Thing 14. Check out My Maps on Google Maps

In the past 23 Things blog for the Innovations Team, I did my own map of places that were central to my childhood. Thing 14. Check out My Maps on Google Maps

I’m not sure if this could potentially count for my own 23 Things blog post. Nonetheless, I’m going to use a little bit of that.

Although this entry is supposed to be about My Maps, I’m also going to throw in links to Top 15 Google Street View Sightings and 17 Google Maps mashups. They are pretty funny and cool.

And lest we forget the Summit Cheeseburger Map! Check out the blog here: Summit Cheeseburger

As I stated in the Innovations post, there are many different uses for My Maps. One can create a map of thrift stores in the Greater Cleveland area and share that with others. Maps of Toynbee tiles. I see this as one way the average person can be a cartographer for things that matter most to them.

A blog of maps could be one week a map of favourite restaurants in Cleveland Heights or University Heights and the next week could be a map of parks in Cleveland Heights or University Heights.
So many possibilities. And what’s cool about it is that you can share the maps. Therefore, others can see what interests you and it’s all social.

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Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 10:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Thing 13: Explore Technorati (blog search engine) and learn how tags work with blog posts.

Technorati is a blog search engine. It’s really useful as it categorizes blog entries into various categories such as Entertainment and Politics. I love the tag feature for searching through blog entries so I can find blogs that are focusing on topics that I enjoy.

I had never considered adding my blog to the Technorati list and I will definitely do that ASAP. It will not only give my blog exposure but through the Technorati account, I can increase the readerships of some of my favourite blogs. Definitely very useful!!!

Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thing 12. Learn about wikis and discover some innovative ways that libraries are using them.

I currently work with wikis not only as an occasional editor for Wikipedia but within groups that I work with outside of the library. I have edited/added information to past ALA conference wikis.

The benefits of using a wiki is that you can have one place that users can access from anywhere to edit. It can be limited to people who are given access to it. Drawbacks..well, Stephen Colbert did a funny bit about Wikipedia and librarians. With all access given to anyone, people can be libelous and write things that are just downright wrong.

I like the openness of a wiki. Within an organization, it can be very useful to have many people editing one thing as opposed to just one. As the Web Library Manager, I appreciate having members of the Children’s Services Department edit their part of the Library website. I honestly can’t wait until more people can assist on this. I’m writing documentation for staff members that want to edit the webpage, make slides for the front page, add links, etc. I digressed from wikis….but this does indeed illustrate the benefits and what I like about them.

What I dislike: for many, how to edit a wiki is not intuitive. Also, if you’re unfamiliar with the language of wikis, that is…many are similar to html, php, etc.

What types of applications could a library use? Events pages, FAQs, book/film/music review page, catalog! I am not sure how we can or will implement a wiki. I’m open to suggestions.

Published in: on October 30, 2008 at 11:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thing 11: Play with Pandora, LastFM, or other online radio sites.

I love Pandora! Users enter a song or artist that they enjoy, and the service responds by playing selections that are musically similar. Users provide feedback on the individual song choices — approval or disapproval — which Pandora takes into account for future selections.

For a while, Pandora was wavering as to whether or not it could last since there was a significant Internet radio loyalty hike that SoundExchange pushed through.

1) “Unlike its Blighty-based rival Last.fm, Pandora’s venture capitalist backers have yet to see a return on their repeated investments with a big media buyout. Last.fm was swallowed by the CBS conglomerate for $280m last year. Although it has its own licensing problems, the credibility and long-term stability of its sugar daddy has helped the site prosper.
Pandora’s failure to attract a similar cash-rich buyer now seems terminal, despite its popularity with users.
Attempts are being made to win a stay of execution by renegotiating the royalty rate, but Westergren seems
resigned. “We’re funded by venture capital,” he said. “They’re not going to chase a company whose business
model has been broken. So if it doesn’t feel like its headed towards a solution, we’re done.”

Pandora is by no means alone in its inability to profit from “free” content. Even Google, the undisputed champ of web advertising, runs YouTube as a loss leader; a net cost useful only for attracting search traffic.”
1) http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/18/pandora_shutdown_possible/

Last.fm is more social but I don’t know if one can break out of old standby ruts or get away from just clinging to the same old, same old.

I also found another site that is really good for when I’m editing the website, making slides, etc. di.fm Digitally Imported – Electronic & Dance Music Radio 24/7. I like trance music for background music when I’m writing or otherwise just wanting something that is mindless.

Fun!!!!

Published in: on October 30, 2008 at 9:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thing 10: Check out LibraryThing, Good Reads, Book Jetty, or LitLovers.

LibraryThing vs.Goodreads

LibraryThing is more of a catalogue while GoodReads is more social than LibraryThing. I get emails every time someone adds to their GoodReads account. Through Facebook, I can keep track of my GoodReads (which I have not added to, eep!) and my friends’ GoodReads. The community aspects online book-cataloguing system. It’s interesting to see what friends and acquaintances are reading. I know one person that has put all her books in LibraryThing and then will do a mass import to GoodReads.

I have heard of some libraries utilizing LibraryThing in order to make their catalogs more social, giving patrons opportunities to provide reviews, etc. Heights Library even has an account although it hasn’t been updated in a while. Not sure if we should import it all to GoodReads or not.

Of all of the social media tools that are out there, one would think that a librarian would be clamoring to jump in on this. I haven’t really gotten into this. I think I will in the future since I would love to catalog all of my books, if anything to make sure I don’t buy one that I already have. 🙂

Published in: on October 18, 2008 at 11:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Thing 9: Play with some online games.

I like playing games but I’m hesitant to download free games since they can be riddled with spyware. I do play games on Playstation 2, Wii, Xbox.

What I don’t like about playing games at work is just that. I am at work. If I’m “goofing off,” more than likely I am reading blog entries.

It just feels so weird and unproductive to play games at work. But here I am, playing Whiz Words.
It’s a word search game but you have to beat the clock.

I just played Bejeweled and again, I kinda feel foolish doing this at work.
The goal of the game is to move/swap pieces in either a horizontal or vertical way in order to get three or more other pieces in a row.

There are many reasons that games can be useful and even help improve a person. Speed, agility, hand-eye coordination, camaraderie and team building (World of Warcraft), competitiveness, etc.

The social networking aspects of these games are evident. In some games, you can have a food fight and then later chat/get to know someone you just hit in the face with a pie.

Patrons/customers are playing these games. I love playing some of these games too…just not at work. 🙂

Published in: on August 20, 2008 at 3:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thing 8: Have some Flickr fun and discover some Flickr mashups & 3rd party sites

There are a ton of neat mashups out there.
Wolfenflickr – Mashup of game Castle Wolfenstein and Flickr. Stick ‘infowidget’ in if you like. Wolfenflickr
Instead of shooting soldiers, you can view Flickr images kind of like a museum. It randomizes pictures from a person’s Flickr account and places them up on the walls. You move through the area much like you would in the game, with arrows…very primitive but “old school” computer game fun!

Flickr colour picker – Find Flickr images containing colours you choose from a palette. – Another Flickr colour picker
The one thing I like about this over the one that was suggested is that you can search multiple colour patterns. For instance, if you are looking for pictures that have red, yellow and purple in them, images with those colours will come up.

I fiddled with the Librarian Trading Card. Here it is:

Thoughts: mashups that utilize other social networking tools are awesome. The similar dilemma that a person faces is that it can be difficult and overwhelming to figure out what you want to use.
Facebook or MySpace? Flickr or Picasa? I find one that I like and run with it. I’m willing to change if a tool is better. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t say that mashups are distractions. I think that they are akin to the apps that one finds on Facebook. Means of utilizing the various tools and making it fun for all.
And this is what it’s all about….FUN!

Published in: on August 6, 2008 at 5:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thing 7: Play with Flickr, Picasa, or Adobe Photoshop Express

I’m almost ashamed to admit this. You might find this shocking. You’d think that a person that is tech savvy and likes to fiddle with Photoshop would had this going for years. By now, I’m sure you’re screaming, “What?! For the love of all that is human, what is it?!!”

It has only been a few months since I had my own digital camera. However, I have been having a lot of fun since I got one. I have a Flickr account. I’ve been trying to do a picture a day but that kind of fizzled out. I think I’ll try to do it monthly or something. Nonetheless, I am rarely without my camera and I take pictures frequently.

One of the major drawbacks to taking so many pictures is that I don’t post them as often as I should. Then, I have a backlog of pictures to tag and describe. However, this is not a flaw of the service. It’s a personal flaw. Oh dear, I’m revealing so much to you all today.

Nonetheless, Flickr has a lot to offer. I use it for finding pictures/design inspiration and keep up with what’s going on my friends. I think I will be utilizing FriendFeed a bit more or trying to get more of my friends involved in it. I can see when someone loads more pictures, posts on their blog or Twitter account, etc.

Hrm….this post seems to have sidetracked a bit. Alright then, perhaps this will instill my resolve in keeping my Flickr account up to date. Perhaps. Either way, I love using it.

Published in: on August 4, 2008 at 9:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thing #6 – Locate a few useful library-related blogs and some blogs or news feeds that interest you.

Some of my favourite library blogs are:

  • Aaron the Librarian – Aaron Dobbs, fellow ALA Councilor at Large and Systems Librarian at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. Gregarious change agent.
  • Information Wants to be Free – A giant in the user centered library & web services, Meredith Farkas.
  • Librarian.net – Jessamyn West. Wow..just go read the article about her on Wikipedia.  I’ll wait. Now, you can see why I find her to be so amazing.
  • Library Alchemy – L.A. Vrabel – A really great friend from graduate school that has some amazing insights into users services and library science.
  • LibraryTechtonics – Andrea Mercado is a fireball of new media fantasia. She’s been a driving force of knowledge and looking at services in a different way. If you ever meet her, you will fall in love with her energy and desire to improve/shake up the library profession.
  • Miss-Information – I’ll end this list with a really snarky blog that is not how I would react but then again…there are days when I can completely understand where she is coming from.

As for the other part of “some blogs or news feeds that interest me”, I think I covered that in my last post. It can be very easy to get overwhelmed by feeds and I try to ensure that I don’t get too bogged down. I read my friend’s blogs and various professional blogs. I have a wide variety of interests such as technology, foodie type things, music, art, science…well, I’m a librarian. I love knowledge in all of its forms.

The key is not to get carried away by it all. I’m still learning and I guess that’s what this process is all about.

Published in: on August 1, 2008 at 11:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thing #5: Learn about RSS feeds and setup your own Bloglines or other newsreader account.

Catching up from last week… I have had a Bloglines account for a while. Some of the various blogs that I follow are: Boingboing, Treehugger, Roaming Monkey.

I do see the value of a feed reader but unfortunately, I do not check my Bloglines account as nearly as I should. It is an extra site that I have to go to in order for me to read the articles/blogs that interest me. If the articles were to come to me in my email (which I can set it up to do through Google Reader or another service like Send Me RSS), I may be more likely to read them. Interestingly enough, many say that email is dead and long live the text message. I could even get feed updates via text message. However, I do not have a data plan on my phone that would enable me to surf the web and read said articles. It’s just too cost prohibitive for me. What I do use is Twitter. I do get some news headlines sent to my phone or I check via the website. So, in some ways, I’m following feeds and keeping in touch with friends and those in various social circles, etc.

Hrm, maybe the email and additional services that force one to go somewhere else is dead after all.

Published in: on July 30, 2008 at 12:25 am  Leave a Comment