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.

Thing 17: Library wikis

Here is the comment I added to the SI sandbox:
No one person, or group of persons, can be an expert on every subject. I suppose that the standard printed dictionary of years ago was written by a set of scholars and researchers, but wouldn't they have benefited greatly from the knowledge and ideas of a larger group of people? Although I use Wikipedia with a somewhat jaundiced eye, the scope and expertise embodied in it is remarkable and it does have its place. I see wikis being useful in the library setting as a way to track key resources in popular or hard-to-find topic areas and to supplement vendor documentation on how to use library software.

There is a fascinating article about Ward Cunningham, father of the wiki, on He said in March 2006 that "the power of collaborative development has only just begun to be realized, and open-source software will continue to spur more collaboration and more innovation." Interestingly, he used to work in an open-source group at Microsoft.

It seems to me that libraries are organizations very suited to be communities of practice. This concept is used in business, so why not in libraries where we have a common interest in providing exemplary service to customers and can benefit greatly by collaborating, sharing ideas, finding solutions, and building innovations. By looking for ways to share the knowledge of group members, we would encourage participation, create a shared identity, and transfer knowledge to all members.

The wiki search site at was helpful in locating library-related wikis. Especially interesting was the Library Website Hall of Fame but this is where I turn cynical -- did these libraries add themselves?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thing 16: Wikis

Thank goodness the days of index cards and printed lists for pathfinders and key resources are gone. Wikis are even more versatile than bookmarking sites like de.lici.ous for tracking not only web sites, but also print materials and media on specific topics. Bookmarking sites are restricted by having to link to other sites on the web, whereas any type of information can be entered into a wiki. Staff who specialize in reference/non-fiction, local history, fiction, young adult, and children's areas can create their own pages of frequently asked questions and subjects for which it is difficult to find resources. How handy this would be for homework alerts, African-American month, Hispanic month, science projects, and other topics that come up year after year. New staff can benefit from research performed by existing staff, and anyone can add on as they encounter valuable new resources.

Another good use would be for software documentation. Over the years we've gotten away from printed manuals on how to use our library software. As staff discover shortcuts or best practices on how to perform a function, it would be extremely valuable to document the information in a wiki where it is searchable/easy to locate and available for anyone to improve upon.

I was struck by the concept of creating a wiki as a web-based notebook to organize thoughts. When I'm working on a large project, I tend to organize by creating lists and assigning completion dates to each task. For something smaller, I simply start with a document or email. The advantage of using a wiki is that changes and additions are made easily and the information can be shared with other participants in the project.

Thing 15: The future of libraries

Fascinating stuff; I read all of it. Here are a few of the important points regarding Library 2.0:
  • Customers expect access to all types of collections -- audio, digital, video, print -- journals, books, blogs, podcasts, audiobooks -- from where ever they happen to be at the moment, available from a multitude of devices, including small screen, mobile, and wireless. Physical collections as we know them today may no longer exist.
  • Customers want to get the information they need as quickly as possible and in one place. It is the job of the library to provide that access and create services that are easy to find, integrated, intuitive, and fast "so they can spend as little time as possible wrestling with lousy search interfaces and as much time as possible actually reading and learning."
  • "We have to ... find new ways to bring our services to patrons rather than insisting that they come to us—whether physically or virtually. At a minimum, this means placing library services and content in the user’s preferred environment (i.e., the Web); even better, it means integrating our services into their daily patterns of work, study and play."
  • "Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies." It is our job to keep up with the market or, better yet, be one step ahead.
Our challenge is to learn what customers want and need by involving them in the design process of library services and by listening to them at all times. They want accessibility, convenience, participation, and personalization via the means they use in other aspects of their lives. It is the job of the library to hear what customers have to say, respond quickly and pro-actively, look for trends, and think of creative ways to integrate new technology to strengthen the library's role in the community of users. Wikipedia's Beta is forever sums it up.

Thing 14: Technorati

Technorati has done a good job of managing the millions of blogs that exist. Are there no limits to the Internet? How long can information continue to double every 6 months and not become completely out of control and useless?

I would say that the advanced searching feature is essential in order to locate anything applicable in the morass of postings. It was very disappointing to discover that my blog name "23 Skidoo" is being used by several other people, including a library assistant from California who is also doing 23 Things. So much for originality. A couple of weeks from now, it might be fun to do a URL search for my blog to see if anyone has linked to it.

Technorati also has some handy tools for managing blogs I'm interested in, and those that are poplular. Boing Boing? It just seems to be an assortment of unrelated articles, not the "directory of wonderful things" it purports to be, so why have nearly 3,000 members made it a favorite? What am I missing?

Add to Technorati Favorites

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Thing 13:

It's "bye, bye, browser bookmarks" for me. A single place to store all my bookmarks, accessible from any computer I'm using, makes so much sense (especially since I recently lost them on my workstation)! I immediately began transferring those I remember. It's extremely simple to do and, again, I found tagging to be a much more logical way to organize and locate entries. The Us.ef.ul and "Several Habits" blogs were straightforward and helpful in pointing out the best features of, in spite of being out of date.

Wouldn't this be a great way for library staff to share web sites they find to be authoritative and especially useful when answering customer questions?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Thing 12: Rollyo

It was excruciating to move around the Rollyo site today, and I couldn't really experiment with what others have done because of poor response time. I almost gave up, but was finally able to create my search roll of catalogs that use Koha software. The search itself was also painfully slow, but did yield results. I'd rather not have results from regular web sites (eBay, Target, OrientalTrading) mixed in when I specify "Koha Catalogs" as the sites to be searched. I'll try searching another day to see if the site is more responsive, and to see if I can fine-tune the search engine to include only the sites I specify.

Thing 11: LibraryThing

Just a few short months ago, LibraryThing staffing consisted of Tim Spalding (founder and developer), Abby (librarian), and a web designer. The number of employees has now more than doubled in size to 7, but it is still astounding how well LT has anticipated user needs and how quickly they implement new features.

I love the ability to search the Library of Congress, as I'm kind of a cataloging freak and I like to use titles with correct punctuation and capitalization, and I don't like the extra work it is to sift through all the duplications when searching multiple locations. Here's where tagging makes a lot of sense to me. It's so simple to organize books into logical categories by adding or removing tags vs. creating separate folders or lists and moving books to them.

My all-time favorite author, and one whose books I enjoy reading over and over, is Georgette Heyer. She is the mother of Regency fiction and a true artist at placing her characters in the period. I can barely stand to read modern Regency novels as there are so many incongruent descriptions and conversations. Anyhow, it's cool to know that there are other lovers of Heyer's works out there. LibraryThing really is a social network unto itself, what with the blog and discussion groups, but it offers a wealth of tools for reaching out to the work at large and for bringing others into LibraryThing.

HCL is waiting for LibraryThing, especially the reviews and tagging pieces, to be integrated into AquaBrowser as enriched content. It's a fact that customers are reluctant to be the first to review or tag a title, but if some are already there, they are more than willing to contribute. The capability to add LT to AB is there, and we plan to take advantage of it.

Thing 10: Image generators - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Image generators are great fun (my book spine was created using imagechef) but have practical purposes, as well. I just might use WordConstructor some day to come up with new library passwords. Then there's Worksheet Generator for customizing student worksheets, Wedding Toast Generator, Weblog Name Generator (darn! why didn't I know about this one when I was struggling with a blog name?), Watermark Generator, Ubanimator: The Userbar Animator, Tree Proof Generator to verify algorithms, not to mention the totally ridiculous Spy Name Generator and others I can't reference here. The only problem I ran into is that I couldn't copy a "blessing" from Worldwide Blessing Generator into my blog.

BigHugeLabs ( is definitely a site I'll revisit when I want a unique gift idea or wish to be artistic with my photos. SpeechAgents might be useful.

My Meez alter ego is samba-ing in the right panel. Click on her to see all her dance moves.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thing 9: Library-related blogs and newsfeeds

Bloglines search tool is great, and the "preview feed" option saves time spent clicking to view, then returning to the list. Subscribing, of course, is a cinch since all you have to do is click, decide where to file, and save. It's also incredibly useful to see the date of when the blog or feed was last updated since there's no point in subscribing to one that's not current.

There's a wealth of information on the Merlin site. I wandered through Learning Links > Computing and Technical Resources > Trends & Cool Stuff > Library Success. This is a wiki for libraries to contribute their best practices in every imaginable area. The contributions are pretty sparse, but what's there is interesting and useful:
  • Libraries that circulate games and their success stories
  • Services to special groups
  • The Technology category
  • Library-related blogs and web sites
I didn't immediately take to Topix but after poking around for a bit, I could see the value of using it instead of subscribing to feeds. You could go right to Topix for most news -- consolidated in one place -- or simply subscribe to the Topix RSS feed, since it serves as an aggregator of feeds from multiple sources.

I considered subscribing to some of the popular blogs on Technorati (Boing Boing, Lifehacker, 43 Folders, Creating Passionate Users) since the topics were of interest, but found a lack of worthwhile content. It meant too much sifting through useless comments.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thing 8: Feed it to me

I've been receiving RSS feeds for about a year now, ever since we set up, tested, and implemented them as part of the AquaBrowser catalog. My preferred method has been through FeedReader, software loaded on my desktop. The down side? When my computer crashed this month, I lost all of my carefully constructed feeds. Lesson 1: With an online news aggregator, you can read the feeds from anywhere, and if something happens to your computer, you don't lose your feeds.

I had also set up some feeds using the Firefox browser but again, I lost them when my computer crashed. Besides, I was getting annoyed at the pop-ups when I logged in every morning and throughout the day while in the midst of my work. Lesson 2: While not as timely as instant feeds, Bloglines allows you to read the news or blogs at your convenience.

[Note of Nov 7: OK, so I'm not so keen about Bloglines. It's too much trouble to log into another web site just to read my feeds. I want them to come directly to me as soon as they are posted. I need to find a way to archive my feeds so I don't lose them, but have a more direct method of delivery. How to do that without multiple setups and extra work I don't know.]

In spite of the slight annoyance, I was kind of addicted to instant feeds, glancing down to see if there was anything on interest and getting caught up in following the trail of news stories on the BBC or Marshall Breeding's library technology announcements. I felt that I was much more up-to-date on world-wide library news as a result. [Postscript: Marshall Breeding himself posted a comment to this blog entry. Wow!]

That said, we're missing the boat if we don't take every opportunity possible to push Howard County Library information to our customers -- searches on their favorite topics, new materials added in categories of interest, programs / classes / special events, new services, book lists, and general announcements.

My public blogroll deals mainly with technology and the future of libraries.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thing 7: Technology is our future

Everyone a Professional
Wow, I've seen some amazing "amateur" photos on Flickr, Kodak EasyShare, Shutterfly, Picasa, and Smugmug! It used to be that only professional photographers with really good cameras and expensive attachments could take great pictures. And those of us who appreciated them had to pay a lot to own a copy. Now the regular person can take artsy, dramatic, beautiful, or memorable pictures and share them with the world. Not only is it making our world smaller by bringing us closer together, albeit not physically, but we can learn so much by exploring the unfamiliar scenes now available at the click of a finger.

I have a love-hate relationship with technology. I've been involved with computers, both hardware and software, for over 20 years and I've seen a lot of technology come and go. It's great when it works, providing accessibility, reliability, and productivity, When it doesn't work, there's frustration, but some comfort in realizing that it can usually be made to work, if you only have patience, are systematic, and have a toolbox of tricks or resources to help you figure out the problem.

I don't attempt to keep up with all the new innovations; if only I had more time to explore more of what's out there. But I'm intrigued by all of it, amazed at the knowledge of fellow users, the fearlessness of younger generations, and loving the capabilities (for free!) offered on the Internet. I've read some futuristic writings, but I think we can't even begin to envision what we'll be able to do next year or 5 years from now. The possibilities are endless and it's going to be a great ride!

Orchid trading card

My creation
My creation,
originally uploaded by netzahual.
I created this trading cards using Trading Card Maker, one of fd's Flickr Toys. Easy as anything to do, although once you've saved you can't go back and edit. A key to the icons would have been helpful for the uninitiated among us; I was loathe to use any of them for fear I would send the wrong message.

During the process I learned how to add to my blog from Flickr. There's so much interconnectivity, not only between me and the site I'm in, and between me and other users of that site, but also between web sites.

I'm not quite sure what I would use trading cards for, but it's one of those things that, now I know it exists, I might think of an occasion where it would be fun to make them. I also created a librarian trading card.

Thing 6: Flickr mashups

It was fun playing with some of mashups and web apps, although I couldn't get to Mappr at all and Montager took a very long time to load images. I tried Color Pickr in hopes that I could find a new picture for my blog that would combine the right shades of green and lilac and, although interesting, many of the photos that came up were chunks of sky or indistinguishable objects. With Retrievr it's just not possible to create a detailed picture with thick lines and a small drawing space. When I drew a cat's head I got photos of eyes and all sorts of things that sometimes weren't even close to the shape or color I used.

On the other hand, Flickr Slide Show Generator seems like a cool tool. I was unsuccessful at putting a slide show in my blog, but I plan to try again another day. FlickrFly is great and has good documentation. I placed my photos on a Google map of Mt. Rainier within Flickr. Now I'd like to experiment with being able to "fly" to a map from the photo on my blog.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"23 Skidoo" - What's that?

The original name for my blog was the very unimaginative "Library 2.0 Musings". When I noticed that other Thingers had used the term "musings" I figured it was time to come up with something else, although "musings" is so appropriate. My co-workers throughout the state have been very creative in naming their blogs and usernames, so I started to poke around looking for things related to the number 23. "23 skidoo" (or sometimes "23 skiddoo") has a fascinating history and, as intriguing as #6 is, my preferred origin is the last. I plan to have a good time with 23 Things (even though I don't drink).

It isn't certain how '23-skidoo' (or skiddoo) originated. There are numerous competing theories; which is a sure sign of doubt. It seems that '23' originated as a fad term in the USA in the early 20th century.

In 1899, George Ade explained the slang term "twenty-three". This story appeared in an October 1899 edition of The Washington Post:

"By the way, I have come upon a new piece of slang within the past two months and it has puzzled me. I just heard it from a big newsboy who had a 'stand' on a corner. A small boy with several papers under his arm had edged up until he was trespassing on the territory of the other. When the big boy saw the small one he went at him in a threatening manner and said: 'Here! Here! Twenty-three! Twenty-three!'. The small boy scowled and talked under his breath, but he moved away. A few days after that I saw a street beggar approach a well-dressed man, who might have been a bookmaker or horseman, and try for the unusual 'touch'. The man looked at the beggar in cold disgust and said: 'Aw, twenty-three!'. I could see that the beggar didn’t understand it any better than I did. I happened to meet a man who tries to 'keep up' on slang and I asked the meaning of 'Twenty-three!'. He said it was a signal to clear out, run, get away. In his opinion it came from the English race tracks, twenty-three being the limit on the number of horses allowed to start in one race. I don’t know that twenty-three is the limit. But his theory was that 'twenty-three' means that there was no longer any reason for waiting at the post. It was a signal to run, a synonym for the Bowery boy’s 'On your way!'. Another student of slang said the expression originated in New Orleans at the time an attempt was made to rescue a Mexican embezzler who had been arrested there and was to be taken back to his own country. Several of his friends planned to close in upon the police officer prisoner as they were passing in front of a business block which had a wide corridor running through to another block. They were to separate the officer from the prisoner and then, when one of them shouted 'Twenty-three,' the crowd was to scatter in all directions, and the prisoner was to run back through the corridor, on the chance that the officer would be too confused to follow the right man. The plan was tried and it failed, but 'twenty-three' came into local use as meaning 'Get away, quick!' and in time it spread to other cities. I don’t vouch for either of these explanations. But I do know that 'twenty-three' is now a part of the slangy boy’s vocabulary."

'Skiddoo' is another slang term, also originating around the same time and place, meaning much the same as 'skedaddle', i.e. 'leave', 'depart', 'get out of here'.

Here are a few theories as to how '23' and 'skidoo originated' - there are others:

1. In Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities, Sidney Carton is No. 23 of a multitude executed by the guillotine. "In the last act of the theatrical adaptation, 'The Only Way,' an old woman sits at the foot of the guillotine, calmly counting heads as they are lopped off. The only recognition or dignity afforded Carton as he meets his fate is the old woman emotionlessly saying 'twenty-three' as he is beheaded. 'Twenty-three' quickly became a popular catchphrase among the theater community in the early twentieth century, often used to mean, 'It’s time to leave while the getting is good."- Who Put the Butter in Butterfly? by David Feldman, Harper & Row.

2. " …in the first few years of the century, memorabilia sold at vacation resorts and fairs were emblazoned with either 23 or Skidoo, and the two soon met." (Dalzell quoting Partridge.)

3. "Tom Lewis originated the fad word '23' in 'Little Johnny Jones' in 1904, and 'Skidoo' was tacked on later. (Dalzell quoting Partridge.)

4. "23 was possibly derived from a telegraphic shorthand code, not unlike trucker CB code, meaning Away with you!'" (Dalzell quoting Partridge.)

5. Thomas Aloysius Dorgan (TAD), a cartoonist and sportswriter, coined the phrase. The expression never appeared in his work but the simple 23 did appear in a comic published on February 16, 1902. (Dalzell.) Skidoo was simply a fanciful variant of skedaddle." (Feldman)

Skedaddle, according to "The Dictionary of Contemporary Slang" by Tony Thorne, Pantheon Books, originated in the American Civil War and "…suggestions have been made as to the word’s derivation; it is probably a form of a dialect version of scatter or scuttle."

6. 23-skidoo came from an expression that construction workers used while building the Flatiron Building on 23rd Street in N.Y.C. 23rd Street is one of the wider streets in New York that is like an uninterrupted wind-tunnel between the East and Hudson Rivers. Frequently, when one is walking north or south on the avenues and comes to such an intersection, they can experience a sudden blast of wind as soon as the pass the wall of a corner building. Apparently, when the workers sat on the sidewalk to eat their lunches, they would watch women's skirts blow up from the sudden gusts.

7. The phrase originated in the Panimint Mountains in Death Valley in the early 1900s. The mining town of Skidoo had 23 saloons and if you were going to go get drunk you would try to get a drink at each of the saloons. This started the phrase of going 23 skidoo if you were going to have a good time.

Courtesy of


Today I added a DearReader link to my blog. I originally signed up for DearReader's Nonfiction Book Club so I could verify that e-mails were being sent daily, and to check links back to our catalog. This is a service we provide to our customers, available from the Reader's Corner in AquaBrowser and HIP, and I like to be sure it's working properly.

But I find myself looking forward to reading Suzanne's musings every day. She writes about very mundane things, but makes them sound so interesting and applicable to events in my own life, that I can't wait to find out what she is going to write next. Suzanne is on vacation in the Smoky Mountains for 2 weeks and has other people writing her column while she is gone. Today's was written by Deborah Raney, fiction author of "In the still of the night", "A vow to cherish", "Beneath a southern sky", and "Over the waters". Her story is so beautiful and tender, I'd like to share it here.
Dear Reader,

A couple very dear to me split up a few weeks ago. These days, it's not really news when long-married people go their separate ways. But this split was too close to home. This was my husband's grandparents, who've been part of my life for three decades--since the day I walked into their farmhouse as a fresh-faced teenager, only to have Grandpa razz me about being just one of a string of
girlfriends Ken had brought out to meet them.

It wasn't long before I learned to read that ornery twinkle in Grandpa's eye. Soon I could dish his tongue-in-cheek teasing right back, even as Grandma dished up her famous fried chicken and made-from-scratch chocolate cake.

Throughout the lean years of our marriage Grandma and Grandpa never sent us away without fresh-dug potatoes, jars of home-canned tomatoes or homemade cinnamon rolls Grandma kept in the deep freeze for anyone who might drop by.

Our photo albums are crowded with images of Grandma and Grandpa cradling our babies. They were never too busy for great-grandchildren's birthday parties or ballgames.

Through trials and tragedies, Ken's grandparents modeled undying commitment. So it hit hard when they split up.

Oh, it's not that the split was their choice. It was a heart-wrenching decision after Grandpa began to wander away from home, and Grandma's failing eyesight and four-foot-eleven stature kept her from going after him. In recent months, we would come to visit and the vacant stare, the missing twinkle in his eyes, told the truth. Still, his stock greeting was, "Come on in! I don't know who you are, but we sure do love you."

Then one day Grandma couldn't get Grandpa up out of his chair, and the difficult decision was made to move him to a nursing home. Ken and I took Grandma to visit yesterday. Grandpa is failing day by day. He lives in his own impenetrable world, wolfing down nursing home fare, ignoring his tablemates.

But Grandma's voice brought a ghost of that famous twinkle to his eyes. She touched his arm and he turned to wrap her in a hug and plant a kiss square on her lips. He must have kissed her half a dozen times during our hour-long visit. Sitting knee-to-knee in the dayroom--Grandma on a vinyl loveseat, Grandpa in his wheelchair--he looked her in the eye. "Are you married?"

Grandma's self-conscious chuckle made her sound like a schoolgirl. "I 'thought' I was."

"Well, you sure are good-looking," Grandpa declared.

Grandma threw us a sidewise wink before turning back to Grandpa. "I'm married to 'you,'" she said.

Grandpa pumped a frail fist in the air. "Thank you, Lord!"

Ever notice how much it hurts to laugh and cry at the same time.

Grandpa will be 98 at Thanksgiving and on New Year's Day Grandma turns 97. Grandma sleeps alone now in their double bed layered with quilts. But mere miles could never truly split them up. And if Grandpa makes it through the winter, there will be a big celebration come May 26. Ken's mom will drive out to the farm to pick up Grandma and bring her to the nursing home. Somebody will order a cake and we'll have to tell the bakery at least twice, "No, that's not a typo. The cake should read:
"Happy 79th anniversary, Grandma and Grandpa. We love you."

Deborah Raney
Not only does the column start my day out right with a good story, but I have discovered some great books to read. Every day for a week, excerpts from the same book are included in the e-mail. In 5 minutes a day for 5 days, I can read the first several chapters of a book I might not have picked off the shelf. Give it a try at I hope you get as much pleasure out of them as I do.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thing 5: Flickr

I am really impressed with Flickr and understand why so many people use it. I've tried Kodak EasyShare Gallery, Shutterfly, and Picasa Web Albums and been frustrated with the slow upload speed. Flickr was much faster when just using the browser, and it was quicker to select and add the photos to upload. The mini menus for the various functions make it easy to navigate, and organizing into sets is a cinch. It's robust, with tons of features, and the little balloon help messages are truly helpful. I can only upload 100 MB every month, but I guess that's reasonable. It only costs $24.95 a year to add more! I did have some trouble finding out how many MB I had already uploaded.

This is a photo I took of Mt. Rainier on a recent trip to Washington state, and uploaded to Flickr.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thing 3.2: 7-1/2 Habits

Let me do the easy one first, i.e what is hardest for me. It's definitely Habit 7-1/2: Play. It must be that German work ethic in my background, but I'm so focused on things that need to be done that I often don't give myself permission to play. I love to read, certainly one way to "learn", especially since my choice of books is non-fiction on a variety of topics, but I often do it right before bedtime when I'm ready to doze off. It takes a long time to get through a book, I can tell you.

What's easiest for me probably would be Habit 1: Begin with the end in mind. I'm pretty good at painting a picture in my mind about a finished project, no doubt believing that visualization and the power of my imagination will help me reach my goal more quickly. : ) Much of my work requires problem solving and figuring out how to make an unfamiliar piece of software do what we want it to do. It's a continual learning experience and, although the road to the end result is fraught with the unexpected, I generally have a pretty good idea of what the end result will look like.

Thing 3.1: Off and running

So here I am. A place where I never thought I would find myself. I've read plenty of blogs ... admired the way other people have expressed themselves ... amazed at how minutiae, in some cases, can be so fascinating that strangers want to read it ... and wondered why we are all so interested in what each other thinks and does. It certainly has been great fun to fiddle with the template and add features to my blog. As you can see, I like color.

I first learned about "23 Things" when I attended a SirsiDynix webinar in early January. I was blown away by how beautifully crafted this training program was and couldn't have been happier when Maryland Libraries decided to offer it. What better way for all of us in the library world to catch up with the technology used by our customers!