Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jay Walker's Library

A big thanks to Gina for posting the "Browse the Artifacts of Geek History in Jay Walker's Library" article.

I have not stopped drooling over those photographs of Jay Walker's personal library and I find myself coming back to them, over and over again! The photographs reminded me strongly of the old curiosity museums which were jammed full of unique objets and revolting specimens. In addition to being wooed by the view, I loved his book philosophy! To him, book's impact is most important and that is why he only selects books that revolutionized knowledge in some way. Now that is an interesting way to direct one's book collecting, and lends itself well into creating a space full of imagination and intrigue.

Can you imagine spending a couple of hours exploring that place? What I wouldn't give!

Encyclopedia of Life

I found this article rather interesting: "An Interview with E.O. Wilson, the Father of the Encyclopedia of Life." This is exactly what libraries are trying to do in digitizing their information. It seems to me that there is something to be said about the mission to make all information available to all people at all times. That is what the Encyclopedia of Life is attempting to do - catalogue all types of life on Earth into one mega resource! Not only is this a great jumping-off point for libraries, but it is an example (or it will be) of how we can start to combine our digital resources with that of other libraries.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Computer Tricks, part deux

Here is another article in line with the computer tricks one I posted a few days ago. In this article, "The 18 Things You Need for Your Computer," Farhad Manjoo examines his most used computer apps and talks about why they are important. This article, besides confirming some of my habits (Google Reader has saved me hours already in the month I have been using it) and giving me some new ideas (Picasa and Mint, to name a few), does offer some brilliant time saving applications that are useful when venturing into the 1.0 and 2.0 web worlds.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blogs in the Classroom

Now that I have been exposed to the joys of iLibrarian (brilliant!), I've found myself trolling through some of the back posts. The one about the article, "Avoiding the 5 Most Common Mistakes in Using a Blog with Students," really started me thinking about the classes I have had and the way in which my teachers have used or misused that type of technology. The UW uses a blackboard program that, besides crashing every other day, I have never seen used correctly. Using a Blog with a class... now that is an interesting notion. In fact, I had a particularly horrible blackboard experience in my Russian 200 class. The Professor posted handouts for us to print and videos for us to watch in a disorganized and disjointed manner, that was only compounded by the fickle nature of the system. Now, if she had used a Blog, that would have been a much more productive tool - something that she could operate outside of the school's system (meaning those of us who lived off campus could access it from home) and still create a very usable posting method.

A light bulb went off when the author, Ruth Reynard, wrote "The essential difference between a blog and other online tools is that it is intended to be an individual publication: a one-way monologue or self-post to which others may comment but do not contribute." I think that is a distinction that I had never before made and that I will apply when evaluating blogs and wikis in the future - the blog is much more like a classroom, with a teacher teaching and students commenting; whereas the wiki is more of a study group where people are more interested in communicating with each other on an equal playing field.

All of this is easily applied to our library blogs and wikis. And, I have to say, that I think we've got it right so far. Go team! It would be interesting to see if a library blog would work - one that was written by us for the public.

Hifi SciFi Library

Here is that video that I tried to send to you the other day.

Communist Library Threat!

I saw this on the Colbert Report the other night, and thought y'all would get a kick out of it!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Computer Tricks

Here is a cool article from the NY Times with some interesting shortcuts and hints for us savvy computer users. I'll admit that there were many I didn't know and a couple I am going to start using all the time!

Human Powered Search

This article, What is the Future of Human Powered Searching?, was mentioned in this week's ALA Online. The author brings up some very good points in regards to the pros and cons of this type of Internet searching - when done correctly Human Powered Searching easily overcomes the pros of other searching types and is the only way to deal with cons. He hit it home for me when he said, "You cannot persuade people to break their Google habit until your searches are better than Google for most cases (not just the few cases where you specialize)." I think that is the key and something that can be easily applied to libraries - if we, meaning our databases and search engines, can't be better than Google then there is no way were are going to convince the public or the students to use us.

An aside: I had never heard of Mahalo before and it appears to be everything you want in a fluffy, general search engine.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Something I was going to bring up today in the 2.0 meeting was this wonderful thing called "Pandora." Have you heard of this yet? I hope you have because it has completely changed my online music listening!

It is part of the Music Listening Genome Project which seeks to determine what it is about music that certain people attach to and are repulsed by. For example, I apparently I like infectious, guitar-centered melodies, lyrics-based music with a quasi New York post-punk sound. What that means, exactly? I don't know, besides it confirming that I love R.E.M. and Ben Folds.

You create a free account and then you create a station (you can have many for all of your different moods) by entering a band or a musician that you really enjoy. The site then plays music by bands and artists that have a similar music-type breakdown. If you like the song playing you give it a thumbs up, if not, a thumbs down. This lets the project know when it is off base in its music selection and then it adjusts your preferences. The cool thing about this experiment is that the more you listen to a station, the more personalized and exact the station becomes. Then you can share it with friends or with people who enjoy the same music as you do. Also, you can bookmark songs and artist so that you can come back to them later. It is the best way I've found to expand your music repertoire for free.

I am not really sure how this could be applied to the library, but I thought that it was a very interesting project that has helped me through many hours of studying! I warn you, it is addictive!

Time to Get Cracking!

Alright, alright, I haven't posted anything since my first week. However, this is something that I am going to rectify tonight by getting you all up to speed about my latest 2.0 ventures!

1. I am obsessed with RSS feeds! Why have I not discovered these much, much sooner?
2. I have a Delicious account (HeatherVM), though I have not had the opportunity to use it much.
3. I have a Flikr account (HeatherVM).
4. I am also obsessed with Google Reader, though I cannot get the tabs to work correctly in the iGoogle.