Friday, September 26, 2008

Wow - I've reached the end!

This has all been very interesting - it's good to know what's out there and I'm pleased that I'll be able to respond intelligently if someone talks to me about wikis, Bebo or Flickr. However I don't think this programme has assisted or affected any of my lifelong learning goals.

My favourites?
Colours and images and playing around with them in online image generators. I may use some of these in the creative side of my job.
Also RSS feeds are pretty amazing, for local newspaper updates and podcasts from favourite programmes particularly, but I probably won't use them as I only want these things on an occasional basis.
I'd used YouTube before and am sure I'll do so again, but again only occasionally when I have something specific to look for.
Call me old-fashioned but really I'd rather stick my nose in a book for hours on end, rather than glue myself to a computer screen (or a TV screen for that matter).

It's obvious that all these online things have to be simple to sign up to and simple to use, but I have been surprised at just how straightforward it all is - the hardest bit has been finding the time to do the exercises!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

#22 Libraries and social networking

I imagine that there are mixed reactions from the members of the 'community' of each social networking site to meeting up with libraries as possible 'friends', but I do think that libraries need to make themselves visible to as many sections of the wider community as possible and these sites are where young people are spending lots of their time.

Reaching out to young people through social networking sites, and interesting them in what libraries can offer them now, while also listening to their ideas as to what can be changed for the better has to give libraries a better chance of meeting the needs of that generation and of keeping up with what's hot and what's not.

#21 Facebook Bebo and MySpace etc

All these social networking sites are a great hit with younger people, I know, and I can sort of see why especially if you're travelling and want to keep in touch with everyone and you're too busy to email everyone separately.

BUT I find lots of aspects quite scary - that people share on it all sorts of personal info and open themselves to having their online identity hijacked. That they put onto it far too much from the real world that can be of use to murky characters and marketers alike - or are they the same thing? Does anybody really give Facebook their email address and password and let it search through their email contacts for matches amongst its members - please tell me nobody is so daft.

Apparently Facebook makes some money by selling online advertising space, but most funding comes from investors - who are they and why have they been willing to invest $40+ million since 2004. There has to be a payback for them. I don't like it. The wall and message facilities which are features of Facebook and no doubt of other sites do at least allow real personal contact with your friends but, while I understand the attraction as stated at the beginning of this blog, the whole idea of just putting stuff about yourself out there is on a par with the Christmas Letter which goes out to all - NOT real communication.

I did like the Public Library entries on Bebo - a great way to spread the message about libraries.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I chose to look for H G Wells' book 'The Time Machine' on the Project Gutenberg site - I wonder if Johannes is turning in his grave or delighted about ebooks! - and found three versions I could download, only one of which was not in audio format.

I suppose if you have researched using ebooks you'd know what the 'formats available for download' blurb meant, but it was all Greek to me. I wondered how, if you lived outside the States, you'd check whether the ebook you were interested in was copyright-free in your own country - would that be easy to find out? Here's the link to the page -

It sounds as though the main problem with the portable devices (like Kindle) for reading ebooks is that they're limited to the titles that manufacturer publishes in their format. However I can see how they might appeal to some people as they allow you to carry a lot more than one book around with you. It'd save a lot of trees if we all used them, as well as other resources (transportation around the world must create a lot of pollution), but they do need power to run and somehow curling up in a warm spot with a cuppa and an ebook reader doesn't quite have the same appeal YET.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Podcasts are more interesting than I expected

Having looked at the podcast directories listed , I went further afield and found loads elsewhere. Added to my bloglines account now is a feed for a BBC 4 programme's podcast - Tracing Your Roots - which looks fascinating.

The advantages of podcasts are many - you can choose from a whole raft of programmes, listen when it suits you, even when you're on the move, and setting up a feed of your favourites to a bloglines account means it's right there when you want it. There really does seem to be something on every subject area.

They have huge potential for teaching and learning purposes - we've had a small taste of their capabilities in that direction with those we've encountered on this Web 2.0 journey.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Don't look at my embedded video if you get vertigo!

I'd looked at a few YouTube offerings before doing this exercise - ones that people had sent me links to, or told me about, so it isn't a new experience. A lot are a waste of cyberspace, but many are amusing or informative, or just plain interesting. Access to music (old and new) is amazing!

Libraries could, and do, use this medium to entertain and advertise, as evidenced by those looked at in this exercise, which included a teen rap, a library week promotion, etc. To reach an audience of the unconverted the titles need to be intriguing. I couldn't look at any of the Infotubey-award winning library videos - it froze everything.

The YouTube site has been easy to use, but I haven't stretched its search capabilities too much.

The video I've chosen is no longer on YouTube, but on Brightcove.
This is of El Camino del Rey a walkway which was built in 1901. Mountaineers use it for access to Makinodromo, a sector of El Chorro. I seem to have managed to embed the video but it might be quicker to look at it by going to the link

Monday, September 15, 2008

It was difficult to decide what to look at from the Web 2.0 awards list. First I went to Mango languages, but the free lesson in Spanish I tried seemed rather laboured even for a complete beginner. So then I plumped for and found there were 16 copies listed of a 1977 book called Where Beards Wag All. The Relevance of the Oral Tradition by Evans, George Ewart so it isn't as rare a book as I thought, obviously!
The search facility seems a bit clunky - if you type in the full author's name you get everyone with that surname even though you've specified one person. However, it does deliver the information you want and if the item you're looking for isn't there you can fill in a form and they'll look out for it for you. You can narrow your search in all sorts of ways to get just the right copy in the right condition at the right price.
This would be a useful site to recommend to a library patron who really wants a book that is out of print and not available in the library or through interlibrary loan.