Tuesday, March 31, 2009

you say whotube, i say...

Despite my love of Boxee, Hulu and tv/movies on the web, I'm not really an avid YouTube user. Well, there was that one time I got sucked in watching clips of Steve Martin doing stand up. But, really, who wouldn't? He's hilarious! What I really use YouTube for is how-to guides. Like a lot of people, I am a visual learner. Sometimes reading instructions from a book is enough. Other times, it really just helps to watch someone else.

For instance, if I ever lose my way in a knitting project, YouTube is a terrific resource for me. Hmmm, an example. Over spring break I went to visit a friend of mine and she getting started knittng a pair of socks. So, I asked her, how do you work the heel, since this is by far the hardest part in knitting socks. She tried to tell me in the abstract, but I wasn't really getting it. Then I looked at these YouTube videos about:

making the heel:

and then turning it:

And voila! Like magic I got it. Thanks YouTube! Oh, and thanks to the nice British lady, too.

Podcasts are another great web tool that, for whatever reason, I don't really use as much as one would think. In fact, I don't really listen to them at all. I often daydream about downloading a lot of episodes of This American Life and listening to them on the train or while I'm putzing around the house or something, but somehow I always go for the tv remote first. (Video really did kill the radio star for me I guess.) I got really excited about the This American Life tv series but really, it was built for radio and is much better in audio-only format. So really, I have no excuse. I just need to get down to it and download the podcasts! To get started, here's this week's episode which is still free.

At any rate, I really like YouTube and podcasts as a way to help maintain my lifestyle as a lifelong learner. As for audiobooks...well, I'd rather read. They do come in awfully handy on a long drive. Then I'll gladly download a couple from my local library, upload them to my mp3 player and hit the road.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

google docs rocks (and other things i love)

I am a big fan of the Google family of online productivity tools. I've used most of them. I've used Google calendar to schedule groups for meetings and deliverable due dates which was lovely in that I could send out reminders via email or text. I've used Google documents to share and seamlessly co-author papers (just like we did for our class assignment). I've also used Google spreadsheets not just for their intended Excel-like qualities, but also to keep track of copy items needed for a website I wrote for. It was really wonderful. With one person in California, another in Ohio and me in New York, we were all able to work together. Nothing fell through the cracks and we all knew what the latest and greatest version was. So I say: Say no to a million attachments and paper shuffling. Say yes to the Google (or really whatever other brand works for you) family of online productivity tools.

So, I was checking out the Web 2.0 Awards list and stumbled upon my old friend craigslist. I'm not really sure why, but for whatever reason, I never mentally lumped it in with all of the other 2.0 applications. But there it was, in its rightful place of #1 Classified/Directory. I was beginning to plan my move to the Bay Area when craigslist first came on the scene. It was only available in the SF Bay Area and it had a limited number of listing categories. I looked for apartments there; I looked for jobs there; I found my awesome formica table set there. And then it began to grow, expanding to most major and semi-major cities in the U.S. as well as other countries. And it did all of this rather quietly. Word just spread organically and now it has become a well known go-to resource. It filled a need and grew, Grew, GREW but without losing its focus: free, easy access to classifieds online. (Well, everything isn't free to the poster anymore, but the prices aren't exhorbitant either.) It became a quiet giant with a simple design and concept, but great stretch and ability. It really just integrated itself into my web library without my thinking about it as opposed to the other 2.0 apps with cutesy logos and grand aspirations. This may be why I was surprised to find it posted in the award list. But, if we were all to vote for the grand web 2.0 application to beat them all, my vote would go to craigslist, hands down.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

why wiki

In the early days of 2.0, I was working for an internet start-up company. We used a wiki for company communications. It stored a wide range of information from collaborative ideas to contact information to company policies. I loved it because, as the office manager, I was able to store a fair amount of information for new employees all in one place. And, since the company grew from about 10 employees to about 50 within a matter of months, that was really key. It really received a mixed review from the employees though. For one, a lot of people don't like having another password and another thing to check so they wouldn't log on. Another concern was security. Even though the wiki was password protected, they were worried that too many company ideas and too much information would leak out. So, for company information sharing, the wiki fell out of favor rather quickly.

Personally though I do really like the community sharing aspect of wikis. Conference wikis are a great idea. I'm sure it is a huge comfort to have this resource. Not to mention the pleasure of being able to add to it and help others.

I actually do have a favorite wiki -- well...in concept anyways. I can't say as I've ever used it. It is a open wiki dedicated to solving The Secret. Essentially, The Secret is a fantasy/treasure hunt book. And it does lead to actual treasure. The book provides clues in its text and images to aid readers in finding boxes which they can exchange for gemstones. Some have been found. I think the diamond's already been snatched up. But others are still out there waiting to be found. Essentially, people who are actually on the hunt log their notes and progress in this wiki and the community helps with the search. Check it out! Pretty cool, huh. Well, maybe cool's not the right word, but I love it!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I had used delicious in the past, but found that I didn't really have a need for it. I honestly found it easier to store my links on my browser. I've really only used one computer at a time so it's all I've needed. That's not to say that I don't think there is a need for delicious. I can see how it could be a very useful tool for reference librarians to share common links. Or even for reference librarians nation (or even world) wide to share common links of vetted information.

Which leads to Librarian 2.0. Of the 5 topics, I was most drawn in by John Riemer's "To better bibliographic services." I think we'd all agree that librarianship is a collaborative effort. Together we can provide more information, keep each other up to date and in the loop. Point and case being standardized cataloging practices. Without them, where would be stand? Libraries would be difficult to navigate simply because they'd all be vastly different. WorldCat would have been nearly impossible to set up. But with them, libraries co-exist harmoniously and have been able to find a way to share information (fairly) seamlessly. So then, why is meta data a crap shoot? Why not increase the relevancy of search results by streamlining our terms? Helping to internet searchability really seems to be the next logical step to incorporate the 2.0 in Library 2.0.