Thursday, October 30, 2008

Week 9, Thing 23

#23 Is this really the end? Or just the beginning ...

Wow! Congratulations!! You’ve reached the 23rd thing. Be sure to give yourself a pat on the back for completing the program. At the start we asked you to choose a prize – if you haven’t told the OwhataGeek team already, be sure you do now – you’ll get it in December.

But before you do you need to do one more blog entry.

For your last and final exercise for this program please reflect on your learning journey and post a few thoughts. Here are some questions to prompt you if you're drawing a blank:
  • What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
  • How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
  • Were there any take-aways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
  • What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
  • What other Web 2.0 tools do you know about that we didn’t cover that you want other staff to know about?

In closing, on behalf of the O!What a Geek team and the Think Tank, I want to thank each and every one of you for joining us on this journey. We hope that you have not only learned some new things that you can use in your job but also had some fun along the way. We have been impressed by your willingness to undertake all the tasks and how many of the OPL Geeks love their jobs. If you have time, take a look at some other blogs in the Geek Blogs and read some entries. You might be surprised at what you learn.

Now to end on a fun note, take a look at some bad web 2.0 names (this came from ALA Direct for October 29, 2008).

Congratulations again,

Deirdre Routt aka Rapunzel 2.0

Week 9, Thing 22

#22 Media and Book Downloads (or "You are almost done!")

We have some fun and easy ways to provide our customers with materials in a variety of downloadable formats. These are materials they can access from home and use in different ways.

Overdrive provides us with both downloadable eBooks and audio books. The eBooks can be viewed on a computer or transferred to a handheld reader such as a PDA (personal Digital Assistant). They are viewed using Adobe or MobiPocket software, which can also be downloaded from the Overdrive site. The audio books are downloaded using the Overdrive console and can be played on the computer or transferred to a MP3 player. Some can be burned to a CD for permanent use. Most of these titles are listed in our catalog but the Overdrive site is separate from the catalog.

We also have downloadable movies and TV series from MyLibraryDV. These you view on your computer and need to download the MyLibraryDV player which is where the movies and TV series are accessed. The titles are listed in our catalog – the link in the catalog takes you the main MyLibraryDV screen.

Downloadable eBooks and audiobooks just for kids are available from TumbleBooks. These fun books can be accessed through the Omaha Public Library’s Kid’s page – they don’t need any additional download.

Discovery Resources:
OverDrive (these are from SamePage. If you can't get these to work they can be found on SamePage, Staff Learning, eBook & Audiobook (OverDrive) Training)


Discovery Exercise:
1. Choose one of the downloadable materials above, OverDrive, MyLibraryDV or TumbleBooks and try using it. It would be best to choose one you have not used. Try downloading and using the materials.

2. Blog about what you chose and why. Other questions do consider: did it work? Was it easy or was it frustrating to use? Are these good materials to offer at a library? Why or why not? Do you feel comfortable assisting patrons in using this format?

You are almost done, continue on to Week 9, Thing 23

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Week 9, Thing 21

#21 Podcasts, Smodcasts!
The word podcast is used to refer to a non-musical audio or video broadcast that is distributed over the Internet. What differentiates a podcast from regular streaming audio or video is that podcasts can be delivered automatically through RSS (remember week 4?)

Podcasts take many forms, from short 1-10 minutes commentaries (like the ones used in the original Learning 2.0 program) to much longer in person interviews or panel group discussions. There’s a podcast out there for just about every interest area and the best part about this technology is that you don’t need an iPod or a MP3 player to use it. Since podcasts use the MP3 file format, a popular compressed format for audio files, you really just need a PC (or portal device) with headphones or a speaker.

There are podcasts of radio shows, sports casts, lectures, television or Internet shows and on and on. iTunes, the free downloadable application created by Apple is the directory finding service most associated with podcasts, but if you don’t have iTunes installed there are still plenty of options.

For this discovery exercise you are asked to take a look at some popular podcast directory tools. Do some exploring on your own and locate a podcast that is of interest to you. Once found, you can easily pull the RSS feed into your Bloglines account as well, so that when new casts become available you’ll be automatically notified of their existence.

Discovery Resources:

  • To find out more about podcasts start with Wikipedia article on Podcasts
  • iTunes Podcast information – from what is a podcast to how to find and use them on iTunes
  • There are many, many podcast directories and finding tools out there. Here are just three of the more popular ones that, unlike iTunes, don't require a software download:
    o MyYahoo audio

What? You want to learn how to be a podcaster too? (Optional Resources for those who want to learn create podcasts)

Discovery Exercise:
1. Take a look at one or two of the podcast directories listed and see if you can find a podcast that interests you. See if you can find some interesting library related podcasts here like book review podcasts or library news.

2. Add the RSS feed for a podcast to your Bloglines account.

3. Create a blog post about your discovery process. Did you find anything useful here? How could podcasts be used in the library?

Continue on to Week 9 , Thing 22

Monday, October 27, 2008

Week 9, Thing 20

#20 You too can YouTube

Note: You'll need headphones for this exercise

Online video hosting sites have continued to expand allowing users easily to upload and share videos on the web. Among all the web 2.0 players in this area, YouTube has been one of the main players since its launch in November 2005. YouTube not only allows users to upload their own video content easily, but also embed clips into their own sites easily.

Do some searching around YouTube and see what the site has to offer. You'll find everything from Kool-Aid commercials and the Theme Song to the Monkees to library dominoes, how to use a Self-Check machine and an ad from Kiplinger’s about Research Librarians. Of course, like any free site you’ll also find a lot not worth watching too. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore and see for yourself what the site has to offer. :)

Discovery Exercise:
1. Explore YouTube & find a video worth adding as an entry in your blog.
2. Create a blog post about your experience. What did you like or dislike about the site and why did you choose the video that you did? Can you see any features or components of the site that might be interesting if they were applied to library websites?

Other popular video hosting sites:

NOTE: Videos, like music downloads, are bandwidth hogs. It is recommended that you complete this exercise during light internet usage times.

Continue on to Week 9, thing 21

Monday, October 20, 2008

Week 8, Thing 19

#19 Discovering web 2.0 tools
Throughout the course of this Learning 2.0 program we’ve explored just a small sampling of these new internet technologies and websites that are empowering users with the ability to create and share content. But given time there are so many more we could explore.

If you attended the NLA/NEMA conference keynote lecture on Thursday, October 16 by Annette Lamb you received a whirlwind tour of many web 2.0 tools and their applications in libraries. If you missed it or wish to review it, here is link to the presentation: Recipes for Success. This is a great resource to dip into and explore parts of as time allows.

Web applications, like many other web 2.0 tools, have been growing fast. It is still hard to tell how they are widely accepted and used. Most businesses are not going to stop using various “office suites” of products for word processing, spreadsheets and databases. However, it is clear that there are increasing numbers of new collaborative, social networking and information tools and they're not going to go away (at least anytime soon).

For this discovery exercise, you’ll select ONE site from the lists on Web 2.0 Awards or Lambs’ Recipes for Success and explore it. Be careful to select a tool that is Free and that doesn't require a plug-in or download. The majority of these free, so this shouldn't be a problem.

Discovery Exercise:
1. Select any site/tool from the lists on Web 2.0 Awards or Recipes for Success. Explore the site you selected.
2. Create a post about your discovery. What did you like or dislike about the tool? What were the site’s useful features? Could you see any applications for its use in a library setting?

Web 2.0 – with so much to explore, just start with ONE. :)

Week 8, Thing 18

#18 Web-based Apps: They're not just for desktops
The availability and use of online productivity web-based applications (think word processing and spreadsheets) has exploded over the past few years and for good reasons! These powerful applications provide users with the ability to create and share documents over the internet without the need of installed desktop applications. Some experts speculate that this emerging trend may mean the death to Microsoft Office and other software-based productivity tools, while others think web-based applications have their place, but not in the office. But no matter which side of the office suite platform you side with, on this both sides seem to agree; web-based apps have their place.

One major benefit of web-based applications it that they eliminate the need to worry about different software versions or file types as you email documents or move from PC to PC. You are also freed up from carrying a data disc or flash drive around. A further bonus is that they easily accommodate collaboration by allowing multiple users to edit the same file (with versioning) and provide users the ability to easily save and convert documents as multiple file types (including HTML and pdf). And, you can even use many of these tools, such as Zoho Writer and Google Docs (formerly known as Writely), to author and publish posts to your blog. It’s this type of integration with other web 2.0 tools that also makes web-based apps so appealing.

For this discovery exercise, you are asked to take a look at web-based word processing tools such as Zoho Writer or Google Docs, create a simple document and then document your discoveries in your blog. If you're up to the challenge, you might even export your document as an HTML file or publish it to your blog. With web-based applications, the possibilities are endless.

Discovery Resources:
A short list of web-based productivity applications – Note: Helene Blowers authored this list in 2006 using ZohoWriter and exported it as HTML.

Discovery Exercise:
1. Create a free account for yourself in Zoho Writer or Google Docs
2. Explore the site and create a few test documents.
3. Try out Zoho Writer’s or Google Docs features and create a blog post about your discoveries.

Optional: If you're up for the challenge, see if you can write something in a web-based word processor and then use it to post to your blog.

BTW: Here’s a document (viewable as a webpage) Helene Blowers mocked up in Zoho about some of the features she found beneficial.

Continue on to Week 8, Thing 19

Friday, October 10, 2008

Week 7, Thing 17

#17 Playing around with PBWiki

"Sandbox" is the term that wikis often use to describe the area of the website that should be used for pure play. For this discovery and exploration exercise, Helene Blowers at PLCMC set up a whole Learning 2.0 Favorites wiki* that’s for nothing but play!

For this “explore-and-play-with-wikis” exercise, you are asked to add an entry or two to the PBwiki Learning 2.0 wiki. The theme of this wiki is simply “Favorites” : Favorite books, favorite vacation spots, favorite restaurants, favorite anything …all you need to do is play and add your thoughts. To mark your adventure on this site, you should add your blog to the Favorite Blogs page.

Discovery Resources:

Discovery Exercise:
1. Access the PLCMC Learning 2.0 wiki and create a login account for yourself. At the bottom of the log-in page, in the lower left-hand corner, it says "Password = plcmc". That's the verification code. (Thanks to Sarah W. for this hint!).

2. Add your blog to the Favorite Blogs page. That's how we'll know that you've been there. It’s easy to do if you follow this simple syntax:
[ URL Title of blog]
[ Learning 2.0 ]

With brackets [ ] and just a little typing, you’ve added a link - yup, it’s as easy as that!

* NOTE: The PLCMCLearning Wiki was created using the free version of PBWiki, a tool that lets you create webpages that anyone can edit.
OPTIONAL: Add a favorite or two to a few other pages (Favorite books, favorite vacation spot, etc). And, if you feel up to the challenge, you might even want to create a separate page for book review or short travel essay and link up to that.

3. Create a post in your blog about the experience.

Week 7, Thing 16

#16 So What’s in a Wiki?

A wiki is a collaborative website and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content. You probably already know, and may have even used, Wikipedia, the online open-community encyclopedia. It is the largest and perhaps the most well known of these knowledge sharing tools. With the benefits that wikis provide the use and popularity of these tools has continued to grow. Some of the benefits that make wikis so attractive are:
  • Anyone (registered or unregistered, if unrestricted) can add, edit or delete content.
  • Tracking tools within wikis allow you to easily keep up on what been changed and by whom.
  • Earlier versions of a page can be viewed and reinstated when needed.
  • And users do not need to know HTML in order to apply styles to text or add and edit content. In most cases simple syntax structure is used.

As the use of wikis has grown over the last few years, libraries all over the country have begun to use them to collaborate and share knowledge. Among their applications are pathfinder or subject guide wikis, book review wikis, ALA conference wikis, sharing meeting information and even library best practices wikis.

Discovery Resources:

Use these resources to learn more about wikis:

Discovery Exercise:
1. For this discovery exercise, you are asked to take a look at some library wikis and blog about your finding. Here’s a few examples to get you started:

2. Create a blog post about your findings. What did you find interesting? What types of applications within libraries might work well with a wiki?

So what's in a wiki? Find out by doing some exploring on your own.

Continue on to Week 7, Thing 17

Monday, October 6, 2008

Week 6, Thing 15

#15 On Library 2.0 & Web 2.0 ...

Library 2.0 is term used to describe a new set of concepts for developing and delivering library services. The name, as you may guess, is an extension of Web2.0 and shares many of its same philosophies and concepts including harnessing the user in both design and implementation of services, embracing constant change as a development cycle over the traditional notion of upgrades, and reworking library services to meet the users in their space, as opposed to ours (libraries).
Many have argued that the notion of Library 2.0 is more than just a term used to describe concepts that merely revolve around the use of technology; it also a term that can be used to describe both physical and mindset changes that are occurring within libraries to make our spaces and services more user-centric and inviting. Others within the profession have asserted that libraries have always been 2.0: collaborative, customer friendly and welcoming. But no matter which side of the debate proponents fall, both sides agree that libraries of tomorrow, even five or ten years from now, will look substantially different from libraries today.

Discovery Resources:

Discovery Exercise:
1. Read some of the perspectives on Library 2.0 from the list above.

2. Create a blog post about your thoughts on Library 2.0 - It's many things to many people. What does it mean to you?

Week 6, Thing 14

#14 Getting not-so-technical with Technorati

So now that you’ve been blogging for awhile, you might be wondering just how big the blogosphere is. Well, according to Technorati’s annual report on blogs, State of the Blogosphere 2008 (issued in September 2008), 133 million blogs have been indexed by Technorati since 2002. 7.4 million blogs were posted in the 6 months prior to the report.

Blogging is so easy that these publishing tools are being taken advantage of by almost every industry, including libraries. Blogging has become a commercial enterprise – with many bloggers accepting advertising. Blogs have also become a trusted authority in both news and entertainment.

So how does a person get their blog listed as part of the blogosphere and how can you tag your posts with keywords to make them more findable through a Technorati search? The answer to the first question is that your blog is probably already being captured by Technorati due to the fact that you're already using Blogger, the most popular blogging tool. But if you want to join the party and have your blog officially listed on Technorati and also take advantage of the watchlist and other features, you’ll need to claim your blog yourself. As for tagging posts with Technorati tags? This is easy, too. All you need to do is add a little bit of HTML code to the bottom of your post (see the example below) and Technorati will pick up these tags when it spiders (or web crawls) your site. There are a lot of new features that have been added to Technorati this past summer, including new ways to search for blogs. You can search for keywords in blog posts, search for entire blog posts that have been tagged with a certain keyword, or search for blogs that have been registered and tagged as whole blogs about a certain subject (like photography or libraries).

Discovery Resources:
  • Technorati Tour –from 2006 of the Technorati features
  • Technorati Popular feature
  • Tehcnorati Help – includes FAQ, Discussions and Troubleshooting

Discovery Exercise:
1. Take a look at Technorati and try doing various keyword searches in the different search areas. Do you get different results depending on where you search?

2. Explore popular blog, searches and tags. Is anything interesting or surprising in your results?

3. Create a blog post about your discoveries on this site.

OPTIONAL: If you're up for a challenge, learn how to tag your posts by with Technorati tags so they can join tag searches. Create a post about something. It can be anything you want and add the HTML code to the bottom to tag it as “PLCMCL2.” You may also want to consider claiming your blog and creating a watchlist.

NOTE: When adding HTML code, you'll want to make sure you're in Blogger's Edit HTML window.

There's a lot to explore.

Technorati Tag: PLCMCL2

Continue on to Week 6, Thing 15

Week 6, Thing 13

#13 Tagging, folksomonies & social bookmarking in Delicious

Tagging is an open and informal method of categorizing that allows users to associate keywords with online content (webpages, pictures & posts). Unlike library subject cataloging, which follows a strict set of guidelines (i.e.Library of Congress subject headings), tagging is completely unstructured and freeform, allowing users to create connections between data anyway they want.

In the past few weeks, we’ve already explored a few sites – Flicker and LibraryThing to name two --that allow users to take advantage of tagging and in week 3 some even used a common tag (owhatageek) to create an association between photos that we individually uploaded. This week, in addition to exploring Technorati tagging, we want to also take at popular social bookmarking site called Delcious (formerly known as

Delicious is a social bookmarking manager which allows you to bookmark a web page and add tags to categorize your bookmarks.

Many users find that the real power of Delicious is in the social network aspect, which allows you to see how other users have tagged similar links and also discover other websites that may be of interest to you. You can think of it as peering into another users’ filing cabinet, but with this powerful bookmarking tool each user's filing cabinet helps to build an expansive knowledge network.

For this discovery exercise, you are asked to take a look at Delicious and learn about this popular bookmarking tool.

Discovery Resources:

  • Otter Group Delicious tutorial (8.30 min podcast with visuals) – Although this is from 2006 it presents a good overview of Delicious and why it is a useful tool.
  • Us.ef.ul: A beginners guide to Delicious – This is from 2005 but it presents useful information on getting started with Delicious.

Discovery Exercise:
1. View one of the Discovery Resources listed above to get a good overview of the features in Delicious.

2. Take a look around Delicious using the PLCMCL2 account that was created for the original 23 Things exercise by Helene Blowers. Note: In this account you will find lots of resources that have been highlighted or used throughout the course of the Learning 2.0 program.

3. Explore the site options and try clicking on a bookmark that has also been bookmarked by a lot of other users. Can you see the comments they added about this bookmark or the tags that they used to categorize this reference?

4. Create a blog post about your experience and thoughts about this tool. Can you see the potential of this tool for research assistance? Or just as an easy way to create bookmarks that can be accessed from anywhere?

OPTIONAL: If you’re up to the challenge, create a Delicious account for yourself and discover how this useful bookmarking tool can replace your traditional browser bookmark list. Also, talk with co-workers who have been using Delicious to see what they like about it. Some Geeks have already posted on using Delicious – ask them questions.

Continue on to Week 6, Thing 14.