Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Library 2.0

The video clip The Web is Us/ing Us ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gmP4nk0EOE) was great - the description of the difference between html and xml markup language and the way xml allows you to separate out a site's content without also having to define the way that content displays was probably the most valuable part of it - that, and the very cool way it used the very same technology it was describing to describe that technology.

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.


Had a look at this site. Visually it's a bit busy and I'm not sure the quality of the material it retrieves is any better than you'd get doing a google search - but it does search across blogs, images, sites etc and generates and presents search results from the one home page, which Google doesn't do. But on the whole I prefer the uncluttered look of Google. I see this one as being more useful for hobbies, pop culture searches - that kind of thing.


Had a look at the Delicious site - created my own login for this one so I can continue to use it after the Web 2.0 program is over. It seems OK , pretty intuitive to use, but I won't need it for for personal stuff - Explorer Favourites works fine for that. It will be more useful for sites on specific work-related issues, like copyright and digital images. Tagged a couple of sites I already had in my favourites list. Will reserve judgement on this one until I've used it more often.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Feeding the RSS Addiction

Adding an RSS feed is actually pretty easy - I use a customised google screen as my home page when I log on and had already subscribed to a few via google anyway. Adding an RSS feed to that is basically just a couple of clicks. You don't even have to use Bloglines to find them - if you are just having a general surf and find a site you like that has a feed, you can subscribe to it directly. Most sites offering feeds use the red RSS icon - the Mash-up Awards site I subscribed to doesn't, but if you click on "Subscribe" you get there anyway.

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).

Maps, photos and mash-ups

There sure are some interesting mashup applications out there, and you could spend WAY too long investigating them. The kind I guess I'm looking for are the map-image mashups - I could see some really great uses for something like that in local history, where you could maybe combine maps of an area from different time periods and then link in old photos or interesting historical info about the places on that map.

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

Auckland Storm

We didn't see so much of the recent wild weather over on Auckland's west coast, but when the first storm came in from the east in the last week of July and whipped up 6 metre swells in the Waitemata Harbour, a few hardy souls went out with their cameras. The Herald published a couple of great ones of some guy at the end of the wharf at Devopnport absolutely dwarfed by the waves, but those ones are copyright (go the NZ Herald NewsPix website if you want to see them) so I did a trawl around Flickr and found this one, of the Tamaki Waterfront (Focus Photography, wwwfocusphotography.co.nz. They sell their images online and have more of images of the same storm if you want to check them out.