Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Online Road Ahead: Week 9 / Thing 23

Some of my favorites discoveries about this project were: figuring out that I could publish my thoughts in a Web blog; finding at least 10 exciting new websites I will continue to explore; and creating an avatar.

This experience has made me realize that I could handle online learning, so when I take a web-based course, I now know a little bit about how it might flow.

I was very surprised about all the web sites and web technologies that people have created--oftentimes allowing everyone free access to them.

I would definitely participate in this type of program again. It was very illuminating about new web technologies out there. Plus the program was very low pressure.

"Learning New Stuff on Your Own is Great!"

Audiobooks: Week 9 / Thing 22

I surfed Project Gutenberg. Preliminarily it seems like they have a lot of old books that aren't copyrighted in the US--Austen, Twain, Dumas, etc. It's very easy to use. I opened a PDF version of Jane Austen's Emma and read a few pages of its total 361.

I also opened a HTML-version of Mother Goose; it was wonderful because it had illustrations for many of the sayings and you could click their titles in the table of contents to immediately go to them.

One big difference between netlibrary.com and Project Gutenberg is that netlibrary.com has all the latest fiction and nonfiction titles printed in recent years for one to listen to.

All of these resources would be great if someone wanted to immediately read a particular book, but all the copies were checked out. But it does take getting used to reading a whole book on the computer or listening to one read to you.

Searching for Pods: Week 9 / Thing 21

I explored Yahoo!Podcasts and Podcast Alley. The Yahoo one was good for finding popular and news podcasts. When I did a search for library ones, I didn't have much success for ones I'd want to listen to. So I signed up for the Royalty Report about the British royal family. The presentation of the podcast speaker wasn't very good, but she had some good tidbits of royal news.

The Podcastalley.com one was good for finding lots of library-related podcasts. I signed up via my Bloglines account for Library Geeks (I listened to the podcaster interview web search guru Gary Price), Open Stacks, and LibVibe (this one wouldn't open because it needed QuickTime to run).

I had never listened to a podcast before; of course it sounds just like a radio show --but I learned people can "call-in" to a live show to ask questions and chat, which is very interesting given that someone with the necessary technology can be anywhere in the world and participate in a show.

YouTube: Week 9 / Thing 20

I explored YouTube for a while. A system could create all kinds of valuable videos for a library website such as, a video on how to use a database or the catalog, a video on directions to a branch, a storytime video, video samples on performers coming to the library, etc.

This is a hilarious "dominos" video that I found after watching the "library dominos" video.

Webbie Awards: Week 8 / Thing 19

I decided to study Yahoo! Answers (http://answers.yahoo.com/) to see if it could be a resource for library customers. It won a first place Webbie 2.0 Awards for Questions/Advice. Basically Y!A is a site where one can post his or her questions on any topic and people from around the world offer their answers/suggestions. Y!A has about 25 categories--from arts to food to history to politics to pets to business to travel.

It seems very useful. I selected a topic I've been researching and one post led me to a very relevant/helpful website. But I would only casually suggest a customer use this site--if they has time to surf the site and/or wait for answers.

When I have time, I definitely was to explore all the first place winners of the Webbie Awards.

Online Apps: Week 8 / Thing 18

I signed up for two of these online office suites--ThinkFree and Zoho. The signup process for each was very simple--but one does need an email address. Zoho has many great programs for free that I would use regularly--word, spreadsheets, planner, and show. It seems a little easier to use than ThinkFree. But I would definitely need publisher--which is only in ThinkFree.

This is an article I found that compared them. It says ThinkFree is the best one.

This kind of Web 2.0 technology is so exciting. This is something students and other library customers could definitely use. Many never have disks, but want to save their documents created in the library. And many people have email attachments but they don't open. If people got in the habit of using these programs, that may not happen as much.

But for really important documents, I would still suggest people make backup copies on a disk drive. Since I'm going to start using these programs myself, I don't have to go out and buy a USB port right away now.

I also found this presentation of funny animals at Zoho Show. It is great! Hit Play under the picture and change the Slide Delay to about 3 seconds. Enjoy!

Fun in the Sandbox: Week 7 / Thing 17

It took me a couple of days to figure how to post my "contributions" below to MD Libraries Sandbox. Use Edit (duh!). Then I thought (ah!) that's the power of this type of program--everyone who signs up has equal weight in adding or deleting to the site.

This could be problematic--I heard on the news today that big companies like the voting machine maker Debold have edited out bad news on themselves at wikipedia.com. But I wouldn't think wikis would be used for anything proprietarial or of national security.

This is the link to my Favorites page:

This is the link to my blog allnewtechie at the Sandbox, under PG County's section:


Wikis: Week 7 / Thing 16

I have been using wikipedia.com for several years for information on pop culture items, etc. I explored several of the wiki tutorials and found out a lot of information about their setup that I didn't know. One site had a great suggestion to connect people who are on a waiting list for a popular book so that they can talk to each about that title.

I also explored the BookLovers Wiki of the Princeton Public Library. I like how it's just a simple website with brief reviews of all kinds of books. Customers send in their thoughts and give books the number of stars the book deserves. I also like how the site has pictures of the books' covers and a link to the library's catalog to see if a copy is on the shelf. We have something similar at PGCMLS' catalog website but it is links to book reviews from publishing magazines. It might be good to add a customer review feature to our website.