Monday, April 2, 2007

Exercise #23: Reflections ... True Love Leaves No Traces

It's been an engaging exercise, for sure. Initially, I was a bit lethargic about pacing my entries and felt a certain disinterest in the blog format because I am not, typically, an individual who wants to post commentary that I'm not particularly passionate about. Sadly, readers, I was not passionate about Library 2.0 at the outset and I'm glad to report that I've learned quite a bit about a myriad of terms, technologies, and tools for which I'd previously had only the vaguest notion of beforehand.

I can recall a few months ago in November I attended this event with my wife in San Francisco. The event was the first annual "Vloggies" and it was an award ceremony for video bloggers. At the time we were marvelling at the fact that it was without a doubt the most filmed activity we had ever been to (think first day of kindergarten with 98% of parents documenting with digicams), but you know, they were all vloggers so what do you expect. Anyhow, what initially was an invitation to see something new and drink for free to live music at Cafe du Nord became kind of a learning experience as we quizzed each other "what exactly is del.ici.ous?" and "who the hell is Technorati?" I assure you these inquiries were bandied back and forth. So, long story short, I have benefitted from Learning 2.0 in being able to better understand and apply the power of these tools we have forced ourselves to investigate in these exercises.

Library Thing was a particularly fun exploration and the 2.0 awards list was endlessly entertaining. But again, even though most of the topics were familiar, I didn't really know del.ici.ous or Technorati and this discovery exercise enabled me to engage myself through the potential of how it may impact my life as a librarian. At times it seemed like too much all at once, but this intensive learning has it's benefits as well. I will say that the time committment was more than I anticipated but just like the Thigh Master it's always more work than you're lead to believe. I would definitely be open to more learning exercises such as Library 2.0 because in the end it was fun (at times), educational, and a great way to kill time when you'd had enough of the routine library existence. Yeah, well done to the Virtual Services Team one and all.

Exercise #22: ebooks

The day will come, most likely, when a technology will replace the physical book bound with paper, glue, thread, etc ... The book as we know it, however, will never go away just as lp's most likely won't ever be completely abandoned by passionate collectors. So ebooks are a natural progression and I'm sure lots of folks dig 'em, but ask for a person's preference and I'm pretty sure most would rather posess a physical specimen to hold on to and form a bond with. That being said, I don't have much of an opinion on ebooks only because I accept that they are the inevitable evolution of printed material and yet totally uninteresting to me on a personal level. If I can get a library patron happily on his/her way with an electronic copy of something they so desperately "need" then I'm all for the convenience. Most people presume librarians are book collectors and bibliophiles in general, but frankly I don't buy many books (that's what libraries are for!) and would not consider ebooks as being a replacement for an activity that is vital, simple, and personal. So I'll keep picking-up the occassional copy at the segunda, making requests through Link+, and hoping that I can always find what I desire in a glorious hard copy.

Exercise #21: podcasting

Well, everybody is trying to get you to listen to their podcasts and if I were constantly glued to my ipod or in front of my computer at home I'd be tempted to start developing some playlists of casts' that I'm interested in. Hell, even my friend the realtor sends out his newsletters in podcasting format. He'll never read my blog (like anybody does! HA HA HA HA) so I have to say that I've never listened to a one of them. Sorry, old chap. I did, however, download some from NPR and have them stored for future use. Also, I added this one particular show from WEVL, Memphis TN to my bloglines account because it's a great show with a highly underrated musician from years past playing versions of songs (mostly good) we all recognize ... and then followed up by the original version because, yup, they're all covers. Pretty amazing world we live in, huh.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Exercise #20: YouTube

I first got turned on to YouTube by friends who wanted to share soccer highlights. The emails would come in imploring one another to check out the goals by Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry, the archived footage of George Best and Johan Cruyff ... etc. It seems positively old hat by now, but obviously the YouTube universe has done nothing but expand and it's incredible how vast the site has gotten with a seemingly endless supply of videos in spite of the regular cease and desist notices that YouTube receives from the predictable media giants. Could libraries use this technology? Yeah, I suppose we could make boring snippets showing how to use the self-check machines and the latest things that patrons need to be aware of, but we could also get more creative than we're accustomed to being by putting together mashup videos promoting our programs, events, and anything that can serve as creatively self-promotional or informational. As with many of the tools we've pondered through Library 2.0, the possibilities are limited only by our self-imposed boundaries.

I was tempted to post "Rebel Girl" by Bikini Kill, but my musical tastes are more than 2 minutes longer than the blurb I chose.
You know where I represent when it comes to baseball ...

Exercise #19: Library Thing

For years I use to keep a battered little notebook with titles of books I had read and what they meant to me at the time. I stopped cataloging years ago but always felt a pang of guilt knowing that the last book I read wouldn't be included in "the list." The insignificantly odiferous titles never made it anyway. Library Thing is giving me the insane desire to transfer yet more data into an online existence so I can refer back to all of those titles that formulate the basis of who I am through what I read (and have read). Thank God I am not tempted to do this with music other than a simple iTunes collection. Library Thing is a fun tool, functional in many ways for libraries and literacy advocacy and just pretty cool all around. My books are not the most popular in anybody's collection, but they all kick ass. How's that for a recommendation?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Exercise#18: Online Productivity (not an oxymoron this time)

Great flippin' tool. Who would have anything negative to say about it? Granted there will be those who are devoted to using their preferred suites of services, but for convenience and simplicity this is a great tool for anyone who has a need to produce documents and such. I am finding it a little stickier to publish directly from Zoho Writer or Google Docs than I anticipated, though, for something seemingly simple. Hmm, I'll have to get back to that and play around. In any case, if you are using these "Online Productivity Tools" (high hopes there with the P word) then you have to be impressed that they are so readily available and excited that you'll never be worrying about competing platforms and carrying storage devices and such. During the course of the past 6 months or more I have shared the tool with a few patrons here at the branch in an effort to turn 'em on to the possibilities and they were duly impressed if a little dubious at first. How are you not gonna like the potential of something so practical? In the words of Bill & Ted ... "excellent!"

Exercise #17: Sandbox wiki

I added my blog to the fave's list ... picked a favorite restaurant, too. I was too verbose with the dining suggestion. I will not be here.