A complete dunking

November 29, 2007

Susan and I taught another Social Web Literacy class this morning. We’ve been doing this for a year now (that’s about two dozen times) and it’s becoming common for several students to come to class with a MySpace or Facebook or some other social networking site already in their name. It wasn’t like that when we started.

Some staff have had personal pages since college; some created theirs because family members convinced them to join this, that, or the other thing; others saw coworkers returning from one of our previous classes simply having waaaay too much fun with their homework.* Whatever the reason, it’s wonderful to see library staff already wading into the social web waters on their own and then coming to class for a complete dunking. We hope it continues. We’re aiming for a social web savvy staff.

*Class homework includes developing the site (Flickr, LibraryThing, Geni, Dogster, or a blog) they created in class for two weeks. Each student is expected to add more content, experiment with tools, explore, and socialize.

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“Speak up” is the new “Shhh…”

November 27, 2007

Interact. Change stereotypes.


Learn More: Delicious

November 26, 2007

[This is one in a series of self-paced discovery exercises for library staff venturing into the social web.]

If you’re like most Internet users, you have favorite web sites. You probably tuck a few away in your favorites or bookmarks folder so you can retrieve them with a couple of mouse clicks. But favorites and bookmarks belong to the browser you’re using. Change browsers or change machines and you lose your access. Suppose you find something good for reference while surfing the net at home. What if you’re at work when you discover a great site you’d like to have at home? I’ve known librarians who emailed themselves or saved URLs to a disk which they carried around. That’s old technology!

Social bookmarking solves the browser problem and adds a beneficial collaborative tool to the mix. If you’re a Delicious user, you can bookmark sites to a web account (which makes them retrievable from anywhere) and you can browse the bookmarks saved by others (letting you benefit from their discoveries).

Meaning for libraries

The most obvious library application for Delicious is at the reference desk. Each librarian has his/her favorite online sources and either marks them in the local browser or relies on Google to find them. But suppose each librarian added URLs to a personal Delicious account and then networked with other librarians for a truly collaborative collection of bookmarks. Not only would the librarian make his/her own list available on whichever machine is in use, but everyone in the network could benefit from websites on the consumer specialist’s list or the genealogist’s list or the music librarian’s list.

But don’t stop at the reference desk. Other library staff use and share websites, too; introduce them to social bookmarking. And don’t forget the patrons. If you have a list of sites to share, enter them into a separate library account and refer to it on your library website or in conversations: “Oh, and don’t forget our Delicious site. It has many more great recipe links.”

Learn more by participating

This should be an easy project this week. Set aside 15 minutes on the first day to get started. You could do just Steps 1 & 2, or quickly run through all the steps in that time. No matter what you do on Day One, however, return to your Delicious page at least three other days this week. Get it into your routine. Add more favorites, add more tags, and browse. You won’t regret it.

  1. Open an account. Just go to Delicious and sign up. Use whatever name or alias you’d like.
  2. Save a few of your favorite websites. After clicking “post”, all you will need is the URL (which you can copy and paste), the website name, and a few tags. There’s a description box for optional notes and comments, too.
    * Need help getting started? Why not add a few social web sites we’ve already talked about in this series? Flickr and YouTube, for instance.
    * Tags are like keywords. Let’s take Flickr as an example. Good tags might include: photography photos images sharing socialsites socialweb web2.0. Use words that might come to mind the next time you want to retrieve the site. Delicious will offer tag suggestions based on other users’ tags, but use whatever YOU want. [By the way: we’ll delve further into tags in an upcoming lesson.]
  3. Give your tags a test drive. As you enter your websites, you’ll see your list of tags grow on the right side of the screen. You’re bound to see on tag listed for two or more sites after a while. Click that tag and watch Delicious quickly retrieve just the relevant sites.
  4. Visit other people’s website lists. Delicious tells you how may other users already bookmarked your site. Click that number to see the list of users. Click their names to see their lists.
    * If you and another user share one site in common, he/she might know about other sites you’d enjoy. Browse the list and click “save this” for any sites you’d care to copy into your stash of sites.
    * You could subscribe to someone’s RSS feed, too. [RSS? We’ll cover that concept in a later post.]
  5. Network with others at your library. If anyone else in your workplace already has a Delicious account, add them to your network. You might even encourage everyone in your workplace to sign up, add websites, and create a collaborative network of bookmarks. You will all benefit from each other’s finds.

Would a demo help? There’s a fun 3 1/2 minute video (Social Bookmarking in Plain English) that the folks at the Common Craft Show created.

Ha! Bookmark THAT site, too. Or THIS site. Why not? It’s your web now.


Clean Technology

November 21, 2007

John Blyberg started this meme with his MacBook in a Maytag shot. When Pollyalida responded, it made me realize that I had a laptop, an iPod, and a cell phone that needed a little rinse, too. The camera? Oh yeah. Let me toss that in now before the detergent cycle starts up.

🙂


The Amazon Kindle

November 19, 2007

From this week’s Newsweek:

“Music and video have been digital for a long time, and short-form reading has been digitized, beginning with the early Web. But long-form reading really hasn’t.” Yet. This week [Jeff] Bezos is releasing the Amazon Kindle, an electronic device that he hopes will leapfrog over previous attempts at e-readers and become the turning point in a transformation toward Book 2.0.

Just another ebook? Judging from the look and description of this gadget, the Kindle probably has a huge advantage over previous e-books.

  • it’s somewhere between the size of a paperback and cloth-bound book
  • uses an easy-on-the-eyes “e ink”
  • has built-in wifi enabling it to download new material by itself
  • has a starting inventory of 91,000 available titles and 11 major newspapers (all sold separately)
  • and is backed by Jeff Bezos and online giant Amazon.com

It’s almost like an iPod for books. I’m hoping our library will buy one ($399) for our technology “petting zoo”. Over time, we’ll see how well it works and whether it becomes a new standard in the industry. One can only imagine where this new device will lead.


Learn More: Happy Thanksgiving

November 19, 2007

Starting a new “Learn More” topic on the Tuesday of a very short work week might not be worthwhile, so we’re taking a brief hiatus. To get you into the spirit of holiday cooking, though, here’s a YouTube video you might enjoy: an amateur British cooking show where things don’t go as planned (but the Crash Test Kitchen couple was kind enough to share with the world, nonetheless).

Sponge Blob Square Pan.

Have a happy Thanksgiving — take pictures and post them to that Flickr account you started two weeks ago! — and we’ll have a new social web topic for you next week.


The Major-General sings Library 2.0

November 18, 2007

To the tune of “The Major-General’s Song”
With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan… and you… 🙂

I advocate creation of a social network library,
Dispense with thoughts a-plenty in my blog much like a diary,
And show how common MySpace is, it dominates the territ’ry
‘Cuz people like to share their lives; it’s really quite extraordin’ry.

I upload pix of our events on a communal Flickr page,
And make it easy to YouTube; that latest clip is all the rage.
Encourage interaction for our young and old of any age,
Makes working here as fun as anything they do at Cam-ba-ridge.

I recommend Delicious, Facebook, wikis, Ning, and R-S-S,
Use tag clouds, gaming, apps and widgets, and I twitter to excess.
It matters that our patrons are involved with our transparency.
I advocate creation of a social network library.