Thursday, November 10, 2011

Learning 2.0

I enjoyed keeping a blog and the opportunity to navigate the web for this project.  Having a blog gives me a sense of pride that I now have more of a web presence than just my facebook page…which, in all honesty, needs updating.  Previously I wanted to try blogging but was always intimidated at the layout of the sites I found, thinking it would be too complicated to learn or by the price that was attached.  I’m glad this was a requirement and allowed me to see how user friendly some of the blog sites actually are.  I might not be saying anything noteworthy but I like having an outlet to use in case I do. 

There was very much an interconnectedness between all the exercises.  For example, starting a blog made me more open to reading other's blogs.  Then exploring RSS feeds provided me a function to organize the blogs I wanted to follow.  Likewise, I realized how convenient Delicious was for organizing sites and articles of interest for me, which led me to give Zotero another chance as a place to store research articles.  These relations between the different exercises allowed me to start examining other sites and technology tools that I come across in a comparable manner.  “Well, this is similar to Wikipedia that I like and use so I might give it a chance,” or “I already use flickr so I don’t think I need another photo sharing site.”  I’ve become more willing and open-minded to try technology I would’ve previously turned my nose up to, but I’m also critical as to how it will assist me and if it’s worth the time.

The real world applicablity was probably the biggest appeal for me.  Many times after discovering a new tool through Learning 2.0, I would then immediately share it with someone else I thought would benefit from it.  Similarly, I found that by reading other's blogs I walked away with something I did not know.  Whether it was a new website to reference, library blog to read, or technique to better utilize the Learning 2.0 tool, I gained something.  Like Library 2.0 that encourages participation and information to flow in every direction, Learning 2.0 follows suit. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Web 2.0

From the Web 2.0 Award nominees I chose care2 to explore.  I was very impressed with this site and the extensive amount of information I could get on a variety of topics.  I liked that it had different causes to learn about and that it provided links to other sites that led me to in-depth articles on the headlines addressed.  I expected that though from a site categorized under philanthropy.  What I was really impressed by and what drew me into the site were the other topics I could explore such as health, spirituality, food, nature, and so on.  I can learn more about causes affecting the world, get a recipe for dinner, and learn how to cure insomnia all in one politically correct site.  They even have a daily deal that you can subscribe too.  What is also noteworthy about this site is that they provides so much information in an organized, nonthreatening manner.  Due to the variety of topics, I did wonder at times if had wandered off of the  care2 site, but the layout was always the same and I would be reminded of the philanthropic core mission of the site when I would see headlines such as “Food Justice and the Occupy Movement” within the food section of the site.

Many of the Google tools I have been using, such as the chrome, blogger, Gmail, reader, and books.  I never took the time to investigate the other tools Google had to offer and was pleasantly surprised by how complex some of them seemed, for instance Code and SketchUp.  I did not download this but I did enjoy looking at the SketchUp gallery pictures.  Most of the tools that would be useful for me I have already been using, but I did find some new ones of interest.  Knol kept me occupied for awhile and it reminded me of Wikipedia with its extensive range of subjects and its ability to have members of the community modify pieces.  I liked that you could read multiple submissions by the same author and that if you searched for one category, subcategories were then easily identified.  Knol could be implemented in a library setting to create a sense of community and discussion on books, authors, and library events.  I find that I usually don’t know what’s going on in terms of pop culture, so I was happy to find Google trends.  This will allow me to stay abreast of current issues in an easy, painless manner.  Being continuously mindful of trends, similar to Google trends, would only benefit a librarian in choosing appropriate materials, especially ones such as music and DVD’s.

Library 2.0

There seemed to be some key, integral characteristics of Library 2.0 that were repeated throughout the Web 2.0 profiles and in Wikipedia.  One being that it requires, encourages, and thrives off of user participation.  Another is that to make Library 2.0 successful you need to meet the user where they are, whether that be virtually such as with Instant Messaging or in terms of the user’s technology skills.  Overall, Library 2.0 shows faith in the library customer base.  Instead of trying to mold the customer to what the library wants to deliver the library is molding and changing to give the customer what they want.  By making the user a “participant, co-creator, builder, and consultant,” Library 2.0 is telling the user that, “Yes, we have faith in what you are doing to find information and we want to hear what you have to say.”  For many professions and professionals this can be scary.  Do my degree, knowledge, and training not mean anything?  But, the adaptation of what librarians have been originally been trained to do to the evolving needs of the user is a true testament of the professionalism of the field.  Letting and welcoming users to tag, review, comment, etc. gives up some of the librarian’s control over this area, but as John J. Reimer writes it can help to produce better metadata.  A similar idea is voiced by Michael Stephens when he writes that “the future of libraries will be guided by how users access, consume and create content.”  The loss of control in these areas may be scary but it is necessary for the continuing of the profession.  If we are not using tools such as Library 2.0 to listen to the user and give them a voice, there will be no users.  Instead of librarians throwing their hands up in the air and saying that they cannot compete with technology and the constant evolution of information, Library 2.0 is a form of embracing it and going in the same direction as the user as they find new ways to utilize information.  It takes information retrieval to the next level, and as Wikipedia states, works to change the previous one-way flow, from library to user to be released in every direction (library to user, user to library, library to library, and user to user).  That community of equals sharing information is what Library 2.0 is about.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Zotero was easier to learn how to use than I anticipated, mostly due to the tutorials posted on the site.  I was completely impressed with everything that Zotero is capable of.  It can even cite and create a bibliography!  I was doubtful if it would easily do everything it claimed…I thought there was going to be a roadblock that I would never master, but there wasn’t (knock on wood).  My library,, is basic but I just wanted to test the different types of documents I could store to get familiar with the site.  I went to Amazon and picked a book I want to read and was pleasantly surprised to see that the book tag showed up in my address box for me to click.  Likewise, when I tested Zotero at the New York Times website and with electronic journals from UB libraries.  I did run into some problems with articles through Wilson Web.  I would get a known translator issue and haven’t figured out how to troubleshoot that, but it seems minor compared to everything else Zotero is capable of.  I practiced using it in a word document to cite and that went smoothly as well.  Overall, I am pleased with what I’ve experienced on the site so far.  I think it will help immensely with the storing and organizing of research documents that I had previously stored on flash drives.  I plan to strictly use this site for research and academics and keep other sites like Delicious for articles of interest.