Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thing # 23: The final entry (?!!)

So I have finally reached the end of this program. When I started, I was aware of blogging and some of the technology presented, but only in passing. Therefore one of the best features of this process was the fact that there was a wide variety of technology and web-sites explored through the various exercises. This allowed me to do some side by side comparisons. Some sites I found were better by far than those I visit on a regular basis, however I also found that there are still a few which are (in my opinion at least) the "gold standard" for my needs.

One thing that I did bring away from this is a new realization of how learning is a continuing process which does not require a structured classroom setting by any means. Does this mean I will continue blogging? I'm not sure. I tend to prefer flying "under the radar" as it were, so I don't know if I am ready to bare my soul for the whole world (literally) to see, but who knows?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thing 22: Downloading movies and other media

Due to restrictions on the computers at work, I had to work through this exercise at home so as to be able to download the applicable software to view movies. Having done so however, I came away with mixed feelings. The concept itself is great in that I won't have to run out to blockbuster in the dead of winter to find a good movie or tv show, but I am still a little reluctant to watch shows on my computer monitor as opposed to a television screen. I know that puts me firmly in the minority as the line between tv and online media is getting more and more blurred, especially with the ability to download movies on one's I-phone, or similar hand-held devices, or with companies like Apple working to integrate the pc into regular TV formats.

Beyond any doubt though, I think it is imperitave for any library staff to keep themselves current on the available options so as to be able to recommend (or upsell as they say in fast food circles) alternative means of getting the latest audio book or finding a classic film.
Thing # 21: Podcasts

Similar to the Youtube exercise, this is a fairly straightforward endeavor. For this exercise, I added two RSS feeds onto my Bloglines account which caught my interest: Books on the Nightstand, which is a book review podcast, and The Jazz Session, which is a music and interview program. Beyond that, the uses within a library setting are very similar to the potential offered by Youtube or similar video feeds, and would make an excellent means of providing information for those patrons who are visually impaired, whether it be a children's librarian reading a story to uploading selected audio-books both classic and contemporary. Just as an observation in passing; of the two suggested sites, podcast alley was (to me at least) much better organized than the Podcast directory.
Thing # 20 YouTube

By far the easiest exercise to date and one site I am very familiar with. I have long used this site to get a good laugh, or find old music videos and television clips. For my personal clip, I chose a video related in part to the title to this blog, which is also near and dear to my heart: The winning of the World Series by the Boston Red Sox in 2004:

There are unlimited possibilities associated with streaming video in a library format as well. Author visits and Staff Day activities or similar discussions can be made available for future reference, distance learning can be enhanced with videos rather than just reading dry text, the list goes on and on......

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thing # 19: Web 2.0 tools

For this exercise, I looked at both Recipes and the Web 2.0 awards. Both are very well put together, though each serves a distinctly different purpose. I liked recipe mainly because it not only outlines some of the available tools, but illustrates the potential uses for each in a library environment. This is done by setting forth a "problem" or "need" such as Virtual Assistance and then giving the possible solutions and/or tools for resolving that issue. Each of the main tools is also broken down into subsections which can help narrow down your options to fill your specific need.

On the flip side is the Web awards page. Like Recipe, this site is broken down by major categories, and then each subject is broken down into subsections. However rather than reccomending sites based on specific needs, this site only provides info on sites that have been nominated and won awards for content and design. I spent some time looking at the Fun Stuff awards page, and was impressed with some of the featured award winners, however I can see this as being more of a general info resource for those people who don't know exactly what they are looking for rather than purpose specific info. In all honesty, I would more likely use a meta-search engine like Dogpile rather than Web2.0.
Thing # 18: Web-apps

While this is a relatively easy tool to use, and it would come in handy if I were constantly needing to access documents from multiple computers, I don't see a practical use for web-based docs at this time in my personal life. And there is another concern in the fact that I am not quite comfortable enough with computers in general to store my data on a remote server, unless I had a backup file that I could physically hold in my hands. Too many horror stories of hackers and data file corruption have me a little distrustful.
Thing # 17: The sandbox

Pretty straight-forward operation on this task. Although instead of typing in all of the HTML code, I was able to simply copy and paste my URL to the page by positioning the cursor at the end of the prior blog and hitting , then SAVE.