Sunday, September 14, 2008
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach
But maybe not as transcendently as Elizabeth Barrett Browning loved Robert Browning.
It was both harder and easier than I thought; harder because it was so time-consuming, easier in that most of the Things were pretty easy. It was often a slog to read each article and check out each link, listen to multiple webinars and podcasts, etc. when sometimes they didn't add that much to what I already knew. On the other hand, it was sometimes overwhelming, and I felt lit up and excited or overloaded and burned out by all the new information and ideas.
Bit by bit I've built a comprehensive beginner's knowledge of the possibilities inherent in web 2.0, an intimation of how much more there is to learn, and a feeling of deep satisfaction at finishing the most sustained intellectual work I've done since graduate school. Or at least the most sustained late-night work since leaving school!
I am now freed from the jealousy and curiosity I'd feel when looking at someone's blog: how did they get that cool book display (Library Thing, Shelfari.) Where did all those cool images on the 23 on a stick page come from? (Big Huge Labs, ImageChef) What's the big deal about Facebook? (The power of fun should never be underestimated!) The organization of the "Things" helped me build a framework of understanding, a place to sort the pieces of knowledge I already had, and see where they fit into the whole.
Thing 7 was a killer in that it took so much time. I thought of quitting. It turned out the rest weren't that monumental, but I was worried they would be.
Should you give us more time next time? I'll leave that for others to say. I think no matter when the deadline, I would be staying up late to do these.
The e-mail posts from "The Group of 23" were helpful, but for those of us who were behind, not timely. They did give a good indication of where you should be in the process, but maybe that could be more explicit. An assignment schedule calculator for 23T?
Also it was lonely at the end, when all the posting had been done on a topic and it felt that topic was "closed." I didn't know if you would still be looking at those for new questions or posts. And, me being me, I would have welcomed a communication just for social comfort.
Y'all rock, that's for sure. Thanks. For. Doing. This!!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Whew, boy, 23 Things and about 150 subscriptions later, I'm closing in on the end! I divided my subscriptions into folders on Google Reader:2.0 Blogs (Information Wants to be Free, etc., some of the leaders in the field)
23 Things blogs (colleagues completing the program)
Librarian Blogs, personal (e. g. I Love the Liberry, Oranges and Peaches)
Web 2.0 (feeds that aren't blogs)
and a few others, those are the key folders.
I have a lot of things posted to my del.icio.us site with the tag "Keeping Up." I like RSS feeds better though because they come to you. I now subscribe to some of the things I had bookmarked, and I think that will work better. Now that I understand RS feeds, I am going to review those posts and see if I can subscribe to the web site.
Also, instead of just tagging with 23Things, I have tags Thing1, Thing2, etc. I know I'll forget which thing is which but if I know I'm thinking about a certain Thing, I can find it quickly.
Shades of Cat in the Hat! (Thing 1 and Thing 2)
Here's a link to several software tools that will "RSS-ify" a web site; creating a feed for a web site that doesn't have one. This has changed rapidly, though, so there aren't as many web sites that don't have a feed.
One trick I use is to force certain tags to the top of my del.icio.us list by adding a prefix that will sort it higher in the list. My most-used web sites are tagged AATop. I also use AAKeepingUp, AAWatch, and ABTimeSensitive. In Outlook and Word, you can also use symbols such as +, -, *, and &, which will force a folder to the top of a list. I haven't tried symbols yet in del.icio.us.
One of the things that would be useful would be to go through my 1,460 del.icio.us bookmarks and see which are still valid. Or at least go through Keeping Up, Web 2.0, and other tags related to 23 Things on a Stick which have proliferated during this project!
I'd be interested to know the tagging styles people have found most useful. Tagging with an outline in mind, with only the highest 1-2 levels, or tagging every tag that can be used?
For instance, I have blogs, librarianblogs, and libraryblogs . . . that works for me but I wonder if there is a more efficient or effective technique. I'd like to learn more about the art/science of taagging. Am I veering into controlled vocabulary territory? I guess another project will be to keep up with taxonomies, folksonomies, etc.
I'm interested in pursuing Learning 2.1.
And, I'd like to learn more about Cascading Style Sheets and HTML., take some webinars, read all my iGoogle feeds, run for president, and bring about world peace. Just a few simple things.
Kidding aside, I do want to take advantage of this learning adventure!
Friday, September 12, 2008
I looked at Gather.com, WebJunction, and several of the suggested Nings, but nothing really caught my eye. Gather.com was too unfocused, even the MPR areas. WebJunction is interesting, but I wasn't interested in any of the groups.
I was already a member of the Midwest Library Technology Conference Ning (see **gadget**), but the last posts were from the end of June.
Some of the nings and groups are inactive. I think there has to be a core group that actively participates or things fade out, especially when the membership is large and impersonal. One of the many bloggers I subscribe to posted that opinion recently, and I agree. I didn't "star" the post, and can't find it now.
I joined Shelfari and the New Releases group, put the shelf on two of my blogs.
The Library 2.0 ning, the last I looked at, seems like a good possibility, so I joined that too.
I think the New Releases group on Shelfari and the Library 2.0 ning will be good fits, with some good chances to connect with others.
Monday, September 8, 2008
I already have a neglected profile on MySpace, (Andrea Pearson) and have friended Hennepin County Library, so I created a profile on Facebook. BTW, I didn't find a blog widget for MySpace, so added the link, above.
I found two friends, one from college and one from about 20 years ago, and my brother and brother-in-law. . . too much detail, maybe, but WOW I can sure see how the kids like this. Us big kids, too, I guess!
I wrote on my friend Lisa's wall, and joined all the library groups mentioned: MLA, FacebookAppsforLibraries, Librarians on Facebook, Library 2.0 Interest Group, and 23 Things on a Stick. Some of them look dormant, but I hope there will be activity.
I joined them to network with other librarians and particularly those interested in Library 2.0.
The key difference between MySpace and Facebook is that in MySpace you can connect to someone without permission, while in Facebook you need to be acknowledged and permitted to be a friend. In addition, MySpace is visually busy and unattractive. There are a lot more ads, it's harder to see your own content, and I found it more difficult to use. Ugh. I can see the need for an "Amp Your MySpace Page" manual.
I'd like to investigate some of the Facebook apps. I checked "Amp Your MySpace Page" out of the library but decided I want to focus on Facebook. I'm going to look for something similar for Facebook. It showed ways to change the look of the page with changes to HTML and CSS.
I'm sure you read a lot of late night posts, and this is one of them. If it seems a bit perfunctory, know this: I spent my whole night on Facebook! For better or worse!
I listened to two Nancy Pearl book reviews from radio broadcasts. I also subscribed to her author interviews, and to Garrison Keillor's "This week in Lake Wobegon" monologues. I dutifully downloaded them to my RSS reader (GReader) per instructions so that I can listen to them from a computer, but I also downloaded them to my iPod and I will probably listen to them there.
I didn't find a lot of difference in the directories. I did have trouble finding content I wanted, but I looked at some of the other 23 Things/Stick blogs and borrowed some of their search terms.
I used to co-host a radio program with Nanci Olesen, who now works at MPR. I really liked being on the air, and yes, I may set up a podcast.
Maybe we have to have a 2nd course of 23 Things for those of us who need a deadline to help us focus! (which would include doing a podcast)
Said from the viewpoint of one who is not administering it. But I'd volunteer!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I chose the Chrome video because Chrome is new and I'm interested in learning more about it. It also has worth for anyone reading my blog. (Hello 23ThingsOnaStick faithful reader!) I threw in the British Museum footage just for a sentimental journey. Despite all the lovely techy things we have available today, books still charm and draw us.
The sites were easy to use and appealing. The only issue I had was that I watched the videos at work because my home computer is s-o s-l-o-w. I feel bad about that, but truly, it was a S-L-O-W day!
Monday, September 1, 2008
I downloaded RSSOwl and was able to edit the feed text and successfully survive. Now there's a Freudian slip! I meant "successfully subscribe!"
There's a lot of time and poking around represented in those six sentences!
I'm pleased to discover this tool! I try to keep up with the research on Asperger's Syndrome (a high-functioning form of autism) but there's a lot to keep up with! The ability to get a weekly or even monthly feed from Academic Search Premier is fantastic.
I did the challenge of creating a web page, and how cool is that?!
With the ability to save searches, could a library set up some standard searches for people to use? I don't know if the folder access would be a problem.
When I'm on the reference desk and meet people with an ongoing interest in a subject, I'm going to tell them about setting up a feed. I also want to see if there are topics that should be added to our Library Substitutes wiki, either as saved searches or feeds.
I repeat: how cool is that!
And that's the unfortunate truth, that in the public libraries, we usually see people who have an assignment due the next day. It's exciting when someone comes in far in advance of their due date, because then we can lay all of our wonderful resources before them!
One nice feature of the Assignment Calculator for college students is the emphasis on asking and answering thesis questions. Though it's not a major shift, I ran into it for the first time in grad school and floundered a bit.
Most students do their online research at home -- or at least without ever consulting me or anyone I've sat next to! So if we want to offer handouts, it should be on the Teen Space page, the Homework page -- something online they can fill out online or print at the time they need it.
Two things I would like to see in the Research Project Calculator:
1. An acknowledgment and a way to handle and document that you might go through the first steps of the assignment many times, as you try out and discard topics, run into dead ends or just find you're bored, find out what you thought was a controversy isn't one anymore, or find some tantalizing new angle to pursue.
2. Also, some form of graphic organizer for search terms. Maybe this is more appropriate for the college level, but when you are searching through databases, some key words yield more info than others. Another key word might be useful in a different database.
It would be useful to make a page for each database, a place to note what search terms you used, the articles you found using that search term/combination, and the bibliographical data, including date.
Through much trial, error, and stumbling, I did learn two different roles in Puzzle Pirates, bilging and carpentering.
This sort of thing is very hard to learn by reading about it. It's better to learn as the kids do, by watching someone play, then playing with a bunch of self-appointed coachers standing around back-seat driving for you.
I had trouble navigating around the game. My slow computer speed and old-fashioned mouse were other impediments. For carpentering, you could change the orientation of the pieces with the right click and center dial. I had to use c, x, and z, which was confusing.
The older gamers had to make do with keyboard letters for directions, so I know it's doable, but it wasn't much fun.
However, I may be addicted to bilging. The colors and patterns are mesmerizing. I played again and again . . . and again.
This was one of the hardest yet for me to complete!