Thursday, August 16, 2007

The end of the road

This post is my last official one for the Learning 2.0 program, and so I'm going to give you a list of things I learned.
  1. It's a lot easier to write a blog than I thought. I was afraid of clamming up in front of a large audience, but I didn't, and I think I was able to find a fairly consistent voice. On the other hand....
  2. It's a lot harder to get people to read and comment on your blog than I thought. I don't know who in the library has actually been reading this, but the comments have been few and far between. Even worse, I've tried to tell my friends outside of the library that I have a blog now that they could read, and the response has been a big yawn. My visions of wealth and fame as a celebrity blogger have not come to pass.
  3. Not every technology is for everyone. Some people are just resistant to certain ideas, like me with the podcasts (see below). And I think some of my co-workers have the idea that they're being expected to love all 23 of these things. I don't really think that was the point of this exercise; instead it was just to familiarize ourselves with these concepts. I have a co-worker who still hates Facebook, but at least now he can give a convincing argument about his reasons for that opinion, and so the exercise was a success in my opinion.
  4. RSS feeds are much cooler than I ever thought. I was resistant to that idea, but now I check my Bloglines account every morning, and it really does save me a lot of pointless surfing during the day.
  5. People are surprisingly motivated by the chance to win prizes. I'll have to remember that next time a teach an English 151 class.
  6. It's really easy to make a list in Blogger!


There sure are a lot of Doctor Who podcasts out there, or so I discovered from looking in the different podcast directories. My favorite one in terms of ease of use was Podcast Alley. It presented the results in a nice, compact list of titles, and they seemed to be ranked according to relevance. That being said, I have no interest in listening to any of the podcasts I discovered. I can't explain why, but I'm much more of a visual than auditory learner. I could sit on my sofa watching TV all day and not get bored, but try to get me to listen to a 15-minute non-musical radio program and my mind keeps wandering. For that reason, podcasts have never really been my thing, and I don't think that's going to change unless you know how to change the wiring of my brain!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

About YouTube

Once there was only one copy of my video in the whole world. It lived on the old laptop that I let my ex-husband have after our divorce. And recently I said to him vaguely, "Maybe we should post it on YouTube one day," and next thing I knew he had done it and anybody in the whole wide world could see it! The good news is that it's now up there. The bad news is that it was already pretty heavily compressed, and then YouTube compressed it again when it was posted there, so now there are certain shots where it looks like I smeared Vaseline all over the lens. In other words, while YouTube is great for getting your material out there, it certainly does not serve an archival function!

My video

I discussed in an earlier post that I had made a video in library school that is now on YouTube. Instead of just telling you about it, why don't I let you look at it?


The award-winning Web 2.0 application I chose to explore is Farecast, from the travel category. Farecast tries to look at current airfares and recent trends and predict if they will go up or down in the near future. This can be helpful to you when planning a trip. One drawback I see is that they only have a limited number of airports supported. I understand why this has to be, since mathematically you can get into a huge number of combinations very quickly if your number of choices is too big. And fortunately for us, Columbus is one of the supported airports. However, I couldn't find anyplace I really want to go on the list. I am considering convention travel to New Orleans, Salt Lake City, and Madison, WI next year, and none of those airports are supported. (I'm really surprised about New Orleans because it's a very popular destination.) So I made myself a few fake trips, one to New York- La Guardia (for some reason, JFK isn't even a supported airport) and one to Minneapolis, and it told me to buy now in both cases. I know that airfares are lower than they've been in a long time, so I think that is good advice, but on the other hand, I didn't need to go to a website to figure that out! I think this coudl be useful if you live in Los Angeles and want to go to other big places, but for a regular person I'm not sure how useful it is.

Google Docs

I just tried writing a sample letter on Google Docs. It seems to work about as well as Wordpad for doing simple editing. One thing I noticed is that I couldn't find a way to control the margins of the document when I printed it out. Another is that there were only a few type styles available, and there was nothing remotely similar to Times New Roman. I actually had a professor once that required that all our papers be written in Times, so I guess Google Docs would never work for submitting a paper to her. Other than that, I think it had all the functionality I need. It would be nice that I could share a paper between my home computer and my office computer. Although I always write my papers for school at home, I often end up doing last-minute editing in the library, and it's been a lot of trouble for me to keep remembering to email the latest version back-and-forth. Google Docs would solve that problem. Now if I could only change the margins, which most of my professors are sticklers about, I'd be all set!

Playing with wikis

I just added my blog to the list of favorite blogs in the wiki sandbox. I also added a book to the favorite books list. See if you can guess which one it is!

"Hello, I'm Marne, and I'm a Facebook junkie"

At least according to my co-worker Chad, I'm a Facebook junkie. While I certainly don't feel that I am compared to some of my undergraduate acquaintances, I guess it is true in the library world. Lorraine had asked me to talk about Facebook and why I like it in the Learning 2.0 workshop yesterday, so I thought I would summarize some of what I said here and let this be my post on social networking. (I apologize for taking the lessons all out of order.)

Since I'm kind of shy in real life, I often put off talking to people until I really, really need to, and then it's often awkward because I haven't talked to them in a long, long time. One of the great things about Facebook is that it lets you stay in contact with your acquaintances in an unobtrusive way and keep tabs on what's going on in their life. That way, when you want to talk to that person from choir that you haven't seen since last May, you already know that she just got engaged and that her dog was sick for a while but has gotten much better. It's also been a good way of keeping up with my Latin American studies students who all seem to be studying in some foreign country this summer. I know none of them would ever send me long emails describing their travels, but it's nice to get periodic updates on their adventures through Facebook.

On the other hand, I really like to be in constant contact with my good friends, and I have the impulse to tell them every little interesting thing that happens to me. But I've found that you can't keep calling or emailing them every 5 minutes to give them status updates, or they start to resent you! Facebook is a way that I can post some little thing before I forget (like, for instance, the fact that I saw a turtle while walking to work on Monday) and they can read about it at their leisure if they're interested. Kind of like a micro-version of this blog, I guess.

I haven't signed up for any of the other social networking sites. MySpace strikes me as rather chaotic, and the fact that you don't need to register to see people's profiles means that I can occasionally look at someone there without actually having to register. LinkedIn did look kind of cool when Janet Carleton demonstrated it, but I'm not sure what I would actually use it for.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Like other people from my department, I'm going to say that I didn't learn much about wikis from this assignment because we already have so many wikis that we use here. I did especially like the first two examples on the list. The first because it used the wiki software to make the layout of the subject guides standardized and easy on the eye, and the second because it actually opened the wiki up to the library patrons in a way most libraries (including our own department) seem afraid to do. So for me, I would say wikis are good for two separate reasons: they make things easy to organize, and they let your users chime in.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Views of Library 2.0

I read all 5 opinions on Library 2.0, and the first two, by the practicing librarians, were the ones that made the most sense to me. I agree with Rick Andersen that as institutions get bigger and libraries don't, we can no longer support as much instruction as we once did, and I think that we can make use of Web 2.0 capabilities to judiciously replace some of this instruction. I also like Michael Stephens' points that we need to pay special attention to what users actually want, and that we shouldn't become blinded by "technolust" and build things for the sake of building them. To me, I guess, technology is a tool that we should use when appropriate, but never for its own sake. Users always should be primary.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I'm back!

I'm back in the library, and I hope to get back on track with the assignments soon. Right now I'm just catching up on my "real work."