Tuesday, October 28, 2008

42. What have you learned?

It's been a long year, thinking back to January when we started this program seems like a long time ago. We've had some easy lessons and we've had some hard lessons.

For your very last lesson I'm going to make you think, I have four questions I'd like you to consider and answer in the comments.
  1. What was the most useful thing you learned?
  2. What was the most fun?
  3. What would you like to learn more about?
  4. Which do you think will have the most impact on libraries?

Monday, October 27, 2008

41. Finding blogs that are right for your job

I may be going about things in a bit of a backwards way, but now that I've given you all tools to handle information overload and getting buried in blog information, I'll now give you some tools to go out and find those blogs that are right for your job - so that you can use the tools I've already given you to get yourself "unburied". The ReadWriteWeb blog (one of the blogs that I've identified as being necessary for my job) has posted about finding the right blogs for you in the past. In a fairly recent post, they compared six ways to find a blog that will help you keep on top of what you need to know to do your job. They followed that post up with a "why" and "how" post as well.
  • Staying up-to-date on the news in your industry/area of work
  • Knowing what people are talking about
  • Finding reference resources for later use
They, of course, reference their earlier post on the subject, the one I linked to above, and then gave some concrete examples of finding blogs for HR professionals, Physical Therapists and Fire Inspectors. You can take these same techniques and use them to find blogs that will help you keep up-to-date with what others in your job are doing, talking about and thinking about. You can also use alert services such as alerts.com to pull information about a particular keyword into your feed reader. Another tool that you can use is a custom search engine that does constant searches throughout the web for information you want and dumps the results into an RSS feed for your feed reader.

Using these tools, you should be able to find blogs that will pay off handsomely in your ability to stay on top of what is going on in your particular job. Just going through and doing an alert or custom search for keywords will really help you identify what blogs are discussing topics you care about.

Monday, October 13, 2008

40. DimDim

Yep, the name of the service I'll be showing you all today is DimDim. Silly name, very cool idea. The idea behind the silly name is to bring simple web conferencing to the cheap! With DimDim (yes, I do like typing the name, why do you ask?) you can get web conferencing tools - desktop sharing, slide presentation, chat and voice chat capabilities - without paying for them. DimDim uses Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to give you voice chatting for free - instead of calling in via a telephone, you can plug in a headset with a microphone to your computer (or use a laptop which generally has a built in microphone included) and talk over the internet. There is nothing to install in order to use DimDim, so it's nice for people who want to collaborate without involving their IT department and it's easy to use even on very old computers.
Just like most "free" Web 2.0 services, however, it does have paid versions that give you more features. The free version allows for 20 people in a "room", but that's really the only limitation - all the other features are included. A bit more money, $99 a year, and you can put your logo on your room and have up to 100 people connected at a time. For a LOT more money each year ($1998), you can have your own custom logo, multiple meetings happening at the same time and the limitation on people per room is 1000.
DimDim, unlike many of the tools we've been profiling over the course of the last year, is social in a "synchronous" way - meaning that it requires people to be present at the same time. Because of that, I'll be on DimDim and hosting a meeting on Wednesday morning at 11am (room URL is http://webmeeting.dimdim.com:80/portal/JoinForm.action?confKey=webgoddess, meeting key is MRRL) and again on Thursday afternoon at 3pm (sorry evening folks, you'll have to play with this one on your own). I'll post the Thursday afternoon one in the comments later. If you need a headset to join the meetings (only necessary if you want to voice chat, text chatting is always available as well), come see me and we'll work something out!

Monday, September 29, 2008

39 .Hulu

What is Hulu? According to the about page it is
an online video service that offers hit TV shows, movies and clips at Hulu.com and other online destination sites — all for free
Yes, you can watch popular TV shows and movies, shows from back in the day and some of my favorites right online
  • Hulu does not require a download of any software. Users only need a Flash 9.0 enabled computer and an Internet connection to enjoy.
  • Hulu offers the freedom to share full-length episodes or clips via e-mail or embed on other Web sites, blogs and social networking pages.
  • Hulu's clipping feature allows users to select a portion of the video they would like to share.
Why am I showing you an online tv watching service as part of Library Learning? It's a great example of traditional media adapting to the new Web. Something libraries and publishers are still struggling with. Sure we have downloadable audio books, but how easy is that site to use compared to Hulu?

Other sites to watch TV online

38. Feedhub

Feedhub, a recommendation engine for RSS feeds, may be just what you need to start really taking control of your information sources. Are your feed reader "unread" items a bit higher than you like? Feedhub can analyze what you are reading now and pull interesting and relevant stories out of the 'net just for you. The more you use it, the better it gets at figuring out what it is you like. You can also point it toward your FriendFeed or Delicious accounts or your blog to teach it more about what you are interested in. Once Feedhub does the analyzing of your interests, you will start to get stories in your feed reader that are tailored for you. Once that happens, you can pretty much delete most of your other feeds and rely on Feedhub to keep you informed.
I haven't been using it for very long, but it seems to do a pretty good job of figuring out what sort of news/stories/blog posts I will like from my feeds and delivering them to me. I'll keep tweaking the stories it sends (by going to the Feedhub site and "voting" on the stories it suggests for me) to make it work even better, though! What I'd really like is for it to pull stories from *other* feeds to show me that match the kinds of stories I like, as well.
This tool is another possible way to take control of your information sources and manage your time efficiently - use it if you feel like you want more control over the amount of information that comes at your via your feed reader!

Monday, September 22, 2008

37. Blip.tv

Most of you have heard of YouTube, but it's not the only place to watch videos online anymore, today we're going to look at one of the competitors blip.tv. Blip.tv is more focused towards videoblogging than viral videos.

Some of the benefits of blip.tv
  • Doesn't lower the quality of your videos
  • Free
  • Works with multiple video formats
  • Allows offers direct download links for all videos it hosts under Creative Commons

Other online video services
So you want to make your own videos? Here are some basic guides

Monday, September 15, 2008

36. Keeping things simple

Now that we are reaching the end of this set of lessons, you all have created accounts and played around with a *bunch* of different services in the Web 2.0 landscape. You may be wondering, at this point, how to keep up with updates to Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook and all the other sites that want you to keep them up-to-date with what you are doing. Using a social updating aggregator such as Updating.me, Ping.fm or Hellotxt will really help you out with this task. Any of these services will take your login information for a variety of sites and update them all in one fell swoop.
Updating.me offers one-stop updating for 10 different services, including Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed, Plurk and others that we haven't gotten around to mentioning yet. It also will show you a single page of your friends' updates from any of those services on it's home page as well, which is a feature that the other two don't have. Updating.me is still in beta, but the code BetaToUpdateMe