Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Finishing 27things, Minus Thingfo

Ready to plow through that last step of 27things, I hit a roadblock when trying to sign up for Thingfo. The message on the website now says "Thingfo is currently invite-only while we focus on the next version." That's ok - I've gotten an idea of what it does by looking at some of some of my coworkers' blogs.

So, some final thoughts on 27things: first of all, I'm glad I finished by the deadline! I know some of my coworkers felt like they just didn't have the time to go through it, and others started but weren't able to finish. I'll admit that I did work on it at home at times, but that's fine - I learned things that I feel will be useful to me both at work and in my outside life. Working on 27things has made me more knowledgeable about technology and a little more confident that I'll be able to adapt to new services as they come along. Since technology is constantly changing, obviously, we'll need an update. So, as other people have said, I'd be interested in going through a similar training in the future - maybe with fewer than 27 things, though. Also, I agree with some of my coworkers that one of the best results of 27things is that we've gotten to know more about our coworkers, which often has been really interesting. Some people have generously made comments on my blog and helped me out, which has been great. I do hope that people will keep working on their blogs - especially the birders - since I enjoy reading them. So in my view, 27things, although a little overwhelming at times, has been a successful program. I hope there will be a scaled-down, similar process in the future to build on this success.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Twitter Your Thoughts Now!

Twitter, obviously, works best for someone who likes to keep in touch with friends by text messaging on their mobile phone. Why wait until you get to your computer to tell people what you're up to - do it now! Since I'm not a text messager, Twitter really just offers the same services I can get on other sites. Facebook, for example, lets me keep in touch with people as much as I want. I did sign up for Twitter, though, and am following some of my coworkers. Here is my Twitter homepage, for what it's worth. I actually think that Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites are great for people who are technology oriented and who like to talk often to a wide circle of friends. That doesn't sound like me, but who knows - maybe Facebook will win me over.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mango - Lots of Choices

One of the things that really impresses me about Mango is the number of different languages included in the database. And one hundred lessons for each language - that should keep just about anyone busy! Another great feature is that there are also English lessons for Spanish speakers and Brazilian Portuguese speakers - an excellent resource for library patrons. For this 27things exercise I decided to struggle through a few French lessons, since I have some French heritage and have always been interested in the language. The smart thing, though, would be for me to practice Spanish since I've taken classes before and certainly have occasion to use it at the library. Practicing on Mango would help me regain some of those skills, which would be great. All I need is a little discipline....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Overdrive Audiobooks - Easier Than Expected!

Downloadable audiobooks have been available through the library's website for some time now. I think that all along I have been avoiding learning about downloading the software and checking out books, because in the back of my mind I was thinking it would be hard. It turns out it's easy! I've now checked out and listened to I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This! by Bob Newhart on the Overdrive software. I look forward to exploring the audiobook collection available for downloading through the library's website. It's something I should have tried quite a while ago!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Podcasts - Varying Styles

After searching the directories Podcast.com and PodcastAlley.com for library news, I listened to the podcasts LibVibe, Uncontrolled Vocabulary, ABC Book Review, Open Stacks, Genealogy Guys and Genealogy Gems. They varied in presentation - LibVibe is a short reading of current library news by one person, while ABC Book Review is a very casual conversation about books between two librarians. The podcasts that appealed to me more were the ones that had less unrelated, personal information thrown in. Other people may prefer this style of presentation, but I'm really not interested in how busy one librarian - someone I don't know - is with a new baby in her life. Maybe I'm missing the point of podcasts. Anyway, I ended up adding Genealogy Gems to my blog - it seems to be pretty good about getting to the point of the presentation.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

YouTube - Talavera Tiles of Puebla

The YouTube video I chose gives a brief history of tilemaking in the Mexican city of Puebla. The reason I chose it is that I appreciate the beauty of tiles, and am always interested in learning more about them. Also, since I have no videos of my own on YouTube, I decided it would probably be ok to put this UNESCO video on my blog. I'm not entirely clear on whether or not it's acceptable to use someone's personal YouTube video on your blog - my guess is that it's a bad idea. Although I doubt that I would use YouTube for library purposes, I know one of my colleagues made a video on the site to advertise one of her teen library programs.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Setting up Forms on Wufoo

Getting down to the last couple of weeks on 27things, it's definitely time to move along! From the Web 2.0 Awards list, under the category of Organization, I found the site Wufoo interesting. After setting up an account you can build and customize your own forms using the provided templates. The types of forms you can create include surveys, workshop registrations, contact forms, online petitions and others. I practiced using Wufoo by setting up a survey form for the genealogy programs we have at the Central Library. If I spent more time working on this and got it set up just right, I could e-mail the link to this survey to the people who come to the programs. They could post their feedback to my e-mail account. It sounds great! So far the only drawback I've seen is that the free account doesn't allow access to very many features. Of course, Wufoo wants you to upgrade - how else would they get their money? As long as I can do the basics - sending the form and receiving the results - the free account will be fine for me. I think Wufoo is a site that I will have to take more time to explore - when I get the time...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Learning about Zoho

Before working through the steps of 27things, I had never even heard of on an online word processor such as Zoho Writer.  At work I tend to store my documents in the shared I-drive so that I can access them as I move to different computers.  I can see how Zoho would be even better in that I could access those documents from any computer outside the library - and share my documents with other people.  It looks like there are a lot of features to discover in Zoho.  I'm now going to try to post this (from Zoho) to my blog - hope it works!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Using Wikis at the Library

The 27things exercise on Wikis was pretty straightforward, and it was easy to add an entry to the SPL "sandbox." Although I can't see that it would be worth the effort to set up a wiki for planning a one-time event, such as a camping trip (the example given in the video "Wikis in Plain English"), I can understand how it would be a useful tool for an ongoing project. When it comes to library wikis, I'm impressed by the example of St. Joseph County Public Library's subject guides. Although these wikis can be edited by library staff only, the public is welcome to give their suggestions. I would think that with input from the public on these subject guides, they would become more reflective of the community the library serves.

On a smaller scale, I thought of two possible uses for wikis at the Sacramento Public Library - ones that might help the staff in certain jobs they do. At the Central Library, one librarian maintains Fast Facts, the in-house database of hard-to-find information that is used by all SPL staff. It might be helpful if she set up a wiki for all staff to add their ideas of possible new entries or updated information for Fast Facts, and she could choose which to add to the database. On an even smaller scale - at Central Library staff members teach computer classes. A wiki could be set up so that anyone on the staff could add suggestions for classes that might be taught. So - I hope that our library will start to explore more ideas of ways that wikis might be used.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lincoln Treasures Grace Sacramento

Would you like to look at the bible used by Abraham Lincoln at his 1861 inauguration and by Barack Obama at his inauguration this January? Or some of the items Lincoln was carrying in his pocket on the night he was shot at Ford's Theatre? How about an original playbill for that night's play - Our American Cousin - with a real bloodstain?

Ok - you get my point: you need to see the exhibit With Malice Towards None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition. This wonderful Library of Congress exhibit, on a five-city tour, is currently on display at the California Museum at 10th and O Streets in Sacramento. It will only be there until August 22nd, so be sure to get in to see it before it's gone!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A New World of Librarianship

The Library 2.0 article that appealed to me the most is Into a New World of Librarianship, by Michael Stephens (from NextSpace, the OCLC newsletter). What appealed to me is that he applies Web 2.0 tools and thinking to principles that librarians have always had, coming up with a new "strategy guide" to suggest ways that we might use this technology in our profession. In a way it reminds me of a set of guidelines for new librarians I had seen several years ago, but couldn't quite remember. After some searching, I've decided that what I was thinking of was the Ten Graces for New Librarians, which isn't technology-oriented but is still relevant. Well, it's not exactly the same thing, but similar. I think it's worthwhile to refer to both the Stephens article and the "Ten Graces" for a little guidance and inspiration every once in a while - at least it is for me.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Technorati: another way to keep up!

As in the case of Delicious, 27things has changed my thinking about the possible usefulness of Technorati. Using the advanced search option for "Learning 2.0" as a tag produced fewer but more relevant results, of course, than doing just a general keyword search. Then I did a similar search for genealogy and realized that Technorati could be used as another way to keep up with what's new in this area - it gave me the top blogs, videos and images. Off the subject of genealogy, when I explored popular blogs, searches and tags I was surprised by the popular searches. I'm not sure why "taskbar" would be the most popular search, and some of the others seemed odd. Although most of the popular blogs looked too technical for me, I did find Boing Boing kind of interesting. For one thing, it led me to another blog: Awful Library Books, which is dedicated to weeding (Diseases from Space is one of those titles). Maybe if I follow this blog it will help me with my weeding hangup...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dealing with Delicious

Way behind again on 27things, it's definitely time for me to deal with Delicious. But before I do, I want to thank the birders again for their help. I posted the picture of the unknown bird in my yard on the Sacramento Birders Yahoo group and got one response from someone who felt sure it was a juvenile black-crowned night heron. Of course it was only one person, but he seemed pretty certain.

I learned the basics about Delicious some time ago when an account was set up for our use at Central Library and I was asked to add some genealogy web sites. I have to admit that I didn't really use Delicious much after that. When looking for good sites for stock quotes the other day, though, I realized that our Delicious account was readily available on the links toolbar in Telis. That made it really convenient, and I had several good sites in no time at all. So maybe now I'll set up my own account and add it to the links toolbar on my work computer - and my home computer, too. Another thing I like about Delicious is that you can combine tags when you search to get more specific kinds of web sites. Hopefully I can start thinking of this site as a really useful tool when doing reference work.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bird ID Help Needed

Yes, I should be focusing on the next step in 27Things - learning about Delicious and Technorati. Before I do, though, I have a favor to ask of any birders that might be willing to give me their opinion. The other day while I was away from home a bigger-than-average bird landed in my smaller-than-average yard (a deck, really). My friend who was home at the time managed to take a picture - but from inside the house and with no zoom (he said the bird was about 12 inches tall). I'm still a novice birder, so I'm not sure what it is - my guess is it's an immature something - some kind of heron? I'd really like to hear what other people think it is - and sorry for the quality of the picture. If I don't hear from anyone on the blog, I might post the picture to the Yahoo group for Sacramento Birders. Thanks for your help!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mike to the Rescue, and Rollyo

It seems that someone at LibraryThing is looking out for me - specifically Mike, who apparently troubleshoots the problems people have with this service. It really surprised me when he responded to my last blog about the problem with my LibraryThing widget disappearing. To solve the problem he applied a patch, and added some code - so far it seems to be working! I'm hoping for the best.

Rollyo seems easy enough. I made two searchrolls - one for genealogy and the other for birds. Choosing certain web sites to search does narrow the results, and ensures that those results come from trusted sources. I tend to wonder, though, what information I might be missing when I limit myself to just a few sites. I guess that's why the searchroll gives you the option of searching the web instead of those selected sites.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Disappearing LibraryThing Widget

My sense of accomplishment after finally posting my LibraryThing widget to my blog is not so great anymore - the widget keeps disappearing, and I've had to replace it about four times now (if not more). If anyone has any input about why this might be happening, I'd appreciate the advice. And just when I thought I was up to dealing with new technology (on a limited basis)....

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Motivational Poster, and LibraryThing

Because I'm an unorganized person by nature, I decided to make this motivational poster for the image generator exercise for 27Things.

Maybe I'll print a copy of it and put it up at my desk.

Also, I'm enjoying having a LibraryThing account - I think it's a good way for me to keep track of the kinds of books I like to read and to get ideas for future reading. I have to admit that it took me a while to figure out how to post the widget to my blog, but I'm pleased with the results. My new mantra: don't be defeated by technology!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thanks to the Birders, and RSS Feeds

Before getting back to 27Things, I just want to say what a pleasure it's been reading other peoples' blogs. I've enjoyed finding out that there are other birders working for SPL (I thought I was alone!), and have especially enjoyed reading For the Birds. I also want to thank Bibliocrone for mentioning that people can join the Sacramento Birds Yahoo Group. I've signed up, and am looking forward to getting local bird news via e-mail (ok - if you like birds you'll understand).
On RSS, I actually already had a Bloglines account, and had some feeds there. For this exercise I added more feeds - ones having to do with genealogy, since updated information in this area helps me in my job. I have to agree with Sola Soleil about RSS feeds, though - it's hard to get the time to read this steady stream of information coming your way! Maybe the trick is to limit it to the feeds you really think are most important.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Kubota Garden Slideshow

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Here's my first attempt at putting together a slideshow - these are photos of Kubota Garden in Seattle from a recent trip. At least I finally got back to posting something in my blog - I was about to give up! I have explored Flickr, and it's nice to actually put something like this together.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What is Kiva?

If you have any interest in why I chose KivaFriend for the name of my blog, I thought I'd explain. A kiva is an "underground or partly underground chamber in a Pueblo village, used by the men especially for ceremonies or councils." But Kiva (www.kiva.org) is a micro-lending website where anyone can make a loan of $25 to an entrepreneur in an impoverished community. Several lenders can contribute to provide the amount needed for the total loan. Once the loan is repaid, you can use that money to re-lend to someone else in need, or get your money back. I learned about Kiva by reading Bill Clinton's book Giving: how each of us can change the world, which I would recommend to anyone. And I would also recommend Kiva - for just $25 you can make a difference! Ok, enough about the name of my blog!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taking the Time for Lifelong Learning

Going through the 7 & 1/2 habits tutorial has made me realize that, when it comes to learning about new technology in particular, the hardest habit for me is accepting responsibility for my own learning (as much as I hate to admit it). This is mainly because I'm just not as adept at picking up new technology as some people seem to be. The other reason is that any kind of lifelong learning takes time - it's something I need to make a conscious effort to fit into a busy day - and have fun with it! 27 Things is a good way to focus my attention on absorbing new information and being introduced to new technology.