Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thing 23: Summary

It's curious how all those Library 2.0 sessions at Computers in Libraries didn't have nearly the impact that this self-paced learning experience did to help me understand the importance of social networking tools in my life and the lives of our customers. It was a very good for me to be an novice user for a change and to muddle my way around unfamiliar web sites; this brought new awareness to me of what our customers face when they try to use the Library's web site. One thing that's very evident is that users need to be able to create their own portal where they can add all the sites they visit, with a single login to access all of them. It's a real challenge to track the usernames and passwords for all the sites I wanted to use. Security is essential to protect our privacy, but can't it be handled in a better way?

Even so, we really just scratched the surface of what's available (300-500 sites and growing all the time). What I plan to take away from this experience is a greater willingness to explore and learn on my own, clicking through when I see a link in a blog or a reference in an article. I was pleased to see that I have already done some of Stephen Abram's "43 Things I Might Want To Do This Year". What I hope we can do as a library system is integrate some of these great tools into the services we provide.

I love RSS, de.lici.ous, Flickr, and LibraryThing and will continue to use them both at work and in my personal life. Widgets and image generators are great fun; I could have gone really crazy adding them to my blog. Blogging was very hard for me because I'm not used to vocalizing my impressions and ideas. At first I felt like I was being watched, then got more comfortable with it and was lulled into thinking that probably no one was reading it anyhow. Do people blog because they feel anonymous and can say anything they want, or because they have thoughts they want to share, with the hope that others will comment back, or simply as a way of journaling online? No doubt some of each.

I would certainly participate in a similar learning experience in the future. The only suggestion I have is that the information provided be more up-to-date. Some of the blogs and articles we were given to read were several years old and, although still applicable, did not contain the most current information. There were even a few dead links. Overall it was a wonderful experience. Kudos again to the developers of this great program.

Thing 22: Downloadable audiobooks

I was already pretty familiar with downloading NetLibrary and OverDrive audiobooks to a computer, but had not transferred them to a portable device. I got the OverDrive audiobook downloaded to my home computer just fine, but could not transfer it to my MP3 player. I was successful with a title from Project Gutenberg, however. Some months ago, I signed up to be a proofreader for Project Gutenberg. This is a fascinating endeavor and, since I like editing and I like making books available, I thought it would be a great project to be involved in. I haven't requested an assignment yet, but I can't wait to get started.

HCL has a loyal following of customers who download audiobooks regularly and contact the library if they have problems. OverDrive in particular has a good selection of titles, many of them requiring that a hold be placed, which attests to their popularity, but the Recently Returned section makes it easy to find something to listen to. Unfortunately, only e-books are currently available from NetLibrary as NetLibrary and Recorded Books have still not come to an agreement on their distribution. Audiobooks are a wonderful companion for commuters and anyone traveling a distance, and a great service to our customers.

Thing 21: Podcasts

Many of the podcasts listed at required a podcast aggregator to listen to them. I had variable success with my Yahoo audio search, having trouble narrowing it down and finding more current podcasts. had the best search tools and results. Dowling Library created a very nicely-done, professional, and interesting series of conversations with authors.

This is not the most fascinating of podcasts, but it has to do with Adobe, PDFs, and open standards vs. open source. There are RSS feeds for the large collection of O'Reilly (as in the computer books) network articles, including this one with Bruce Chizen, the CEO of Adobe. Unfortunately they sounded computer-generated instead of being live conversations.

I have felt ever since I returned from CIL that there is an important place for podcasts as a way to promote and distribute library programs to a wider population. We could reach people that are unable to come to a library building because they are physically unable, are homebound, do not have transportation, have schedules that do not coincide with library events, prefer a media version to a live version, or simply are unaware that the program took place.

Thing 20: YouTube

Here we have the hilarious "Betty Glover library workout tape ad". Sad to say, I remember well the days of computers, pamphlet files, VHS tape players, and microfiche catalogs like the ones in the video.

If you wish to go back even further in time, look at the 1946 career film by the US Government:. Have we come a long way!

YouTube has many videos of historic value so it has become something of an archive, making available content we normally wouldn't be able to access. They are also a creative outlet and a way for us to share a piece of ourselves. I am amazed at the amount of time and effort that goes into scripting (or not), recording, and editing these "amateur" videos. YouTube can be addictive -- once you look at one video, it's easy to get caught up in another and another. Many are hilarious, some informational, a few unkind, sad, or scary, but all have a story the creator wants to tell and we all seem to be a willing audience.

New Jersey libraries have several YouTube videos related to Super Librarian and their Knowledge Initiative. It can be a great promotional tool and possibly even be useful for posting story times and other library programs.

Thing 19: Web 2.0 Awards

My sister swears by craigslist and has, in fact, used it to purchase a boat and obtain colored glass for her jewelry-making business, as well as disposing of items she no longer needs through barter. craigslist is rated Number 1 in the Classifieds and Directories category and has 5 stars for usefulness and usability, so I expected to see items or services of interest. I guess you have to be looking for something in particular. One person wants to exchange an almost new portable DVD player for a large parrot cage and I was surprised at how many international offers there are. Alright, so the house swap and real estate sections are fun. If I ever want to buy in a foreign country, this would be a place to start. And Missed Connections under Personals was pretty intriguing.

Many people regularly look at craigslist, so why not advertise library classes and programs under Community > Activities (or Events)? It could be another way to reach our customers.

Knowledge management (from Wikipedia)

Knowledge Management ('KM') comprises a range of practices used by organisations to identify, create, represent, and distribute knowledge . It has been an established discipline since 1995 [1] with a body of university courses and both professional and academic journals dedicated to it. Most large companies have resources dedicated to Knowledge Management, often as a part of 'Information Technology' or ' Human Resource Management' departments, and sometimes reporting directly to the head of the organisation. As effectively managing information is a must in any business,and knowledge and information are intertwined, Knowledge Management is a multi-billion dollar world wide market.

Knowledge Management programs are typically tied to organisational objectives and are intended to achieve specific outcomes, these can include, improved performance, competitive advantage innovation, lessons learnt transfer (for example between projects) and the general development of collaborative practices.

One aspect of Knowledge Management, knowledge transfer, has always existed in one form or another. Examples include on-the-job peer discussions, formal apprenticeship, discussion forums, corporate libraries, professional training and mentoring programs. However, with computers becoming more widespread in the second half of the 20th century, specific adaptations of technology such as knowledge bases, expert systems, and knowledge repositories have been introduced to further simplify the process.

Knowledge Management programs attempt to manage the process of creation (or identification), accumulation and application of knowledge across an organisation. As such Knowledge Management is frequently linked to the idea of the learning organisation although neither practice encompasses the other. Knowledge Management may be distinguished from Organisational Learning by a greater focus on specific knowledge assets and the development and cultivation of the channels through which knowledge flows

Frequent Knowledge Management practices include:


Thing 18: Online productivity tools

Although I have been a recipient of, and editor for, several Google documents, I had never created one myself. It was helpful to go through the steps of adding a folder, creating and naming a document, dragging the doc to my new folder, and sharing it with someone. One of the upload features is the ability to email content to my Google Docs account. Anything in the text section of the email is automatically added as a document. This would be really useful for some of the organizations I belong to where we shuffle documents back and forth between editors. How much more efficient it would be to edit in one place and then export the file as a PDF for publication as a brochure or announcement. Most of the committee members use Microsoft Word, which I don't have on my computer, but it doesn't matter since all the editing is done in a browser. The "Knowledge management" posting that follows was published to my blog directly from Google Docs.