Sunday, March 29, 2009

YouTube and 70s flashbacks

I spent the day touring Stockton State College in the rain with my daughter who is considering becoming an Occupational Therapist. Perhaps it was being on a college campus, or maybe it was the rain, who knows? But when I read the podcast assignment and started playing with the 1970's commercials on YouTube, I found myself typing in "Phil Ochs". As a kid, I'd listened to his songs in the late 60s and 70s. Sadly, he even played at my high school in 1972, (got a ticket stub somewhere...).

I recall using the lyrics to "Changes" as my poem of choice in my 7th grade English class. Getting the lyrics entailed listening to the same track on the vinyl record I had over and over - not easy to do with a turntable!

Ochs was viewed as a protest singer, a 'journalist"(supposedly by Bob Dylan), and a folksinger. His career declined in the mid-1970s. On tour in Africa, he was strangled by robbers and his vocal chords were damaged, but he still performed. He became depressed, began abusing drugs and eventually was diagnosed as bipolar. In 1976, while staying with his sister in Queens, NY, he committed suicide. He was 35 years old. I have a very vivid memory of that day.

In perusing various search results for Phil Ochs, it was soon obvious that many of the links are now dead. Okay, links for a dated, somewhat obscure folksinger from decades ago are dead, so what?

Well, aside from being frustrating, it does make me wonder about just how many dead links there are. What happens to a dead link, does it just stay there, posted in some article or blog until someone tech-savvy comes along and reinstates it or deletes it?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Of Google Docs and Web 2.0 awards

My first experience with Google Docs was utilizing it for the first joint assignment for this course. It worked beautifully for us, easily enabling sharing and editing a document. It worked so well that I suggested my friends and I use it for a joint paper for another course, where it also worked well. It does take a little getting used to, but I really felt that it was very effective and easy to use. With time constraints being what they are in most people's lives, using Google Docs sure proved to be an efficient way to "meet" and share thoughts and ideas!

I really enjoyed exploring the Web 2.0 Awards site. MANY of these sites will be tagged on my delicious account! I played with a variety of sites, including, which I learned does accept P.O.s for orders from schools and libraries. Prices where quite good in comparison to Amazon, but these are all used books, so it's tough to compare witout actually seeing the book's condition. I was also intrigued by Vufind, a relativley new OPAC system, which looks quite promising, especially since it's free. It appears to be pretty new and will undoubtedly have some kinks to work out but in a year or so, this may be a viable option to the system currently in use in my libraries. This is definitely a site worth watching. I then played with Craig'sList, checked out my Facebook account, and just played around with some of the sites. The education sites were disappointing as they were language-oriented. I'd expected more teacher-focused sites, as opposed to learner-focused sites (aren't all sites learner focused?). So many sites, so little time....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Library 2.0 and Wikis

The readings on Library 2.0 caution us that the whole concept of Web 2.0 is constantly evolving as new technologies keep developing. Tom Storey wrties that, "The Web moves from simply being sites and search engines to a shared network space that drives work, research, education, entertainment and social activities—essentially everything people do." In his view, we will be constantly in touch with technology, everything will be online, connected to the Web. This is already evident in our use of cell phones, PDAs, and other handheld devices.

Much as I recognize this as true, I also dread this total reliance on devices as opposed to face-to-face conversations or even an actual phone call as opposed to a text message. I wish I could recall where I read this, but just this week I read an article (online, of course!) about how people were becoming too stressed out by this constant connection, that there was a grassroots movement afoot to TURN OFF YOUR CELLPHONE/PDA/COMPUTER! It seems to be common sense, but really, folks, there are times when you should just turn the things off and live! One shouldn't need a "movement" to do so, just common sense. If something is becoming a hindrance instead of a tool, then it's time to rethink your usage of that tool. So much for my views on personal usage...

So, what does this mean in terms of libraries? Well, the future is now, the Web is here to stay, and if libraries are truly to serve their clientele, they must also become linked to the Web in order to provide services in the most efficient manner. Wikis are the perfect way to do so.

There is an incredible amount of potential for wikis to be used in any library. The Bull Run Library Wiki is a wonderful example of the many ways information can be made available to the user through the use of a wiki. It even provides access to its own catalog and to WorldCat, so materials may be located in the area as well.

School libraries stand to learn a great deal by examining the way wikis are used in schools for everything from classroom projects to book reviews and lesson plans. Great ideas, great resources--I'm tagging these in my Delicious account!Follow the following link or school wikis:

Monday, March 2, 2009


Almost overlooked Rollyo! Being able to customize your search engine could prove useful at some point. I imagine it would be less time consuming than a general Google search in the long run. I could see it being used as a Pathfinder of sorts, listing sites of use on specific topics. My concern is that new sites, which may be better than the ones you've included in your own personal Rollyo, would not be included in a search. What happens when a site goes dead? Do you have to reconfigure your Rollyo? Additionally, this is something I don't anticipate having the time for any time soon.

Bloglines, LibraryThing, and Delicious

I have been using Delicious tags for the past 3 years. Since I work in 2 different schools and do alot of my work from home, this is the only way to keep track of favorite sites and resources. I have to admit, I still add to My Favorites, simply because it's easier, but it's always been one of my resolutions - to be better organized and more disciplined! Admittedly, using Delicious would be a step in the right direction, I just have to break the habit of clicking on the Add button for My Favorites.

I became interested in LibraryThing as a social bookmarking site when I was working on a paper for Cataloging. The concept of being able to review books and enter comments on an OPAC system in a public library is pretty intriguing. From a personal standpoint however, it does not really appeal to me as my book collection is not all that extensive - I'm a regular library patron.
While I enjoy reading other people's reviews, I really have no interest at this point in posting my own. Time is way too short for me to become involved in this. I fear it may be one of those things, like the new Facebook account my daughter made for me, that saps time!

Bloglines is another way to organize all one's favorite sites, while also receiving recommendations for new sites in areas of interest. It kind of does the shopping for you, which makes life easier. I do wonder how an organization or a site becomes included on the Bloglines feeds list., what are the criteria?

I'm finding that there are so many nuances to each thing we explore, that I am starting to get overwhelmed by it all. I'm at the point where even though I would like to find out more about the various systems, I know that I will have to wait until this is more feasible timewise.