Monday, May 17, 2010

Thanks for a fun 23Things Experience

I had a great time learning new stuff. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks!

I did the survey as requested.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I think I see my car in the parking lot!

I finally got my Google Map to display correctly! You can view my satellite image of the library on my previous entry entitled, "Google Map", or save yourself the trouble and just check it out here:

View Frisco Library in a larger map

Monday, May 10, 2010

23 Things: Postmortem

Wow! What a great experience! Thanks to all involved!

Now to answer the parting questions:

Do I think social media has a future in libraries? Well, yah! It better. If it doesn't, that says more about the future of libraires than the future of social media. If you get my drift.... If libraries are to remain vital segments of society we must keep up with society. We must remain relevant. If we retreat to "tried and true" means of communication and forsake the new and untested, we start down a sad path to unsustainability.

What do I wish FPL was or wasn't doing? Well, I wish we had a few specialty blogs. Maybe genealogy, for instance.

Have I learned anything from the program? To quote Sarah Palin (or was it Tina Fey?), "You bet'cha!"

If so, what? To again quote Sarah Palin, "Oh, lots of stuff." Seriously, what I most enjoy is actually blogging. I never thought I would have my own blog, even if it was work-related.

What could we do better? I can't think of anything offhand. The program was well-thought-out and purposeful. The Things were succinct enough for us to do given our restricted schedules. Bravo!

Perhaps the only thing I can think of doing differently is taking a break about three-quarters of the way through and asking each of us what we enjoyed doing and what we want to continue doing. Then, it would be up to the library admininstration and employees to work out a way to continue using our skills. The most unfortunate outcome of the FPL 23Things program would be to learn new skills but not apply them.

Monday, May 3, 2010

RSS and Google Reader Revisited

Time to look back at a Web 2.0 social media of my choice: and I choose co-winners, RSS and Google Reader. I use these more often than any of the other items, so they were a natural choice. I love RSS because the info comes to me... it's pushed ... and I can access it in a timely manner. What do I access? Well, I get stuff from ESPN (They have a big site and they push lots of stuff!) Using Google Reader, I follow Un-Shushed. I was fascinated by Edward the Emu's story. Poor critter doesn't want to be an emu anymore. Can you blame him? Oops, I digress.... I get stuff from 23Things. (My favorite, of course!) I subscribe to stuff about museums. I follow a couple of bloggers that I met at a state museum gathering earlier this year. Library organizations send me info. ALA sends stuff my way, too. Because one of my responsibilities at the Library is to apply for grants, I subscribed to a couple of grant sites. It's a good way to keep on top of different grantmakers and their deadlines.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wikis - Thing 21

I like using Wikipedia, so I am familiar with the concept. It is interesting that Wikipedia is as accurate as it appears to be. Users seem to do a good job of policing the site and making sure it remains credible. Speaking of credible, I added a bit of info on our Wiki. I added content about Firehouse Subs. Briefly, it is good but somewhat overpriced deli food. I much prefer Subway for value.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Podcasting About the Web

I enjoyed this thing and learned quite a bit, too. I have used podcasts before and have subscribed to one or two, but podcasts are not among my more widely used online tools. Like most things it comes down to subject matter: find something you like and chances are, you'll stick with it, otherwise,you're gone!

Initially, I used the site to select a podcast from the Denver Public Library. Randomly I selected the first item on the list: The Pig Who Went Home on Sunday :An Appalachian Folktale by Donald Davis. It was a reading of a children's book. The narrator did a good job, but sadly I can not tell you how the story ended. I can tell you that it was a take-off of the "Three Little Pigs" saga and that the sly fox had dinner with the first pig. Menu was pork. Oh well, kids will love it.

My second selection from the list was a podcast from the Lincoln (Nebraska) City Library. Sound quality was excellent... for the introduction. The intro consisted of a lovely classical music piece followed by an announcer that came direct from WRR radio. His tone was deliberate and pretentious. His words were hushed; he quietly mouthed the announcement as though he were in a library, or perhaps at a golf tournament. With great expectations the program began. What a letdown! The sound quality was lousy. It sounded like somebody put a mike in the back of an auditorium and taped a lecture. Life is too short for bad microphone placement.

I searched for other podcasts and found a series on disaster preparedness by the Texas Historical Commission's Museum Services' folks. The first podcast was audio only. It described the purpose of the series. The remaining podcasts were video podcasts with a conservator from Amigos Library Services demonstrating how to respond to water-damaged books, papers, textiles and objects. The sound quality was good. The camerawork was poor in the first video but got better in subsequent broadcasts.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Brave Hulu World

OK, so now we have Hulu (and other similar products). What impact will that have on my life, on the library, on our patron's lives? The short answer is not a whole lot. At least not right now. You see, these technologies are evolutionary, not revolutionary. People, myself included (yes, I am a people)are already catching on to this latest time-saver. I see people on the library computers with headphones on intently enjoying the latest episode of The Family Guy all the time. I started watching last Monday's episode of 24 (which I have saved on our home DVR). Other than an old-fashioned dedication to working at work, I could have watched the whole show, but I didn't. Hey, I can watch it on HD on a big screen at home. On Hulu the presentation is fine, just small. I like the options: read comments about what others think of the show. This show rocks! This show stinks! I guess you can't please everyone.

Bottom line, expect more of this sort of thing. As long as advertisers will go along with it, it will be free, otherwise it will become a subscription thing.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thing 18: YouTube

Let's check out YouTube. Usually a fun thing to do. Sometimes a waste of time. You know, hundreds of videos of cats playing the piano, or reading a book, or flushing a toilet. Sometimes there is quality video on YouTube, too. I watched the Adventures of the Super Librarian, the Super Librarian piece, and the Allen piece. The first two were cute. They displayed the librarian in a good stead, warding off pesky stereotypes, and creating a feel-good kind of aura around the library itself. Being the odd bird that I am, I was especially interested in the digitization video. It was quite interesting seeing how books are photographed. I found a real faux pas in the presentation when handlers touched the artifacts with bare hands. This is not good archival technique. You should always wear white cotton gloves to protect the documents from oils and dirt that invariably attach themselves to the handler's hands. Get right, Allen!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

17: Don't Stop Streaming

I checked out and was pleased to find they had golden oldies like the Carpenters, Olivia Newton John and Barry Manilow. You can stream the 1970s and 1980s just as easily as you can stream today's music. I stream baseball games, football games and radio stations. It is a convenient way to stay connected. It works best with high-speed Internet connections (duh!) otherwise you get frustrated by all the buffering. Another fun thing: if you miss a favorite TV program a lot of times you can find it on the Web, either at the network site or hulu. I caught up with "24" using this method. My church streams its 11 o'clock service (good if you are sick and can't go in person).

Thing 16: Cloud Computing

Let's hear it for Google! Hip-hip-hooray! Some time back Google decided to take on Microsoft and challenge the latter's near monopoly on business tool applications, namely Office. The outcome of that challenge is Google Docs. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Microsoft must be blushing. Google pretty much borrowed the standard Office interface for its products. That said, they are familiar and easy to use because we've used them before -- just not in a cloud. The other advantages include price point (the Google products are free) and accessibility (they are a web products and available anywhere the web is accessed -- except maybe the People's Republic of China). I think this product would be outstanding when utilized in a classroom setting.

Google Maps

Time for the 15th Thing. This one is easy because I use it all the time. I get into Google maps. I like to switch between maps and satellite view. It is interesting to see the street view, but it can also be confusing. I don't think it is particularly precise. As an indication of how geeky I can get, I was curious about the Museum of the American Railroad would get their rolling stock collection from Fair Park to Frisco. I had a marvelous time following the railroad tracks out of the Fair Park area and followed them west and north until one finally reached Frisco. Another fun thing to do is to find your place of residence on the map and zoom in.

Here's a map I created to, of all things, Frisco Public Library! Check it out:

View Frisco Library in a larger map

Thing 14: YouSendIt

This is a fantastic tool. I sent an advertisement I created at another company to myself (please, no jokes about not having any friends -- it's a sensitive issue;-). The file was an .eps file of almost 6megs. I used to hate sending graphical files because they were so big and would invariably get kicked back by my wimpy email vendor. This solves that issue. Some publications have a built in FTP program where you can download your advertisement, but for the pubs that don't, this is a great tool to use!

Tiny URL

Love it. I went to the Tiny URL site with a long url (the url to the 23 Things listing on Google Reader) and presto-change-o, out popped That's a much easier way to remember the url.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thing 9 - Delicious

Not that tasty to me. It was a pain to sign up. Had to get a Yahoo account that I don't really want or need. I added a couple of sites, but honestly, I don't think I will be using this much.


I did the LibraryThing thing. I signed up then added a few books from my library. I was impressed that it was very easy to do. I was also impressed that one of the books I selected was rather, arcane. Few people would have it except for museum professionals. Guess what! It was there. I bought a book this week, a new biography of my baseball hero, Willie Mays. There it was. I added a few other titles -- more baseball bios and some conservative, radical right-wing stuff I like to read.


I've had a Facebook account now for a couple of years. Nevertheless, its only been in the last six months or so that I've used it. I used to be too cool for Facebook. That was something my teenage daughter did. A couple of college buddies started corresponding with me using Facebook. It turned out to be a handy tool. Before I knew it, schoolmates from high school started to contact me. There were only 72 people in my graduating class, and I bet I've been contacted by half of them.


I've used LinkedIn for a number of years now. LinkedIn was one of the earliest attempts to adopt social media to business function. It is, in effect, an online contact management program. I have some 30+ contacts, mainly people I have worked with over the past years. My wife, on the other hand, works in recruiting and she uses the site to keep track of contacts; she has several hundred contacts. What kind of information is in the individual profile? Work info. Contact info. Relationships.

LinkedIn now has an app for iPhone users.

Catching Up

How time flies! (No, not literally. It's just one of those sayings you use when you find you've fallen behind on projects and you need an excuse. Not my bad. No way! It's "Tempus fugit", you know, time flies, not my fault.) That said, look for new posts in the next day or so. Be warned, however, that the flying of time has interrupted the time-blog-order continuum and there is no guarantee that the items will be in 23 things order. I may just blog about a couple of things because I already do them!

Monday, January 18, 2010


I like tags, although I'm not fond of the tag cloud concept. Looks confusing to me. Tags are the truly democratic way of looking at taxonomy. The flexibility of the Web makes tags ideal. User-applied tags are a great way of determining how the public views your content.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Don't Look! It's IM again!

IM. Short for Instant Messenger. I've used it for years, but haven't endorsed it completely. Maybe I'm a bit of an old fogey. Perhaps IM stikes me as a bit too "Big Brother"; after all, IM always knows my status. Sure, I've found it really useful at times, sending quick hit messages to fellow workers in a nano-second. Receiving smiley face icons in return. Good stuff. But,I have concerns that it is too chatty. I for one, enjoy the control offered by email. I receive an email and a preview briefly appears onscreen before it is banished to Outlook. It is completely at my discretion to read and answer. Chats, unlike email letters, are real time events requiring immediate attention. Sometimes that's great, sometimes that's intrusive. One place I where have enjoyed using chats is online help. Let's face it, holding for the next available operator is no fun, but if I can get in touch with someone faster by chat, then I'm all for it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Social Networking and Haiti

Interesting that in the midst of the turmoil following the horrible earthquake in Haiti, when no mainstream news was getting out of the country, the world found out about what was happening by way of social networking: short cell phone videos from YouTube, Twitter and Facebook entries.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Picture Sharing

It's nice to share. That's the premise behind picture sharing tools. I added Picassa 3 to my desktop at work and discovered that I had many, many more photos on my disk drives than I imagined. I have picked out a couple that I will share with you!

Talk About Twitter

It has been brought to my attention that I have shared little (actually nothing) about Twitter. Well, I will take care of that now. Twitter is an interesting tool. I use it, but not frequently and not actively. I am a passive Twitter user. A follower. I follow a number of sites on a daily basis but I do not add tweets. I just read what is presented. I do have an account and I even have a few followers. Why I don't know, since I don't add to my page! It is a strange thing to get an email saying so-and-so is following you, when you have no idea who that person is or why they are making the effort to follow.

Even as I have been less than enthusiastic about embracing this tool, I am still cognizant of its power. When riots broke out in Iran and the regime in power sought to close outside media access, they could not do so because of Twitter and Facebook. Extraordinary to think that little Tweets could somehow effect the future of governments!