Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thing 23: Wrapping Up

My favorite part of Web 2.0 has to be Listen NJ. I'm very likely to use this again, since it was so easy! Even better, since I'll probably be listening to books with my husband, instead of me having to pick an audio book here in the library, my husband can browse through titles online.

My least favorite part of Web 2.0 would be the din created by the sound of millions of bloggers clogging up the Internet. While I appreciate reading blogs by pundits or experts in a particular field, Technorati revealed an inane world of people who'd do better to spend their time reading than posting...

I hope the library gets more involved in RSS feeds--especially regarding new materials. I also think that being able to perform a federated search of the library's catalog and databases would be VERY useful for customers.

As for what Web 2.0 applications I share with my family: much as people in the past made their guests sit through slide shows of their vacations, I make my parents watch when videos of me have been posted to YouTube (but only when they are visiting me, as Dad is too paranoid to download software to his computer...). Unfortunately, it doesn't look like State Library of Pennsylvania offers a service comparable to ListenNJ, or I'd try to help my parents set that up (although that conversation would probably be short and unsuccessful, as Dad would object to downloading the software...).

Overall, my favorite part about completing this Web Challenge has been reading everyone else's blogs (yes, yes, I know I just called most blogs inane, but that's only when the authors are people I don't know). Its been interesting to see the pictures posted by others--especially here in Lacey. I'm glad that the blogs OCL's Web Challenge participants will remain posted for a few more weeks, as I look forward to browsing through the ones I haven't read yet.

Thing 22: ListenNJ (Part Two of Two)

Not only was it very easy to download the audio software to my home computer, it was quick! Needless to say, we had a great time listening to Linda Greenlaw's True Tales From the Dry Dock Bar last night. As we listened to her tales of stormy seas, accidents on deck and shipwrecks we wrapped three new hula hoops (Captain America, Goth Girl II and The Panda). Tonight we'll listen to the other half of Greenlaw's fishy tales and wrap more hoops (I'm planning on Peace in Ireland and Orange Crush).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thing 22: ListenNJ (Part One of Two)

We've been pretty busy here in Lacey, between getting ready for SAIL and Reading Buddies as well as preparing for a Great Stories Book Discussion at the State Juvenile Detention Facility, so I'd been putting off this task. But today I thought I'd try to tackle it, and am halfway there.

Since I don't yet have an MP3 player, I was interested in finding a book that my husband would enjoy, since we'll be listening to it on our computer at home. He tends to favor nonfiction, and sure enough, while browsing through the non-fiction titles available on ListenNJ, I found this book that Paul, a semi-retired commercial fisherman, might enjoy (or at least enjoy complaining about):

All Fishermen Are Liars
True Tales from the Dry Dock Bar
By Linda Greenlaw

"All Fishermen Are Liars brims with true stories of the most eccentric crew member, the funniest episode, the biggest fish, and the wildest night at sea."

While we've been instructed to use a PC Plus computer to complete this exercise, I'm going to try to download the actual book at home. Not only is our PC Plus usually being used by customers, but I think it would be nice to listen to a book while Paul is tying jigs and I'm wrapping hoops. Stay tuned for my description of how that ended up working out.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thing 21: Finding and Listening to Podcasts

My husband and I typically build our Sundays around being able to listen to Ira Glass on "This American Life", one of the best shows on National Public Radio. But festival season is now upon us, so we're unlikely to be able to gather around the radio in the afternoon. Fortunately, let me subscribe to weekly podcasts of "This American Life", which they describe as "first-person stories and short fiction pieces that are touching, funny, and surprising." It was great to hear what I missed this past Sunday, as well as being able to look up past programs I enjoyed. Now we can gather around the computer to hear this program, anytime we want!

My wonderful, rainy, weekend

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thing 19: Web 2.0 Awards

Given that doing this Web Challenge has introduced me to more technology than I'm likely to use, my main category of interest on SEOmoz's 2007 Web 2.0 Awards was "Fun Stuff".

Sure enough, I found a link to a service I'm likely to use, "One Sentence: True Stories Told in One Sentence". Here's an example of the wit to be found at this Web site, pulled from their April 2008 archives:


I was the only one at the company who genuinely liked the woman who laid me off, and I think she's about to find that out.

Some of these stories only make sense when you read the accompanying tags:


After one friend told me I'd get pneumonia and the other two decided on hypothermia, I did it out of spite.

tags: ocean beach night bra and underwear cold

I'm likely to use this service because it only takes a minute to enjoy the latest postings.

Thing 18: Web Apps

I see several practical applications for using Web applications such as Google Docs. As was detailed in the instructional video provided by Google, when working on a project with a group, being able to access relevant documents in a central location that immediately reflects changes that have been made by group members is much more effective than e-mailing documents back and forth, and insures that all members have access to the most recent incarnation of a project.

Google Docs was very useful when Tyler Rousseau, Lavernne Mann of the Mercer County library, David Lisa of the West Long Branch library and I were preparing a presentation for this year's New Jersey Library Association Conference, "Adult Graphic Novels for Every Library". Using Google Docs to post our choices for Graphic Novels to include in the presentation saved us time and allowed each of us to comment on the choices made by others.

Thing 17: Playing in the Sandbox

Since I was a latecomer to this exercise, it was interesting to see all the variations of font/color/size that prior participants had already used in the Sandbox. I especially liked the pictures of the flowering trees outside the Bishop Building.

The biggest advantage I see for work is that posting information directly to a Wiki saves time--for example, for YALSA's Teen Tech Week, instead of e-mailing YALSA with a description of what our TAB in Lacey was doing that week, I was able to post that information directly to their Wiki. This kind of Web 2.0 application also saves time for an organization, since someone in the organization doesn't have to be responsible for receiving information and posting it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Thing 20: You Tube and Me

If you saw my second blog posting, you'll know that I've already shamelessly promoted the video of me spinning fire poi that was posted to YouTube. Interestingly enough, I'm not the only woman named Karla who likes to spin fire poi.

For this exercise, however, I thought I'd post a link to a swell instructional video on how to step through a moving hula hoop:

It took me over a year of practicing to be able to execute that maneuver.

There are numerous other instructional videos posted to YouTube that I find useful, from hoop tricks to clawhammer banjo playing.

And for my next trick, I'll try to embed the aforementioned hoop video:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thing 16: Wikis

Like most people, I had never noticed the "Discussion and History" tabs at the top of each Wikipedia article. Using these tabs allowed me to figure out the exact date that I corrected an article on Wikipedia. You heard me right--I got to fix something on this oft maligned Web resource, specifically the caption to a picture provided in an article on the Akonting Lute.

The Akonting Lute is the African predecessor to the banjo (most people don't know that the banjo itself is an African American instrument). I was thrilled that Wikipedia had an article on this topic, as it has only recently attracted much scholarly attention. However, the caption to the picture of a man holding this instrument was incorrect, so I fixed it. Unfortunately, after a few weeks, I forgot what was wrong with the caption on the first place. Clicking on the "History" tab let me find when I changed this caption and also allowed me to view the caption before I changed it:

"00:43, 30 December 2007 (Talk) (12,506 bytes) (I changed the wording for the picture--the caption incorrectly stated that banjo players pick with the middle finger.)"

Unlike many of my colleagues, I'm a big fan of Wikipedia, as I think it represents our "collective knowledge". The "Discussion and History" features of Wikipedia allow all to view our "collective thought process".

Thing 15: Library 2.0 and Web 2.0

Library 2.0 ideas seem to be very attractive to our teenagers. Take social networking sites, for example. Reposted surveys not withstanding, the "bulletin" feature on MySpace is a great way of letting customers know about potential programs. In a follow up survey to the "What was it like to be a gay teen back in the day" program in early April, when asked how they heard about the program, the second most common answer attendees gave was "MySpace".

As far as how Library 2.0 will impact regular library services, I'm looking forward to the day when users can perform a federated search of not only our books, but also relevant articles in our databases. I think that many customers would also enjoy adding their own book reviews to our online public catalog.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thing 14: Technorati

If someone says something in a blog and nobody reads it, does it make a sound/impression/difference? Thanks to Technorati, the chances of things going unheard in the blogosphere grow smaller.

But to what end? After browsing through the most popular listings on Technorati, I'm skeptical of so many blogs/voices echoing through the ether of the that many people have truly informed opinions?

That being said, Technorati did bring me to the Huffington Post, a political blog that lists port. I also registered my own blog in order to index my musings.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thing 13:

I took Jill Ingraham's fabulous class on the social bookmarking tool "" last fall, and have enjoyed the ability to add to and pull up my favorite Web sites using any computer. Please, feel free to browse through my tags and request to be networked to me:

What I learned today is that I tag items differently than others do. For example, I've been tagging two-word combinations with a dash (bush-administration), whereas others tag two-word combinations with an underscore in between the words (bush_administration). This highlights the potential problem of the "uncontrolled vocabulary" of tagging, does it not? Of course, this is only a problem if we solely rely on user-defined tags to catalog items, hmmm? Any thoughts on this?

Much like "Library Thing" lets me browse the selections of people who have similar tastes to me, "" will be very useful to me in finding Web sites of interest.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thing 12, part two: WorldCat

I was introduced to WorldCat by a library science classmate who works for Palinet in Philadelphia and have used it to see how other libraries catalog their non-fiction Graphic Novels. Currently, the Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal Cataloging book recommend that all graphic novels go in the 741.5's, where we put items related to drawing. I'm really unhappy with this suggestion, as it puts Graphic Novels with serious content (like Art Spiegelman's Maus, which deals with the Holocaust) in the same section as Garfield.

When browsing WorldCat today, I looked up Joe Sacco's Safe Area Gorazde, which is a richly detailed look at the civil war in former Yugoslavia, based on the first hand accounts of the people Sacco met during his two years in the small city of Gorazde. I was happy to see that not only was OCL's copy listed on WorldCat, but that the library of Ocean County College also had a copy, as well as the libraries of Burlington and Monmouth county. Only a few of the libraries were willing to loan out their copies, however. These were the only libraries that let me see the call number of the book, and I was thrilled to see that most of these libraries had this item cataloged in history--the 949's.

I liked looking at the details provided under the other tabs, especially how I was invited to "be the first person to add notes for this item". The possibility of adding this to my "" social bookmarks was also handy. However, I'm unlikely to use WorldCat to fill out those ILL forms (and trust me, we fill out plenty of those forms here in Lacey). Although WorldCat gives me the title, author and ISBN number, finding the price of the item takes at least one more "click", wheras gives me the same information AND includes the price of the item, all on the same page.

Thing 12: NetLibrary

Although I think I'll always prefer curling up with a book to reading one on a computer screen (even if Amazon's e-book reader, Kindle, is small enough to take to bed), its nice to know how to access the materials in our collection that are only available electronically.

It took me some time to get used to reading the e-books--embarassingly, it took me several minutes to figure out how to turn the page...the "Previous" and "Next" buttons at the top of the screen.

As for the book I chose to explore, working with the public makes me think about how vulnerable we are to germs, so I was interested in Infection Protection: How to Fight the Germs that Make You Sick. Click on the picture at the top of this post to get a closer look at why eating at home is probably safer than eating in a restaurant (my grandmother was right!).

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thing 11: Library Thing

Library Thing's feature which lists the number of people who share my taste in an item is interesting, although the numbers are all relative. At first I was excited that so many people (249) also enjoyed Joe Sacco's Safe Area Gorazde. Then I put in my entry for One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and saw that over 11,000 people have marked that as a favorite.

I am looking forward to nosing around the libraries of people who have similar books.

Thing 10: Technology Blogging--RFID

Although the Ocean County Library has not yet adopted RFID technology, some of you may be familiar with this because your credit cards or passport have been embedded with an RFID chip. If you can make a purchase by simply waving your card over a designated spot, you are experiencing the benefits of RFID technology.

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. RFID chips are encoded with information which is then transformed into radio waves that are captured by an RFID reader. Some RFID chips can be read from several yards away, others must be in closer proximity to the RFID reader. RFID tags can be put into just about anything--library materials, pets and even people.

What makes RFID technology any different than the barcodes and barcode readers that we already use here in the library? The RFID readers can access the information encoded on the RFID chips without anyone having to open the books. More importantly, the RFID readers can read an entire stack of books all at once. Locating a particular item on the shelf could be as simple as simply holding the wand-shaped RFID reader along the books while walking through the stacks.

How will RFID technology affect us here in Ocean County? First of all, there has been some discussion lately as to whether or not the personal information encoded on the RFID chips in your credit cards or passports can be hacked by anyone on the street with an RFID reader. Never fear, a simple layer of aluminum foil can protect the electronically encoded personal information that you carry in your wallet--or perhaps you'd like to craft your own RFID blocking duct tape wallet .

As for what may happen when if/when the library decides to adopt this technology, is it a reasonable assumption that fewer circulation staff will be needed? For example, if an RFID reader was placed in the book drop, that would mean that books would be checked in as they were placed into the drop, precluding the need for circulation staff to check them in before returning them to the shelves. Self checkout for customers would be much easier and faster when customers can check out an entire stack of books at once. A more thorough examination of the implications of RFID technology and libraries can be found in Lori Bowen Ayre's 2004 position paper for the Galecia group.

What about the privacy of our customers? The RFID chips are continuously emiting information--would it be possible for hackers to examine the reading habits of library patrons by simply hanging around outside and pointing the RFID reader at people exiting the library?

I look forward to reading other's postings on technology.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thing 9: Finding Feeds

Google Reader makes it really easy to find RSS feeds--I just clicked on "Add subscription" on the left and typed in keywords for the types of things I wanted. Not only was I able to subscribe to hooping and poi sites, but I was also able to find librarian blogs, including Tyler's.

Google Reader also listed the dates of posts to these blogs, so that I could tell if the sites were frequently maintained.

Thing 8: Bloglines vs. Google Reader

Bloglines has a terrible reputation, at least among everyone I asked. I also really didn't like the idea of subscribing to yet another online service--sure, sure, I know I don't have to use it, but I think that this kind of reasoning is contributing to clogging up the Internet with too much traffic. Too much traffic on the Internet means that servers will be using that much more electricity, and that isn't very "green".

Since I already had a Gmail account, it was very easy to subscribe to Google Reader and even easier to subscribe to RSS feeds from my favorite Web sites--Google had already bundled several under "Fun", such as "The Daily Show" and "The Onion".

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Thing 6: Super spiffy St. Patrick's display at the Lacey branch

Susan put this fabulous display together in celebration of Irish heritage.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thing 7: Scanning

This picture was taken at my friend Amy's wedding last summer--she's about the only person that could entice Paul to wear a tie:

This picture shows why I'll never go hungry:

My love, my hunter-gatherer, my chef, my everything.

Thing 5 (optional): From my Photobucket account--Carolina Chocolate Drops at the Shakori Hills Folk Festival, North Carolina

Carolina Chocolate Drops at Shakori Hills 07

Thing 5: Flickr photos of interest? Hooping, of course!

I liked Flickr's tags--so of course I looked up photos with the tag "hooping". There were over 11,000 photos with that tag--nice to know I'm not the only one nutty about my hula hoop:

Here's Spiral, the woman who sold me my first hoop at the Shakori Hills Folk Festival in North Carolina:

And here's Jason Strauss, the academic librarian in California who posted the directions I've been using for how to make your own hoop:

Friday, March 14, 2008

I'm playing with fire--really!

For those of you unfamiliar with the art of spinning poi, here's a short video of the first time I played with fire.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

OCL Web Challenge--Thing 2: 7 1/2 Lifelong Learning Habits

My mother assures me that when I was a little girl, my favorite activity (besides going to the bookmobile) was standing at my child sized blackboard and writing words and math problems for my little sister, Kim. So it should come as no surprise that out of the 7 1/2 Lifelong Learning Habits, I should find it easiest to teach others.

Given the peripatetic education I've enjoyed over the years, it seems the hardest of the 7 1/2 Lifelong Learning Habits is beginning with the end in mind. If one is only focused on the end of the road, how can one enjoy the valuable detours?