Saturday, August 30, 2008

# 20 (week 8) Take a look at ebooks

Books come in many forms these days. You may have seen ebooks for sale on sites, such as Amazon who has recently launched Kindle, their ebook reader.

Project Gutenberg, started in 1971, is the first and largest single collection of free electronic books, or ebooks. Project Gutenberg is the original free digital library of books no longer in copyright. So you'll find a great many classic literary texts here.

Many of the free ebooks can also be downloaded as a podcast or audiobook. LibriVox is one of the many websites that provides free audiobooks from the public domain.

Discovery Resources

Discovery Exercise

  1. Search for a classic from the public domain (like works from Shakespeare) on any of the above mentioned web sites.

  2. Write about your experience in your blog. Was it hard to find the title? Where there a choice of format(s) offered? What interesting things did you discover?

  3. Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blogpost. Please put Exercise #20 in the subject heading.

Friday, August 29, 2008

# 19 (Week 8) Podcasts (You don't need an iPod)

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 the delivery method for podcasts is often done automatically through RSS.

In 2005, "podcast" was named the "word of the year" by New Oxford American Dictionary and with the growth of podcasting over the last few years it’s easy to see why.

Podcasts take many forms, from short 1-10 minutes commentaries (like the ones used in this Learning 2.0 programme) 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 have to have an iPod or a MP3 player to access them. 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.

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 participants 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 this tutorial
  • There are many, many podcast directory and finding tools out there. Here are just four of the more popular ones that don’t, like iTunes, require a software download:

Discovery Exercises

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

  2. Add the RSS feed for a podcast to your Bloglines account. Look at the comments link at the end of this post for some tips to do this.

  3. Create a blog post about your discovery process. Did you find anything useful here?

  4. Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blogpost. Please put Exercise #19 in the subject heading.

Optional: Do you want to learn how to be a podcaster? Here are optional resources for those who want to learn to create podcasts:

Note: You don't need a podcatcher like iTunes to listen to podcast. There are many podcasts you can download as mp3 files and listen to on your computer (using Windows Media Player for instance) or mp3 player. Some podcasts however require a podcatcher. If you are interested, use the PodcatcherMatrix to compare the features of the different podcatchers.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

# 18 (Week 8) Discover YouTube and a few sites that allow users to upload and share videos

Over the last few years online video hosting sites have exploded - allowing users to easily upload and share videos on the web. Among all the web 2.0 players in this area, YouTube is currently top dog serving up over 1 million video views a day and allowing users not only to upload their own video content easily, but also embed clips into their own sites easily.

Do some searching around YouTube yourself and see what the site has to offer. You'll find everything from 1970s TV commercials and 60s music videos to library dominos and a video made by library school students for National Library Week. There's also the cult classic Conan the Librarian. Of course, like any free site you’ll also find a lot of stuff not worth watching too. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore and see for yourself what the site has too offer. :)

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Explore YouTube & find a video that interest you. Have a further look at The best of library videos blog and Infotubey-award winning library videos. Do you think library videos can be a fun marketing tool or 'infomercial'?

  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?

  3. Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blogpost. Please put Exercise #18 in the subject heading.

OPTIONAL: Try placing the video inside your blog using the copy and paste code for the "Embeddable Player.” Note: you'll need to use Blogger's Edit HTML tab when pasting this code.(YouTube has instructions on how to do embed a video.)

Have a look at the fun this library had:

Monday, August 18, 2008

# 17 (Week 7) Explore any site from the Web 2.0 awards list, play with it and write a blog post about your findings

Throughout the course of this Web 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.

For this discovery exercise, participants are asked to select any site from this list of Web 2.0's Top 1000 and explore it. With so many to choose from, it might be handy to first select a category that interests you (like Books or Personal Organisation) and then simply select a tool/site to explore.

Discovery Exercise:

1. Select any site/tool from the list of Web 2.0's Top 1,000. Be careful to select a tool that is free and that doesn't require a plug-in or download.

2. Explore the site you selected.

3. 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.

4. Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blogpost. Please put Exercise #17 in the subject heading.

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

# 16 (Week 7) Take a look at some online productivity (word processing, spreadsheet) tools

One major benefit to web-based applications is that they eliminate the need to worry about different software versions or file types as you email documents or move from PC to PC. Another 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 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 applications so appealing.

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

Discovery Resources:

A short list of web-based productivity applications – Note: This list was authored in ZohoWriter and exported as HTML.

Discovery Exercise:

1. Create a free account for yourself in Zoho Writer (Note: if you cannot register for Zoho writer please use the same exercises for google docs).

2. Explore the site, create a test document or two and try some Zoho's features.

3. Create a blog post about your discoveries.

4. Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blogpost. Please put Exercise #16 in the subject heading.

Optional: If you’re up for the challenge, try using Zoho’s publish options to post to your blog.

* Note: You can also explore Google Docs, Google's online word processing, as an option for this exercise.

FYI: On Oct 11th, 2006, Google re-launched Writely (which it acquired in Spring 2006) as Google Docs. BTW: Here’s a Zoho-created document (viewable as a webpage) about some of the beneficial features of Zoho.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

# 15 (Week 6) Roll your own search tool with Rollyo

Do you have a group of websites that are your favourites? Or a set of similar online resources that you frequently use to answer homework or reference questions? Well Rollyo may be the tool for you. Rollyo allows you to create your own search tool for just the websites you know and trust.

Take a look at some of these search rolls that have already been created:

Public Domain e-Books Search
Rare Book Library Search
Free Photos
Quick Quotes

Explore other rolls here.

Discovery Exercise:

1. Explore Rollyo and create an account for yourself.

2. Create a search roll for any subject you like.

3. Can you see a potential use for tools like this? Create a post in your blog with your thoughts and experience of making a search roll and put a link to the search roll you created.

4. Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blogpost. Please put Exercise #15 in the subject heading.

OPTIONAL: Add your searchroll to your blog
  • Go to Rollyo at
  • Click on DASHBOARD
  • Scroll down the page and click on SEARCHBOX
  • Put the name and URL of your blog in the place provided
  • Click on the search rolls you want and click on the > arrow to transfer them into the into selected SEARCHBOX ROLLS box
  • Go to STYLE and select the type of Rollyo icon you want (it will preview your selection)
  • Go to the COPY AND PASTE CODE BOX. Highlight all the code that is in the box and copy it to your clipboard (highlight the code, go to edit on the toolbar and select copy OR hold down the Crtl key and click the C key at the same time)
  • Sign into your blog and go to the dashboard
  • Go to LAYOUT
  • Select ADD A GADGET in the place you want your blogroll icon to show. (Side or bottom of your blog)

  • Scroll down this page and select HTML/JAVA SCRIPT and click Add to Blog. This will lead you to a page that has a space to put (a) A title (b) Content
  • Key in a title (Such as rollyo)
  • Cut and paste the html contents you have copied into the CONTENTS. Do this by going to Edit on the toolbar and selecting paste OR hold the Ctrl Key on the keyboard down and click on the V key at the same time
  • Click on SAVE CHANGES
  • Preview your blog and the rollyo search should be on the template down the side of the page.

# 14 (Week 6) Take a look at Library Thing and catalogue some of your favourite books

Are you a book lover or cataloguer at heart? Or do you enjoy finding lost and forgotten gems on the shelf to read?

Then LibraryThing may be just the tool for you. Developed for booklovers, this online tool not only allows you to easily create an online catalogue of your own, it also connects you to other people who have similar libraries and reading tastes.

Add a book to your catalogue by just entering the title -- it’s so easy that you don’t even need MARC record training to do it – to connect with other users through your similar reading tastes.
Not just for personal collections, libraries have started using LibraryThing as well. Small libraries are using LibraryThing to catalogue their collections. According to their website, LibraryThing is “exploring relationships with libraries, to offer non-commercially motivated recommendations and other social data.”

As a result, they’ve created LibraryThing for Libraries. Libraries can add the LibraryThing widget to their web pages or blogs to recommend books and list new titles, or install a LibraryThing Search box (instructions are here). Being a non-commercial site makes LibraryThing a good option for libraries.
There are lots of ways to use LibraryThing. You can even view your books on a virtual shelf.
So why not join the ranks and create your own library online. With over 65,000 registered (BTW: LibraryThing also has group forum for librarian users and over 4.7 million cataloged books, so you're bound to discover something new).

Discovery Exercise #14:

1. Take a Library Thing tour (click on the Next >> button)

2. Create an account and add at least 5 books to your library - your own LibraryThing catalogue.

3. Add a post to your blog about your findings and add a link in your blogpost to your LibraryThing catalogue.

4. Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blogpost. Please put Exercise #14 in the subject heading.

# 13 (week 6) Play around with Image Generators

Generators? No, I’m not talking about those gas powered back-up things. The generators I’m talking about allow you to easily manipulate images and graphics to create fun images like this:

For this discovery exercise, we just want you to have fun. Find a few fun image or text generators to play around with and write a post in your blog about one of your favorites and display the result.

Adding a mocked up image you have created to your blog is as simple as copying and pasting the code that the page provides OR you may just need to right click on the image and then save it to your hard drive before using Blogger’s image button to add it to your post.

Have a look at these sites to start with:

The Generator Blog

Letter James

FD Toys


You could also search for online generators, text generators or image generators and see what you come up with!

Discovery Exercise #13:

1. Play around with some image generators and find one that you like.

2. Create a blogpost about your experience using the image generator and add the image you mocked up to the blog or add a link to the image generator you played with (copy and paste the URL). Note: some of the image generators don't keep the image you created. If you want to add it to your blog save the image on your computer and then upload it.

3. Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blogpost. Please put Exercise 13# in the subject heading.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

# 12 (Week 5) Add an entry to the Learning 2.0 SandBox wiki

"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, we have set up a whole NSL Learning 2.0 Wetpaint* that’s for nothing but play!

Discovery Exercise (#12):

1. Look at the following resources:

2. Explore the NSL Learning Wetpaint wiki. The theme of this wiki is simply “Favourites”: Favourite books, favourite holiday spots, favourite restaurants, favorite anything …all you need to do is play and add your thoughts.

3. Add an entry to the Favourite Blogs page, that's how we'll know that you've been there. (Tip: After you have clicked on 'edit', your cursor will appear in the left top corner. Place your cursor at the end of the page and press Enter to create a new line. Key in your blog name and add a link to it. Save your entry.) While you are there add some more entries to the other favourite lists if you want to experiment a bit more with the wiki.

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

5. Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blog post. Please put Exercise #12 in the Subject Heading.

* NOTE: The NSL Learning Wiki was created using the free version of Wetpaint, a tool that lets you create webpages that anyone can edit.

# 11 (Week 5) Learn about wikis and discover some innovative ways that libraries are using them

A wiki is a collaborative website and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content.

Wikipedia, the online open-community encyclopedia, 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 is exploding. 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 have begun to use them to collaborate and share knowledge. Among their applications are pathfinder or subject guide wikis, book review wikis, conference wikis and even library best practices wikis.

Discovery Exercise (#11):

1. Look at these resources to learn more about wikis:

2. Have a look at a Youtube video demonstrating wikis, by Commoncraft videos.

3. Take a look at some library wikis - here’s a few examples to get you started:

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

5. Use your gmail account to email with a link to your blog. Please put Exercise #11 in the Subject Heading.