Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thing 20- You Tubing & Teacher Tubing: Surfing Web Programs

Hello Readers,

It's been awhile, but I'm back to ride a wave of library related You Tube programming. There were many library videos. Some of the ones I view were:

City of Plano, Texas- Library Technical Services

This video clearly explains how library books get into patrons hands from vendor to book shelf. The video and audio quality are excellent and the video is a little over 3 minutes in length.

Library Book Cart Drill Team

This video was grainy, but the audio was good. There was no other information about where and when it took place, although I'm pretty sure it's a library convention. I've witnessed this competition in person for the first time at last year's TLA convention. It's a fun video to show to those who've never seen or heard of a book cart drill team and there were quite a few on You Tube.

I also went to Teacher Tube, a similar site that concentrates on educational web program.

Library Catalog Mini Lesson (online catalog)

The video was informative, but the quality of the video wasn't very clear. I don't know how it was filmed. It was a little fast, cramming all of information into a film. I would have broken into a smaller mini lesson (searching by author, subject, etc.)

Be Creative @ Your Library

This video was a commercial create for New York's statewide summer reading program. It doesn't give any information about the summer reading program, but I thought it was a well produce promo that could be used year around to encourage kids to go to their library and read.

I thought about creating videos of library and reading programs, especially ones that show the users using the library. Some of the videos I saw talked about library services and some were orientation videos, but the libraries were devoid of patrons. I know filming with large groups of people can be difficult, but these shots can be filmed later and inserted in the final video. These videos were on You Tube and Teacher Tube not only to inform their patrons, but to share their ideas with others. It gives all of us who work and use libraries a chance to informally collaborate and celebrate libraries and their programs. The last video that was a commercial reinforces how most people in our country choose their products and services- through advertising. We have products, we are a service. Videos like the ones I viewed advertise and promote us- basically selling us to the public. It's reciprocal as well. They may not know that they can get X, Y, or Z at the library (and usually for free), unless we inform them.

As a school librarian, I've have films that were a result of book reviews and research projects on my website, but not much else. Seeing the variety and ideas out there helps me see what I can offer my users. Until then, keep reading.

Queen B.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bonus Buzz: 2.0 Playlist

Hello Readers,

The 23 Things project is coming to an end, so it will soon be PARTY TIME! I wanted to put together a 2.0 playlist- songs that reflect the aspects of 2.0 or give a shout out to 2.0 web tools. So far I've found two songs that fit the bill:
  • "Technologic" by Daft Punk on the CDs Human After All (full version) and Musique Volume 1 (shorter version). The song summarizes what we do with technology. I can't get this beat out of my head.
  • "New Friend Request" by Gym Class Heroes from their CD As Cruel as School Children. It's social networking at its most desperate and lovelorn, but I like the song.
I'm hoping to find more. If you know of any, I'd love to hear from you. Until then, keep reading and listening.

Queen B.

Thing 18: WWWD- What Would Wiki Do?

Hello Readers,

I remember when Wikipedia first came on the scene. I felt it wasn't very reliable since any registered user could create anything about anyone or any event. Some people have sued despite some procedures being put in place to prevent misinformation. I've seen some entries that are put together very well, using universally reliable sources like newspapers, primary documents and established encyclopedias like Brittanica (although I feel creating an encyclopedia-like entry citing another encyclopedia is redundant). Some entries follow the procedures Wikipedia wants, but their cited sources are option blogs and fansites.

I did create a wiki entry for me on the North Texas 23 practice wiki. Check it out.

Now Wikipedia does have warning messages citing the problems with some entries: no citations, incorrect writing style and bias for instance, but the entry is not deleted. Users are invited to discuss entry problems and are welcome to correct them, but I noticed entries that haven't been corrected in a while. I did notice some entries that are bare bones, almost dictionary like entries. I did see some entries evolve into informative pieces over time, some just becoming trivia buckets (which is frown upon in the Wikiverse). Unfortunately, in my option, some people use Wikipedia as the end all, be all for answers to research. This is why teachers and librarians/media specialists should require legitimate resources. Colleges and universities do and so many students are unprepared or under prepared to do real researching (as I've been told by my father and brother, both teach in universities). I do use Wikipedia, to look up fun stuff and current cultural things because those are the most common entries, but I do look up those subjects on other sites as well.

Now I am planning to create wikis for my school. I want to merge our curriculum charts with the resources available through the library and the guided reading library. I'm hoping all of my colleagues will contribute. That way we know if the resources suggested for a unit of study are located in the library, the guided reading library or the grade level library. The goal is to see everthing in an easy to read chart and prevent redundancy. Why spend money on a resource for the library if the math department, our instructional specialist or our principal has already bought the resources for the teachers and the students aren't interested in it? Especially now with tight budgets. It will also allow those of us who buy school resources to see what we have and what we need. One of our district librarians started a wiki for all the district librarians to share ideas and information. Our district also has a link to Curriki for all educators, but I don't think it's been publicized much. It's available for anyone who wants to look up lesson plans, submit lesson plans and connect to other educators. Give it a look. Until then, keep reading.

Queen B.

Thing 19: What's Up Google Docs?

Hello Readers,

The concept of Google Docs document sharing isn't new to me. Our school district had started something similar a few years back, but I didn't really utilize it much. I have a flash drive, so I didn't need to store a document there if I wasn't on my workstation. Now I don't see Google Doc as useless, it can serve a purpose if you want to share and collaborate to create and edit documents with others who don't have access to your documents. It can also be useful if you can't find your flash drive (they are getting smaller and smaller these days). If I wanted to create or to share a document, spreadsheet with another librarian in another district or with a children/youth librarian in a public library, etc. such collaboration is possible. The service can also be seen as a backup of sorts (but you should still use a backup hard drive).

I also explored the Google Docs Blog. The webmasters really listen to their users and they are determined to find ways to make using their service more accessible and user-friendly. For instance, users can now share templates for documents and presentations. They read users wanted tables- their wish is Google Docs' command. It's good that users' input is viewed as valuable because their are many services that don't listen as well as they should. I don't see this tool on a regular basis, but I'm glad it's there to use- just in case. Until then, keep reading.

Queen B

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thing 17: LibWorm: Taking a Bite Out of the Biblioblogosphere!

Hello Readers,

Worms in apples are bad. Worms in computers are worse. LibWorm-good. It's like Feed Burner for library related material on the Internet that can be easily accessed through RSS feeds. This feature allows you to stay up to date with the latest library things. The feed categories help narrow your search if you're not sure what you are looking for. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a feed category for school library podcasts. In fact, I didn't find much on school libraries or school librarians. Maybe the feeds didn't have what I was looking for. I also discovered some of the library feeds I subscribe to didn't show up here. I guess the authors of these feeds didn't submit their blog, podcast, etc. to LibWorm. I'll probably get an account so I can share some podcasts with other librarians, especially school and children's librarians. I looked up my school, nothing there, but I did find another Sheffield Library (in England). I'll keep it in mind in the future. Until then, keep reading.

Queen B.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thing 16: It's Your (Library)Thing

Hello Readers,

Today I share my thoughts on Library Thing (although I did mention it during my Shelfari post). It's so simple: catalog the books you own, assign tags to your titles, rate them, review them and join groups to discuss them. You can also personalize your page to include recommendations from other Thingamabrarians (as we are called), author visits in your area and a listing of members who have the same titles in their library as you. Tagging also gives you the option to catalogue your collection outside of Dewey convention. For instance, I have tags called "movie tie-in" and "tv tie-in" to designate books in my collection that have been adapted into film or television. I also use the tag for books from films and television series.

The best and most unusual features of Library Thing are the Suggester, which is basically recommendations based on your catalog and the Unsuggester, which recommends titles that are the antithesis of your library collection. Another signature feature is the opportunity to received free books from publishers to review for the site called "Library Thing Early Reviewers".

I can't really explain my collection. This collection isn't every book I own, but it does represent what I love after reading- art. Check out my Library Thing. I hope to see yours. Until then, keep reading.

Queen B.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bonus Buzz: Shefari: Exploring Reading Possibilities

Hello Readers,

I just finished my library for
Library Thing (I'll share my thoughts soon). I do like Library Thing because I can see who else owns the books I own, do my own reviews and post them to Twitter and join groups with unusual names like "Librarians Who Library Thing", "Awful Lit." and "Tea!" . But the number of books you can catalog for free is limited to 200. Does any librarian own less than 200 books? Possibly. It doesn't cost much to upgrade to an unlimited library and it's good for book swaps and insurance purposes. The only thing, I wouldn't include books I don't own on Library Thing, which is why I like Shefari.

Shefari is a social networking book site, like Library Thing. You let people know what you read, what you are reading and what you're going to read if you choose. You can choose your display shelf and just add books. You can also catalog magazines and individual comics (which is harder to do with Library Thing). I liked having a separate place to review and recommend books I read from my school library and books I checked out from the public library without taking up my Library Thing space. I also have two separate bookshelves: one for my young adult and adult reads and ones for children's books and professional books. Check it out. Create a shelf for books not in your personal library and share. I'm always looking for books to read. Hopefully you'll try out some of the books on my shelves.

My Children's/Professional Shelf:
Queen B's Children's Books

My YA/Adult Shelf:
Queen B.

Until then, keep reading!
Queen B.

Thing 11: OMG! It's IM!

Hello Readers,

Queen B here, giving to LD on IM. I had first experienced IM while a WebCT student @ UNT studying for my MLS. It was with AOL and it was FREE (remember those annoying discs in the mail), so I used it. I was a bit distracting while I was studying. Fortu8ly, now you can turn it on and off. Unfortu8ly, if others see UR online, they may distract U. Of course the texting vocabulary wasn't down to an "official" language as it is now.

Now in a library setting, it could be useful for those seeking answers to questions and book requests. In a library setting that has more than one employee, it could work. I'm the only one in my school library, so it can be a challenge. On busy collaborative days, I can go most of the day not seeing my computer, so if I'm not checking my e-mails, I definitely not responding to IMs. I also get distracted easily sometimes and bounce around based on what captures my fancy (notice I'm doing these Things out of order).

Still, I'm intrigued. I do want a phone will a full text keyboard. I'm learning the texting language. I even read ttyl from the Internet Girls series by Lauren Myracle (ttfn and l8r,g8r are the other books in the series) to try out my skills since the series in entirely written in IM/texting language. Until then keep reading.

Queen B.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thing 15: Can You Digg It?

Hello Readers,

Today's entry is a nugget called Digg. Again it's power to the people- you decide what is the popular "news" of the day. Funny and unusual tombstones, Acer overtaking the rest of the computer competition and the passing of Oxy Clean/ Infomercial King Bill Mays took were the popular "diggs" during my time of exploration.

Again, these last few things have my mind on information overload. Is there such thing as too much access? Too much information? Right On! That's why as librarians we can help our users sift through all of this info. It also helps to see where our users get all of this info. I'm taking a break for now, before I dig myself into a hole I cannot escape from. It may be time for a information fast/ news fast. Keep reading, but it won't hurt to take a break. Stay cool.

Queen B.

Thing 14: Mmmm, Delicious

Hello Readers,

Today, I'm serving up a tasty morsel from the Web 2.0 buffet- Delicious. A social bookmarking site that allows you access your favorites when you're not at your computer. I totally dig it (which is another entry for later). This is especially helpful when you computer has to be reimaged, buy a new computer, change internet services or on vacation (you know some of you can't stay away from the internet). It helps to back up your favorites anyway, but Delicious it great as well.

I imported many of my bookmarks and I realized three things:
  1. I have a lot of bookmarks, I need to delete the ones I don't go to anymore.
  2. Delicious used my folder names as tags. I don't give standard names to folders, so I had to rename a few of my tags.
  3. When Delicious asks you if you want to remove the bookmarks from you're browser, say no. I may not want to log on the site just to access my bookmarks, I may not want to share all of my bookmarks (even though you have the option not to share a bookmark) and sites go down. It would be my luck I want to go to a site and Delicious is down.
Okay, that may be more than three things. The dilemma with these Things, you can't do just one. Until then, keep reading, blogging and "tasting" these web tools.

Queen B.

Thing 7: RSS Feed Me!


I'm not quite clear on what you want for this thing. It just seems so similar to the blog feeds. I wanted to make sure I did it correctly. Thanks.

Yeah, RSS Feeds and Blogs are closely related. In fact, a blog feed is one type of RSS feed. Other types of RSS feeds could be news stories from or some library databases use RSS feeds to alert researchers of new articles in a specific subject.

As a librarian, I love information as much as the next person, but I feel I'm courting information
overload. RSS feeds, can help my keep up with the last trends, lessions and information related to my profession without hunting down specific websites, podcasts, etc. Goggle Reader does make it easy to access all of these feeds. If you want to read more (as if you needed more information), try a book called Blogging and RSS: a Librarian Guide by Michael P. Sauers. Until then, keep reading.

Queen B.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bonus Buzz: Web Tool Book- Blogger

Hello Readers,

I can't believe I didn't have a blog before 23 Things. Well, I had my reservations, but I'm really enjoying this now. Blogger is so easy to use, but there is so much more. When I decided to take on these 23 Things, I checked out a couple of books. One book I found useful was Publishing a Blog with Blogger (part of the Visual Quick Project series).

Just to let you know, the book was published in 2005, so some of the features look different in the book than how they look in Blogger now. Still, the book was very visual- large color pictures, concise text and multiple examples. There was also clear explanation and breakdown of HTML codes and how it looks in your posts. Now I'm not into code, but it did help me see how it translates. One day I'll probably go down that road when I need that challenge.

Now everything in the book could probably be found in Blogger's help section, but I can't stare at a computer screen to read all of the time. Having a book to refer to while I'm doing a project helps. Give this book a look. Let me know if you've found a better book on Blogger or blogging in general. Until then, keep reading.

Queen B.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thing 13: Tagging, You're It!

Hello Readers,

Today's thing is tagging. The idea that someone can label any book, blog entry, anything with any label can be both accessible and annoying. As a librarian searching Amazon, I find it a bit frustrating. Although, it has gotten a bit better over the years. I even read that the term for social network tagging is called Folksonomy. The people determine what labels an entry get. For a lot people who didn't go to the library or were shown how to search in library catalogs, I can understand how such tagging evolved. Even the Library of Congress were behind in how subjects were labeled leaving archaic or terms that fallen out of favor, making it difficult to find books.

For instance, a reader of Anime Insider complained he couldn't find all of the anime DVDs when he typed in the term "anime". If he typed in Animation-Japan, this person would. But no one I know calls in animation from Japan, they call it anime. I did type in anime is a few of the library catalogs I use and if the word was present anywhere in the MARC record, the title came up (it was review in Anime Insider or "series aired on the Anime Network). Many titles I knew fell under the anime genre did show up.

The Anglo American Catalog dictates how items are catalogued in its MARC record. The culture changes so rapidly. I can understand why libraries shouldn't submit to quickly, but the young users (those we know use the library) don't use the subject headings librarians use. Keyword searches sometimes help with that social tagging mentality. Then there are people that give some items esoteric or obscure tags.

I'm sure the tags I use for my blog entries are a bit much, but I know I don't use LOC subject headings. Until then, keep reading.

Queen B.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Thing 10: It Don't Mean a Thing If It's Not on Ning

Hello Readers,

Today it's a social networking site called Ning. It's seems like the groups found on Yahoo, but it's more public. You don't need a Yahoo account and you can see how big or small a group is. He can see all of the groups at once and preview them. Some of the Yahoo groups I wanted to see wouldn't let me look around without being a member. The site also uses folksonomy to tag it's group, so the search engine can pull in groups that totally related to what you're searching for and what you're NOT searching for. It's also a good way to find local groups (if the location was tagged).

I did look up some groups: artist sites, manga/anime fan sites and composition art journal groups (people who only do visual journaling in those cheap marbled composition books). Some groups had interesting names:
  • Many Maniacs Creating Art
  • The Land of Lost Luggage Network
  • Animation and Illustration Ministry (sounds like a church)
I may look into joining a group later since I do enjoy creating art and reading mangas.

Until then, keep reading.

Queen B.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thing 12 Twitter Has Me Buzzin'

Whatya doing?
No what are you doing?
You mean whatever?
U R totally wasting char spaces

Let people know what I'm doing in 140 spaces? Sound like I'm speaking to a teenager. It's amazing they say more on Twitter and Facebook that to someone's face (or at least their parent's face). It's not like I dislike Twitter. I like it. It helps me follow some of my colleagues, other librarians, artists and interesting people. If you're interested, curious or just nosy (the world now is practically a fishbowl), you can following me @
I usually try to keep my tweets art related, book related, movie related, movies based on books related and of course, library related.

It's so amazing how the world unfolds on twitter. Would the world know about the events unfolding in Iran so closely without Twitter? There was a song that stated: "The Revolution will not be televised". No, it will be Twittered.

In case you're wondering, I did skip and couple of things. I'll get back to them. Facebook? I'll tackle that after the 4th of July weekend.

To all of the fathers out there, especially my Dad, happy Father's Day! Keep reading.

Queen B.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thing 6: Google Reader

Hello Readers,

Today it's all about Google Reader. How did I survive without you? Pretty well, but this has helped me keep track of the many blogs I was reading. I made little folders for library/ literature blogs I was following as well as some artists and foodies I was following. I realized this is also useful when I want to read my favorite blogs and sites and I'm not at my computer . I'm glad I had the opportunity to use this tool. Until then, keep reading.

Queen B.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bonus Buzz: A Web Tool Book to Check Out

Hello All,

Queen B here giving you some bonus buzz. Storms came and went, but that's Texas. While I waited for the weather to clear, I read by flashlight- a quick read called No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog by Margaret Mason. You could follow the Amazon link, but many public libraries have this title (World Cat says 193 libraries worldwide have this title physically in their library and over 200 have an electronic version available ). What I found interesting about this book is the blogging ideas are divided by the amount of time you may have to dedicate to your blog. The first chapter is called "Fifteen Minutes of Fame". The other chapters cover Thirty minutes, one hour and long term blogs.

The one of the ideas I found interesting was "29-Place Yourself". Using the website Platial, you can create a Google map mashup of anything you like. For instance, the summer reading program for our district is "Books that Bite". Librarians or students can do literature maps like "Places That Bite" (a Google map mashup of the settings of vampire stories, shark , reptile or bug related stories). I going to explore this site and let you know how it goes. Until then, keep buzzing.

Queen B

Monday, June 8, 2009

Breaking News: Cook Up Your Own Image (Thing 5)

News Flash!

Queen B compels all who read this blog to use this summer to Get Your Read On!

I was introduced to Image Chef before through a colleague, but I never got the chance to thoroughly explore this tool. I the way you can create images so easily. This would be a great tool for projects and publicity. I also looked at Pixton, a comics generator. I think Pixton and other comic generators would be a great tool to use with students who are learning a new language. Even students with certain learning disabilities. It doesn't matter if you can read the prominent language or not. Most visual stories can be understood by all.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Thing 4: Mashup


I spent a lot of time on the various mashup links for thing 4. Maybe TOO much time. The Spell with Flickr site reminded me of the Caldecott Honor book Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson. His book has illustrations of city objects that look like the letters of the alphabet. Johnson also created a sequel using numbers called City by Numbers. Check them out, they are more than your standard counting and alphabet books. Until then, keep buzzing.

Thing 3: My Friend Flickr

Hello All,

Queen B here. Flickr is not unfamiliar to me. Colleagues that had babies, artists sharing their journals and decorators showing off their work have kept me occupied for hours. I didn't know libraries that photostreams on Flickr until I read the assignment for thing 3. I set up a photostream for the library I work at called Queen B.'s ArcHIVE. Since the school year has ended, I don't have many pictures, but come back to the arcHIVE in September after school has started. I will definitely add more.

Also, while exploring Flickr I found this photo of books organized by color. Chotda, the screen name of the photostream's creator, said the shelves contains books collected over a decade. Maybe some libraries ordered books like this before Dewey came along. It's visually stunning. Enjoy. Until next time, keep buzzing.

Queen B.

Thing 2: Library 2.0

Thing 2 is about Library 2.0. Personally, I think it should be called "Libraries: the Next Generation" or "Libraries: the Second Wave". Maybe, a spin-off of that MTV show "Pimp My Ride" and call it "Pimp My Media Center". Okay. You may not know that show, but I bet some of your users do. If you're not familiar with the show, the premise is simple: young adults with old, plain vehicles take them to an auto detailing shop to get it "pimped out". Television sets in the back seat, aquariums in the headrests, special colored lights inside and under the car. It's wild. Some of the updates seem unnecessary, but fun and tailored to the driver's desires.

Well, our libraries need to meet our users at least halfway to stay relevant and be useful to them. It's a bit of a challenge for school libraries and librarians. Some of these 2.0 tools are blocked by districts, but as intellectual freedom fighters and facilitators, we must work with our faculty, tech reps and curriculum heads to gain access. After all, every state has technology objectives that are required by the state to be taught. Here's it your crowbar to pry those block accessed tools open. Thankful the district is very open to technology and software, but there is still a gap. The gap between our state and district approved databases (what we want our students to use) and tools like Wikipedia and Google (what the students, even some teachers want to use).

Given the age of the students I work with, some of the tools may be out of reach for them, but I can introduce some of them. I can see them contributing to our library's Flickr page with their projects, creating mashups and using image generators. Some may even be ready to blog using our district's email provider. I hope to share some of their work in the future. Until then, keep buzzing.

Queen B.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Thing 1: What's the Buzz?

The buzz is about North Texas 23 Things project. Hello fellow participants! I'm looking foward to this journey. As an elementary school librarian I'm always looking for new ways to intergrate technology and learning with my students. They are very open to new things. I do admit I only deal with web tools and technology when I have too, but I enjoy it when I do. Thank you to the organizers of this project. I'm so left brain, that sometimes I'm not as organized as I should. I'm creative, but not as organized as right brain people expect.

So I'm jumping feet first into these 23 things. Hopefully I can pass what I learn from all of you (and learn from myself) to my fellow faculty members and others who haven't had the 2.0 experience. Check back later this week for more posts!

Queen B.