29 August 2008

#17 Web 2.0 awards

There are some interesting sites on the list. Although quite a few caught my interest, I am reluctant to open a new account if it isn't something I would use in the future. In the end I decided on Geni - a family tree web site, because that is one project that I am really keen to get off the ground. It was quick and easy to sign up and start using. I'm looking forward to building our family tree and adding some family history. It also allows family participation, which would make it a family project in more than one sense.

Browsing through the list of winners I have noticed that there are quite a few of the applications that we have either used or looked at with this programme. It gives you a sense of satisfaction looking at the list and think: 'Yes, I know about that!'

Zoho Show presentation

I have tried Zoho Show and here is the result. Easy to use and I will definitely explore it further when I want to make a slide show next time.

25 August 2008

#16 Zoho Writer experiment

I am writing this post using Zoho Writer. It has quite powerful features and I would like to experiment with it. I have been using Google Docs and found that a convenient way of always having access to your documents - I used to either email documents or carry discs/memory sticks around. It looks like it saves your work automatically although it is not as obvious as with Google Docs. Google Docs is not as feature rich as Zoho Writer. The fact that you can import Word documents make this very versatile. I wonder if you can create a document and export it as a Word document. (You can do that with Google Docs, which is very convenient.) I am impressed by ZohoShow the presentation application - I still have to use the Google presentation application so that I can compare the two. The only complaint I have is that it is another account to open and use, but if it proves worthwhile I might switch to Zoho Writer.

One thing that bothered me was when I signed up using either my Google or Yahoo account Zoho Writer ask to have access to my contacts and data in the accounts. I felt very uncomfortable with that and denied permission with the result I couldn't sign up that way. When I signed up from scratch there was no such intrusive action, although I gave my Web 2.0 programme's gmail address to sign up. But any case, here I am now typing away on this blog post and am quite intriged by Zoho Writer.

I also looked at the other web-based applications. Thinkfree also looks good although it is not free. I don't understand what gOffice is about and at this stage don't have the time or interest to have a closer look at it. Up until now Google docs has served the purpose and now that I have a Zoho account I might use that for a while to see if it worth having two accounts. The sharing funtion (for both Google doc and Zoho writer) is very useful for collaboration.

22 August 2008

#15 Rollyo

Rollyo have the potential for librarians to select good quality sites and make them avialable to the public via subject specific Rollyos. I can imagine that many people will appreciate this service as it will save valuable time on internet searching. Although internet contains gems of information you can spend a lot of time sifting through irrelevant junk before coming across reliable and good quality sites.

The Rollyo I compiled is a mixture of websites and blogs on book reviews. I started off adding just blogs and then changed my mind and added general websites as well. I found that the title space is limited. I created the search engine anonymously - didn't feel like registering - and easily found it again. (Note: the sites I added where just a few I have bookmarked and I haven't seriously considered a balanced list as this exercise was an experiment.) Another rollyo I want to create is one for maths homework, but perhaps one of my colleagues will create that one so I will wait and see.

Another image generator

Virtual Journeys

Image by Cool Text: Logo and Button Generator - Create Your Own

These image generators are really fun to play with. This image was created by Cool Text graphics generator.

#14 LibraryThing

LibraryThing is a wonderful tool for Reader's Advisory - looking at the recommendations, comparing your list with others based on your titles. I have already picked up new authors to try from those lists. The groups are another great source of information and discussion, and so are the tag searches. It would be wonderful if we could add LibraryThing to our catalogue and have patrons add their lists, reviews and tags.

Here is my list on LibrayThing.

#13 Image generators

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Got this one from Imagechef

You can spend a lot of time playing around and having fun. Just think of the posters and messages you can make and send! I even saw a Celtic cross stitch chart maker for words you submit. (Will definitely revisit that site later.)

20 August 2008

#12 Learning 2.0 sandbox wiki

Wetpaint must be one of the easiest wikis to use - no wiki markup language to learn. Just an easy graphic editing tool bar that reminds one of wordprocessing programmes. The other features make it more than just a traditional content wiki. The discussion threads and commenting spaces really facilitates communication and community building and make it fun to use.

#11 Wikis and libraries

Wikis are my favourite web application. I have two wikis - one to keep snippets of information that I would like to keep to refer back to from time to time and one for helping organising my work. Both of them I have made private as it is for personal use.

The possible uses of wikis are endless. In any context where content is created wikis can be of use. One of the first examples of a library using a public wiki that I came across was the Antioch University New English Library training wiki. The examples of libraries using wikis illustrates how versatile wikis can be.

Unfortunately a lot of wikis are placed behind firewalls so they can't be accessed by public. This is especially the case of businesses that use wikis. Wherever groups are coming together and creating documents wikis should be of great use, though there is a great assumption of trust among wiki users. Without that trust it is impossible to rely on the wiki as communication and information tool.

14 August 2008

#10 Library 2.0

Library 2.0 is about taking up the fundamental principles of Web 2.0 and structure the way we think about how the library serves the needs of our patrons within that frame work. This constitutes a radical change in how we go about building relationships with our patrons and deliver library services.

We need to embrace especially user partcipation. Up to now we have mostly created and structured content for the patron. With lib 2.0 the patron contributes to content and is allowed to have their say in a much more direct manner. There is a smathering of that already happening, e.g. ratings on the OPAC which is similar to the popular 'voting' on a lot of websites where patrons let everyone know what they liked/disliked. I have seen this happening at other library websites in different ways:

  • Users creating book lists which is available on OPAC.

  • Wiki created so that library parons could lists their favourite places in their community.

  • Blogs created for patrons to submit their book reviews.

  • Blogs created with old photographs so that users could tell about the local history around those photographs.

  • Photos put on Flickr so that users can tell what they know about those photographs.

  • Patrons tagging catalogue records.

This means we will have to let go of the tight control we keep over some of the content we present to our patrons - a step that will take a lot of courage as we will have to embrace a lot of different viewpoints and also imperfection. A prime example of such a lib 2.0 website is Amazon. Although it is not a library web site we can learn a lot from how it allows users to create content, give their opinions and have in conversations on the website!

10 August 2008

#9 Exploring Technorati

One can spend quite a lot of time searching the listed blogs. I looked at the top 100 blogs (by authority) list and subscribed to a few (have to weed my list at Bloglines). Then did a search for learning 2.0 using the Quick search option with a result of 7,471 sites. After a quick look at the first two pages it looked like there are a lot of irrelevant sites on the list. I did the same search using the tags option (in advanced search) and got a result list of 623 sites. After a quick look at the first two pages I found that more of the sites on this list were relevant, though there were some duplication. So, the tag search may be a better option than the keyword search to start off with.

To compare the results with other blog search engines, I used Google Blog search (result = 200,021 sites) and Bloglines (result = 95,500 sites). Both these search engines came up with an overwhelming number of sites. Looking at the first page I didn't see any overlaps with Technorati, though Google blog search and Bloglines did have some of the same sites listed on their first pages of results.

It might be a good idea to use Technorati and Google/Bloglines when searching for blogs. When using Google or Bloglines a narrower defined search should be used to get more relevant results.

A pleasant surprise was that you could subscribe to your search query in Technorati. Now that has great possibilities for research, picking up trends or staying up to date.

05 August 2008

Another Flickr toy for adding colour

Just for fun and to add colour!

02 August 2008

#8 del.icio.us and libraries

I did a search on del.icio.us using the tag libraries to see how libraries use social tagging and came across someone who is doing exactly that. I checked out a few public libraries' bookmarks and also looked at a few libraries' websites to see where they have placed the Delicious bookmarks on their websites.

Delicious is an easy way to organise long lists of sites and it was interesting to see what tags the different libraries used. Most had lists that covered all subject areas one could expect to come across when answering information queries.

As for where they place the Delicious bookmark on their website, it varied a lot. Many libraries didn't put the Delicious list on their websites at all (unless it is just that I couldn't find it on the website.) Perhaps the Delicious bookmark is on their Links bar on the reference desk computers and is not available for public. One such example is the San Mateo Public Library. They have their Delicious bookmark organised according to Dewey, which is useful to librarians who have a working knowledge of Dewey numbers, but it may not be useful to public. To make a Delicious bookmark for public tags or keywords would be more useful. Some had the link under the Reference section, which makes sense. Menasha public library had theirs linked from the home page under the reference section directly through to Delicious. The CSU-Pueblo library has a link through to their Delicious bookmarks from their blog's side bar. (Couldn't find a link to the library's website from the blog, and on the website couldn't find a link to the blog, although I used the site search engine.) On their webpage the link to Delicious is under Find, Web links.