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.