Monday, 20 August 2007
Friday, 20 July 2007
- Discover YouTube and a few sites that allow users to upload and share videos
Within the past year online video hosting sites have exploded allowing users to easily to upload and share videos on the web. Among all the web 2.0 players in this area, YouTube is currently top dog serving up over 1 million viewers a day and allowing users not only to upload their own video content easily, but also embed clips into their own sites easily.
Do some searching around YouTube yourself and see what the site has to offer. You'll find everything from 1970s TV commercials and 60s music videos to library dominos and kids singing about bloopers here. Of course, like any free site you’ll also find a lot stuff not worth watching too. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore and see for yourself what the site has to offer. :)
- Explore YouTube & find a video worth adding as an entry in your blog.
- Create a blog post about your experience. What did you like or dislike about the site and why did you choose the video that you did? Can you see any features or components of the site that might be interesting if they were applied to library websites?
OPTIONAL: Try placing the video inside your blog using the copy and paste code for the for "Embeddable Player.” Note: you'll need to use Blogger's Edit HTML tab when pasting this code.
Other popular video hosting sites:
- Discover some useful search tools for locating podcasts.
The word podcast is used to refer to a non-musical audio or video broadcast that is distributed over the Internet. What differentiates a podcast from regular streaming audio or video is that the delivery method for podcasts is often done automatically through RSS.
In 2005, "podcast" was named the "word of the year" by New Oxford American Dictionary and with the growth of podcasting over the last 24 months, it's easy to see why.
Podcasts take many forms, from short 1-10 minutes commentaries (like the ones used in this Learning 2.0 program) to much longer in person interviews or panel group discussions. There’s a podcast out there for just about every interest area and the best part about this technology is that you don’t have to have an iPod or a MP3 player to access them. Since podcasts use the MP3 file format, a popular compressed format for audio files, you really just need a PC (or portal device) with headphones or a speaker.
iTunes, the free downloadable application created by Apple is the directory finding service most associated with podcasts, but if you don’t have iTunes installed there are still plenty of options.
For this discovery exercise participants are asked to take a look at some popular podcast directory tools. Do some exploring on your own and locate a podcast that is of interest to you. Once found, you can easily pull the RSS feed into your Netvibes account as well, so that when new casts become available you’ll be automatically notified of their existence.
- To find out more about podcasts start with Yahoo: What is a podcast tutorial
- There are many, many podcast directories and finding tools out there. Here are just three of the more popular ones that, unlike iTunes, don't require a software download:
- What? You want to learn how to be a podcaster too? (Optional Resources for those who want to learn create podcasts)
- Take a look at one or two of the podcast directories listed and see if you can find a podcast that interests you. See if you can find some interesting library related podcasts here like book review podcasts or library news.
- Add the RSS feed for a podcast to your Netvibes account
- Create a blog post about your discovery process. Did you find anything useful here?
- Take a look at some of the various sites with free content available.
With your new MP3 player right around the corner, it’s time to take a look at audiobooks. There are some free audiobooks available for download from audiobooks.org also freedigitalcontent or iTunes has some good free downloads.
- For this discovery exercise, you merely need to familiarise yourself a bit with the structure of the above sites. Get an idea of the types of titles you can find here. Take a look around and locate a few titles of interest. That MP3 player is right around the corner and once you have it, you’ll definitely have a reason to try out these popular services.
- Summarise your thoughts about this programme on your blog.
Congratulations!! You’ve reached the 23rd thing. Be sure to give yourself a pat on the back for completing the programme. Your reward for completing this journey is a useful and handy MP3. But before you receive this, I ask for one last blog post.
For your last and final exercise for this program please reflect on your learning journey and post a few thoughts. Here are some questions to prompt you if you're drawing a blank ...
- What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
- How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
- Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
- What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
And last but not least…
- If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you again chose to participate?
In closing, I want to thank each and every one of you for joining me on this journey. My greatest hope is that this not the end of our learning journey together as a staff, but rather it’s just the start of something amazing …
Thank you, Donna
Friday, 13 July 2007
- Learn about wikis and discover some innovative ways that libraries are using them.
A wiki is a collaborative website and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content. Wikipedia, the online open community encyclopedia, is the largest and perhaps the most well known of these knowledge sharing tools. With the benefits that wikis provide the use and popularity of these tools is exploding.
Some of the benefits that make wikis so attractive are:
- Anyone (registered or unregistered, if unrestricted) can add, edit or delete content.
- Tracking tools within wikis allow you to easily keep up on what been changed and by whom.
- Earlier versions of a page can be viewed and reinstated when needed.
- And users do not need to know HTML in order to apply styles to text or add and edit content. In most cases simple syntax structure is used.
As the use of wikis has grown over the last few years, libraries all over the country have begun to use them to collaborate and share knowledge. Among their applications are pathfinder or subject guide wikis, book review wikis, ALA conference wikis and even library best practices wikis.
Use these resources to learn more about wikis:
- Wiki’s: A Beginner’s Look – an excellent short slide presentation that offers a short introduction and examples.
- What is a Wiki? – Library Success wiki presentation
- Using Wikis to Create Online Communities – a good overview of what a wiki is and how it can be used in libraries.
- For this discovery exercise, you are asked to take a look at some library wikis and blog about your finding. Here’s a few examples to get you started:
- SJCPL Subject Guides – a pathfinder wiki developed by the St. Joseph County Public Library system
- Book Lovers Wiki - developed by the Princeton Public Library
- Library Success: A best practices wiki
- ALA 2006 New Orleans wiki – an example of a wiki created to support a specific event
- The Bull Run Library wiki - a public library wiki and also a Learning 2.0 participant
- Other library wiki examples
- Create a blog post about your findings. What did you find interesting? What types of applications within libraries might work well with a wiki?
- Take a look at some online productivity (word processing, spreadsheet) tools.
The availability and use of online productivity web-based applications (think word processing and spreadsheets) has exploded over the past two years and for good reasons! These powerful applications provide users with the ability to create and share documents over the internet without the need of installed desktop applications. Some experts speculate that this emerging trend may mean the death to Microsoft Office and other software-based productivity tools, while others think web-based applications have their place, but not in the office. But no matter which side of the office suite platform you side with, on this both sides seem to agree; web-based apps have their place.
One large benefit to web-based applications it that they eliminate the need to worry about different software versions or file types as you email documents or move from PC to PC. Another bonus is that they easy accommodate collaboration by allowing multiple users to edit the same file (with versioning) and provide users the ability to easily save and convert documents as multiple file types (including HTML and pdf). And, you can even use many of these tools, such as Zoho Writer and Google Docs* (formerly known as Writely) to author and publish posts to your blog. It’s this type of integration with other web 2.0 tools that also makes web-based apps so appealing.
For this discovery exercise, participants are asked to take a look at a web-based word processing tool called Zoho Writer, create a simple document and then document your discoveries in your blog. If you're up to the challenge, you might even export your document as an HTML file or publish it through Zoho to your blog.
With Zoho and web-based applications, the possibilities are endless.
A short list of web-based productivity applications – Note: I authored this list in ZohoWriter and exported it as HTML.
- Create a free account for yourself in Zoho Writer.
- Explore the site and create a few test documents of two.
- Try out Zoho Writer’s features and create a blog post about your discoveries.
Optional: If you're up for the challenge, try using Zoho’s "publish" options to post to your blog.
* Note: You can also explore Google Docs (formerly known as Writely), Google's online word processor, as an option for this exercise. On Oct 11th, Google relaunched Writely (which it acquired in Spring 2006) as Google Docs.
BTW: Here’s a document (viewable as a webpage) created using Zoho about some of the features I found beneficial.
- Explore any site from the Web 2.0 awards list, play with it and write a blog post about your findings.
Throughout the course of this Learning 2.0 program we’ve explored just a small sampling of these new internet technologies and websites that are empowering users with the ability to create and share content. But given time there are so many more we could explore. Current estimates place the number of web 2.0 tools at somewhere between 300 & 500 with only a handful emerging as market dominators. And although time will only tell which of these new collaborative, social networking and information tools will remain on top, one thing is for sure, they're not going to go away (at least anytime soon).
For this discovery exercise, participants are asked to select any site from this list of Web 2.0 Awards nominees and explore it. With so many to choose from, it might be handy to first select a category that interests you (like Books or Personal Organisation) and then simply select a tool/site to explore. Be careful to select a tool that is free and that doesn't require a plug-in or download. The majority of these free, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
- Select any site/tool from the list of Web 2.0 Awards nominees. (If you prefer to select from just the winners, here’s a link to the short list.)
- Explore the site you selected.
- Create a post about your discovery. What did you like or dislike about the tool? What were the site’s useful features? Could you see any applications for its use in a library setting?
Web 2.0 – with so much to explore, just start with ONE. :)
Friday, 6 July 2007
- Learn about tagging and discover a Del.icio.us (a social bookmarking site)
Tagging is an open and informal method of categorising that allows users to associate keywords with online content (webpages, pictures & posts). Unlike library subject cataloguing, which follows a strict set of guidelines (i.e. Library of Congress subject headings), tagging is completely unstructured and freeform, allowing users to create connections between data anyway they want.
In the past few weeks, we’ve already explored a few sites – Flicker and LibraryThing to name two --that allow users to take advantage of tagging and in week 3 many even used a common tag (UCOL) to create an association between photos that we individually uploaded. This week, in addition to exploring Technorati tagging, we want to also take at popular social bookmarking site called Del.icio.us (typed in as http://del.icio.us/).
Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking manager which allows you to bookmark a web page and add tags to categorize your bookmarks.
Many users find that the real power of Del.icio.us is in the social network aspect, which allows you to see how other users have tagged similar links and also discover other websites that may be of interest to you. You can think of it as peering into another users’ filing cabinet, but with this powerful bookmarking tool each user's filing cabinet helps to build an expansive knowledge network.
For this discovery exercise, you are asked to take a look at Del.icio.us and learn about this popular bookmarking tool.
- Otter Group Del.icio.us tutorial (12 min video) - Highly recommended!!!
- Us.ef.ul: A beginners guide to Del.icio.us
- Several Habits of wildly successful Del.icio.us users
- View the 12 minute Del.icio.us tutorial to get a good overview of its features.
- Take a look around Del.icio.us using the UCOL Library account that was created for this exercise. Note: In this account you will find lots of resources that have been highlighted or used throughout the course of the Learning 2.0 program.
- Explore the site options and try clicking on a bookmark that has also been bookmarked by a lot of other users. Can you see the comments they added about this bookmark or the tags that they used to categorize this reference?
- Create a blog post about your experience and thoughts about this tool. Can you see the potential of this tool for research assistance? Or just as an easy way to create bookmarks that can be accessed from anywhere?
OPTIONAL: If you’re up to the challenge, create a Del.icio.us account for yourself and discover how this useful bookmarking tool can replace your traditional browser bookmark list. You might even want to explore Del.icio.us’ latest addition, a network badge.
- Explore Technorati and learn how tags work with blog posts.
So now that you’ve been blogging for awhile, you might be wondering just how big the blogosphere is. Well, according to Technorati, the leading search tool and authority for blogs, the number of blogs doubles just about every 6 months with over 51 million blogs currently being tracked by the site. If the blogging trend continues, it is estimated that Technorati will have tracked its 100 millionth blog in just 5 months.
Yes, these numbers are astounding, but as you’ve already seen for yourselves, blogging is so easy that these publishing tools are being taken advantage of by almost every industry, including libraries.
So how does a person get their blog listed as part of the blogosphere and how can you tag your posts with keywords to make them more findable through a Technorati search? The answer to the first question is that your blog is probably already being captured by Technorati due to the fact that you're already using Blogger, the most popular blogging tool. But if you want to join the party and have your blog officially listed on Technorati and also take advantage of the watchlist and other features, you’ll need to claim your blog yourself. As for tagging posts with Technorati tags? This is easy, too. All you need to do is add a little bit of HTML code to the bottom of your post and Technorati will pick up these tags when it spiders (or web crawls) your site.
There are a lot of new features that have been added to Technorati this past summer, including new ways to search for blogs. You can search for keywords in blog posts, search for entire blog posts that have been tagged with a certain keyword, or search for blogs that have been registered and tagged as whole blogs about a certain subject (like photography or libraries).
Technorati Tour – videocast of new features & new look
Technorati Discover & Popular features
- Take a look at Technorati and try doing a keyword search for “Learning 2.0” in Blog posts, in tags and in the Blog Directory. Are the results different?
- Explore popular blog, searches and tags. Is anything interesting or surprising in your results?
- Create a blog post about your discoveries on this site.
OPTIONAL: If you're up for a challenge, learn how to tag your posts with Technorati tags so they can join tag searches. Create a post about something. It can be anything you want and add the HTML code to the bottom to tag it as “UCOL.” You may also want to consider claiming your blog and creating a watchlist.
NOTE: When adding HTML code, you'll want to make sure you're in Blogger's Edit HTML window.
- Read a few perspectives on Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and the future of libraries and blog your thoughts.
Library 2.0 is term used to describe a new set of concepts for developing and delivering library services. The name, as you may guess, is an extension of Web2.0 and shares many of its same philosophies and concepts including harnessing the user in both design and implementation of services, embracing constant change as a development cycle over the traditional notion of upgrades, and reworking library services to meet the users in their space, as opposed to ours (libraries).
Many have argued that the notion of Library 2.0 is more than just a term used to describe concepts that merely revolve around the use of technology; it also a term that can be used to describe both physical and mindset changes that are occurring within libraries to make our spaces and services more user-centric and inviting. Others within the profession have asserted that libraries have always been 2.0: collaborative, customer friendly and welcoming. But no matter which side of the debate proponents fall, both sides agree that libraries of tomorrow, even five or ten years from now, will look substantially different from libraries today.
OCLC Next Space Newsletter – Web 2.0: Where will the next generation of the web it take libraries?
- Away from Icebergs
- Into a new world of librarianship
- To more powerful ways to cooperate
- To better bibliographic services
- To a temporary place in time
- Read two or three of the perspectives on Library 2.0 from the list above.
- Create a blog post about your thoughts on any one of these? Library 2.0 - It's many things to many people. What does it mean to you?
Friday, 29 June 2007
I am hoping that this will be one of the easier weeks for you all. Instant Messaging and Skype are second nature to many people now and are a great way to keep in touch with your friends, family and colleagues. Did you know as of April 2006 there were 100 million registered Skype users. Not bad for something that was only released in 2003. For this task you will need to have a set of headphones and a microphone. I think both libraries have some of these but you may need to share.
- Play around with instant messaging
Instant messaging is a fun way to keep in touch with friends and family. The immediacy of instant messaging makes it far more interactive than email. In fact, a conversation between 2 fast typists using instant messaging can be nearly as frantic as talking on the phone. To join in the fun, however, you will first need to set up an instant messaging account. There are many instant messaging clients but for this exercise we will be using MSN Messenger.
- Download and install MSN Messenger from here.
- Add several contacts. These can be anyone you like, friends, family or colleagues.
- Blog your experiences about this task.
- Call your friends using Skype
Skype is a little piece of software that lets you make free calls to anyone else on Skype, anywhere in the world. And even though the calls are free, they are really excellent quality. If you and your friends, family or business contacts are using webcams, you can also make free video calls. You can even call landlines and mobile phones at really cheap rates.
Just like instant messengers, you can also use Skype to chat with not just one person at a time, but with up to 100 people in a group chat. You can even bookmark the chat and find it later, which is handy for recurrent chats with family and business contacts.
Friday, 22 June 2007
- Play around with an online image generator.
Generators? No, I’m not talking about those gas powered back-up things. The generators I’m talking about allow you to easily manipulate image and graphics to create fun images like these.
For this discovery exercise, I just want you to have fun. Find a few fun image or text generators to play around with and write a post in your blog about one of your favorites and display the result. Often adding the image you mocked up to your blog is as simple as copying and pasting code that the page provides. If not, you may just need to right click on the image and then save it to your hard drive before using Blogger’s image button to add it to your post.
If you’re having difficulty getting your image added to a post in your blog, ask a co-worker for help. In looking at several staff blogs, it’s easy to see that we have lots of people in the system who have figured out how easy it is to add images to their blogs.
Also try searching for online generators, text generators or image generators!
1. Play around with some image generators and find one that you like.
2. Post the result of your discovery process in your blog.
Note: Be sure to include a link to the image generator itself, so other participants can discover it too.
So take some time and have fun with this exercise. And remember to be tasteful too!
- Take a look at LibraryThing and catalogue some of your favourite books.
Are you book lover or cataloguer at heart? Or do you enjoy finding lost and forgotten gems on the shelf to read? Then LibraryThing may be just the tool for you. Developed for booklovers, this online tool not only allows you to easily create an online catalogue of your own it also connects you to other people who have similar libraries and reading tastes. Add a book to your catalogue by just entering the title -- It’s so easy that you don’t even need MARC record training to do it – or connect with other users through your similar reading tastes. There are lots of ways to use LibraryThing. You can even view your books on a virtual shelf, add a widget (see sidebar for sample) to display titles that are in your catalogue or install a LT Search box on your blog.
So why not join the ranks and create your own library online. With over 65,000 registered (BTW: LibraryThing also has group forum for librarians users and over 4.7 million catalogued books, you're bound to discover something new.
- Take a look around LibraryThing and create an account.
- Add a least 5 books to your library.
- Blog about your findings and be sure to link to your LibraryThing catalogue.
Monday, 11 June 2007
- Explore Flickr and learn about this popular image hosting site.
Photo sharing websites have been around since the 90s, but it took a small startup site called Flickr to catapult the idea of “sharing” into a full blown online community. Within the past year, Flickr has become the fastest growing photo sharing site on the web and is known as one of the first websites to use keyword “tags” to create associations and connections between photos and users of the site.
For this exercise, you are asked to take a good look at Flickr and discover what this site has to offer. Find out how tags work, what groups are, and all the neat things that people and other libraries are using Flickr for.
- Flickr Learn More tour (6 steps)
- Mediamazine Flickr Tutorials
- Flickr: Popular tags
- Interesting- Last 7 days
- Flickr Services (3rd party applications & mashups) and let’s not forget to look at some other libraries on Flickr
Create a Free account in Flickr and use your own or your libraries digital camera to capture a few pictures of something of interest. Upload these to your Flickr account and tag at least one of the images “UCOL” and mark it public.
- Have some Flickr fun and discover some Flickr mashups & 3rd party sites.
Like many web 2.0 sites, Flickr has encouraged other people to build their own online applications using images found on the site. Through the use of APIs (application programming interfaces), many people have created third party tools and mashups* that use Flickr images. Here is just a sampling of a few …
- - allows you to take Flickr images and paste them on a map
- - lets you find public photos in Flickr that match a specific color.
- – create a photo mosaic from photos found on Flickr.
- Discover more , , and .
- Explore some of the fun Flickr mashups and 3rd party tools that are out there.
One of the best is ’ And there’s a ton of librarians out there that have created their own
So have some fun discovering and exploring some neat little apps. And if you're up to the challenge while you’re at it, why not create a trading card of your own.
* Mashup Note: offers some great articles that explain mashups. Basically they are hybrid web applications that take features from one application (like Flickr) and mash it up with another (like a map). In this example, you get Mappr.
- Create a post in your blog about the photos you have taken and the Flickr experience.
Add at least one comment to another participant's blog. That's what online communities are all about - connecting and communication.
Friday, 8 June 2007
- Learn about RSS feeds and setup your own Netvibes account.
You’ve heard of RSS? You’ve seen those small funny tags on websites? You’ve heard co-workers and acquaintances swear by it, but still have no idea what RSS is? Well don’t worry, according to a recent survey you’re still in the majority, but this is changing rapidly. In the information world, RSS is not only revolutionalising the way news, media and content creators share information, but it also is swiftly changing the way everyday users are consuming information.
RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and is a file format for delivering regularly updated information over the web.
Just think about the websites and news information sources you visit every day. It takes time to visit those sites and scour the ad-filled and image-heavy pages for just the text you want to read, doesn’t it? Now imagine if you could visit all those information sources and web pages in just one place and all at the same time … without being bombarded with advertising… without having to search for new information on the page you’d already seen or read before… and without having to consume a lot of time visiting each site individually. Would that be valuable to you? Well, it’s available now through a newsreader and RSS.
This week’s exercises focus on learning about RSS news feeds and setting up a Netvibes account (customisable Web 2.0 home page/portal) for yourself to bring your feeds together.
CNET Video: RSS – Feel the Need for Feeds (3:32) – a good over view of what RSS is and the benefits to users.
Feed Me: A gentle introduction to Internet feeds - a good tutorial from Palinet, a library cooperative
- Follow the resources above to learn more about RSS and newsreaders.
- Create a free Netvibes online account for yourself and subscribe to at least 10 newsfeeds to your reader. See Netvibes FAQ for help on getting started.
- UCOL Library Staff Blogs - Subscribe to several of your co-workers' feeds and this blog. This is as easy as typing the blog URL into the add feed module in Netvibes. Try it, it's easy!
- Create a post in your blog about this exercise.
- Locate a few useful library related blogs and/or news feeds.
Now that you have your Netvibes account set up, you can begin adding other newsfeeds that interest you. There are several ways you can locate newsfeeds:
When visiting your favorite websites -- look for news feed icons that indicate the website provides it. Often a feed icon will be displayed somewhere in the navigation bar of the site.
Use Netvibes Featured Feeds or Feed Directory to locate RSS feeds you may be interested in.
Other Search tools that can help you find feeds:
- Feedster - One of the largest collections of RSS feeds, Feedster lets you search for feeds in three categories: news, blogs & podcasts
- Topix.net - This search tool allows you to locate recent newsfeed items based upon keyword or phrase searching. The tool focuses specifically on news and media outlet RSS feeds for information, not weblogs.
- Syndic8.com - Syndic8 is an open directory of RSS feeds that contains thousands of RSS feeds that users have submitted.
- Technorati - Technorati is a popular blog finding tool that lets you search for blogs. Since RSS feeds are inherent to all blogging tools, Technorati Blog Search can help you find RSS feeds for topic specific blogs you may be interested in.
Additional Resource: Technorati Tutorial on finding and adding your blog
Friday, 1 June 2007
- Set up your own Blog using Blogger & add your first post.
- Feel free to use your UCOL email address for this sign-up.
- Your display name does not have to be your real name - yes, you can go anonymous. Donna is the only staff member who needs to know your true identity.
What do you write about? Try something on the theme of Learning 2.0. What do you hope to learn from the programme? What do you think about Lifelong Learning?
- Email your blog URL and display name to Donna to add to the participants page.