Library-related consumerist comment thread

The story about a Wisconsin library loaning out iPads has been reported on a couple of different blogs.  Here it is on Library Stuff with embedded video from the library’s local news.  But what I want to direct you to is the comment thread following the Consumerist story.  Granted, those commenting aren’t local patrons of that specific library, but their comments still provide an interesting perspective of  what library users think of the program.  Which leads me to wonder, is there a difference between tailoring services to what patrons need and tailoring services to what patrons think about the library’s services?

Libraries and Subscription TV?

Somebody asked me about my interest in food, and I got to thinking about all the foodie TV shows I love to watch.  My family watches all of our TV online, and I’ve pretty much had to give up on Top Chef, because it’s been placed rather securely behind a pay-wall.  Fox has put Master Chef behind a pay-wall too, but not a permanent one.  You just have to wait an extra week to watch online.  I’m OK with that.  And Fox doesn’t go out of its way as diligently as Bravo does to remove copyright infringing material from YouTube.  You don’t have to look as hard to find Fox shows as you do for Bravo shows.  Not that I would ever go looking for anything like that, of course!

But I began to wonder – libraries maintain subscriptions to magazines, newspapers, and scientific journals.  They subscribe to research databases and websites, offering free access to patrons.  Are there libraries that subscribe to pay TV services and offer free access to patrons, the way they would subscribe to Ancestry.com?

Television access wasn’t such a big deal when you made one payment to one company.  You made a choice.  Either you watched or you didn’t, and if you chose to watch, you had access to everything that was available in your area.  But now, with television becoming available online from many different providers each requiring a separate fee, the library seems like the best way to obtain access to the widest variety of pay TV subscriptions, just as libraries provide access to the widest variety of journal subscriptions.

I’m not aware of any libraries offering access to television, beyond circulation of DVDs.  But that could be it, I’m just not aware.  I think it would be fun, though, visiting a community TV room to watch Top Chef with bunch of fellow foodies.

Has anyone else heard of subscription TV at the library?  And would you use such a service?

PPT Presentation – How to Open an Email Account Tech Tools Project

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I promised one of my classmates.  This presentation walks patrons through the process of opening a new email account.

How To Open an Email Account (.ppt)
How To Open an Email Account (condensed .pdf)

Creative Commons License
How to Open an Email Account Tech Tools Project by Joanna Conrad-Pacelli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.  Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at indylibrarytech.wordpress.com.

Twitter project summary

What do you think about using one of these microblogging tools?

It was kind of interesting. Some people put it to really good use. Others do not. I didn’t ever have a Twitter account until this project. I didn’t see the point. I still don’t really see it as necessary, but I think it’s more useful than I realized.

Did you find it easy to find people to follow, especially after a list of examples was given?

I didn’t even look at the list of examples until a few minutes ago. When I signed up back in session 8, I immediately set out to determine if there was a limit to the number of people I could follow. I haven’t found it yet. Although honestly, I didn’t try to find more after that one afternoon. But I found plenty of organizations I’m interested in following. I think I’ll use it much more for reading than posting.

Who are three people or organizations you starting following and why did you follow them? Have you found their posts helpful?

I started following Roger Ebert after viewing the video from his speech at the Ted Conference. Of course, his movie reviews have always been interesting. I’ve watched him on TV since the 80s. But since losing his voice to cancer, I find much of his writing extremely profound (and humorous). Although, the amount of updating he does can overwhelm everything else.

I had to follow Stephen Colbert after the #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement hashtag he started mocking Jon Kyl. But Stephen doesn’t update as often as I’d like.

Um…who else? I follow about 200 people, from Yoko Ono to the Justice Department.

What kinds of uses do you see you might have for microblogging? Have you already found some uses for it?

What uses might I see I might have for it? I could see it being a less time consuming and distraction substitute for my RSS feed. It’s very handy for publicizing things I’m doing elsewhere online. My blog automatically updates Twitter. I like to think I’ve found a couple of followers that way, but I doubt it. I think they’re all just follow-back and spam.

Edit: Forgot to mention my Twitter username. It’s jolibrarytech. That’s my YouTube username as well.

My YouTube Project Video

OK, this is a little late, because I had to stop in the middle to watch the President.

Anyway, here’s my video. I wanted to put my Tom Petty/Heart mashup here, but it’s not finished yet. So, admittedly, I threw this together at the last minute:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0o6R1WZ-sk&w=425&h=349]

All the drawing and singing was provided by (and copyright by, lol) my son!

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.

Evaluation and Implementation of Library Tech

Um…what to say…I’m tired and I don’t feel like posting right now. What relevant comment can I make?

This week we learned about some of the basics or theory behind evaluating and implementing library technology. I have to say, I do think this week’s reading was a bit more meaty than last week’s “these are library technologies” topic. But we are only three weeks into the course. Maybe I have been too eager to jump in. Even though I’m glad this week seemed a little more relevant to the actual job, at the same time I’m wondering, as a library tech, how likely am I to get the opportunity to make technology evaluation and implementation decisions? I don’t think I’m going to stop at a two year degree though, so I’m sure this information will be useful as I further my studies and my career.

Oh, yeah. I was supposed to report on social bookmarking as well. Insert standard anti-corporate tirade here about the mass amount of marketing data that is being compiled by analyzing the user statistics from these “social” tools. You can be sure that as useful as libraries or the general public might find them, our benevolent corporate overloads find them all that much more useful.

But I digress….I set up my account. I’ve added the class to my network. I mildly amused myself with my username. I searched for bookmarks using tags. I bookmarked some stuff. It will be a helpful tool for organizing research bookmarks all in one place.

I have to go do my LIBR 202 homework now, then probably bed. ‘Night!

Did you know?

http://get.wp.com/#comparison

I didn’t know.  I’ve got a WordPress blog as part of the site I help administrate.  I knew there were all kinds of features I could plug into it through the dashboard, the module that gives you more info about your stats, for instance.  I’d like to see if I’m getting traffic from outside of class.  But on this blog, I couldn’t find where to get the plug-ins.  It was like they had just disappeared.

So I checked the help section, and couldn’t find anything through their faqs.  The next best place to look is the support forums, and that’s where I found the above link.  By hosting blogs on WordPress’ servers, you’re missing out on tons of FREE features.

While hosting elsewhere does cost the private individual, it’s only about $100 a year.  If you’re already running a website there’s no additional cost to put WordPress on it.  Hosted on the library’s own server, it’s definitely worth adding WordPress, rather than hosting the blog externally at wordpress.com, just for the sake of the added features.

Take a look what’s available http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/ Each plug-in is rated by users, so you can tell before you download which ones are going to require more than just clicking a button to install.  But for most, that is really all it takes.

I had no idea there were limitations on blogs hosted at WordPress.com.  I think private hosting is definitely the way to go.