Monday, April 26, 2010

Thing 33 - travel 2.0

For planning trips (and many other applications such as purchases), 2.0 sites are a must. I find actual user information an important factor in my decision making. However, it also helps to know credible websites and the people using them. Getting off of the travel topic for a moment, when making electronics purchases, I like to check out the site This site has many reviews on new technologies from users who are definitely more techie oriented. But I will also check out just to see if the item I am interested in is also a popular seller. I have found this type of information very helpful, especially when formal evaluations such as Consumer Reports may not be available. This type of "consumer" 2.0 information is a great outcome of the web 2.0 phenomenon.

Thing 32 - Google Maps and Mashups

I have used several types of mashups. One site that I liked until it became inundated with ads was It was great for mapping out and calculating mileage for runs and walks. I also liked the solar calculator site from this activity that allows you to find out how much solar power you can possibly generate by adding solar panels to your roof. I think that the My Maps tool could be a great project for students to be able to map places and then share what they have learned about them rather than using the typical poster for assessment. One comment on the map function however, is that sometimes the maps freeze up, or else the mouse can not be freed up without clicking and adding an unwanted point to a map. I have noticed this issue on several sites. But most likely this problem will improve with the technology. In the mean time, mashups are still a positive enhancement to any curriculum.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Thing 31 - More: Twitter

I think that Twitter can be used as a great professional tool for librarians. As I have said before, we must go where the people are, and they are definitely on Twitter. Using Twitter as well as adding a Twitter RSS feed into a website or blog for example is a simple and quick way to keep patrons up to date on news and events. As for me, I prefer to use Twitter for professional posts and conversations. For some reason I feel that my personal posts need to be funny or clever. This is probably because the people who I follow are lol funny. The pressure... I'll have to work on that one. In the mean time, I do think that Twitter is an innovative tool for librarians. As for a classification, the beauty of Twitter is that it is what you make of it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thing 30 - more ways to use RSS & Delicious

For this thing I chose to update my RSS feeds in Blogline. After searching for resources to add and getting them entered, I was disappointed to see that once I clicked into a feed and then left it, Blogline defaulted to the entire feed being read. This meant that when I went back into the feed moments later, I got the Blogline splash page instead. I literally then had to click into the source to resume reading the content. This seemed like a wasted click to me. I know, in the grand scheme of things, it's just one click. But for me, it was one too many. I looked all over the site to try and change the setting, but found nothing.

So I moved on to Delicious. For this activity, I finally updated and organized my existing favorites, and also found a few more. I then imported them into Delicious. I like that I can now have them available at any time.

However, these two activities made me really think about how I wanted to access and make available all the many resources that I have found. So... I actually created another blog in Blogger (I like this format over some of the other options out there) where I added RSS feeds, links, videos, etc. of all the resources that I have found helpful. I think that I will probably end up using this web tool the most - in the past I have looked up items in my 23 Things on a Stick blog - so this step seemed like a natural progression.

As I have said before, learning about these many tools has been great. Better yet, I now have a useful place for me to find all the great information and resources that I have learned about. Plus I can easily share it with others!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thing 29 - Google Tools

Search tools: I looked at the SearchWiki tool and thought it was interesting. But I don't think I would take that much time to customize a search. In fact, I actually use Clusty more than Google because of the clustering results that suggest other possible topics to look under. In other words, I appreciate the "feedback" I get from this site in comparison to Google. By limiting my search results with SearchWiki, I would think that I might miss some information that I didn't think of originally, or new content that has come online, etc.

I do have to add that during a training I learned about a Google search tool that I found very useful. It's called Google Special Searches. A user can take a topic and choose the websites that are used during a search. I like this tool for students because I find that sometimes students get carried away by interesting, but extraneous content and end of clicking off topic. Or else they may start on a credible site, but end up on one that is questionable. By reviewing the sites ahead of time, computer research time can be much more productive and efficient. I should mention that I would use this search tool when the purpose of the search activity is to get good research content, not for learning about credible content.

Productivity: I have a GMail account for professional activities (used for all those account logins). Having this account was a requirement for using Google docs as well and made communication during this process convenient. I also think that it is helpful that a user can click into the calendar, reader and document features from this account. I finally went into the Theme and Lab settings (I hadn't looked at these before). It was nice to be able to set the theme - I didn't like the default look. I also added a few Lab features such as the attachment reminder. While I will not be getting rid of my personal email account (through another provider), I did appreciate these options in GMail.

Given all the tools that Google has, it would be interesting to participate in their Google Teacher Academy.

Thing 28 - customized home pages

As I have mentioned previously, I like the look and features of Pageflake, but I honestly did not want to create another account. When I joined Flickr, I simultaneously registered with Yahoo. So I went with this previously existing account. I have noticed that other participants have commented on the amount of accounts needed for the various 23 Things activities. I see advantages and disadvantages to all of these accounts. Disadvantages of course are the many accounts to remember. Advantages include the extra security of not having everything connected. However, I'm not sure how much hackers really want to know about my widgets and gadgets. I have also been careful about not adding personal information. Therefore, I can see that in the near future, connectivity will most likely be greatly improved. It has already gotten better since the first 23 Things.

That being said, the initial set up of my page was time consuming. I had been previously bookmarking favorite sites, and noting which content I was interested in. But now I had to get it all organized. Not to mention the fact that there are so many content options to choose from. Now that my page is finished for the time being (I'm sure I will be adding and updating in the future), I can see how much easier it will be to keep up with topics that I have been neglecting - out of sight, out of mind. I can see that it will be helpful to set aside some set times for reviewing all this great content. I also feel that this tool will be key in helping me to better keep up on professional topics. Yahoo!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thing 27 - twitter

On a personal level, I am not an extensive user of Twitter. I can't imagine anyone I know wanting to read about what I do each day. But I can see that for this generation growing up with Twitter, it is one of the many great ways to communicate. So on a professional level, I think that Twitter is yet another significant Web 2.0 tool. On a side note, I have a younger relative that I was trying to track down. He uses a cell phone for his home phone, and he does not have email or voicemail. However, he does text. I finally got a hold of him through texting. In other words, as librarians, we must go where our users are, and many of them are on Twitter. But that is not the only place. They are also on Facebook, blogs, websites, IMing, calling and even still reading the newspaper. So we must make a concerted effort to communicate the many good things going on at libraries in these many ways in order to reach our diverse users.