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Thing 10: Wikis

I made a wiki. Since I was just doing it by myself I didn’t really build any places for collaboration into it, but I think it can be edited by anyone. I didn’t have much time to spend, so there isn’t much there.

http://lmmontgomery.pbwiki.com/ 

I know I like wikis; we use one in one of my classes and everyone has their own space to put whatever they want, and all the information for the course is laid out really nicely. We can comment on everything and adding content is easy.

I love Google docs – it has changed and saved my academic life. It made working on powerpoint presentations for group project so much easier. Instead of one person having to make the whole thing, or each person making a section and one person still having to pull it all together, each could just do their part, and proofread and make suggestions for others’ parts. I’ve also used a basic doc and a spreadsheet. One feature I didn’t like was not being able to save something to my computer that I hadn’t started; in one of my group projects, someone else began the powerpoint, and while I can access it, it seemed to be the case that I couldn’t just save a copy on my computer.

A collaboration tool isn’t always the easiest way to go though. There have been some situations in which several people are working on an entire thing, and it becomes hard to track who did what, so I didn’t know who to talk to to go over changes. Another time I was writing a paper with a partner, and we thought about using an online based tool, but decided that since we really worked on it one at a time, attaching the paper to email – the old fashioned way – worked best for us. I liked to compare what he sent me to the draft I last had (I know you can track and see changes in Word, but sometimes I find side by side easier to process), and we worked in large chunks, taking turns, so we only had to send things back and forth a couple times.

This brings up a point that comes up a lot in 2.0 tools: you don’t have to use them just because they are cool or new or perfect for some tasks. Different tasks and different people need different tools. I think people are becoming more aware of this; they are realizing that instead of having a blog what they really need is a wiki, or that doing a podcast makes their content much more interesting, and it may or may not need a blog to go along with it.

I made a database: http://lazybase.com/loveclassics . I did a really fast, basic one, but I can see how this tool could be useful in lots of ways for keep tracking of information, especially things you want to share. If I was doing reader’s advisory, this could be awesome – add things as I find them, use keywords to help people select items. It looks like you can also make an RSS feed of your database. I hope to remember this one!

I tried to make something cool on picturetrail, and while I managed to make it, I can’t seem to get it to post (I just keep coming up with a link that just takes you to picture trail – yawn!).

I read this article. I didn’t know that Milennium had SMS features! That’s really cool and I’d like to try out such a service. My question is (and maybe someone out there knows?), once you get the text message saying this new book by your chosen author is in, can you call or text back right away to place a hold for it? Otherwise, I wonder if someone would just receive the text, read it, and forget about it.

I am not a big texter – mostly because I’m cheap. I used to use AOL instant messanger for hours upon hours in high school, and college too. I don’t use that anymore, but I do chat through my gmail. However, I don’t have friends that I talk to online almost exclusively anymore. In high school I had many friends from school who I talked to for hours every evening online, but not much by phone and while we did have real, in person friendships, the online part of it was the biggest part. Now my online chatting is just saying hi to people who are very good friends in ‘real’ life.

I think libraries should have email, chat, and text reference available, all the better to reach and be available to as many people as possible. This kind of reference is really hard, but we don’t dictate peoples’ needs and wants. I have used the email reference service at some colleges, and it has been great. I send the question and then don’t worry about it, and it isn’t long until I hear a response. Email can definitely be tough; it has happened that I sent a question and the answer I got didn’t apply to my situation, so to get a better answer, I had to write again and wait again. In this case, some kind of real time interaction would have been better. Another issue is that people can be very impatient in IM contexts – I know I am! If I asked someone a question, I don’t like staring at a blank response box, waiting, for more than about a minute – not enough to type good answers to lots of reference questions!

Of course, if your users don’t know you offer a service, it’s useless, and I would venture to guess that that may be a bigger issue in libraries.

It’s true; this stuff is infinitely fun to play with. I really like Carleton’s trading cards – something to aspire to!

I wasn’t feeling terribly creative today so I didn’t really take full advantage of the opportunities of the generators, but this one was the thing I made that I thought was most fun:

Motivational Poster

I’m glad I got an introduction to these; more than some of the other things so far, I think I will be coming back to the image generators for future use (both professional and personal!).

Mashups are something I haven’t worked with before. I played a little with retrievr
and it’s pretty fun. I looked at a few of the other ones as well, but in general I wasn’t that excited by these. I’m sure there are lots of great mashups out there, and maybe I would be more into it if I was actually trying to use one for a particular purpose.

These could be great tools for libraries though. Getting logos, fun images, etc. can take a long time if you go through the usual channels of having someone design something and then getting it into a form you can use. A library could do fun things with pictures of the library’s rooms or staff – lots of ways to keep the library in peoples’ minds.

Thing 4 Part 2


Husky Puppy

Originally uploaded by Tony Pham

Yay! It worked! I must have some of these!