Web 2.0 Randomness

This seemed like an easy IUL 2.0 “thing” to get out of the way, until I realized how much time I killed doing it! Web 2.0 Awards is a black hole but I’m back and here’s what I liked (that was free and didn’t require signing in to play with):

  • ColorBlender – as my uber-artistically inclined hubby can tell you, I’m color coordinationally-challenged; he will never trust me to chose paint colors on my own and for good reason!
  • yourminis – the place to find widgets for your blog, website, homepage (such as iGoogle) and desktop
  • DiskRevolt – allows artists to give away or sell cards with redeem codes to be entered into the site for downloads; this seems like a great promotional tool, now all I have to do is start a band…

For giggles, check out the awards from 2006.

Google Docs

Is it Not Nifty? A Google Document


Table of Contents

Introduction

Features

Fun in Other Tabs

Introduction

In this IUL 2.0 exercise, I am investigating web-based applications. I was intriugued by the Zoho products, but I opted to try out the Google services instead, as I already have a Google account (and I don’t exactly relish the thought of having yet another account somewhere else). This looks simple enough. Let’s try some features.

Features

The block quotes seem to work nicely (although I won’t know for sure until I post). Below is a quote from my previous post.

I got preoccupied by wondering about the people who lived or worked in these structures. What were their lives like? Who were they? And then, I started to wonder, am I really feeling them here? Well, it is Jersey, so it is entirely possible that I was just overloaded in the presence of all of that clean air and oxygen, rather than having some sort of empathic encounter.

I also like that there are a lot of features that would make this document html ready, such as headers and hyperlinks. I just tried the headers and it didn’t work exactly as expected. I suspect I could tweak the html and fix this- if I cared to spend that much time on this.

Fun in Other Tabs

From the Insert tab, I can add bookmarks within the document, which I imagine to work something like anchors in an html document.

Conclusion

It seems as though Google Documents can do pretty much all of the essential tasks as MS Word. I can comment a document, view versions and share this document with others- all while being independent of flash drives, etc. I like the capability to save in html, pdf or send this to a blog, which I will soon attempt.

This is the part where, once I’ve posted from within Google Docs, I edit the post from within Blogger, to see what that looks like. Oh, I just saw that there are RSS feeds available for your Google document, making collaborative editing easier. It is official. I have a tech crush on Google.

Person, Place or Thing?

Fascinating AND rant-inspiring:

http://www.abandonedbutnotforgotten.com/

The website posts photo sets of abandoned (or sometimes just historical and possibly renovated) structures, areas- even towns, all organized by state. The abandoned hospitals and sanitariums are a little creepy but that may be because the photos look like stills from a horror movie set. My imagination tends to run away with me in old, deserted places.

I remember coming across a cluster of old foundations somewhere in the Wharton tract (probably close to Batsto Village in southern New Jersey) on one of our numerous off-road excursions. It may have been the very unique experience of being surrounded by miles of pines (the smell is incredible- very grounding) that skewed my perception- a clean slate that makes me more receptive or something. I got preoccupied by wondering about the people who lived or worked in these structures. What were their lives like? Who were they? And then, I started to wonder, am I really feeling them here? Well, it is Jersey, so it is entirely possible that I was just overloaded in the presence of all of that clean air and oxygen, rather than having some sort of empathic encounter.

In a sense, I guess I do believe in ghosts, just not the white-sheet apparition kind. I like to think that it’s possible for a person to permeate a place (an excellent movie that deals with haunting in this sense is Hitchcock’s Rebecca, in which the mansion itself seems to exude the presence of the deceased spirit). The reverse is definitely true for me. I can be in a place and ten years later be somewhere completely different, but a certain smell will send me back to that place. So if a place can imprint itself on me, can I imprint on a place? I so want to haunt someone- but in a good, unobtrusive, “Dude, you left the oven on!” kind of way.

Oh, and it is amazing what is left behind in some of these buildings, such the abandoned Sun Mircrosystems building in CA.

Wiki Me

Hey, did you know Bloomington has a wiki? My husband-person has an article in Bloomingpedia. I’m slightly jealous but ultimately happy and secure in my anonymity.

I don’t have much to say about wikis, perhaps because I tend to use Wikipedia almost as much as I use Google. Wikis pretty much rock. Of all of the resources from the IUL2.0 post, I enjoyed perusing the Library Success for information on wikis and, in particular, the tips on starting your own wiki. There are other areas (go to the main page to view the “index”) that are not as robust, but who’s fault is that? Our own. I guess that’s what I like about wikis. Everyone is responsible for content. Unfortunately the openness can be abused, but I like the fluidity and hyperlinks (as you may have noticed from my own posts) are my friends. The possibilities for use in the library are endless.

Another fun wiki I found:
Legend of Zelda Wiki (actually, there are tons of game and sci-fi wikis)

Beta Post

On with an IUL2.0 post, this time on the subject of Library 2.0. This post is more of a rant than a discussion- hence, a beta post.

True, it’s been almost two years since I’ve worked in public services but working with teens in a very small public library taught me two things:

  1. patrons (whether 15 and blue-haired or 55 and clean-shaven) are extremely resourceful
  2. as a librarian, I need to learn how to anticipate patron’s needs (patrons certainly give me plenty of material to learn from!)

One quote that I thought thoroughly exemplified Library 2.0 came from Chip Nilges’ article, “To more powerful ways to cooperate,” in which he quoted Tim O’Reilly as stating, “users add value.” Content is being created at an alarming rate and our patrons seem to be the largest contributors. They are creating artwork, writing blogs, presenting research, and authoring programs. And our users are clever. They are excellent self-promoters and they are not content to merely find an outlet to archive their work. They are tagging, sharing and creating social networks, in which information is being quickly exchanged and further manipulated. Our patrons are savvy when it comes to making web 2.0 resources work for them.

Great, so how are we currently helping our users? Are they coming through our doors or would they rather ask a question via instant messenger or at a virtual library branch in Second Life? Are our users looking for books and articles or are they also seeking podcasts and streaming video? Can we do anything for our patrons that a simple google, slideshare or youtube search can’t already do? Librarians know that our OPACs contain a wealth of information but studies indicate that they are simply not being used. Are our services truly helping our patrons? Do our discovery tools require too much training and expertise in order to be used to their fullest extent? This brings me to my second favorite quote in the readings: “if our services can’t be used without training, then it’s the services that need to be fixed—not our patrons” (Anderson, “Away from the icebergs”). This is an awesome mantra for user-centered services.

Now for another question: what else can we do to help our users? Well, I’m not sure. The technology is there but it is still being developed with application to the library environment. There are many projects running in beta (I love the phrase “perpetual beta”), such as WorldCat Local, which are forcing the librarians to reevaluate how we do business. I wonder though, is THIS library 2.0? It’s a stepping stone at least.

Alas, this post offers no answers and no truly original thoughts but it did allow me to rant in gratuitous manner. Food for further thought I suppose.

iGoogle, Yes I Do

I’m avoiding doing any real work on the IU Libraries 2.0 project. Instead I’ll rant about random stuff- some of which IS tech related, so I feel justified.

I’m absolutely sick of my homepage on my home laptop, so last night I switched. Usually, I don’t worry about such things but I was playing around with iGoogle and thought, wow, this could save me some time. An iGoogle homepage offers tons of customization. Once logged in, I have ready access to my gmail account, my google calendar, live weather, a to do list, news (customizable) and search boxes for google maps and wikipedia (which I use pretty frequently). There are tons of widgets that may be added also. I found a bloglines notifier widget, which is pretty helpful and for fun I added a flickr widget. Now that I have everything customized the way I want it, I have it up at work all of the time too.

In other news, Star blogged about a Firefox addon called Scribefire, which is a blog editor that is integrated into your browser. Intriguing! I like the idea of not having to flip back and forth between dashboard and the blog page. Must investigate…

Technorati

I’m afraid there will be some overlap in my discussion of technorati‘s searching capabilities with a previous post, so go head there first. Or better, I’ll summarize: I’m not impressed. Searching google does the same for me and it is rare that I need to search solely for blogs.

I am, however, intrigued by the ability to use technorati tags in my blog. I probably won’t set up an account until later, so for the moment, I’ll just be happy to know that tech-tagging goodness is on the horizon. I wonder if there are other services similar to technorati that offer the same embedded tags. I can see how that would be extremely useful in creating crosswalks throughout the web.

Yummy or… not?

I haven’t set up a del.icio.us account and it’s not because I don’t see it’s potential, I just don’t have an immediate use for it at the moment. I am not conducting research (although I should be) and I have WAY too many bookmarks on my home browser, most of which I almost never use.

Having all of my bookmarks living in one spot would be nice when flipping between home and work computers, but let’s face it: I don’t have a lot of use for Classification Web at home. So I’m filing this one away in the back of the toolbox. Maybe it’ll come in handy some day.

Oh, and I have to agree with Shelly on this one. The name is not yummy.