Monday, September 15, 2008

End of the journey!

And what a journey it has been...

Lots of highlights (and some low lights!) over the last few months with participating in the Web 2 experience...

The biggest low for me was definitely the amount of time that was invested. I would have loved to have seen North Shore Libraries support this fully by allowing us to complete the exercises during work time, but in a structured way ie: an hour or so each a week.

However, overall, I personally found the program to be a great learning curve and I am really happy that I have participated as there have been some great benefits in doing so.

It was intriguing to see the flurry of colleagues signing up and the sheer determination displayed as people were trying to figure out who other people were! There were lots of interesting 'relationships' and 'conversations' between blogs going on and it became quite a fascination for many people and almost a 'cult-like' compulsion to check the comments left on blogs! And then there were the ones who got obsessed with the progress chart...!!

The level of creativity and talent shown on colleagues blogs in the way of enhancements etc was extraordinary. It became obvious that there are definitely some web savvy experts amongst us (not mentioning any names quizzylizzy & soandso) and this served to inspire others to do the same and some of the results were amazing. For those of us who had never blogged before, let alone having any experience with widgets, page elements or generators etc, it was amazing to see how easily these tools could be utilised with very satisfying results...

On a personal level, I discovered some fabulous sites that I will definitely continue to use:- Flickr and de.lici.ous being two of them. I will also probably continue to 'blog' as it seems to have become second nature to me and I quite like the anonymity of it and the sense of ownership it brings.

Exploring the different 'generators' was a fun thing to do and the array of options just astounds me. Very satisfying to use minimum effort for maximum results with these and it is something I will utilise again. Most impressive! Definitely something for everyone...

My least favourite sites were Rollyo, Technorati and RSS feeds. Nothing specific...just not sites I found useful or would utilise again.

I think it is great that so many staff attempted to complete this course and am sure that we have all gained much from the experience.

The next step is to master the MP3 player....!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

For Zipperty-doo-dah!

This is posted especially for Zipperty-doo-dah who is currently obsessed with all things crocheted! I know it's knitting...but I'm just illustrating that I can find something interesting too!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Blatant bystander at the Social Networking stop!

Ok...Social Networking sites! While I've heard all about them, been invited to join them, and seen how popular they are with the patrons who come into our library, they have not been something I have even entertained the idea of joining....

Why? I'm not entirely sure. I guess first and foremost, I am a fairly private person, and the thought of having information about 'me' out in the never never for all in sundry to see, does not please or excite me in any way, shape or form, despite assurances that limits are put in place etc. My immediate circle of close friends are also part of this culture, so it seems irrelevant to where I am at right now.

I'm also of the opinion that after entering the 4th decade of my life that I do not fall in to the target audience (18-35?) but perhaps that is just my perception rather than fact. I am still more than happy to contact my friends on an e-mail basis.

There is no doubt that sites such as Bebo, Facebook, MySpace are filling a void for many people but it remains to be seen if they will be a fixture or a fad in the long run... As far as our library environment is concerned, I would have no hesitation in agreeing that North Shore Libraries should follow in the footsteps of Rotorua Public Libraries, Auckland City Libraries and others, in regards to promoting this type of forum as part of our website, with the aim of capturing the interests of our teenage membership.

However, the success of the site will rely on the dedication of a 'savvy' team of people who will ensure that content is consistently current, fresh, interesting and interactive as there is nothing worse in this fickle world as boring, out of date and stale content that never changes! You must grab the attention of this demographic and make them want to return (and in this case...contribute!)

Ultimately, success will also be measured by the contributions that are made by the targeted audience. This was not consistently evident to me on the sites that I visited which suggested that some of them may be missing the mark as there were more entries made by staff than anyone else and sadly, even these contributions had not attracted comments from visitors which to me would feel rather like hitting my head against a brick wall...

Bringing the social networking element to a business environment is definitely a learning curve that many companies are embracing today which is commendable, but for me, I would far rather it stay in the business realm, than for it to become part of my personal life...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A, B, C, D, E-books!

Firstly, I've got to say that I was quite impressed with "Kindle". I had never heard of it before, but the machine itself seems quite impressive. It apparently holds 200 books, and can keep blogs updated regularly throughout your day and will deliver newspapers directly to the device too! hardly needs to leave home...!

While I am impressed with the low prices to download e-books after the initial outlay for the device itself, I still cannot justify or understand who would want to read a book off this hand held device. Surely there would be no pleasure associated with this, as it could not possibly produce a comfortable 'reading font'!

Both LibriVox and Google Book Search had all the author names I searched:- Emily, Anne & Charlotte Bronte, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, H.G Wells, Leo Tolstoy, Jane Austen... Both offered an array of 'hits'.

My searches were done easily by providing the authors' name. Each search bought up multiple listings and also offered additional information.

LibriVox provided details of other 'works in progress' (as opposed to 'completed') of my chosen author.

Google Book Search gave lots of options beginning with splitting my initial search in to "books by (Leo Tolstoy)..." or "books that mention (Leo Tolstoy)..." which I thought was a great option. It then broke the search down again by offering the following which could also be useful:-

Refine results for author:"Leo Tolstoy":
Literary Criticism / Russian & Former Soviet Union
Study Aids / Book Notes
Fiction / Classics
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / War & Military
Fiction / Historical

While I don't think these would be sites that I would personally use, it is good to know that they exist!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Perusing Podcasts?!

Podcasts....hmmmm. I must admit that I'd never really looked at any of these before, but they are obviously becoming very popular. Not sure that it is something that I would have the desire, or need to access every day but I guess they have their place as a different sort of media.

I am keen to see North Shore Libraries adopt this type of tool to promote oral histories etc, and know that other libraries are already doing this. Waitakere Library for example are filming & recording their oral histories rather than just recording audio alone. Thus a podcast is born...

Podcasts would be an ideal way of giving a 'soundbite' or 'teaser' to something more...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Roving (not raving) about You Tube

While I thought the 70's commercials may have taken me on a trip down memory lane, I must admit, I didn't even remember half of them and thought them more likely to have been from the 60's...

After being disappointed in this selection, I thought the best thing a novice like me could do is to enter into the depths of "Top Favourites". Grown adults pretending to be babies with dummies and bottles in their mouths shouting expletives was not a good start.

I was disgusted to see some of the comments that went along with some of the videos. Mindless, senseless, racist and foul-mouthed. I have no respect for a site that has no editing or standards in place as it is then just a free-for-all to mouth off in an unsightly manner and to hell with who they offend...

Trying to find a positive about this 'raved about' and 'hugely popular' site, I decided to do a search of my own and there was an element of redemption when I discovered some "Rove" footage. If you are a Rove fan, there was some great "What the...." footage and a few old videos of Pete Hellyer with big hair!!

I personally fail to see the huge interest that this site generates as I struggled to find anything that was worth watching, let alone passing on to others for their enjoyment. However, for the purposes of the exercise I have added the following video which is from Rove and "The best of thing things I love".

Friday, August 29, 2008

The "Top Stop"

Wow...what an array of sites to choose from in the Web 2 Awards List!

Having always been interested in collating my family history online in some form or another, I firstly looked at a the top two genealogy sites that were listed in hope that they would inspire me to start my long anticipated quest. Winning the genealogy category was My Heritage and while this appeared to deliver all a novice genealogist such as myself could hope for to get started, it lost a little credibility in my eyes when discovering the "find your celebrity look-alike" section... I'm also still very nervous about putting family information and photos etc out into cyberspace as it makes me feel very vulnerable and exposed despite the sites claims of being safe and secure, so have still not yet signed up...

The winners list made for interesting reading and I noted that both Rollyo and Technorati placed second and third respectively in their individual categories. These were two sites that I had personally found un-appealing and of little use. Perhaps I am correct in my assumption that there may be more to those sites than I discovered if they have polled so well...

Delighted to see and Flickr win their respective categories as they are two of my favourite discoveries on the Web 2 journey so far...!

Monday, August 25, 2008


Zoho Writer Home was totally new to me and I guess there are many benefits to having such a versatile word processing program available at your fingertips on the internet.

Opening up a spreadsheet and starting to produce a document seems very straight forward. The tool bar looks to be full of features and is user friendly, however, nothing suggests to me that this particular program offers anything more (or better) than Microsoft Word.

I'm guessing that in some working environments this platform may well be a popular and successful way of sharing information, but cannot necessarily see it as something we would find particularly useful in "Libraryland". smile

A great resource for a group of people all being able to look at the same document and make comments on it as they go to share thoughts, information or suggestions etc.

This posting was written by Auntyof3 in Zoho Writer and exported into my blog site!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rolling through Rollyo

Again, Rollyo, wasn't one of my personal favourites. I didn't find it particularly easy to work out how to get started and would have no idea why I would use this site again. It wasn't easy to navigate and wasn't eye-catching or attractive (which is what appeals to me!)

Professionally, with a stretch of my imagination, groups of similar sites may be useful for sourcing information but I would personally prefer to use although I realise the two sites are fundamentally different.

Despite my reservations, I made a searchroll of my own...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Doing my thing @ Library Thing

I was pleasantly surprised with this site, although admittedly the theory I had seen about the site had been enough to pique my curiousity and raise my interest.

Once exploring, I was amazed at just how simple this process has been made to allow a complete novice to easily navigate around this site and be able to 'catalog' their own bookshelf or indeed, their reading history.

Loved the way that it is really just a case of putting in a title or author...and the rest is done for you....usually complete with picture. In other words...maximum effect for minimum effort!

Undoubtedly this site could be well used as a readers advisory amongst members and I would be keen to see what people with similar interests to my own have on their individual lists and I will choose some books to persue accordingly.

A straight forward excercise on a straight forward site....very refreshing!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Great times @ Generator

This was my sort of stop! I loved playing with all these different sites and seeing what they had to offer.

I visited the letterJames site and made the 'bus stop poster' below. There were many creative resources to experiment with here and one could have spent an insane amount of time exploring with various ideas.

Finding your gangsta name had me in hysterics and I couldn't stop clicking the button to see the next one and the next one.... I found it hilarious, but maybe you had to be there at the time... The first name I generated was Jiggy Shizzle but I quite liked Foxxy Rascal and Hollywood Hoochie when going through the list!

I then moved on to the bar drink site where the names of cocktails were highly amusing. Amongst the better ones (and keeping this a 'family blog') were the following:-
Arrogant Dropkick
1 tsp Irish Cream
1 oz Beer
Shot of Dr. Pepper
Serve in a Soup Ladle. Add cinnamon stick

Holy Gutter Trash
Jigger of Blackberry Brandy
1 oz Apricot Brandy
1 oz Mello Yello Cherry
Serve in a Sherry glass. salt the rim.

Winking Priest
1 oz Brandy
1/2 oz Tequila Premium
4 oz Diet 7Up

It makes me wonder if the names are given to the drink before or after it is consumed...!!

Also enjoyed the Whats your problem? site. I put in my blogging name of 'auntyof3' and it came back with the following"-
"I'm an unconventional control-freak with a dependent personality disorder!"

For anyone aware of my true identity and by my own self admission (see 'about me' on my blog page) they will know that this is somewhat accurate....!
I tried out all sorts of other sites too as my curiosity got the better of me when I saw the extensive list of them.

I then found I could make my own number plate (American of course!) and this is the result...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sussing out the Sandbox!

The sandbox was an interesting experience. While I understand the concept, I have to wonder when I would ever partake in this...particularly when there is so much more being offered on the world wide web that appeals to me more.

However, having said that, I will be interested to see what information is collected with other participants adding their 'favourite things'. Being 'nosey by nature' I am intrigued by what other people find enjoyable and take an interest in.

I got a little mixed up at first when trying to add to a favourite group and ended up adding a thread instead. However, I eventually figured out what I was meant to be doing and posted a few answers accordingly. Then I noticed a spelling mistake on one of my threads and couldn't find out how to edit it. When will the world wide web and all its content learn that I need a spell check automatically done on absolutely everything I do! Is this too much to ask...?

I found the recommended videos were helpful and offered a good overview. I agree with their message that Wetpaint is far more versatile than Wiki and is a lot more user friendly and simplistic.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Whistling through Wiki

With Wiki's being 'level playing fields' thus allowing anyone to add content and edit, this brings about both positive and negative aspects. As discussed in the papers however, it is a great way for everyone to be able to contribute and feel as if they can have a say, and a 'share of the power'.

I'm fairly new to Wiki's and must admit, am not completely sold on them yet. However, it is interesting to see many of the overseas public libraries using Wiki as a tool for book reviews and encouraging their youth to take part and contribute.

Through the article
"Library Success: A best practices wiki" I browsed some of the teenage book reviews. Firstly I was amused by some of the names given to the sites...but taking first prize for me was "Booksnog". Then I noticed that many of the sites I looked at only consisted of reviews from the library staff and the youth had not participated as yet which was not very encouraging. However I was not disappointed when I found Homer Township Public Library and there were an array of book reviews to read that had been written by their teenage patrons. My personal favourite was this one:

Anonymous said...
Prom by Laurie Anderson.

I would not recommend this book. Laurie Anderson is usually a phenomenal writer. She was unable to capture emotion or feeling in this book.

I just love the candidacy of this review!!

Unfortunately the 'Using a wiki for information services: principles & practicalities' by Peter Blake was not working this morning, but I will go back to it for a quick squizz at a later date...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Full steam ahead to the future

Wow...the Web 2.0 phenomenon video is certainly thought provoking and something that you need to watch several times due to the impact. It is very clever and very true. Everything is changing. This is especially true with the web and all is contains.

It is also true for libraries. The way in which we do our jobs today is different in many ways from 10 years ago, different again from 15 years ago and so on. With the way technology is growing, changing and expanding, particularly on the world wide web, our industry has no choice but to go with it and adapt our roles within the community accordingly.

Two statements that stood out amongst the articles I read were: "In Web 2.0, the Web becomes the center of a new digital lifestyle that changes our culture and touches every aspect of our lives. 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". This was taken from Where will the next generation Web take libraries? By Tom Storey....and "In my library, we’ve seen a 55 percent drop in circulation rates over the past twelve years, making it harder and harder to justify the continued buildup of a large “just in case” print collection. As a Web 2.0 reality continues to emerge and develop, our patrons will expect access to everything – digital collections of journals, books, blogs, pod-casts, etc. You think they can’t have everything? Think again. This may be our great opportunity", taken from "Away from the 'Icebergs'" by Rick Anderson.

As mentioned, we are already seeing the impact within our libraries of the vast amount of information available on the world wide web and our customers requirements are increasingly more focused towards needing assistance with accessing databases and web-sites than with finding printed information. It has already transformed our lives in relatively short time it has been available...and we can only imagine how it will rapidly continue to do so...

Toilet stop at Technorati!

Technorati... First and foremost...not my type of site! Too boring in presentation and not particularly easy to navigate in my view. I like a site to 'speak to me' upon loading with eye catching headlines, great use of colour, interesting graphics, a good sized font and the impression that I can easily find what I am looking for...

Unfortunately the Technorati Tour video cast was not working all day today which I thought may have sparked some interest in me by telling me about all the amazing things I could discover if only I could get past the initial 'blah' feeling about the site....but it was not to be. Will check back another day to see if it has come right.

Using the search for "Learning 2.0" bought up a few hits, but nothing of significant interest. However, I did notice that our own "QuizzyLizzy" made an appearance here which eventually led back to the NSL blog they have created.

However, Technorati's use of tiny font did not inspire me to keep looking, or delve further, or 'experiment' with the site and it would not be a site I would bookmark for future use. Too much competition out there for that!

Using the Learning 2.0 search resulted in the same amount of hits in the block directory and blog posts but using the same keyword in tags almost doubled the result. This leaves me wondering about which search would prove to be more useful if one was really seeking some information. At the end of the day, any information we find depends to a large extent on how the contributor has set it up and how accessible they have made it with using relevant tags, titles, common buzzwords within their content etc.

In comparison, the same can be said for trying to sell an item on Trade Me. A seller who describes their item for example as being: "a pair of jeans" has little chance of selling them without the potential buyer having to ask for a lot more additional information. The seller who describes the same pair of jeans as "Ladies Levi jeans, size 12, light ice washed denim, dome fly, boot legged, triple stitched, great condition" will be perceived as more genuine and will probably sell the item without more information being required. Not rocket science is it!?

Overall, Technorati was a 'toilet stop' town for me and not one that I would
choose to stop at again...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Back on track and discovering bacon ice-cream!

Well, after a bit of a hiatus due to a number of factors, I am back on track! The site delivered more than I had anticipated and I spent quite some time exploring it. It was with much reluctance and the constant repitition of the catch phrase 'stick to the program', that I managed to tear myself away to write the required blog! As with many others sites we discover in our travels, I felt that one could just sit and 'discover' for the rest of the day without consciously being aware of where the time was going. Definitely a case of 'the more you look...the more you want to keep on looking'...

Found a wicked link to "Wordle" which allows you to make word cloud art with words of your choosing. To demonstrate...I made one as an example with words associated with the web. View it at:

I am particularly impressed with the idea of having a site that will save all your bookmarks/favourites to a place where you can access from any PC, anywhere, as opposed to only being accessible from the computer to which you have originally saved them. There is nothing more frustrating than being on the front desk and knowing you have a web-site bookmarked on your PC out the back that would be perfect for an enquiry, but being unable to remember the specific site address off the top of your head. With, your answer would only be a click or two away... This idea is simply brilliant and I can certainly understand it's popularity!!

Thinking from a professional point of view...I'd like to see this site replace the "Fitch" which I have never personally warmed to and believe could be a lot more user friendly and useful... By introducing the concept of could open up our saved links to the general public as our resources hardly need to be kept confidential and then the link would become more like a living document.

I can definitely see myself using this site in my own life and discovering all sorts of sites that will be useful both personally and professionally.

I 'tagged' several sites for further exploration later and noted, (but did not tag!), a recipe for 'bacon ice-cream' and 'chocolate coated bacon'. Interesting...but not something that I'll personally be choosing to experience...! What will I discover next?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

RSS & Newsreaders!?

Apart from having no idea what these were until reading the exercise and doing the assigned work...I'm not really that interested!

Perhaps this is a quick judgement after a busy week, but I don't see that they have much benefit to me personally other than collating all my chosen data in one place:- ie: the news headlines, the latest gossip, literature interest information etc. While these will all be sorted and delivered to me for my reading is unlikely that I will ever make the time to go in once a day and read it all.

Therefore, am I not better off how I currently am with bookmarks of the nz herald, stuff etc that I then slip in to when I do have the time and the inclination to persue it.

On a positive note, it is great to be able to individualise what you get sent and specify your own interests etc to only 'get what you want' to a certain extent so you are not wasting more time sifting through information you are not interested in to find/read what you want.

Maybe I'm missing the point somewhere and not understanding the full potential of what RSS and Newsreader can offer. Will follow up by reading colleagues blogs with interest to their views on these resources.

In our professional capacity however, they may be more beneficial. In a 'fitch' type of way, maybe we could collect and archive news headlines, or entertainment news, specialist news, collate information for popular enquiries etc for quick and easy retrieval...

Bring on week 4....hopefully something more to my taste and addictive personality!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Technology Train

Well...I've come to a conclusion...and me being me...I'll share what that is!! The technology train is moving way too fast. There's just so much to do, see, look at, discover and try out on the internet that we could never do it all...even if we were given and infinite amount of time. It is just impossible which is a very overwhelming and surreal thought. It's the same as knowing in 'library land' just how impossible it is to live long enough to read every book we would like to!

When I think of my mere 40 years of life on this earth and the incredible things we have in our lives that I have seen introduced:- colour tv, microwaves, walkmans, portable telephones, cd's, dvd's, ipods, mobile phones, digital cameras, personal computers, lap-tops, Playstation, X-Box, Wii, MP3 players, flash drives etc etc...and yes...lo and behold...the internet and world wide web! We really are living in a very privileged society with an incredible amount of entertainment and exciting technology all around us for the taking.

One always is inclined to think that the latest 'thing' will be difficult, expensive, hard to use etc...and then months later...we are all using it regularly and in fact, can hardly remember a life without it.

As overwhelming as it is...we must embrace it all and look at it as positive enhancement and opportunity for all.

I look around my own home and take for granted the multiple tv's, stereo, mobile phones, microwave, Playstation, internet access, home alarm, digital cameras etc and I then think of my two nieces and nephew who, at ages 1, 4 and 6 know no different...

It is with both trepidation and excitement that I try to imagine just what the future holds...

I'm not trading this!

Okay, I admit it...I can't stop 'playing' in this site. So many new toys, and so little time... I think I need to quit my job and just spend all my time on these new sites:-learning....researching...playing...exploring...discovering!
I've made up a Library Trading Card....although I'm not trading this beautiful tempting as it is sometimes when I have to get up and down ten times a night to let this little creature "in-and-out"! I sometimes have to console myself, that it could be worse. I could have children of my own who could refuse to leave home until they're 40!

Anyway take a browse at my cute little furry friend if you wish...although no bribery, corruption or offers of fame or fortune will even be considered for trading purposes!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Playing Around appears that I can't stop playing with Flickr. The more I look and delve...the more I discover and need to go on and on and on... I am definitely being drawn in to this whole thing like a magnet and can see myself sitting up 'discovering' (all in the name of work of course!) in to the wee small hours of the morning...

I've just been looking at the 'toys' and while I want to try out the mosaics, and magazine covers etc...I'm a bit loathe to give more details about myself and keep joining up to things...especially when I am working from my home lap-top and there are warnings posted that information is available to third parties etc. That still makes me nervous at this stage!

However, I've just attempted to make a photo into a jig-saw...and my result is below. Again, a little nervous to download personal photos of the beautiful people in my life...but have downloaded a photo of my house instead!!

Late for the Stop 2!

OK. Well, due to school holidays, I am already behind in my learning! Although I cleared my e-mail and had a quick look at Flickr last week, I didn't get a chance to proceed with our assigned work so am now playing catch up this week!

However, when looking at Flickr for the very first time last week....I searched under 'abstract' and found the most amazing piece by an artist under the name of RubyMae titled 'Nothing in particular'. They are abstract images and I just fell in love with them... Have a look at:

I personally love abstract images and photography so this set of photos was a visual symphony to me, and naturally I felt obligated to leave a comment on the post giving thanks to the contributor for sharing their talent etc. It has already served to encourage me to get out my own digital camera again and I have started work on my creation...which has definitely been inspired and influenced by RubyMae's work!

I'm excited by the prospect of being able to share this creation, once finished, on line with virtual strangers too. I can almost feel an addiction coming on and am left wondering if my employer will pay for rehab due to the fact that I got 'addicted' all in the name of work...!

By exploring Flickr, I am overwhelmed by what is offered on the net and how many features and enhancements are literally available at our fingertips to use for our own online photo albums and memories. There is definitely no excuse now for me to not back up my personal collection of digital photographs off my own computer for safekeeping which is something I have been 'meaning to do' for years!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

All Aboard!!!

Well, as if turning 40 earlier in the year wasn't bad is now time to jump aboard the IT train in the name of work and learn about some new web-sites which include social networking and 'blogging'. Don't get me wrong. I'm not a techno-phobe at all, in fact I love my lap-top, and surfing the net, Trade Me, e-mail etc. It's just that I have never had any interest what-so-ever in social networking sites and 'diary writing' to an audience. In fact, I had thought these interactions were really only for the 'younger generation'...but it seems that there are loads of people in my peer group and older who are accessing these sites regularly and loving it!! So- I'm jumping aboad, boots and all...and am going to try it all!!! Watch this space!!!