I'm Liz, and I'm a librarian (duh)

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Ta-da! I made it, number 23! I have really enjoyed this whole exercise, not only learning about all the new applications and websites and stuff, but also blogging and reading everyone else's blogs as they chug along. I feel like I have a whole new vocabulary now. And I am making a concerted effort to actually use all these new things, if not in my professional work then certainly in my personal life. Facebook is a big favorite, which is a surprise for me. I was so distainful of mySpace and never expected to like social networking, but there you have it. I also regularly subscribe to podcasts, which I never did before. And LibraryThing! Totally loving that. Most of all, I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy about my blog. I know no one is reading it, except those of us in our learning exercises, but even so, it's been so much fun I'm thinking I may continue even now that I don't need to. You never know, the holidays are coming, maybe I can con one of my unsuspecting relatives into checking me out online.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Second Life--Almost as bad as the first

Let me start by saying that I am glad I checked out Second Life, but I don't think I'll be a regular user/inhabitant/frequentor/whatever. Just before Thanksgiving I signed myself up, picked out a snazzy new name and downloaded the software (this part actually took a ridiculous amount of time--then as soon as it was finished I was told that I didn't have the most up-to-date version, and needed to download it immediately--grr). So I'm finally all logged in and I appear in Second Life-land with a bunch of other lost souls, one of whom was about two inches away from me--naked! And of course I don't bother learning how to do anything, I just see that if I press this button I can fly, so I press the button and get stranded hovering over everything with no clue how to get down. I figured at the very least I would fall back down to earth, but no such luck. It was at this point that a co-worker wandered up to my computer and with her help I was back on the ground, but I was already off to an inauspicious start. Second Life is kind enough to have a tutorial for losers, ahem, beginners like me, so we can learn to walk and stuff, but I was having a tough time even with that. So I start by walking to the target, okay, so far so good, and then I'm supposed to find something to ride, okay, there's a scooter or something, I get on that, but this is where things go horribly awry. I'm on my scooter thing and this guy comes up to me and greets me in Italian. I ignore him as I am trying to turn a corner on my scooter and there's a taxi in my way, but he is persistent. Somehow I end up off my scooter, the scooter disappears, this guy is still talking to me, and I now have to figure out how to get across this bridge thing with no vehicle. Italian guy is getting more annoying, he figures out that I don't speak Italian and asks to be my friend in English, which I decline, because I just need a ride now and he is not going to help me. I retrace my steps and see that there is another scooter, so I hurry to get it, but some other newbie steals it out from under me. I have figured out that the scooters just keep coming so I wait until another one shows up and try to get on it. But Italian guy is back! He races to the scooter, gets on it and then starts trying to run me over backward so I am forced to flee. Bastard! or should I say bastardo! This is why I don't want to be your friend! Either way, I am now hopping mad and decide I am going to hijack this car I see, thinking I can get in the same way I got on the scooter--but instead I am sitting on the roof of the car, which is not what I want, and the people inside are probably thinking I am a freak, which wouldn't be too far off the mark--who sits on the roof of a car? At this point we are weeping, I am laughing so hard my sides hurt, and I am thinking that aside from the smoking hot avatar I would doubtlessly have as my alter-ego, this is maybe more trouble than it is worth. But I did get to fly and at least I wasn't naked--I hope that poor girl got herself sorted out.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A-Twitter about Twitter

The web 2.0 winners list is so overwhelming, there's so much good stuff out there. Although if you look closely at all the individual sites you can see that many of them get high marks for being social, not so much for usefulness. I was trying to find one that I hadn't already used--thanks to these learning exercises we've had exposure to some of the winners and runners-up on the list--and that was possibly applicable to work, not just fun. After a little exploring, my finalist is...Twitter! Working in a department with six full-time staff, almost 20 part-timers, two desks to staff and programs almost every day, not to mention in-house meetings, outreach, off-site meetings (you get the picture), I can see the value in knowing where everyone is or if someone is running late. Of course it's only valuable if everyone who needs to know is hooked up, and this is also fundamentally a social tool, but since I did my little I-love-Google dance in my last post, I didn't think it was fair to reprise it here again.

Monday, November 19, 2007

This post brought to you by Google Docs

Oh my god! Why did I not know about this before?? Actually, it's because I have never gotten around to fully exploring all the bells and whistles of Google...but this is like a dream! All the anxiety about losing documents from faulty disks, ahem, crashing computers, etc., gone! Okay, maybe it's not realistic to think I'll be saving all my documents in here, but it means I don't have to worry about what version of word is on which computer I'm working on, or if word is even there at all! My husband and I have been mulling over the idea of getting a mac for some time now, and my main reason for holding out is that I was worried about not being able to open documents from PC-using folks. This changes everything! Maybe I should see what else Google has up its sleeve...is there anything they can't do?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Blogger's Best Friend

I'll tell ya what, I am definitely learning new stuff in this exercise. I am in the generation that totally fell through the cracks in terms of the internet and technology. Here's a scenario--when I started library school there was no internet as it exists now, but by the time I finished 18 months later, netscape was born and I was using it at my first (part-time) library job. Wanna laugh? One of my core competencies for technology in grad school was knowing how to FTP! I don't even remember exactly what that stands for, but I bet no one needs to know it anymore! Anyway, I am young enough that I grew up with some computer technology (I remember the old floppy floppy disks for PCs but I used a Brother word processor until my senior year in college) but old enough that I am having to educate myself on pretty much everything internet related, unlike every kid entering middle school these days. It's the reason why it's not second nature for me to explore all this new stuff on my own, so I'm glad to be led along through all these exercises.

Technorati was totally new to me, but I love the idea of being able to link a blog up to the bigger world so people know about it! I mean, why go to the trouble of blogging if no one but you is going to read it? Except for the whole cathartic diary-esque thing. But still. And of course, if you are blogging with a purpose, you really want to get people hooked up. I am not laboring under any delusions of people adding me to their rss feeds or anything, but maybe someone somewhere will think what I'm writing is worth reading, or at least more interesting than staring off into space. Of course this means that I have to go back and do tags for all my blog posts. Tagging is still not second nature to me, but I see the value and I've just gotta try to remember to do it! I'm a librarian, this sort of thing should be a piece of cake--don't we love subject headings?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mmmm, social bookmarking...

Ack, I am falling behind! The last time I checked it was sometime in May, and now it is MID-November. Is anyone else feeling super-overwhelmed (would that be overoverwhelmed?) and frantic? Hmm, must just be me...Also, is today a holiday and no one told me? It's eerily quiet in the children's room this afternoon at 2:20 pm. I may live to regret even thinking those words, but for now I'm wondering where everybody went.
I must confess that I am not a very good tagger. Does this mean I am inherently uncreative and boring? Maybe. Probably it means I can't be bothered. But I like the idea of tagging, i.e., I like to see the tags other people apply to things. And I'm noticing tagging everywhere now--I bought some stuff on amazon the other day and there were totally tags all over the place. But that figures, since amazon always likes to tell you what other people looked at and bought. Monkey see, monkey do. I am definitely intrigued by del.icio.us because I like the idea of taking my bookmarks with me from home to work and vice versa, and it's kind of fun to see what other people are checking out regularly. It'd be interesting to have a social bookmarking account for our whole department, say, so we could see what everyone's favorite databases and search engines are for different assignments. In a perfect world, with lots of time and nothing else to do, this could be totally addicting. That's what I should do for my Second Life--I'll be a person who does nothing but plays on the internet. And can fly. But never does because she's always on the internet.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Fulfilling my Obligations

Well, I guess I kind of feel like I have contributed to the library's Learning 2.0 wiki, since I did in actuality add my book and my movie and my fun website--but it wasn't the empowering experience I thought it would be. Maybe that's because not too many people have added yet, and I didn't have time to be all creative and add a new page. But I did it, that's the important thing. Ho hum, it can't all be fun and games and podcasts.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Wiki wiki wiki

Hmmm, it is fun to say wiki. And I totally love that it's Hawaiian. Not sure why that makes me happy, but it does. Before reading up I admit I was a little wary of wikis (hee hee) because of the whole everyone's-a-contributor thing. That makes me such a librarian; I like there to be an authority who is the definitive responsible party for my information, but I know that is 1.0 thinking and I am working to change my attitude. I guess what I sort of object to is the wikipedia, since in my mind there's always the chance that someone would intentionally or even unintentionally put wrong information out there. But I know this is irrational, I mean, we read reviews for books all the time that are printed with errors so of course it's bound to happen in the online environment as well. Working with kids and the internet you always find yourself telling kids that they have to trust the source so they can determine whether something they've found online is really good and accurate information, mainly because the kids don't realize that unlike publishing a book anyone can throw something up online with no editing, nothing. If I say I'm a leading authority on kangaroos and here's my website documenting all my research, who's gonna say I'm not? But wikis by and large seem to exist in pretty closed environments, like for a company's staff or a library's users so their applications can be tailored and specific to their audiences. I particularly liked the one library that used a wiki so their patrons could review books they liked (or didn't like) and people could browse by genre as a reader's advisory tool. In fact, there's been a lot of talk about blogging about new books as part of the library's webpage, so that staff could do some reviews each week or month or whatever, but I really like the idea of starting a wiki because then we could get the ball rolling with some of our favorite books and then have the patrons get in on it and post some of their own recommendations and then before we know it we've got a bona fide database going. Maybe if we start small, like for summer reading, it'll get off the ground. But in the meantime, I never thought I'd say this but I think I'm pro wiki.