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Thanksgiving Break

Photo by Piero Sierra. Found using compfight.com.

There will be no Things this week. Have a nice Thanksgiving!

Lauren and Amy are so thankful to be able to do this program and are grateful to all of you who are participating. We work with some pretty awesome people.

If you like, say what you are thankful for in a comment on this post!

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Thing #15 – LibraryThing

WHAT

At its most basic level, LibraryThing is an online book cataloging service that anyone can use. The idea is that you create an account, add a bunch of books to your online collection, organize them using tags, and then share them with other book lovers—or keep them private. LibraryThing allows users to catalog AND share their book collections (up to 200 titles for free, $25 for an unlimited number of titles).

Libraries have started using LibraryThing as well. Small libraries are even using LibraryThing to catalog their collections. According to their website, LibraryThing is “exploring relationships with libraries, to offer non-commercially motivated recommendations and other social data.” As a result, they’ve created LibraryThing for Libraries. This is something that the library is considering purchasing.

WHY

Because if you like books (you do, right?), it’s a lot of fun! And as mentioned before, there is talk of adding it to our online catalog.

Developed for book lovers, LibraryThing not only allows you to easily create an online catalog of your own book collections, it also connects you to other people who have similar libraries, reading tastes, collections, and interests. You can also find new books based on recommendations, favorite titles, authors, browsing, and serendipity!

I’m sure many of us might appreciate the efficiency gained by having a catalog of the books we own. An easily accessible log of what we’ve read and our impressions of it could also be a handy personal or professional tool. As a reader, these tools could be another way to find that next book, find readers with similar interests, and discuss what you’re reading. The large community of users allows you access to people and information in a way that was not possible before.

It’s pretty easy too. To catalog books, just type the title, author, or ISBN to access the book’s complete information from sources like Amazon.com and the Library of Congress. Users can tag their books, post book reviews and discussion topics, and join or create public or private groups to have virtual conversations on anything of book-related interest. Users can even keep track of group postings using RSS feeds!

HOW

You have two options.

A.

  1. Take the LibraryThing tour (make sure you click the Next >> links at the bottom of each screen).
  2. Then use the Suggester to find recommended titles based on a book you love. Use the UnSuggester to find um, bad recommendations.

–OR– the more fun option

B.

  1. Sign up for a LibraryThing account!
  2. Begin adding books that are in your personal library or that you have read. Add at least five for this exercise and make sure to tag them.
  3. Try out the Suggester and UnSuggester too.

SHARE

Discuss how you think LibraryThing could be used in a library. What do you think about LibraryThing for libraries? What did you think about the Suggester and UnSuggester? If you signed up for an account, consider sharing your username in this blog post and by submitting the URL of your new Delicious account using the “Add My Profile” form so that it can be added to the participants page. Name this blog post Thing #15.

STRETCH

Add some of the other participants as friends/contacts in LibraryThing. Take a look at Shelfari and Goodreads, two other social networking sites for readers.

Thing #14 – Social Bookmarking with Delicious

WHAT

Delicious is a social bookmarking website that is used for storing, sharing, and discovering websites in a way that can be accessed anywhere on the web. When you add a website to your Delicious account, you also add tags to describe the website that you just added.

The “social” part of social bookmarking is the way you can share with others and search what they have saved. The “bookmarking” part of social bookmarking is the online equivalent of the favorites list of websites that you manage from the browser on your own computer.

In the past few weeks, we’ve already explored one site—Flickr—that allows users to take advantage of tagging. You may have tagged some of your own photos as part of that Thing or as a part of Thing #13. Searching tags in Flickr or another site that allows tagging lets you find other items with those same tags. Delicious uses tags in somewhat the same way—you use tags that you have used to describe your links to find websites that other users have added to their Delicious account with the same tags.

For a real life example of how you can use social bookmarking: Elise at the wonderfully yummy website Simply Recipes uses Delicious to organize some of her recipes.

WHY

Many users find that the real power of Delicious is in the social network aspect, which allows you to see how other users have tagged similar links and also discover other websites that may be of interest to you. You can think of it as peering into another user’s filing cabinet, but with this powerful bookmarking tool each user’s filing cabinet helps to build an expansive knowledge network.

As bookmarks are added and tagged, a folksonomy emerges. Clicking a tag in Delicious shows you all the bookmarks with that tag. And in the same way that using a subject heading can narrow a catalog search, using a folksonomy tag can save you from sorting through 2 million Google hits by showing you what other people have found useful on that topic.

Another benefit to using Delicious is that it makes your bookmarks portable and easily searchable. You can be at home, at work, or even in another state and still have access to your bookmarks.

Many libraries use a social bookmarking tool such as Delicious as a central place to gather and organize information.

HOW

You have two options.

A.

  1. Search for resources in Delicious using tags (or keywords) of your choosing.
  2. Discover some new or interesting resources.

–OR– the more fun option

B.

  1. Open your own Delicious account. (note that Delicious is now part of Yahoo! If you have a Yahoo! account for email or MyYahoo!, log in with that)
  2. Start adding bookmarks that you think would be useful for you to have no matter what computer you were using.
  3. Tag them descriptively.

SHARE

Post a comment on your blog about your Delicious experience. How could you see it fitting into your work and personal life? How could the library use Delicious? If you signed up for Delicious, consider sharing your username in this blog post and by submitting the URL of your new Delicious account using the “Add My Profile” form so that it can be added to the participants page. Name this blog post Thing #14.

STRETCH

Set up a Delicious account for your branch with links to frequently visited websites. Make sure to tag them descriptively! If more than one person at your branch is participating in 23 Things SCPL, work together. Make sure you share your work with your coworkers and watch your collection of bookmarks grow!

Thing #13 – Tagging and Folksonomies

a sharpie marker with tags

Photo by cambodia4kids.org

WHAT

Tagging and Folksonomies – Two Defining Attributes of Web 2.0

Did you see the definition of Web 2.0? If not, go read it now.

Who will organize all this information on the web? We will – using TAGS!  Tagging is not like library subject headings, which follow a strict set of guidelines.  Tagging is an open and informal method of categorizing that allows users to associate keywords with online content (web pages, pictures & posts).  Tagging is done by you to make retrieval of web content easy for you.

Tagging– it’s personal, freeform, shared, open to others and is as simple as typing a word into a text box.

What do people tag? photos, webpages, books, videos, blog posts, recipes, merchandise, lists, pets, friends, and so on and on and on. . .

How do people tag?  Using words that make sense to you. You are an expert in your own vocabulary (tags!)

For example, a photo of your dog may be tagged as dog, beagle, rover and even cute if that means something to you. (Also, tags cannot have spaces, e.g. chocolate chip cookie is actually three tags, whereas chocolate_chip_cookie (or chocolatechipcookie) is one tag).
By collecting these tags, a complex and growing website can provide users with a useful look at information based on grouping resources around the words users use to describe it.  With thousands of users doing the same thing, useful information emerges from the masses.  This collaborative organizing of content by everyday users is called a folksonomy. A folksonomy evolves over time, as more users add more tags to more content.

WHY

Because the internet is made of everyday people.  It would not be very useful to us if only certain people were in charge of organizing things on the web.  We each have our own way of naming things and putting them into categories.  Tagging increases our ability to interact with the web, making us creators and not just watchers!

HOW

The social power of Flickr comes from tagging. Flickr’s public photo tags are visible to the whole community, so the entire collection becomes organized and categorized, searchable and browsable.

So, let’s search for photos using tags on Flickr.

Clicking Tags to Search:

  1. Look at this photo in the St. Charles Parish Library Flickr page.  Find the tag called “bottle cap craft” and click it.  You will see all photos in the SCPL photo stream with that tag. Remember what I just said about tags not being allowed to have spaces? Read on…
  2. Click on “See all public content tagged with bottlecapcraft.”  Tags can’t have spaces, so Flickr just ignores the spaces and creates the tag bottlecapcraft.   We see the library’s images plus images from a user called RETTOCAMME.  Click one of RETTOCAMME’s images and take a look at the tags that person used for their images. Click a few if you like, just to see where they take you.

Searching with Tags Using the Search Box:

  1. Next try searching Flickr using more than one tag at a time.  First, select “Everyone’s Uploads” from the drop down menu at the search box.
  2. When you add tags to an image, you cannot use spaces between the words—we’re clear on that, right?  If you use spaces Flickr will ignore them.  BUT, when you type tags into the search box, you can use spaces.  Simply enter tag words into the search box, and then select tags only, then click Search.  For example, I will type red car into the search box to find all photos tagged with the separate tags car and red.
    Type at least two or three words into the search box and see what you get!
  3. You can also search for multiple tags or phrases in photo captions using quotation marks around the words. Simply enclose your search terms with quotation marks, and then select full text, then click Search.  For example, I will type “red car” to find all photos with “red car” in the caption, PLUS all photos tagged with redcar.

The concept of tagging is not unique to Flickr. Many Web 2.0 services incorporate tagging to add user-defined value and organization. Bloggers often tag their posts, and clicking on their tags may take you to a listing of all of their own posts tagged as such, or possibly a listing of ALL KNOWN blog entries tagged as such, e.g. through a service such as Technorati, which currently tracks over 90 million blogs. In the next Thing, we will learn more about Social Bookmarking and use a service called Delicious to search for, store and organize Internet bookmarks/favorites using tags.

SHARE

Write a blog post about your observations when searching using tags.  Did you find the types of photos you expected to find using the tags you chose?  Did searching with multiple tags give you satisfactory results?

Name this blog post Thing #13.

STRETCH

If you created a Flickr account, sign in and add some tags to the photos you uploaded during Thing #10.  Add three or more tags per picture, and then do a search of Everyone’s Uploads using those same words. What did you find? Were those photos similar or completely different to yours?

Or, if you do not have a Flickr account, add some tags to the Library of Congress Flickr account.

 

Thing #12 – Image Generators

 

 

WHAT

Image generators allow you to easily manipulate pictures and graphics to create fun images.

Some places to get started:

Generator Blog features hundreds of the best (and worst) of image generators.
ImageGenerator.org has a smaller (more manageable?) list of generators.
Card Catalogue Generator Something for the more old-school among you.
LOLBuilder is a tool that allows you to create your own LOLCats.  You can even upload your own photos to do so.
Wordle is a powerful webapp that generates static, and often quite pretty, word clouds.

Or, just Google “image generators” and play around with what you find.

WHY

To create an engaging message that people want to read.  And do this easily!

HOW

Create an image using an image generator.  You can select one from the Generator Blog, or from another generator that you’ve found.  Either right-click on the image to save it to your computer, or follow any instructions that come along with the generator telling you how to add the image to your site.  Add the image to your blog.

SHARE

Share the result of your discovery process in your blog.  Post the image you made and talk about how and why you chose what you did.  Can you think of ways the library could use image generators to create images for the library or on the library website?  Name this blog post Thing #12.

Note: Be sure to include a link to the image generator itself, so other participants can discover it too.

STRETCH

Create an avatar, save it and export it to your blog.  Even if you don’t put the avatar on your blog, try creating one – a little virtual you.

Just google avatar creator, or try one of these sites.

Simpsonsmovie.com “Simpsonize” yourself!
dressup247.com Turn yourself into an anime character.
myavatareditor.com Create your personalized Mii.
meez.com This one creates a moving avatar!

Note: Be sure to include a link to the image generator itself, so other participants can discover it too.
Meez 3D avatar avatars games

This was made with meez.com.

 

Thing #11 – Flickr Fun

Made with "Spell with flickr" http://metaatem.net/words/

WHAT

Like many web 2.0 sites, Flickr has encouraged other people to build their own online applications using images found on the site. Through the use of APIs (application programming interfaces), many people have created third party tools and mashups that use Flickr images. Here are just a sampling of a few …

Mashups are hybrid web applications that take features from one application (like Flickr) and mash it up with another.

New mashups come out, literally, every day. Here are some fun ones that work with Flickr:

Flickr Color Pickr – lets you find public photos in Flickr that match a specific color.
Spell with Flickr
lets you spell anything from Flickr photos.
Montagr creates photo mosaics from photos found on Flickr.
Retrievr lets you find photos based on your sketching abilities.
Pallette Generator
– generate a color palette based on a photograph.

Big Huge Labs offers a round-up of Flickr tools.


One of our favorite tools is FD ToysTrading Card Maker. And there’s a ton of librarians out there that have created their own Librarian Trading Card.

So have some fun discovering and exploring some neat little apps!

WHY

For fun!

HOW

Explore some of the fun Flickr mashups and 3rd party tools linked to above, or just search for flickr mashups on Google.

SHARE

Create a blog post about one of the tools that intrigues you. Tell us which one you explored and what you liked about it.
How can you use any of these tools in the library? Reading programs, posters promoting library events, librarian trading cards all come to mind as possibilities. What do you think of sharing photos online?

Name this blog post Thing #11.

STRETCH

If you’re up to the challenge, why not create a trading card or another creation using one of the mashup tools?  Save it and post it to your blog!

Thing #10 – Flickr

WHAT

Discover online photo sharing with Flickr!  Photo sharing websites have been around since the 90s, but it took a small startup site called Flickr to catapult the idea of “sharing” into a full blown online community. Within the past year, Flickr has become the fastest growing photo sharing site on the web and is known as one of the first websites to use keyword “tags” to create associations and connections between photos and users of the site.

For this Thing, you are asked to take a good look at Flickr and discover what this site has to offer. Find out how tags work, what groups are, and all the neat things that people and other libraries are using Flickr for.  Here is a link to the St. Charles Parish Library Flickr account.  The Library of Congress has a Flickr account–with more than 3,000 photos that you are invited to tag.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand tagging now. We will cover tags and tagging next week in Things #13, #14 and #15.  For now, just think of them as keywords.

WHY

Aside making it easy for your friends and family all around the world to see your pictures, Flickr is a service that fits in well with the goal of of making information and resources accessable to as wide an audience as possible.  Numerous libraries, museums and other institutions have made part or all of their image collections available via Flickr’s Commons project.

Flickr is also a very good source of Creative Commons material that you can use.  Likewise, thanks to the Commons project, it can also be a useful research tool.  We’ll cover licensing with Creative Commons in Thing #20, so just tuck it away for now.

HOW

  1. Watch Online Photo Sharing in Plain English (2:50) – from the folks
    at Common Craft
  2. Take the Flickr Tour
  3. View: Popular tags and Interesting photos – Last 7 days

SHARE

You have two options.

A.

1. Take a good look around Flickr and find an interesting image that you want to blog about. You can explore Flickr photos, search the tags, view various groups, and more without a Flickr account.

2. Use any keyword(s) (baseball, cats, library cats, babies, whatever…) to find photos with those tags. When you find an interesting image or group, comment on your experience finding images, using Flickr, and anything else related to the exercise. Upload the image (Blogger) to your blog (be sure to credit the photographer).  WordPress instructions are here. Don’t forget to include a link to the image in the post.

–OR– the more fun option

B.

1. Create a Free Account in Flickr (note that Flickr is now part of Yahoo! If you have a Yahoo! account for email or MyYahoo!, log in with that).
2. Then use a digital camera to capture a few pictures of something in your library.
3. Upload these to your new Flickr account and tag at least one of the images with 23thingsSCPL. Be sure to mark the photo public.
4. Add one or more of your images to your blog. You can add the image in one of two ways:

—  Flickr’s blogging tool (need a Flickr account to see the button) lets you click the Blog This button (right above the picture) and add any public photo on Flickr to your blog. Be sure to give credit to the photographer if it is not your photo.
—  Blogger’s photo upload feature lets you add photos from your computer or from the Web and choose the placement in the blog post. Click the little photo icon in the toolbar on the New Post page—it is in the row of tools above the post box. Follow the instructions in the pop up box.  
WordPress instructions are here.

5. Once you have the photo uploaded and tagged, create a post in your blog about your photo and Flickr experience.  Will you use Flickr for the library, for your personal photos, or in another way?

***Keep in mind that when posting identifiable photos of other people (especially minors) get the person’s permission before posting their photo in a publicly accessible place like Flickr. Never upload pictures to your Flickr account that weren’t taken by you (unless you have the photographer’s consent) and always give credit when you include photos taken by someone else in your blog.

Name this blog post Thing #10.

STRETCH

If you have a Flickr account, consider joining and contributing photos to a Flickr group.  Consider adding your Flickr account to the Participants Page using the Add My Profile Form!

 

 

Definition – Web 2.0

Depending where you look, you’ll get slightly different definitions of Web 2.0, so this is a brief overview.

Basically, Web 1.0 was focused on content being created by one person or one company. People would read what was written and had very little, if any, interaction with the creators. It was really one-way communication. The web was a tool.

After the dot-com bubble crash in the mid-1990s, people realized that the companies that survived the crash had certain elements in common. Those companies promoted interaction between creators and consumers on their websites, and in more and more cases, consumers were actually becoming the creators.

Web 2.0 is the move to a more social, collaborative web. Instead of using the web as a tool, we actually are becoming part of the web by writing blog posts, commenting on blog posts, having a Facebook page, uploading pictures and videos, tweeting, and the list goes on and on.

The tools that we are exploring during 23 Things SCPL are Web 2.0 tools. We are making things and putting things on the web for everyone to read and learn from. We are sharing. That is important.

Thing #9 – The World of Google

WHAT

Google started out as just another Internet search engine, but its popularity grew quickly. The act of searching for something on Google even has its own verb: Googling. Since beginning as a search engine, it has grown into much more.

This list of all of the Google products available is quite extensive, and you can see that Google has a stake in a lot of areas of the Internet. If you signed up for a Blogger blog, you’re using a Google product. Obviously Google Reader is made by Google. Did you know that YouTube is owned by Google?

In fact, Google has so many new things going on at one time that they have developed Google New—”The one place to find everything NEW from Google.”

Here are a few of the more popular Google tools that we haven’t looked at yet.

Google Books allows you to search within the texts of books that Google is digitizing. They want to bring as many of the world’s books online as they can. Obviously not all books are included in Google Books, but it can be a useful resource when you’re helping patrons.

Google Docs could also be very useful when helping patrons that need to save a Microsoft Office document but don’t have a flash drive. All they need to do is sign up for a Google account, and then they can put their document into Google Docs. Google Docs is also an alternative for someone who does not have access to Microsoft Office. It’s also a great tool when you need to collaborate on something. Check out this video:

Google Translate is helpful when trying to figure out what a foreign word means or even an entire foreign website.

Google Maps provides driving directions, street views, satellite imagery, and traffic intensity.

Google Calendar is an online calendar tool to help you organize your life!

Google Labs has a long list of smaller products that are in the works, which makes you wonder what the next big thing by Google will be.

Picasa is a program you can download to your computer to help you manage digital photographs.

WHY

Google gets talked about a lot. Some of the things that they develop don’t take off (anyone else remember Orkut? No? Ok. But it’s pretty big in Brazil), but a lot of their products are widely utilized, like the aforementioned Blogger, Reader, and YouTube as well as the other services I linked to.

The benefit of a lot of the Things that we’ve done during 23 Things SCPL is that they are available online, on demand. No matter what computer you are using, no matter where you are, you can have access to so many personalized things. This move toward online accessibility is called cloud computing. With almost all of its services available online, Google is very active in cloud computing.

HOW

Choose any two of the Google services listed on this page and explore! Some will require a Google account, but others will not.

SHARE

What two Google services did you explore? Do you think the ones you looked at could be used in a library setting? Why or why not? Could we use them to help patrons? Name this blog post Thing #9.

STRETCH

Read about the future of cloud computing and watch the following video:

Thing #8 – Twitter

WHAT

Twitter is a service for friends, family, and coworkers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: “What’s happening?”

Twitter bird

Twitter is a microblogging service. Essentially, its very much like a blog, in that it’s a service that allows users to publish information; however, the amount of information it will let you publish at one time is tiny—they are text-only and limited to 140 characters. These updates are known as “tweets.”

Twitter is certainly one of the big buzzwords in the media. Time magazine has called it technology that will change the way we live. Iranian dissidents used it as a primary means of communication, both with each other and the outside world, as they protested the outcome of the disputed presidential election. And over five million people for some reason find enjoyment out of following the daily life of Ashton Kutcher.

Twitter Terminology
If you start a tweet with another user’s name, like @StCharlesLib, the message is considered to be a “reply” to that user. The reply that you typed with their name will show up in the user’s replies page on Twitter.

RT stands for retweet. It’s very much like forwarding on an email you’ve received from one of your friends to another group of friends. If you really like a tweet that someone else posted, you can retweet it to your followers by prefacing that same tweet with an RT.

Hashtags are Twitter’s form of tags (tags are Thing #13), and you must include the hashtag for your subject in the tweet. To create a hashtag, you simply preface the word you want to be the tag with, you guessed, it, a #. For example, if I’m tweeting about 23 Things SCPL, I’m going to use the #23scpl hashtag. That way, I will be able to pull up all posts about 23 Things SCPL just by searching for that hashtag.

For more Twitter information, take a look at this Common Craft video:

WHY

Widespread adoption of Twitter is a relatively new, but it has a number of potential uses for the library workplace – many of which are listed at Twitter for Librarians: The Ultimate Guide, Why Twitter? and also at Twitter Explained for Librarians. Bobbi Newman has recently written a great blog post about using Twitter as a library employee.

Twitter’s usefulness will also probably increase as we get more and more always-connected “smart devices.”

If you are worried about your privacy, you can go to the Twitter settings (top right corner) and select “Protect my updates.” This means that only people you have allowed to “follow” you can see your updates.

If someone begins to follow you, you do not have to follow them back. Just take a look at their page, and see if what they’re saying is interesting to you. If it’s not, then just ignore them. There are also spammers on Twitter that just tweet the same thing over and over. These tweeters are completely automated and will do nothing but tweet advertisements. Don’t fall for it! Fortunately, Twitter is getting much better at catching these spammers.

HOW

You have two options.

A.

  1. Read the articles about how Twitter is being used in libraries.
  2. Read Twitter 101 to gain a little more knowledge about how Twitter works.
  3. Find some Twitter users who you are interested in (a lot of celebrities and authors tweet). Try searching for their name to see what they’re tweeting about.

–OR– the more fun option

B.

  1. Sign up for Twitter!
  2. Read Twitter 101 for a little more information about using Twitter.
  3. Follow some people, whether they are other 23 Things SCPL participants or celebrities or friends or whoever.
  4. Post at least 5 tweets. Trust me, it’s more fun the more people you follow and the more you tweet and retweet. Think about using the #23scpl hashtag if you talk about 23 Things SCPL so we can see everyone’s tweets in one place!

SHARE

What are some advantages you can see with using Twitter? How do you think the library could use Twitter better? If you signed up for Twitter, think about sharing your username in this blog entry. If you did sign up for Twitter, do you think you will keep using it? Why or why not? Name this blog post Thing #8.

STRETCH

You must sign up for Twitter to participate in this stretch exercise. As you tweet, try to use an @ reply, RT something you think is interesting, and use some hashtags.