Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thing 69: Feed My Inbox

Really Simple Syndication is a key tool in understanding the new architecture of the World Wide Web. So important, that it was one of the original 23 things (Thing Number 8 to be exact.)

Now, as an expert in the Read Write Web, you are showing blogs and websites to folks and telling them that they can subscribe to the feed for the reader and see it either in their browser (iffy at best) or they can use a web based RSS readers such as Google Reader or Bloglines.

But they get don't want to have to learn another program.

Here is the solution: Feed My Inbox.

Simple interface.

Add the feed address/URL. (make sure it is NOT the website address but the RSS address!)

Add your email address.

Then you get an email to confirm the address and you are done.

And there is a link in each feed email that asks if you want to unsubscribe to the email.

Discovery Exercise:
1) Go to one of your favorite websites that updates frequently.
2) Find the RSS feed for that site or section of that site.
3) Copy that URL information.
4) Go to Feed My Inbox.
5) Add your feed and your email address.
6) Wait for a new feed and discuss the content, how it was arraigned and were there links to follow?
7) Write about your experience.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thing 68: Filtering Flickr

Flickr has become a great resource for finding images on the web. As you all know, sharing and tagging photos is one of the killer applications of web 2.0. Flickr can also be rather overwhelming when searching for that one right photo.

There are two sites that effectively and visually blow my mind when searching FlickrCC and TagGalaxy are two ways to graphically search flickr.

FlickrCC uses a keyword search to bring up a window of pictures tagged with that search tag. Click on each picture gets you the proper attribution link, editing link and different sizes to move directly into your presentations and websites. All of the images are copyright with Creative Commons licensing, which encourages sharing.

Tag Galaxy lets you visually search Flickr. Yes, visually. You can then filter down through refined tags to get to your desired image. Some images are not shared with Creative Commons licensing, which you should be aware of before using them in your presentations or on your blogs and websites.

Here are both sites searching for the Flickr tag Church:

First FlickrCC:

Now Tag Galaxy:

and tag galaxy refined from they keyword church:

Discovery Exercise:

1) Explore both FlickrCC and Tag Galaxy by searching for the same keywords on each site.
2) Did you find similar or different results? Which method of browsing pictures worked better for you? Did the images you find match your expectations?
3) Write about your experience with both resources. If you are able to use the photos on your blog, website or presentation write about how easy it was to add the image to that blog, website or presentation.

Thing 67: Stress Savers

The web should help you save time. These three sites will help you use life without stress. Tow of them are "web 1.0" ish tools but very useful.

The Dial A Human site helps you get around those phone trees. It gives you what option you can press at many national service providers to talk to a person.

Custom Guide provides free computer training tipsheets on a variety of programs. If you need some quick help with various Mac, Windows, and Adobe programs this is a great site for some quick assistance.

Where is your Username Registered? is a site which will check multiple sites to see if your preferred username is available at a bunch of readwriteweb sites.

Discovery Exercise.
1) Explore Custom Guide. Are there any places that you call normally that you are now glad to know how to talk directly to a representative.

2) Explore Username Check: Check for your username "brand" on many different sites. If you want, register your name at sites that you want to use in the future. Keep this bookmarked and share with your friends who use the readwriteweb.

3) Write about your experiences with each of these sites.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thing 66: Directory 2.0

The world of the new web can be daunting. Sometimes the information overload of the newest, shiniest sites can paralyze even the most veteran web user.

There are two great sites out there that can help you navigate and organize your 2.0 and beyond journey. One of them preselects and organizes sites and one allows you to customize your 2.0 search portal experience.

All My Faves contains a staggering number of icons arraigned by categories of Home, Entertainment, Kids, Shopping, Travel, and Weekly Faves. This site reminds me of Yahoo in the early days. Someone organizes sites for your use. Perfect for the new read write web person and great for grizzled veterans such as myself.

43 Marks also has a list of suggested read write web resources but displays they names not the icons. The biggest difference is that 43 marks wants you to customize the display to meet your needs. You are creating your portal from the suggested list of sites and can add rss feeds from different places, add or delete specific site groups. Very nice interface indeed. If you don't want to just dive in and create your own Bookmarks page, you can view the tutorial which walks you through step by step.

Discovery Exercises:

1) Go to both All My Faves and 43 Marks. Search for your favorite sites and see how they are categorized.
2) Try clicking on two sites you have never visited and see if you agree with the categorization.
3) Sign up for 43 Marks and create your own personal start page. Write about the process.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Maurice Coleman aka Baldgeekinmd : Your October (and November) Learning 2.1 Guide

Hi everyone, I am Maurice Coleman and I will be your guide for October 2008. I hope this fall finds you well and ready for more Learning 2.1 activities. You can find me on many social networking sites as user baldgeekinmd *and one or two as just baldgeek.*

These are my usual social networking avatars:

My Shortish Biography:
I am currently the Technical Trainer at Harford County (MD) Public Library located in the North Eastern corner of Maryland. My job is to help staff leverage new and existing tools and technologies in an innovative library system; to provide group and individual training in a variety of areas to library staff; and to foster communication between geeks and non-geeks. Over the last 15 years I have trained people of all ages on technology in the real world, software, organizational development, fundraising, community organizing and presentation skills.

I have presented at National, State and City/County wide conferences on technology and community development issues. I am currently co-creating and producing the Learning 2.1 program for the state of Maryland; organizing/hosting a podcast about training called T is for Training and I actively blogs at The Chronicles of the (almost) Bald Technology Trainer. I am also working with Minnesota Regional Libraries to do a series of technology training workshops all across Minnesota this month (October 2008. ) I have also been selected by the Maryland’s DLDS (State Library) to represent library staff development professionals at the esteemed Learning 2008 conference sponsored by the Maise Institute.

I hope you have fun with the things I am going to show you this month.

See you soon with Thing #66. I still can't believe that there are now that many things.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thing 65: It's hard to think about anything else

Markets Open A Day After Losing 9 Percent In Single Day
The current economic crisis in the U.S. market dominates the news right now, justifiably. There's lots of detailed information (from the pink Financial Times, for example), but I'm having trouble finding something I can understand without spending a lifetime studying it, and I'm sure some of our library users are just as hungry for digestible information. 

So I've spent this afternoon searching for good resources to help us figure it out, free of political bias (I hope). I'm not sure I've found the magic link yet, but here are some suggestions.
Discovery Exercise:
  1. Visit these sites to see what you can learn. I sincerely hope it helps!
  2. If you find other useful sources, please share them with the rest of us via your blog or by posting them to the comments.

Kitten Basket

There, now do we all feel a little better after our cute break?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thing 64: One-hit wonders

Vintage image of students in classroom
It's September, so we're back in our places with bright, shining faces, right? Or maybe we're just exhausted after a long, hot summer. Well, those of us in North America, anyway.

I always liked it best when the first few days of school were easy days - no homework, not too much to wrap my head around, just basic stuff I'd rely on all year. In that spirit, here's a list of websites I discovered to be really useful this summer. I hope you'll find one or two of them helpful.

Why it's so great: You never knew how much you needed this. Say you're writing about the Norwegian city Amoy. Except that's not really the name ... how do I make that A with the single dot again, much less the o with the slash? Find the character you need at, and, well, copy and paste it. (It's Åmøy, BTW.)

Site: Kuku Klok
Why it's so great: It's an online alarm clock that promises to work even if your internet connection goes down. Set the clock (using military time), click "Set," and choose from one of 4 alarm sounds. Done. The alarm will go off until you flip back to that page and make it stop.

Why it's so great: Tracks Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes and their projected tracks, a virtual obsession in the PLCMC part of the world this time of year. Clear graphic interface, but loads quickly.

Site: Pixadus
Why it's so great: Social-ranking for pictures. Post a photo; other users rank it, and the ones given the best ranking show up on the front page. The top pictures are usually astounding.

Why it's so great: There's lots of times you need a fake ID on the internet, when you think about it. Maybe it's the thirteenth time you've signed up for a Yahoo! email account because they keep changing the process and you need to be able to explain the new way to patrons. Maybe you just want to hide your real self. No matter what your reason, Fake Name Generator sets you up with a fake name, complete with details like postal address, mother's maiden name, a disposable email address, and so forth, from pretty much any country you'd like. (I'm Rebecca W. Hewitt of Heronsgate, born in 1961, BTW.)

Site: PicApp
Why it's so great: Search for photos (artsy or news-related) to use in your blog posts, all perfectly legal. You can create an account, but there's no need to unless you want to create a lightbox to save your favorites into. (PicApp is the source of the vintage classroom photo above and the picture of Steve Jobs introducing the new iPod Nano below, which I'm posting only a few hours after the photograph was actually taken.)

Apple Introduces New Products

Discovery Exercise
  1. Visit each of the sites listed in this post. Which ones will be useful for you?
  2. Use the comments section of this blog to share your newly-discovered useful sites.
  3. Use Regator (this might be a good place to start) or any other news reader to find one or two more potentially useful websites. Visit and evaluate them in your blog. (It's okay if you decide they aren't worth it; just let us know why.)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Summer vacation

Okay, so consider the lack of July postings a nice summer break - or winter break if you're in the Southern Hemisphere, I suppose. While we're at it, let's take August off too! But watch out, because I'm busy collecting all kinds of goodies for you to enjoy learning about come September.

In the meantime, go get back to your roots and read a book! (Preferably on a beach somewhere.)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Thing 63: PDF Form-Topia: PDF Form Filler Freeware

FoxIT Reader is a wonderful free tool to add to your PDF arsenal. Click the Play button to view a video that introduces you to FoxIT Reader and describes its wonderful features. We especially love the feature that enables us to type text in a non-editable form.

I downloaded and installed it to my flash drive so that I would not leave home without it! Would you like to have your very own copy? Log onto:

Click the DOWNLOADS link. Click Download Foxit Reader 2.3 (Installer: .exe, 2.55 MB). Click the RUN button to run the insatallation program from the FoxIt Software website. Or click the SAVE button to save the file to your computer, and run the installation program from your computer. I chose to run the installation program from the Fox It Software website. The installation process was quick and easy!

Then I opened the Post office application file I saved during THING 62. To recap: Log onto Click Forms. Click Employment Forms. Click PS Form 2591(PDF).

Click Tools; Typewriter Tools; Typewriter. Click in the text box you want fill in and begin to type. If the cursor doesn't land exactly where you want it to, you can click the Move cross, and drag the text box to wherever you want to place it. Then you can type to your heart's content. It is so easy!

There is one caveat, however. If you save the completed form FoxIt Reader adds a red evaluation mark to the completed form. If you buy the FoxIt Reader Pro Pack for $39.00, you can save a completed form without an evaluation mark.

You can PRINT the form without having evaluation marks added. That's what I did. It works beautifully!

I'm so glad we've had this time together. Until next time, Happy Computing!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thing 62: PDF Form-Topia:

Have you ever tried to fill out a non-editable PDF form? Frustrating, isn't it. Especially if the PDF form is an employment application and you've waited until the last day to submit it. Of course, YOU would never do such a thing. ;>) This post is to provide you with some tools you can use to fill in a non-editable form.

Let's say you've decided to work at the post office. Although you can now search and apply for post office positions online, you decide that you prefer to do it the old-fashioned way - with a paper application form. Log onto Click Forms. Click Employment Forms. Click PS Form 2591(PDF). In the Name box, type your first name. What's the matter? Allow me to introduce you to what is known as a non-editable PDF Form. In order to complete this form, you will have to print it, and write it out by hand or typewriter. If you can find a typewriter, that is. It's no secret that human resource types prefer not to have to decipher a job applicant's handwriting. What are the odds that your handwritten application will be read by a human? Especially if you have poor handwriting? What's a job applicant to do?

The following website offers a solution to this problem. is a free online pdf reader, editor, form filler and designer. You can open and edit pdf files from a URL or saved to a disk. The great thing about this site is that it will let you use it without registering first. Or is it great? More about that later.

To test it, I chose the Unregistered User option and opened Form 2591 from the website: I clicked on the Form Field tool; created the text box; moved the text box to the Name field on the form; doubled-clicked on the text box; and typed my name.

I found it simple to use, and easy to navigate. The text box reponded effortlessly to my resizing it to fit the Name field. It was so easy, and I was having so much fun, I decided to fill in a few more fields. There is even a check mark tool which makes it easy to check boxes on the application. Wow!

When I tried to save the form as a pdf file, a message box appeared informing me that a small logo and link for PDFescape would be added to the free PDF created. If I wanted to avoid having the logo and link added I would have to pay for one premium credit. Premium credits are sold on the website at $4.99 for 5 credits; $8.99 for 10 credits; $16.99 for 20 credits; $29.99 for 50 credits; and $49.99 for 100 credits.

So I thought to myself, maybe I should save it and see how it looks. When I opened the saved file, the following was emblazoned across the top of the form:

"This file was created, modified, or form filled with PDFescape. This marking will not be placed on files saved using the premium option in PDFescape."

Also, the following was emblazoned across the bottom of the form:

" PDFescape is an online web service that enables its users to create, open, edit, and fill in PDF form files. The basic service is free, however this small tag is added to files which use the service free of charge. This marking will not be placed on files saved using the premium option. For more information see"

Then I thought to myself, maybe I should just print it out. When I tried to print it, I was informed that a small logo and link for PDFescape would be added to the free PDF printed. If I wanted to avoid having the logo and link added I would have to pay for one premium credit.

So I dedcided to just print it and see how egregious the logo and link looked on hard copy. Across the top of the form the following was printed in large letters: "Printed Using PDFescape (". Across the bottom was printed the full URL for the document. The addition of the logo and url on the printed application made the application unsuitable for submission to a prospective employer.

Bright idea! Why not become a Registered User and then fill out the PDF form? Suffice it to say: Registration has its privileges. When you register with, you receive 2 premium credits as a welcome gift. So armed with a precious premium credit, I was able to save and print my completed form with no logos, tags or PDFescape messages. Success was mine, and can be yours, too if you save yourself some time and just register at the outset.

If you've enjoyed this post, take a look at the next chapter of Thing 63: PDF Form-Topia: PDF Form Filler Freeware. (What a tongue twister! I betcha can't say that three times fast!)


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Your June learning guide ...

is one of the most enthusiastic technology trainers that I know. Mary Wright, who works with me in Virtual Village, actively recruits people for her classes and has 'em eating out of her hands once they're there. Even people who don't take her classes ask for her by name. Bottom line, Mary knows her stuff, and I'm sure she has some wonderful, useful things to share with us this month.

-- Jamie

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thing 61: Library Apps on and for FB

Yes, it's Facebook again on the very last day of the month. If it hadn't been such a hectic month for me I might have introduced you to Ma.gnolia or the like, but instead I wish to give you just a little something more to do with Facebook. Some people love the site instantly while others take a little more to warm up to it. Certainly, the Annoyed Library is skeptical. Others, like the fantastic Helen Blowers find it an important networking tool. So if you are a hesitant librarian, why should you get involved?
  1. If you work with the public and computers, your patrons are using it or something like it.
  2. It really is a great networking tool to connect with other librarians, via chat, messaging, or groups – it's more casual than e-mail if you just want to be aware of potentially interesting projects, and it provides another means for you to be contacted.
  3. It is a launch pad to all sorts of 2.0 applications: the WorldCat search app, LibraryThing, along with an abundance of book applications that let you track your friends' reads and keep track of your own.
  4. The chance to give your library one more face to the world by creating your own applications or library profile.
This last reason is one of the least developed, especially here at PLCMC. Searching our initials currently brings up a hand-full of library staffers and one completely unrelated group. A better example is the "Places" profile for Davis Library on the UNC campus. The library's profile gives an image of the building, address, phone numbers, and hours of operation. The page even gives visitors the ability to talk to a reference librarian through an IM application from meebo. The British Library lists a link to their web page, a direct link to their current cultural exhibition page, and they advertise special programs by listing them as events – as does the Seattle Public Library. Discussion boards and wall posts allow user interaction. The Whitby Public Library in Ontario even writes notes (facebook blog posts), and includes the WorldCat app and a map application for patron's trying to find the library.

Discovery Exercise:
Search the word "library" in Facebook, explore some of the results, and blog about what you find.

Add the Explore ... Discover... Play app and brain-storm some ways that it could be more interesting and informative. Add these ideas to the comments section of this post.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thing 60: Facebook

I have been quite remiss in my discovery guide duties for May, but Jaime hasn't gotten around to introducing me yet so perhaps I can be forgiven. I am Kjersti, one of the evening aides in Virtual Village. Long-time PLCMC insiders frequently recognize me as the daughter of tech-diva Mary Kyle, now working at Tech Central in ImaginOn.

In honor of all this forwardness of self-introductions I bring you Facebook!

Facebook started as something like a college-only alternative to Friendster and MySpace, allowing users to create a profile, join a college network, and interact with their friends. The social site has since opened up to anyone, but is still heavily favored by college students. It also offers one advantage over other social networking sites: verified identity. In order to join a university network the user must have a valid e-mail account with the institution. Some employers also have Facebook networks, among them is National Public Radio.

Facebook began allowing outside programmers to create applications for the Facebook site about a year ago. Now users can include elements on their profile page from other social networking applications like and twitter, play games with their friends (and display their scrabble prowess), or recommend a good book. If you are fluent in a foreign language you can even get involved in translating Facebook for non-English speakers. And if you are too impatient to send messages or wall posts back and forth, you can even chat with friends online when you are.

Discovery Exerise:
  1. Sign up for a free Facebook account and create a profile.
  2. Search for friends already using Facebook:
    1. By name using the search box in the upper left corner.
    2. Using "Find Friends" under the Friends menu at the top of the page.
  3. Poke someone you know or write a message on their wall.
  4. Blog about the experience.

  1. Create a limited profile to keep some personal information private from acquaintances while still having it available on your profile to close friends.
  2. Add interesting applications to your profile (maybe Slideshare, which you might have signed up for as a previous Learning 2.1 Thing).

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thing 59: Authors On the Web

One final day of the month, one final post. Don't worry, it's a quick one.

I highly recommend - It's one of the first book sites I found and I refer to it daily. It has something for everyone. I recommend this site for people looking for the next book by their favorite author or someone looking for new authors. It has a “Coming Attractions” feature that lists the new and upcoming books by month, and dates of paperback publication. You can also link to the AuthorYellowPages to get the web address of almost any author you can think of. and AuthorYellowPages are put together by, which also created, an online community for reading groups, and, a great place to get to know more about your favorite authors, as well as several other reading-related sites.

Discovery Exercise:
  1. Visit and some of the other TheBookReportNetwork sites.
  2. Blog about your visit. (Told you it would be quick this time!)
- Jamie, posting for Sandra Nicholls

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thing 58: Being Green

Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22 – tomorrow, if you’re reading this the day I wrote it. Maybe all libraries should adopt the motto “Save a tree – Borrow a book.”

One site of interest in Going Green Matters, a blog full of eco-friendly news, events and tips. They have everything from Ecosmart Reflection Laptop cases to information on how to reduce your pet’s carbon footprint! Going Green Matters doesn't scream or preach, and it's not a lot of scientific news that can be a struggle to read. Instead, it's nice, friendly, and enjoyable.

I’m always looking for program ideas – maybe I'll have a “green camp” this summer to share ideas! You can sign up to receive the latest green tips from Going Green Matters via email or RSS, so you’ll get some of those ideas delivered directly to you. Just remember, don't print them!

Other earth-friendly sites
Time Magazine lists 15 top environmental websites here.

Discovery Exercise:
  1. Look around Going Green Matters and/or some of the other sites.
  2. Blog about your favorite “green” idea, and share some of your favorite green tips.
  3. If you know of another great ecology-minded resource, share it with us!
— Jamie, posting for Sandy

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thing 57: Tastespotting — Yum!

Tastespotting is a delicious and yummy site full of links to food blogs. What sets it apart from other bookmarking sites? If you go to Delicious or Digg or even Google search results, what do you see? Words, lots of lots of words.

Not at Tastespotting. At Tastespotting, you get lots and lots of hyper-linked pictures. Absolutely gorgeous pictures of inspiring, crave-worthy food and kitchen items. They’re added to Tastespotting by members who come across their lusciousness while cruising the Internet or reading RSS feeds. Click the image itself to link to the original blog post, or the small number at the bottom of the image box for a permalink to the Tastespotting post. Most point to recipes, although some are cookware or other inspiring goodies.

Food blogs are an interesting aspect of Web 2.0. They come from a whole spectrum of writers, from personal cooks to food companies. I would love to have a family recipe blog. Growing up, I enjoyed many of my grandma and great-grandma’s dishes, but several recipes were lost along the way – alas! I wish I’d written those recipes down for safekeeping, and a blog would have been a good way to do it.

I have tried several brownie recipes from Tastespotting, and they were great. If we had kitchen facilities at my branch I would certainly have a cooking adventure with my little ones who attend my programs. I have one word of caution – do not visit this site if you are really, really hungry.

P.S.: Tastespotting has a great widget to add to your own blog site so they are just a click away.

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Visit
  2. Find interesting posts, either using the search function or by browsing photos.
  3. Mark a few as favorites, using the star in the bottom right corner of the photo box.
  4. Optional: Add a favorite recipe. (First, find an online recipe with a great photograph, then think about some great, short advertising copy to go with it. Then click the fork beneath the Tastespotting logo. You will have to register, but registration is quick and easy.) Tastespotting is a curated site, so the Powers That Be must approve your post, and it may be up to 24 hours before you see it on the site. Not every post makes it to the front page! The most great posts you submit, the faster your subsequent posts will be approved and the more prominently they will be featured.
  5. Blog about your experience at Tastespotting.
— Jamie, posting for Sandra

Monday, April 7, 2008

Thing 56: Smile in a box?

Smilebox is an easy-to-use application that lets you use photos and videos to keep in touch and share your memories. Best of all, it's free! (You can upgrade for a small charge, which allows you to view your Smilebox without ads and print your creations.)

As I work with lots and lots of children, I have shared Smilebox with many parents. A lot of my parents have relocated to Charlotte and use Smilebox to keep in touch with family and friends.

It is very easy to use and I’ve had great positive feedback. I can think of several library uses, especially in promoting our upcoming summer reading program.

From the Smilebox website:

What is Smilebox?

Smilebox is a fun and engaging service that connects you with family and friends using your photos and videos. It's free, easy to use, and the results are amazing.

What can I make with Smilebox?

With Smilebox, you can create animated scrapbooks, photobooks, slideshows, postcards, and ecards for any occasion, and email them to anyone.

And a Smilebox screenshot:

Jamie's note: Here a Smilebox photobook I created.

Discovery Exercise

  1. Check out
  2. Need ideas? Read one or more of Smilebox's newsletters or the Smilebox blog for a better idea of what's possible.
  3. Blog about this site.
  1. Download and install the Smilebox application.
  2. Create a Smilebox project and email it to yourself using the program.
  3. Share the URL for your masterpiece in a blog entry. (You'll find it at the bottom of the email you receive.)

-- Jamie, posting for Sandra

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Introducing April's discovery guide

Our discovery guide for April will be the wonderful Sandra Nicholls, who describes herself as the "childrens, teen and just-about-everything person" at PLCMC's Carmel Branch. Sandy has been following Learning 2.1 right from the start, and has been an active participant on our Ning network. (She sends me great sites to investigate all the time, so I know we're in for some terrific discoveries!)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Thing 55. Slideshare – Presentations online!

SlideShare is an online community for sharing presentations.

It lets you upload Powerpoint or Open office presentations and share them online through a Youtube style interface.

Some of the things you can do on SlideShare

Embed slideshows into your own blog or website.
Share slideshows publicly or privately. There are several ways to share privately.
Synch audio to your slides.
Market your event on slideshare.
Join groups to connect with SlideShare members who share your interests
Download the original PowerPoint / Pdf file

Like other social networking services, you can add tags to your presentations, and/or comment on others’ presentations.

Users who upload presentations can choose to make them available to be downloaded.

Slideshare supports Creative Commons.

After you have uploaded a slideshow, you can go to the 'edit your slideshows' page and either keep 'All Rights Reserved' or choose from one of the Creative Commons licenses.

Discovery Exercise

1. Set up a free account with SlideShare

2. Search for slideshows on Learning 2.0, or Web 2.1 or anything else that interests you.

3. Embed a slideshow in your blog.

4. Blog about the experience and what use you could find for slideshare


Install Slideshare on your blog or Facebook profile so that you (and others) have access there.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Thing 54: Bookjetty - your books, your libraries!

Back in Learning 2.0 you looked at LibraryThing at Task 11. While LibraryThing is going from strength to strength, these days there are other similar sites that you can use to catalogue your own library, list books you want to own or read or review books. Such sites include Booktagger, Shelfari and Goodreads. Several applications are also available on Facebook, such as iread and Visual Bookshelf. It seems that everyone wants to help people with their books.

In Thing 54, we are going to focus on a book site with a difference! Bookjetty is a Singapore-based site where people can catalogue their own books and list things they are reading, have read or want. You can review books, tag them, rate them and add a widget to your blog. But here’s the difference: if you want an item, you can be linked to Amazon to purchase it AND you can search library catalogues! There are links to over 300 library catalogues worldwide. The search there gives you the call number, and a quick click on that takes you to the library catalogue where you can see if the item is available and reserve it! How cool is that!

You can see Polyxena’s Bookjetty books here and check out the Bookjetty widget on the blog Hecuba’s story here as well as Polyxena's page on the Boroondara Learning 2.1 ning. You can also search our catalogue, the City of Boroondara Library Service catalogue, on Bookjetty if you select that library.

Discovery exercise

1. Set up a free account with Bookjetty and look around on the site

2. Identify and set up local libraries that you would like to search

3. Catalogue a minimum of six books making some of them books wanted, some books read

4. Install the Bookjetty widget on your blog so that you (and others) have access there.

5. Blog about the experience and how you found the tool.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thing 53. LitLovers - a well read online community

One of the hardest parts of being involved in a book club is deciding what books to read and finding the resources to back up the choices.

Well, Litlovers makes those decisions a bit easier.

Litlovers is an online community dedicated to books and book clubs.

Here’s how they describe themselves:

"An online community dedicated to books and book clubs—because both enrich our lives. We've got great resources to enhance your book club experience. Whether you're selecting books, or thinking & talking about them, LitLovers is the place to come.What can you do on LitLovers? What can't you do! Find a book. Find a review. Find a discussion guide. Take a course. Whip up a recipe (to match your book, of course)! There's so much to do—and so much fun—you won't want to leave"

The site is divided into four main areas:

and there is also an online forum, LitTalk, where you can discuss all things book related.

Discovery exercise

1. Explore the Litlovers site.

2. Think of a book that would be a good one to discuss in a book club. Check out the litlovers site for resources about the title.

3. Check out LitCourses and enrol in one that appeals to you.

4. Blog about how you and/or your library could use Litlovers.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Thing 52: Clip the highlights with Clipmarks!

Ever wished you could just stash away, in an organized and retrievable manner, various bits and pieces that you had been scanning or reading? Well, Clipmarks is the tool for you. It is my current favourite Web 2.0 tool ;>) and makes me feel more in control of all the stuff that comes onto my computer!

With Furl and Bloglines, you can save the urls, but with Clipmarks you can save the actual article or the clips you want. Once you have signed up to Clipmarks, you install a button on your browser (IE or Firefox are enabled), and then simply clip any website or blog article. You can then send the clip to your blog, email it, or print it and save it into one of your ClipCasts (aka subject folders). You can save the clips for public or private viewing. You can also set up Clipmarks so that your Clipmarks are accessible through your Facebook profile, MySpace, Blogger and others. You can see mine here on Facebook.

And all of this only relates to YOUR clips. You also have access to everyone else’s clips (just in cases you wanted more stuff)!

Discovery exercise

1. Set up a free account with Clipmarks

2. Set up at least two Clipcasts for your account

3. Clip and save a couple of clips from blogs or websites to the two Clipcasts, making some clips private and some public

4. Blog about the experience and what use you could find for the tool. If you use them, compare and contrast the functionality with Bloglines, and Furl. What works best for you, what doesn't work?


Install Clipmarks on your blog or Facebook profile so that you (and others) have access there.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

March is Out of Oz Month!

March 2008 is a special month for Learning 2.1. For the first time your guide is coming from outside the USA! Your guide for the month of March is the City of Boroondara Library Service in Melbourne, Australia. The City of Boroondara Library Service is a public library in the inner east of Melbourne, Victoria. A wide range of collections, services and programmes are provided from five libraries at Ashburton, Balwyn, Camberwell, Hawthorn and Kew. You can find more information about the City of Boroondara Library Service on our website, on our Facebook page and on the staff ning.

In 2007, City of Boroondara Library Service staff were amongst the 1000 Victorian Public staff who participated in the state-wide Learning 2.0 program. Boroondara library staff who completed this program are now participating in the Boroondara Learning 2.1 program conducted through our Boroondara Learning 2.1 ning.

Specifically this month, your guides will be Boroondara staff Anne Holmes and Fiona Malcolm.

Anne(aka Polyxena, Annabel and other ids you don’t need to know about) has worked in public libraries for over 30 years. She remembers batch circulation and cataloguing systems and Sunday nights spent loading tapes for system saves and system restores. Anne completed the Learning 2.0 program in 2007 and has been hooked on Web 2.0 since (if she wasn’t before). But she does tend to live in the past also – a fascination with local, family and public history facilitates this, as does Web 2.0's applications for this! You can find out more about Anne at her Web 2.0 blog Hecuba’s story and her Facebook profile as well as from her profiles on the Explore, Discover, Play ning, the Boroondara staff ning and the Boroondara Learning 2.1 ning.

Fiona(aka fi, fifi, tapsister, batgirl_the_librarian) refuses to think about how many years she has spent working in public libraries. When not working or Web 2.0ing, she spends far too much time and money on musical theatre, reads too many crime novels, dabbles in family history and tries to live up to her personal motto of “If only I used my power for good instead of evil”. Check out Fiona’s blogs at Ministry of funny looks, or fi2008.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Thing 51: Libraries and the social web a hot topic

Learning 2.0 started investigating ways libraries and librarians could use the "new" Internet in the fall of 2006; even if you joined us later on, you've surely given the subject a good deal of thought and attention.

In the past few weeks, some of the other people and organizations thinking about libraries and the social web have been popping up with information and ideas that bear thinking about.

A few I've noticed:
  • posted a list of 25 social networking tools libraries should think about (which I found via an entry at Stephen Abram's blog, which Chris Bates pointed me to)

  • Mary Madden of the Pew Internet & American Life Project gave a presentation, "The Internet and Libraries: Snapshots from a new media landscape," and posted her slideshow.

  • In a less theoretical move, the (U.S.) Library of Congress decided to find out how people would react to their historical photos on the social web by putting some on Flickr. Their stated aims:
  • To share photographs from the Library’s collections with people who enjoy images but might not visit the Library’s own Web site.
  • To gain a better understanding of how social tagging and community input could benefit both the Library and users of the collections.
  • To gain experience participating in Web communities that are interested in the kinds of materials in the Library’s collections.
  • The response, at least from the online community, has been great!
Discovery Exercise
  1. Take a look at the latest developments concerning libraries and the social web, either through these links or by doing you own investigation. (Don't forget to share your discoveries with the rest of us, either by responding to this post or on the Ning network!)

  2. You've probably also gotten some practical experience either interacting with library patrons through social media or helping them use other components of "Web 2.0." And you might be using MySpace or Facebook for personal reasons. Think (and blog!) about what you've found out from both sources. Are things progressing the way you expected them to? Has anything surprised you?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thing 50: I'm Cooked!

It's like YouTube for cooks!

Here is a great site for all you chef's, aspiring chef's, and food burners. is a web community for sharing your favorite recipe's. Got a killer meatloaf recipe? Record yourself preparing it and upload it to the site for users to see and follow along with. Want to see how people prepare a particular food or drink? Click on the Channels tab for seafood, desserts, and lots more. My favorite video by far has to be How to Clone a Big Mac by Todd Wilbur from fame.

But wait! Thats not all. also has celebrities preparing their favorite foods. Watch Sir Paul McCartney make mashed 'taters and Christopher Walken roast a chicken.

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Go to (creating an account is optional) and do a search on your favorite dish/drink.
  2. Didn't see what you were looking for? Click on the Videos tap and explore the Top Favorites.
  3. Blog about what you thought about the site. Is there a recipe you can't wait to try?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The new guide, same as the old guide(s)

February's Discovery Guide will be ... your previous guides! Yes, you read that right. Instead of one guide for the entire month, you can expect a post or two from the guides you've already gotten to know.

As it turns out, all of us had some great sites we were just dying to let everyone know about, but not enough to fill up an entire month unless we worked together. So that's what we're going to do.

If you've got one or two sites you'd like to write up, let me know, and we'll work you into the loop. Or maybe you'd like to be a Discovery Guide for an entire month? Just say so!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thing 49: So Many Great Music Sites, So Little Time!

Since this is my last post and I couldn't decide which site to choose, I will share them both!

The first is This is a free library of over 30,000 sounds and more are being added every day. This site allows you to download sound effects and loops or upload your own sounds to the site. All sounds are available to download in .mp3 and .wav format. Creator Tasos Frantzolas is a sound designer and producer from Greece who says he wanted just such a service for himself. The goal of this site is to provide “high-quality” sounds, categorized by use, with everything from music loops to sound effects. You can search using tags, categories or keywords.

This is a fun website just to play with and an amazing resource for electronic music geeks. You could also use these sounds to spice up a library website or program. Be sure to check out the Ant Stereo sample of “a mic stuck into an anthill.” (To find it, enter “anthill” in the search bar.)

The second is Using this (free!) music conferencing platform, musicians can sign up, download Musigy Maker to plug in and play music over the Internet with anyone, anywhere. This technology enabled the world's first remote real-time jazz festival with musicians playing together while 3,000 miles apart. “Imagine: remote, real-time performances, rehearsals, auditions or lessons. It’s as if you were in the same room!”

You could use this website to schedule and coordinate online “jam sessions” through your library website. What excellent partnership opportunities for libraries! Musicians visiting local universities or performance groups (symphony, jazz ensemble, etc.) could schedule an online “jam session” in which library patrons would have an opportunity to perform with that artist.

Oh, one more thing! Well, not a "thing" thing, but anyway.... I have been keeping my eye on a site called This site was created by MC Hammer (yes, that MC Hammer!) to be a sort of Youtube for dance moves. How fun is that! The twelve year old girl in me can't wait for this site to be up and running. (It is expected to be up in January/February.)

Discovery Exercise:

1. Go to (I have found that this site is sometimes slow to load)
2. Find a sound that you like and download the MP3.
3. In your blog, discuss how you could use these sounds. Are they just for musicians? How could librarians use them? Do any of you tech-savvy folks see a way to enhance your library's website with these sounds?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thing 48 - Is there any free AND legal music out there?

As a library employee who works in the computer lab, I am often assisting patrons who want me to help them burn a CD or put songs on their mp3 player, but they have brought in no music. They are often infrequent computer users and think that there is all this free music out there to download from the internet. Here is the only site I found that has fairly easy to find, legal and free song downloads. Below I have listed the steps to get songs they might want to listen to (more popular/top 40 stuff.) If a patron wants free and legal MP3s to download and burn onto a CD or add to their mp3 players, this is an option. This only works if they don’t have a certain artist/song that they want.

  1. Go to http:
  2. Click on the yellow “110,462” in the green bar. It reads “110,462 Free MP3s” (The number might have changed if new songs were added or removed.)
  3. Sort by “total listens” to get more popular artists listed first.
  4. Click on the blue “see all free tracks” line.
  5. If a song is available to download you will see“Download Free MP3” next to the song title. Not all songs will have this option.
  6. Click on "Download Free MP3" download the song.

Discovery exercise:
1. Follow the steps above.
2. Download the song of your chosing and save it to your desktop or mp3 player.
3. Write a blog post about this website. Did you find it easy to use? Do you think it would be easy for patrons to use? Do you know of any other websites that might be useful for this purpose?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Thing 47: For the Musically Inclined, or Not!

I'm not musically inclined by any stretch of the imagination, but I know lots of people who are. Therefore, I know that when it comes to music, most musicians can' t get enough. There are many fun 2.0 sites that musicians and even non-musicians like myself can use and enjoy. The great thing about many of the sites that I found was that you don't have to know much about music to use them. You can even create your own songs without knowing how to play an instrument.

In this and my future posts, I will explore some of these websites and how they can be fun even useful to libraries.

The first site I would like to highlight is Jamstudio.

This "online music factory" allows you to create and share songs on the web. Use the "Help" tab to guide you through the first process, although it’s pretty easy to figure out. Create your song. Once you join, using only your email address and a password, you can save your song on the site and share your song through email. When you email a song to someone, it sends them a link to the website and they can then edit your song and email it back to you. This is a fun site to play with even if you aren’t a musician.

Discovery exercise:

  1. Go to and join.
  2. Create a song and email it to a friend and yourself.
  3. Write an entry in your blog about your experience. Copy and paste the link from your email to your blog.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Welcome, Jennifer, our January guide!

As impossible as it seems, we're well and truly into the month of January. Okay, so the highs are in the 70s - sorry, Helene, I guess it's probably snowing up there where you are, huh? - but I checked every calendar I can think of, and they all agree that it is indeed 2008.

Which means it's time for a new Discovery Guide. Our January Discovery Guide is (drum roll, please) Jennifer Wishart, the newest staff member in Virtual Village. (She's the, umm, human one on the left.) In case you missed her in the October Emerging Technology Newsletter, Jennifer is pursuing her MLIS at UNCG, but still finds time to run, read, cook and enjoy music and movies. She has great plans for us. She even has a theme to unite all her posts, but I'll let her explain that. I've had a little preview, and it's going to be lots of fun!

Oh, and this is a double-duty post. Here's the second update on our Learning 2.0 sites. Please do take a look; there have been major changes to quite a few, especially online productivity and online videos. I'll sneak the Learning 2.1 site updates online in the next few weeks.