Sunday, October 12, 2008
I also liked the online word processing options like Zoho - those could be very useful, especially if laptops keep coming down in price, as it will make it that much easier to be mobile if you can cart around a cheap basic notebook and get online via a wireless connection from pretty much anywhere. I know you can do that now, but most laptops are still pretty heavy as they need processing power to run Word and all the rest. Shifting both the software and the storage of your files to the net means the hardware needn't be so complex, costly and heavy. PDFs and iphones sort of do that for you now, but I don't like their squitty little screens - for people who seriously need to WRITE, a decent size screen and keyboard are still important.
The blog itself is likely to be a useful format for our local history work at the library - I wouldn't use it for personal stuff, but as a means of bringing together online unpublished info we find about the shore, combine it with our digital pictures, and get feedback from knowledgable locals, it could be good. Once we've all had time to think about this Web 2.0 technology, it would also be valuable to go back through what we've covered and look at what we can co-opt into our regular, professional library work.
On a personal level - my favourites were YouTube, the Image generators and sorting out once and for all how to set up RSS feeds. (I would have liked to put one final YouTube link in here but the site keeps coming up in Chinese - that's been an issue for most of us right throughout this Web 2.0 program and it happens in Blogger also - if there's a solution out there I'd like to know it!!).
Thanks to the people who put this program together - your hard work is appreciated.
Monday, October 6, 2008
With the right kind of promotion, this kind of outreach can move beyond the teen audience to embrace older users too - Kete Horohwenua (set up by Horowhenua Library) used Web 2.0 technology to reach out beyond their library users to the community at large, and did so in part by enlisting older contributors through promoting their site to the Senior Net people, who then went on to enlist and train others. They also set up workstations in the library itself that people without pcs at home could come and use to scan and post photos, documents, blogs - you name it - to the Kete site. It's a great example of local content built by its users - the library maintains a loose monitoring role, but the main contributors are the locals themselves.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I've had a look at the three sites, I've created an account and a basic profile (Facebook) - but do I feel moved to keep using the site? Proably not, for now anyway. I'd rather talk to actual friends in a real cafe while drinking coffee I can smell and taste - the virtual world is fun, and occasionally useful (see last post) - but I still prefer the offline world. It has better bandwidth.
Monday, September 29, 2008
For the serious researcher though, the preferred digital format is full text online rather than audio. Why? If you live in this part of the world and your research area isn't NZ-related (or even if it is), you need access to out-of-print and often very fragile old texts that in the past you would have had track down and use in a rare book archive in some overseas uni or national library archive. Project Guttenberg started it all off, and the NZ equivalent is the NZ Electronic Book Center. Having this material online makes access so much easier and cheaper, and (a plus for the library that owns it) it protects the old book from rough handling. Here's one I tracked down via Google Books and used while researching my PhD at Auckland Uni. It isn't available in hard copy in NZ.
People interested in full text online versions of out-of-copyright New Zealand books should try the NZECTC site - it's a goldmine for those interested in NZ literature and history.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio is where you will find all their feeds.
What will be more helpful in the long run is the tutorial material on how to create your own podcast - I can see this being good for book launches, Heritage Week - that kind of thing - especially now our new PA system allows us to digitally record events.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
It's actually pretty easy to find things here - on Saturdays National Radio had a half hour slot where NZ comedians play their favourite comedy clips and you often hear alot of great old classics by people you've never heard of.
One of the ones I remembered was by an American guy (whose name turned out to be Alan Sherman) singing about being a kid and going away to summer camp - it was used in a funny yoghurt ad here about 5 or 6 years back - and I could only recall the first line of the song. Typed it in, and within about 2 hits, found it.
The clip doesn't include visuals, just the audio - for the curious, here's a link to the relevant YouTube page.
Hello Muddah, Hello Father song
And here's another funny cat cartoon (from the same "Simon's Cat" series as the one that did the rounds a few months back).
Thursday, September 18, 2008
A few are sites we've probably all seen before, but some were completely new. I can't see a direct work-related use for many of them - they fit into the 'fun but use them at home' category - but I would use the mapping tools for creating local history content. Wayfaring looked nice, and so did Community Walks, (though even with broadband they are slow to load and to navigate).
I also set up an account on eSnips - one of those Facebook-y type sites - though it's slightly worrying how much personal info you are invited to post there. Good to have an alternative online identity. Not sure how much I'll use it, but we'll see.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The tools here are easy to use - easier than Word, since you don't have the menu structure to wade through - and if you are comfortable with Word you won't have any problem using Zoho. It does seem a bit prone to crashing though - this is my third attempt to write and save something without getting the 'we are about to kick you off the internet' error message. Not sure why - it may be something to do with the way it interacts with our local network.
Comments are easy to insert, making this a useful tool for documents being developed collaboratively. (Though I noticed that when I published my Zoho document here in Blogger it didn't bring the comment itself across - it only remains visibile in Zoho.) And publishing the text directly to the blog was no problem. I also like being able to save the doc as a pdf (or as a web page), since I don't have Adobe installed on my work pc - that gives it quite a bit of flexibility for online use. It's also useful to have the option of writing and storing documents online - I will be interested to see though whether there is a file size limit, and whether you can create a web link within a wiki direct to a document here without having to upload the document to wiki. If you can, it would solve one of my current wiki problems (see earlier blog for the boring details). Haven't experimented with that yet, but will try it out and report back.
Tried adding a picture which I browsed to in my C drive - added it OK in the Zoho doc, though using drag to re-size it doesn't work as well as it does in Word, Picture Manager etc. You only seem to be able to resize in one direction (horizontally or vertically) at a time - you can't drag a corner in and resize both dimensions at once, which means that the proportions of the image get out of whack if you aren't careful, and the image distorts. Will experiment with that further.
[Next paragraph added while editing the above text in Blogger].
I have also discovered since publishing the text I wrote on Zoho here on my blog that while the image I inserted while in Zoho did originally appear here on my blog, it disappears again if you then go into your published blog and edit it. Had to browse back to it from within Blogger and then insert it again.
- here -
which actually worked better anyway, as Blogger handles images better than Zoho and resizes them without the distortion. (BTW, The Victorian gent in this image is David Barr, a great uncle from Wanganui. He was about 21 when this was taken, and this is his visiting card).
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
A metasearch tool like this is always going to struggle when it is being asked to operate across a disparate range of sites with little behind-the-scenes consistency. I probably won't use it - actually, I found it pretty irritating - as I wasn't that impressed with the search results it brought back from the Rollyo of local history sites I created. Why?
1. The only successful searches were with very generic searches that were too unfocussed to be useful - anything more specific and you got nothing.
2. It only searches text on the site itself, and if you work primarily with sites that are interfaces to behind-the-scenes databases, it isn't able to pick up info at the individual record level.
Can I see a role for it? No, not if you are wanting to search online databases, like our Local History Online, or Matapihi, or Auckland Museum's "Street Search" - but if all you want to do is pull together info actually written on the site itself in xml or whatever, then yes, it could be useful.
Not sure whether this link will work for other people, but anyway, here it is:
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Link to my catalogue (so far)
Thursday, September 4, 2008
It's pretty effective, even down to adding a 'silvering' halo effect in the center of the image, which you get with old photos. Here's the url: http://generatorblog.blogspot.com/2008/06/old-style-photo.html
The pros - it was a good one stop shop for providing overall management of the project, and also as a home for recording decisions once they had been made. It's also a good place for setting up frequently asked questions.
The cons? For some members who didn't use it much, having to log in each time (and remember their log-in) and then remember how to edit was too much of a barrier to its regular use, and most tended to revert to email for the day to day correspondence. The other negative - becasue it's web-based, it's fine if you want to link to other web pages, but not ideal as a repository for large project-related documents stored on local drives.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
It's that ability to strip out the display formatting tha makes the content, or metadata, so easily exportable, mash-upable and re-combinable - and it's from that that ability to recombine that Web 2.0 emerges in all its diversity and creativity.
What it will mean for us? The digital library as a virtual branch of the NSL system is already part of the overall vision, but we can't affoard to get lazy and leave this stuff to the web team to implement on our behalf, or put them in a position where they become the technology gatekeepers - not if we want jobs ourselves in the future. Young people coming into the profession are already comfortable with this kind of technology, and what's needed now is an environment that gives those staff and patrons who want to use this technology the tools and support to make it happen in a collaborative way. That's where the true value of Web 2.0 technology in libraries comes in.
And yes, you can include the patrons in this - for a great local example of a library that does exactly that, check out Kete Horowehnua (http://horowhenua.kete.net.nz/) , a community site hosted and (very lightly) mediated by staff at Horowhenua Library.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
As far as Bloglines goes, it's also reasonably straightforward to use, but you are spoiled for choice and can be tempted into adding more feeds than you can deal with. You can end up getting bogged down - it's like having a permanently full email box, and no time to read it It';s best to be selective - stick with the ones that are actually useful, and save the fun-but-potential-timewasters for the home pc. (Or be prepared to delete ruthlessly).
For those with an interest in Web 2.0 and things digital in the NZ library context, check out the National Digital Forum site at http://ndf.natlib.govt.nz/index.htm. They don't have an RSS feed, but they do have links to the presentations at each of the NDF conferences (held over 2 days at the end of each November).
You can actually do this stuff on google earth, but you have to use their maps - what I'm looking for is a way to scan in our own historical maps and then link our images in to them - not just play with this technology for its own sake (fun thought that is), but to put it to work by using it to tell stories about where we live and how we live.
Anyway, Kate found this very cool one, Tag Galaxy, which picks up Flikr tags and displays the associated images in a spectacularly creative way.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
The Friends of Sargeson House have organised tonight's knees-up and have bought down some of the more portable bits and pieces from his house to go on display, including a truly vile substance called Lemora, which used to be brewed in Henderson, was lemon-flavoured and 29% alchohol. We will be recording the event - Graeme Lay, Kevin Ireland and Christine Cole Catley will be speaking - and all going well I'll post some photos.