This is how I roll

You may now search my blog, courtesy of Rollyo.

I have a web design project on the horizon, so I wanted to create a search tool that would query useful sites.

I found that Rollyo was very easy to use. And handy! I foresee creating more custom searches.

EDIT: Since moving to WordPress, which has an integrated search feature, I’ve not had use for this tool for searching PIP.

LibraryThing

I’ve been meaning to create an account at LibraryThing for quite some time now but the thought of cataloging my entire library… I would definitely need to upgrade to a paid account ($25 for a lifetime membership seems pretty reasonable to me). I decided to add a few books to my library that I’m currently reading, re-reading or have read within the last month (I don’t necessarily own these- in fact I cataloged two of these titles at work and decided to check them out).

I liked the social networking dimension, even though I don’t have the time to haunt the groups and discussion lists at the moment. Also, the suggester/unsuggester tools seemed pretty accurate for the few searches I did.

RSS leftovers

Not quite as filling as turkey leftovers, but just as satisfying…

I appreciated the related tags box that Technorati displays after you execute a search. This is something our library OPACs are getting better at. A basic search in Technorati pulls up A LOT of junk. An advanced search is somewhat more tolerable, but still not as relevant as the results found in Syndic8’s basic search. What Technorati doesn’t do that I wish it did: refine search options. I typed in “firefly” and it suggested the tag “serenity.” By clicking on “serenity” it searches only “serenity” instead of “serenity” and my original search term. To search both terms, you have to type them in manually. I am absurdly lazy- accommodate me!

Searches in Syndic8 seemed to retrieve the most relevant results when doing a basic search. Unfortunately, I could not find an advanced search option, perhaps because the interface is so busy. Busy or poor interfaces make me feel like my time is better spent elsewhere.

My first impression of Topix was that the site was chaotic but playing around made me more comfortable. What I did like: when you type in your search terms a drop down box appears below the search field, suggesting tags within specific genres before you complete your search. For instance I typed in “firefly” and Topix suggested “Firefly” under Entertainment. Are we paying attention libraries? What if our OPACS could suggest authority-controlled headings (in real-time) when a user types in a keyword (tag)? We could combine the power of search AND browse…

Feedster was unavailable at time of posting.

I am likely to use all of these tools intermittently, depending upon the kind of information I am looking for. I found the focus on news items to be extremely useful in Topix (the inclusion of polls and forums were also nice). Technorati is hard to ignore, being one of the most widely used of the search tools. In addition, Technorati has the benefit of a thriving developer community and so it has many periphery services like blog gadets and APIs.

Bloglines

On with the L2.0 exercises, this time on RSS and newsfeeders…

I’ve known about newsreaders for quite some time but I’ve never really gotten into using them. I do, however, depend on RSS feeds, which I usually pile into either my bookmarks toolbar or bookmarks folder in Firefox. Bloglines is pretty easy to use. The biggest advantage is that I can access my favorite feeds from anywhere (say, when I go to the UK next year and I’m paying by the minute in a cybercafe). It can be tiresome managing feeds through browsers on different machines.

Tech Happy

I’m posting once again for the L2.0 project- this time on three of my favorite add-ons for Firefox.

1. Cooliris Previews – mouse over any link and see a small preview of that page in a pop-up box. This is an excellent tool for scanning through google search results quickly!

2. Firebug – my new best friend. This is a web development tool that allows you to examine (and edit live) HTML, CSS and javascript in any webpage you are viewing. I used Firebug to tweak the new layout.

3. PDF Download – for whatever reason, opening a pdf file within Firefox occasionally locks up my browser. This extension gives you control over how a pdf file opens and/or saves.

What are your favorite Firefox extensions?

JenSpace and Flickr


Desk2
Originally uploaded by cursedstorm

I set up a flickr account over a year ago just to see what the fuss was about. I uploaded three photos and then promptly ignored the account. I am not a huge picture-taker. If you were to collect photo evidence of my existence between the years 2004-present, you would probably be compelled to file a death certificate. I’m that bad about taking pictures. I’ll try to work on this. In the meantime, who wants to chip in for a new digital camera? Takers?

A useful thing I learned today: how to organize my photos into sets. I have one set with a total of THREE photos (and all so originally titled). Nice. I was happy to see how easy it was to post to your blog directly from flickr by listing your blog in your flickr account. I’m not sure I liked how I customized the photos to post, but it’s easy to change later.

So above is a year-old pic of my desk. These days it is considerably moreā€¦ lived in (read: messy- a sure sign of productivity!).

L is for learning. L is for libraries.

When I heard that IU Libraries had adapted the PLCMC Learning 2.0 program, I was excited. I first heard about the program from Michael Stephen’s blog about a year ago. I followed the program (though I didn’t actually participate), curious about how Web 2.0 was being applied in libraries.

Although I’m already familiar with blogs, wikis, RSS, Flickr, etc., I am thankful for the IU incarnation of this project for one reason: I finally have no excuse for not having a blog. I’ve been meaning to create one just for myself (I don’t count the Oliver Crumb blog, because I served as an administrator during the brief time that the show was in production), but couldn’t justify the time that would be spent playing around with a blog of my own.

Of the 7.5 lifelong learning habits, I’d say goals and initiative are my strongest habits. I know what I want and I’m good at garnering resources to fill my “toolbox.” I follow through with my plans and I’m usually pretty good at responding to unforeseen challenges with a positive attitude. Sadly, I definitely fall flat on my face in the “play” department (work-related play, that is). I get projects done but I don’t allow myself a lot of time for play. Although play is listed as a half of a habit, it is probably one of the most important. I’m not going to learn anything about podcasting until I allow myself time to goof around with the applications.

So here’s my new goal: use this L2.0 experience to create web-me 2.0. It doesn’t matter that my workload isn’t easing up or that Life has a habit of happening. When it rains, it pours. I’m gonna play in the puddles.