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Archive for August, 2007

Wheel of morality, turn, turn, turn
Tell us the lesson that we should learn.
–final scene at the end of every Animaniacs episode

At long last, the day has finally come when I can say hasta la vista to Learning 2.0. It has been a long slog and I was beginning to think that I wouldn’t make the Sept. 25th deadline. To my fellow colleagues still out there trudging along, I say take heart. It gets easier after you pass the halfway point.

I’ve made some specific suggestions for changes in the Learning 2.0 presentation, both here on my blog and in a separate evaluation we had to turn in. First, I’d like to say that I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to have on-the-job time to explore these new technologies. I had heard about many of these tools, but hadn’t actually investigated any of them and didn’t know how they might (or might not) be applied to my work.

Second, I know that I spent much more than 40 hours on the whole 30-lesson project. While some of the subjects I could breeze through, others I spent hours on, reading and exploring. It wasn’t a question of technical difficulty for me. It was a question of fully exploring all the facets of a program. I think that if you were willing to breeze through all the lessons, just doing the minimum, you probably could make it in 40 hours, but I don’t think you really learn anything that way. I know I don’t at any rate.

Along those lines, I would definitely break up this 30-lesson unit into smaller units of 10 lessons. I know started to run out of steam before I had gotten a third of the way through and I wasn’t alone in this. I think that breaking the training guide into three 10-lesson units would make it more manageable and less intimidating.

A deadline is definitely a good thing. Without a fall deadline, I would have probably let the whole thing lapse before I was a third of the way through. You have to set aside a specific amount of time every day (or every week) to work on projects like this. Otherwise, they don’t get done.

Things that I will go on using after this training program is finished: YouTube/BlipTV, my blog (love my blog!), Wikis, LibraryThing, Flickr/Digital Photography, and Del.icio.us (whose bright idea was this silly name, anyway?). I was already predisposed to like blogging and digital photography, but Learning 2.0 gave me the necessary shove to actually do those things. I had heard of Del.icio.us and wikis before, but hadn’t seriously considered using them in my work. I had never heard of LibraryThing before, but now am completely and utterly addicted. It’s probably some kind of controlled substance for librarians.

I will definitely be going on to Learning 2.1 and I hope that we will be to get other Arnorian libraries to undertake Learning 2.0 programs of their own.

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dalton-highway-jukebox.jpg

Okay, I just can’t resist bragging a bit on Project Jukebox. Definitely stop in and check out our latest multimedia project, the Dalton Highway jukebox. This collaboration between the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and the library is one of our most ambitious projects to date combining archival film footage, photos, maps, oral histories, and scanned documents. If you or someone you know is driving the Dalton as a tourist, definitely have them check out this jukebox before they go. The trip will mean a lot more to them.

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lizzy.jpg

I took the Jane Austen heroine quiz and discovered that I am:

:: L I Z Z Y ::

You are Elizabeth Bennet of Pride & Prejudice! You are intelligent, witty, and tremendously attractive. You have a good head on your shoulders, and oftentimes find yourself the lone beacon of reason in a sea of silliness. You take great pleasure in many things. You are proficient in nearly all of them, though you will never own it. Lest you seem too perfect, you have a tendency toward prejudgement that serves you very ill indeed.

 

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A federated search engine is a good idea, but if it’s only going to search three content providers–and those three are common databases that can be searched from other engines–what’s the point? Show me something that can search the databases my university get and then I’ll be impressed. Like the interface, but the search engine needs more content in order to run with the big dogs.

Re: web browsers, I’ll use Internet Explorer if I have to, but I’ve always preferred Netscape Navigator. Currently, I use Mozilla Firefox and like it a lot.  I checked out Opera, but apart from some interesting widgets, I didn’t see the difference between it and Firefox.

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While MySpace and Facebook are the new kids on the block, the fact is that on-line communities have been around for a long time. The Well, currently owned by Salon.com, is the oldest on-going community and has about 4,000 users. The Well, interestingly enough, does not allow its users to correspond anonymously. They have to use their real names. LiveJournal, a blog-based community, is another one. And, of course, one shouldn’t forget Tribe.net, a bulletin board service where a lot of Middle Eastern dancers hang out.

Lee LeFever has a good article on how social networks differ from on-line communities. For further reading, I recommend Clay Shirky’s speech on persistant behavior patterns of people in on-line communities over time. Shirky is an adjunct professor of Interactive Telecommunications at NYU which means that he both teaches how to create social software and studies how people interact with and through that software.

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You may have noticed, gentle reader, that the posts are coming hot and furious now. That’s because I’m determined to plow through the last of these Learning 2.0 lessons before the September 25th deadline.

After I found my house with Google Maps–and finished screaming (the gubmint knows where I live!)–I checked out some of the mashups. I was amused by the Where’s George map? (who knew currency traveled so far?) and intrigued by the Pisco map (plotting coastal ecosystems in California).

The coolest map I found was this one of Mars located through Google Labs. Is that awesome or what? If you click on the “Stories” feature, you can also check out detailed information on some of the places like these lava channels.
In terms of beta applications, I was most intrigued by Google Scholar. Can’t say that I was really impressed by Google Base.

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Elves? Don’t they live in trees and give you cookies? Oh, wait, that’s Keebler Elves. Hmm, maybe Library Elves give you books? Hey, it could happen.

Don’t see this service being of use to me. However, I can see it being of use to grad students, faculty, or anyone else that may be doing long term research.

Of course, if libraries have elves, then they’re sure to have fairies as well. Click here to see a better picture of the fairy’s door and their house in several hollowed out books.

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