library joy

sharing the joy that the library brings

Thing #17 mmm, google docs! 2008 December 1

Filed under: post-launch — nova @ 6:00 pm
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me loves me some google docs! i can’t tell you all the times it’s come in handy. let me think of just one… okay, this past october, sam davis and i were prepping to go to Internet Librarian 2008 and present. one of the first things we did was create our presentation in google docs so that we could both access it no matter where if we were at home or work. and when we got to California, we could still access it and keep a master copy there in case one of our flash drives failed (not that your learn & play flash drive will fail!). from there, i could tell whenever sam edited it and same for him. if i was at home and sam was at work, i could still edit the document and he could still see my edits. it made it very easy to prepare and it was seamless integration with PowerPoint as we experimented with moving it over to PP.

my thoughts are that we get rid of Word, PowerPoint and Excel and encourage our customers to use Google Docs. no more buying floppy discs or even flash drives. they won’t lose their document, even if the computer crashes. think we could ever get our customers to do this? i think some of them already are!

 

Thing #16 more wiki crap… ugh!

Filed under: post-launch — nova @ 5:44 pm
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did you see my last post?? if so, then you’ll know i don’t like wikis all that much. i added my blog link to the learn & play wiki (i was first!), but it wasn’t easy getting it there, i’ll tell you that much. i know others have had trouble and i just want you to know I HEAR YOU! this is where the clunkiness of wikis comes into play for me. first off, it wasn’t just like anyone participating in learn & play could go to the wiki, add their blog link and then go. oh no. i had to approve each and every single person so they could do this. so, every blog that you see linked there was done by a separate person and each of those people had to be given access by me. now, is that practical? really? no, to me it’s not. it meant remembering to check that site every single day of learn & play once that thing was introduced. it meant working with people who were unfamiliar with it to show them how to edit and how it’s not, unfortunately, like a word processor or like trying to update your blog. i don’t think wikis are good for large groups, but maybe i haven’t been in a large group that has been able to effectively make a wiki work?

so once all that was over, then there was still creating the other wiki pages. this is where i get confused. all the elements of a wiki: the main page, the inner pages, the sidebar. the sidebar? what’s that? it’s helpful, but i can never get mine to correspond with the other pages i’ve created and then i get mad and pouty. honestly, my experience with wikis has not been overly positive, but i’ll use them when i have to and i DO see their purpose. (doesn’t mean i have to like it, though…)

 

Thing #15 wikis

Filed under: post-launch — nova @ 5:32 pm
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yeah, uh, i don’t really like wikis all that much. i mean, i “like” them, but i’m not “in like” with them. first off, they’re ugly and and can be somewhat clunky. trying to get all your users up-to-speed if they’ve never used one before is hard to do. even trying to arrange your information clearly and concisely can be tricky. gee, am i creating a page or am i just creating another section on this page? do i use one bracket or two? the fact that they don’t use simple html markup is frustrating sometimes. i know editing a wiki can be easy, but i want it to be all html, don’t make me learn special markup just for wikis.

okay, wikis are not very pretty, either. give me fabulous headers and footers and pictures and hearts and flowers! i know i can make the wiki look pretty, but it still doesn’t seem to be enough. i mean, have you seen the wikipedia? BORING!

however, they do serve a purpose. they are very good for project work. the IT/DS wiki that we use here at work, while devoid of any pretty pictures or font, does have extremely important information in it all one place. in fact, it is the routine now to make sure you “update the wiki” when any changes are made to projects. so i do see the value.

as far as libraries using them, i love what St. Joseph County Public Library is doing with their subject guides, one of the reasons why i used them as examples for this Thing. however, did you notice… no pictures!! no pretty font, nothing!! maybe that’s my new mission: bring the “pretty” to the wikis!!!! so, i think using wikis as subject/reference pages is one library application that works well for them. i don’t think it’s practical to allow customers to edit the pages, however, at least not in this case.

 

Thing #14 the future of libraries and Web 2.0

Filed under: post-launch — nova @ 5:20 pm
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wow. those are some loaded questions i posed for this exercise, eh? to me, library 2.0 is seamless integration of the web into the library, plain and simple. whatever tools it takes to get there is what we need to do. if libraries don’t try to go where their customers are on the web, they’re going to leave us behind. we need to be out there with them. we need to allow customers to create content on our web sites and give them an exciting and engaging library experience.

web 2.0 and library 2.0 are not just about knowing what is out there. it’s knowing what is out there, it’s understanding and interpreting the way people are using that technology and then, translating that into how it would apply to a library’s web site, given the size, circulation and needs of its users. knowing what your users want is a crucial step in trying to figure out what to give them. if you don’t know what they want or what online tools they are using, then you might as well stop trying. i think the more interactive our web sites are, the better able we are to talk to customers, listen to customers, and then give them the library web site they helped create. 🙂

 

Thing #13 delicious tagging!

Filed under: post-launch — nova @ 4:55 pm
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oh, i love delicious! i’ve been using delicious for a few years now. i used to use it to keep track of new web 2.0 technologies that other libraries were implementing. most recently, i’ve used it to keep track of all the learn & play sites and tools we are doing and all my CONTENTdm web sites. i can be in a meeting and someone will ask a question about a particular site and, instead of trying to find the specific page on google, i can go to my delicious bookmarks and find the exact page i need. i love the delicious toolbar add-on in firefox and use it a lot. i like how my most-recent bookmarks will appear up in my toolbar so there’s no need to even go to the delicious web site to retrieve them. it’s like delicious made itself even more useful that it already was when it created the delicious toolbar!

 

Thing #12 Twitter!

Filed under: post-launch — nova @ 4:38 pm
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okay, really… i think we ALL know i know how to use twitter… if you have any doubts, look me up here, one of my TWO twitter accounts! 😉

 

Thing #11 LibraryThing… by way of Shelfari

Filed under: post-launch — nova @ 4:31 pm
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yes, yes, i’m breaking all my own rules, aren’t i? i’m not using LibraryThing. the reason why i’m not, is because i’ve already used it, so i’m going to use a different tool. i’m going to use Shelfari because some of my friends are on it, and i’ve been playing around with it this past year or so. i can’t say i like it any better or worse than LibraryThing, i just like it because it’s clear and easy to understand and, well, because i’m already established with it.

honestly, if i hadn’t been using either LibraryThing or Shelfari, i can’t say that i’d be able to pick one over the other. they both accomplish the same ends, so i think they are both equally good! i added more than five books to my shelf and it was super easy to do. i love the community aspect of both tools the best, i think. where else can i find out who is reading the same books as me?