Thursday, August 13, 2009

otsukaresama deshita!

Week 10:

23. Peruse the new SPL website.

Is everyone aware that there is a site search box? It is tucked away at the bottom of the page...

Just click and the search box appears:

24. Learn a new language with Mango Language Learning.

I was impressed with the range of difficulty level offered in Mango for Japanese. I'm far from fluent, but I am more than a beginner at Japanese. I thought it was a great refresher and having the text and audio at the same time worked much better for me than the typical 'listen in the car' learning programs. I would like it if we had bookmarks or business cards just to promote Mango.

25. Tweet on Twitter.

Did this some time ago and you can see my twitter badge on the right.

26. What is Thingfo?

You snooze, you lose. Thingfo is now invite-only.

27. Summarize your thoughts about the "27 Things" program on your blog.

Although I had familiarity with many of the 27 things already, many of them I had never really bothered to explore until now. I always though Twitter was completely narcisstic and now I realize that it's more about learning about other people, groups, news etc than talking about yourself.

In a similar vein, I also enjoyed reading all the posts made by other staff members (more than I enjoyed writing about my own experiences). I hope we all keep it up from time to time.

Otsukaresama deshita! Thanks for the hard work!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Queue the 'Wrap it up' music

Week 9: Podcasts, Video & Downloadable Audio
20. Explore YouTube and find a video to add to your blog.

  • See Below
21. Learn about the wide world of podcasts.

  • I chose AV Talk, which is mainly movie reviews

22. Browse SPL's downloadable audiobook collection and "checkout" one that you like.

  • I'll have to check this out at home, since I need iTunes to transfer the audiobook to my iPod once it's checked out.

Enjoy a Bit of Fry & Laurie:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Natomas Tweets

So I set-up an RSS feed in my Outlook inbox that updates anytime someone puts the word Natomas in their tweet. (I also set up feeds for "sacramento library" and "natomas library")

Here are some of the best so far from the Natomas feed:

Spending time with a beautiful woman @ Sacramento Library South Natomas.

I am prolly natomas' worst boyfriend... I hope i am... I better be

A large yellow beast arrives and I seat myself within it's large and boxy frame. "To Natomas, ho!", I command it.

o u stayed in natomas ! its nice out there people aren't asses like they are in elk grove !

I love the smell of Natomas in the late afternoon. You recognize sarcasm when you see it, right Well, that's where the condos are.

Natomas High is the triple OG...the first HIgh School of #inthenutty ....Inderkum came muuuch later on

#inthenutty if u go to natomas ur at albertsons after school and if you go to inderkum your at carls jr

(So now I know that the hash tag for Natomas is #inthenutty. Maybe I need another RSS feed)

PS - My apologies, ELK!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ebooks vs Ebook Readers

I just attended a web conference session on ebook readers. I was hoping the session would address the problem of lending ebook content that the library already owns with the Kindle. For a quick summary of why Overdrive books don't work on the Kindle, read this.

For that reason, the session was more concerned with describing the wide variety of ebook readers available and encouraging libraries to try lending the readers themselves. My initial reaction was that this was kind of crazy AND probably crazy expensive to implement. Besides, aren't libraries about content, not devices? Of course, then I thought about how every branch provides public computer stations, because the real point of the library is facilitating access to information. Plus, the accessibility of ebook readers is phenonemal, since they are much more flexible than a printed book. Text size can be changed for readers who have vision problems and some ebook readers even have a text to voice feature that makes a book accessible to the blind.

Logistically, a Kindle lending service would be tricky, but a few public libraries are already doing it. The patron is effectively borrowing a mini-library when they get an ebook reader since it can hold so many books. Would a library offer themed Kindles, like one with a collection of popular mysteries and another with romance novels? Or just put the entire NY Times Best Seller list on all of them?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Twitter Badge Success

I very recently created a Twitter account for NNT, in large part because I thought Jessica's Twitter feed on the RAN page looked pretty cool:

I wasn't sure how easy it was going to be to get the widget on the NNT branch page, but it turned out that Twitter has an easy process that creates the code you need for you. Just go here and then select whether you want to put it on your blog, Mspace page, or website. It gives you a choice between Flash and HTML and I found that the Flash widget looked better. (I also used the same process to add the Twitter feed to the sidebar here)

Anyway, here is the end result:


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Zoho: a sisyphean ordeal

Actually, it wasn't that bad. I could see the benefit of having a web-accessible word processing program (especially when you compare free to the cost of any Microsoft program), but it was a frustrating experience due to the constraints of SPL bandwidth. Loading times were sooo slow, I would lose my work when the page timed out, etc. The layout and functions of Zoho were fine, but clearly Microsoft Word wins out when you don't have a fast or reliable internet connection. Nothing is more irritating than outpacing your computer's work speed.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Week 7 - Wikis

Wikis are powerful tools for compiling and organizing information. I think the beauty of the wiki comes from the wisdom of the crowd. The aggregate information supplied by laypeople can easily outshine the expertise of an individual through the power of a wiki. For an extremely dorky example, take WoWWiki, which has 74,856 articles and can be edited by anyone. None of the published guides or websites sponsored by Blizzard, the company which created WoW, can hold a candle to the information held in WoWWiki in terms of comprehensiveness or depth of detail.

Of course there are opposing viewpoints...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Even that guy from Memento is like, "Dude, I get it."

I've noticed something about the library's movies. Certain titles circulate like crazy for years without being damaged, lost, or stolen. How crazy, you ask? Like one copy of Sabrina added in 2003 that has circ'd 161 times and 22 times last year! Or Being There, which might have the all-time record at 171 total checkouts. And it's not just classics. There's a copy of Memento that has 115 checkouts. So maybe movies aren't being stolen quite as often as we think.

What books are getting this many circulations in a lifetime? It turns out, not many. In a sample of 400 items in the catalog that have over 150 total checkouts, only 17 items are books. I'm sure many books are just as popular or more popular than movies, but a book may actually be more fragile than a disc, despite the perception that DVD's don't last.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Kindle DX

I started subscribing to RSS feeds and I got distracted by one of the stories from, which is a handy site for both techy and nerdy news. (So far I like having the RSS feeds on my homepage (iGoogle) rather than in Outlook or Bloglines.)

Anyway, a new version of the Kindle has been released, this time with a larger screen. I do think e-ink is getting better and better and more and more like an actual printed page, which might help convince some people to transition from book to e-book. I'm not of a collector mentality, so I don't really care about the container- my interest in books is the content. If Kindle's ever become more compatible with libraries and their e-books, I'll be sold.

But I understand some people feel attachment to books themselves. I had a friend who told me that they would never let go of books for an e-book reader, because the experience of turning the page was too special to them. Of course, at one point the page was the latest technology, so I wonder if people were reluctant to give up turning the scroll.

This video has been around for awhile, but maybe some of you haven't seen it:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Folksonomy: Threat or Menace?

Actually, I'm a big fan of folksonomies and tagging. Even though all the tags on Flickr are user-created, it still works almost as elegantly as if it were being cataloged by a professional.

Still, it's interesting to see how people manipulate tags, as it clearly can be abused. Some people use misleading but popular tags to sneak in images that otherwise would remain buried (usually promotional and/or shocking images). Flickr seems to have a system to counter-act this kind of thing, though.

Others use arbitrary tags to form their own community within Flickr. For example, the author of a webcomic I read started promoting the use of the tag haylookit for anything his readers found interesting or noteworthy. Now there are over a thousand images tagged with haylookit on Flickr.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

a point of contention

What are blogs for if not addressing contentious issues? It's probably my own fault for reading a blog called the Annoyed Librarian, but I thought Library Journal's hosting of the anonymous ranter added some kind of legitimacy.

Anyway, here is a link to the post that riled me:

The opening paragraph begins, "All along I've noticed that a lot of librarians resent my criticism of the lowest-common-denominator, give-'em-what-they-want, bread-and-circuses approach to public librarianship that so many librarians seem to desire. Sometimes it seems that I'm the only librarian who believes public libraries should have some sort of purpose larger and more important that subsidizing the puerile entertainment desires of the mass of people who can't afford Netfllx or videogames. Some naive people think that the masses should provide their own puerile entertainment and public institutions should contribute to the public good. "

I won't go into great length regarding why I defend puerile entertainment in the library, even though I'm a total snob in my personal life. Here's a short break-down of my argument:

  • Public institutions have included entertainment as a worthwhile goal for a long time. See Parks & Rec for an example.

  • Yesterday's trash is tomorrow's treasure. Charles Dickens was considered a trashy writer in his day and his work is now considered the pinnacle of Western literature. There's something to be said for the wisdom of the crowd.

  • Should a publically funded institution take upon itself the role of tastemaker? An institution so closely tied to the government should be careful about declaring what has cultural worth and value and what is 'puerile' entertainment. Censorship is often framed in terms of protecting public morality.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's been a while since I last rapped at ya

I have a history of abandoned and failed blogs(not to be confused with the Fail Blog), due primarily to the fact that I am a recluse and sharing does not come naturally to us.

However, I am a long time lurker, so I have some familiarity with many of the 27 things. I wasn't planning on doing 27 things, but they lured me in with the promise of a shiny new flash drive.

The prizes do seem an odd choice if they want to encourage the Luddites to participate.... But I'm an easy sell. After all, I would probably want one of these if it was real.