Wednesday, July 21, 2010

TSN - Science, Society and the Meaning of Life.










Lord Martin Rees, Patricia Smith Churchland and AC Grayling with Roger Bingham.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

RSS

I am familiar with alerts and feeds and readers - Google reader is my choice, and my Bloglines account is still in use. I have not used Yahoo in so long and had forgotten that I had set up some Yahoo alerts ages ago. I set up a new alert just for fun, and up popped my Yahoo alerts page with all my previous subscriptions. This included comics such as Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield, Foxtrot and Doonesbury. I have work to do and resist the urge to be sidetracked!

I think that Feed43, FeedBeater, Feed Rinse and Feed Sifter are all excellent and potentially very useful sites. I loved the name RSSPECT and the fact that 'AnySite' is not merely for following any webpage, but also an mp3 file or PDF documents.


The interior of the "Marble Cube," Yale University's Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library.
Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Twitter and Libraries

Twitter for libraries serves a number of purposes, spreading the word about library events, building a relationship with borrowers, and not least, gathering support when needed.

When a proposed $37 million City budget cut threatened some of the New York Public Library's branch libraries with closure, or having them open only 3 days a week, they were able to get support from their over 51 000 followers. While I'm sure they were using more than just Twitter to fight this, there is no doubt that it helped get the word out. The tweet to thank their supporters:

Thank you to everyone who stood with us to #savenypl http://ow.ly/24JYK about 13 hours ago
They also promote themselves:

Cool off with a good book at the Library. Visit one of our locations:http://ow.ly/2484Q #libraries

Q: Is it true that New York City used to be called the Big Onion? A: Hoboes called it that a century before the Big Apple was used.#AskNYPL

Twitter is free, easy to use, and is another way to help us connect with our borrowers. Technology is here to stay and we should welcome the opportunities it provides and make the most them.

Twitter is an ongoing conversation and I usually tweet what book I'm reading, sometimes I read more than one at once, so...
Also Reading A Spring without Bees - Michael Schacker. Very interesting book.


For those of you with too much going on in your lives a bit of zen for you.

Searching Twitter

I love some Twitter's search operators. I looked up "Library :)" in Twitter, basic search, to get positive feedback, although I could have looked "library :(" to see what is bothering customers and get some ideas as to how we could improve our service. The same option is offered in advanced search, although the latter does make it easier to select your search specifications.

The variety of searches through third party search engines enhances Twitter's usefulness. I have always found #hashtag and Tweepsearch to be most useful. The question and answer services on Twitter can be very useful too. In fact Twitter can be a very effective tool when used correctly.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Twitter

I am a twitterer. Yes, I tweet. I know many tweets are rather trite. So why do I tweet?

Well, not everyone is tweeting about what they ate. I have found it to be a very useful way to find out what's happening in the world, or in specific subject areas that interest me. One often hears of some event via Twitter before email, news, television, or any other source. A quick question to followers gets an answer in minutes (sometimes), or you may be able to provide assistance to other people. I also follow people involved in tech and find it an excellent way to keep up to date with developments. Through selective following I also get links to reviews/discoveries on numerous subjects that interest me. It was trial and error at first, but you soon see which tweets are are pointless and simply unfollow the twit.

The trick is to follow people that are involved in areas that interest you. There are rather more librarians on Twitter than some of you imagine, and some of them have created lists. Lists are a way of following a chatter of librarians very easily.

One of the people I follow posts excellent links on a range of subjects. However he is a very prolific tweeter, and this can be annoying. Tweet after tweet by the same person. I also follow a number of authors and find their updates and questions fascinating - and yes, they ask us for advice, on Twitter.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons provides an alternative to the automatic "all rights reserved" and gives the creators of various works control over their own creations. All require attribution but it provides people with choices, a good thing. It also provides distribution of an artists/creators work to communities/regions it might otherwise not reach. Products of creativity are not confined, but potentialy able to be accessed by a world wide audience. Shared with conditions, or not, but decided by the artist/creator. It gives the artist the right to exercise copyright more simply.

Monday, June 28, 2010

OpenID

OpenID is an excellent idea for casual site browsing. I am not adverse to a certain amount of activity monitoring. When presented with the option to allow Google to monitor my searches, without personal information of course, to help them improve search I checked the 'allow' (or equivalent) box as I believe it does helps improve search results, and I actually like the idea of targeted information, ads included. I enjoy the convenience of OpenID, but only because I know that I am free to log out at anytime.

Online Privacy and Security

Some excellent resources in this exercise, and definitely to be shared with patrons when possible, as well as family and friends. Most young people have grown up with computers as a part of their lives and are generally too trusting and seem unaware of the potential consequences of their online actions. In the library there are also older patrons who are new to the Internet and need advice and guidance.

Passwords are a problem for most people. While it would be better to memorise them, not everyone has a Grade A memory for all the PINs and passwords one is required to remember these days. If it is written down it should be glanced at and returned to a secure place immediately. They should never tick 'remember me as a user' or 'remember password' on a public computer, and always log out when finished. Patrons should also be aware of shoulder surfers, or people using video enabled mobile phones. While the majority of people are there for legitimate purposes it is always better to err on the side of caution!
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