Friday, 27 August 2010

Last hurdle

It has been more fun than a hurdle. And this is the result:

And one more:
LIBRARY is the right answer!

And then I discovered Tagxedo.
The other word - THING was also the right answer.

The rose is my big
to the 23Things Cambridge Team.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

The End of All Things

That was the most electronic holiday I have ever had! I had not planned anything special for this summer so it was an interesting substitute for Caribbean holidays in tropical sun or tiring mountain climbing.
Thanks to 23 Things Cambridge I was however able to travel far, very far (with Flickr), I was kept well informed about all that had been going on in the world, weather included (by iGoogle and RSS-s), I remembered about important events (GoogleCalendar), met friends (Doodle), met more friends (Facebook), discovered what is in my home library (LibraryThing), regreated that I was not born later to have my previous life at the university easier (Zotero), hoped to tidy up my computer desktops (Delicious), got rid of too many emails with attachments (GoogleDocs), and finally did not feel guilty about using Wikipedia (Wikis). I did not however turn into a nightingale (no Twitter - thank you), will not advertise myself on LinkedIn site and probably will not produce any podcast (Roman Polanski does not need competition).

On balance however the course brought more positive results with just a few which I am still not sure about or which need more investigating.

From a professional point of view the course opened my eyes to what is happening in a library virtual environment, what challenges we might be faced with and what might be applied in our work to make it easier and to make the libraries more interesting for our users.

I will definitely be recommending the LibraryThing if someone asks about an easy and cheap way of cataloguing online (and questions like this were asked in the past). I will certainly remember about "Maestro Zotero" as a great tool, which anyone who is preparing any sort of dissertation or creative writing should know about. Available online library related podcasts, slide shows, photographs might also be used when needed, so it is great to know about such possibilities. Other forms of social networking - Twitter, Facebook, Wikis have definitely lots of potential of improving the flow of information between librarians or librarians and users. Running services like this will however require lots of time (which we don't have) or an extra post (which does not exist at the moment where I work) and of course the users must be online too and able to retrieve any potential information ( in case of a very specific category of our users, is not always that simple). Our existing intranet, with the library site kept up to date and containing lots of useful links (including those to e-resources), is fulfilling the present needs in our libraries.

As much as I enjoyed most of the activities involved in the programme of 23 Things, there were a few which I was not convinced about (LinkedIn, Wikis) or did not like them too much (Twitter) and I do not see much use for those in our libraries.

Writing a blog text was a great challenge to me - English is not my first language. First blogs were rather short, then they started growing in number of words, perhaps not always strictly on the subject, but I suppose I have grown to enjoy doing this after the first couple of compulsory entries. The most enjoyable part of blogging was looking for photo illustrations to the texts. Sometimes I was finding the picture first and it was becoming an inspiration to what I wrote then, sometimes things worked in just the opposite order. In any case Flickr was absolutely indispensable and thank you Flickr creators and contributors for its existence. I am sure I will be using it in future for both personal and professional purposes. The same goes to iGoogle, GoogleCalendar, GoogleDocs, Delicious.

I enjoyed very much reading other people's blogs. So many thoughts, comments, advice! I wish I had time to read more. Having partly hidden identities we were probably braver to say more than we would in other ways. I wonder if these blog texts will become somebody's research subject or someone will get a PhD from it one day!

Facebook - I am glad I have learned how it works and I understand now why my daughters spend such long hours reading, writing and chatting there. However I am not sure how long I will stay there (privately) or if there will be an official library account created. The latter - perhaps in future, time and workforce permitting. Twitter - that is a definite NO. I just do not like it. Neither does my boss, so there is no conflict there. Thank you, Boss.

As for the Blogger this is my last post now, but if nobody listens to me anymore (at home or at work) I might start writing again (that's a warning not a promise). However it will not be a revelation to me anymore so for today - it is a definite goodbye to REVELATION23 and to All the (23) Things!

Quick to know - Wiki(ed)

It's not easy to blog about something which one never had anything to do with. Except for Wikipedia of course, but who wouldn't use it! Even the newly elected president of my country during one of his first speeches held in his hand a page printed from Wikipedia as a source of information. It did not received a positive recognition by the opposition.

Schools are not sure what to think about Wikipedia. Some teachers forbid using it, some recommend it to their students.

Wikipedia, with its problematic reputation, is however very useful. Quick and accurate (so I believe) in basic data - dates, basic biographic and geographic information , helped me often, also during cataloguing when I had doubts about any of the above. The value of this reference source would probably be different if Wikipedia existed before the Berlin Wall fell. History of that part of the world would be described differently to what we know now (who knows how it is edited now in some other places in the world...). Public editing, which raises questions about accuracy, truthfulness and the scientific level of information, has a great side too. "Check what is missing - write a new article". If something is missing it might be instantly added without waiting months and years for new, corrected, printed edition of an encyclopedia.

Other Wikis

It seems like Wiki Wiki or wikis are present all around us and may be useful in almost everything (including cooking !). After reading the description of wikis and looking at all the sites recommended by the 23 Things team, Wikis look to me to be a crossbreed between GoogleDocs, GoogleCalendar, Doodle and Delicious, not to mention Facebook and Twitter. Or something like floating in the air (online) a well known information board present in every institution on their corridors and offices. Except that more people may take part in editing the contents.

I liked the idea of the Library Routes Wiki. It is always interesting to learn about experiences of others when one goes in the same direction. This wiki is like a book - a collection of short stories, straight from real life.

Having said all the above I am still not convinced about the possibility of using this tool, wiki, in the libraries where I work. Perhaps more practical examples and investigation is needed before I will find my way to Wikis ...

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Casting a spell or the Newton Blues

One can watch, and watch, and watch all the "pods and pieces" on YouTube and other sites. It is like being under a spell ("podcasted" on us). How about going to the theatre, concert or cinema for a change?
I do watch podcasts occasionally when I miss something "not-to-be-missed" on TV.
I watch also so called "song covers" posted by my daughter and her friend on YouTube. Quite often my friends send me short YouTube podcasts- sometimes funny, sometimes interesting. Now I know how to embed them (podcasts, not friends) in my emails and take revenge! Just joking. I like all of the things emailed by my friends.
I have never imagined that there are so many podcasts about libraries and librarians. Very many of those published on YouTube however, sorry to say this, are not worth watching, some are funny, some educational, some both funny and interesting. I believe that a well prepared podcast, not too long and not too boring, might introduce some life to a usually not extremely exciting induction sessions.

I am not sure that the example above is the right one, but it is not too bad a music break when one needs to present the Dewey system to young people.
A variety of forms in a library blog (if there is one on), which might be used in library induction sessions, study skill sessions or in whatever other study training a library offers, may improve the quality of such training and increase interest in libraries and their work. Providing that we do not exaggerate or use too much technology, forgetting about real life contact with our users. I suppose adding something like a short video (podcast) presenting all of our eight libraries including a walk through Cambridge to illustrate where these places are located, how to gain access to them and how do they look like not just on flat photographs or maps, might enrich our intranet website.
I do not think that in our library inductions this sort of innovation will be introduced soon. Until we, the library staff, have some brilliant ideas (Newton Blues or Circulation Polka perhaps?), means and time to produce our own podcast, we will continue with our traditional tours and induction talks.

Google Carta

Very useful gadget. GoogleDocs, not Magna Carta. So it seemed, judging by the description of it. Working in eight libraries located across the town with five office computers, two home machines, a couple of memory sticks and three email addresses, sometimes I am totally lost among all the documents created, copied, emailed, edited, corrected many times and even with dates added to them it is easy to lose track. Example? The index to classification schedules. Not just one but as many as the number of systems used in our library cluster. These documents are living organisms, evolving all the time. They are growing as well as being corrected and improved almost every time we add a new book to the stock. Having just one version available from everywhere and to all of the library staff would be an absolutely great innovation. And this is just one of many possibilities. Surveys, all sorts of forms, information leaflets. Nearly everything that we might need access to at any time - all this available in just one or two clicks on the computer keyboard from any place on earth! This should also stop computer services sending me warnings of nearly exhausted quota on my university email account, clogged by all the messages sent to myself with constantly revised documents. Also the computers will be happier having less fat files on their hard drives and the memory stick might fit more holiday shots on it to share with colleagues at work (at coffee time of course) instead of a long, long list of Word and Excel files.

Perhaps my Google Documents will be plain and not very impressive, but they are suppose to be useful and easy to find. Magna Carta, as fine as it is, with all four of its existing copies, has to stay in the museums. Google documents will travel across Cambridge and around the world!

But will they? The first experience with creating new Google Doc was very positive. The text appeared on the screen, I shared it with a colleague, received a corrected version. Then we tried to chat while looking at the same document and ... nothing. The messages were accepted, appeared on sender boxes but never reached the addressee. That was the first problem. Next I tried to upload the Excel document from my desktop. The upload screen confirmed that uploading was completed but there was only part of the document to be seen on the screen. A message above it appeared: Working... (highlighted in yellow) and another one at the bottom of the half of my document ...Loading next lines. It was in the morning. In the afternoon on the same day it was still Working... (above the document) and Loading... (under it). With not much hope I opened GoogleDocs at midnight and hurray!!!! The whole text was there! It took "just" a little more that 12 hours. Next day I checked the site on computers in two different locations. My index to classification was there. Success. But only a partial one. My colleague did not received it till the end of the next day. Disappointed, she decided to wait until I came back from my holidays. Two weeks! Will we find it then?
Another problem, with the Word document this time, just one page but formatted in two columns in a landscape position, appeared in GoogleDocs as one quarter of the page. I was able to see it all after zooming out but what I saw was not the document as I had it on my desktop but just half of it (one column) and with completely different formatting. Changing the formatting was not easy and not all that was possible in Word seemed to be available in GoogleDocs (e.g. no text bordering, no columns and probably more which I have not explored yet).

After all those unpleasant surprises I am much less enthusiastic about GoogleDocs than when I started to write this blog. I must be doing something wrong. Need more time to find out. In the meantime - back to more traditional methods, at least they work at the moment quite well.

P.S. The tag to this blog may change in future. I do not lose hope!

Friday, 30 July 2010

"O Come All Ye Faithful...!"

The library will always be an important part of any educational institution (and not just there). We do not need to advertise that we exist but rather what we can offer to our users showing them that we are keeping up with latest developments not just gathering dust on shelves with well matured, falling apart volumes. The great thing about all new information technologies is that applications like all the 23Things, which we are exploring now, are free or very cheap (I am not talking about the cost of equipment or internet access). Even the smallest and poorest library is able to advise its users what is available online and how they may use it (people have their own computers and are connected!). This is then the simplest way of promoting libraries - promoting our services/help/advice in using what's available on the world wide web dot . Mind you, we are promoting somebody else's inventions!

However, what would we not do for our customers! Let others earn bucks, we may earn some respect!

Where and how to do it?

At first thought, Facebook should be the first choice. It seems to be the most popular site for social networking. Having the official library Facebook account for many institutions is, I believe, already an important place where they post their ads and information, millions of links to more information, promote their services with words, pictures, slide or video shows. There is no need even to produce their own illustration. Too many are already published and free to use (creative commons licencing). All these can be just as easily be used and applied on the existing website of any library or institution. The website can be enriched and made more interesting by adding images from Flickr, SlideShare, YouTube and perhaps also with one's own extras. On SlideShare there are some very good productions, e.g on plagiarism. There is no point to produce a new piece on this subject, creating (even unwillingly) another plagiary, is there?
The first thing would be, however, to carry out a survey, to find out what our readers know and what they use out of the social media package. Are they familiar with any of the applications, are they willing to use Zotero and other Things and to follow our future Blog, Facebook or Twitter?The second step would be to advertise where to find the information about what services we offer. At this point the traditional library inductions, posters and leaflets might be a more convincing and encouraging way to promote our services instead of posting all these straight away online. However, not as long as all our users are not "ON"(line) and "IN"(Facebook). Also not if we are short in time or staff to provide full service online. Not if we do not have enough time to be able to talk to people face-to-face (not just Facebook-to-Facebook). That would be the bit called "Conversations", wouldn't it?

I liked very much the Illinois Libraries idea of Social Media Cards. Instead of on business cards, information about what and how is offered could be put on bookmarks displayed in "Take one" boxes in libraries. An attractive bookmark may also encourage people to turn away from computers for a while and read books for a change. It could also encourage readers to ask library staff "What is this LibraryThing, Zotero etc.?" or to search for information on inter/intranet by themselves.

What can we offer?

When we are already well prepared ourselves and have done our homework well (and blogged about it) we can offer training on how to use Zotero and some other Things which might be useful for our patrons. We may create a library account with all the favourites that might be useful for our users ("DO NOT DELETE OR ADD ANYTHING!"). Via Blog or Twitter we can encourage people to visit the library by advertising new purchases. We can make their lives easier by posting reading lists with proper citations, links to full texts of recommended articles and all the other online possibilities - full ZOTERO! However, there is no point to do all this if nobody uses it. Let's find out then what our users think. Survey! Definitely - survey first. New academic year is approaching - just the right moment for this.

P.S. Perhaps when on duty we should start wearing T-shirts with ads printed on them, like the one on the Flickr photo? Once a week? Once a term? On an induction day? Not a good idea? Perhaps not.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Maestro ZOTERO

After finding out about Zotero, what can I say. I just wish I was born 30 years later! It was great to witness the first dog in space, the first woman there ("Valentina, oh Valentina!"), first men on the moon (even if it might not really have happened), the triumphant march of The Beatles across the globe. Those were the days! However, with all those interesting things happening around us (also with much more fun than young people have today, I dare say - Mamma mia!), we had to work really hard to collect and manage all the information needed to write a book, an article, a dissertation. I still have boxes of little index cards filled with all the information both needed and not to produce anything in written form. How difficult it was to find anything in the sea of all those index cards. Not to mention all those tonnes of bound, heavy volumes of journals I was carrying from the library to my office to search for those references. I did not like studying in the library back then. I did not know what my fate was going to bring.
But this was my "previous" life. Today it is goodbye to index cards, filing boxes and cabinets. Today there is Zotero, EndNote, Mendeley and probably much, much more. How able these programmes are! Easy collecting, managing, formatting citations. "Cite when you write" - how can anyone resist! How much time may be saved and used for something better than making notes, loosing them, trying to find them and ... making them again. Who knows, I might even start researching something. Perhaps I should write a book? Everybody apparently carries one inside them. If not me, definitely our students, at least those who are not afraid of computers, should be using help like Zotero. And it is our (library staff) duty (and pleasure) to tell them all about it. So let's explore more - let's work harder! With better results, I hope, than in Orwell's "Animal Farm".

P.S. The intriguing name ZOTERO has very interesting etymology.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Broken link

It is not easy to blog about something which one does not know much about. After having read all the recommended articles about the LinkedIn I was unconvinced about the benefits and other aspects of this social networking site. The home page encourages users to sign in by saying that being LinkedIn they stay informed about their contacts and industry, it is easy to find the
people and knowledge to achieve one's goals and finally it helps to control one's professional identity online. One of the arguments which seems to predominate over the others is that through the site it might be easier to find a job. It looks a bit like having a CV online and an employment agent, except that it is free. This might not be so bad. It also seems to have a negative connotation and feels a bit cliquish, like supporting favouritism - if you are in you are fine, we will help you ("I know someone, and this someone knows someone else, who knows another someone who might be useful..." etc.), if you are not "in" you may be less likely to achieve much or even worse - you may be an enemy and should stay away. Perhaps it is a bit too harsh. At least all this is in the open. You are watched , but you are allowed to watch others too. There must be something in the LinkedIn if, as it is stated on the home page of the site, 70 million people have joined in. Will it be my missing link in the world wide web? Perhaps just a broken one in the net. It might be repaired when I am convinced. But not today. I am staying out.

Friday, 23 July 2010

To be or not to be ... on Facebook

The answer to this dilemma is obvious - BE THERE. At this point I am, because it is one of The 23. I did not join the site straight away though, being a little afraid of becoming too involved. Hearing stories about Facebook and observing my daughter, rather active there (and who would feed the cat, hoover the carpet or tidy up her room?), with all these mixed feelings about it, I have finally given in. What convinced me eventually was a story I heard on the radio about a child who could not wish a happy birthday to his grandpa because grandpa was not on Facebook! I would not like to disappoint my future grandchildren! And the result of my joining in has been even worse than I expected. On the first day I spent one or one and half hours on it, on the second day - most of the evening. Today I have been on and off for the most of the day. And night. I had even been chatting and exchanging messages with my boss! During working hours! Addictive. Like Flickr and the LibraryThing, and Delicious and... and...and... No end.
My facebook account is more personal than I at first planned when opening it. Seconds after signing in I was offered to become a friend of my friends, and of their friends and of some well known people whom I might have heard about. So I have enthusiastically joined the game, and collected lots of pictures in my friends gallery including those of Jeremy Clarkson, The Beatles (who is running their site?) and even of some interesting, controversial politicians. I had slight trouble though with finding the 23 Things Cambridge on Facebook. However with a little help from family and friends this problem was sorted (I just did not read the instructions, missing a bit about joining the Cambridge network first). So at the moment I am enjoying seeing friends and their pictures, reading their posts and chatting a bit too. I even managed to send Birthday wishes to my niece (my
friend now) on time, otherwise the greeting card sent in the usual way would be, as always, too late. My daughters are my friends now too! I hope it will stay this way. Another benefit of "belonging" to this newly evolved species of Homo facebookiens (not L.) was getting the invitation to the 23 Things closing ceremony. Thank you! I will be there (if I don't get stuck at Warsaw airport in case, touch wood, another volcano decides to erupt, like what happened to me in April).

Facebook and libraries. This is a question. Since such an enormous number of people are Facebook linked it seems to be obvious that it is an important way of communicating with present and possibly with future library users. Promoting our work and our collections, advertising new purchases, announcing events, answering queries or even chatting to people who might have an urgent need to ask a librarian (or a library assistant) seems very reasonable. All this, carried on from a strictly professional, special account, might be a full time job in a bigger library. At the moment in my workplace our users are being informed , at least we think they are, by email and via the intranet where library pages may be found. It is possible however
that more information would be getting to people if they could read it on their Facebook wall. Moreover it would get to them faster. Providing of course that everyone has an account. Many do, but have they all? Intranet access is open to all staff members and students, "allpeople" email is sent to all people. Facebook information would be available to Face-bookworms (no offence) only. As it is compulsory to have an email address, I suppose that having a Facebook account might be made compulsory too. Before this happens however, I intend to explore Facebook more thoroughly. Hopefully I will find more friends or maybe some long lost friend will find me? I have not covered my real face on the Facebook but here on Blogger I am staying the Revelation23, at least till the end of all things.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

LibraryThing (not a very original title)

Exploring the LibraryThing was the most interesting and exciting experience. I enjoyed it thoroughly. At some point, opening link after link, those recommended by the 23Thing team and many, many others, reminded me of Paul the Octopus (remember the recently finished World Cup?) - so many tentacles and something new along and at the end of each one.
I liked the statistics (Zeitgeist) and the LibraryThing recommendations. I learned that the most popular Polish writer (in English translations ) was Stanislaw Lem, predominantly the Sci-Fi writer, who created, among others, the famous Solaris. I was "told" what to read if my favourite (recently) book was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (everybody should read it, it is great! - that is my private recommendation). I have also discovered a few titles which I would really like to read, e.g. "This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All" by Marilyn Johnson (one of the Recent Favourites).

I am happy to sign my name with both hands under the list of all the benefits which the LibraryThing may bring to its users. How easy it is, how cheap, how convenient for small libraries, especially today when authorities are talking about the possibility of volunteers running local libraries - no need to know MARC 21 or AACR
But... Yes, there is a but, or two of them. They appear mostly when private collections are considered. The first concern was would I be able to find a particular book even if it had the most comprehensive bibliographic record, the most beautiful cover picture and all the possible tags attached to it on the LibraryThing on My Library list if in my home collection books will not be kept in a particular shelf order. What's the use of knowing what I have if I do not know where I have it? Exploring the Thing I have found that I am able to add my own classmark or location where a particular book may be found. A note, something like "Under the bed in the spare room" or "In the bathroom for quick reference", may be placed in an extra column "Comments" added to the Display Styles. In a private collection however, with three or four (or more) people using it without library tickets and no librarian in charge, books may not always be returned to places where they were taken from. Still it might be good to know what we have collected for years (a bit like the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in The Shadow of the Wind) and perhaps to refresh not just one's memory but also their collection.

In one of the recommended articles I found a comment that LibraryThing reflects people's preferences in terms of what do they read or have in their libraries. Yes, it is true but only of these people who use this Thing. Those who have big and most possibly very interesting private collections would probably rather read books than sit in front of a computer and catalogue them on the LibraryThing. Sorry! This has probably been too sarcastic.

Nevertheless I like the LibraryThing, and might use it myself for cataloguing my private shelf contents in future. In future - because it will be rather time consuming and a physically laborious task (imagine - all these books will have to go off the shelves and then to go back, possibly in a more tidy order). Probably just the right job for a rainy summer (which we don't have this year), long winter evenings (which are not here yet) or for boring days of early retirement (which is not what the government plans for us). It would be interesting to find out what really sits on all these shelves and in cupboards. Cataloguing LPs, videos, CDs and CD-ROMs might be a separate project. I always say that there is no need to be afraid of being redundant when you are a librarian, even for those who are not professional.

P.S. I tried to search other sources (Search Elsewhere) to catalogue books in a foreign language. Unfortunately the libraries listed as available on the site were not responding. I will then have an extra job with manual cataloguing. But after all it is what I like the most of all the library jobs.

P.S. 2. On the list of local book stores and libraries for Cambridge I noticed the Galloway and Porter shop, which sadly does not exist any more.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Reflections and roses

Looking back at Things which I have learnt about thanks to the 23 Things programme, I would say that exploring every new Thing has been like jumping a mile long jump from where I have started. Just a few weeks ago there were only (or mostly) Google internet search, email and library e-resources (and Voyager of course) as my main internet activities. And now?! So many new things (Things), and one may say that each new thing was better than the previous. Some are real revelations. I even thought of changing my blog "stage name" to 23 Revelations instead of Revelation23.
Out of the Things included already in the programme, some will stay with me for good both for my personal and professional use, some might be used in future as shared accounts or sources in my library work (preparing leaflets, inductions, presentations), and some others I will re-visit only if I have to. Those I like the most are iGoogle, Google calendar, Flickr and I could say I am enthusiastic about them. To such an extent that I started spreading the word among colleagues, friends and family. And it is taking off!
The one which I don't have a heart for is Twitter. The others (Doodle, SlideShare) may be useful perhaps in future. I think that most of the above I will be using just for myself. I can see the possibility of sharing a calendar and with my colleagues. Especially shared might be useful. Our library team works in eight libraries at various locations using/sharing several office computers there. Having access to the same websites gathered in one account by all of us at different places would eliminate the present necessity of adding these websites to Favourites on each of these computers. I refer here to all useful links to the professional profile websites (libraries, e-resources, Library of Congress authorities etc.). Also a shared calendar is an obvious application to be used. Blogger is a Thing I do because I have to do to complete the programme. It could be satisfying to share thoughts and illustrate them with pictures (glory to the Flickr!). But it is also a great challenge. I have to write in a foreign language! Sometimes I think that something I have just written is wise or funny. When I read it again it sounds not right in English or silly. I must be thinking still in my native tongue and translating directly when typing. Blogger is challenging and frustrating at the same time. Perhaps a professional blog, created and run just for library needs and purposes would be easier to carry on with.
I am sorry Twitter and Blogger. I do not intend to offend you. You are just not my piece of cake. Having said that I am still looking forward to the next challenges. The start is a long way behind me and there is still far to travel.

And a final reflection. Totally out of subject but still a reflection. "Of all flowers, me thinks a Rose is best" (William Shakespeare, The Two Noble Kinsmen, photo by Revelation23 not on Flickr, the rose - my very own).

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Oh, it is so delicious!

Delicious is one of these Things which has a great potential to make one's life easier. Until recently I have bookmarked page after page, having already much too long a list of the Favourites on each and every computer I use (and there are quite a few, both at work and at home). Some bookmarks are repeated everywhere, some are completely different, many never opened since they were saved. Learning about this yummy program gives me a chance to tidy up all this. It will not happen overnight. Not during the exciting time of the World Cup, IB exams and results awaiting (a personal matter just completed with a happy end) and the presidential elections in my home country (my candidate has won, hurray!!!!!!!!!!!), not to mention never ending (almost never) stock taking and catalogue amending in our libraries. Stubbornly and systematically however, I am looking through all of my bookmarks, deleting a lot but also keeping a lot. Instead of writing down on numerous pieces of paper which then would probably be lost, I copy the addresses directly to MY OWN DEL.ICIO.US. And I will be able to access them from everywhere, even when on holidays somewhere far away from "my" computers. What can be better than this? The other advantage will be getting rid of many shortcuts which occupy lots of space on the desktops. My boss says that my desktop looks like a wordle cloud, but not sorted in any logical way (I thought it was , at least to me). But the end to this has just come. Now I will have just one shortcut - to, and perhaps to My Documents. And perhaps a few more. But not as it looks now.

Thanks 23 Things for Thing 12!

Of course, the other problem is proper tagging. Tags in my bookmark list have to be different to tags in the Revelation23 blog. These here are personal (iSelfish!). Those there have to take me fast to where I need to be. Probably most of us get upset when we cannot find what we are looking for when we search a telephone book or another directory. I keep thinking that some of these publications are prepared by people who never use them (just like hoovers which have attachments which are not doing their job or baby prams with net trays under the main carriage so all the rain water, mud or dust from the road can get easier to whatever is carried there - things invented by those who perhaps thought about many aspects when inventing them but not about how it would "behave" in real life). Hence my tags in my have to be such that I will know and REMEMBER what names I have given to all links. Also in this personal case of a personal account it would be probably wise if the names were rather universal, e.g. BBC news site should be called NEWS not a BLA-BLA (after all the content is not always a bla-bla). We plan to create a shared account at work so we would need to give sites the names that we all can then easily retrieve. For example a tag for the Library of Congress Authorities page should be HEADINGS, not DO-WHAT-YOU-ARE-TOLD, etc.

The advantages of knowing about and using this gadget are numerous. I like Who wouldn't? It is yummy!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Slide shower

It used to be a blackboard and chalk (sometimes of various colours) or an overhead projector if one was lucky to have it. And today? So many slide shows have been produced, and they are all available, in a flash, via few clicks on a keyboard! You just sit back, watch one after another, have a bit of laugh at some (e.g. the one posted below), learn from some, and use some to teach others.

I watched quite a number of slide shows on www.slideshare today (I wonder how many more tomorrow, day after tomorrow ...?). My first impression was: GREAT! Of course it is something to use during all sorts of presentations, library inductions etc. The second thought was much less enthusiastic. Many of the slide shows were just a number of pictures/sentences which may mean nothing to a viewer unless used as an ilustration af a live presentation. However some were fully "self sufficient". I liked, among others, Phil Bradley's "Twitter 101 for Librarians" and "The Plagiarism Code" by Andy Priestner. I suppose every slide show prepared for a particular presentation would also be published/posted somewhere else together with the whole text of the presentation, most likely on the official website of an institution, a conference or an author. It seems they are not really in the right place among humorous, entertaining or geographic slide "showers".
Seeing all sorts of slide shows may also be an inspiration to produce something that would be more appropriate for a particular library or reflecting one's interest etc. But unless it has any universal values it should stay where it "was born". Not necessarily the whole world has to know about and share it.

Never mind all the doubts. Once again - thank you 23 Things Cambridge Team for bringing the Things to those of us who had never heard, or heard but not seen or used all these, before (I am not refering at anybody but myself, of course). Are they not just great revelations?

Sunday, 27 June 2010

iFree subject headings

Re-labelling (re-tagging) of my first seven blogs was definitely much more fun than re-labelling books in the library where I work. Not that I do not like what I do.
Changing tags into labels took some thinking to begin with. Encouraged by the Thing 8 welcoming blog:

"...(tags) are generated on the fly by users, not imposed by library taxonomies", and later "... try enhancing this by adding tags that describe your content. This can be as formal or as fun, ... as you like..."

I thought I should be somehow creative and not too serious, however still each label should remind me which Thing a blog is about. I also assumed that not many people would read my blog and those who would, might like a bit of a riddle. The first Thing out of 23 to blog about was iGoogle. So I named the first blog " iStart" and then the other i-tags had come to me quickly (iContinue, iTravel, iLabel). I will probably label the Thing 23 blog - "iFinish"!
Not all labels begin with an "i" but each new label for the Things means something to me.
Clay Shirky's article, a recommended reading, confirmed that my labels are indeed selfish. But iLike them.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Flick(e)ring through the Flickr

What a great gadget or rather another window to the world! I have gone for the sentimental journey and have visited the most beautiful place on Earth I have ever seen - the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island. One of the pictures on Flickr is named "Beyond beautiful" and how true this name is. The gardens were created in the early 1900's on the site of an exhausted limestone quarry which gave this place its unique features (rocks, ridges, etc.), wonderfully and skillfully used to create the beautiful display of all possible miracles of nature. My attempt to re-create it in my own garden failed totally. There is a little taste here of this paradise (photographs from Flickr). If you ever are somewhere near Vancouver it is a MUST to visit. Unfortunately the best pictures of it are not available for blogger publishing under Commons licencing, but they are available online on Flickr. Highly recommended for garden lovers.

From Vancouver I travelled (or flickerred) through half of the globe to come to the second place I would like to share with other bloggers. This time it is going to be something calmer in colours and more interesting for librarians, I hope. Most probably not very many people fro
m Cambridge have seen this before - a new(ish) garden library (something like a garden city) of Warsaw University. It is a living (!) proof that libraries don't have to be dusty, they can be green, in- and outside. This particular one in the centre of the city, built mostly of glass and copper, is covered (yes, covered - on the sides and top of it) by a huge garden. For the readers it's not just a library (spacy, full of light) but also quite a big commercial and recreational complex. For tourists - a wonderful place to visit, to rest, to have a bird's eye view of the town (and a glimpse of the library inside through the glass roof), and then perhaps to twitter about it.

Finding pictures on the site was a great pleasure (I am afraid I have and still do spend lots of time looking at all sorts of beautiful things there, more than I bargained for; addiction?). Not being able to download some of them - disappointment, but trying to sign them (title, photographer's id) - a nightmare. Finally I used the TEXT tool in the Photoscape and/or in Adobe Photoshop and somehow managed to get the right position of the text under the photo before adding it to my blog text. Trying to sign the pictures in blog text itself and to keep these signatures in the correct positions was not possible. At least not for me. What am I doing wrong? Or is it the only way to do it - by saving the picture together with its description on the added canvas?

No matter how frustrating photoshop was, flickr and flick(e)ring was a great pleasure and fun. I will be going back there a.o.a.p. (as often as possible).

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Numbers, letters, numbers ... tweet!

Here I am - a new member of twittulation (or - twittering population). I was not sure what to twitter about to start this new way of communicating with other tweeple (is Oxford dictionary happy with all these twitteologisms?). The only thing that came to my mind was reciting: 185.1 CAT, 185.2 BAT, 185.2 MAT ... . No reward for guessing what that was about and that was just a beginning of the annual stock check!

Setting up my Twitter account was not difficult, but to remember all the nuances of it, I am sure, will not be easy. Also it took quite a while before I was allowed to enter that tweeple paradise. For a couple of days, every time I tried to open the site, I was presented with a polite refusal. Finally a more inviting window was opened and I could fly into the twittering world. Almost straight away I gained a couple of followers completely unknown to me. Also I packed my home page with lots of sites, which I thought at that time I would follow. I deleted some of them, added some others, filled my Profile with a picture and with few words of Bio and that was the end of my twittering activities for a while.
I do not thing it is going to be my favourite way of using the internet. I wish I come up with something really important to say to the world like Eureka! or Panta rei! but at the moment it is a simplified Library of Congress classification system which occupies my mind. And the strawberries. Here you are, help yourselves :)

P.S. For the duration of the World Cup 2010, Twitter should be renamed VUVUZELA!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Stock check on Monday, manicure on Tuesday ...

Google Calendar - another great thing among the 23. And another permanent gadget on my iGoogle page. Like the Thing 5 - very simple to create and maintain. Possibility of sharing it with colleagues, friends and all the advertised flexibility and applications of calendar definitely make this Thing very useful (I haven't explored it all yet, but if I only had more time...). Reminders sent via email? Yes, but I would rather have them sent by SMS, but then the calendar would not be free, would it?

So far all the "THINGS great and small" prove to be rather great, especially those small ones, the gadgets. I am not sure about blogging (maybe? later? in future?), and I am a bit scared thinking about twittering. Are we all going to turn into nightingales?

PS. To Girl in the Moon - thank you for the "23 Things Cambridge" bundle :)


DOODLE! Inevitably one associates it and rhymes with "NOODLE". But doodle has nothing to do with noodle of course, unless a meeting in a noodle bar is to be organised. It is rather googling (or iGoogling) which feels not just like a noodle but like a bowl of spaghetti! You start at some point and you are sent to a link, then to another, and another, and so on with no end! I am not saying that it's not enjoyable!
Doodle is definitely a gadget worthy knowing about and having among 23Things. It has been easy to use (great step-by-step instruction; thank you the 23Things Contributors team) and the link to will definitely stay on my iGoogle homepage. Not that I am scheduling lots of meetings at the moment but who knows, perhaps in future...

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Found my PrintScreen

At last!
I have found the picture on the PREVIEW view. The "COMPOSE" screen was showing a mixture of letters, numbers and punctuation symbols. Was it supposed to be obvious that it would worked that way? I hope the published post will show the picture of my iGoogle home page.
Let's see this Revelation No.4! (clicking the button PUBLISH POST)

RSS adventure

Done it!Thing 2 was more troublesome than Thing 1. First I discovered, by pure excident, that RSS feed can be installed on the favourites toolbar in the Internet Explorer, and then, with a little help of the friend, I found the button "Add feed". From then on iGoogling and editing my page has become a real pleasure. However, time consuming beast! What's disappointing is that some websites do not provide RSS option. Perhaps not yet.

Too easy

Thing 1 was rather easy and quick to install. To be honest, I was surprised that I didn't know about iGoogle before - my daughter told me she had the account! Perhaps I haven't googled (I believe it's a regular verb) enough. Usually there is not enough time during the day and night to do other things (more than 23 of them) and to google. With iGoogle however I will have all I need on one page - what a time saver! Love it!

Screen or scream

I have registered MY BLOG. Hard to believe. I am blogging! Or at least I think I do.
It took a while before I managed to download the PhotoScope (first on the list in "the best photo editors"). The result of my PrintScreen via the PhotoScope will be visible, I hope, below:
I will try later, promise.
Now it is later, next try: Nothing again.
So it is a SCREEEEEAM! Today. Hopefuly tomorrow will be better day.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

First steps

It was not too difficult - to make those first three steps into Web 2.0. Hopefully next ones will feel more like jumps than steps. I have read of course bloggs posted by others but it is my first active experience in this matter. I am not sure yet how I will use all this in my work at the library but:
"I call this game FUN-IN-A-BOX",
Said the cat.
"In this box are two things
I will show to you now.
You WILL LIKE these twoTHINGS,"
Said the cat with a bow."
Dr. Seuss created Thing One and Thing Two. We are to create twenty three of them! At the moment the Thing Three is done. So far so good. Looking forward to the twenty others!