Sunday, July 27, 2008

#10 (Week 4): Read a few perspectives on Web 2.0, Library 2.0,

Library 2.0 is a 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 Web 2.0 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 is 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 Exercise (#10):

1. View this great video that illustrates the Web 2.0 phenomenon.

2. Read Web 2.0: Where will the next generation of the web take libraries? in the OCLC Next Space Newsletter.

3. Read two or three of the perspectives on Library 2.0 from the OCLC Next Space Newsletter:
Away from Icebergs
To a temporary place in time

4. Create a blog post about your thoughts on any one of these:
Library 2.0 - It's many things to many people:

- What does it mean to you?
- What have you learnt?
- How can you see it being used in our libraries?
You may like to talk about North Shore Libraries' vision for the future, and how you see Web 2.0 being incorporated into this.

5. Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blogpost. Please put Exercise #10 in the subject heading.

Further Reading (optional):

# 9 (Week 4): Explore Technorati and learn how tags work with blog posts

So now that you’ve been blogging for a while, you might be wondering just how big the blogosphere is. Well, according to Technorati, the leading search tool and authority for blogs, the number of blogs doubles just about every 6 months.
On July 31, 2006, Technorati tracked its 50 millionth blog. Yes, these numbers are astounding, but as you’ve already seen for yourselves, blogging is so easy that these publishing tools are being taken advantage of by almost every industry, including libraries.

So how does a person get their blog listed as part of the blogosphere?
The answer 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.

There are many ways of searching for blogs in Technorati. 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 Exercise (#9):
1. Explore Technorati - click on the links in the Navigation Bar.

2. Use Technorati Advanced Search and search for “Learning 2.0” in Blog posts, in tags and in the Blog Directory. Are the results different?

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

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

5. Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blogpost. Please put Exercise #9 in the subject heading.

# 8 (Week 4): Learn about tagging and discover (a social bookmarking site)

Tagging is an open and informal method of categorising 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 is a social bookmarking manager which allows you to bookmark a web page and add tags to categorise your bookmarks. Many users find that the real power of 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 and learn about this popular bookmarking tool.

Discovery Exercise (#8):

1. View this video: Social Bookmarking in Plain English: Another Commoncraft Youtube video which explains in user friendly terms.

2. Read Tags help make libraries an article from Library Journal on how libraries are using this technology.

3a. Take a look around using the PLCMCL2 account that was created for this exercise in the original Learn 2.0 program. 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.3b. 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 is it just as an easy way to create bookmarks that can be accessed from anywhere?

5. Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blogpost. Please put Exercise #8 in the subject heading.

If you’re up to the challenge, create a account for yourself and discover how this useful bookmarking tool can replace your traditional browser bookmark list. You might even want to explore’ latest addition, a network badge.

# 7 (Week 3): Learn about RSS feeds and newsreaders

There are two parts to thing 7 this week:
7.1 to get to know about RSS, and
7.2 to search for RSS feeds.

Today we have access to huge amounts of information and we can somethimes feel overwhelmed with keeping up to date in an ever changing world. This is where RSS comes to the rescue.

7.1 What is RSS?

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and is a file format for delivering regularly updated information over the web. It is like visiting all those information sources and web pages in just one place and all at the same time … without being bombarded with advertising… without having to search for new information on the page you’ve already seen or read before… and without having to spend a lot of time visiting each site individually. You do this through a newsreader and RSS.

Tip: It is best to open these links by right clicking and selecting open new window. You can then close the window by clicking on the Red close button top right of screen.

Discovery Exercise (#7.1): Get to know about RSS

  • Learn more about RSS and newsreaders.

  • Create a free online Bloglines account for yourself.
    TIP: After you have registered a verification email will be sent to your gmail account. Close the Bloglines screen and reply as instructed in the confirmation email. Your Bloglines account is now ready to use.

  • Subscribe to 5-10 newsfeeds with your reader (Bloglines). For more information these resources will help you:

  • Here is a list of newsfeeds you could subscribe to:

  • Create a post in your blog about this exercise. Don’t know what to blog about? Think about these questions: What do you like about RSS and newsreaders? How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your work or personal life? How can libraries use RSS or take advantage of this new technology?

  • Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blogpost. Please put Exercise #7.1 in the subject heading.

  • 7.2 Searching for feeds

    Now that you have a newsreader (your Bloglines account), you can begin adding other newsfeeds that is of interest to you. When visiting your favourite websites look for news feed icons that indicate the website provides feeds on updates. Often a feed icon will be displayed somewhere in the navigation of the site.

    Discovery Exercise (#7.2) : Search for RSS Feeds

  • There are many search tools to locate interest newsfeeds. Have a look at the ones listed below:
    • Use Blogline's Search tool - it lets you search for news feeds in addition to posts, citations and the web. Use the Search for Feeds option (drop down at top right of screen) to locate RSS feeds you might be interested in.
    • Google blog search and Google News follow the familiar Google pattern and are easy to use.

  • Create a blog post about your experience. Don't know what to blog about? Here are some questions to think about ... Which method of finding feeds did you find easiest to use? Which search tool was the easiest for you? Which was more confusing? What kind of useful or unusual feeds did you find in your travels? What other tools or ways did you find to locate newsfeeds?

  • Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blogpost. Please put Exercise #7.2 in the subject heading.

If you found something else useful, why not post a comment on this blog and let us know about other sites that could be helpful.

Friday, July 25, 2008

# 6 (Week 2): Create a blog post about anything technology related that interests you this week

Discovery Exercise (#6):

1. Add a post to your blog about anything technology related. Yes, it can be anything that relates to technology! You just need to share a few thoughts.

For example: I like digital cameras because it's much easier to share photos with family and friends and especially now that I have a Flickr account. Services like Skype let me talk with friends through our computers. Technology advancements for music, medical equipment, etc. Video Games, iTunes, iPods, Flatscreen televisions, etc.

2. Use your Gmail account to email with a link to your blog post. Please put Exercise #6 in the subject heading.

PS: Also be sure to add at least one comment to another participant's blog. That's what online communities are all about - connecting and communication.

# 5 (Week 2): Have some Flickr fun and discover some Flickr mashups and 3rd party sites

Like many web 2.0 sites, Flickr has encouraged other people to build their own online applications using images found on the site. Through the use of APIs (application programming interfaces), many people have created third party tools and mashups that use Flickr images.

Here is a sampling of just a few …

Bubblr - create comic strips using photos from Flickr.
Flickr Color Pickr - lets you find public photos in Flickr that match a specific colour.
Retrievr - lets you search for photos on flickr by drawing sketches of them.
Spell with Flickr - generate one picture per letter.

Discovery Exercise (#5):

Explore some of the fun Flickr mashups and 3rd party tools that are out there.

Create a blog post about one that you found interesting. You might want to check out FD ToysTrading Card Maker.

Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blogpost. Please put Exercise #5 in the subject heading.

So, have fun discovering and exploring some neat little apps.

# 4 (Week 2): Explore Flickr and learn about this popular image hosting site.

Photo sharing websites have been around since the 90s, but it took a small startup site called Flickr (now owned by Yahoo) to catapult the idea of “sharing” into a full blown online community. Flickr uses "tags" or what we would call keywords to help identify and search for photos.

For this discovery exercise, you are asked to take a good look at Flickr and discover what this site has to offer. Find out how tags work, what groups are, and all the neat things that people and other libraries are using Flickr for.

New Zealand Libraries that have Flickr profiles include the National Library, LIANZA Conference 2008, Rodney Libraries, and our own Birkenhead Library.

Discovery Resources:

Flickr Learn More tour (6 steps)
Mediamazine Flickr Tutorials
Popular tags Interesting- Last 7 days
Flickr Services (3rd party applications & mashups) and here's another Flickr site that lets you create movie posters, CD covers, magazine covers and so on.
Libraries that Flickr

Discovery Exercise (#4):

Watch the Common Craft video "Online Photosharing in Plain English."

Take a good look around Flickr and discover an interesting image that you want to blog about. (You can explore Flickr photos, search the tags, view various groups, and more without a Flickr account).

Use any keyword(s) (Auckland, beach, library cats, library signs, library, whatever…) to find photos with those tags.

When you find an interesting image or group - create a post in your blog on your experience finding images, using Flickr, and anything else related to the exercise.
Include in your blog post a link to the image.

Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blogpost. Please put Exercise #4 in the subject heading.

So go ahead, explore the site and have some Flickr photo fun and if you're interested in looking at some photo hosting sites, then check out Picasa Web Albums from Google and another service called Smugmug.

To upload photos to your blog:

You have two options for doing this, either:

Flickr's blogging tool (you need a Flickr account to see the button) lets you click the Blog This button (right above the picture) and add any public photo on Flickr to your blog. Be sure to give credit to the photographer, if it is not your photo.
Blogger's photo upload feature lets you add photos from your computer or from the Web and choose the placement in the blog post. Click the little photo icon in the toolbar on the New Post page—it is in the row of tools above the post box. Follow the instructions in the pop up box.

PS: A quick word about photo posting etiquette - When posting identifiable photos of other people (especially minors) is it advisable to get the person's permission before posting their photo in a publicly accessible place like Flickr. Never upload pictures that weren't taken by you (unless you have the photographer's consent) and always give credit when you include photos taken by someone else in your blog.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

#3 (Week 1) Explore some blogs and make a comment in a blog

By now you know what blogs are. Here are a few blogs that are either very popular, or of possible interest to you:
  • BoingBoing: The most widely-read blog, it chronicles lots of the weird and wacky, as well as tech/gadget/web stuff.
  • is a blog about being a librarian. Like what you see? Check out a slew of more library blogs.
  • There are also blogs dedicated to children’s literature and librarianship. Probably the most widely-read one is Fuse #8, which started out as independent but is now published by School Library Journal. She gets paid to blog!
  • Then there is our famous NZ Beattie's Book Blog - among the hundreds of book blogs on the web! And don't forget about the eLGAR Programme Office blog.
  • Explore Technorati's Top 100 blogs that cover all kinds of topics.
Blogging is all about communication. The bloggers put their ideas out to the audience and the readers comment on it. You would often see at the end of a blog post a comment that changes into a conversation where readers comment or ask questions and the blogger comes back with a reply. That is often where you pick up very interesting things - either references to other web sites, arguments from a different slant, or thought provoking comments.

Comments are moderated where the blogger first looks at the comment before it gets posted on the blog, or, comments can be turned off so no comment can be made especially if the blog serves as a notice board. But most commonly the comments are open and immediately published.

Some pointers when making comments:

  • Thoughtful comments which contribute to a topic are always welcome, especially if it leads to a lively debate or sharing of experience.
  • Express your appreciation when you have learnt something from a blog post.
  • Be aware of giving too much personal information online.
  • Remember that whatever you write on the web will be there for everyone to see forever. (There is a web site where deleted web pages can be traced.)
  • The law also applies to online publishing - including copyright and libel/slander laws.
  • For further advice on commenting in blogs see The comment etiquette, Time wasting blog comments , The blogger's guide to comment etiquette.
Discovery Exercise (#3):
  • Make a comment on a blog - it could be on one of your colleagues' blogs or any other blog that you find interesting.
  • Use your gmail account to email with the link to your comment. Please put Exercise #3 in the subject heading.

To find the link to your blog post look for the permanent link for that blog post. Depending upon the Blogger template that you selected, the permanent link for each individual posts can be found either through the post’s title or through a link in the post's footer area that contains the date.
Example: Here is where you would find the permanent link for this blog post:

permanent link
Have fun exploring blogs. You will find some interesting award winning blogs at Blogger's Choice Awards, Weblog Awards, Blog Of The Day Awards, The Best of Blogs.

#2 (Week 1) - Creating a blog

Our first thing was quick and easy to do, wasn't it?

Before you go any further look at these tips on how to find time for the programme in your busy schedule.

The next step is to set up your very own personal blog to begin recording your thoughts, discoveries and exercises. We recommend that you use Blogger, a popular free online blog hosting service that is extremely easy to use.

Discovery Exercise (#2):

1. Set up a blog for yourself through Blogger following the three easy steps below:

(i) Create an account: Sign into the Google account you created when you registered. Click on more (one of the links across the top beside Web) - click on even more>> to see all Google's services and then click on logger (under Communicate, show & share). Sign in and click on create a blog.

(ii) Name your blog: Remember that the whole web world can see your blog title and blog address so you may not want to use your real name. Consider creating a blog name that’s anonymous, yet uniquely you. Please remember your URL address and/or bookmark it.

(iii) Select your template: Blogger has several templates - have fun choosing one for you!

If you run into problems - check out Blogger's Help file and Tutorial or ask one of your colleagues. Blogger has created a short video How to create a blog with Blogger which might help you as well.

2. Play around - add a test post or two - try selecting different colours on your template.

3. Create a post on your blog to provide insight into what you’ve discovered and learned. Share what worked for you … and what didn’t … what surprised you … what frustrated you … what amazed you. You will be asked to create a post each week and each post should be a minimum of 50 words.

4. Use your gmail account to send the link to your blog to (copy the URL address at the top of your blog and paste into the email - put Exercise #2 in the subject heading.

These exercises are all about discovery! Have fun … and happy blogging!!