Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Extra "Thing": Why I Think 23 Things is Important

Question: Why it’s valuable to you, to Maryland libraries, to the library profession—whatever you think the significance is.

I feel like this has truly been a learning experience. A cliche, yes, but I honestly feel that I'm much more knowledable about technology than I was 9 weeks ago. And I thought that I was pretty tech-savy. Little did I know that I had much more to learn and experience.

This sort of program is very important to libraries in general as technology continues to grow and expand exponentially. Libraries obviously are no longer "warehouses for books." They serve a much more dynamic purpose as a meeting place, a "third space," a tech. place, etc. And if libraries are going to continue to fill this tech. niche for the community, the staff needs to be away of the new and exciting things coming out every day.

Week 9, Thing 23: Summarize Thoughts on 23 Things

1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?

Well, best of all I think I liked discovering both the RSS feeds and Library thing. I've gotten to the point where I check my Bloglines on a daily basis, and those RSS feeds are fantastic for up-to-date news. I really feel like I'm even more tapped into "the know."

And LibraryThing, what a cool application. For a bibliophile, there are few greater joys than catergorizes and commenting upon the titles in your own personal library. What a great tool. I can really see using this in our book club.

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?

23 Things has really opened the door to experience new technology. I had always seen that little "RSS" button on sites, but never thought to check it out. I new what a podcast was, but never thought I'd be interested in them. But this has helped me to slow down and experiment with new things. Since I do have a tendancy to jump to what I think is a goal or a potential solution, I sometimes miss the experiences of a process. This has helped me to take a step back and slow down, which is certainly a lifelong learning goal for me.

3. Were there any take-aways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

Yeah - Mash-ups. How fun! And the potential for creative projects. I always thought if I wasn't savy in PhotoShop or some such program, I'd have difficulty creating unique digital images. But it be proved so easy with the sites I visited. I can see using them in the future.

4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

I really didn't have any complaints about the format or the concept of 23 Things. If I can think of something, I'll post it here, but for now - nothing.

5. If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you again chose to participate?

Yes, I would. Granted, I was initially motiviated by the prospect of an MP3 player. But given all that I've learning over the last nine weeks, I would participate in something similar.

6. How would you describe your learning experience in a few words or a few sentences, so we can share our successes and promote this program?

A worthwhile journey into the world of technology, and something you can walk away from honestly feeling that you know much more than when you started.

Week 9, Thing 22: Learning About Audio Books

I like Overdrive alot. I think the audio book is pretty cool. I learned how to used the Maryland's Digital eLibrary Consortium in LATI. I find it very easy to use. I was a bit wary about audio books at first. I admit, I was a bit of a snob. "Listening to books? What? That's cheating!" But really, but difference does it make if you read a book and hear the words in your head or if you hear someone read them out loud? When my wife and I visit my family in Ohio, we take an audio book for the 8 hour drive. And although I don't have an MP3 player right now, I think when I do get one it's primary role will be to listen to audio books. They're particularly useful if you're trying to get through a book and it just isn't working. Take, for example, Moby Dick. There were parts I really like about Moby Dick as I was reading it, but I got bogged down about halfway though when Melville goes into his (boring) diatribe on whaling. But, I found that listening to Moby Dick though Overdrive helps me get through the boring parts. And it's a good way to go back and listen to parts you've already read if you wanter a refresher.

Week 9, Thing 21: Finding Podcasts

I looked around through and found some interesting Podcasts. It was a pretty easy site to navigate. I found that I could find things either by clicking on a category or by putting in a keyword. I found a neat podcast called Social Science Books. I added that one to by BlogLines.

These directories can be useful, I think, as a sort of news/information resource. I feel like it's kind of like listening to NPR in the morning. After listening, you can usually come away with something useful (or entertaining).

The one thing I did wonder, though, was that a lot of the Podcasts I found ended on December 5th, 2006. Why is that the last entry for so many Podcasts? Or, maybe I'm missing something. Something to explore further, I think.

As I looked at the Social Science Books feed on my Bloglines, I see that there are very recent feeds. So, maybe the December 5th, 2006 date I keep seeing is just a function of the directory. I was worried that the podcast was out of date or no longer in service. But it's still going, so that December date must be arbitrary.

Week 9, Thing 20: YouTube

I really like YouTube. I've used it a lot before this. I've never posted a video on YouTube, but I like searching through and finding interesting clips. I like the current version. I tried their "Beta" version and really didn't like it. I found it hard to use. For example, I couldn't find the button to post a YouTube clip to my blog. Whereas on the original version, it's right under the clip itself.
And I think something like YouTube can be useful for libraries as a teaching resource. CCPL could make a clip on...oh, I don't know...roving reference. Then they could post it to YouTube, and it could be accessed by anyone at anytime.

Batman Animated Series Intro

When I was in junior high and high school, I used to love watching Batman: The Animated Series. This is the introduction to each episode. It's just one of those things that remind you of being a kid, and that make you smile.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Week 8, Thing 19: Web 2.0 Award Sites

And this site was sweet, too.

Goodness, all the great sites. So hard to choose. The award site could be additive. I finally had to cut myself off. I said, "Bryan, enough! Get back to your blog and post your findings."

And yes, that's what I'm doing. But when I'm done I may have to go back and check out a few more sites.

Let's see...two worth mentioning?

Under Fun Stuff, the winner was Cocktail Builder. Wicked cool. It's pretty self-descriptive. You can type in an ingredient, and it'll give you suggestions. You can type in a drink, and it'll give you the ingredients. Again I say, "sweet." (And remember, kids - drink responsibly.)

Odeo was cool, too. Crazy amounts of pod casts. And they were a bunch on comics. Right up my alley!

And the site itself was so easy to use. Easy descriptions, quick links. Great.

And yeah, I could see it being used in a library setting. A customer comes in a wants to know about publishing a book? Show them Lulu. If they're sceptical, use the Wec 2.0 Award as a reference. Or, a customer wants to check on stocks, but doesn't like Morningstar? Show them InstantBull, also a Web 2.0 winner. I think it would be a great resource for both librarians and customers.