Saturday, March 8, 2008

Thing #4: Frustrated with Flickr

First, blogspot wouldn't let me into my account. I had to enter my password five times. That's not Flickr's fault but it started me out crabby. Then I couldn't figure out how to get the picture icon to upload the picture I found in Flickr. Where to click?!?

Yes, I did watch the video and it was persuasive for the case of storing photos online. Then I looked around in Flickr and found pictures for all the keywords I searched for. They must have a vast collection.

So I did the exercise but once again felt like a trained monkey walking through steps. Click, click, save where?, remember jpeg, pull hair out, click, click, post. Oh, did that actually work? (And why do they keep listing bizarre labels for this post at the bottom? Scooters? Another lesson, I guess.)

I have no clue if this photo will actually appear. I hope it does because Moss Landing, CA, is my dream retirement location. Maybe I'll live in a beach shack with no electricity so I won't have any computers to drive me crazy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thing #3. RSS

This was my favorite exercise because it's about making information come to me instead of me having to search for it. It reminded me of the SDI (Selective Dissemination of Information) I did for customers (patrons, then) 26 years ago! But back then, I photocopied the tables of contents of professional journals and sent them through Interdepartmental Mail. Very time-consuming. I like having Bloglines do the work for me. Then I can be a queen and cruise through the headlines, choosing what I wish and deleting the rest.

Okay, technical stuff next. I already had a Bloglines account but it had been six months since I'd checked it. I can now call it an "aggregator account"; how smart is that? I kept "Shifted Librarian," Slate," and a news feed. I unsubscribed to a couple boring things. Again, I felt powerful: "You unworthy RSS feed, begone!" I added three colleagues "23 things" blogs but it was confusing when I would send in a URL and Bloglines would give me three to choose from. Why? It's the same blog. Then it wanted me to set up preferences and I didn't know what to pick so I stayed with the default.

I searched for blogs through Bloglines and sometimes I found good ones by subject and sometimes I got things from 2004. What's up with that? Enough for tonight.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Thing #2

I've read several of the articles on Web 2.0 and its pertinence to libraries. My perspective on Library 2.0 comes from being a front-line reference librarian in a large public library system. These are my observations.

Customers want physical things: Books, (lots of books!), CDs, and DVDs for entertainment. K-12 students are required by their teachers to go to the library and get two books for their reports; teachers do not count electronic reference books as these sources, they demand print copies.

Customers also want computers with high-speed Internet access and they want to stay on them for several hours at a time. Computers are used for various purposes but primarily e-mailing and gaming. Customers need librarians to help with logging onto the computers, word processing, saving work onto CDs, uploading resumes into electronic job apps, scanning documents and images, and explaining the printing process.

Users are also in serious need of Baby Storytimes, Toddler Storytimes, Preschool Storytimes and Family Storytimes. When storytimes decrease (such as in summer), parents and grandparents become unhappy and complain. Caregivers with young children check out huge stacks of picture books. Toddlers playact with puppets. They also listen to stories on our preschool computers.

During the tax season (now), customers want print copies of the standard federal and state forms. They also ask for many more obscure forms. They will access forms from the government websites but do so reluctantly. Many customers need to find free AARP tax preparation sessions.

Most of what I describe above are traditional services, "products," according to one writer. These are the requests I speak to every day, many times a day. In contrast, I've never been asked for assistance with Flickr, YouTube or MySpace. I'm going through the 23 Things in case I am asked someday.

So how do I use Web 2.0? I'm presently going along for the ride since it's the I.T. geniuses who figured out how to connect our libary with all its users and each other. The enhanced content on our library website and catalog helps me do my job. The pictures of book covers help kids identify the titles they want to request. The reading lists for all ages with hot links are a lifesaver for Reader's Advisory. We're meeting remote users in cyberspace, in "their" space, and delivering to them our catalog, databases and subject pages. We offer Reference I.M. but that service hasn't attracted many users yet.

So I'm seeing the participatory future. It's potentially how public libaries will stay viable post-Google and I will keep my job. I can't buy the whole concept, though, that 24/7 connectivity is an absolute social good. I see people hunkered down at computers at the library, communicating with those in their social networks, but ignoring or aggravating those sitting next to them; their presentation in the virtual world being the more powerful pull. Web 2.0 may increase social options but it seems to also create disburbing (to me) behavior. Several kids will gather at library computers, Runescapeing together for 5-6 hours on a beautiful summer day. I can't act "In Loco Parentis" and tell them to go play outside, so they can stay as long as there are computers available. I see this and the next day I read an article on childhood obesity. Yes, there are DDR programs that we offer but many more kids sit for several hours at computers than dance at the programs.

You're right if you figured out that this a Baby Boomer Librarian ranting. I'm also an Introvert who thinks people already communicate too much and this Library 2.0 emphasis on sharing, connecting and participating is exhausting. I'd like to just keep helping customers find good books which they can enjoy reading alone.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Thing #1 continued: Added the Avatar

This exercise reminded me of playing The Sims with my daughter when she was 13. Young teens have a lot of fun picking out hair and clothes for their virtual dolls. I should go back to Yahoo Avatars and see if there was a way to add a couple wrinkles and make it more authentic for me. But then I'd have to go through the export process again and I'd rather eat supper.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thing #1: Frustrated from the start

I'm going to try the 23 things to learn the language of 2.0. I've already wasted a lot of time because I didn't read the directions and set up a blog name that was taken. Then it appeared that I already had a google account but I couldn't remember the password. So I had to use a different e-mail address and make up a new blog name. I've wasted over an hour that I could have spent reading instead of getting frustrated. Is this really supposed to be fun?