Friday, 29 June 2007

Week 6 – Instant Messaging and Skype

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.

  1. 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.


  1. Download and install MSN Messenger from here.
  2. Add several contacts. These can be anyone you like, friends, family or colleagues.
  3. Blog your experiences about this task.
  1. 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.


  1. Download and install Skype from here
  2. Add several Skype contacts. These can be anyone you like, friends, family or colleagues.
  3. Try and add a Skype button on your Blog. This is a fairly straightforward thing to do. Instructions can be found here

Friday, 22 June 2007

Week 5 - Play Week

  1. 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.

Discovery Resources:

The Generator Blog

Letter James

FD Toys

Also try searching for online generators, text generators or image generators!

Discovery Exercise:

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!

* Images created with FD Toys Magazine Cover, Comic Strip Generator.

  1. 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.

Discovery Resources:

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Take a look around LibraryThing and create an account.
  2. Add a least 5 books to your library.
  3. Blog about your findings and be sure to link to your LibraryThing catalogue.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Week 4 - Photos & Images

  1. 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.


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.

  1. 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 …

  • Mappr - allows you to take Flickr images and paste them on a map
  • Flickr Color Pickr - lets you find public photos in Flickr that match a specific color.
  • Montagr – create a photo mosaic from photos found on Flickr.
  • Discover more mashups, web apps, and Flickr tools.
  • Explore some of the fun Flickr mashups and 3rd party tools that are out there.

One of the best is FD Toys Trading Card Maker. And there’s a ton of librarians out there that have created their own Librarian Trading Card.

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: Wikipedia 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.

  1. Create a post in your blog about the photos you have taken and the Flickr experience.

Be sure to include the image in your post. Once you have a Flickr account, you have two options for doing this: through Flickr's blogging tool or using Blogger's photo upload

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

Week 3 - RSS & Newsreaders

  1. 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


  1. Follow the resources above to learn more about RSS and newsreaders.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. Create a post in your blog about this exercise.

  1. 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
  • - 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 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

Week 2 - Blogging

  1. Set up your own Blog using Blogger & add your first post.
    Some notes:

    - 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?

  2. Email your blog URL and display name to Donna to add to the participants page.