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.