Saturday, November 21, 2009


For those who are upset that NetLibrary doesn't work with I Pods (which makes them pretty useless for me since I don't own another MP3 player or an old-school Discman), I found that there are a wealth of I Pod-compatible books on Overdrive (through the Madison Public Library system). I found the tutorial did a great job of explaining the convoluted downloading /registration process for the software- I consider myself pretty tech-savvy, but not particularly patient. The amount of Spanish-language titles excited me-far more were available this way than I could access through a single branch.

What surprised me about Overdrive was that, just like print, only a certain number can be accessed at a time. For example, the hold list for the newest Dan Brown novel is 191 patrons! I was also surprised that when I accessed NetLibrary through the UW system, I could only get access to e-books. I imagine it must cost extra to make audiobooks available through our system, and the potential use isn't high enough to justify it, especially with the options in the Madison Public system. I notice this feeling with some of the reference requests I've had-it's hard to imagine the concept of restrictions and half-access- I've been trained into this "click and get" mentality like most people my age, and it's hard to articulate the many good reasons why barriers are put in the way. It's...unpleasant to explain the concept of embargoes to someone who needs that article tonight. That's one of the things I appreciate about the resources we've been trying out here-everyone has equal access to them and they're making things more transparent for the user.

Discovery of the week:

Through the beauty of this site (where you customize "stations" based on favorite artists and your own preferences), I have created the perfect study stations. (if you use Pandora, Ray LaMontagne and Patty Griffin make for pretty consistent stations-it's harder when the artist you selected changes their style a lot)

embedding practice, part II

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Video sites and Podcasts

Okay, I'm not an embedding genius-and that was my second attempt-I got it formatted down to a passable size, at least. I chose that video because a search for librarians will yield all sorts or crazy/inappropriate/just plain awkward. My favorite from my searching was this old government video:

Your Life Work: The Librarian (1946)

I noticed the line about assisting professional men who come into the library and the mini-tutorial on using subject card-catalogs to find books. My, how times have changed, but
I was interested to see how similar the way we articulate our public role now is to over sixty years ago. Hence, that's why we're doing this 23 Things project, right? We have to use the technology we're already using to show the public how important our role remains-we really do need to go beyond the library doors if we want to thrive in the present. (***end tangent***)

The one thing I don't enjoy about YouTube is trying to do a broad keyword search-I would love an advanced search feature-get on it, Google! Also, the amount of ads on the site is growing to the point where I'm starting to look for alternatives. One site I enjoy is Ning, which is a social-network version of YouTube. It functions much like the "channels" feature of YouTube, but if you're interested in something very specific, it's a great way to find others with like interests and look at their videos.

I already listen to several podcasts during my daily commute/while I'm doing homework (This American Life is one of my favorites, as is the NPR podcast with my former quasi-neighbor Mr. Keillor), but I haven't investigated library-related podcasts beyond the one that I was involved with myself for work. I discovered the Seattle Public Libraries podcasts and found some amazing author interviews, including Kate DiCamillo (a wonderful children's author). I went to the Hennepin Library system site to see if they had anything similar- their site is here, but if you search for it in I Tunes, then you will find the complete listing. It's a great way for these students to get their music and poetry heard-I was impressed by the production values and quality of the five or six I listened to!

Embedding practice, or, "I am a librarian!"

Monday, November 9, 2009

on the mend...

I'm finally feeling well enough to start frantically playing catch up, so here goes. As for Google Docs, I use it on pretty much a daily basis for group lesson planning. For another group project, we discovered one of the main benefits of Google Docs was that we could use Google chat to talk over edits in real-time, which beats the whole email drafts back and forth method of yesteryear.
Google Docs can't handle some of the same picky/awesome formatting things as Word, but I would much rather have the conveniences offered by Docs.

The site I chose from the list was Etsy, since I've heard so much about it. I grew up doing craft fairs with my family (my grandparents owned a ceramics shop) and I was interested to see how this site would connect me with local artists/crafters. There is indeed a "local" section that allows you to search by your city/region, which I really appreciated. The interface is also more pleasant than EBay or other user-driven shopping sites I have seen. I don't think I would have looked around the site otherwise, but after about an hour of delightful window-shopping, I had to stop...sometimes these projects really don't feel like homework one bit.