- Farmgirl Librarian
- I live on a ranch in West Texas, where my husband, son, and I raise a few cattle. Our only crop is feed for the cows and my husband insists he is a "rancher" rather than a "farmer," although the place we now call home used to be his grandfather's farm. I drive 75 miles to Abilene for my job as a University librarian. I love the job and the drive.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
My favorite discoveries have been Flickr (although I knew about it, I had never navigated in it), mashups and all the cool online image creation tools, TeacherTube and knowing how to embed videos. Professionally, the most helpful discoveries have been Google Docs, wikis, blogs and how to find relevant ones, and Ning.
How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
No question but that this program has expanded my outlook, afforded me new skills, and built my confidence in meeting the challenges of new technology. I now feel prepared to help move my library forward toward 2.0 or whatever is next. I also feel I can intelligently join into the professional conversation regarding the tension between what our users need and want and what libraries want to be doing.
Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
I am totally surprised at how much I've learned! And I am amazed at the talented people in the world who share their abilities freely on the web, and those that constantly push its limits and force it to evolve.
What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
I really liked the format, and I think you have provided links to a variety of information. You might be sure that all the links go where they need to (Furl and Magnolia come to mind. And could you make sure Ning for Teachers is really a Ning?) I especially loved the Common Craft videos!
If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?
Yes, in a heartbeat.
How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities?
23 Things is a door to a million learning opportunities.
Now go and comment on some of the other Players' blogs.
I have, and let me comment to you that I really appreciate Spring Branch ISD opening up this learning opportunity to those of us beyond your doors. It would not otherwise have been possible for me to learn these Things! This is what Web 2.0 sharing is all about: offering your knowledge, your expertise, your time, to all regardless of geography, without a cost barrier, and without prerequisites. Thank you very much!
Ning for Teachers looked more like a blog or a website to me, but I was very impressed with Teacher Librarian Ning. Navigation is intuitive; Ning seems to be very transparent. I like the Group and Forum tabs; joining a group or joining in a discussion would be very easy. I must share Texas School Librarians Ning with my elementary school librarian friend. As of yet, it doesn't have an "elementary school librarian/media specialist" group, so maybe she can start one!
I found a Relevant Libraries/Librarians Ning that really interests me. Their tag line says, "This network was created as a place to explore, discuss, share, collaborate and learn from others about what it takes to remain relevant in the world of academic libraries and librarians." I can see that Nings would be very useful for teachers for student academic projects and for personally keeping up with campus activities or professional discussion. To heck with Facebook, I'm joining the Relevant Librarians!
But it is amazing that I can make a video!
You could spend hours watching videos on YouTube and Teacher Tube. Here is one from YouTube that I would like to share: This Librarian 2.0 Speculates on the Libary 2.0 Debate
I also really enjoyed this video, A Librarian's 2.0 Manifesto by Laura Cohen, 2006, but BE WARNED, it includes one topless photo (arty, not distasteful), which is why I didn't embed it. I wondered all the way through how any of the pictures related to the text, and I don't think they do at all - they seem to be from an exotic vacation. I really relate to the text so it's too bad that the one photo will keep it from being shared in a lot of places.
I have to include the ad for Texas History Portal because my library (Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene) has some collections included there.
From TeacherTube, one of my favorites that speaks to the 2.0 future is Did You Know 2.0
Having access to all of these videos will really enhance any presentations and I think people really pay attention to video, so it can be used to illustrate a point or promote discussion.
I explored Docstoc and at first glance found sample cover letters, curriculum vitae, and application essays that will be very helpful for my neice who plans to apply to law school this fall. Being a government documents librarian, I had to check out the Current Events and the Politics and History sections. The site contains documents written by individuals, businesses, agencies, and other entities, and you can find all sorts of items, both previously published and never published. One of the current features is Sonia Sotomayor's Senate Questionaire. The Education section could be very helpful to teachers. Of course, you can store your own documents there, either publicly or privately.
Since I am interested in creating a wiki for our library, I checked out PBwiki.
I uploaded two documents from my home computer (emailed home from the library) that I will now be able to access both places without having to email them back and forth.
I really liked the functionality of Google Docs. You are able to insert comment boxes to draw attention to changes or problem areas, and you can insert flyovers (explanatory text that will appear when you hold the cursor over a link). I think that is so cool! I also like the fact that you can create templates for a spreadsheet so you don't have to keep formatting separate pages. I found the instructions and guides very straightforward and easy to understand. There are so many advantages to using this on any shared project, and your document, spreadsheet, or presentation can actually be published as a webpage when completed. This is a wonderful collaborative tool.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
I have a current project that can benefit from a wiki. I have developed a subject database list and a wiki would allow each subject specialist librarian to edit their particular subject area. This will save a lot of emails - just like in the Common Craft video. And I believe we will find many more uses for a wiki to communicate among the libary staff.
The example wikis gave me another idea for using a wiki on our webpage for our subject periodical list. It would certainly be easier, and faster, for me to go in and edit the constantly changing periodical list on a wiki rather than having to make a list of changes to send to our webmaster so he can change the periodical subject list webpage in html. I am definitely going to see if I can work this out with him.
I appreciate those who are able to have a vision of change. This article by John Blyberg, 11 reasons why Library 2.0 exists and matters, considers the needed changes revolutionary and not just adaptive. Although written in 2006, we are still dealing with the questions he raised. I feel that our profession - both the professions of education and librarianship - are slow in responding to the possibilities that Web 2.0 has opened up. But people everywhere outside these professions are grabbing these possibilities with gusto, as we have learned through these 23 Things. Are we helping to prepare our students to succeed in this fast-paced, sharing, collaborative, super-creative world, or do they feel they have entered the Stone Age when they get an assignment or come to the library? Hurray for those teachers and faculty who are changing their teaching styles, involving their students, and incorporating 2.0 tools. Hurray for those libraries that are embracing physical and virtual change to become user-focused. Hurray, and thank you Spring Branch, for helping us take these small steps forward into the Library 2.0 world! We'll get there. We may not be the engine, but we won't be the caboose, either.
I've left comments on five other Library2Play blogs. I'll get to the outside blogs later. Believe me, after this Thing, I will be posting comments to the blogs I follow.
Oh, my this has been really fun! I can't wait to tell my friend Marty about the Scrapbook and Photocard templates on Custom Sign Generator as well as the other fun tools there. This is a site that I will use often on a personal basis, and we could find some really fun ways to promote our library resources and ourselves with these tools. It's similar to Big Huge Labs which I fell in love with in Thing 6. I really like Image Chef as well. This is great for eye-grabbing poster messages, and I loved the bumper sticker maker. My favorite fun image creation (at least today) was this picture created in Dumpr and I found a really fun cartoon of a librarian in Comic Strip Generator. Check it out here and make one of your own. I did!
I look forward to playing more with beautiful word clouds in Wordle - it is really cool!
Friday, August 7, 2009
I did not like Bloglines very much, but here I found the Renegade Librarian, but its posts were from 2006. Since the default search is to find posts rather than feeds, you must remember to change the search parameters or it is really confusing. The same is true for Technorati, but its interface was so much easier and more intuitive in reminding you to search blogs rather than posts. Here I found Tame the Web, which I also thought was a very good blog. I liked Topix, and got excellent results with it for news feeds.
Edublog's award winners was a good exercise in experiencing different blog styles. Some use really long posts, some are organized very well, and some are full of ads. Looking at each of the "best" for libraries was time consuming and not that helpful since I really only liked one of them, Hey Jude. Syndic8 totally confused me and I did not like it at all.
I used the same search terms in all of these tools, and it is interesting that I got such a wide variety of results, and a different set of blog results from each one. I still believe I got the most relevant results, the blogs that I would choose to form my Circle of the Wise, from Google's Blog Search.
I am also thrilled to use Google calendar - this will eliminate the problem of having something written on my calendar at work but not at home. My family and colleagues will be so happy that I won't be forgetting my schedule anymore (or at least I won't have an excuse!) I certainly wish I had known about Google Docs earlier in the summer, when I was working on a database list and emailing my word document back and forth from home to work and vice versa! Now I will be able to work on a project anywhere, and get feed back from my colleagues during the process. This is awesome!
I really enjoyed customizing an iGoogle homepage. I was aware of Google Scholar, but this gave me a chance to really check it out.
I will be checking out the other cool things that Google has to offer!
It amazes me how people have come up with so many of these mashups and wonderful things to do. I loved the Big Huge Labs site. I especially liked the Mosaic Maker and the Trading Card apps. I will be returning to explore more of these fun things, and I have made note of so many possibilities for using pictures in instruction and promotional materials, as well as personal applications like calendars and mosaics. These toys are awesome! Here's a trading card for our ranch.