Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tag It!!

At first I wasn’t sure if I would like Delicious or if it would be something that I would really use.  The Delicious tutorial  was helpful to understand Delicious and gave me some ideas on how to maximize my use of the site.  I started out saving some articles I liked, using it to then see who else liked them and what links they had.  By doing that I was able to start to follow some accounts that had multiple links I liked.  As I began accumulating more links, I started to categorize the topics of interests in stacks.  This is the biggest pull of delicious for me.  Coming across information daily that I want to save, I know I don’t always have best system for saving articles and websites I like.  Additionally, if I’m finding information at different computers I can’t always save it on the computer so I often print things off, which don’t always get organized efficiently, or save them in email.  Delicious can now allow me to have favorite articles and sites in one place and managed.  Creating the stacks gave me multiple ideas on how I could best utilize the Delicious site for my personal use and others.  I am constantly sharing websites and articles with my colleagues but usually that is done through email.  Creating Delicious accounts would allow all of us to save our favorites and to  organize them appropriately.  That then allows us to access the information when we need it.  So often I come across a site that would be useful, but I don’t need it at that moment.  By organizing information in the stacks, I will be able to easily access that information when I have the need for it. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

RSS feeds

I quickly went from ignorance to infatuation with RSS readers once I began to use them.  As someone who feels a sense of security having everything in one place, I love that RSS feeders do exactly that.  All my favorite sites and news can be accessed in one convenient location.  Even better, everything is archived so if I don’t read it today I know it will be easy to find tomorrow.  After getting over the few bumps in the road as I navigated readers and the feeds, I quickly subscribed to numerous feeds filling up my reader.  Mainly, I went to my favorite sites and blogs I was interested in and subscribed to their RSS feed.  Now I actually know what that orange square stands for and don’t have to subscribe via email for all their latest news.  RSS feeders offer simplicity; everything is in one place and you can get the headlines and latest news without a lot of extra.  This may not appeal to everyone but it is ideal for me.  I often stay away from certain sites because they appear too busy and I don’t want to be bombarded or distracted with nonsense information.  Other times, it’s just difficult to remember every site I’m interested in and want to check daily. It is worrisome as to how this new virtual toy will affect my daily productivity as I see that I can get distracted for hours reading all the information on my reader and/or just searching for new feeds to add to it, but overall the benefits seem to outweigh the cons.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wonderful World of Wiki's

Previously to this Learning 2.0 activity, I was only familiar with Wikipedia. I always knew to be slightly wary of the information on the site because I understand the idea of the community and that anyone could submit information whether or not it was truthful. That scared me, along with college professor always mentioning that it was not a reference source, but I still found myself frequenting it often if I wanted in-depth information on something without having to search through multiple sites for it. For example, if I was looking up an author’s background/bio or information on a band and their discography. It probably doesn’t hurt that it’s usually the first or second site listed when you Google search most things. I knew that the information could be wrong but never experience that so I always returned. Recently, I came across an adult education Wikipedia while searching something for work and realized that there was more to wikis that what I was familiar with. Similarly, we had the chance to explore a library dedicated one for this exercise,, and I love how both of these allow people in the same field to share resources, professional development, and general management ideas. Of course, the reader will have to think critically of anything they come across, but overall it offers a great venue to share and explore suggestions with people in the same field that you otherwise would never come into contact with.

I thought the Grand Rapids Public Library did an excellent job on their wiki, It offers a ton of good information for any patron or curious reader. I liked how I could go to one genre of a book and find multiple suggestions for future reading. I think this is an ideal way to utilize wiki’s in the library setting, particularly for younger clientele. Teens might be a tough audience to get reading, utilizing the library, and/or talking about what they’ve been reading but having a wiki were they can make suggestions might encourage them. Likewise, providing it for busy adults might encourage them to pick up a book that they read a review about on the wiki that interested them. I do think that offering it up to your library patrons will require close monitoring by the library staff to ensure correct information, but overall it seems to allow more accessibility to ideas and information about books that would benefit the public.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Libraries as a Community

YouTube is familiar to me as Google.  In fact, due to its immense popularity, I feel that like Google it also has the tendency to take the form of a verb; just Google it, just YouTube it.  Shamefully, I mostly use YouTube to find music, which is probably the equivalent to typing a web address into the Google finder box to get to a website.  Other than that I’ve never really gotten into YouTube, so I decided to explore Vimeo for this task.  I was pleasantly surprised by the videos I accessed on the site and liked how it was set up.  Unfortunately, Vimeo doesn’t seem to have the extensive range of videos that YouTube offers, but I liked the grassroots, independent feel of the site and their videos.  I did not find many videos on their site pertaining to libraries, but I did discover Book Aid International that used Vimeo to spread the word about their cause.  The video below shows a library in Mathare North, Africa.  One of the pivotal points of the video is how the library creates a sense of community.  There is tribalism everywhere in that region except in the library, which illustrates the magnitude of strength a library holds in that society, and any society for that matter. 

Mathare North Community Library from Book Aid International on Vimeo.

The Mathare North video depicting such a simplistic library is interesting to compare to the video on “Libraries of the Future” that I discovered on YouTube.  This video discusses many of the issues concerning libraries at the moment and many of the questions people have about where libraries are going.  Even though this video is focused on a futuristic library, one that by nature will be much more technologically advanced than the African based one above, they both stress the core of the library being a community.

With the common thread of community illustrated in both videos, any library can utilize that same idea on their website.  Showcasing how a library creates a sense of community will only allow more people to see what the library has to offer and will feel that much more welcomed to frequent it.