My journey through the 23 Things has been an eventful and enjoyable one. I have learned much more than I expected to, and I hope that, by having kept my blog and some other notes, I will be able to revisit sites that I found most useful. Also, I have to keep in mind that just because a site doesn't seem useful to me now, doesn't mean it won't be useful to me at some point in the future.
Of course, the main thing I have learned is that the library world (as well as the world in general) is changing fast, and a program such as 23 Things is one way to keep in touch with these changes. The more I learn, the more it makes me aware of all the Things I don't know, so I can definitely see the need for being a "lifelong learner".
Saturday, October 27, 2007
While I have friends who download and listen to ebooks on an almost daily basis (during long commutes), and I find the technology behind that to be quite amazing, I still prefer reading as opposed to listening when it comes to books. I have read and heard about Project Gutenberg, and looking through the website was fascinating. If I were in the position of having a long commute, or other circumstances where I would have more use for audiobooks, then I imagine I would be an active downl0ader. For many people, I can see the great value in downloading ebooks , with Project Gutenberg and similar resources providing almost effortless accessibility.
Knowing little or nothing about podcasts before today, I have come away knowing more about them, and liking them more than I expected to. The podcast-finding tools were intriguing and easy to use, especially podcast.net. The categories were helpful and specific, and I was able to easily search and find some podcasts of old radio programs by humorist Jean Shepherd (think: "A Christmas Story"). Compared to something like YouTube, these podcast-finding tools helped me make my way to what I wanted without feeling overwhelmed by vastness.
Looking over YouTube and Google Videos, I realized that what I thought was going to be a short tour had the potential to be a endless, world-wide voyage! I'm struck by the sheer enormity of these sites, and also by the sheer enormity of users who are constantly viewing and posting videos. While there is the possibility of endless amounts of entertainment, social networking, and self-promotion, because these sites are so vast and somewhat uncontrolled, I find it would be easy to get lost here, and never really accomplish anything! I viewed a couple of the suggested "library dominoes" videos, as well as some of the old television commercial videos. To use these sites, I feel that I would need to be looking for something very specific, and even then, without a true controlled vocabulary, what I'm looking for could easily be missed. If specific videos are mentioned, I will revisit theses sites to view those videos, but I doubt I would use these sites again without a specific objective. Entertaining and useful, yes, but maybe just too massive for me.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The list of Web 2.0 award winners is a list that's very good to be aware of. I was impressed at how many sites/tools we've visited as a result of participating in 23 Things, but I was surprised by how many interesting sites/tools are on the list. There are some on the list that I plan to explore at a later date, but for this exercise, I chose to explore "Donors Choose.org". This site provides users with the chance to identify local teachers' classroom needs, and make contributions accordingly. I thought this site provided a lot of useful philanthropic information that isn't readily available all in one place, especially sorted out by state/city. The fact that the site requires teachers to write a "proposal" concerning their classroom needs, seems to make it more reliable- if a user wants to donate to a local classroom, they can contribute to a specific proposal that they like, or contribute where the need seems the greatest. While the content of this site was unique and useful, navigating around the site seemed a little awkward to me. The tabs were not as clear or prominent as they could be. In spite of that flaw, I could see librarians recommending this site to customers looking for ways to make financial contributions that would benefit their own communities and schools.
I chose to set up an account in Google Docs, and found it surprisingly straightforward and simple to use (although I wasn't trying to do something all that complicated). I created a document, edited it, saved it, and retrieved it again, all without a problem. On the surface at least, Google Docs does seem like a product that could take the place of Microsoft Office or other software-based productivity tools, especially since with Google Docs the user would not have to be concerned about different versions of software when using different PCs. Google Docs appears to be a tool which is flexible and universal in its uses.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
The "sandbox" name was appropriate, as playing with this was a lot of fun. In addition to adding my blog to the Favorite Blogs page, it was great to look at the list of all other Maryland Library participants and check out some of their blogs. I stumbled upon the blogs of some librarian friends from other counties, and it was fascinating to read their experiences with 23 Things.