got an appetite for del.icio.us

•October 22, 2008 • 1 Comment

del.icio.us is gr.ea.t!

del.icio.us is a one of the best 2.0 tools around.  Users can create access to the Internet on their own terms.  Yes I like a controlled vocabulary,  that’s the librarian in me.  A controlled vocabulary is great for those who are in the know (e.g. librarians using  L.C. subject headings) but a controlled vocabulary does not always speak to the common, everyday user who may not be “in the know”.   Tagging allows common, everyday users to apply their own, what I like to call “common sense” vocabulary to the world around them and find what they need.  Tagging can be a bridge to fill the gap between users and their different vocabularies.  For example, I might use “genealogy” as a tag for a site and someone else might use “family history”.  Using our individual tags for the same site allows us to find each other and possibly share other sites and information as well.

I like to use a mix of controlled vocabulary and tagging to allow me access to the resources I need.  Library divisions could use del.icio.us to collect a unique list of websites that help them perform their jobs when helping customers.  We could use a controlled vocabulary that we as librarians use but also add tags that help  customers find what they need as well.  In today’s “keyword” driven world “tagging” is a must for anyone who catagorizes and shares websites, pictures on Flickr, etc. If you’re not using “tags” then you’re not “with it”.  You’re not providing the best access to information to users from all walks of life varied experiences with the world around us all.

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Twitter!!!!!

•October 22, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Twitter can be a great and fun tool to quickly relay information to others, especially if you’re a busy person and you need to send someone a quick fact, news or just a hello.  Library’s could use “twitter” to convey information about new resources (book, electronic, etc.), services and programming.  It would be an excellent tool to send a reminder to customers about a program they had registered for that is coming up tomorrow and much more.   I have to say personally “twitter” is not a tool I’d use regularly and in a world in which we are inundated with information and newsbytes coming at us in many forms (email, facebook, text messages via cell phones/blackberries, tv, paper notes, and even face to face) I find it hard to spend time to include “twitter” messages as well.

Make LibraryThing Your Thing

•September 9, 2008 • Leave a Comment

LibraryThing is great!  It’s a convenient and fun way to compile and share with others your reading interests.  You can make personal comments about the books  you’ve read and personally tag them with a unique subject that fits your individual tastes and interests.  Yet another cool way to share and find things in common with others and what better way than through what we’re reading!

Image Generators

•September 8, 2008 • 1 Comment

This weeks Learn & Play #10 was a lot of fun, be prepared to spend time checking all the fun things out. My favs from the L&P suggested sites are FD Toys and The Generator Blog. Specifically Trading Cards in FD Toys (which I mentioned in a previous posting) and the Make Your Own Coat of Arms generator in the Generator Blog. Both are fun just be prepared to stay awhile and look at everything.  They’re easy to use, fun to play with.

I picked the Make Your Own Coat of Arms for obvious reasons.  Now you know how your ancestors got theirs ; ). Check out my coat of arms from a very ancient line.

mad-man-of-ght-crest2

RSS Feeds & The Library

•September 4, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Imagine getting only the information/news on what interests you.  RSS feeds help you to do just that when you’re looking for news and information from the infinite resources of the Internet (news, blogs, etc.).  Sites such as Bloglines allow us to quickly subscribe to blogs and news sites that interest us so that we get only the latest content added to them.

The library has so much information to share with it’s users.  Lists of new books added to our collection, events at our locations and those that our staff participate in on behalf of CML, changes in services, new technology, are just a few topics that would be of interest to our users.  This could be way too much information for our users to sift thru and find the few things that they are interested in.  RSS feeds would allow users to quickly find out what’s happening in those particular areas that interest them.  I know I have many interests (librarianship is one and Library Stuff is one site with news and information of interest to me) and it is nigh on impossible to read each and every blog, news site, etc. every day to see if they have anything new for me and I know my supervisor and co-workers would not appreciate me spending all my time sifting thru every one to find out what’s going on.  I know now that I can use RSS feeds to simplify this, so that I get only the information/news that I want/need and get it at my convenience.

Technology Makes Life Easier & Interesting

•September 3, 2008 • 1 Comment

It’s amazing how much we depend on technology to make our lives easier. Tools such as PowerPoint make it easy to create great presentations. With just a few tips you can quickly be on your way to creating simple to very dynamic presentations that wow your audience. As mentioned in previous post, mashups and 3rd-party tools on Flickr make your blogging and Flickr experience fun and interesting as well. And thanks to the technology gods for the flash drive. I have my work world in my hand and can move quickly from one computer to the next (office, classroom, home, conference) with little or no muss and fuss. We live in a great time where we can harness technology to do good.

I recently signed up again for a “personal” subscription to Ancestry.com. They have a cool tool called “My Tree” that allows you to create a family tree and as you do so Ancestry automatically starts to search all of it’s databases for records that might match the persons you include in your pedigree. With a few simple clicks you can review these “hints” or sources (census, church, military, all kinds of records), edit the information you wish to add to your family history, and based on this new information you’ve added Ancestry continues to look for more information you might find useful.

One might quickly think that with technology like this, there would be no need for book, document and record collections or the people who work in them. This would not be the case. First this is available to subscribers only and not everyone would be able to afford the price nor always have access to a computer and the Internet to access Ancestry.com. Even though subscribers might use Ancestry to create the pedigree and family history with supporting records available through it’s database, users still need us to evaluate what they find and to offer advice on which record would hold more prominence in proving the facts presente. At this point in time Ancestry.com does not have every record from everyplace in the world in it’s electronic collection. Sometimes those digitized records they do have may not have been scanned properly and are illegible or at best very hard to read. Users will be happy to know that the physcial copies of these are out there in a government agency, archives, or library just waiting for the researcher to find and use them to further their own research and we will be there waiting to assist them in this endeavor.

With that said, technology is great and it makes life easier but in some cases it is not perfect. Human or technological errors such as; poor quality digitization or illegible scans, poor selections in metadata or a lack of some controlled vocabulary can render these resources difficult (if not impossible) to find.  Even something as simple as no power or charging for information that was once free, can disconnect or disassociate the user from the sources they need. Until the technology of the digital world is without any flaws we need to take the more “antiquated” approach of learning research methodology, learning how to evaluate and interpret what we find before we present it to the world as credible, authortative information and/or facts about any topic including our family and our lives.

Some Flickr Fun Feeds the Mad Man’s Ego

•September 3, 2008 • 3 Comments

Well I’ve looked at Flickr and discovered the mashup and 3rd party toys.  What a cool way to add some fun and flair to your blog.  I found two cool 3rd party music sites (Musikontube and Podfire)  that I added to my links.  Then my ego got very hungry so I created a trading card to feed it’s need.  My only problem is where do i stop since there are so many cool things to look at and add.  And what makes it even better is how easy they are to apply and use.