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).