Monday, 30 June 2008

Thing #27 Photobucket

Photobucket is easy to use and navigate around, and overall this is a good site. The advertising however does appears more intrusive (bordering on damn annoying) than some of the other Web 2.0 sites, but it is interesting to see it is tailored to the client in as much as if you register as an Australian you get Australian advertising. Given the number of photos on the site (5.551 billion as this post goes to air) I was genuinely surprised about how few images came up in my searches. Am I that esoteric? I would have thought there would more images relating to Santiago Calatrava, especially as he design the Athens as well as part of the Barcelona Olympic venues. There were also surprisingly few images for Tadao Ando, and there were no images for Perini Navi or Luca Brenta (does no one sail?)
Photobucket

IndioF

Photobucket

Learning 2.1: Photobucket

Thing #26 Widgets Part C

Widgets part C (can you tell how impressed I am with Widgets). This one is right on target for Learning 2.1 - "You can add this widget to your yourminis public page or blog to make it easier for users to post stories to the major web 2.0 bookmarking and news sites. All you need to do is change the address via the 'edit widget' or arrow button!" How good is that!




Learning 2.1: YourMinis Widgets

Thing #26 Widgets Part B

It is interesting to see that libraries are starting to play around with Widgets. This widget from the Kathryn J. DuFour Law Library at The Catholic University of America, is particularly good in the way it neatly links in the catalogue and the library’s databases. While there are only a few library type widgets on YourMinis.com at the moment, I am reminded of how few library apps there were on Facebook in mid 2007 compared to today (mid 2008). It will be interesting to see if and how libraries take up using Widgets, and if and how they will use YourMinis.com. The following library catalogue and database widget was created on YourMinis.com on 20 May 2008 - so it is relatively new.

On the topic of using YouMinis.com, over the weekend I could not get this site to work on either Firefox or Explorer; it kept dropping out. This is interesting, as other sites worked OK. Maybe my home security settings were too tight for YouMinis? Anyway, when it does work it works very well indeed. If this was Eurovision it would be "douze pointes" for YourMinis.com.





Learning 2.1: YourMinis Widgets

Thing #26 Widgets Part A

Unless I am mistaken, and I hope I am, the ABC is cancelling their News Radio programme: The Road to the Whitehouse. The ABC is also cancelling Star Stuff (which is very sad) but that is another story. SO in memory of The Road to the Whitehouse, it is fitting that this Learning 2.1 activity celebrate that wonderful, as well as long, expensive, and crazy road show that is known as the US elections. This widget provides a countdown to the US election.



Learning 2.1: YourMinis Widgets

Is Google Using Libraries and does it matter?

There is an entry on the InfoToday.com blog titled How Google Used Librarians…and Got Away With It. This is interesting. Is Google using us, and does it matter? Aren’t we also using Google to support news feeds, full text content, online searching, and other Web 2.0 library services? Can we even compete with Google? Does this mean that Ross Dawson is correct, and libraries will be extinct by 2019 (for details see http://www.rossdawsonblog.com/weblog/archives/2007/10/extinction_time.html), or does it mean that to stay relevant to society, we will morph into something new and exciting.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

StopBadware.org

As we do Learning2.0 and Learning2.1, and as we build rich and varied Web 2.0 content, it is worth pausing to think about the malware/spyware/badware we may have gathered along the way. This is especially true for people who have low internet security settings and procedures. It is therefore timely to stop and have a look at StopBadware.org, which is a consumer-oriented nonprofit organization aimed at fighting malicious software, or "badware". As noted in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/StopBadware.org:

StopBadware.org defines "badware" as follows:
  • If the application acts deceptively or irreversibly.
  • If the application engages in potentially objectionable behavior without:

    • First, prominently disclosing to the user that it will engage in such behaviour, in clear and non-technical language, and
    • Then, obtaining the user's affirmative consent to that aspect of the application.

StopBadware.org's activities include:
  • Badware alerts & reports for software applications that violate the StopBadware.org Guidelines.
  • Badware Website Clearinghouse for websites reported by StopBadware.org partners as potentially dangerous.
  • Information about badware for tips on prevention and cleaning up infections on your computer.
  • Information for webmasters for help in cleaning & securing your website and removing Google's warnings.
The following symbols are used to identify Badware:

Symbol used by Stopbadware to identify "badware":

Symbol used for "badware" under investigation:

Caution symbol for software with bad, but disclosed, behaviour:

Friday, 27 June 2008

Thing #25 Letterpop

Letterpop was a complete and utter waste of time. I have enjoyed most of the Learning 2.0 and 2.1 programme, but why anyone would waste their time with this piece of crap when it is easier to make up newsletters and announcements with a word processor is beyond me. The fact that you seemed forced to take images from Flickr is also very, very annoying especially as more people use Facebook rather than Flickr for photo sharing#. The Letterpop users are also constrained by inflexible goofy templates, and an interface that is more sizzle than substance. Logging in Letterpop it assured me “You're gonna love it!” Frankly, I’d rather chew rusty razer blades while swimming through toxic sludge. If anyone has to rely on Letterpop to create a half-decent newsletter, they shouldn’t be allowed to do a newsletter in the first place. If this was Eurovision, it would be "zéro pointes" for Letterpop.

# According to Techcrunch in November 2007 Facebook hosted 4.1 billion photos to Flickr's 2 billion. For details see: http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/13/2-billion-photos-on-flickr/

Learning 2.1: Letterpop

Thing #24 ZAMZAR solves file conversions

I converted a 413 KB PDF article to html and Zamzar the interface made this a very easy and simple process and Zamzar is a very usful tool. The only complaint is that it took much (much, much) longer for Zamzar to upload the file than it did to download the article from the Library Conference web site so it does not look as though the delay was a problem with the local internet connection. While waiting for Zamzar to do its thing I was able to look around their Privacy Policy and their Terms of Agreement. This made from some interesting reading especially the section General Prohibitions, Disclaimer of Warranties, Indemnity, and Limitation of Liability. Of course no one reads these things when they click to convert their file, and not surprisingly the terms and conditions protect Zamzar.

It will be fascinating to see what happens in a court case over copyright. For example, someone converts something on Zamzar (made a copy) of something protected by copyright. Zamzars terms state clearly that “Zamzar respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects our users to do the same. Unauthorized copying, modification, distribution, public display, or public performance of a copyrighted work is an infringement of the copyright holder's rights, and expressly prohibited under Zamzar's services.”

Learning 2.1: Zamzar

Wordle

Wordle is an interesting programme for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. For example:

You can Wordle your Del.icio.us tags:


or


You can even Wordle text from an article or a report

















Note however you need to have Java loaded for Wordle to work its magic.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Thing #23 Is this really the end? Or just the beginning

In 2007 Ross Dawson, an Australian business consultant who tracks different customs, devices, and institutions; put out what he calls his Extinction Timeline. Since then, this timeline has generated comment in both Australia and overseas. On his Extinction Timeline, Ross Dawson predicts that libraries will disappear in 2019. For details go to http://www.rossdawsonblog.com/weblog/archives/2007/10/extinction_time.html Is he right, and what does this have to do with Learning 23 Things?

The key, and probably the most critical, benefit of Learning 23 Things has been that it has introduced so many librarians to new and emerging technologies. As a result, it has allowed many librarians to see new and exciting ways of doing things. This is important, because the new technologies ARE been adopted by clients. If librarians don't adopt and adapt someone else will fill the vacuum, and libraries probably will be extinct by 2019.

Some thoughts:

The Internet, Web 2, web 3, and what ever happens in the future is disruptive. Taking a Schumpeterian view of these things, libraries need to recognise the Creative Destruction processes that come with these disruptive technologies. Building on the Schumpeterian view, Libraries also need to be much more entrepreneurial in the way they adopt technologies, adapt, and re-engineer services to meet the changing needs of clients without forgetting their key reasons for existing. Libraries also need to recognise that not only are we faced with more change, the change is also happening at a faster rate. We need to be better at playing with new technology, assessing it, using it, and not get to upset if it is out of date tomorrow and we have to move onto the next new thing. The days of leisurely change are over.

The sign that Learning 23 Things has been really success for the individual will be that they don't need to do another formal program like this. Instead, they will not only have learnt about new technologies, they will have be curious to continue to discover and learn, with and without, a formal Learning 2.0 / 3.0 or whatever programme.

Questions to ponder:

• In the digital age, what is the function of the library as a civic monument and public space; as an academic space, or a corporate learning centre?
• Will there be a role in the future for libraries as a public repository for books?
• What happens to our need for human interaction as distinct from online communication?
• What role will library technology playing in 2019?

Thing #22 Audiobooks

Call me old fashioned but despite having a MP3 player I would much, much rather read a book than listen to a book. It is not that I am a Luddite (on the contrary Web 2.0 technology and the internet may be what saves libraries from extinction) but unless my eyesight is failing, Audiobooks rank very low down the list of interests. If we are talking fiction, as with a film, the narrator colours the interpretation. As a result, I would rather engage directly the words on the page, and who wants to listen to a technical book? If there is a client need (they have poor eye sight, or low levels of literacy, then it is of course another matter. But for me Thing 22 - NO.

Thing #21 Podcasts

Interestingly there 143 podcasts on Podcast Alley when you do a search on the word library. I would have though there would be more given the number of people who have done learning 23 things. Podcast.net on the other hand appears to be off line. One of the best sites for library related podcasts is from the SirsiDynix Institute. OCLC also offers excellent library related Podcasts at http://www.oclc.org/asiapacific/en/rss/default.htm#podcasts. The Library of Congress has a very clear and well laid out Podcast sites at http://www.loc.gov/podcasts, but even better (from a library professional point of view) is the library related Webcasts at http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/results.php?cat=2&mode=a.

Thing #20 YouTube

Again, this was new and exciting when Learning 23 things started but now it is just part of the landscape. From embedding YouTube into blogs, portals, and social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook libraries and Web 2.0ers have embraced YouTube. YouTube is so much part of the scene that it has topped the movers20.esnips.com top Web 2.0 sites for much of 2008. It is not surprising that YouTube is also being used as a great way to deliver online learning.

Particularly good YouTube online videos relating to libraries as well as Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 are:

* A Librarian's 2.0 Manifesto


* The Machine is Us/ing Us


* Tim Berners Lee on the Semantic Web


For more YouTube Library 2.0 videos, see the VALA Facebook page.

Thing #18 Discovering Web 2.0 tools

While seomoz a great ranked list of Web 2.0 applications, the web apps. It also worthwhile considering the ranked lists at movers20.esnips.com as well as the 'complete' list of Web 2.0 applications at go2web20. Note: go2web20 requires flash to view. In terms of learning 23 things del.icio.us stands out as being particularly useful. In many ways del.icio.us is like playing Mozart, deceptively simple (anyone can use it) but very powerful because there is a lot you can do with it. To quote Schnabel on Mozart "too easy for children, too difficult for adults. Children are given Mozart to play because of the quantity of notes; grown-ups avoid him because of the quality of notes". See also the earlier post of 7 December 2007 on this Blog about Del.icio.us. on the way libraries are collaborating and using this service.

Software in the cloud: Google Spreadheets

Following on from the Google and ZOHO word processing, Google Spreadsheets not only does your typical spreadsheet stuff, it also can be used as a database. While Microsoft Excel also has flat file database offerings, Google has also all the pluses and minus of offering the database in the cloud. So as with Google Docs and ZOHO for simple spreadsheet and database applications, Google Spreadsheet could be very useful but for anything more robust you would use a specific database and or spreadsheet package. This said, it will be interesting to see where this all ends up. For example will people continue to buy Microsoft Office for home use or will they just uses software in the cloud?

This said there is a very interesting article at ComputerWeekly.com [24 Jun 2008] which quoted a number of large organisations who are using Google Docs, and in which the Gartner Group is quoted as saying Google has a two to three year lead over Microsoft in web-based online collaboration tools. click here to view the article, and click here to get updated news on Google versus Microsoft Office.

There is also a very interesting YouTube video titled Using Google Spreadsheets as a Database in the Cloud located at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWCLROPKug0


... or view below.

Thing #18 Google Docs

As with ZOHO, Google Docs is basically a very good and powerful text editor, and it is easy to use. As with ZOHO I tested ZOHO with a conference paper I wrote that included tables, images, and citations. Interestingly, Google Docs seems better than ZOHO when it comes to formatting table and inserting URLS. ZOHO however seems to offer more overall formatting options. The bottom line however, is that when writing complicated documents with lots of formatting I would still use MS Word, but the Google Docs (as with ZOHO) is very good for simple documents.

Thing #18 Web-based Apps: Zoho Writer.

Basically a very good and powerful text editor, which was easy to use. I tested ZOHO with a conference paper I wrote on Measuring-Library-20
that included tables, images, and citations. I had some issues with ZOHO 's apparent lack of functionality to format tables, do footnotes, and to do hanging indents (which means I would be reluctant to move from MS Word for anything that required serious formatting) but the ZOHO Writer is very good for simple documents. This exercise also demonstrated how bad long and complex documents look when posted into Blogger - but then why would you post a 4,000 word document into a blog?!?

The other ZOHO applications, in particular Zoho Meeting for Web Conferencing, Zoho Notebook an online note taker, and Zoho Projects for project management look particularly interesting. I'm not sure about the chat as to date I have found chat works best when integrated into a social networking site as is the case in Facebook.

Yahoo Pipes

Yahoo Pipes is a very powerful way of aggregating, processing (there are lots of processing options) and filtering content before piping back out to clients. There are a whole range of options and possibilities for libraries to use Yahoo Pipes on their web portals and present content to clients on the fly. For details see the library tech news and comments as well as library tech trend and forecasts posted on the VALA Facebook page. [For Facebook see Learning 2.1 Thing #60]