Tuesday, September 25, 2007

week 6, thing 15: the future of 2.0

The “just in case” collection was an idea raised by Rick Anderson in one of the OCLC newsletter segments.

Since I am collection coordinator at the branch, this idea really resonated with me, especially since we just (well, almost) finished the purge report for this year. How many items showed up on that report, unused in over a year, did we decide to keep "just in case" a student needed a book on that, or "just in case" all of the other titles on Kyrgyzstan are checked out at the moment. Realistically, how many of those do we need, since we are paying beaucoup dollars to have 24-7 (and, more frequently, remote) access to fairly comprehensive electronic sources? Especially now that teachers are not requiring students to bring in solely books for reports or projects - articles from databases are more widely accepted than they were 4 years ago? [for summer reading they still have to read the books, but the non-fiction assignments have gone more electronic...]

I can definitely see a massive reduction in the number of physical volumes in public libraries over the next decade, especially in non-fiction collections. I don't see as many titles falling off in the fiction section because of ebooks. Electronic fiction books seem like companions to the physical volumes, not competitors. That's something I was aware of, but not really working toward. I will try to really challenge myself on this point when doing collection maintenance. Do I see a legitimate need for this item or am I just holding onto it for the rare instance when 40 encyclopedia articles and 100 magazine or newspaper entries will not suffice?

I also am intrigued by the possibilities for user-friendly and/or user-created cataloging - finally, the term "cookery" will burn!

Excerpts from the articles:

The name, as you may guess, is an extension of Web2.0 and shares many of its same philosophies and concepts including harnessing the user in both design and implementation of services, embracing constant change as a development cycle over the traditional notion of upgrades, and reworking library services to meet the users in their space, as opposed to ours (libraries).

wikipedia: especially public libraries, are at a crossroads where many of the elements of Web 2.0 have applicable value within the library community, both in technology-driven services and in non-technology based services. In particular, he described the need for libraries to adopt a strategy for constant change while promoting a participatory role for library users.

rich interactivity, user participation, collective intelligence, self-service, novel and remixed content

week 9, thing 22: audiobooks and gutenberg

Although I am not a big user of them, I am familiar with e-books and e-audio. Ironically, the last time I was "assigned" to take a look at them was when I was in LATI 5 years ago. Wow, what a difference. At that point, use of laptops was not as widespread as it is now. There were also far fewer handheld devices (palms, pdas) than there are now. The majority of the participants in that class were of the opinion that sitting in front of a desktop monitor reading "Sense and Sensibility" would be about as pleasant as a root canal.

Today, though, the use of ebooks and especially eaudio is much more realistic and seems much more pleasant. Laptops and handheld devices offer much more portability than their 75-pound predecessors.

I looked around on Overdrive (which BCPL subscribes to through the Maryland cooperative) and Gutenberg (which I hadn't looked into much before). Both were very easy to use; patrons needed little instruction for selecting and downloading titles. The pros of MP3 player use of eaudio is obvious -- you can take the selection anywhere without having to worry about changing discs or tapes. Now, I think it is much more realistic to have people read ebooks from their laptops or pdas.

Another situation where I can appreciate having so many classic titles always available from Overdrive or always free from Gutenberg is during the summer. It is reading list season and inevitably students wait until the last minute. Now, instead of having them wait 2 days for Huck Finn or Jane Austen, librarians can say "Okay, we have a hard copy coming for you. In the meantime, let me show you this way that you can get started on it either on your mp3 player or on your computer at home." That way, they can get started on the assignment without having to wait an additional 48 hours.

I did browse the downloadable videos available on Overdrive too. There were a few Imax movies that looked interesting, but the rest of the collection was, um, pretty eclectic to say the least. What a, um, wide range.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007

week 9, thing 23: program summary

It seems like, after (almost) completing this program, that web 1.0 was all about finding. How fantastic Google was, bringing back 23 million results at every search. But now, web 2.0 seems like it is all about sharing --- how can I pass this site onto my friends? How can I highlight this for others?

It was rough to squeeze this program in and finish on time (although now, of course, we have an extension ha ha), but I think that is partly due to the 9 weeks taking place primarily in the summer, when summer reading club is in full swing, staff are on vacation, and really, let's not kid ourselves, we're not getting a whole lot done. I would have a pocket of time and catch up, MAYBE get one item ahead and then very quickly fall behind again.

After completing this list, I don't portend to be an expert on any of these technologies. I do appreciate the exposure to these tools though, to see what is out there, and what people are doing. It is unfortunately difficult to see what many people are doing because our of the restriction on high bandwidth sites.

I also appreciate the chance to look up from the daily grind, think about the implications of what these new tools mean for public libraries, and how they will impact users in the future.

week 6, thing 14: technorati

"...number of blogs doubles just about every 6 months with over 51 million blogs ... estimated that Technorati will have tracked its 100 millionth blog in just 5 months."

Of course, these numbers seemed astounding. Don't these people have jobs? (or maybe it's millions of librarians all working on their 23 things...)

Reading about tagging made me think of the university that intentionally did not add sidewalks until it was evident where students were walking. Their paths determined where the sidewalks were eventually poured.

The concept of a folksonomy (wikipedia: "a group of people cooperating spontaneously to organize information into categories") seems like a natural progression of cataloging online resources. How are most people thinking of these online resources? What kinds of terms are they using to describe sites and blogs? How many people would honestly use "cookery" to describe books that are about different types of cooking (that subject term in the Dewey system has always irked me)?

That would be an interesting study in classification as well as language - what why are people using the particular words they select for tags?

week 9, thing 21: podcast tools

From the explanation: The word podcast is used to refer to a non-musical audio or video broadcast that is distributed over the Internet. What differentiates a podcast from regular streaming audio or video is that the delivery method for podcasts is often done automatically through RSS.

Yahoo: Think of a podcast as a radio show. Each show consists of a series of individual episodes that you can listen to how you want — on your PC, using your MP3 player, or with just a web browser.

I looked for Oakland Raiders in podcast.net. The 4 most recent entries I found were from December 2006. I then looked up swimming and again, enduranceplanet.com's last entry was December 2006. Then browsing Entertainment, the most recent entry still was 12/06.

Podcast Alley was much more informational. I liked the layout better - you only see the title initially and then can click on that to get more details about the podcast. The results were much more recent too. The one I listened to, from 9/19/07, included one sports commentator in the studio and a phone commentator. These were sports reporters from the San Francisco Chronicle. If you register, you can also comment on different podcasts.

The most useful aspect of this type of communication is the portability. You aren't chained to your television, you aren't chained to your desktop computer - it's a very transportable information tool. You can hear and see different segments on all subjects from an mp3 or ipod.

Friday, September 14, 2007

week 8, thing 19: web 2.0 winner


I am a classic video game sucker - I do not like really involved plot lines and the massively multiplayer games seem like too much work. I just want to kill time and shoot things up and drive around - what's wrong with that? Having said that, I was really satisfied with arcaplay. It doesn't have a lot of the high-tech graphics of sites like shockwave or yahoo, and that is fine with me. All of the games load in the same window which is a godsend, because the ads and ads within windows seem to jam up computers with slower connections. This has the social capability for younger gamers (you can include arcaplay games in myspace profiles) but the games themselves are really attractive to older gamers like me (who remember dig dug and burger time and pole position).

Thank you 23 things for allowing me to travel down this memory lane! :)