tools I have already used: Technorati, Bloglines, Craigslist, Writely, ThinkFree Office, HipCal, Flickr, FaceBook, MySpace, Deliscious, Rollyo, YouTube, PBWiki, JotSpot.

Wow! I did not even realize some of these were "Web 2.0." Of course Web 2.0 is just a name. It seems like more and more of what has become popular on the Internet are ways to connect to people. After years and years of the Internet and computers having the nerd or geek stigma, it is becoming cool to be online and to use computers. When I started college more than a decade ago I never heard the phrases "Facebook me" or "Google it" and I typed all my papers on a typewriter. Now these phrases are a part of the every day language and I can email assignments to my professors. Not only do I not have to print papers out on paper, but for some classes I don't even have to have a book--the materials are all available online.

Back to my point. For years computers and video games were to blame for alienating people. Now these tools are providing channels for people to connect in ways that we never imagined. Through this blog I have "met" a librarian in Australia. Because of the Internet I am able to complete a degree from a university that I have never seen or been to. I am taking a class from a professor who lives in another state. There are students living as far away as Saudi Arabia. My teaching partner for another online class lives in a different time zone. I can use Skype and call anyone in my family at any time of day...for free. The world seems smaller, but the opportunities seem endless!

Week 8 Thing 18: Web-based Applications

Web-based productivity applications are great for people who are not always at the same computer: students, library patrons, most library staff. With a user name and password you can create, edit, and save documents, calendars, spreadsheets, and more. Look out Microsoft!

However if you are going to use these tools you must have a reliable Internet connection. As some Blogger users have found, if you take too long to create a post, Blogger times out and you lose your post. I have not had these problems with Writely or Zoho, but I do not use them frequently. The key to using any application on a computer, web-based or not--SAVE your work, save frequently, and save in multiple places and formats.

Week 7 Thing 17: PBWiki

I went to the PLCMC Learning 2.0 wiki and added Learning Express to the Favorite Blogs page. PBWiki was one of the blogs that we looked at and tested for PLCMC but since it does not have a WYSIWYG editor, it was quickly ruled out. The primary feature we looked for was a wiki that is intuitive to use. Hopefully staff will find Confluence easy to use.

Week 7 Thing 16: Something Wiki This Way Comes

My introduction to wikis started a few weeks ago when I was asked to train library staff on using a wiki for project management. After saying yes, I began the daunting task of not only preparing to train others but learning how to use the thing myself!

So to anyone out there who thinks that trainers just magically know or learn everything let me reassure you that nothing could be further from the truth! We have to learn just like everyone else, and usually we have to learn on our own.

Within a few days of using TWiki, I became very frustrated that it was so difficult to use. If I could not easily use this, how would I train others to use it!

So for about two weeks Chuck and I tested a variety of wikis to find one that would work for PLCMC. If you are ever in the market for a wiki, take a look at WikiMatrix, a great site for comparing wikis.

Those of you at PLCMC on SSP teams will be happy to know that we found a great wiki called Confluence that is easy to use. The possibilities for uses are endless and with most our staff experimenting with wikis by participating in Learning 2.0 training will be a piece of cake!

Week 6 Thing 15: Library 2.0

When I drafted this post last week I wrote about how PLCMC has already become a model of Library 2.0. We have gaming for teens and adults, we have an ATM and coffee bar at Main Library. I can finally answer my cell phone and not be glared at by angry patrons who have been scolded for using their phones.

But then I read Questing Librarian's post on this topic and my eyes were opened a little more. Library 2.0 is about more than gaming night at the library. If you have not yet subscribed to Christie's blog--do it now. Here are just a few of the things she wrote that really summed up Library 2.0 for me.

...make the library where you want to be in real life...I want a community space that's buzzing with programming hipness and sound proof areas for quiet study to reach that "zen" state of lifelong learning. I want good natural lighting, plenty of windows, and comfortable chairs. Take that zen feeling and make an enclosed Japanese style tea garden or an outdoor cafe. Have access to porches that open onto an arboretum with picnic benches and electrical outlets on the outside. I want all of that plus an information hub that is second to none. If I want to learn how to paint I can find it--online or with a guidebook and have access to digital tools to create on the spot. If I want to understand how DNA makes the world go round I should be able to find it at home, at work, or wherever I am. If the library doesn't have a book I want, I would like to walk over to a bookmaker machine, type in the ISBN and the machine prints it in 15 minutes--cataloged and ready to check out. Libraries can become the new star attraction that will put a city on the map. Make it something that every visitor will put on their "must see and do" list.

PLCMC is taking giant leaps in the right direction, but we still have a way to go. Just the other day I overheard a patron tell another patron, "I love this library. Every time I come to Charlotte I have to stop and see this library." How great is that?

I have never been one to visit libraries while on vacation, but next week I'm going to Seattle, and guess what's the first thing on my list to see!

So what are my thoughts about Library 2.0?

First of all, we cannot think of public libraries as being just a function of local government anymore. Budget shortfalls have effected libraries for years, but since 9/11 Americans have been paying a higher price for security. Let's face it, even though we currently have strong community support for our libraries, if we face another attack like 9/11 the government is going to want more and more money to protect our country.

Public libraries need to find ways to become self-funded. Information should always remain free, but we need to look into other markets where we can cross over and generate a profit. Coffee bars, snack bars, merchandising, book sales, sales of office supplies. I know what you are thinking, "We don't want to compete with Kinko's and Starbucks. We don't have the staff. We don't have the resources."

Great so let's bring these resources into the library. Why not let Kinko's set up a copy and print shop in a small corner of the library? How many patrons have come to the library to print a resume on fancy resume paper only to find out that we do not allow them to use special paper in our printers? Where do we send the patrons? Kinko's.

Each time we refer a patron to another business, we should start thinking of a way to bring that service or business into the library. This builds the foundation towards Library 2.0 and provides the resources to pay for not only Library 2.0 but Library 3.0 and beyond.

What else does Library 2.0 mean? Empowering not only patrons but staff. Our library provides the most outstanding customer service of any organization that I have ever seen. But do we provide the same service to internal customers? Not always. If our vision is to be the best library in America, we have to start by being the best staff. We need to support and encourage each other. We need to realize that yes we are all individuals and we may work in different branches or departments, but we are individuals, branches, and departments working towards the same common goal. The best library in America. The best staff in America.

Week 6 Thing 14: Technorati

I've used Technorati as a search tool for blogs for a while now, but only recently registered my blogs. It took a while for this blog to get properly indexed in Technorati, maybe it had something to do with this being a Blogger Beta blog.

I filled out a form to request support for Technorati and they were very polite and helpful and responded within a few days. Each time the problem was something that they had to fix on their end, but for now, at least, all the problems are fixed and my blog is being indexed and pinged properly.

Using Web 1.0 for Business -2.0

Straight from the headlines:

RadioShack Corp. notified about 400 workers by e-mail that they were being dismissed immediately as part of planned job cuts.

Employees at the Fort Worth headquarters got messages Tuesday morning saying: "The work force reduction notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated."

Company officials had told employees in a series of meetings that layoff notices would be delivered electronically, spokeswoman Kay Jackson said. She said employees were invited to ask questions before Tuesday's notification on a company intranet site.

Derrick D'Souza, a management professor at the University of North Texas, said he had never heard of such a large number of terminated employees being notified electronically. He said it could be seen as dehumanizing to employees.

"If I put myself in their shoes, I'd say, 'Didn't they have a few minutes to tell me?'" D'Souza said.
Doesn't leave much room for wondering why business is so bad over at Radio Shack.

How careful are you?

How careful are you with your personal information? Do you shred all your mail? Do you protect your social security number? Do you post pictures of your kids on the Internet? Do you put balloons outside your house to celebrate an event?

Luckily baby Abigail has been returned to the safety of her mother's arms, but what prompted the kidnapping of the week-old infant girl?

...the suspect was drawn to the home of the newborn's mother, by a lawn sign that said "It's a girl!"
Read the full article.

In this world you cannot be to careful with what you share with the world. A lesson for us all!

"Learning 2.0 Crashes Technorati"

Coincidence? I've been using Technorati for months now, and the week that Technorati is one of our things I get this error day and night:

technorati

So is it learning 2.0 or is it the users of the Web swarming to find out about Lonelygirl15?

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If you have cats, you must have this

When my son was born and we started using the diaper genie, I remember thinking, when he is out if diapers, I am using this thing for scooping the cat litter boxes.

I should have sent in a patent application right then because someone was brilliant enough to invent the cat box genie.

We bought two of these (one for upstairs and one for downstairs) and I can honestly say that if you have indoor cats, this is a must have item! It totally contains any odors (which I can't say for the diaper genie).

Since librarians are known for their love of cats, thought I would share!

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Week 6 Thing 13: del.icio.us

Several months ago I set up a del.icio.us account. My original intent was to find a place to store my bookmarks so that I could access them from work and at home.

del.icio.us failed to impress me. As Ed points out, if all you want to do is organize your bookmarks and access them on different computers there are much better products out there that will accomplish this for you.

del.icio.us does not give you a nice organized, alphabetical list of your links. Instead del.icio.us is a social tagging site. I tag sites that are interesting to me, you tag sites that are interesting to you, we network, and in the end we have what is basically a list of the best of the Internet (according to del.icio.us users). For instance, if I go to http://del.icio.us/popular/library2.0 I can see what other delicious users are tagging as library 2.0.

It wasn’t until I met Stephanie Zimmerman, Training Coordinator for the Library System of Lancaster County, that I understood what social bookmarking is all about. Stephanie and I met in a Webinar. We discovered that we have a lot in common. We are both trainers for libraries. We are both moms (or soon to be moms). We connected after class through e-mail and shared links to our social sites: del.icio.us, Flickr, Bloglines.

I had been using all of these sites, but had never gotten the appeal of the social aspect of it.When Stephanie and I began sharing our tagged Web sites, photos, and blogrolls, I finally had my ah-ha moment about social networking. Here is someone with the same interests as me, that I have never met or spoken too, yet we have so much in common. Instead of e-mailing each other links to the great new library training sites that we find, we tag them in del.icio.us instead. Now when I go into del.icio.us, I can see everything that Stephanie has tagged and she can see everything that I have tagged. We are now networked. In addition to seeing all of the sites that Stephanie has tagged, I can also see Stephanie’s network and see what those people have tagged. If I find someone else who has tagged some sites that I like, I can add that person to my network.

This all goes back the wisdom of crowds theory mentioned at the Technology Summit earlier this year, or what I like to call our collective knowledge--a shared ocean of knowledge is more powerful than lots of individual pools of knowledge.

One of the nice features of del.icio.us is the ability to not only share links with the world but to tag them for specific people. For instance, if I find a really great site and I want to make sure Stephanie sees the site, I can tag this site for her. Below is an example of how to tag a site. Once you click the tag button, this screen pops up. The URL is automatically inserted along with the description. You type in your tags or click on recommended or popular tags from below. You can see there are also tags for each person in your network. I tagged this site for Stephanie. The next time she logs in to del.icio.us, she will have this link waiting in her inbox.


When Stephanie and I first started this social networking thing online we made a joke that it felt like we were "cyberstalking" each other. After all, we were sharing all of our tagged Web sites, photos, blog subscriptions, etc. this can feel kind of strange especially if you are a private person. But soon I discovered the benefits of social networking online. In addition to Stephanie, I have found a whole "network" of cyber-friends who find lots of interesting sites out on the Web. There is an old saying that two heads are better than one. With more and more people using social software the possibilities are endless.

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Week 5 Thing 12: Rollyo

It is funny how different things appeal to different people. Some people loved Rollyo. I found it was ok, but I usually can find what I want using Google or the advanced Google search. It's not that often that I only want to search a limited number of Web sites.

For me the best thing so far has been RSS feeds and Bloglines, but then there are other people who did not like Bloglines.

That's the best part of this 23 things discovery exercise. We don't have to love or even like any of the things. The point is to experiment, try them out, and find some that are useful. Whether you like the things are not, you are still learning!

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Week 5 Thing 11: LibraryThing

Ahhh...more blog bling. You'll have to scroll down to see it but it's down there on the right sidebar and looks like this:

librarything

My recent books added to LibraryThing. Because this list will get updated as I add new books, I want to take a moment to recommend two of these books.

Take Back Your Life: Using Microsoft Outlook to Get and Stay Organized

This is the book I have been reading for a few months, and I have to say it has made a huge difference in how organized hyperorganized I am and how productive I am. As the title says this book shows you how to use all the bells and whistles of Outlook for time management and project management. The key point that this book makes is that the majority of your time should be spent on Meaningful Objectives. After all, none of us will ever have enough time to do everything. So you have to decide what is important to you and then do things that relate to that. I actually took a week and did some of the exercises in the book and typed up a list of my meaningful objectives. Now when I am asked if I can do something, I take a look at, or think about, my meaningful objectives to make sure that what I am being asked to do will contribute to those in some way. This won't work for everybody, but if you are the kind of person who likes to put things in writing and want to learn more about Outlook this book is for you!

Never Check E-Mail In the Morning: And Other Unexpected Strategies for Making Your Work Life Work

This book by organization queen, Julie Morgenstern, will give you some strategies to deal with your full inbox. Her biggest tip, as the title of the book says, never check e-mail in the morning. Instead spend the first few hours of the day being productive before you let e-mail take you hostage. For most of us, this rule is impractical at best. But Morgenstern gives some alternatives, such as: check your e-mail in the morning but only to see if anything urgent is in your inbox. Then close your e-mail and only check it every two hours.

This tip is one of the hardest to do, but on days when I don't leave Outlook open and only check e-mail two or three times in a day, I get a lot more accomplished. Most of the time I do leave Outlook open, but I have turned off all the new message notifiers which I find to be distracting.

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Week 5 Thing 10: Online Image Generator

Wow! I could literally spend all night playing with these online image generators. I wish I had more time...sigh.

Helene posted a link to a great Blog, The Generator Blog. If you scroll down on the right sidebar you will see a list of the the generators this site has blogged about.

The first one I found pretty quickly in one of the recent posts, Newspaper Headline Generator. My headline finally made the front page!

newspaper-generator

Next I looked for something a little more serious and found the George Says Generator.

georgesays

Finally to be fair and balanced, I found one of our former next president the Hillary Says Generator.

hillarysays

The fun part of this is that you get to choose from dozens of photos and some of the expressions, like poor Hillary's, are just priceless.

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"Learning 2.0 Crashes Blogger"

That's a headline I have been visualizing for the past week as people stop by my desk or stop me in the hallway to ask, "What's wrong with Blogger". With so many people, world-wide (and that's just the people we know about), jumping on the Learning 2.0 highway is it possible that we have crashed Blogger?

Last week staff at Main Library could not access Blogger or any Blogger blogs. It turned out to be a temporary problem with one of our servers, but this week I am hearing from people outside of PLCMC that are having problems accessing Blogger. Other participants are even blogging about it.

Luckily Blogger has its own blog to let us know the site's status, and if you are using Beta Blogger you might want to keep an eye out for the known issues--after all that is what Beta is all about.

I doubt that the problems with Blogger are caused by the few hundred to maybe few thousand of us on the Learning 2.0 highway, but what if...

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