Friday, June 29, 2007

Week 4: Thing 9 -- MERLIN and searching for feeds

I checked out MERLIN. There are a lot of resources there and I continue to be impressed by the cooperative spirit of Maryland libraries.

On the sidebar, there were a list of blogs. I subscribed to a couple more feeds with my bloglines reader (established in Thing 8).

Later, I checked out a few other sites for searching for feeds. I looked at feedster, topix, syndic8 and technorati.

Frankly, I found the first 3 pretty clunky.

Technorati still seems like the best option to me. It is easier to use their search feature to find blogs of interest and then I can just cherry-pick feeds when I go visit the sites. I also like how Technorati lets you rank by authority. They seem to determine authority by the number of sites that link to a particular blog which isn't necessarily fool-proof, but it's a nice start.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Week 4: Thing 8 -- RSS feeds

Originally uploaded by TheThiers

What better way to honor feeds than a photo of a pie-eating contest?

Here's a link to the feeds I set up in bloglines.

I like newsreaders because they offer me a one-stop shopping option. Instead of having to remember and then type URLs for the 10 or 15 sites I visit daily, I can subscribe to those RSS feeds and then go to one place--Bloglines. It will scrape all those websites for me at once.

The best part is Bloglines tells me if my favorite sites have posted new content since the last time I checked. This saves a ton of time.

More and more people want websites that they can personalize. One website no longer fits all unless that website is highly customizable. RSS feeds are one tool that libraries could use to help make their sites more flexible, giving patrons access to the information they want, in the format that they want it.

The Readers Club example we explored shows how one library lets patrons subscribe to book reviews by genre. Pretty neat!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Week 3: Thing 7 -- Anything Tech Related post

For my anything tech related post, I just wanted to share a few interesting websites.

The websites that are most interesting to me are the ones that encourage you to share your own links. A community of like-minded individuals sharing information and engaging in dialogue. Or, if you prefer, a community of individuals who are twisted in the same way that you are twisted. Isn't that the most any of us can hope for, really? :)

Digg offers news items from around the web, organized by topic. People follow a link, read the story and decide whether or not to digg it. Stories with the most diggs rise to the top and, in that way, the digg community decides what the important news of the day is.

Metafilter has been around for a long time and some of you may have heard of it. Contibutors post links to things that they stumble across on the web. I'm amazed by some of the things I've learned from MeFi. The downside is that it's a lot more random than Digg. No neat tabs to sort stories or sites by topic. You never really know what you're going to get, but chances are it will be interesting.

DCist is a site devoted to all things DC. It is a member of something I've heard refered to as the IST-iverse, because there's also a Gothamist for NYC stories, an SFist for San Fran stories, etc, etc. When I first moved to the area, I used it to get tips on events of interest. While the stories are great, be sure to check out the comments--that's where the real action is.

Take for example this piece about the pros and cons of moving to Baltimore versus living in DC. You'll notice three short paragraphs from a DCist contributor followed by over 50 comments from readers.

I've follow spirited debate about all sorts of topics in the comments of DCist--some folks providing more cogent arguments than others. In their defense though, many of these people live and work in the neighborhoods in question; so they give you the real dirt on things.

In conclusion [STRAIGHTENS TIE], the websites that I like best are the ones that encourage sharing and collaboration and foster dialogue.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Week 3: Thing 6 -- Flickr mashups

I'd never used one of these flickr mashup or third-party sites before. There are lots of cool ones out there. I saw one that uses GPS and can map photos. There's also a site that lets you make a rough drawing and then tries to find photos with the same color scheme.

I decided to have a little fun with Thing 6. For this motivational poster, I used one of my own photos and fd's flickr toys.

Week 3: Thing 5 -- Explore Flickr

Originally uploaded by zombophoto

Just playing around with this flickr/blogging tool for 23things.
It seems easy enough.

I was feeling a little homesick, so I searched for photos of The Penguin Drive-In in Charlotte, NC. It's one of my favorite spots.

They have the best jukebox in town. The owners are nice. The staff make you feel at home and remember you the next time you come in. Plus, there are few other places around where you can buy a PBR tall boy and a mess of fried pickles. If you ever find yourself in NC, make sure to stop by.

In more flickr-y news, I use the site to post my own photos, so I was familiar with tags and groups. It wasn't until this exercise though that I really took the time to explore those tools.

You know how when you use MSWord it can do about 10,000 different things, but you--personally--only use it for about three things (my list includes typing, centering words and underlining stuff).

Well, flickr is kind of the same way. You can do tags and groups or you can just use it to post pictures like I do.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Week 2: Things 3 and 4 -- Blogging and The Habits

I listened to the 7-and-a-1/2-habits presentation.

The easiest habit for me? Create your own learning toolbox.

To me, this sounds like the research habit and researching is something I love to do. I like to dig for answers and I'm an obsessive listmaker. Lists of books, lists of websites, lists of blogs.

The hardest habit? View problems as challenges.

This is SOOOO hard for me. Sometimes I feel like I'm putting out one fire and, just as I'm stomping out the flames, three more spring up. And they feel like fires, not challenges. A deep breath and a buttoned lip usually help. If it's not a real emergency--and, in libraryland, they rarely are--taking a day to think about things instead of making a snap decision is always smart, too.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Week 1: Things 1 and 2 -- Introduction

I was familiar with the 23 things from my days in Charlotte. I helped teach a class on blogging and a few buddies of mine taught classes on podcasts, social bookmarking, etc. All of that eventually morphed into the 23 things program which launched just after I left PLCMC last Summer.

It is a great program and Helene Blowers worked so hard to make it a success. I'm excited to start it here. I can't believe that the whole state of Maryland is participating. That's cool!

I'm happy to be a liaison for FCPL and, if anyone needs help, just email me.