Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thing 9 - Google Tools!

'ello again,

Today I'm going to tell you about a few of my favorite Google tools. Google is not just a search engine any more. It is a super search engine!

Google now offers much more than your basic searching, now you can find images or video or even maps all at the click of a button. Google has a ton of applications that you can use just by having a Google account. Don't want to pay Microsoft's outrageous prices for Word; use Google Docs. Looking for that great Thai restaurant your friends keep raving about; use Google Maps. Want to see what your house will look like with a new family room; use Google Sketch-up. The possibilities are endless.

I think that my two favorite Google tools have to be Google Earth and Google Maps. These applications are amazing! I first found aout about Google Earth about a year and a half ago, and it has changed the way I look for directions. Google Earth is a program that is available for download. With it you get an entire map of the world via images that are pieced together to form a topagraphical map of the Earth. The detail is spectacular. You can zoom in, on some areas, so close that you can see your car! Google has transported the technology over to its online Maps feature. So now when you are looking for directions you can choose map, terrain or satellite. In addition, they have started to add the street view in some areas. This feature gives a street level view so you can see the neighborhood you are going to be traveling through. So far there are half a dozen cities or so that have the street view but they are adding more every week. I love it!

Another Google feature that I use daily is iGoogle. I have it set as my homepage so it is the first thing I see when I open up my internet browser. I love this tool because it is so customizable. I have a ton of stuff on it; a link to my Gmail and Google Calender accounts; a widgit that gives me local, national, and world news and weather;'s Word of the Day and Quotes of the Day. All add by me. Anytime I get sick of one I can delete it or, if I find a new one, adding it is just as simple. Gotta love how much effort Google puts in.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thing 8 - Wiki's


Today I'm going to talk about wiki's and how they work.

A wiki is basically a website that anyone can contribute to. The most famous is Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that has over 2 million articles and it's growing every day. Because articles are written and maintained by individuals who do not need to prove their expertise on the subject that they are writing about, articles are prone to misinformation and even vandalism.

Wiki's work on the idea of "Radical Trust" which is to say that we trust that the community will work together, for the most part, to ensure that the the information that is given is correct. I think this is a great idea but I would never stake my life on anything that was printed on wikipedia. For one thing, we don't know when the article was last edited. If someone who was trying to be malicious edited an article minutes before you looked at it, the community would not have time to correct the misinformation before you view it. This would be a bit of an extreme coincidence, but it can happen. The fact that an article could house misinformation means that it cannot be trusted completely.

Now I use wikipedia quite often and I trust (radically) that what I am reading is correct because (1) I don't actually believe there are enough people out there who are actively trying to post misinformation on wikipedia and (2) when I use wikipedia it is not generally going to harm me in any way if the information that I get is incorrect. So when I use wikipedia, I generally believe what I read but always with the knowledge that it might not be 100% accurate.

Till next time,

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thing 7 - Podcasting

Hello Again,

The next topic we are going to talk about is Podcasting. Podcasting is a great way to get information in audio format. I've been subscribing to podcasts for a while now and I'm totally hooked. I have never been a big fan of talk radio, mostly because when I get in my car and turn on the radio, the program is already halfway over. Enter podcasting. Now I can get some of the best radio programs and start them when I want. Fabulous! My favorites are PTI; a sports program published by ESPN and This American Life; a weekly NPR radio broadcast.

Podcasting would be a great way for the library to present news about what is going on in the library or even a way to give presentations or classes to patrons who can't always make it to the library.

Till next time,


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thing 6 - Social Bookmarking


Today’s thing (#6) is Social Bookmarking.

Social Bookmarking is a great way to save all your bookmarks or favorites to one website. That way you can access them from any online computer in the world. Imagine you’re at your local library and you find a cool new website. Rather than writing down the address and possibly forgetting it, you could use to bookmark it and never be without.

Another plus is that you can group your addresses into categories via tags, for easier identification. Give all your banking sites one tag and all the game sites another. This is especially helpful when you have a lot of bookmarks.

Lastly, there is the social part. You can browse other people’s bookmarks and let others browse yours. If a lot of people have a website bookmarked, it may be worth checking out.

My favorite bookmarking site is There is a great toolbar that you can download for Firefox that allows you, with the click of a button, to discover great new sites. If you like the site, give it a thumbs up, if not, a thumbs down. Stumblupon finds more sites that you might like based on those ratings. It is addicting.

Till next time,


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thing 5 - Flickr and Photo Sharing

Hello Again,

We've made it to Thing 5. We're half way home! Hooray!

I'm really excited about Thing 5 - Photo Sharing. I love pictures. They can tell so much. Flickr makes it so easy to upload and share them that I jumped right in.

I have been playing around with Flickr for the last few months (ever since I sat in on a class taught by JPB in the computer lab, which I highly recommend). This website is great. There are some amazing photos here. I like that you can upload a ton of photos and then just e-mail the link to whomever you want to see them. It saves having to attach file after file to an e-mail and with most e-mail accounts you can only do a few files at a time. That is time consuming and a pain in get the idea. With flickr, you can send someone a whole album of photos with one simple web address. It's great!

I highly recommend this site to anyone who likes to take and share pictures. Cheers!

P.S. Here is the link to my photos, enjoy!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Thing 4 - Social Networking

Ok, so here we are at 'Thing 4'. In this installment we're going to talk about social networking.

Social networking websites are designed to connect people. This is done by posting a profile for others to see and then searching through others profiles. Then you can make connections based on whatever types of things you are interested in. If your looking for a job? Try I found that it wasn't as good as for job postings, but if your trying to make connections with people rather than businesses, it works. Looking for a long lost friend? Make a page on I've only been on this site for three days and already I have reunited with five friends that I went to school with. Amazing!

I was never a fan of myspace or facebook but now that I live farther away from where I grew up, it is coming in handy. I can keep tabs on people that I don't get to see much anymore and the same goes for them. So far my experiences have been good. Till next time.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Thing 3 - Instant Messaging

Alrighty than! Thing 3! Instant Messaging!

Instant messaging is a way for people to communicate to each other in real time over a network like the internet. There are several programs that one could use to do IM-ing. AIM, Yahoo! Instant Messenger, and Google Talk are just a few.

Instant messaging is not a new concept to me. IM-ing has been around for a long time in one form or another, whether it be Google Talk or text messaging or chat rooms, I’m old hat. Now a days I occasionally chat with a friend in Gmail but I generally prefer plain 'ol e-mail. If you lump text messaging in, I, like so many others, am totally addicted.

Texting is a great way to communicate via cell phone when it’s impractical or impolite to have a real conversation (we in the library don’t know anything about improper cell phone use, do we?). Still, in the library world, texting doesn’t seem to have a lot of uses. On the other hand, there is a great way for library’s to benefit from the IM craze, chat rooms.

I find more and more businesses doing online support via a chat room. Just the other day I used Comcast's online support and it could not have been easier. I logged in, waited for their professional to log in and after a few brief questions he was able to walk me through my problem. I have seen library’s do very similar things with reference. It can really cut down on the flaws of verbal communication, namely not being able to understand what a person is saying.

I like the idea of instant messaging; I just don't get enough from it to use it with any kind of consistency (except for texting). Good concept, but bad in practice for me.

Till thing 4 comes along. Cheers!