Friday, February 29, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thing 13 Blog Prompts

Well, as can be attested, I was unable to make the calendar function work. Nevertheless, I enjoyed looking at and using some of these on-line productivity tools.

1. I used the Google home page because I liked the graphic of the canoe (but I hated the little animals). Although I enjoyed looking at some recipes (I choose cooking as one of my interests), I probably will not make it my home page. I use my library home page and I am most comfortable with the links that it provides. I have the weather on my home page, but that's the only way it is personalized. The advertising and the "clutter" are what turn me off about these sites. If I had total control over my branch site, I would put in links to the local schools and newspapers--maybe DNR sites on fishing.

2. I did find the Backpack site to be useful. I liked the little training video about how it can be used. I think it would be good for planning the summer reading program. I could have links to the sites where we are buying items. I could write notes on the different activities we will be doing and the equipment needed for each day. I could also jot notes about who the entertainer will be and when they'll arrive (I always forget). I could keep track of participants and prizes so far. Maybe in the future, I can get participant's e-mail address so I can send out reminders and progress reports. Stikkit seems like it would be a useful site for keeping track of all those little details that can get lost in the shuffle. I know I end up with lots of little notes--mostly I remember to place holds or check on things that patrons ask me about, but I also tend to forget. It might be a good way of keeping track of some of the details of this job.

3. On-line calendars can be very useful. Sending out e-mail reminders of meetings would be great. If my Friends of the Library had computers, I wouldn't have to mail out the agenda. I'm sure many of the people in the book discussion have e-mail, so that would be good to have some contact with them. It also might be a good way to get the word out a little further if we have a visiting author. We have had some disappointing crowds for our authors. This would also go for the summer reading events, although usually we have a good showing for those.

4. Not sure if I need an on-line to do list. The one that I tried seemed a little cumbersome. There were separate pages for separate lists. The small one by my computer seems to work if I just want to remind myself to do some things.

5. I did try out Backpack (see #2).

6. I tried Spongecell. This seems like a good site for making a list of events. It also has a place to make e-mail contacts, so I may try this out for my book discussion group. Next time we meet, I'll ask if anyone wants an e-mail reminder and if they do, I'll put them in spongecell and see how that works. I tried Doodle, but my event seemed a little deadended. There didn't seem to be a place to send out e-mail. I also signed up for "Tadalist". This was the site that had separate pages for each list. I liked the Backpack site that seemed to have everything on one page.

All in all, Thing 13 was fun. It was very eye-opening in terms of resources available. I can see where these tools would be very useful for large projects.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Blogging Prompts

Of all the sites I looked at, Reddit had the most interesting articles. First of all there were more to choose from and secondly, they had more of a left-leaning slant. I read a few articles on each site, but the most compelling was on Reddit.
At this point, they detract from my productivity. If I am busy reading what the latest buzz on the web is, I'm less inclined to help my patrons or organize my books, make displays, plan activities etc. I know of one person who uses the StumbleUpon site and he is notoriously unproductive. I hate to be cynical. There are some great articles on these sites, but they don't relate directly to what I do.
I read a great article on the Reddit site (can't remember where it came from) that was about the 7 characteristics of a country about to undergo a revolution. The author successfully argued that the U.S. had all of the qualities of a country on the verge a major change. Heady stuff. Useful? Not sure.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mille Lacs Lake Comments

This is an experiment to see how Zoho writer works compared to Goggle docs.  So far they seem quite a bit alike--like using a word document on-line.  Although in the past, when I was writing for a medical facility this would have been perfect because there were a lot of editors involved with my story.  It would have made it easier to iron out differences and put together a document that everyone could live with.  Right now, I only do a newsletter for Mille Lacs Library and I am the only who who has to see the paper.

Comments on Blog Prompts

There certainly is potential in using as a research tool. As you mark sites for possible research, you can see what other sites are being used for people with common interests. If I were doing my Master's thesis today, instead of in the dark ages before computers, my research sources might be entirely different. I might have been able to contact people who were experts in my topic area (18th century English Lit) and get more perspective. I don't see a lot of academic research at the public library. Maybe in the future, the library will have more of an Internet presence, instead of just a card catalog. In that case, then sites for storytime or homeschoolers or tax information might be bookmarked for our library patrons.

Our library currently has "weblinks"--maybe in the future those links will be on a site instead of on ours. This might allow for more networking between patrons. Tagging is a useful way to track information but there are so many different contexts that a word can be used that it isn't always relevant. A search for "library" tags turned up many articles about the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 is a website that allows you to bookmark your favorite websites. You can then check to see what other people have bookmarked your favorite sites. It's sort of a network of websites. I have, for example, bookmarked as a website. Four other people have also bookmarked this site, including "bmisselt" (ECRL Director). By clicking on her name, I can see what other sites she has bookmarked. Her first five sites are SirsiDynix, Kananbec County Times, Internet, Chippewa Herald and Star Tribune. I only have four websites on my bookmark.
I haven't found a use yet for tagging--maybe it is like a shorthand way of finding a site if I have numerous. With four, I can keep track of where they are without a tag. I am tagging these blog postings though, for whoever evaluates them. I'm tagging each with their Thing number. Well, one more website with a log in. One more thing to occasionally check. It will be interesting to see which ones I keep up with.
I did finally get to do some IM the other day. A teenage girl said that she would be my Yahoo instant messenger friend. I was able to "message" with Leah so I consider that I have at least tried this type of communication. It was fun, but unless I can IM with someone about library business, I am probably wasting my time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Thing #10 of the 23 is about Wikis. My blog prompt is comment on the concept of Wikis. They are an excellent concept. If two heads are better than one, think how great all these heads on the Internet working together are! The best wiki for libraries is the one on Library Success. There were some excellent resources on reading advisory and book discussions. As a former teacher, I would consider a wiki to be a fairly weak source. I mean I would encourage students to use wikis to get an overview or to check general information, but I'm not sure how much depth is possible in such a short format. I only edited one wiki--the one of library blogs. I just added my blog to the list. Although most of the blogs I checked were "institutional", I did find one other blog that has a few personal things on it, so I guess mine is okay to add. I do have some library photos and book ideas on the blog. I am reluctant to edit a wiki (such as the 23 things one) because I don't have a lot of information to add.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Zoho vs. Google Docs

In comparing these two on-line publishing tools, I would have to say, I prefer Zoho. Both ask you to create an account--I am starting to keep a small notebook for all the sign-in passwords with this project. Zoho has a much more extensive toolbar--including spell check. There are also templates and a publisher-type tool that allows you to create a slide show. There is a tool to preview and show page view. Google Docs may have some of these features, but they aren't as clearly on the front page as on Zoho. One nice feature that Google Docs had was a place that shows how people were able to use "Google Docs". It seems that it is especially useful for collaborating on documents. I'm sure that Zoho could do the same thing, but reading how to use the tool gave me a little more insight

Friday, February 8, 2008

Why I'm Blogging

I just realized last night that this blog is actually getting read. I just assummed it was my own little wave, lost in the great ocean of the Internet. But if you are stumbling upon this, I am writing this blog as part of a way to learn how to use some new technological tools. Other library workers in Minnesota are also doing this self-paced program, called 23 Things on a Stick.

I have worked my way through 9 of the items, some without success, including Yahoo messenger, but I do like using on-line publishing tools like Zoho. I will let you know if I hear of any other cool tools.

Thanks for reading.

The Bad Girl

I just finished The Bad Girl  by Mario Llosa Vargas.  He once ran for President of Peru, but he is foremost an excellent writer.  Years ago I read Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter and enjoyed it thoroughly. 

This novel, published in 2006, but translated in 2007, tells the tale of a Peruvian man, Ricardo Somocurcio, whose main goal  is to live in Paris.  He succeeds in creating a life in Paris as a translator complete with an on-again, off-again romance with "the bad girl".  This gal's identity is as shifty as she is.  He had first met her as a young man in Peru when she claimed to be from Chile to give herself more glamour.  She continues in her evolution as she gradually assumes new identities and marriages and romantic alliances.  Through it all, Ricardo can't help but love the Bad Girl, despite her cool response.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sharing Slides

I had fun using the ZoHo Show to make a slide show of current fiction at my library. It was somewhat like using Publisher. I can't believe that it was so easy to publish to a blog.
If any of my patrons ever read this blog, they will find some new fiction and some ideas of what to read. I think in the future this may be a real possibility, give how much blogs are used by younger people.
I would recommend the ZoHo Show as an easy tool to make a slide show. All you do is choose a theme and then make your slides. I adjusted the font size on my slides, but I used a title and a few items under each title. I didn't use any graphics, but it looks like doing pictures could be fun, too.
I have never used a tool like this, including making a power point, so it was nice to see how easy it is.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

E-mail and other 2.0 Communication Tools

E-mail is very handy for keeping in contact with other librarians and other libraries. I use it on a daily basis to get information from headquarters and also to respond to requests. I like it much better than a jangling phone, because I can answer the requests on my time. The communication of a written request is also something that I can remember better than a voice one. I can print up a copy. I can also think and plan my responses more carefully.

I'm not sure about the other 2.0 tools. I signed up for Yahoo messenger, but I have no one to talk to--I contacted Sharon in Milaca, but she hasn't reached that number of the 23 items. I don't have a cell phone, so I can't use IM. I listened to an archived Minitex podcast about, but in 11 minutes I was interrupted several times. I never did get the whole thing watched and I couldn't pause it. Many of the other podcasts are 40 to 50 minutes. That kind of time without interruptions is not possible in a small library like mine.