Monday, August 13, 2007

Week 9, Thing 23 - looking back

I really enjoyed "23 Things". There were a few items that I had never heard of before, and several areas of Web 2.0 that I hadn't really ventured into yet. It was nice to get a introduction to these areas, though I think a few of them appealed more to my personal interests than work interests.

I really hope we can do something similar for our system. I don't know if I'd suggest all 23 things. I'm not sure how daunting it would be for a new user to see all of these different sites. And so many of them I had a hard time applying to the library. Still, I think it would make a nice introduction and maybe create some great conversation among people that might not talk regularly. I mean, already I've had contact with other members of my system that do not work in my branch, and it's nice to exchange ideas with them and hear their opinions on these new bits of technology. Because, if you're not on a committee with someone, you won't see them until the GSM and by then, you won't remember to talk about any of this stuff! (that's one of the things I like about blogging - you can put your thoughts out there and people can just stumble upon them at their leisure).

So, yes, that was a lot of fun! I think I would enjoy more programs like this that let you see what other libraries in the country (or even the world!) are doing. And maybe even interact with librarians all over and get advice from them!

Friday, August 03, 2007 wonder if people think this way....

This was today's Penny Arcade comic. I really had to share it here, didn't I? (click the comic to see it full size)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Week 9, Thing 22 - Downloadable Audiobooks

I'm pretty familiar with both Overdrive and Netlibrary, since I attended one of the 'Downloadable Audiobooks' trainings we had in the system. Both are relatively simple to use and navigate. I like that some of Overdrive's titles can be burned to CD.

Unfortunately, I haven't actually downloaded an audiobook. I own an iPod, so my portable device will not play the .wma files that these books are formatted in. And if I'm near my computer, I'm usually doing enough multitasking that I can't add "listening to a book" to the list.

But, any time I've tried to help a patron find a book on Netlibrary or Overdrive, I've been very happy. Especially the classics, since it's usually a kid that should have read the book 2 months ago but just remembered he needs it tonight for the project due tomorrow. If you're comfortable enough with technology to be asking about audiobooks, then you'll be comfortable navigating their sites. The rules about "permissions" and "licenses" are a bit hard to explain face to face, but I think once people download all the bits to play the files, they don't really think about it all too much. They just know the file will "expire" in 3 weeks.

I think downloadable audiobooks were a great addition to the services we offer. I just wish Apple would share their iPod code so that 3rd party distributors could create compatible files. I hate the looks on patrons faces when I explain they are not compatible with iPods.

Week 9, Thing 21 - Podcasts

Yes, I believe I have babbled about podcasts before in another forum. I'm not a talk radio person. I listen to books on cd occasionally. Other than that, if I'm listening to something, it's music. If it's talk, it better be very very short.

So I don't really do podcasting. I've tried! I used to have the X-Play (video game reviewing show) video podcast sent to iTunes for me and the Harry Potter Mugglenet podcast. And I never listened to them.

I'll read blogs about video games and harry potter, sure. Because when it comes to a blog, I can skim, skip to the part I am interested in. With podcasts, unless someone has helpfully created a list for you (at 5 minutes 10 seconds, they interview such and such) then I get bored and end up shutting it all down before it's over. Video podcasts...well I haven't found anything I felt the need to watch every time they post something. This is sort of what I use my blogfeeds for - if a cool video is going around, I will find it there. If something funny/interesting is revealed on a podcast, someone will relay the info to me.

Now, the idea of using podcasts on library pages is interesting and I'd love to hear what sort of reaction/feedback these systems are getting. I did a search on one of the sites and found a bunch of public library programs. But is anyone listening? That's what I want to know. I know a lot of friends that fill their iPods up with podcasts and listen to those during the week. So there is an audience out there, but would they listen to a library podcast?

Like a library blog, library podcasts should be kept short and sweet (unless you have a "special guest", like an author that is visiting). I can't imagine any patron listening for longer that 20 minutes about library events or new titles.

I find podcasting to be even more niche than blogging. I think blogging is a much stronger force in the internet universe and if a library was going to dabble in the world of Web 2.0, I think blogging would be a wiser first step than podcasting.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Week 20, Thing 9 - YouTube (the videos)

This is one of my favorite speeches given by one of my favorite people - Joss Whedon accepting his award from the charity 'Equality Now'. (That reminds me of another thing the Internet and YouTube have probably effectively eliminated - tape trading. I'm sure something like this would have been copied onto a VHS and then copied again and again back years ago. But now with high speed internet, mpg files, and YouTube, we can share these moments almost immediately!)

A friend of mine linked this from her blog awhile back. Cute little video created by the St. Joseph Public Library as part of their Staff Day program. Very cute. I'd love to do something like this in our system! Let's staff and patrons see all the different people working behind the scenes and on the front lines to make their library work!

And because I have no shame, I give you the one crappy Buffy/Angel FanVid I made over a year ago. My goodness this was a LOT of work for 4 minutes of video! I probably did it the hard way since I ripped all the dvds myself and just jumped into a program that I had never used before. I don't know if I'll ever bother doing this again, it was fun, but what a time sink!

Oh, and warning - this is extremely sappy/mushy. I'm almost embarassed...I'm usually not such a "shipper" but this song worked for me!

Week 9, Thing 20 - YouTube

Oh, YouTube. What can I say that hasn't already been said? You've given the world a way to share their home videos, which leads to far too many "OMG look at the baby/cat/dog" videos that only a select few would want to see. You've given an outlet to crazy people (like the Russian guy that burned a copy of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows). And you've brought the art of bootlegging to a whole new level - now all the sneak previews that you can only see in theaters are snuck online by clever fans, and by the time the owning company can get it yanked down, enough copies have been saved elsewhere. And, of course, the world of fanvidding (creating music videos for your favorite tv show) has gone to a whole new level of sharing now that this site allows free uploads.

YouTube is a weird creature. My least favorite thing about the site is the search engine. I usually use Google to find things on YouTube because the in site search never gives me quite what I want.

It's funny watching the corporations try to figure out how to handle YouTube. It's free advertising!'s their property. But, they were running it on TV and so it was obtained freely in the first place, why is it different if I'm watching it on YouTube? (This has been the big debate when Viacom said that no Comedy Central clips (specifically targeting 'Daily Show' and 'Colbert Report') could be uploaded on YouTube. Even Jon Stewart has mocked this decision.)

I think YouTube is something programmers should take advantage of! Think of the fun teen contests we could have! Make a commercials for your library! Interview a librarian and post the results! Make a music video about your library! Of course - you have to be of a certain age and class level to afford the video & computer technology for these sorts of things to work. Unless of course you have the kids submits scripts...and the winning script the library could film with their digital plan is forming....

Okay, I'm going to go find a few videos to post. I have a couple in mind already that I want to share.