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.