Friday, July 25, 2008

Thing 7 - Communication Tools

1. E-mail. I don't know what I'd do without e-mail. (Well, I know my phone bill would be a lot higher.) For personal use, I have a Yahoo account. In order to start my blogs, I created a Gmail account. Then, there is my work account. I also monitor and respond to reference questions sent to the generic library e-mail address. I spend a lot of time reading e-mail and, therefore, greatly appreciated the productivity tips. However, I have to admit - shutting off the auto-check feature would be very difficult for me! I do try to respond immediately to things requiring a simple answer. I also have many folders to help keep things organized (probably too many folders, now that I think about it).

2. Instant Messaging. We have been offering chat reference for a couple of years and, though we receive relatively few questions, I do think it is a good service to provide. It has also, in some cases, provided an opportunity to invite a student to stop by the reference desk for a more in-depth conversation. We use Meebo to manage chat reference. Prior to unveiling our chat reference service, the librarians did practice with one another, which helped us test out any bugs and overcome any initial nervousness. As the Library Journal article suggested, IM is not without its challenges. We've had a few issues with "inappropriate" chat sessions (the users, not the librarians!), but not many. I would be curious to know how many students today are active IMers, since I see more and more students text messaging.

3. Text Messaging. This is an interesting area. I'm torn about the use of text messaging as part of library services. I'm not sure I have the manual dexterity to text through an entire reference interview! The article talks about circulation notices (due dates, holds, etc.) sent to patrons' cell phones and I can see users appreciating such a service. I would love to read more about how libraries are using text messaging and how it has worked for them.

4. Web Conferencing. I have participated in several webinars and have found them to be a convenient and effective means of continuing education. Though it is sometimes difficult to follow the chat comments while watching the PowerPoint presentation, I know that the material is archived and I can refer back to it. In addition to OPAL, WebJunction, and MINITEX webinars, library staff may be interested in the Blended Librarian webinar offerings.

I thought the OPAL program "Grant Writing 101" sounded interesting, so I decided to check it out. Besides the audio content, I really appreciated the supporting documents like this.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Thing 6 - Online Image Generators

I always wondered how Carleton made such professional-looking trading cards. And this is so easy! While this was fun to make, I wanted to experiment with a couple of the other options on the Big Huge Labs site.

The Magazine Cover:

And the create-your-own Motivator:

Sorry, I can't help but appreciate the sarcasm. Thanks to Despair, Inc. for the inspiration.

Much like the other Flickr mashups, I can see this being a tool for marketing library services or resources.

Thing 5 - More Flickr Fun

I tried a few of the Flickr mashups - here is my experiment with Spell with Flickr:

h001 a-sf3 Plain Educational Block W K - for kex e Y glowing McElman_071026_2450_E S

(This one's for you, Tyson!)

I thought it was kind of neat that it came out with black and gold lettering - perhaps it's coincidental, but this mashup would be even cooler if it were interpreting the words and selecting photos accordingly.

As the blog prompt suggested, I can see how this would be fun to use when creating promotional or marketing materials.

p.s. I can see myself using the Flickr Color Pickr for interior decorating!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thing 4 - Flickr

Flickr is not entirely new to me - I used it this past year to find images for our library guide to resources on China. It was easy to use and I found an overwhelming variety of images to choose from. Maybe it's just because I'm a librarian and I appreciate controlled vocabulary, but the tags were not very helpful. I'm sure people choose tags that are meaningful to them and, really, why shouldn't they? (This is probably the same frustration I have with Barnes & Noble - I can't find anything there.)

I took the Flickr tour and admire the thought that has gone into their product. They have made it very easy share photos and create groups. The maps feature is really cool - I'll have to try that out the next time I'm going on a trip. It's interesting that they have a "make stuff" section - I love the little photo books and the "23 Things" stamp is so cute! I like the Explore feature, but am usually using Flickr to search for something specific.

Which is exactly what I did for the second part of this Thing. From the Flickr homepage, I searched for Peggy's Cove. This photo was the first result. It didn't quite capture the Peggy's Cove I remembered. It needed to be a photo with the sky more overcast and the sea a bit more of a steely blue. I tried the Advanced Search - searching for Peggy's Cove and foggy in the tags only. This photo was getting closer, but I really wanted an image with the rocks in it (and maybe the lighthouse). I decided to try Peggy's Cove rocks foggy as a full text search. I found a great image, but since it wasn't a Creative Commons photo, I decided to post this one instead:

It's a hauntingly beautiful place in Nova Scotia. Credits go to Sarboo.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Thing 3 - RSS feeds

Now this is a 2.0 application I can appreciate. As a busy working mom, I love being able to check for new blog postings at a glance. It's quick, it's easy, and it's organized.

As I mentioned in the last post, our library publishes our "newsletter" in blog format and we have an RSS feed set up on the homepage. It's great to have our current news and announcements in plain view on the homepage, rather than buried in the website and then buried further by forcing users to click on a link to a newsletter.

Other "23 Things" participants may be interested in a couple of the blogs I've set up RSS feeds for:

Thing 2 - Library 2.0

Looking at Webopedia's glossary of Web 2.0 terms, I realize that I'm familiar with most of them but don't necessary have direct experience with all of them. I'm not on Second Life and am not part of the gaming scene (unless hide-and-seek with my son counts). My library does have a blog with an RSS feed on our homepage, we have a Flickr account, we provide chat reference services, and we see students spending a LOT of time on Facebook. (Out of curiosity, I joined Facebook recently and can see why students are addicted, but am not convinced students want to see libraries/librarians there.)

I'm not sure I'm entirely convinced by John Blyberg's argument, but I think the degree to which Library 2.0 resonates with a person may depend on one's library. My library is always looking for ways to provide better access to information and point-of-need service. Our library's focus on teaching also means that we look at our physical and virtual spaces through this lens. You could call it Library 2.0, but we've been doing it longer than Library 2.0 has been around.

Having said that, without much direct experience with many of the 2.0 applications, I'm looking forward to the "23 Things" journey and the potential that my mind will be changed by the time I'm through!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

23 Things on a Stick

Welcome to my blog for MN's "23 Things on a Stick"! I look forward to chronicling my adventures in (with?) technology.