Monday, April 14, 2008

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Week 9, Thing 23 - Just the Beginning...

I started working with 23 Things early this year with the Washington County pilot group and have since worked with Allegany, Garrett, and Washington county library staff on their Web 2.0 journeys. What an experience it has been!

This experience has been much more than just doing 23 Things in 9 weeks. In my role, I've had the opportunity to become better acquainted with the library staff in my region and to develop closer relationships with the wonderful librarians that work in Western Maryland! I have been continually amazed at the willingness of these hard-working staffers to learn despite very little time to do so. Many who have completed the program have put in overtime and worked on the program in their personal time. Supervisors have been gracious and accommodating to let their staff have time to work on this program.

On a personal level, I've gotten a better idea of how library staff learn in their working environments here in Western Maryland and I how I might be able to better put together a similar type of program in the future. Online learning is great, but it needs to be well-organized with clear and concise instructions. Face-to-face time with the trainer or coordinator is also a significant factor in the success of the learning program. And finally, the support of administration and supervisors is key - if their backing is lacking, the chances of participants' success is greatly lessened.

Thanks to all in the region for participating in the program and for supporting their employees! I'm so proud of everyone!

Week 6, Thing 15 - Where Do We Go From Here?

As the 23 Things coordinator for my region, I feel as if I've spent much of the past few months enmeshed in Web 2.0 technologies. I've had the incredible opportunity to get out to the branches and see real learning about these technologies in action. My mind has already taken the turn from learning and teaching others about these tools to if and how we might integrate them into our libraries' toolkits. I've seen a few bits and pieces of Web 2.0 integrated into library websites, but we still have a long way to go (if we decide that that's the direction that we indeed wish to take) to get to the level of sites like flickr. But is that where we want to go? It seems as if that is the direction that the current is taking us, whether we like it or not.

These articles bring up many interesting points and they are mostly coming from an upper-level viewpoint. Do these viewpoints actually represent the library community and the folks that are actually on the front lines? We still have a long way to go and I wonder whether we will like our destination once we get there...

Week 6, Thing #14 - Trash or Treasure?

As may of the 23 Things participants in my region have created their blogs, I've joking sent them emails to welcome them to the "blogosphere." Until looking at Technorati I was not aware of just how huge this blogosphere has become. It seems that everyone and their dog have their own blog these days! I can see some value to this tool - it's interesting to see what people are saying out there on a particular issue or topic, and you can easily find people with similar or dissimilar interests, as desired. But as information professionals, do we really care about all of these opinions freely floating around on the web? Just like websites, how reliable is this information? Is the web just becoming one big op-ed?

The popular sites weren't really of much interest to me - very pop-culture-like and overexposed in my opinion.

On my search for PLCMCL2 I was able to immediately retrieve one of the Garrett county participant's blogs, who had referenced that term in one of her posts. Still seems a little loose and irrelevant to me...

Week 6, Thing 13 - Not so delicious...

I think that tagging of resources by end-users is useful, but also a messy way of organizing information. This all seems to be in an early stage, so it'll be interesting to see how this actually evolves and how libraries and other information organizations integrate this type of self-cataloging into their internal and external tools.

I think that is interesting, but not something that I will use on a regular basis. I have my own set of personal bookmarks that I've organized into folders on my work and home computers. At this point, I don't have too many bookmarks and I wouldn't be willing to share all of them with others - some of them are personal and some just probably wouldn't be too useful for others besides myself.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Week 7, Thing #16 - I've Seen the Queen of All Wikis

I'd been using Wikipedia for some time before I actually understood or realized just exactly what a wiki is. Once the buzz started growing about wikis last year I decided to learn a little more about them by taking the SirsiDynix webinar on wikis, 'Wiki: The Ultimate Tool for Online Collaboration', presented by Meredith Farkas, a.k.a. the Queen of Wikis. I'd highly recommend this archived presentation:

Wikis differ from websites in that they put the power into the hands of the people. Instead of having to go through one technical gatekeeper at your organization to get something added to the website, you or your co-worker can simply make the post yourselves. This allows you to post information in more timely, effective manner. This is also one of the dangers of a wiki - depending on the type of wiki you choose (and there are many to choose from!), unknown persons can post just about anything they'd like to your site. It seems a lot of libraries are finding inventive ways to use them - staff intranets are a particularly good way to use them, in my opinion. The Allegany County Library System created a wiki to help coordinate one of its grants and could be easily accessed and used by all members of the grant team.

Another great feature of wikis is that you don't really have to know code to post to a wiki. You can just use an interface that looks very similar to a word processing program to type in your information and post. In any case, this topic seems to be quite hot at the moment and a lot of conferences are using wikis for both pre- and post-conference information sharing. The recent MLA 2007 conference featured a wiki that included podcasts of conference attendees sharing their experiences after taking part in workshops. There seem to be so many creative uses for wikis in libraries and I'm sure we'll see even more clever ideas as time goes on - but they're definitely hot right now!

Oh, and I got to see the Queen of All Wikis, Meredith Farkas, at the Computers in Libraries Conference this past April in D.C....pretty neat.

Week 9, Thing #20 - All Eyes on YouTube

I've already posted a few videos from YouTube on my 23 Things blog, ranging from a non-pc Dumb Blonde in the Library video to the eye-opening 'Shift Happens' video. In my mind, all of these Web 2.0 tools share a lot in common - you can share your pictures, podcasts, videos, thoughts, etc., on a site, search for what other people are uploading, and then connect with others, if so desired.

YouTube is probably one of the most well-known Web 2.0 sites out there to the general public. I think they're even talking about letting voters pose questions to presidential candidates via YouTube. Then of course there's the ugly question of the digital divide - what about those voters who don't have access to the Internet or don't have the skills to navigate YouTube? These new technologies are certainly opening up a whole new can of worms.

YouTube is a great way for people to share their videos and to be entertained. But there's certainly a lot of trash on the site. I'd certainly also caution young adults and teens to be wary of putting themselves in situations where potentially embarrassing footage could be taken and posted on the Internet. Think Spring Break photos or pictures taken on a cell phone.