Thursday, December 17, 2009


I've decided to re-purpose this blog. I originally started it as part of an online class on web 2.0 and how these emerging technologies might be useful in a library. The class is over (I didn't manage to finish all the lessons, but I did learn about a lot of cool stuff) but I still have this blog. And I can't quite bear to scrap it completely and start over. So I thought I'd just start using it to write about things I'm thinking about, my take on articles I've come across, books I'm reading, that sort of thing. Hopefully I'll manage to update it on a semi-regular basis. We shall see.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

On Texting

I'm trying to get caught up with reading everyone's blog posts and doing the assignments, but so far I'm a lot behind. Silly me, because this class started while I was on Spring Break, I thought I could get a jumpstart and keep up. Sigh.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share an interesting use of texting I found. I was searching WorldCat the other day to find other libraries who owned the score I was cataloging and see what call number they'd given it, and I found one library (don't remember which, Sorry!) where the user could click on a button to text the call number to themselves. At first I thought "why would I want to do that?" and then I thought about how I'm always hunting for scrap paper to write call numbers on before I go to the stacks. What if I could just push a button and have the number sent to my phone? No more slips of paper and writing, just the phone that I'm carrying around anyway. Kinda cool.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Communication 2.0 - Assignment 1

At Mansfield Library, e-mail is pretty much an indispensable communication tool. Being a mid-size academic library, we have a lot of staff, so e-mail is a great way to make sure the same information gets out to everyone. We're also all on a Microsoft exchange server, so using Outlook as our e-mail client also allows us to view several people's schedules at once to facilitate finding a time when everyone is free for a meeting. And then you can send an invitation that automatically updates everyone's calendar. Pretty cool.

From a patron standpoint, I love that we get e-mails telling us when materials are due, or when requests are available from ILL (since I started graduate school this semester, I've been using ILL a lot!). It's so nice not to have to keep track of those little slips of paper.

As Lauren said, we have a Meebo chat box on our homepage. I don't work the reference desk, so I don't really have any first hand knowledge of how it works, but I hear it's gaining popularity (or at least usage is up, which must mean it's more popular, right?). I personally would prefer e-mail or chat to texting as distance reference tools, mostly because I'd rather use a full size keyboard, but I can see where some of our patrons who are more adept at that whole texting thing. I do think it's important to provide at least some of these 2.0 options for reference tools for our patrons though, both because it's the world many of them live in, and because it's just not always convenient or even possible for a patron to come to the library in person, and we still need to serve them.

I use IM only a little - I have MSN messenger installed and use it to send quick notes to my husband (lately these mostly involve library books that are due which I've forgotten to bring with me!) or to ask my coworkers quick questions when I'm working from home. I never thought I'd be a texter until I started graduate school, but it seems to be the way a lot of my classmates communicate, and I've grudgingly admitted that it's useful for things like telling my accompanist which practice room I'm in, or setting up a scene rehearsal for my acting class. So I guess I'm a convert of sorts. :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Montana Library 2.0 round 2 (for me)

Although I didn't actually make it through all of the lessons in the last round of Montana Library 2.0, I thought I'd try again. I've continued to use many of the tools we learned about last time, and am excited to see what new things we'll get to play with this time.

Some of the tools I've continued to use:

1) Flickr - I love Flickr. It's a great community of people overflowing with creativity on just about every subject imaginable. I've joined a lot of groups and met some wonderful people who've really helped me improve my photography. I use it mostly for my personal work, but you will find some pictures of good old Mansfield Library in my photostream. I've unfortunately not been very active on Flickr since I started graduate school this spring, but Spring Break is coming!!

2) RSS feeds - Best thing ever! I use Google Reader and love it. I tried Bloglines out for the purposes of the 2.0 assignment, but even though I'm sure it has some good features, it seemed like too much effort to switch over from something that was already working so well for me. I mostly use that to follow blogs that interest me personally (I have categories for singing, writing, organization, and photography, to name a few) as well as some comics that offer RSS feeds and even some photostreams on Flickr, but I do have a couple of library blogs in my feed as well. I also use the RSS feeder in Outlook to get feeds of the new books we've added in Mansfield in subject areas that interest me.

3) YouTube - I used to only use YouTube to watch funny videos my friends sent me, but I've started to discover that it can actually be a valid research tool. In musical theater, it can be very interesting to find videos of how someone else has staged something, musically interpreted a song, or choreographed a dance. When I was working on a ballet variation for a performance, I was actually able to find video footage of the same performance we watched in class when we were learning it to remind myself of the sequence of steps. I know many libraries have used YouTube for promotional videos and things, but the most exciting thing use of YouTube I've seen by a library is Iowa State University's posting of some of their video archives. My cousin sent me a link to a video series they'd posted about a debate in the little town of Cambridge on whether or not they should keep their high school. My grandfather was actually the spokesperson for one of the options, so to see him as a relatively young man, participating in his community government was really exciting for me. My dad and my uncle also briefly appeared in the video as small children. I think that's a GREAT application of YouTube for libraries - sharing with the public these little pieces of history that people might otherwise not even know were there or be unable to travel in person to see.

4) Delicious - Love it! I can categorize links in more than one way and don't have to remember which folder I put it in. I also love the ability to leave little notes to myself (or anybody else that looks at my links, I guess) as to why I saved a certain page. I haven't used the social aspect of it as much - I mostly like it for its accessibility from any computer - but I can certainly see where that would be a useful function, especially for teachers wanting to give students a certain set of links, or for colleagues working on a project. I'm thinking about creating a list of music cataloging resources using delicious.

5) Blogs - I think blogging is really cool. Obviously I haven't really kept up with it, since this is the first post since I failed to complete the last round of Montana Library 2.0. You'll also notice if you look at my blogger profile that I have another blog that I set up, but which has no posts. Maybe I would do it more often if I would learn to be more succinct. Hmmm.

Anyway, I'm sure you can tell if you've put up with reading this far that I'm pretty excited about 2.0 tools. I'm really looking forward to this next round!