Sunday, December 13, 2009

Evaluating Websites

Was surprised when I opened LibraryThing to find that I was already signed in, particularly as I hadn’t logged in to either Google or Yahoo during that session. Then realised I must have closed LibraryThing without signing out a couple of days ago which meant Library Thing was continuing to track activity on the computer, regardless of who was using it - a situation I will be more aware of in future and one that could have impact at the library where patrons and staff may be signing in to LibraryThing regularly.

Under Help and Frequently Asked Questions (link available at bottom of each page) there is plenty of information about connecting, sharing and linking with others. All this, plus details of their Privacy Policy and Terms of Use, is available before opening an account. The Press Info link under “Who is behind LibraryThing?” gives detailed information about the founder, Tim Spalding, and other staff members. Email addresses are listed under “Contact”, together with their postal address. LibraryThing states it makes book recommendations based on the collective intelligence of the other libraries which gives users a clear understanding that the recommendations have come from other users’ library lists where users tag and rate books.

About LibraryThing advises your account can be made “private” so that no-one else can see what books you have but, if you remain signed in when you close the website, obviously they have the ability to keep tracking activity without your knowledge. Whether they do is not known.

The Book Army was not as free with information about the people operating their website. Staff were listed by first name only under “Who are the Book Army?”. Site Terms and Conditions were clearly set out and it was recommended that their Privacy Policy be reviewed before registering. The Privacy Statement sets out what information they collect, what they do with it and who they share it with. Postal and email addresses are provided.

When suggesting the use of these and other websites to get an idea of what to read next, it should be pointed out to patrons that they have a responsibility to peruse terms and conditions before agreeing to them and that recommendations are made on a collective basis by other users.

My personal choice is It is evident from the title that this is a site where readers can express their own personal opinions and they do … some quite succinctly! It does not make any pretence at being a ‘literary’ site but is simply a forum for telling others whether you loved or hated a book and why. Anyone may access and registration is not required to post a review or comment. There is a link to this site through The Reading Experience tab on our website. I have found some good books here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

An Author's Perspective

Watched a YouTube video by Alexander McCall Smith about the third book in his series The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Blue Shoes and Happiness. As he talked about specific things he mentions in the book (bush tea, ivory and elephants), short clips were screened from the television series. Apparently, Bush Tea, which was largely unheard of before he mentioned it in his books, is now quite popular! He has a very obvious high regard for Botswana and it was fascinating to hear about and see some of the game reserves, animals and people that have been interwoven into his stories.

I then found an interview with Philippa Gregory promoting her latest book The White Queen. Even though it was a promotional clip, her passion for history was evident by her demeanour and tone of voice. She looked much younger than I had imagined her to be. The short passage she read from the book inspired me to request it but it looks as though I may have a long wait!

Being able to see an author, hear how he speaks and get a feeling for his interest and enthusiasm adds a new dimension to a book. It would be good to demonstrate some of the videos/podcasts available at a Book Chat and show patrons how they can search themselves for interviews with authors.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Readers and Booklovers

Searched Library Thing for books I had recently read and enjoyed and followed the links on their recommended reading so I could check out reviews by other readers. Liked this option and found one or two interesting titles which I will follow up and a sequel to a book I finished recently which I’ve now requested. This was the first time I felt I had got anything useful from Library Thing … hooray!

Tried Revish without success. Book Army gave some interesting recommended reads – only one bore any relation to the book I had first selected. Being able to look at other readers’ comments is very helpful, particularly as many are brief and to the point!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

File Converters

Found uploading a file to Google Docs a very simple exercise. Had done a similar thing by creating an Excel spreadsheet, copying it to Zoho and then sharing it with others, when doing 23 Things. A number of changes occurred when the document emailed to me was uploaded to Google Docs. While the first few lines and graphic remained centred, the margins were obviously wider in Google Docs. This was apparent from the table – it was against the left margin and appeared to be narrower. The lines of the table disappeared but the information remained in columns. The fancy, coloured bullets also changed to plain, black dots and were indented from the left margin. The fonts appeared to remain the same, as did the bold and italics. The default format of Google Docs is very basic.

I then uploaded a document of my own and noticed the formatting changed slightly, but feel that would be a minor inconvenience if it meant being able to access a file stored in a previously incompatible format. Having seen patrons experience this type of problem on a few occasions, it will be very rewarding being able to now help them resolve it.

Specialist Search Engines

Using the search terms ‘orcas AND whale AND NOT island’ turned up 8,000 videos on Blinx and 4,850 on YouTube. I liked the rating system on YouTube and the fact that I could see when it was uploaded, how long it was and how many times it had been viewed. In contrast, Blinx only advised length and when uploaded. It is useful to have all this extra information about searching for video clips, even though I’m not sure how often I will use it … what I really need now is a patron to ask the right question!

Was unable to find Time magazine – could only locate Time books but did search the magazine Better Nutrition for ‘apples’. I was very impressed by being able to select a magazine and read it online. I had a look at an article ‘Sharing Heirlooms with Children’ in Ancestry magazine, Mar-Apr 2004. From a library point of view, this is an excellent way of sourcing articles of specific interest for patrons. It is also a great way to preview a magazine prior to purchase.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Google Web Searches

I just love Google’s Wonder Wheel … it is so simple to use and gives a variety of like subjects to search under … really great for looking at a topic from different angles and building a series of sub-headings for report/project.

I searched using Orcas as a keyword with mixed results. Apparently there is an Orcas Island off the coast of Washington. Businesses and tourist sites on the island featured heavily in every search; however, by refining to ‘orca whale’ (or ‘orca killer whale’), sites relating to orcas (the mammals) became more prevalent. Other than Google, Bing probably gave the best results with good, relevant related search options. Interestingly, all sites returned using Exalead related to commercial ventures – none appeared to be about whales. The first ten or so results from Dogpile and Metacrawler looked to be the same and not as full a list as using Google, Bing or Yahoo separately.

Various other searches using different keywords produced similar results. My first choice after Google would be Bing, closely followed by Yahoo. I like the related searches option in Bing and think the search pad on Yahoo an interesting feature – I’m sure it will be very useful once I figure out how to use it!! I still like Google best … perhaps because I’m more familiar with it … and have already shown a friend’s teenage son how to use Wonder Wheel and Timeline.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Google Alerts

I don’t go to the movies often but when I do I like to go to The Bridgeway in Northcote. As there is no RSS Feed on their website, I set my first Google Alert for ‘Now Playing at the Bridgeway’, which will hopefully send an email whenever the webpage is updated.

Following on from my ProQuest search, I searched Google for ‘orcas “south pacific” pictures’ and received about 21,500 hits. Many of the sites were South American so refined search by replacing ‘south pacific’ with ‘new zealand’. Interestingly the number of hits swelled to 275,000 – obviously there are lots of orcas sighted around New Zealand. Refined further by adding ‘2009’. Have set alert and will wait for results.

Goodness, the orca alerts have started coming in already … might have to refine further or delete if too many are received!

This seems to be a very good service and one which I would recommend to patrons who are interested in reading about particular authors (not just latest book reviews) as it would give alerts about interviews, books signings, etc. For example, Alexander McCall Smith visited New Zealand earlier this year and was interviewed in the press, on television and on radio.

I will certainly keep the alert for the Bridgeway as it will be handy to know when new films are being shown.

RSS Feeds

Had no difficulty setting up my free personal AccessScience account. Searched for monarch butterfly and found some very informative articles and a lovely picture. This was a very simple exercise and one which I will be pleased to share with patrons.

This time used Orcas for my search in ProQuest and set up a daily email alert. Again, a very simple exercise (once you know how!). Although I needed to go back to 23 Things to find out how to access my Bloglines account – have had too many other things to think about since last subscribing to any feeds – had no difficulty adding an RSS feed after following the instructions to delete part of the URL.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Twitter and Libraries

This is more what I expected Twitter would be like … short messages … something like a bulletin board. Can see this is a great way for libraries to communicate with patrons, especially the techno-savvy ones. Liked Rodney’s and Manukau’s tweets but found the replies confusing as I couldn’t follow what they were replying to. Found a great tweet on ProQuest linking to short videos explaining tools available on their website … something I will definitely look at further.

I’d be interested in following a library twitter which gave out information – upcoming events, new books, local happenings or events – but would soon log out if it became conversational. Am not interested in trying to untangle threads to follow questions and answers or comments, especially when each tweet is meaningless in isolation. I do understand that that is the point of Twitter but it just doesn’t appeal to me right now. That’s not to say I may not change my mind in the future – after all, I thought texting was just for teenagers until I got the hang of it!

My sample tweet:

Check out what’s new on The Reading Experience tab on our website and follow the link to other great review sites under the pohutukawa.

Searching Twitter

Watched the video and tried out several of the search options … using ‘library’ and ‘Jill Mansell’ as keyword search terms. From there looked at a few Twitter accounts under ‘library’ and also looked at Jill Mansell’s Twitter account. (Met Jill Mansell when she visited New Zealand last year and she said she has some gizmo on her computer which alerts her every time she is blogged or twittered, and she usually responds in person. Checked it out and she does!) But the tweets really didn’t make any sense to me.

I then took a look at Alltop and discovered a tweet which led to a blog which led to a video of a groom who whipped out his mobile to update his status on Facebook, moments after the celebrant pronounced them husband and wife!! Is this really the sort of ‘breaking news’ I need to know?

Sorry, still not convinced Twitter is for me. Photo by Southernpixel

Twitter, an Introduction

Had heard of Twitter but not tried to access it so it was good to have a reason to go there. However, having been there, I’m not sure whether it’s for me. I’m happy using emails and texts and even the good, old-fashioned telephone, so am not really interested in twittering friends and family, and the internet gives me access to sufficient other information. This YouTube clip Twouble with Twitters: SuperNews! sums up twittering rather nicely:

Accessed two Twitter accounts - Meg Cabot and Cookbook via Twitter. Was disappointed by the Meg Cabot tweets – they didn’t mean anything and it was necessary to open the links in order to discover what each tweet was about. Felt this defeated the purpose of a short message and also proved to be very time consuming. Many of the other Twitter accounts proved to be similar - headlines only with links to blogs or newspaper articles.

Cookbook via Twitter was much more interesting. This is more what I expected to see, after having read the description of Twitter. Liked the way recipes were abbreviated – simple and to the point! Might try some out some day!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Creative Commons

(a) The Get With It!! …More Web 2.0 Technologies program has been licensed under a Creative Commons Atrribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence. This allows others to remix, tweak and build upon the work non-commercially but their new works must acknowledge North Shore Libraries as the author and they must be non-commercial. Derivative works do not need to be licensed on the same terms.

(b) I found this photo of a sparrow by Nick Chill on Flickr. It has an Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic Creative Commons licence which means it can be shared (copied) on condition that it is attributed to the licensor and is not used for commercial purposes. It may not be altered or transformed in any way.

Creative Commons enables writers and photographers to publish their work online on clearly stated terms. This encourages more people to share their work and allows greater flexibility of use while still maintaining copyright.

Open ID

Although I hadn’t heard the term Open ID, I had already figured out that there were links from Google and Yahoo to other sites, such as Blogger and Flickr, and that I could access these without needing to sign in again. A bit of a trap for the unwary … glad I created non-de-plume accounts, particularly after realising how much internet activity is being tracked by ‘someone out there’ … although activity is probably still being traced back to my home pc. Still, I think there is a use for Open ID, provided care is taken regarding use and passwords.

Online Privacy and Security

It is frightening to realise how vulnerable we are to personal and other information being collected by unknown organisations and it is difficult to know how to educate people about taking care of their personal details as so many simply buy a computer and go online without realising the dangers. However, displaying online security procedures in public places, such as libraries and internet cafes, where computers are being accessed by many people, could be a good place to start.

Another way of informing the general public about privacy and security would be to place a link to either Microsoft’s strong passwords or Google’s choosing a smart password on the library website Personal Account Login page. A public organisation has an obligation to protect its users and, while there will always be some who don’t wish to know about security, provision of a link does at least give everyone a fair opportunity of finding out.

I found the information regarding passwords particularly useful and in future will change mine more frequently, at the same time taking steps to make them more secure. This photo by spodzone is a reminder not to lock the gate after the horse has bolted!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The End of the Beginning

At times this journey has seemed a rollercoaster of confusion, excitement, interest, fun and frustration. Although I had used a number of computer programs in my previous job, I had little knowledge of the internet and world wide web. Web 2.0 has introduced me to so many tools, skills and applications – many of which I may never have occasion to use again, but … who knows? If you’d asked me six months ago whether I would ever start a blog, I’d have said “No way!!” This has whet my appetite and given me so much more computer confidence. Many things have become easier and clearer as I have gone on but I would probably benefit by going back and revisiting some sections of the program.

I’ve enjoyed blogging so much more than I thought I would and had great fun adding widgets. Flickr and Image Generators would have to be my favourites … I could easily spend hours playing on these sites! It’s great to finally understand what bookmarks and tags are all about and how to use them. Since discovering RSS feeds, I have subscribed to several sites and like being able to access information so easily. Thanks NSL for the opportunity to do Web 2.0 … it’s taken me to places I never dreamed of going … and thanks, too, for the support and encouragement along the way. To me, this is not THE END … it is merely the end of a chapter – the first chapter in my book of internet knowledge – the end of the beginning.

Libraries and Social Networking Sites

Having read the articles linked to this exercise, I would have to say that there certainly seems to be some good arguments put forward for libraries using social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. While I admit that it is not my cup of tea, and suspect that most people of my age and older would feel the same, this method of communication is definitely very popular amongst those known as ‘Generation Y’. But … and it is a very big BUT … it would be unwise to leap into social networking without having staff with the necessary expertise in place to manage such a site. In order to encourage young people to use the library, such a site should be co-ordinated by similar-aged people who ‘speak the same language’ otherwise it could well miss the point entirely.

Facebook and MySpace

Not having any desire to join either of these social networking sites, I checked them out courtesy of my daughter’s page. She kindly logged on to Facebook to show me (albeit so briefly that I couldn’t read any of the messages posted!) her profile page and list of friends. For her, Facebook is a wonderful way of keeping in touch with many school friends who have moved out of Auckland to study at universities throughout New Zealand and overseas. Messages can be exchanged and photos posted. It is also an alternative to texting friends locally. I, on the other hand, have little desire to re-kindle friendships with past school friends … too much water has passed under the bridge! I am content to socialise with current friends in person or, if that is not possible because of distance, maintain contact by telephone, text or email. I also did not like the fact that, even if you decided to withdraw from Facebook, any information published – messages, photos, etc. – remained their property and would probably still be accessible because of the various ‘friends’ you had linked to.

Only had a quick look at MySpace … seemed to be mainly a site where fans could follow their favourite musicians – again, not something that interests me.

I don’t think I would want to connect with my local library through these types of social networking sites.


I was very impressed with the look of the Kindle. It appeared easy and convenient to use, particularly for commuters travelling to and from work each day by bus or train … I wish I’d had one years ago when I used to bus to work! However, having been a library user all my life, I would not wish to start paying for the privilege of reading a book.

Project Gutenberg had a wide variety of books and I found many classics by Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Jane Austen and even our very own Katherine Mansfield. I didn’t enjoy reading the computer screen, although the typeface (Times New Roman) was quite legible. I didn’t download any audio book but did try a couple of ‘sample chapters’ on Libvrox. Not being a fan of American accents, I think I would tire of listening quite quickly. An interesting experience but not one I would be repeating again in the near future unless I had access to a better reader than my computer screen or could find a free audiobook read with an English accent.

Monday, October 5, 2009


After listening to a few podcasts, have decided this is not something I would choose to do frequently. Many of the podcasts which caught my eye were no longer active - when I tried to subscribe to RSS feed, their latest entry was two or more years ago. This made me wonder whether their novelty had worn off after a little while.

However, I do see the podcast as a great tool for educational purposes. What a brilliant way for teachers to present tutorials, particularly to students studying on-line. Being able to actually hear someone's voice creates an intimacy which cannot be replicated in a written transcript. This would apply not only to formal study but also to recreational 'do it yourself' hobby instructions. I found an interesting podcast on getting the best from cut flowers which inspired me to include this photo with my post.

To encourage patron usage, short podcasts of "how to ... search, request, suggest for purchase, etc." could be linked to the library's website.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Discovering You Tube

I finally took the plunge and signed up for a You Tube account. Now, not only can I view video clips but I can email them to others. Not sure how often I'll use this new ability - am not really interested in trawling through most of the stuff posted on You Tube - and long ago tired of the novelty of watching most of the stuff others email to me. But ... I have had fun finding this video and embedding it in my blog. I think it is a great marketing tool for ASU Libraries and something similar would be good to have on our library website.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Web 2.0's Top 1000

Have had a good look around this site. Took a while to find anything that was free and must confess that the butterfly I've chosen has no application for libraries (apart from a fun thing to have on their website perhaps) but I like it and it proves I've learned something from this course because it didn't take very long to find and download. There are lots of other applications that look far more worthwhile that I will come back to another day. See the butterfly at the bottom of the side panel and use your mouse to make it fly. While you're there, feed Arianna a fly by clicking on 'more' (put your sound on first)!

Zoho Writer

Having Fun with    Z    O    H    O  Writer

  What a great tool this is!  Thought I would write this post using Zoho Writer and so created a new document.  Had barely put in a heading before I was prompted to name and save the file - how neat is that ... no excuse now for closing down before saving a document!

  It is evening and I am writing this part of the document from my home pc and will shortly save and close out of it.  Tomorrow I will try accessing it from a work pc.  If that works, the next step will be to place the post on my blog.  I guess if you're reading this, it will have worked!!

  It is now the next day and I am at work.  It took only a couple of minutes to access this file and add a few more words.  I'm sure there could be lots of occasions when Zoho Writer could be of use but, to be honest, I can't think of one right now!  No time now for any more ... will continue this post this evening at home. 

  It was way too busy on the Reference Desk yesterday to play around this post (much as I'd have liked it!) so here I am the next morning finishing it off at home.  I can see lots of uses for this in general office situations and also for students who are required to work and submit essays, etc as a group.  Specifically in the library situation, it could be very useful when new training manuals are being prepared (particularly as contributors are usually located at different libraries), could also be useful sending/editing/posting book reviews and Xcel spreadsheets could be used for co-ordinating availability of casual staff.  It is probably the same as most new technological devices/skills - the more you use them, the more you wonder how you coped before!!

  Have shared this with myself (signed up as another Zoho user) and am now adding this little bit before posting on my blog ... has been a very interesting and informative exercise.


Friday, September 18, 2009


Rollyo is a clever way of grouping a number of sites so they can be searched easily. There are many amateur theatre companies in Auckland but they are all struggling for advertising dollars and it is not always easy to find out what is on, where and when. To overcome this problem I have created my own search roll of Auckland amateur theatre websites on Rollyo. Type the name of a theatre group, say Mairangi Players, in the search box to find out about their latest production. I hope others will find it useful too.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Library Thing

I have been puzzling over this site for some time. Have created an account and added some books but cannot really understand the point of the Library Thing. Perhaps someone can enlighten me?

Have clicked on various tabs and read some of the reviews and recommendations but none inspire me to revisit. The only use I could see for this site is to create and store a wish list of books to read in the future. I have often thought it would be great to be able to do that with my own reading history account at North Shore Libraries as I frequently check-in books that I would love to read but don't have the time for right now. Not sure how easy or practical it would be use whilst working, however, and I've usually forgotten the titles by the time I get home!

Image Generators

What a lot of fun these image generators are. I imagine they could be very useful for posters or newsletters. Don't you just love my little wizard!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

NSL Learning Wetpaint SandBox Wiki

I was having great fun exploring this wiki and, before adding my favourite television programme Packed to the Rafters, checked TVNZ’s webpage to make sure I had the title correct. Imagine my dismay when I saw their news headline ‘Auckland Zoo’s Kashin the elephant dies’. Kashin has been at Auckland Zoo forever … initially sponsored by Auckland Savings Bank – hence the name ‘Kashin’ … she has been dearly loved by all zoo visitors. Dear Kashin, we will all miss you so much. I have posted this photo on the NSL Learning Wiki in Kashin’s memory.


Until now, my only experience of wikis has been Wikipedia and, although I knew it was contributed to and edited by people all over the world, I didn’t really comprehend the significance of that until I did this exercise. What a neat idea! Why hasn’t someone started one for North Shore City (before we get sucked into the supercity) where everyone can post community news? In the past, when I was involved with various PTFA fundraising committees, I would have loved to have been able to go on-line to see when there was a ‘free’ weekend to organise a fun run, gala, etc. and I’m sure others would too. The library is an ideal starting point for something like this … it is community-based and a known physical noticeboard so why shouldn’t it be the virtual source of local “what’s on” information that everyone turns to first? A link to/from the library webpage could enable patrons to access and edit it.

Wikis within the library enable patrons to comment on books and post reviews. Information contained within the summary field is limited and a link to a wiki would allow readers to share thoughts and opinions about books. This could be particularly useful for those people who have limited searching skills.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Library 2.0

Isn’t it funny that the stereotype picture of a librarian is a quiet conservative woman, set in her ways and resistant to change yet the truth is quite the opposite. Just because libraries hold many historical records, it does not mean they are old-fashioned. Libraries today are staffed by innovative personnel who are constantly seeking ways to supply the best available service to their patrons. Web 2.0 (or Library 2.0) means more than the introduction of new technology. It is about communicating and interacting with patrons to ensure their information needs and wants are met today, and in the future. This is something that librarians have always aspired to. My earliest memories of “going to the library” are of walking with Mum along the beach to Takapuna Library. I must have been about eight at the time. The library had a quiet, studious atmosphere, a bit like a church, where you spoke in whispers and only when absolutely necessary. But librarians then were just as interested in their patrons (even the young children) and just as eager to assist as they are today. By embracing technology and constantly up-skilling staff (by means of programs such as this), libraries and librarians are moving with the times and keeping abreast of current information trends. A library that supports its community well is constantly refining and refocusing the services it offers.

Delicious v Technorati

Thought about this overnight and did a little test this morning by searching for “Monarch Butterfly” on both Delicious and Technorati. It was interesting to see that Delicious returned 652 results, all directly related to monarch butterflies and insects, whereas many of the 310 results found on Technorati seemed to have nothing to do with monarch butterflies. Delicious is a more direct way of finding specific information linked by tags. Technorati has lots of interesting stuff but I didn’t find it an easy site to navigate around and I wasn’t sure of the ‘worth’ of what I found. It uses a ‘crawling’ system to search blogs and posts and, because of this, returns sometimes meaningless results.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I was a bit apprehensive about visiting Technorati … it sounded like a sect of elitist geeks … however, when I got there, it wasn’t too scary. Had a look at most things on the navigational bar and then searched as directed for Learning 2.0. It was interesting to see that it scored only 539 hits in Tag search compared with 6,721 hits in Blog Posts. Next had a look at ‘What’s Popular’. Wasn’t sure why Boing Boing came first in the Top 100 blogs by fans but only fifth in the Top 100 blogs by authority so clicked on Help for some more information. Might have to come back to this another time as it was a bit technical to take in at this time of night but it seems to have something to do with the number of links in the last 180 days.

Under ‘Site Guide’ I did find some really good explanations of blogs and blogging terms in plain English which I will probably use to explain to my elderly parents who can’t seem to grasp what the www is all about.


For me, this discovery exercise has clarified what bookmarks and tags are all about. I have long known how to add a site to ‘Favorites’ but never really understood the difference between that and bookmarking. Favorites enables an instant link to a webpage - useful for sites visited regularly (post code finder, bank, on-line campus, etc.), whereas bookmarking allows you to maintain access to a site and, at the same time, identify with a tag what is relevant to you about that site. I even now know what a ‘tag cloud’ is – how technical’s that!

Being able to access your bookmarks from any computer has to have many advantages, particularly for students who work sometimes on a home pc, sometimes at school/uni. One benefit for me is being able to bookmark a site to show others. Take a look at this site of Deidre Copeland’s, for instance. She is a very talented New Zealand artist who does the most amazing portraits; they’re huge but so life-like! I first saw some of Deidre’s work featured in a magazine and later viewed many more portraits on her website. Unfortunately, I am hopeless at remembering names and couldn’t find the site again when I was telling someone else about her. Since discovering Delicious, I've searched again, eventually found her site and bookmarked it. Now I can simply check my bookmarks and voila there she is!

It is interesting to see how many people have bookmarked the same site and the various tags they have ascribed to it. Few had left comments against the bookmarks I looked at. While being able to share information can have huge benefits, I do wonder whether it makes research too easy for students, particularly school students, who really need to learn the processes involved in searching for and assessing the worth of information obtained electronically.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Searching for feeds

When I didn’t know what it was, I saw that little orange icon everywhere … now that I’m looking for it, it seems to be hiding!! Still, I’ve had a lot of fun checking out some weird and not-so-weird sites … (couldn’t find anything truly wonderful). Didn’t have much success with the Bloglines Search tool but found Google Blog search and Google News much easier to use. Haven’t found any more news sites I want to subscribe to just now but did find this great blog to follow … loved the concept (very similar to ) … oh, how I’d love to have a few more hours in the day to play!!
Photo by dominocat

Success at last

It's taken nearly all day (and part of yesterday) but at last I've got it ... I managed to insert a photo from Flickr my RSS Feeds post ... hooray!!


originally uploaded by mvadu.
I watched the videos at night in order to be all ready to start the next morning but then had to re-watch them because I couldn’t remember the exact steps – silly me! But, it was probably a good thing to watch them twice as I think I understand the process better now. At first I wondered why anyone would want to subscribe to a feed but the videos were really helpful! I now understand how useful these links are to people who need up-to-date info NOW!

Didn’t really know what feeds I wanted so subscribed to a couple of newsfeeds from NZ Herald and TVNZ for starters, but … and this was the really challenging part …I couldn’t find how to access them! Took a while but eventually I found it was as simple as clicking on the Feeds tab, under Favourites – silly me, again!! This makes me wonder whether I have done things correctly … can’t see why I needed a bloglines account as I access the feeds from Internet Explorer. However, it’s been an interesting learning curve and now I can go straight to the latest news bulletins – and the NSL Exercise site, as I’ve added that too. Being able to search up in the top right-hand corner is handy. And, there’s no advertising on the Herald and TVNZ feeds, which has to be a big plus!

Not sure how often I’ll use this new skill myself but, who knows? … now that I’ve mastered it, I might be subscribing to all sorts of information. Can see that RSS could be a very useful marketing tool for libraries, keeping patrons up-to-date with new releases, book reviews and up-coming events.

This photo by mvadu found on flickr epitimises RSS – ripples travelling outwards.

Friday, July 31, 2009


As much as I hate to admit it, I am old enough to have talked on a party-line, had my photo taken with a box brownie camera and learned to type on a manual typewriter. I can remember the thrill of changing typefaces on an IBM ‘golfball’ typewriter, the relief when correcting ribbons were invented and my mother’s delight when automatic telephone exchanges meant phone calls would be private. I can remember the wonder of being able to store and retrieve documents on a word-processor (when floppy discs were floppy!) and the excitement with which I unpacked and assembled my first PC. But none of that compares with the awe I feel when I think of what can be achieved using today’s technology. Digital cameras, cellphones, computers, the internet and the world wide web I can handle (just!) but I dare not even try to image what changes will occur in the next twenty or thirty years.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Flickr mashups

Another evening has whizzed by as this time I investigated Flickr mashups. Thought Spell with Flickr was lots of fun and thoroughly enjoyed using FD Toys to make jigsaws from pictures. Would like to try making a mosaic one day as this looks a great way to display photos with a common theme. While these sorts of applications are clever and the people who invented them must be very talented, I do not think I could be bothered using them very often. However, it is great having this opportunity to learn about them and know they are available.

Discovering Flickr

I cannot believe I have been unaware of this amazing world of images for so long ... why didn't someone introduce Flickr to me before now!! I could spend days, no - weeks, months - looking and looking at such beautiful pictures. Explore, Calendar and the Last 7 days were all fantastic and the Tour was very informative. I found it easy to search for something that interested me and am tempted to open a Flickr account so I can add some really great pictures to my blog. Meantime, these two by ViaMoi I found particularly fascinating ... they remind me of the domes I had as a child, the ones that had a winter scene and when you shook it, it snowed. How I would love to be able to take such wonderful close-ups!

Here is a photo of a begonia in my garden.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Exploring Blogs

Learning the rules of blog etiquette - what to say and, more importantly, what not to say - has clothed me in confidence. During the past few days I have visited many blogs, read a lot of both interesting and trivial information, posted my own comment and even received a reply. This is such fun!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Creating my blog

I feel about as comfortable creating this blog as I would walking naked through a shopping mall. However, that is not to say I would not look if someone else chose to take their clothes off, just as I am happy to read other people’s blogs. While the idea of exposing my personal thoughts and feelings to strangers who surf the net frightens and intimidates me, at the same time I am excited to be discovering new skills. Does this make me some sort of voyeur?