Friday, October 9, 2009
I'd also like to say that throughout this process I have begun to think not just about learning 2.0, but also about how to manage the onslaught of new technologies. Must everything be discovered? No, I don't think so. Some people seem to be far better at this. They can examine a new website or service, get the gist of its value and move on. I tend to turn things inside out in my ming, continually move for new perspectives, question again and again if it's actually worth something to me.
There was a portion of time during this 23 things exercise where I felt like I was being forced into a situation where I couldn't see the value. That doesn't mean the tools aren't valuable for other people, but I wondered why I was exploring. And I can't even say I was really exploring that heartily. I explored some of these services from the balcony of my hotel room (so to speak).
But going through the process has also made me reflect on what I like and made me think about how things that I've encountered could be used in creative ways. A week ago I devised the initial stages of a new feature for the library that I work at on the UW campus. I talked to a full-time librarian about it and he said he liked the idea. It's given me the idea to seek out a practicum where I can learn how to create podcasts. I've wanted to do this for a while anyway, and thinking about it all has brought me to this point, where I want to take the thinking to action. That's a good result from an exercise like this.
I listen regularly to the Slate podcasts, all of which are good. I subscribe to Filmspotting (a weekly film podcast), Savage Love (weekly sex advice podcast), Musicheads (weekly music podcast). I cherrypick the rest, dipping in to Fresh Air and several others.
I don't know why more newspapers don't do more casual, personality-driven podcasts. They're a great way of luring in a new audience. I really dislike the podcasts that are read from scripts. I like the ones when people are passionate, interesting, experts, etc.
I like podcasts about film and music, so I've begun downloading podcast called The /Filmcast.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Videos on Youtube, one of the things that I use Youtube for the most, often makes them unembedable, but someone is always putting a new one up, and if they have to, will videotape their own television. But it feels much more about fandom than about not paying for something. Like this video, how can you not love it?
The oddest thing was that I checked out Green Bay after Madison, and noticed a link to Luxemburg, this tiny town that I grew up in, not exactly the most urban place for your spoon, and it had a top ten of restaurants from that area! And they are pretty good suggestions. Excellent tool for travellers, for vacation, for dumbfounded resource searchers, extremely comprehensive and easy to use.
This is the first time I'd heard of Zoho. I didn't create an account, because I already have access to Google Docs and because I feel like taking a break from signing up for these services that are coming too fast for me to actually use them. Zoho looks like it offers a lot, though it's a bit overwhelming to consider it all. I don't know how other people take this kind of thing in. Do you feel compelled to look at it all? Maybe find one service that intersts you and just use that? It's a bit too much for me. Google has it right IMO. Simple look, practical, flexible applications. The creativity comes from the user. It's easy to do a lot with little.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Well, I created an account, but there is no "Edit" tab that I can see. The only tab available to me is "View." I can tell I'm signed in. Don't really understand what's going on. Maybe later.
I don't know about favorites. Lately, I've really liked the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall. My fiancee and I have watched it a few more times recently and it's very quotable. Now when someone speaks with a British accent, I'm tempted to tilt my head, simulate a bad British accent and say, "You sound like you're from London." When someone needs to move on, I say, "It's like The Sopranos--it's over. Time to find a new show." Etc.
For the headier side of my personality, I'd recommend The Complete Essays of Montaigne, translated by Donald M. Frame. If I could only take one book to a desert island, blah blah blah, this would be it. I used to think the complete works of Shakespeare, but that just seemed like the appropriate answer. Honestly, I'd take Montaigne. The first essay is called "By diverse means we arrive at the same end" and the last one, is called "Of Experience." But the essay I've been reading lately, also from the "third" book, is titled "Of Vanity." I just flipped it open to a random place in the essay and found this:
Whatever it is, whether art or nature, that imprints in us this disposition to live with reference to others, it does us much more harm than good. We defraud ourselves of our own advantages to make appearances conform with public opinion. We do not care so much what we are in ourselves and in reality as what we are in the public mind. Even the joys of the mind, and wisdom, appear fruitless to us, if they are enjoyed by ourselves alone, if they do not shine forth to the sight and approbation of others.
This made me think of writing this blog, and all blogs in general. There's something strange and fruitless to the feeling that others must read it, and I don't really know why that's so important. But it feels like it is, whether by art or nature. And I wonder about how good it is too, which is why I closed my Facebook account. I did feel defrauded by the notion that I somehow needed to live in the online public square.
I remember writing to a friend (a letter, by hand, on sheets of paper, because Montaigne will inspire that kind of thing) calling Montaigne a friend. I regretted it after I'd sent the letter, because it felt ridiculous to write. And it still sort of is, but there's something about this book that feels a lot like the best aspects of friendship.
Plus, if you think about it, suggesting that Wikipedia is entirely unreliable, because it's susceptible to tampering, or some form of information sabotage, presents a pretty cynical view of the world. Are people really going around deliberately adding in wrong information? The accidentally incorrect information is often corrected over time by people who know better.
There are citations. There are warnings at the top of entries that have disputed perspectives of its bias. There are notes applied to records that need to have the writing be cleaned up and clarified. I can only speak from experience. I do not feel that the writing on Wikipedia is worse than the writing in Encyclopedia Britannica. As a matter of fact, I think it's better. And the speed with which new entries can be created and developed makes it a no-brainer for me. If I were writing a research paper, I wouldn't cite Wikipedia, but I really wouldn't go to Encyclopedia Britannica either.
The library that I work at now uses a wiki for training information, which is useful as a reference tool for newly hired workers who often need simple reminders of how to perform their jobs. The wikis often save the managers time and help the new workers to save some of the anxiety of starting a new job, since you can't remember everything that you're told or taught, and you don't want to keep asking your boss for reminders. Plus, jobs change, and the wiki provides a platform for simple, quick changes.
Of the examples on the 23 Things page, I like the Library Best Practices page the best. It's an effective way to organize a large amount of information, and not only add to it, but change it as library practices change.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
This will be the library for the aesthetic economy, the dream society, which will need libraries as mind gyms; libraries as idea labs; libraries as art salons. But let’s be clear: Library 4.0 will not replace Libraries 1.0 through 3.0; it will absorb them...
But Library 4.0 will add a new mode, knowledge spa: meditation, relaxation, immersion in a luxury of ideas and thought. In companies, this may take the form of retreat space for thought leaders, considered an investment in innovation; in public libraries, the luxurious details will require private partners as sponsors providing the sensory treats. Library 4.0 revives the old image of a country house library, and renovates it: from a retreat, a sanctuary, a pampered experience with information—subtle thoughts, fine words, exquisite brandy, smooth coffee, aromatic cigar, smell of leather, rustle of pages—to the dream economy’s library, the LIBRARY: a WiFREE space, a retreat from technohustle, with comfortable chairs, quiet, good light, coffee and single malt. You know, the library.
This is the library as sci-fi romance novel. But I particularly like the bit about newer forms of library not abandoning old forms, but "absorbing" them. The proselytizing about new forms of technology often feels as reasoned and fruitless as the condemnation of new technology, just as the library's utopian future seems as likely as its dystopian one. These are extremes, but they're not caricatures of libraries or librarians, but all part of a vast consciousness, with different worries and different hopes. It's not useless to let reality get away from us. Daydreaming is probably one of the most practical things I do.
But to say that libraries need to cut down on their "Just in Case," collections, while also saying that patrons will demand access to everything and libraries should be prepared to give it to them, he doesn't acknowledge the disconnect. It's like people not wanting to be taxed a lot, but still wanting the government to enact loads of programs. They're opposing notions. I don't think libraries should avoid a realistic examination of their policies, but to avoid the ridiculousness inherent in "everything all the time," without addressing the practical implications (i.e. cost) and flights of logic, makes the article seem like empty talking points about how it's important that libraries move into the future.
I'm ambivalent about the one-button commands. Not everything requires training, but it all requires learning. It's paradoxical that the intuitive buttons on the iPhone are so hard to replicate on other interfaces. Simplicity is difficult to pull off. A miscalculation about making something easier can remove necessary complexity or make something more confusing that it needs to be. For example, if someone uses Dreamweaver to make a "good" webpage, they don't really know how to make a webpage. Some things need to built on a strong foundation.
He's right that a stripped down, simplified interface would be helpful (like the iPhone), and I'm likely more critical of this article because I dislike this sort of tone more than anything, but there are many different types of users at a library. It's not just tech-savvy undergrads using the collection (and not all undergrads are tech-savvy). That doesn't mean things can't change, it means that new features need to be so intuitive (e.g. iPhone, iPod) as to need no instruction, or they need some form of tutorial or instruction. I'd suggest making learning tools (like podcasts and tutorials) more engaging, while also thinking about how to simplify the complex processes.
When I searched "Library 2.0" in the blog section, I got many interesting links, like "How to Customize Your Library Facebook Page," "Should Your Library Have a Social Media Policy," and "Libraries 3.0 Teen Edition." When I searched the "Web 2.0" link through the Blog Directory, I received a list of links to websites that focus upon "Web 2.0" practices.
I found this second search more helpful, because like I've already said, I like to engage with things through a recognizable personality. The blog searching feels a bit random, whereas a particular blog (or a few blogs) often has a focus and perspective built into it. If I can find a few blogs about web 2.0 that have different perspectives, I can compare them and learn from where they overlap and where they diverge. Some of these blogs: TechCrunch, Mashable, and Technology Bites, just to start with.
Del.icio.us makes me think of LibraryThing for researchers. But it doesn't have that zip that I'm looking for. Wading through all these tools just becomes tiring after a while, particularly after I've used some technology that is extremely user-friendly (e.g. iPhone, iPod). For example, one of the new technologies that I want to learn is podcasting. I clicked on the tag "podcast" and selected the popular tab. I wasn't impressed with what I found. Very simplistic posts, like the kind of thing about nutrition you'll find on Yahoo news links throughout the day. If I want to learn about podcasting, I'll pursue it myself, through basic online searching, or through the traditional library means.
Researchers could definitely use this tool. But I don't see how the bookmark feature on your computer is any worse than Del.icio.us. You lose the social networking aspect of Del.icio.us, but I wonder if that's any loss. I'm glad that I've introduced Del.icio.us to myself, in case I talk to someone in a library situation about it, but I'm not really excited about it for myself.
Another interesting website that I hadn't heard of yet. You have to be a bit of a joiner, or, understand how to manage your time so as to benefit from the website's tools. I think I could benefit from this one. It made more sense to me immediately, maybe because it doesn't try to do too much, at least not at first blush. It probably also helped that I've signed myself into these other websites and feel myself beginning to develop a style. I don't feel a real need to branch out too much from my political info that I get. But I could definitely benefit from professional expansion. So I've focused on tech news. I created a roll and searched "library" and received these links.
Libraries could create various rolls that would help to not only present interesting news, but also expose the library to new trends or new practices. In other words, it could help patrons and professionals alike.
And given the name of a company called "Rollyo" with the tagline "Roll Your Own Search Engine," I thought of Jon Stewart's 1996 HBO stand-up in Miami. I watched this in high school and learned it verbatim.
To answer your question, yes, I felt very cool when he became popular on the Daily Show, because I felt like I'd already known that for years. I could still tell you parts of this stand-up word-for-word. I encourage you to seek out the whole stand-up, if that's possible. I used to have it on video; it might still be at my parents' house. In it there's a funny bit about how a pot rally would have difficulty organizing. Humor I've already used this weekend as the first day of my practicum at Memorial Library was the day of Harvest Festival on Library Mall.
YOU can buy “The Lost Symbol,” by Dan Brown, as an e-book for $9.99 at Amazon.com.
Or you can don a pirate’s cap and snatch a free copy from another online user at RapidShare, Megaupload, Hotfile and other file-storage sites.
Until now, few readers have preferred e-books to printed or audible versions, so the public availability of free-for-the-taking copies did not much matter. But e-books won’t stay on the periphery of book publishing much longer. E-book hardware is on the verge of going mainstream. More dedicated e-readers are coming, with ever larger screens. So, too, are computer tablets that can serve as giant e-readers, and hardware that will not be very hard at all: a thin display flexible enough to roll up into a tube.
Read the full article.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Still, there are cool things with websites like this. I was down on LibraryThing until I searched a few books that I genuinely love and I found a few people who feel similarly about those books. I can't exactly put my finger on why it feels different reading those comments about the books as opposed to reading comments on Amazon. The interface of LibraryThing just feels much more grassrootsy, "lo-fi" to use music terms.
Like all new resources, it seems, it's important to get over the initial pessimism or cynicism about how they can be useful. I won't take all of these tools with me, but I might adopt a few of them. I hope I give them a shot.
While talking with a co-worker today (one of the full-time workers), I discussed the prospect of doing outreach for ILL, which is my job. I've been brainstorming most of the day, and so inevitably I thought about my workplace. I thought it might be interesting to treat an academic library's holdings, or a public library's holdings, the same way that commercial markets treat their products, they advertise. And the best form of advertising is the tease. Thus, holding the release of DVDs for a big release DATE, might inspire interest and intrigue. This kind of thing could be done with the image of a calendar advertising a new service, such as DVD releases.
So, beginning my process... There's an academic/research blog called ACRLog, a blog that has a teaching bent called Hey Jude, the best candidate for my authoritative blog source, written by a man named David Lee King, a somewhat smart-assed blog with a tech edge called Closed Stacks, and a blog from a woman in San Jose called Librarian in Black.
2. Arcade Fire - Funeral
3. Daft Punk - Discovery
4. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
5. Jay-Z - The Blueprint
6. Modest Mouse - The Moon and Antarctica
7. The Strokes - Is This It?
8. Sigur Ros - Agaetis Byrjun
9. Panda Bear - Person Pitch
10. Avalanches - Since I Left You
11. Ghostface Killah - Supreme Clientele
12. The White Stripes - White Blood Cells
13. Outkast - Stankonia
14. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
15. The Knife - Silent Shout
16. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
17. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
18. Kanye West - Late Registration
19. Spoon - Kill the Moonlight
20. Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights
I was pretty close. I thought the Kanye West album had appeared lower on the list and I just missed Ghostface Killah and Spoon's Kill the Moonlight. I remember seeing Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga lower on the list and I think that's their best album, but why quibble with a Spoon choice. I've never actually seen Spoon in concert, but right around the time KTM came out they were playing the Regent Street Retreat here in Madison, a tiny venue for such a band. I just decided not to go. For shame.
Anyway, the rest of the top 20 is interesting. They gave Animal Collective the 14th slot! I'm not disputing it, I just thought they'd been building up tension between who was going to be number one, MMP or Kid A. Interpol at 20! Modest Mouse at 6... These are all really good albums, but there's something disappointing about the list and I don't know what it is. A collection of the decade's best albums is probably done better with the perspective of more time. 2009, after all, isn't even over. Five or ten years from now they should revisit the decade.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
1. Radiohead - Kid A
2. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
3. Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights
4. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
5. Panda Bear - Person Pitch
6. Strokes - Is This It?
7. The Knife - Silent Shout
8. Avalanches - Since I Left You
9. Jay-Z - The Blueprint
10. Outkast - Stankonia
11. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
12. Arcade Fire - Funeral
13. White Stripes - White Blood Cells
14. Sigur Ros - Agaetis Byrjun
15. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
16. DJ Rupture - Uproot
17. Strokes - Room on Fire
18. Modest Mouse - The Moon and Antarctica
19. Daft Punk - Discovery
20. Brian Wilson - Smile
As I was making the list quickly I was thinking to myself: "they're going to do it, they're going to put Walkmen's You + Me on the top 20!" But alas, I don't think they will, and it will remain an underappreciated album. I look forward to posting their actual top 20 to show a comparison between what I thought they'd pick and what they picked. Cheers.