Friday, October 31, 2008

Fin (Week 12)

It is truely terrifying how quickly three months can pass by... Here I am, at the end of it all, looking back through the misty lense of time (ooh, I can feel a song coming on, but what would our patrons think..)
I seem to remember writing about my aversion to myface sites in my first blog, and nothing has changed there. As far as institutions using them goes, well I really don't feel qualified to comment. Certainly I can't imagine there being a large enough user community to justify it in our library catchment area, and I don't think it is something we need to rush into, but maybe in the future when we are all just brains floating in a protein fluid they will be very useful. Yep, that's the future as I see it. Second Life will in fact be Only Life. I have chosen my avatar already.
However this course has been great for seeing how other libraries are using new technologies to remain relevant and accessible. Not everything is going to work, despite our best intentions, but is always worth trying. There are some great ideas out there, and there is no reason libraries can't get in on the action.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Online tools (week 11)

Well, here is my fabulous Google Doc Questionnaire. feel free to answer the questions as truthfully as possible.

It was a tough decision which document to make- a spreadsheet, questionnaire or a "presentation", but since I accidentally studied surveys and questionnaires for an entire semester at Uni, and have never had the opportunity to create one myself, the choice was obvious. As you can see I have a natural talent for them.
I can't think of any library specific application for these online tools. Any reasonable sized organisation would probably have the need for a collaborative approach to document creation, but who knows how many would use an online service. There are certainly lots of options available now, and Google Docs was very easy to use.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mash Ups (week 10)

Since I don't have access to any of my own photos at work, I by passed Big Huge Labs for this exercise and went for a Google maps mash instead, adding this understated review of a certain Blaxland landmark. I would like to point out however that the typo in the title is not mine. How could Google get it so wrong? Baxland??? Where is that? Anyway, it is a bit of worry that anyone searching for Blaxland Library in Google Maps can read this review, but there you go- the internet is a scary, wonderful and unreliable place.

So what can mash ups offer the library? Well, apart from a bit of free advertising (heh heh), I guess we will have to wait and see how creative people can be. I can't think of anything that has blown me away yet, but it is early days...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Just Podding Along (week 9)

Ok, I am going to reveal something here- I have aged prematurely, and I have in the recent past downloaded podcasts from Radio National, my radio station of choice. That's right, straight from Triple J to RN in one gigantic leap. None of this "I'll stop off at 2BL for a few years first and ease gently into old age" business for me. So podcasting isn't new for me, and I still have some ancient Background Briefing programme on my mp3 player which I haven't removed yet, which is very annoying when I am listening to music and it inevitably comes up.
As far as their relevance to libraies goes... well I wasn't sure at first, beyond being one more potential media type to add to our collection. But I was looking at Orange County's Podacasting service, and they have a collection of short stories for children, read by the library's storytellers which I thought was a pretty nice idea. Not that I am volunteering to record my attempts at storytime!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Yahoo Answers (Week 8)

With an adventurous spirit I tried out Yahoo Answers today. Yikes! What a load of dross. I asked one question, which received quite a few answers straight away, but they were all just idle speculation. No one provided anything even remotely useful. I did get a couple of stars for posting an interesting question though. I re-posted my question into the science/medical section in the hopes of getting a better quality answer, but got none at all. Oh well.
I also answered two and a half questions: two easies on grammar, and a general knowledge question that I didn't need to look up. I was pretty shocked to see that someone else who answered that question was completely wrong, but wrote with "authority" and even had a web reference. I followed the link to the site they cited (a web cite! ha)and I have no idea how they came up with the answer.
These answer sites are fine for entertainment and popular culture purposes but I hope no one is using them for homework!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Library Thing (week 7 cont.)

I had a bit of a play around with Library Thing. It was definately fun, but I can't ever imagine wanting to catalogue my books at home. I chose a few random things that are on the bookshelf, and sure enough there were plenty of people out there with the same books. Maybe like finding a googlewhack (a Google search query consisting of two words that returns a single result) it might be fun to find out which is your most obscure book, or aim to be the first to catalogue something on Library thing. Of the 7 books I listed the least popular was The Australian Renovator's Manual, with only 7 entries. I was pretty impressed with that one!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 an old friend revisited (week 7)

In the spirit of this course I have signed up with, but I have already had an account in the dim dark past (well, maybe a couple of years ago). I even had the tool bar sitting on my home computer, but I ditched it through lack of use. I had set it up when learning about this stuff through Uni, and I thought it might actually be quite useful since I was spending hours on the net doing research. I was always forgetting the great sites I had come across so I would save the web pages, but when it came time to create my fabulously in depth bibliographies the saved pages would often have no URL on them and the computer would have long forgotten its address and I would spend ages trying to refind these obscure pages just so I could reference them and squeeze a few more marks out of the assessor and... so on and so on. I am sure you get the picture. Anyway, I thought delicious might actually be the answer, and I did use it for a little while, but it didn't stick. I probably found a couple of good sites from serendipitous delicious browsing, but it didn't really work as a personal filing cabinet, and once I had finished study I really had no use for it. This time around I have ditched information architecture sites in favour of the weather, because as Sydney market stall holders we are quite obsessed with it. And of course since there was a Blogger gadget for it that got added too...
I did like the Ask Now's collaborative reference page list. What a great idea. I plan on looking into the sites when I have the time and energy. I think that would work well in any library, and allow you to tailor the sites to the specific needs and interests of the library community, much as Sutherland has done.