LibraryThing Local

March 3, 2008

LibraryThing’s been at it again. The social networking site for book lovers added another nice feature today. This one — LibraryThing Local — focuses on libraries, bookstores, and book festivals. As Tim Spalding explained in his blog, LibraryThing Local is:

“a gateway to thousands of local bookstores, libraries and book festivals—and to all the author readings, signings, discussions and other events they host. It is our attempt to accomplish what hasn’t happened yet—the effective linking of the online and offline book worlds.”

At the moment, any LibraryThing member* can add and edit their favorite locations. The entry form includes (or has the potential for) each venue’s address, phone, fax, email, and URL; a map to the place; amenities (like food and wifi); and RSS feeds for programs and events.

Retrieval is a snap. A user can simply enter a city and LibraryThing Local’s page will feed upcoming events to them. A clickable map [see the example above] populates all the nearby venues. Without checking a lot of different websites, readers can see what authors are in town and what’s happening at your library AND all the other book places nearby.

An independent book store owner I know had been wanting to share announcements of author events with other book stores and libraries. This makes the job much easier. An RSS feed might be all that’s needed. How do you suppose your library can benefit from this?

Great work, Tim. Again.


*I immediately added my county library branches, my university’s library, and three favorite bookstores. It’s easy. Check too see if your library is listed. If you’re a LT member, add your favorite book place.


Leap Day fun

February 29, 2008

A library must be useful but it ought to have a sense of humor as well. We want people to be happy to see us. That goes for our online presence, too.

This has nothing to do with libraries, mind you, but I’d love to see a library website fall apart like this retailer’s website in the Netherlands. Kudos to Hema [here is their normal website] for letting customers in on a little fun.

Over the years I’ve done a lot of goofy things on our intranet (mirror-imaged the home page, turned the “staff”web into a disease-ridden “staph”web, etc.) but we’ve been pretty tame on the public side.  Has your library website had fun?


Buzzword: Web-based word processing

February 17, 2008

I’m jazzed about Buzzword, a new web-based word processor created by Virtual Ubiquity and now under Adobe management. It’s easy to learn and easy to use. After a simple sign-up process* I was up and running.

The screen is attractive and the tools are largely intuitive. In fact, the toolbars appear better organized than those I’ve seen in many PC-based word processor programs. So far I’ve found every tool I’ve needed or gone looking for: margins, tables, spell-check, text/background colors, images, headers/footers, etc. It even has an always-visible word count and a page-numbered scroll bar.

A comment feature allows meta info and the collaboration possibilities** seem at least as good as Google Docs. I’ll have to experiment more to be sure. I can save my documents as an online Buzzword file, plain text, rich text format, or Word document, and then access my files from anywhere. (Don’t you just love the convenience of online storage?!)

Downsides? Despite Adobe’s involvement with Buzzword, there’s no PDF format yet. And there’s an occasional delay in the typing-response time, but it’s not bad for an on-line application. Not bad at all. It’s just a teensy bit jittery. That might change depending on your machine and browser; I’ve only tried it on two of each so far and noticed a difference.

If you try Buzzword, please let me know what you think.


* Name, email, and password; it couldn’t be much simpler.
** Why email copies to several people when you can share a single document online?


Learn More: Twitter

January 14, 2008

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

“It’s Monday? Again??”

That’s how I enthusiastically embraced the work week this morning in Twitter. Several friends saw the 20-character message because my random thought wandered out across the social web. The same thing happened when I was “kicking the day out of my shoes” and when I was “gardening – Olive Gardening.”

Many social sites let you express your thoughts and creativity, but none compresses that expression with the concise style of Twitter. The popular site asks you to share what you’re doing or thinking in 140 characters or less. That’s only about 20-25 words. You might call it a microblog.

Some people don’t get the concept; others love it. Big announcements — “I got the job!” (14 characters) – are possible, but most entries – “gotta go to another meeting” (27 characters) – don’t reveal much. Twitter’s value increases over time, however, as friends learn more about each other from the collected log of messages. Your followers might discover what excites you, what annoys you, and glimpse some of your life’s miscellany that would never make it into an email.

Users can send tweets (as Twitter messages are known) via mobile phones and pipe them into other applications, too. That makes the site even more appealing to folks who like to be in continuous “live” mode online. You can arrange meetings on the run and connect with friends wherever they are.

Critics say Twitter is a waste of time and produces endless blather. Let them say that! “At least it’s short blather” (27 characters).

Meaning for libraries

I can’t offer a long list of Twitter applications for libraries.  I’m not yet convinced it can attract or assist patrons much, but I’d certainly recommend experimentation.

A university library — dealing with a finite community of users — might find twittering more productive than a public library. A librarian with a network of patron followers might develop ways to share short service updates: “Lots of computers are available right now” (41 characters) or “Just got the new * in the mail” (29+ characters).

Library staff should be aware of Twitter, at least. Many of our patrons use the site in their private lives. Librarians use it, too, and any networking within the profession is good.

Learn more by participating

In the spirit of the site, I’ll keep this short.

  • Open a Twitter account.
  • Encourage a coworker or friend to join, too.
  • Become followers of each other.
  • Post a tweet a few times a day, every day this week.
  • Whattya think? Is it fun? Might it be useful? Is it a waste?

My 56-character Twitter update: “Steve is prepared for the week now. Oh, wait a minute…”


Learn More: Wikis

December 17, 2007

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

If you gather a committee, write a draft document, and solicit feedback, you might receive scores of revisions in email and on paper. Compiling all those changes back into a single coherent document could be a long and tedious task. On the other hand, you could create a wiki. That would enable everyone to work on the same collaborative document and compile changes on the fly. A wiki is basically a read/write website open to anyone with permissions.

Wiki is a Hawaiian word meaning “quick”. Ward Cunningham, who developed the wiki concept in the mid-1990s, named his WikiWikiWeb program after the “wiki wiki” shuttle bus he encountered at the Honolulu Airport. It seemed the perfect name for a web platform intended to give users quick access to editing tools.

The largest and most famous wiki, of course, is Jimmy Wales’ Wikipedia, where thousands of contributors have complied a global encyclopedia with more than 2 million English language articles (and even more than that number in other languages). Most other encyclopedias publish articles written and vetted by experts; Wikipedia entries are created and edited by anyone volunteering the time and effort. Accounts aren’t even required! Readers add information, correct typographical and grammatical errors, and contribute to a worldwide public-review process that is much faster than traditional peer-reviewed documents.

Meaning for libraries

Here are three ideas for libraries to consider.

  • Accuracy. Information in a wiki is mostly accurate, but who knows? How’s that for a ringing endorsement? Wikipedia, the largest of all wikis, has been studied* and found to be reasonably accurate. It might not be peer-reviewed by recognized authorities, but it is read and continually re-edited by thousands of people. There is vandalism, to be sure, but most people don’t make changes unless they are confident of their facts and they are more likely to contribute good information than bad.
    My opinion: A site like Wikipedia is a reasonable place to begin a search. You can pick up a few facts and grasp an understanding of a subject. However, it probably isn’t the best place to end a search. Don’t prohibit its use as a resource, but encourage people to supplement it with other sources.
  • Collaboration. Libraries increasingly use wikis within the profession.
    • Wikis created by the international library community provide ample room for collaboration toward common goals.
    • Library conferences have begun providing wikis. Planners, speakers, and attendees compile information and experiences without the need or delay of editors.
    • Intranet-based wikis may be helpful within an organization. University libraries have been active in this regard. I recently began a manual-writing project on an internal wiki open to supervisors at my public library. Such wikis can foster the participation of many people without the usual drag of long committee meetings.
  • Patrons. Wikis can be created for library patrons. Bookclubs and teen programs might help construct and/or benefit from them. A “Community Places” section seems custom-made for residents who know their area better than anyone. A wiki can give them a venue for sharing their knowledge with others.

Learn more by participating

Nothing demonstrates the concept of a wiki better than just diving in. Here are a few explorations I’d encourage you to try this week.

  • Go to Wikipedia and search a few topics that are near & dear to you. Topics might include a town or a hobby you know well.
  • Read over each article. Look at the organization and note the writing style. This article was probably not written by a single person. Several people likely compiled it over months or years.
  • Click the “History” tab to see past activity on the page.
  • Click the “Edit this page” tab to open the page’s editing functions.
  • Browse the source code to familiarize yourself with the text and format code of this particular wiki. Wikipedia was built on MediaWiki software. Other wiki platforms may use a different mark-up language.
  • If you honestly have something to contribute, edit or add to the page and save it. That’s how wikis evolve: one reader/writer at a time.

  • Bonus: If you or your library are interested in creating your own wiki, there are many software types available. Shop around for the best fit. Some services charge, others are free; some are open to public view, others are private; some host pages for you, others allow software downloads to your server. Here are three examples: MediaWiki, PBWiki , WetPaint.

Collaboration. Participation. It’s all part of the social web.


* most famously by Nature magazine, Dec. 15, 2005.


Today’s front page

December 14, 2007

Curious what’s on the front page today? There’s a website that delivers the front pages of 600+ newspapers from all over the world with a mouseover. Simply run your mouse over a city dot on the Newseum map and you’ll see today’s front page of that city’s local paper in full color. Click the city dot and the front page becomes readable. It’s pretty slick.

How will this impact all those newspaper resources we subscribe to at the library? This provides only the front page, of course, but with the extremely easy browsing map interface and the typical availability of a newspaper’s website for complete articles, will it satisfice our patrons?


Social networking is getting the traffic

December 12, 2007

If anyone needed more evidence that people increasingly use the Internet to interact, just look at the current list of sites getting the most traffic worldwide.

  1. Yahoo!
  2. Google
  3. Microsoft Live
  4. YouTube
  5. MSN
  6. MySpace
  7. Facebook
  8. Wikipedia
  9. Hi5
  10. Orkut

Source: alexa.com, 12/12/2007

Four of the ten sites are search engines (1, 2, 3, 5), but five are social web sites (4, 6, 7, 9, 10) and the lone .org on the list — Wikipedia — is a social collaboration. When you consider that the four search engines have email, instant messaging, and personalized content, it’s tough to deny that the web is steering decidedly toward interaction. In fact, the only “information” website in the Top 20 is Microsoft at #18. YouTube traffic even exceeds Google on weekends now.

The Top 5 sites in the United States?
Google, Yahoo!, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook.

Question: Libraries have long been known as sources of information. Shouldn’t they be known as places of interaction, too?


Learn More: LibraryThing

December 10, 2007

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

There have been many software attempts to help people organize their books, but recent social networking sites have finally made the job convenient and — believe or not — fun. LibraryThing is only one of several social cataloging sites, but it is probably the most consistently innovative of the lot.

A member of LibraryThing can enter her titles or ISBNs and let the cataloging muscle of 140 large libraries around the world provide the bibliographic detail. Then she can tweak the content, add tags, browse cover art, rate the books, or write her own reviews. She can even search her books (or anyone else’s) from any Internet connection.

In many ways LibraryThing works like a standard library catalog. But it’s a personalized catalog; they’re YOUR books, after all. How cool is that?

The social side of LibraryThing lets members browse other catalogs, find members who share the same books, chat in book discussion groups, and swap recommendations. Since the site was designed for book-lovers, readers can engage in all the socializing without the pressure to buy anything.

Meaning for libraries

I’ve taught two-hour LibraryThing for librarian workshops, so filling this space could easily get out of hand. I’ll limit myself to just three broad ideas:

  • Rethink the catalog. Library catalogs have always been tools to find resources. Social cataloging sites breathe an element of fun into the old tool. Sure, a patron can find specific books quickly, but he can also write and read reviews, discover titles recommended by thousands of other members who share reading interests, and interact with those readers. Tim Spalding and his team at LibraryThing are always tinkering with new features that the library world would be remiss to ignore. You’ll see features here and wish your library’s PAC could keep pace.
  • Book clubs. Encourage members of your book clubs to get accounts. They could leave messages for each other between meetings or might enjoy writing their own reviews when the big monthly group discussion is over. The group might even use the recommendation tools within LibraryThing to find future club titles.
  • Reader’s advisory. Librarians could track the books they read and tag them based on reading level or interest. When asked to recall a good book, their personal lists will be at their fingertips. Some people list books they own; others track all the books they read. Many (myself included) do both.

Learn more by participating

If you love books (you work in a library, don’t you?) you might get carried away with this project. That’s all right. Go at your own pace. Three or four 20 minute visits to LibraryThing might be enough for you to do a little of everything listed below. Of course, if you get the cataloging bug you might burn through all your free time for the next month in LibraryThing. Hey, I’ve seen it happen!

  1. Open a LibraryThing account. (It only requires a username and password. You aren’t even asked an email address!)
  2. Start adding books. Entering ISBNs will help you find exact editions, but title and author keywords work, too. (You might even be able to use a CueCat barcode scanner.) It’s not impossible to enter a dozen or more books in just 15 minutes.
  3. The cover art visible on “Your Library” page is usually supplied to LibraryThing by Amazon, but you can benefit from other members’ covers, too. Upload your own cover if you’ve got a rarity.
  4. Add tags to your books. (Remember tags from the previous lesson? LibraryThing’s tags number in the tens of millions and uses them well.) These don’t need to be precise subject headings. Use whichever words are meaningful to you: “dogs, pets, beagles, love, funny, favorite, read, bedroom bookcase”
  5. Explore the LibraryThing tag cloud.
  6. Look up a few titles in Search and read some reviews.
  7. Try the BookSuggester a few times and see what comes up.
  8. Add info to your profile page. Be as public or as private as you choose.
  9. On your profile page you’ll see links to other members who share your books. Click a few and visit their catalogs.
  10. Maybe someone shares your favorite book. Leave a message on their profile page.
  11. Partner with someone else doing this exercise and add each other as friends.
  12. Wander into the discussion groups and read some entries. Join in, if you want.

Most of all: Have fun with your books! It’s your web now.


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.


Author pages in WorldCat

November 15, 2007

Just saw an email newsletter from OCLC announcing “identities” in WorldCat. These act as author pages, summarizing facts about anyone listed in the OCLC database. I just gave a few a whirl and I’m impressed.

I brought up a title (Anne of Green Gables), clicked the Details tab:

Then I was able to access L M Montgomery’s “identity” page and see all sorts of author info. My favorite feature is the publication timeline which shows the frequency with which materials by (or about) an author have been published over the years. The bars in the graph are clickable, by the way.

There are also lists of the author’s titles sorted by number of owning libraries, languages in which the titles were published, a subject-heading tag cloud representative of the author’s works, and a few other displays. All good stuff. OCLC didn’t invent this idea, but including identities (author pages) in their catalog is a welcome development.

Have a look: L M Montgomery, William Shakespeare, Louis Armstrong, Harrison Ford


Learn More: YouTube

November 12, 2007

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

We’ve already looked at Flickr, a photo sharing site. Now we’ll try YouTube, a video sharing site. Anyone with a digital camera can record and upload whatever they want to share with friends (or the world). Some clips are short — just a few seconds. Others are 20 minutes or longer. Some YouTube videos attempt to demonstrate or dramatize something; others convey no meaning at all. Some people post daily diary-like ramblings recorded into their laptop-mounted video camera; others use scripts, choreography, and sophisticated video editing. Some are professionally made; most are amateur. And yes, some are pirated and unauthorized. It’s a broad mix and it’s all there for the viewing.

Choose a random video and there’s a good chance you won’t like it. That’s okay. Few people care for many of the shows on television, too. YouTube’s strength, however, is the variety. It’s like TV with unlimited channels. You can find comedy, drama, documentaries, music, family activities, parties, people making fools of themselves, and practically anything else you can imagine.

A social site like YouTube also democratizes film making. People no longer simply search for and watch videos that interest them; they can create and distribute what interests them, too. If something is good, it gets talked about and more people watch. An imaginative clip becomes famous for a while, or it gets mimicked or answered by others. It can become part of pop culture. Celebrities, catch phrases, and memes are increasingly coming from amateur video.

Meaning for libraries

Here are four ideas to consider.

  • Entertainment. Some of our patrons just want to be entertained. Libraries try to meet that need by providing CDs and DVDs. Before that it was LPs, 16mm, and VHS. Digital online video — even amateur video — is just another in a long run of entertainment formats. Some established media producers (CBS, for example) provide video on YouTube, but some YouTube fans find that the latest amateur clips — even simple glimpses of everyday life like a dwarf bunny or a laughing baby — are often just as entertaining as the fare available on TV.
  • Pop culture. OK Go’s “Here It Goes Again” song (danced on treadmills), was viewed 25 million times. Chris Crocker’s recent “Leave Britney Alone” video led to a long list of remakes and spoofs. The fictional vlogger (i.e., video blogger) Lonelygirl15 morphed into an online serial drama. Pop journalists like The Resident may attract large and dedicated followings. Clips and creators like these are becoming part of the culture. They might flare up among young adults and (increasingly) get picked up by mainstream news sources. If your patrons want to see the latest popular clip in full, access to YouTube will meet their needs. Does your library workstations permit basic streaming video and audio (with adjustable volume headphones)?
  • Resource. Looking for a famous news clip? Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Reagan’s “Tear Down This Wall” speech, the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Zapruder’s film of the Kennedy assassination are all there. YouTube might even help you quickly find famous scenes from movies, music performances, and comedy bits.
  • Marketing & Training. Some libraries have begun vlogging and advertising to the public (example: Allen County Public Library). Libraries could also include video clips within their training plans. Need to demonstrate a new concept or process? Create a video of your own!

Learn more by participating

Set aside some time this week to explore YouTube. Don’t try to do all this at one sitting. A few minutes here and there over the course of the week might be best.

  • Watch a few (or all) of the clips linked to above.
  • Browse some of the videos suggested on the YouTube home page.
  • Search any topic that interests you and see what comes up.
  • Do you have access to a video camera? Create an account and make a quick video clip yourself. Start with something short (30 seconds or less) and upload it just for practice. If it’s good, send the link to friends or family. If not, delete, and (probably) no one will know.

Have fun! It’s your web now.


Learn More: Flickr

November 5, 2007

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

Last week we had some fun but kept to ourselves. This week we’ll venture into a true social networking site and start mixing it up.

At Flickr, people can upload photos, label them, and share with others. Using tags and sets, Flickr members can organize their photos and retrieve any specific picture quickly and easily anywhere the Internet is available. Sounds productive, right? It is. But let’s not overlook the social networking magic!

Let’s say your family or friends live far away. Rather than email pictures to everyone, why not simply post them? Once your family knows your Flickr address, they can check in at any time and see what you’re up to. Post vacation photos, pictures of your craft project, the new puppy, and the last birthday party. You can add descriptions beneath any photo and your friends can leave comments when they visit the page.

If your friends join Flickr, you can browse and comment on their photos, too. Carry on a daily or weekly conversation using pictures for ice-breakers. But you’re not limited to existing friends and family. You can browse the world’s photos. Interested in dogs? Search “Yorkshire terrier” and choose from more than 14,000 pictures (like the one shown here). Pick favorites. Comment. Find other photographers who share your interests.

Meaning for libraries

Oh, my! Where do I start? The list of library possibilities using a photo-sharing site like Flickr could run pretty long. Here’s a few to consider.

  • Patrons might want to upload photos from a CD, a flash or USB drive, email, or digital camera cable. Will your library’s workstations let them do that? Do you make photo editing software available?
  • Many libraries have their own Flickr accounts. Some post photos of facilities, people, and public events (think marketing!). You could take pictures during an event and encourage attendees to visit your Flickr page and comment. Get some interaction going!
  • Pictures uploaded and organized on Flickr can be mashed into a library’s website or blog.
  • Some libraries display their collections using Flickr. Maybe you have historic community photos you’d like to make available. There’s ample description space to give details for each picture.
  • Brainstorm fun projects. Let kids or teens submit photos. Get them involved.
  • Libraries and librarians interact with each other on Flickr. It’s a great way to share ideas.

Learn more by participating

Set aside 15-20 minutes and try to do steps 1 and 2 in one sitting. On another day, try steps 3 and 4. Return on a third and fourth day for step 5 (and maybe a little more of steps 2, 3, and 4!).

  1. Open a Flickr account. It’s free for the first 200 photos you upload, but you should get a sense of the Flickr community long before that. (Hint: Be sure you write down your login name and password so you can get back in later.)
  2. Upload a few digital photos.
    * Add titles and captions. Be as vague or as specific as you’d like. Just let your personality come through.
    * Add tags. Type in words that give the photo meaning to you. Examples: beach vacation baby sand castle ocean. Tags will help you retrieve photos later.
    * Set permissions. You can decide who sees each photo. There are settings for you, family, friends, and anyone. Most people choose “anyone” most of the time (it’s a sharing site, after all), but make some family shots a bit more private.
  3. Browse. Enter a word or a place in the search box and browse any photos that come up. Then try another word. You might also explore the best of the best: interesting Flickr photos from the last seven days.
  4. Make friends. Connect with other Flickr people whose photos you like, or invite family and friends to open accounts and connect with them. (Hint: give them your Flickr page address.) You’ll find the “add as a contact” option on other members’ profile pages. You’ll be asked whether they are friends, family, or just contacts. That determines which pictures of yours they’ll see.
  5. Interact. View your contacts’ photos and comment on them. They might comment on yours, too. The ongoing dialogue you might foster is one of the wonders of social networking.

Have fun! It’s your web now.


Collaborating on term papers

October 15, 2007

There’s a relatively new social networking tool aimed at helping students write term papers by finding and collaborating with other students researching the same subjects. Carmun has tools for searching college library catalogs, creating bibliographies in standard formats, and making social connections on or beyond a student’s particular campus.

At the moment, Carmun has fewer than 11,000 registered users and not much activity in the subject areas I browsed. I also can’t vouch for the site’s educational value. But it’s new and the collaborative concept is intriguing. The geeky intro video (suggesting that Carmun was the result of a one night fling between Facebook and Wikipedia) should attract some students, too.