Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Week 9: Thing 23 -- Thoughts and reflections

Monopoly Ship at sea
Originally uploaded by Mamluke

Those of us who work in libraries stand in a pretty weird spot in the information landscape.

We (generally) aren't the ones out there making technological discoveries or breakthroughs.

Nor are we like (some of) our public--wandering around without a map, hoping someone will help us, but mostly afraid to ask for directions.

We're kind of in the middle. We bought a map. We can point out all the places we've already visited and, more importantly, we can see all of the places we have yet to go. We're comfortable with travel; we just want someone to tell us what boat to get on. At least, that's how it feels to me.

With technology, I know just enough to know how much I don't know. That can be kind of scary, but it is also what makes a program like 23 Things so beneficial.

I don't have time to try every single new thing, but if someone tells's one new thing that's worth your time this week...then it is less daunting.

What do I take away from this? The most important thing is confidence. Stumbling through these tools and discovering that I can't really break anything diminishes anxiety.

The other thing that I take away is something we learned way back in the beginning: the importance of play and its role in learning.

A familiarity with 2.0 tools is great. It's nice to understand the language that some of our patrons are already speaking, but I guess the next step is figuring out how these tools can enhance the work we do.

How can we integrate them into our daily work? Our websites?
Which tools will reduce workload or improve accessiblity and which tools--while shiny and cool--will just add another unnecessary hoop for patrons and staff to jump through?

These are all great and exciting questions and, having completed 23 Things, I feel more comfortable joining that conversation.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Week 9: Thing 22 -- Downloadable audiobooks

Drawing for an audiobook article in the NY Times
Originally uploaded by caffeinated_zeitgeist

I established a NetLibrary account and started to play.

I searched for Gladwell. Nothing.
I searched for Godin. Nothing.
I searched for World without Us. Nothing. Too new? Maybe I need to search fiction.
I searched for On Beauty. Nothing.

I tried to stay positive and decided to use the browse option.

I ran across Colson Whitehead's Apex Hides the Hurt; I liked his book, John Henry Days, when we read it for bookclub, so why not.

Downloading was fairly painless, but since iPods are not supported (Grrr!!!), no moving it over to a portable device.

I liked the fact that you could select radio quality to download faster; that's one positive thing.

I might have to read more of the FAQ to see if you can use bookmarks. When I listened for a while, closed and reopened, it started at the beginning. That wasn't cool.

I hate to be so negative, but I'm glad that we looked at this service at the end of 23 Things. When you compare it to the things we looked at in previous weeks, it's easy to see just how far libraries and their vendors have to go before they match the selection and accessibility of other products.

It's true that this was our first foray into copywritten content and DRM, but I still think that companies like NetLibrary can do a better job.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Week 9: Thing 21 -- Podcasts

Originally uploaded by Alain Astruc

Free podcasting software, like Audacity, gives folks a voice--much the same way Blogger did when weblogs first took off.

Just a short time ago, we could only hope to read about someone's misadventures with their cat.

Now, thanks to podcasts, we can hear them describe it in their own whiny voice.

I heart technology.

Seriously, though...Podcast Alley led me to the Hollywood Saloon.

Yahoo!podcasts led me to the library-related podcast, Open Stacks, as well as, the super-cool Architecture Radio which features--public lectures on architecture and issues effecting the built environment.

I subscribed to the RSS/podcast feed with my Bloglines account and was pleasantly surprised to discover that within each new Bloglines entry there is a player to listen to each podcast. This was unexpected and convenient.

[NOTE: A few days have passed. Greg, the creator of Open Stacks, left me a comment. (Cool!) He has a new site and new podcast. Check it out at Uncontrolled Vocabulary.]