Friday, February 16, 2007

Final Task-- Summary

The most important thing I learned: that there's a variety of online tools, and how easy they are to use. I think some people are still intimidated when they hear the word "computer." They might be pleasantly surprised if they were to try these resources.

The most challenging: getting past the potentially ego-centered nature of some of the tools (blogging, MySpace, Flickr). I think there's a fine line between info sharing and blowing your own horn, although some would say it's OK to blow your horn in the service of info dispersal. I guess Garrison Keillor and I were separated at birth-- our people just don't like drawing attention to ourselves.

Use at PVLD: In addition to what I've mentioned in my postings as I've completed the tasks, we could put a link on the library home page to Learning 2.0 (or an adaptation), for those who haven't explored Kathy's blog. This might encourage a few more reluctant learners.

Self-directed learning model: I like being able to proceed at my own pace (quickly as it turned out, as I'm a bit obsessive/compulsive about these things). Of course, the incentives (prizes!) help. It's good to see more staff involved as the days pass-- there's still lots of time to complete the project. I consulted my colleagues on occasion and got great help, so you're not totally on your own.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Task 1-- Set up a Free Webmail Account

As I finish up my Learning 2.0 tasks, I'm reflecting on my introduction several years ago to the wired world in library school, and through my student job at the University of Washington Libraries Resource Sharing Service.

It all seems a bit on the primitive side now-- using esoteric algorithms to search OCLC and WLN, BRS and DIALOG. I was introduced to email at my first librarian job at Sno-Isle Regional Library. I gazed at fuzzy orange text on a black screen at a shared computer. It was another century, technologically as well as literally.

I've had several email accounts over the years, both at my library jobs, and from Hotmail to AOL and Yahoo. I'm still amazed I can find email addresses for a historical society in Minnesota, a professor at Yale, a regional federal archives office, and newly-discovered relatives in Illinois and Arizona, and make contact.

We've come a long way from ARPANET.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Task 10-- Explore would appeal to many people, as it’s almost “one-stop shopping”—email, blogging, instant messaging, videos, etc. I think there's great potential for use by YA librarians and teens, as Ali has recognized:

You can only add MySpace members (or people who are willing to become members) to your friends list. On at least one page I looked at, the person said she would deny friend requests unless she knew the person.

My step-son and niece put me on their friends lists; I was sweating that for a while. And Ellen DeGeneres said I could be one of her 34,516 friends. Some Hollywood types are as authentic as they appear. And I've had others send me friends requests. Now that could give a guy a swelled head.

The URL for my MySpace account:

The default setting for age is 18-35. I guess I know when I’m not wanted! Seriously, though, there’s a definite demographic profile that's being reached out to, not only because of this, but because of the ads.

While older people are members of MySpace, I really can’t see that all that many older persons would be interested in it. The MySpace kind of social networking definitely appeals to younger persons, providing access, connections, privacy of a sort-- in short, freedom. We know from news headlines about the “pitfalls” of such sites, although apparently MySpace is attempting to police itself more carefully.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Task 9-- Use Online Office Tools

I can see Google Docs & Spreadsheets being used by the Board, the Friends, TAC, LAB, and other formal or ad hoc library groups. This would allow input from many individuals who might not be able to meet face to face as often as needed.

Since you can edit with your partners in real time, the endeavor is truly collaborative, rather than becoming a free-for-all. You can also see who changed what, and when.

As far as general library patrons using these tools, we could put an explanation on our web site with a link to Google Docs & Spreadsheets. High school students who often collaborate on assignments might find these tools to be useful, and could access files from home, school, or the library.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Task 8-- Explore

It took me three tries to post a comment; I kept getting asked to verify my email address. I must have finally got it right, but I wonder if this process could be made easier.

My YouTube user name—seamuspad

I wanted to watch a “public service announcement” with Bobby Bittman (Eugene Levy in his SCTV days) at the "libary," but I couldn’t get it to play. Tragic! I was able to view it a few days later, though:

Here's a real public library PSA: Pretty good picture and sound quality, probably because it’s a professional job. Others I've watched aren’t so good.

Everybody loves the movies, right? And it's even more fun if you or your friends appear in them. The Nebraska Library Commission spot is a good example how libraries can use YouTube for PR. Other possibilities: programs, book talks, board meetings, etc.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Task 7-- Explore Wikipedia

Although I didn’t join at the time, I first edited a Wikipedia article in 2005, adding some background to the entry for Raymond G. Hunthausen.

Today I made a few minor changes to the PVLD article, and inserted a link to the Palos Verdes Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

A Wikipedia entry is fairly easy to create or modify, although it does require some knowledge of HTML formatting. (In fact, there are a couple of extraneous spaces in the PVLD entry I couldn’t get rid of. Maybe one of my more wiki-savvy colleagues can fix those).

I like Wikipedia quite a lot, as it often provides information not easily found elsewhere. Although there is always the possibility of inaccurate or biased entries, the collaborative nature of the endeavor seems to work very well, and in my casual use, I haven’t seen anything outrageous.

Wikipedia username: jogpvld

Task 6-- Instant Messaging

Auto Response from PVLD2007 (1:36:02 PM): Congradulations! You have successfully sent an Instant Message. Please copy and paste this text into your blog.

A Buddy List will display which of your buddies are online at a given time, or if not, possibly when they'll be available, and it will give them the same information about you.

I first tried IM several years ago, but rarely use it. On the whole, I prefer the telephone, or even email. It's a personal choice, though; I can see how IM could be very helpful in certain settings.

I've used a type of instant messaging when I've talked to patrons in the AskNow online reference service. This can be a great way to communicate with and send information from the Web to patrons. But it can be a bit frustrating because of technical glitches, and because it raises patron expectations about what you can provide, and how fast you can provide it.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Task 5-- Explore

Here's the link to my page:

The pictures were sent to me by a distant relative-- found via the Internet, of course! I've been in touch with three descendants of my great-great grandparents Nicholas and Maria Schons.

And here's a link to a album I've admired for some time now, as I've researched my Norwegian roots:

This is in Akershus County (near Oslo). My Kristofersen and Larsen ancestors emigrated from this region around 1870.

Task 4-- Take a Digital Photo

My wife Alice and I spent a week and a half in western Ireland in August, 2005. This picture was taken on the Holy Island (Inishcealtra) in Lough Derg in the Shannon Region.

One of the sites on the island is the Church of the Wounded Men, an early eighteenth century mortuary chapel of the O'Gradys, whose motto was "wounded but not vanquished," or as I like to say, "down but not out."

I've had a digital camera for around three years. It's a relief not to have to deal with film, and to be able to save, print, and share the images.

Task 3-- Use RSS

I don't find RSS to be an especially "Gee Whiz!" kind of experience, as I don't have a burning need to see the latest from any given web site as soon as it's published. Still, it was informative to learn more about the various options Bloglines provides for managing your feeds.

How about an RSS feed on the library web site so patrons can see what's been recently added to the collection?

My home town paper. It's fun to see what the folks are up to.

The Irish Independent
Keeping in touch with one of my ethnic roots systems.

Metacritic Film Reviews
It's good to be in the know-- even if it takes a while to get around to seeing the movies.

I'd like to mention another option for RSS feeds. I downloaded the Opera browser (which by the way has many really wonderful looking skins). After you subscribe to your feeds, whenever you open the browser, a pop-up tells you if you have new items. And there is handy access to managing and reading the feeds right from the browser menu.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Task 2-- Create a Blog

1952-- In the living room of a small rental house on Northwest Road in Bellingham, Washington, a toddler stands in front of a bookcase. He has pulled several volumes from the shelf; they lie scattered on the floor around him. He is half-turned toward his father, the photographer, a wide grin on his face (can you blame him?).

Words on the spine of a book still on the shelf glow with the camera's flash: Information Please Almanac.

Data acquisition started early, and continues with my participation in PVLD's Learning 2.0 Challenge.

When I attended the Public Library Association conference in Boston last year, I used the PVLD Blog (since transmogrified into Kathy's PVLD Director's Blog) as my introduction to blogging. Here's a link to a page of the original blog that contains my postings (scroll down a bit to see them):

More recently, I started the In the News blog on the District web site, linking current events to our collection and to other materials on the Web.