Thursday, April 30, 2009

wikis (part 2)

Got the link to work in the TCCL wiki.

As for library uses of wikis, lists or discussions of books would be good, as would a community events page, to which anyone could add. It might be a good idea for entries to be monitored, mostly to keep some overzealous people from censoring those with opposing views. Or at the very least, have the log of changes up front and easy to get to, so that deletions don't truly disappear.

And check out Mary Poppins at your favorite library. It's a terrific piece of cinemagraphic art.

digital audiobooks

This is another technology that could be very useful for people who like to listen to the spoken word, but since I tend to process information best visually -- with the grand exception of music -- it doesn't hold much appeal for me.

I'm not much for listening to books. I get distracted too easily, and there's no way to take a quick glance at the previous page to catch what I've missed. Also, the system used at my library requires special software to be downloaded to one's own computer. Downloading of titles can't be done from the library. In short, too much monkey business for something I don't really want, anyway.

When the library first provided digital audiobooks a few years ago, the new titles seemed to be mostly business books. The books they had that interested me were mostly classics I could get from Project Gutenberg with much less fuss, and in a visual format. Now I see they even have Bunnicula. --

Sorta makes me want to read it. Think I'll walk my li'l luddite self over to the children's section, pick up the physical book with my physical hand, and check it out.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


While I can see why some people would like them, podcasts turn out not to be such a great match with my personal tastes. I tend to listen to things mainly when traveling -- in the car or on long walks. Since I work in a library I can't listen to anything in the background on the job. And although I'm old enough to remember when people just sat and listened to records or the radio, my current lifestyle is to busy for that anymore. So the idea of sitting down in front of the computer to just listen for a half hour or an hour or even five minutes doesn't hold much appeal. Maybe if I had a web-enabled mobile device -- but I don't. I'd have to download the podcast on the computer, put it on the cheap iPod-like device I have, then plan to listen to it later. By that time, it will have become just another chore to be done.

Anyhow, I poked around The Podcast Directory. Another non-match with my interests -- once again, all sorts of subject headings, except "history." I found something called Geek Speak Radio that sounds interesting. I added it to my Bloglines feeds, but heaven knows when I'll actually have time to listen to it. I did add feeds for NPR's Talk of the Nation (which I listen to anyway, and which includes Science Friday) and Donna Hill's Stolen Moments.

Odd thing, for two out of the three, Bloglines gave an error message saying there was no RSS feed for the page. A minute later, both of them showed up on the list anyway.

online vids

Ah! The supreme time-waster! One can find boomer nostalgia like Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, It's About Time, and Laugh-In. There are also quite a few clips from 1960s musical variety shows, which are generally missing from the rerun t.v. channels.

Those who are slightly younger can revisit their childhood with the original Hamster Dance and other groundbreaking viral internet videos.

And there are new delights, like the Animusic music videos, machinima (animation made from computer games) such as Red vs. Blue, and Avatar Meets Hamtaro.

To be truly entertaining and completely legal, though, one has to either be very talented, or have something unique (which probably cost one a lot of money to get) ...

... or be rich as a big corporation. Or as a queen -- yes, the British Royal Family has their own channel.

Library uses: could be used to promote programs. Imagine, a storytime trailer that goes viral worldwide ...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

cool 2.0 sites out there

One of the coolest is Galaxiki. It's described as "a fictional galaxy that anyone can edit." This is great for writers who like to make up worlds, especially those who like to make worlds, but don't really want to bother with plots and such nonsense.

I'm not going to sign up for it (right now) -- for the same reason I'm not (for now) going to get on Second Life -- for the same reason I'm not (probably ever) going to get on Twitter. It would turn into a major time drain, a black hole that would spaghettify my life and pull it past the event horizon into a universe far, far away.

I'll just mention it here, so I have the link handy in case I have a moment of weakness in the future -- y'know, those times when you're bored, and in your boredom feel like you've got all the time in the world, and so you commit to something that looks like fun but you later regret ...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

wikis (part 1)

I'm not sure what to make of wikis, altho' the concept of using computers for collaborative writing or shared authorship has been around for a long time. I vaguely recollect futurists' predictions of all fiction becoming the "choose-your-own-ending variety," but except as a novelty, that doesn't hold much appeal for me. The power of the wiki, it seems, is as a tool for the types of documents that are already written by committee. Or would have been written by a committee if the committee found it easier to meet. Or maybe not -- maybe there are uses that someone mired in the past can't possibly imagine.

Tried the adding to the "sandbox" at Ambient Librarian, mainly because it resembles Wikipedia, but for some reason I couldn't get it to show a link. (Yes, I just poked around and didn't bother reading instructions).

Thursday, April 9, 2009

further acknowledgement

And while I'm handing out the gratitude, I should also thank Bookokie, without whom I would've had a much harder time getting this blog up at first (it's a slightly different interface from other blogs I've known), and whose youthful experience of things online I will undoubtedly continue to consult (i.e., run to her whimpering or screaming when stuff just won't work right).

library thing (part 2)

Gracias to Bibliochola for helping put the Library Thing widget on this page.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

library 2.0, post 1.0

Library 2.0 -- the use of collaborative online techniques as applied to libraries -- is a rather large subject, and I may well come back to it in later posts, so I'll mention a couple of ideas that hit me as useful.

But first, having read widely about Web 2.0, I'd like to make an observation about the tone of some articles about this and other new technological phenomena. Why do we (the grand "we," i.e., as a society) feel a need to diss the past? So often when some new way of doing whatever is introduced, the old way is implied to be, or even outright labeled, "bad" or "stupid." This is plain ol' not true. Blogs do not make static web pages obsolete; Twittering doesn't make blogs obsolete. Faster (the "improvement" is often speed) is not necessarily better -- sometimes it's useful, but sometimes it blurs a deeper contemplation of the subject. The move away from authoritative systems to information anarchy can give voice to neglected points of view, but it can also cause confusion. There's a place for both the old and new. Respect temporal diversity.

Tagging the catalog: If the library catalog is set up such that patrons can tag books in their own words, the books can be marked by words that are more intuitive than the standard subject terms. Furthermore, non-subject tags can be added that some patrons might find useful, such as "oversized, blue cover" or "happy ending" (yes, I realize that spoilers are controversial; managing them is a separate question). However, since this is a sort of catch-as-catch-can approach, it would also be useful to keep the "stuffy old" method of standard subject headings, either as an alternative or as core tags.

Social bookmarking: In addition to a book catalog, a library might want to keep a list of bookmarks or links, perhaps through a service like Delicious, to which patrons can add websites they want to share. To prevent abuse, the library may have to keep the option to delete sites or even to approve additions, and allow patrons to only add sites and tags but not delete or edit. Such a list would be useful in that it would contain local information and reflect the interests of the community.