Thursday, October 16, 2008

Social networking

On a personal level this is the one area we've looked at in all the library 2.0 training that leaves me cold. I can understand the attraction of Facebook etc if you are geographically isolated but it eludes me why people near each other would choose to spend hours on the computer rather than visiting or even talking on the phone. I must be getting old!!!!!
However, I can see that if we want IT savvy people to engage with libraries, then we have to meet them where they are. Some of the library, museum and art gallery sites on Facebook, Bebo and My Space are quite good and I can see that they really promote these services well, plus allowing people the chance to give feedback or just talk to staff etc. It would take a commitment of resources (especially staff time) to set these sites up and maintain them. The key is keeping them current, interesting and eye catching or they actually work to the detriment of the organisation. I would be reluctant to take this on in our library unless the process is properly resourced and budgeted for each year. That way we know that someone will be working on it constantly and we will always present a good image. If we can do that, then these applications have great potential for us and keep us more relevant in an increasingly technological world.
Note: Second Life, Avatars etc - I am definitely the wrong person to comment on these. I try hard to understand the attraction but have to admit I've failed miserably. Good luck to those of you addicted to this pastime. I'm sure you enjoy yourselves immensely. I'm quite happy with my social contact person to person and I get great enjoyment from a good book!
This is the end of the library 2.0 training for me. I've found the program to be excellent. I was nervous at the start but have found it all extremely informative, well structured and enjoyable, except for the immense stress involved in actually choosing what to put on this blog. Congrats to the State Library for offering it. I feel I am more comfortable with some of these new technologies than my own children (who are in their early 20s) so a big thank you for allowing me the chance to develop this knowledge. Please don't remove these links from your website for a while. If I can't remember what something is called or where to go to find it, I just get onto the library 2.0 website and it is all set out for me. Au revoir!

Google Docs etc

I can see that these online applications can be very useful if I am working with people outside Council - in Council we have the T drive! I'm working with different community groups on an early literacy program, including grant applications, and it would be handy to have the document stored on Google Docs or Zoho for us all to work on.
Knowing about the availability of online word processing, spreadsheets, powerpoint etc will help provide a better service to our customers. So many of them come in wanting to use Word, save their docs to the hard drive and then get angry when they lose it all at the end of their session and the computer reboots. This way I can advise them to save them online and it doesn't matter which computer they are at they can access it. I know they could also save it to a disk, CD or memory stick, but this is a good alternative.
Google Docs is very easy to use.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Interesting concept and I can see how it could be very useful. I've seen a commercial version in Mapping Country - where they use information from Council on a BM map to show Aboriginal sites etc. It would be interesting to get the postcodes and country locations of the many tourists we have coming in asking to use the Internet. Putting them on a map may be an easy technique for showing counsellors why we need the latest in IT to keep our customers happy!
I read the comments on mashups and was interested in PamL's where she says that apparently most mashups breach copyright. Something to think about before we dive in!
I tried creating a mosaic of my travel photos but could get it to work. I checked the Flickr address and it seemed ok. I'm hoping someone in blogsworld can help!!!
In the end I went for the easy mashup and did the map. It includes my last holiday and planned destinations for my holiday in '09. I'd love to end up with all Europe in the 'red'.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


This is one of the training sessions that really spiked my enthusiasm. I've always wanted to listen to podcasts of 2BL radio shows that I've missed but never got round to doing anything about it. Now that I've found them and can see what's available, I can't wait to get my Ipod back from my daughter and start downloading!!!
The other great thing is the Online Education Database in the Adventure section. What a wonderful resource - free online classes from Stanford, UC Berkeley, MIT, Harvard, UCLA, the list goes on. I've found heaps of topics I'd like to listen to, now I've just got to find the time.
How we could use podcasting in our Library? It could be a great tool for 'How to' on our catalogue and homepage eg how to make a reservation, how to get an ILL, how to do a list of DVDs etc. It's an easy way for people to get the information they want, quickly. We could use them for local studies, family history, searching on the Internet etc. I'm not quite sure how you actually make a podcast - I'm assuming a microphone, software and willing staff member are crucial ingredients!
Well, I'm off to listen to: String Theory, Black Holes and the Laws of Nature from Harvard - and I won't have a HECS debt at the end of it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Well I've just found out the major problem with doing a reference inquiry on an answerboard. If the Internet is slow (and mine certainly was) it takes forever to move through different sites trying to find the answer. I was searching for information on radiation ecology. I found only one decent site on Google and Yahoo - the University of GeorgiaLII - and it took 15 minutes to finally log onto to lii, only to find it had no references! I searched on Metacrawler, Dogpile, Altavista and Lycos and still only found one decent site. I've put that answer in but know I could do better - if only my stupid computer wasn't so slow and it wasn't 10.30 at night!!!! It certainly is quicker with an encyclopedia in hand!
If I get some free time at work I might look at Yahoo!7Answers again and have another go.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Slammin' the Boards

I have to admit that I had no idea there were all these sites dedicated to answering people's questions. No wonder we have so few reference inquiries in our libraries today! It is a bit of a concern that people are asking complete strangers to give them answers to often quite technical questions. I'm sure some of them were for uni or school assignments! They certainly didn't look like your average question. Consider this question: What potential is selected in chronoamperometry? I for one, was not going to volunteer to answer that one!
I'm glad to see that there is a Librarians Answer Board which should ensure that the answers are of a good quality plus it allows us to promote the skills we have as librarians, but I wonder who has the time to take this on? I thought our new ISC might give it a go, but I'll have to wait until they start to run it by them. I'd love to have a go at some of them, because I do so few reference inquiries today that my skills are getting rusty. Maybe I'll just have to 'find some time'!!!!!
Getting our customers to rate our services and collections would be very challenging. Firstly it's often hard to get people to become involved - look at the difficulty we have getting members of the public to comment on Readers in the Mist! If, however, we could get people to comment, it would be a good way to get feedback and find out if what we are doing is meeting people's needs. Getting ratings on items on our catalogue could actually become a readers advice tool. Getting ratings and comments on programs we run could also help us make sure we are providing what the customer wants. It certainly is food for thought!

Monday, September 1, 2008

RSS feeds news feeds

2nd attempt to add an RSS news feed to my blog. I've chosen the Powerhouse Museum feed.