Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thing #23~ Wrap-Up

Well, looking back on this program, I'm glad I did it, even thought it was kind of a challenge to get everything done in the time allotted to me in a part-time position. I got to further explore some technologies that I already knew about and I got to discover some neat sites and things I didn't know about. Being perfectly frank, the free MP3 player was my biggest motivator to do this but I got both that and this neat blog out of the deal. I joined a gym on October 1st and I'm still going (yay me!) and my player has come in quite handy for workout music! I will keep this blog up for folks to peruse and to occasionally add stuff to it. I thought about, since I'm in Interlibrary Loan, adding my oddest request or biggest challenge of the week or something of that nature to my blog. I'm eagerly awaiting whatever Jaye's cooking up for us next in the way of new stuff to learn and even more so if it comes with a shiny prize!

Thing #22~ downloadable audiobooks

I have to admit to being a kind of Luddite when it comes to audiobooks. I like the plain simple books on CD. I don't have a CD player in my room anymore but my DVD players play them so it works. I can't figure out how to put audiobooks on my iPod without the tracks being mixed in with the songs on shuffle and my new MP3 player I got for doing this blog project is pretty much full already but I poked around NetLibrary and Overdrive anyway, became thoroughly confused, and then checked out Project Gutenberg's audios and that seemed like something I'd be interested in checking out again down the line.

I do have a question for the community at large or whoever's reading this-- if an author has the ability to record audiobooks on CD, what does it take for them to be able to break into digital audiobooks and make an audiobook they can sell through iTunes,, etc and is doing such a thing more cost-effective than doing a book on CD? An author friend of mine, Grace Chetwin, whose name you may recognize, now publishes her own books and I thought for small presses digital audiobooks may work better than CDs, but maybe not.

Thing #21~ Podcasts

I do love my iPod, but I've not really gotten into podcasts that much. I have a geriatric computer at home and I need to use my Dad's machine to sync my iPod and add music which pretty much limits the time I can spend exploring for things like Podcasts and since I do that maybe once a week if I happen to have new CDs to add which means I can't really keep up with podcasts. But I'll poke around a little with them for this exercise. I checked out the Podcast listing sites ( and were much more useful than the Yahoo one) and I really didn't find anything terribly interesting in terms of libraries. Lots of the library podcasts were for specific libraries, or they hadn't been updated in awhile. I found a lot of people across a lot of subjects started a podcast, posted an episode or two and then gave up on it. I did however find some podcasts related to my other interests. I found a really cool food podcast and The Signal, a super Firefly/Serenity podcast. Added them both to Bloglines which makes them show up on my blogroll.

Thing #20~ ITube,YouTube, we all Tube!

Well, I'm quite familiar with YouTube already before this exercise as are most folks my age. YouTube is pretty much as ubiquitous as MySpace. I added two videos to my blog to illustrate the different ways in which people use YouTube. The first is the amazing Loreena McKennnitt performing her beautiful song "Dante's Prayer" live at the Alhambra Palace in Spain, and the second is a "Farscape" music video that some friends of mine created using the song. Oh yeah, and I got to see Loreena twice this year live-- first time from the second row, second time from the first row. It was amazing :-)

Thing #19~ Web 2.0 Awards

For this Thing I chose to check out a couple of the sites on the list. I noted that I've already explored a lot of the sites on the list as part of other Things-- like Google Docs, Rollyo, Flickr, YouTube, and are all there. is truly awesome. Not only are there drink recipes, which can be found a million places on the web, but you can work backwards too. You enter which kinds of liquors and mixers you have on hand and the site keeps narrowing the list of drinks down until it shows all the drinks you can make with these ingredients. You can view the drink recipe right there on the screen too without losing what you've entered. You can even make a bar menu, too! is very awesome. A commercial-free, adaptive, Internet radio! I love it! I made "stations" for several of my favorite artists and I must say they are pretty spot-on in their recommendations. Very easy to use too. I could sit there all day and do this :-)

Of course neither of these would seem very useful in a library setting, although I'd imagine patrons sometimes ask for bartending manuals and CocktailBuilder is an online alternative. Also, recommending Pandora to customers could definitely boost circulation of music CDs as people discover new music.

Thing #18~ online productivity tools

Well, I tried out Google Docs and I found it to be pretty cool that I can access a word processor, spreadsheet, or presentation program anywhere, anytime, when I've got an Internet connection. I don't personally have a whole lot of need for such a thing but I can see the many uses including library customers. Here in Howard County we now have OpenOffice on all our PACs, but in the old days you had to sign up for a time slot on one of the computers that had a word processor on it if you needed to type a paper or something. Web-based software is making this more and more obsolete. Google Docs and such services are also good for shared files, moving shared drives and folders and things toward obsolescence as well.

Web-based software is all well and good, but what happens if your Internet is down and you can't get to the web? With a regular application such as OpenOffice or MS Office, you can continue to work, but if your office depends on something like GoogleDocs, you're up the creek till the net is fixed, but I don't see many institutions wholly dependent on such things, at least not yet.

Thing #15~ Library 2.0

To me, Library 2.0 means a step forward in terms of technology but staying firmly rooted in our original role as a place for the public to learn and explore. The terminology of "2.0", "2.1" and such is borrowed from software developers who give each version of a piece of software a number to denote the improvements in each version, even if those improvements are invisible to the end user but help the software run more reliably or faster. Library 2.0 is a lot like that in that it is not only a concept that is helping us improve on the outside and making the library a more interactive place for the customer with all kinds of new features, but it's also helping us shore up our original structure and repair or replace some ideas and concepts on the back end that have needed fixing for awhile.

That's my $.02 on 2.0 :-)