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.