Search Competencies

Reading over that list of search competencies, I don’t feel very competent.  I’m a Google Ninja, and I’d rather skip the academic databases altogether, never mind all those specific competencies.  I realize these are skills I need to develop for professional use, but it seems like another one of those things that I need some real-world experience to develop.

Nothing new  on Library Technology Guides.  It looks like Library Tech Talk has updated the article on BiblioBouts, adding some information about students’ experiences using the game in class.

The New PowerPoint? (It’s about time, isn’t it?)

Is this the future of presentations? The example below was made with an online application called Prezi.  It looks like it’s pretty easy to use, mostly point and click, drag and drop.  There are good “getting started” video tutorials here:

http://prezi.com/learn/

The free version lets you create presentations online, then download them for later use.  There are two paid tiers, at $60 and $160 per year.  The first allows you to make your presentations private (this level is free to students and teachers).  The second includes a desktop application that allows you to create presentations offline ($60 for students and teachers).

I haven’t found any documentation yet on copyright issues.  That’s concerning, considering the free version requires that your presentations remain public and they mention that you can reuse other people’s presentations.  They imply that they’re referring to the graphic elements, but I’d want assurances about content before diving in.

But there’s no doubt that presentations made with Prezi are far more interesting to watch than PowerPoint.  Take a look:

[gigya src=”http://prezi.com/bin/preziloader.swf” flashvars=”prezi_id=aww2hjfyil0u” allowscriptaccess=”sameDomain” id=”prezi_aww2hjfyil0u” name=”prezi_aww2hjfyil0u” classid=”clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000″ width=”435″ height=”350″ autoplay=”no” autohide_ctrls=”1″ ]

Ok, it’s been a while.

Or it feels like it has.  Let’s go check the sites I’m monitoring.

Library Tech Talk hadn’t really updated since Jan. 15th, when it discussed Google Doc Forms.  Ho-hum, right?  So I was kind of excited to see, not only that they’d updated, but also that the technology was new to me.  Their post is about a research game called “BiblioBouts.”  Players challenge each other to find the highest quality resources on a given topic.  Results are rated by the group, and the winner is the player with the highest rated bibliography.  I thought that was kind of neat, and something that would be useful for schools.

BUT!

As I went to sign up to try out the game, it directed me to install a Firefox plug-in called Zotero.  Watch the video on the homepage,  you will be amazed!  If I have to write another single paragraph about the usefulness of Web 2.0 in a library setting, I’m gonna start chewing on my monitor.  Zotero is truly library technology.  Why haven’t I head about this?  (Update: Funny thing, there are now two links to Zotero inside the original article LTT article on BiblioBouts.)

Basically, it’s a research tool that allows you to save pages and websites as simply as you’d bookmark a link.  But it isn’t just a bookmark, it preserves the whole page, even a whole website, exactly the way you found it when you accessed it.  The interface is similar to iTunes, which allows you to file and  categorize your resources, attach notes to them, search inside those resources and notes, and save your searches.

But that’s not the half of it.  What will make Zotero most useful to libraries is the fact that it extracts bibliographic information from the pages and sites it saves. IT WILL CREATE YOUR CITATIONS FOR YOU!! Then, you can drag and drop those citations anywhere you can type: any word processor, any blog platform, any email program.  The Word and Open Office plug-ins will insert your in-text citations when you type the page number.

The only downside I see is that Zotero apparently stores your resources on their servers.  That’s they only way they could promise access from anywhere.  That means that (unlike the library where the resources you access are private) Zotero could be compelled to turn those resources over to the authorities under the dubious auspices of the Patriot Act, (yes, extended for another three months) or more likely, compiles market data for sale to consumer research firms.  I’ll have to get Zotero up and running and see if there’s a way to keep my saves and searches out of the cloud.

Jan. 27 was the Library Technology Guides‘ last blog update.  They discussed the Perceptions 2010 International Survey of Library Automation, describing the various levels of satisfaction attributed to various library automation technologies.  The site’s news section is updated daily, but the news appears to be nothing more than announcements of which libraries have struck deals with which automation technology suppliers.  Lots of marketing, here.  Little information that isn’t specific to automation systems.

Audio-visual essays

This week our assignment is to explore Creative Commons media.  I found lots of neat photos to share. But, WordPress doesn’t allow uploading mp3s without purchasing an upgrade. So, this post is late, because I’ve spent three days trying to find a work-around. I found the code, now the problem is with the media source. Oh well, it’s half-up for now. I’ll work on it more in the a.m.

Edit: Yay! I got it working!!

Les Gitans des Champs by Shayan (USA) No real name given was taken on February 18, 2009

Some rights reserved under a creative commons attribution license.

[gigya src=”http://freemusicarchive.org/swf/trackplayer.swf” flashvars=”track=http://freemusicarchive.org/services/playlists/embed/track/39007.xml” allowscriptaccess=”sameDomain” align=”aligncenter” width=”300″ height=”50″ quality=”high” wmode=”transparent” allowFullScreen=”true” ]
Lugovina (The Meadow) by Sibirskaya Vechora is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (aka Music Sharing) License.

Regret by Hilarywho was taken on July 10, 2008

Some rights reserved under a creative commons license.
[gigya src=”http://freemusicarchive.org/swf/trackplayer.swf” flashvars=”track=http://freemusicarchive.org/services/playlists/embed/track/41179.xml” allowscriptaccess=”sameDomain” align=”aligncenter” width=”300″ height=”50″ quality=”high” wmode=”transparent” allowFullScreen=”true” ]
La 440 by Fiendish Fib is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (aka Music Sharing) License.

Using RSS feeds

I’ve been using Google Reader for a couple of years now.  I think I started using it to keep up with sites like The Consumerist that have a lot of useful information, but that I probably wouldn’t think to return to regularly on my own.   I use it to follow a lot of food blogs as well.  It makes categorizing and organizing recipes easy.  Instead of copying and pasting recipes to a Word doc and then saving them to my hard drive, I can just tag the blog post and my reader automatically files it.  This feature could be very useful in an academic setting when researching a specific topic.  It would be very easy to keep sources organized.