Friday, 20 July 2007

Week 9 - Podcasts, Video & Downloadable Audio

  1. 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. :)

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Explore YouTube & find a video worth adding as an entry in your blog.
  2. 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:

  1. 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.

Discovery Resources:

Discovery Exercise:

  1. 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.
  2. Add the RSS feed for a podcast to your Netvibes account
  3. Create a blog post about your discovery process. Did you find anything useful here?

  1. 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 also freedigitalcontent or iTunes has some good free downloads.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

Week 8 – Wikis, Online Applications & Tools

  1. 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.

Discovery Resources:

Use these resources to learn more about wikis:

Discovery Exercise:

  1. 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:

  1. Create a blog post about your findings. What did you find interesting? What types of applications within libraries might work well with a wiki?

  1. 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.

Discovery Resources:

A short list of web-based productivity applications – Note: I authored this list in ZohoWriter and exported it as HTML.

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Create a free account for yourself in Zoho Writer.
  2. Explore the site and create a few test documents of two.
  3. 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.

  1. 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.

Discovery Exercise:

  1. 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.)
  2. Explore the site you selected.
  3. 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

Week 7 - Tagging, Folksonomies & Technorati

  1. Learn about tagging and discover a (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 (typed in as 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 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 and learn about this popular bookmarking tool.

Discovery Resources:

Discovery Exercise:

  • View the 12 minute tutorial to get a good overview of its features.

  • Take a look around 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 account for yourself and discover how this useful bookmarking tool can replace your traditional browser bookmark list. You might even want to explore’ latest addition, a network badge.

  1. 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).

Discovery Resources:

Technorati Tour
– videocast of new features & new look
Technorati Discover & Popular features

Discovery Exercise:

  1. 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?

  2. Explore popular blog, searches and tags. Is anything interesting or surprising in your results?

  3. 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.
  1. 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.

Discovery Resources:

OCLC Next Space Newsletter – Web 2.0: Where will the next generation of the web it take libraries?

Five Perspectives:

Wikipedia – Library 2.0
Library 2.0 Discussions (list of great references from Wikipedia)

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Read two or three of the perspectives on Library 2.0 from the list above.

  2. 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?