Monday, October 1, 2007

No. 23 - The End

I think my favorite discovery was I was somewhat cynical about this, but then Ellen Ward pointed out that you can open it at any public computer and have your favorites with you. I can't say that I've tried this, but I really like the idea of it. Probably the most fun thing for me was creating my avatar. In the past, I have made myself into an M&M, but it had less options for customization.

While I had heard about a lot of these things, it was nice to use them and have a hands-on training. I read about these programs a lot so it's nice to have a more concrete idea of their capabilities.

I was surprised by the willingness of staff to help one another get through the program. Once or twice I got stuck and people were very eager to work with me and encourage me to keep going. I think the Randallstown staff was very good at recognizing people who completed the program and applauding their hard work, especially the ones who were not so techno-saavy in the beginning. I think staff are more confident in their abilities and deserve a big round of applause.

In the future I would like the program to begin at different times for different staff members. It was hard having so many people working on it at once. There were scheduling conflicts and then limited computer availability. It was also better when MySpace was blocked on the public computers. Several of the applications were a lot faster afterwards. I would also like to see a more basic curriculum. While it was nice to have people blog, I think more people could benefit from the information just by visiting the sites and becoming familar with the offerings.

I am not sure if I would participate again. I just found it difficult to make time to blog. I would recommend offering the program at a different time. Perhaps after the summer, the purges, and the replacement lists. There was a lot going on that seemed more important.

I am glad to have completed the program. I learned new things and had a good time doing it.

No. 22 - Overdrive

I was lucky enough to have Tina Pickens show me how to use Overdrive when I visited Information Services. It helped clear up some questions I had regarding its use. I would love to use this service but unfortunately I have an iPod so it can't be downloaded. I am thinking about another brand of MP3 player and who knows I might be lucky enough to win one.
I did find Fahrenheit 451. I think I will recommend this to people as an alternative to the book since it is THE BIG READ for October. We have a display up with talking books, books, movies, and the reader's guide. I will find a way to incorporate the Overdrive option too.

No. 21 - Podcasting

I really liked the Yahoo Podcasts. I found it much easier to search and had better luck looking for things I like. It was very clean and simple. I also like how it shows you what else is popular.
I am a big NPR junkie and like listening to Diane Rehm and Nancy Pearl for book suggestions. I was able to find their podcasts.
I tried using Apple before to search for podcasts but didn't have success. A lot of the podcasts were too short or the results were way off base. When I tried this, it was a while back. I was looking for podcasts to put on a website I had to make for young adults about relationships and sexuality.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

No. 20 - YouTube

I love YouTube. You can find so many funny clips and videos. I looked for a few of my favorites like Star Wars Kid and Lazy Sunday, the SNL video. I settled on Lazy Sunday to write about because it talks about Google Maps and Yahoo Maps. They search for movie theaters using this feature on their cellphone. This is an aside, but I went to Magnolia, and was disappointed. I thought the frosting was way too sweet.
I have seen librarians do interesting things with YouTube. Joyce Valenza of Springfield Township HS has her students create videos that review the rules of using the library for younger students like those coming to high school for the first time. So were quite comical. It gets the kids involved. If you get a chance, you should check out Joyce's website.
The library could tape Verizon Helping Hands doing a Word class so a student could access the video at home and follow along. The possibilities are endless.

No. 19 - Web 2.0

I looked at Medstory which won a 2007 Web 2.0 Award for Health. Medstory includes articles from the Wall Street Journal and is a very user-friendly search engine. It helps you refine your search and asks you questions as you click different topics. It doesn't seem like it would bog users down with medical terminology like more sophisticated medical research databases. Their is a button for clincial trials and research articles, as well as links to databases like MedlinePlus for basic definitions. There are also other websites, which I assume would be selected because of their accuracy and credibility. At least that's what it looked like at first glance. While I think this would have limited use in a public library, I think it would be very useful for an academic/medical librarian or someone in the medical or nursing field. To be honest, I wish I knew about it when I was working on my final for Medical Bibliography.

No. 18 - Google Docs

Google Docs saved me over the summer! I was at an out-of-town public library working on a school assignment. I had no disk and my time was running out. I was afraid I was going to lose my work. Then, at the last moment, I remembered Google Docs! I could attach my assignments and open them from anywhere I was without having to bring disks, papers, etc.
It is a great feature and if I remember correctly, I first heard about it from Monty Phair in his Branching Out column.

No. 17 - Sandbox

Well, it took about half an hour to figure out how to add my blog to the favorites list. I was trying to add a new page instead of editing the current page. Luckily, a staff member who completed this part helped me through.
I really click the interface. Once I got going, it was easy to add my blog.
I didn't complete the optional part because at this point I am just trying to finish. Maybe once I am done I will go back and try to do it.