Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thing #8 -- Share Your Creations -- April 12, 2008

Thumbstacks looks promising, but it's not very encouraging when their own demo via Thumbstacks isn't working. Same problem with Zoho Show. I created a Slideshare account but wasn't able to browse for a PowerPoint to upload. Sigh. Maybe things are closed down on a Sunday morning.

I love Big Huge Lab because it always seems to work. I'll use the mosaic with creating a class portrait of students so I can learn their names easier. I'll also use it to show different areas in the library for library instruction sessions -- a little series for finding a book in the library, for instance. I think students would respond well to this. Our library is so large, that many students are overwhelmed with locating a book, so a graphic like a mosaic might be a big help. I'll take my camera to work tomorrow!

Here is the mosaic I made of of stone steps in England:

(image uploader not working again -- no way to browse for file and can't seem to get it of Flickr as all downloading aps are PC -- grrr -- not much to show for the last hour and a half!

Thing #7 -- Lib 2.0 tools -- April 13, 2008

We're already using some of the Lib 2.0 tools in our library. I had already adopted some of the productivity hints for dealing with email. I check my email about 3 times a day. I do have messages open in a tiny "ghosty" window when they arrive (don't know what that's called) so I take a second to delete many of them without much interference in what I'm working on. But I found years ago that if I stop to look at every email when it arrives, I'll never get anything else done. I've also gone to much shorter responses to people, esp. people at work. And I do find that for a lot of work topics, it's worth it to walk over and talk to the person, often with my calendar in hand. Yes, I still use a paper calendar as well as an on-line calendar. I find it frustrating that people always have to go to their offices to check their calendars on their computers.

We use Meebo for instant messaging for Ask a Librarian now, so I'm very familiar with it. As far as I know, people at work don't use IMing for work-related things (but maybe I'm just not on the receiving end :-). I've found that students don't use text-type abbreviations on our IM reference, for which I'm glad. I did learn that YMMV (which I thought was a pretty original response in a meeting by one of our more techy librarians!) means "your mileage may vary." Guess she wasn't as original as I thought, but of course I didn't know it at the time. TYVM, 23 Things!

We haven't tried texting a librarian. Would the reference desk have to have a cell phone? Or would librarians have to use their own cell phones? Not sure I'd like that.

I've attended many webinars from the comfort of my office. One distraction is that I tend to multi-task (as I imagine most participants are doing), which makes it more possible that YMMV for what you get out of a webinar. Now I'm multi-tasking while listening to Tom Peters on web conferencing software. I find it frustrating to just listen to things (podcasts, etc.) as I read so much faster than I can listen. It's hard for me to concentrate on listening when I feel the pressure of getting things done. Every day is too full of stuff to finish without spending unproductive time listening when I could be skimming and chunking information through reading.

So, I MUCH preferred the Blended Learning PDF document on web conferencing. I've attended several Blended Librarian online conferences, and like the format of having more than one person involved. A talking head is usually considered deadly on video -- how much more deadly it is on just audio. Nothing up on OPAL on a Sunday morning -- duh!

I set up a Twitter account, but couldn't find anyone I knew on the searches.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thing #6 - Image Generators - April 12, 2008

Hmm ... I haven't been able to move these two image generator-generated items from the top of this blog posting. The HTML coding from these sites is really complex -- I can't figure out where a command starts and ends, so I'm just leaving the banner and the typewriter script (whatever is "screed"? -- OK, I looked that up on Google:
A long, very straight board used for striking off concrete.
) right where they are.

I suggest trading cards of librarians visiting libraries far from home. My husband and I went to the Shetland Isles in the summer of 2006. I always try to visit libraries when I'm traveling. The Shetlands are part of the UK but far north of Scotland. Unfortunately, the library was closed over the weekend when we did a lot of our touring. I think most librarians are obsessed with libraries and visit on "a busman's holiday" whenever possible. Good thing my husband likes libraries, too!

Now the image loader isn't working again. I'll try later.

I love the Carleton cards, which I've seen before. I didn't realize this is how they created them. They are years and years ahead of me. But I feel with this project that I'm catching up a little bit.
We also thought we'd do ALA READ posters for the reference librarians, but we haven't gotten that done yet this year. I'll be making trading cards for a family reunion this summer -- from the grandkids to the grandparent generation. That will be great fun!

Here's a banner I made on Image Chef:
ImageChef Custom ImagesLibrarian on the Run
Well, it's just part of a banner, evidently. Can't figure out how to change that, though I've tried several things.

I can see using banners for newsletters to faculty as part of our liaison program in the library. Also, they would make nice headings for handouts for library instruction sessions, if there's an appropriate one. That sort of goes back to the days of the old Print Shop!

Here's an example from the typewriter generator: Well, see the top.

My favorite site is the Big Huge Labs Flickr Toys -- many many usable, adaptable ideas there. I could play all day. But not this day!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thing #5 -- More Flickr -- April 11, 2008

Getting too late on Friday afternoon. I'll work on this later. Bye. :-)

Later in the weekend. Finally the uploading of an image works -- here are the steps that are just across from the back door to Dove Cottage, in Grasmere in the Lake District. Wordsworth lived here with his sister Dorothy. Later he married his childhood friend and they have 5 children and moved to Rydal Mount. Dove Cottage is pretty small, and it's hard to imagine Wordsworth, 2 women, and 5 children living there all at once.

On the 23 Things site I found this mashup, one of the 10 best Flickr mashups, which uses Flickr photos to spell a word. I'll try pasting the HTML into this message and see if it works.

Pewter Uppercase Letter L coloured card disc letter i B r A Pastry Cutter R plain card disc letter y
WOW! It did. I'll have to save this mashup URL. Here it is: WOW! It did. I'll have to save this mashup URL. Here it is:

Here's a link to a Captioner! attempt: Cute HAND-made HANDful of fingerpuppets, with a balloon caption: Look, Ma, no strings on me!

The URL went on forever and didn't work for copy/paste. After a few tries, I remembered how to do a link in HTML, so click below to see the captioned photo.

Hand Puppet

I played guess-the-tag for more time than I probably should have. It's interesting to see how people's minds work. Then I made a puzzle from the same Wordsworth Dove Cottage picture. Here it is:

Dove Cottage Steps Puzzle
I emailed it to myself to get the link to put here.

Flitting around on Flickr has been fun. I can definitely see using the spelling program to make library signs or signs for my class. Probably I'll get it up on my work computer (I'm at home now) and do a screen grab and then paste that into documents. Though they do look like ransom notes, so I'll be careful to not overdo it. When you select the Square option, the words looks less like it was torn from a magazine.

The St. John's/St. Ben's use of Flickr for recently purchased books is cool and could be worth a try. Maybe we could start with this as a way to let faculty know about new reference books. Right now, we xerox the cover and table of contents and send those -- but sending a photo electronically would be easier and might get people's attention better than a paper copy that has to be passed around to everyone.

I'm afraid I'm not full of original ideas for using these -- but, I'm a great adapter of other people's ideas, so I'm sure I'll come up with ways. I've thought of a series of photos taken in the library (small details, unusual angles, etc.) and see if students can identify the place. I saw this at a public library in Buffalo, WY, with the photos taken from around the town. I'd like to give that a try, maybe for National Library Week. Gulp. I just realized that starts on Monday -- probably won't get done!

I'll definitely be using Flickr on our family blog for photos.

Thing #4 -- Flickr -- April 11, 2008

I've looked at Flickr before and have had a good time looking at photos of SCSU. I found a photo of someone looking at what I figured was a rare book, taken in our circulation area. I alerted our archivist, and I think that pre-Civil War book is now in the Rare Book collection.

I loved the look of the Common Craft video. Reminds me of when I used to have students videotape (with BIG videorecorders) and animals illustrations for their original poems. I think you just filmed about 3-8 frames at a time. Of course, Common Craft is much slicker, but it still is enjoyable to watch something that's not totally high tech and has a human touch.

I enjoyed looking at the group of photos for "library signs" in Flickr (including many that were from the Library of Congress collections). I'm posting several of my favorites, that show a sense of humor about this world of libraries.

In case you missed the George W. Bush back-of-the-envelope design, the winner was called Hole in the Ground. You can see it at:

p.s. I haven't been successful in using the image icon -- nothing happens when I click on it, and there is no option to browse for a file. I checked Help, Images, even the posted responses. Sounds like something is wrong with the Flickr image uploading capability right now. I'll check with a colleague on Monday if it's still not working.

Thing #3 -- RSS -- April 11

RSS-ing has given me things to read I've never seen before. A few nights ago on the The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, Roger Mudd was being interviewed. He commented that people today don't need to watch a half hour news program when they come home from work because they have already gotten the news during the day and they know what's happened. I can see that that bloggers and blog readers could do that. But I must admit it's not true for me. I rarely check the news during the day, unless I hear some other way of an important event. I recently read in the Chronicle of Higher Education (we get a paper subscription -- I curl up with a cup of tea to read through it every week on the day it arrives) that today's college students are not at all well-informed about what's happening in the world. The Daily Show or the Colbert Report are the closest some of them come to news. For all of their "connectedness," it seems to me that much of what they are connected to is of the "hey whazzup," self-centered variety of information.

Back to learning about RSS. Along the way, I've done several other things so I can easily get to the RSS feeds I've collected:
  • created a Yahoo account
  • created a Yahoo avatar (which so far I can't get to go anywhere else but the avatar page)
  • created a webpage on my G-Mail account as a place to gather the RSS feeds
Several colleagues use g-mail webpages as their major homepage on their computers. I'm experimenting with developing something that might be useful for me in that respect. So far, I've been frustrated with trying to change the template to accommodate the information I want to put there. I don't have the RSS feed link totally working yet. More to learn, obviously!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Thing #2 -- Lib. 2.0 -- April 4, 2008

Lib 2.0
sounds like the name of a library course I might have taken in my undergraduate days, where classes occasionally had decimal points. But the content of Lib 2.0 would certainly not have been the same in those days!

Steven Abram's idea that you can always find time to do what you want to do it right. That's what my long-time friend Mary Burman said when I asked her where in the world she could find time to be a teacher, mother of six, and still bake bread every weekend. "You find time to do what you want to do," she said.

My 15 minutes will probably come in the evening, away from the distractions of work and my office. Because the piano and computer are close to each other, I'll probably spend less time playing the piano to relax and unwind. So far the 23 Sticks are also fun and relaxing, so the end product will be the same.

A comment in the OCLC newsletter "iceberg" caught my eye -- the need to make "good yet fast decisions." I'm not sure how possible that model is in my work environment. Decisions seem to take a long time, with lots of input and approval layers before anything begins to happen. And by that time, something else is new and needs a "good yet fast decision."

So, I think I need to build in making "good yet fast decisions" into the parts of my job where I can do this. I started with using SurveyMonkey for many things related to committee work and teaching, and find that it's fast and easy to analyze format helps make decisions come about more rapidly. Now most of my graduate students use SurveyMonkey if they are doing a survey of some sort -- they of course learn things that I don't know about it, which I find fun and exhilarating.

I'm also starting a family blog that everyone can add to as a way of keeping in touch faster. On that, I won't have to wait to anyone else to decide if it's "good enough" yet -- I'll just do it and see what happens!