Thursday, April 27, 2006

So You Want to Read More Library Blogs

Since I am positive that the readers of my blog would love to explore many other blogs related to libraries, I will give you access to large lists (larger than the 5 I have listed on the right).

Blog Without a Library Index to Library Weblogs Wiki
DMOZ's Open Directory Project Library and Information Science Weblogs
Libdex's Library Weblogs

Found on Library Success / Promoting Yourself section.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"Hey! You! Get Off of MySpace!" - Rolling MySpacers

--Updated Monday May 1 (a section mysteriously disappeared)--

The Librarian in Black posted this about library reactions to MySpace. What is MySpace, you may ask? As usual, wikipedia has a decent definition and background (This is the beauty of wikipedia. I would not use it a reference source with a customer, but if I want to know something obscure, it is a great place to go).

MySpace has been mentioned in the news frequently. If you go to InfoTrac Onefile and perform a keyword search for myspace, you will receive 390 articles. Do the same in Newsbank and you receive 2384 results, 20 in the Commercial Appeal alone (19 in the past year).

Do a google search for myspace and you receive 200,000,000 results. Many on the first few results pages are sites that help you create your myspace page. These pages are filled with photos, videos, songs, discussions with friends, individual profiles and such. Also, you can ask to be someone's friend and a list of all of your friends is created with links to their myspace profile.

This site is so popular with teens and twenty-somethings, that a few libraries have created profiles of their own as an outreach effort (go to myspace and search myspace with "library"). Take a look at their profiles and look at their list of friends. Certainly a different take on the "friend of the library" concept.

On the flip side, the risk of sexual predators does exist. Also, some have expressed concern about content issues, behavior issues, etc. One library has banned it because of band-width issues.

So, MySpace. Friend or Foe. What do you think?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Say What Now!?

Just read these articles if you want to have a "Say What!?" moment:

A Library for Avatars
Alliance Library System Article

I don't know what to think about this, but one thing is for sure. Librarians of the future seem to be very prepared to adjust to society's possible changes, no matter what they are.


Check out the Second Life Library 2.0 blog:

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Meeting the Needs of Diverse Populations: TLA PreConference Panel Discussion

During TLA, I joined part in a pre-conference panel discussion titled, Meeting the Needs of Diverse Populations.

I discussed the role Memphis Public Library & Information Center (and all public libraries) plays in bridging the digital divide. Here is the conference handout I used.

Other members of the panel and their topics are:

Sandy Cohen, Founder/Manager/Director, Library Services for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (Customers with disabilities)

Pam Dennis, Director, Luther L. Gobbel Library at Lambuth University (Faculty customers)

Thura Mack, Training Librarian, Hodges Library at the University of Tennessee—Knoxville (Wrap-Up/Outreach Leadership)

Sherry Macken, Head Information Specialist at East Middle/High Schools, Memphis City Schools (Students with reading difficulties)

Bess Robinson, Reference/Instruction librarian, The University of Memphis Libraries (English as a Second Language customers)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ready Reference Group on the Web

Another bookmark (or favorites) sharing site is This works similar to On the magnolia site, a group has been created called Ready Reference. This is a group of librarians that have created an extensive list of bookmarks on all sorts of topics. Check them out.

This was found in one of the comments to this post on The Shifted Librarian blog.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"The Typing is the Reward" - Typist Proverb

A couple customers and a staff member have asked me about providing a typing class. Well, I took typing in high school for a semester and I know that you cannot "teach" someone how to type. You basically show them where to put your fingers and the rest is practice, practice, practice.

The real catch is knowing what to type. Well, the Web has plenty of free typing skills sites that you can use as a guide. Here they are. I attempted to place them in order of difficulty:

Peter's Online Typing Course: Excellent overall course on typing with lots of exercises.

GoodTyping: A good introductory test. This shows you how to place your fingers on the keyboard and such.

TouchTyping: Similar to GoodTyping, perhaps with better graphics.

Letters (a game): A different take on it. If you liked Space Invaders, you may enjoy this.

PowerTyping: Starts measuring mistakes and wpm (words per minute).

TypingTest: Similar to PowerTyping.

SpeedTypingTest: Another free test.

OK, this is enough for now. If you have others that you have used, let me know and I will add the link.

Gooey Mouse Skills Exercise!

The new Unicorn ILS will have a Graphic User Interface. What does that mean? Well, to compare, the DRA classic uses a Text User Interface. In other words, your screen consists of nothing but text. A graphic user interface uses objects on the screen that you interact with. You generally interact with these objects by using a mouse.

So, if you are uncomfortable with a "Gooey" (GUI) environment, then take these series of exercises.

This first exercise will focus on mouse skills. The mouse is the key to the Gooey environment. Following are links to various places on the Internet that have fun ways to interact with the mouse and objects on the screen.

New User Tutorial: Need to know how to hold the mouse. Follow this link for a reminder.

Dot to Dot: Did you like doing dot-to-dot drawings as a child? They were great because they taught you hand-eye coordination as well as counting. Plus, you were rewarded in the end because you had a wonderful picture. Well, here is the mouse version.

Mr. Picasso Head: Create art and learn how to click, drag, and interact with objects on the screen at the same time.

SeniorNet: This is a great site that will help you double-click and click and drag.

Mousercise: This is a classic that help you use a mouse as well as introduces several Gooey concepts like Radio Buttons, Check Boxes, Text Boxes, etc.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Do your Resume Templates in Style

In the Library Computers class, we learned that Resume Templates are just tables, and that the best way to add and delete information in the table is to use the Table menu to add or delete rows.

Well, here is another great secret to Resume Templates in Word. The templates have built-in Styles that can be accessed via the Style drop down menu (pictured) which is located on the Formatting toolbar.

The picture here is showing the Elegant Resume Template. If you click on Objective, Experience, or any of the other section headers, you will notice that the Style drop down menu will say Section Title. Now, click on one of the lines that lists the years, name of company, and city. Now look at the Style drop down menu. Notice it says Company Name. Now click on one of the bulleted lists. The Style drop down menu now says Achievement.

Those are the built-in Styles. Therefore, if you are adding a new section header, just insert a row, and rather than attempting to reproduce the other section headers, just click on the Style drop down menu and select the Section Title Style. Or, if you have inserted a new row to add information about an additional company, change the Style to Company Name. Notice that the tabs and spacing are automatically added to the Ruler.

NOTE: If you press the Tab key in a table, you will be moved to the next cell. THEREFORE, to utilize an inserted tab, you must press CTRL+Tab.

Flickr of the Future, Web2.0

Take a look at the photo-sharing website, This is a social website that utilizes the tagging philosophy to create a folksonomy of searchable terms.

For example, if I create a username called mplictechtrain, I can then begin uploading my digital photographs onto flickr's website. I can then "tag" each photograph with a description of the photograph's contents. Tags cannot have spaces, so if I have a picture of me riding a bike in front of the Eiffel Tower, I would tag it with the terms paris, eiffeltower, bikeriding, and whatever else I can think of. These tags are then searchable by anyone.

I would eventually have all my pictures searchable by subject. Personally, this would be of great use. However, this tagging also benefits everyone who uses the site, as people can search through everyone's pictures. Take a look at the search results for the tag eiffeltower. There are over 9000 pictures. Yes, you will receive many pictures of the Eiffel Tower with a Google Image search, but will you find one like this?

This is just one layer, though. I mentioned at the beginning that you would have to create a username to start adding pictures. Well, the usernames are posted along with the pictures, so if you like a picture, click on their username and you will see all of their pictures. Their tags are also listed so you can take a look at their photo album by subject. You can even add comments to their pictures.

So, what is the purpose of all of this? How does this apply to libraries? This is a perfect and fun example of Web2.0, which is a more interactive and collaborative web. This is the web of the future, the web that many of our customers will be expecting to encounter. Web feeds, blogs, wikis, social sites are all examples of Web2.0.

Look at all the posts from the Tame the Web blog about libraries using Flickr to advertise their services.

Take a look at this blog post from The Shifted Librarian and it's links to discussions about tagging in an OPAC environment.

And in case you don't remember, take a look at this previous post of mine about web feeds and our new ILS.

Also, remember the not so distant past when I talked about the wiki Library Success.

So why do I talk about these trends so much while I know that many customer encounters involve providing assistance with the mouse or assistance filling out an e-mail registration?

Because the library will always need to be on the cutting edge if we are to adapt and stay relevant in the future. However, we will always need to be a bridge over the digital divide as well. So it is a difficult balancing act, helping one customer group jump over the digital divide while keeping up with the other customer group who is speeding down the Internet Highway.

And because we do not want to spend all of our time focusing on helping people cross the digital divide and then turn around and find ourselves on the wrong side of the divide as well.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Too Busy to Stay Current? No More Excuses

So, you say you don't have time to scan blogs and discussion groups or you cannot attend conferences in order to stay current with library trends.

Well, try this site, Library Link of the Day.

Each day has a new link to an article about something related to libraries. Staying current allows you to stay connected to your profession. On days when you spend a majority of your time signing people up for a computer and directing customers to the nearest restroom, this can be refreshing.