Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spanish Lessons

I must be the only commuter left who hasn't learned at least one foreign language on my way to and from work. I have looked before to find free spanish lessons, but somehow this time it just seemed easier. I have 30 beginning lessons now in my bloglines news reader, and these same folks also offer an intermediate and an advanced course when I'm done with the beginner lessons.


I can't say that I understand the technology--somehow bloglines, which is really for text blogs--has figured out how to subscribe me to podcasts, and allow my computer's multimedia player to play the audio. I don;t know if it counts as a podcast subscription really, because the "podcasts" are static, I don't think the creators are adding any more new content.

Still, I am impressed with myself for reading a couple of help screens (!) and figuring out how to do this.

In a conversation with my co-worker, we decided web 2.0 is all about the content -- none of these skills/tools matter to anyone unless there is content out there that they really want. That's why some of the web 2.0 tools don't interest me -- the recommender systems that can't respond very usefully to my favorite musician (Dvorak) for example.... But when you want content and it's there -- well, even I will put in some effort to get at it!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Eye Candy!

Wow, just looking at my blog, I've gone from boring thick paragraphs of text, to some neat visuals in just a week -- a slideshow, photos and a video clip!

A Very Funny Library Tour!

Students really script the best library tours. Here's a great one from University of Minnesota....

I don't think this is being used by the library, but it gives me an idea. It didn't have all the content that a librarian would want it to have as a library tour, but it has delightfully wry humor. So, a librarian who discovers something like this on YouTube by one of their own students might contact the creator and ask them if they would be willing to edit their video and create a second version that the library could point to.

This is the essence of where we need to go at my school--leveraging other peoples's content--because we are just too short staffed to create enough relevant content and keep it updated. The students will do it for fun, and they will produce things that other students watch for fun. It won't seem like work to them. But it will take some collaboration, because we'll want to be sure certain points are made.

User Created Content

I found a state park north of Medford that looks like a really great Sunday afternoon excursion - Maudsley State Park.

I did not stop to read the "terms of service" when uploading this image.....

This was a great exercise and I feel really different about the whole "user created content" explosion because of the time I spent yesterday learning how to do stuff with images. I'm empowered!! Instead of feeling kind of cranky (oh well, there aren't any photos or user-created content for the things I wanted to do) I felt like I need to go do those things and upload my own information. I also think this is a great feature when you have to go to a meeting on a college campus and now most of the time you can see what the building you need to find actually looks like.

I am always looking for places to take a nice long walk, hopefully within a half hour drive of my house, but it's harder than you would think to find out what those places are and where to park. I need to create my own website for that, I think, or keep looking for somebody else's that I could use.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

More social facilitation thoughts

So, in the last 6 hours I have revisited some of the earlier 26.2 lessons that I hurried thru before. Now I have a FLICKR account, have learned the rudiments of iphoto on my mac, and have connected FLICKR to my 26.2 blog and uploaded a photo from a recent apple-picking trip. As my younger friends would say, welcome to the late 90s, Karrie!

I think this class is awesome, not only the basic syllabus but also the level of guidance/encouragement to DIY has been empowering for me. I think that one lesson (for me anyway) of web 2.0 is that is isn't sooooo terribly difficult to figure out. I am learning to rid myself of the suspicions and negative resistance that I developed from years of depending on the disdainful and unhelpful "IT guy." For an older person, it's an earth-shaking cultural change, that all this technology is so much more accessible and user friendly. Well, let me not overstate the progress made in digital technologies....I still feel grumpy towards my cell phone, since I can never remember how to see my own phone number and seem to press the speaker phone button inadvertently a lot!!


Originally uploaded by KarrieLibrary
Such a nice day, but poor old Big Boy (I'm not sure how many thousand pounds he was...) decided to spend the day indoors.

Thanks Framingham & Levity's Compass

Today's post is about social facilitation of knowledge. Over 30 years ago when I was in college taking the usual freshman course on psychology, I learned that not all raccoons wash their fruit, only the ones who have learned it from other raccoons. Hence, social facilitation of knowledge, thank you Univ of Pittsburgh. I am getting it -- that to keep up nowadays, you need to manage social facilitation of knowledge to a much greater extent than I ever have. In trying to catch up with the class today, I noticed Levity's Compass said he added all the blogs to his reader so I decided to do the same, and that took me (somehow) to a blog at Framingham about "5 things", with really short and clear instructions on adding a slide show to your blog. So I did. And in adding everyone's blogs to my news reader I see that there are about 700 other things like that slideshow gadget to try. Yelp!!

Note to Framingham -- what makes your instructions so absolutely fabulous is that they are only a few sentences long and explain both the concept (you get photos from the web based on the keyword you designate) and the how to part. For me, it's the conceptual part that often seems missing from instructions.

My keyword for the slideshow on my blog was "bhangra" which is a kind of music/dance from India that we love.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Photos online

Photobucket is Awesome!!! Wow, I can put this to immediate use! I have to create publicity for an event on campus and I can take a photo image I was given and make it look like a poster or a drawing or even a cartoon! Sorry for all the exclamation points, but this is just so amazing to me. The event I'm making PR for is Henry Jenkins coming to speak at Brandeis about participatory culture, and I am just getting bowled over by what is possible to create these days for almost no money (once you have the computer and internet connection).

I'm less confident about "managing" my stuff - each different tool has a different password and a way of presenting what I think of as "mine." I believe that my problem is that I still think about "my stuff" as if it were the print world, and I need to collect all my stuff together in a single place. If I was more of a digital native, probably I would just tag my stuff with something unique so I can bring it together when ever I want it, not keep it together as a virtual collection.

I'm still a little wondering about the tax on memory - where dd I put X, what did I tag it, what password did I use, etc. Learning to manage content in a new way is challenging.


Google calendar is great! We used it once at work to track a project a number of us were working on but I didn't do anything then except look at the calendar. It's so much more readable than the calendar we have at work - and of course it's more flexible.

The trouble I still have with these tools is that even though they are useful, I need to "gather them" into a space that makes sense to me. Right now my coworkers and I often feel too scattered and it feels like too much memory work to remember where we "put" this thing or that. It hasn't settled into routine for us, or we haven;t figured out a way to keep track of all our "stuff." Especially in a hybrid word where so much of what we do is not online.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Well, I was glad of a reason to finally visit Craig's List! It looks pretty useful. I had been talking to some students, saying I wished there was a website where me and my neighbors could post for someone to come clean our gutters -- make it worthwhile for the worker to come because there would be several jobs in the same location, and maybe save us some time and money all finding someone individually. It took me awhile, but I realized the section for this was called "gigs" and now I have something good to chat with my neighbors about!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I reviewed a YouTube clip on composting.

I suppose what I wrote was more feedback to the person than a review of the video clip. I don't use reviews much because what other people think of restaurants or vacation spots is not necessarily going to jive with what I think. How would I know if the person doing the review values the things I do, and likewise, how would anyone reading my review know if I shared their values? The one review system I think is pretty useful is Netflix, because in addition to getting access to reviews there is data available that helps you gauge how closely the reviewer shares your movie preferences. I think getting feedback from people on some effort (asking users to review your online tutorial, for example) is a good use of reviews, and I think that when there is open commenting on scholarly publishing, students will suffer a lot less from poorly written, jargon-heavy "academic-style" articles. Another way I would enjoy reviews (on a limited basis! I don't have that much time for leisure reading!) is more as a conversation about a shared experience -- comments about an art exhibit or concert for example, that I would read after the fact.
Three Ways Social Networking Could Help My Institution

1. There's a faculty member from International and Global Studies who would like something similar to Ning for her students. Naturally I read the privacy policy right away. I wouldn't be able to evaluate that privacy policy mostly because of the technical considerations -- not sure what students might be likely to do that could get them into trouble. But someone at my institution could probably walk us thru it.

2. I could imagine starting a "Workshop/Training" barter social networking site for using multimedia and web 2.0 tools in teaching and learning. I could describe "workshops wanted" and "training offered" by our staff, and other institutions could check the site and we could barter. For example, we might offer a full day workshop at your campus on patent searching, if you could give us a similar training on working with digital images. Both campuses would benefit by having a much larger set of workshops to offer our constituents.

3. I filled in my profile more completely today, and was interested to see that what I listed as my interests had become links -- didn't know what they would lead to, since I hadn't linked them. I was amazed to find that I now have connections to people across the country who also listed "early music" as an interest. I can imagine that scholars studying very specialized areas -- esp people somewhat new to their field -- would be delighted to be automatically connected to anyone with their same research interests.