Monday, August 10, 2009

Thing 23: Reflection

Thank you, 23 Things. I have 384 library-related stories to read in my Google Reader, a dozen library pages to check on Facebook, several more podcasts to watch, a hankering to get back into GoogleDocs to make that survey app work and I am really looking for ways to use that card catalog generator again!
And it's all good. I feel as if I have a much better understanding of the technologies available today. I'm far better poised to move into the future.
I'll continue to use Google Reader to stay up on blogs involving libraries, information literacy and other subjects. Delicious is now part of my reportoire. I use it to organize Web pages. I don't work at a library yet where I can add Web 2.0 technologies to my workday, but I am more likely now to consider these tools for organizing and sharing information. I like the creativity that is sparked by the use of Web tools, and I think that aspect adds a sense of enchantment to learning.
Thanks to everyone who worked on make 23 Things available!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thing 22: Developing tech skills

I highly recommend the 23 Things program to my coworkers, who also are graduate student assistants at the University of North Texas, Dallas, library.
My coworkers are bright, young people who already use many of the Web 2.0 technologies in their daily lives. I tell my coworkers that I think the program still is a good learning experience because it draws our thoughts to that spot where technology and libraries intersect. We need to focus not just on the new tools, but also on what we are going to build with those tools.
If I were to help implement 23 Things for library staff, I would make it outcome-based training, where the goal for the staff would be to collaboratively develop at least three recommendations on how the library could institute new ways to create patron access to information. I would like to see the 23 Things program repeated by the North Texas Regional Library System every few years, or even more frequently. The pace of change in the information environment is rapid and the need to keep up is important.
Illlustration courtesy of ALA bookmarks, because, after the computer is turned off at night, I still love to read.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thing 21: Podcasts

Podcasts help open library doors.

User-generated podcasts are being used to bring teens into public libraries, as is being done in the Boulder ( Colo.) Public Library and the Cheshire (Conn.) Public Library. Teens review books ,art and music at those libraries.

Public library podcasts also include local politics, such as the mayoral candidate debates done at the Kankakee (Ill.)) Public Library. I like that. It makes the library seem like a community center, and the ability to play archived podcasts means that patrons can hear community debates whenever they choose. Kankakee also includes podcasts on teen poetry slams and regular updates on technology as it is used in the library.

Johns Hopkins University uses podcasts to inform patrons about how to get the most of their library experience. Podcasts included federated searching, information on what can be found in specific databases and how to work with subject specialist librarians.

The quality of podcasts does vary, so it is worthwhile to make sure the volume and sound quality is appropriate before posting.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thing 20: YouTube

Libraries are creating several styles of YouTube videos.
Some are practical tutorials, such as the University of Texas libraries' video on how to find a book. I can see this being used as part of bibliographic instruction in classrooms.
Others use the videos to convey a single message such as Texas Tech's video with no voiceover, just techno music and video of students using a variety of computer programs, such as 3-D animation, and, oh yes, one shot of a student using a book. Message: We are techno savvy and we have the tools to prove it!
The University of North Texas Portal to Texas history uses a video to raise awareness of its existence as well as showcase some of the intellectual content of its collection using rapid fire images of some of its holdings. It's very entertaining as well as informative. Watch it by clicking on the Thing 20: YouTube title of this post.
Other libraries illustrate their library activities, as is done by the Round Rock Public Library, which uses orginal music in English and Spanish to highlight its Texas Reading Club.
Most library videos have been created in the last two years. They don't tend to have a lot of hits, but that may not be a measure of success. Most are aimed at a limited audience, such as a student population or a city population. Now if we could only get a library video to go truly viral. Hmmm...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thing 19: GoogleDocs

I haven't tried collaborating on GoogleDocs yet, but it strikes me as a good way to work on group projects.

I didn't find GoogleDocs to have the same functionality as
MS Office. It seems like a more rustic version of Office. You can't split tables or merge cells in tables, for instance. I do like the ability to convert a document to a Word document.

The gadgets on GoogleDocs hold some real promise. I created a survey on GoogleDocs forms. It's saved on my hard drive but I haven't yet figured out how to save it in the "cloud" so that it can be used. I want to spend more time on GoogleDocs and test more of its capabilities.

In the meantime, GoogleDocs looks like a good way to accomplish library group projects, such as the creation of a new bibliographic instruction, for instance. I liked the video that explained the ease. No need to email documents around anymore, not with GoogleDocs.

Still, security seems to be an unresolved issue with collaborative cloud computing. The July 20 New York Times carries an interesting opinion piece on the dangers of storing documents outside of your own hard drive.

Illustration by jay freshuk from flickr's Creative Commons

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thing 18: Wikis

Wiki, the Hawaiian word for quick, is indeed a fast source, although one that is not always reliable.

I looked up "information literacy" on Wikipedia. The teaching of info lit is a personal interest. Plus the irony of searching for "information literacy" on Wikipedia is alluring, considering all the debate over Wikipedia reliability.

The entry on info lit seems like a good introduction to information literacy, and the sources are authoritative. Sources include ALA and the Association of College Research Libraries.

The history of the information literacy page shows spurts of editing activity going back to when the page was first posted in 2004.

The discussion page held mainly an article written in Spanish. I like the idea of multi-lingual web pages. In fact, a diversity of languages is the only way true information literacy can be achieved. But on this English-language Wikipedia page about information literacy the article wasn't translated into English.

That got me thinking about library web pages and language translation and how we need to open our virtual doors to more people by designing web pages that have more language options.

I'm off to work on the North Texas 23 wiki. Hasta luego!

Photo Hawaiian shuttle bus by cogdogblog from flickr's Creative Commons

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thing 17: LibWorm

Hooray for LibWorm's job feed! I put it on my handy Google Reader back during Thing 7.

What? We aren't supposed to be looking for jobs? We are supposed to evaluate LibWorm's search capabilities. Oh, OK.

I searched for memes using a keyword search and a subject search. I don't think LibWorm's subject search is a librarian's version of a subject search. Memes as a subject term retrieved words within text and also retrieved "meme" within words, resulting in an unrelated French language hit high in the results list.

I had a little better luck doing various searches on "information literacy," without the quote marks. The results were precise enough that I added the LibWorm's RSS feed on information literacy to my Google Reader.

The most popular tags list is interesting. The books tag is more popular than the Web tag, although just barely. The list actually is heavily weighted toward technical things, which can be seen more clearly in LibWorm's storm cloud or its big cloud. Also, I couldn't help but wonder why so many people interested in libraries would go to a library RSS feed site and tag their finds: "library." It seems a redundancy. Maybe their feeds are being streamed into their own RSS readers along with a variety of other topics.

I searched for two Metroplex area libraries. I noticed the list of results was not ranked by date, and that the first item in one list was dated 2007. Job openings long filled were near the tops of the lists.

I'll look at my LibWorm feed for professional development reasons, and of course, job search reasons, because, after all, finding a job is Thing 24.

Illustration from Microsoft Clipart

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thing 16: LibraryThing

More books in my personal collection are former finalists for the National Book Award than actual winners of the National Book Award. I didn't realilze that until I tried LibraryThing.

Collection analysis is one of the interesting aspects of LibraryThing. The statistics page reveals aspects of my own collection that I hadn't realized. The percent of living vs. dead authors, the percentage of male vs. female authors. That sort of thing.

The tag cloud page shows a graphic representation of my books for further analysis. I haven't entered all of my books but after tagging a few I now see my bookshelves as not just rows of books but as a cloud of ideas weighted toward American and Mexican classics and historical fiction.

LibraryThing is inspiring me to classify and rearrange my own books.

I do not yet know how to compare MARCThing and ISBN Check and that ISBN language analyzer tool to the library cataloging tools at use in current practice.

I enjoy Librarians Who LibraryThing. It's insightful when it delves into topics such as the future of classification and it's funny when it opens discussions on Annoying Things that Patrons Do Say, Don't Say.

Photo by austinevan from flickr's Creative Commons

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thing 15: Digg

I must say, I do agree with Mick O'Leary, inconoclast and librarian, when he says that Digg, designed to let users "collectively determine the value of content," is a flop.

It's popular. But is it useful? O'Leary describes Digg items as commonplace and trivial

In Digg and the New 'Me Generation' in the June 2009 Information Today, O'Leary reveals that at 1:30 p.m. on April 7, 2009, he discovered these Top Diggs by Topic:

• This Is the Worst Movie Tagline Ever!
• Hot Celebrities We Want to See Naked in Movies
• Build Your Own Multitouch Surface Computer
• Cartoon Characters and the Drugs They Abused
• Pitcher of Beer Down in 5 Seconds
• The Science of Cow Tipping
• What if the World All Used the Same Currency?
• The 7 Least Practical Controllers Ever Assembled
• Obama Administration to Launch DATA.GOV!!!
• Obama: The U.S. Is Not at War With Islam

I saw similar stories when I visited. I find it interesting that Digg divides topics by categories, such as Technology, World & Business, Offbeat and more, yet all of the topics seemed to carry offbeat webpages.

I can think of one library-related use for Digg: Use it as a demonstration on why so many people would benefit from information literacy training.
Illustration from Microsoft clip art

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thing 14: delicious

The good folks at have a tag cloud generator that allows users to import their tags directly from delicious. The cloud below is an import of my delicious tags

I added four Web pages to my delicious account: Arts & Letters Daily from The Chronicle of Higher Education, ALA, the Smithsonian and UNT Libraries.

Libraries are using delicious. The Haltom City Library, for instance, has tagged TCU's Mary Couts Burnett Library. Sul Ross State University has tagged the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Delicious strikes me as a good way for librarians to organize reliable Web sites that they want to share with users.

Here's my account:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thing 13: Tags

Tagging is in an experimental stage.
Marketing may be the greatest use of user tagging on library websites until the technique evolves. A greater structure is needed before it can be used as way to find, identify, select and obtain anything more than random resources.

For now, tagging on Delicious is mostly being used to describe the intellectual content of a website, but flickr tags are describing the physical features of a photograph and YouTube tags tend to describe the format and genre (Ding, 2009).

Yet the digital native generation wants to be able to interact and create when it seeks information.
Opening up some form of tagging on library websites makes sense, even if it is only used on a jump page designed for entertainment where online patrons could be engaged by creating tag clouds of popular novels (Yipes! We'd have to monitor it and use the C word to delete "bad" words) or, in an academic setting we could allow users to create their own networking pages arranged by discipline and topic where they could tag appropriate library resources that could be searched through the page (Group work has its merits, but....Yipes! The P word! Would the number of sources they seek lessen or be repeated too frequently? Would critical thinking skills wane?). I think we need some beta sites.
Ding, Y., et al, 2009. Profiling social networks: a social tagging perspective, D-Lib Magazine, 15(3/4) retrieved June 22, 2009 from
Illustration from Microsoft clip art

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thing 12: Twitter

I keep arguing that my parents already gave me a user name but no one listens.

On twitter, my user name is JessMill.

The video on the twitter help page is indeed helpful in learning the basics of the service.

I signed up to follow the Texas Library Association, the ALA-Technology folks, the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian. The latter actually had an intriguing tweet stream about its Global Tiger Initative, a "save the tigers" movement. I learned that 20 percent of "tiger parts" are destined for the U.S. market. Disturbing news in 140 characters or less!

Tweets would be a good way to send alerts to mobile phones. Campus and library closures, for instance, would be worth tweeting. Twitter also serves as a portal where users can read tweets on new services or new items or events. Then, we hope, they will log on to the library website.

Perhaps twitter's greatest use is that it may be a platform from which next-generation technology springs. It makes sense to know how it works.

The last time I heard about twitter was when a home appraiser came by as part of my refinance application and said he was considering using twitter to market his sideline business selling raw, organic food.

A very twitterish illustraton from Microsoft clip art.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thing 11: Instant Messaging and a Confession

I created an IM account at Yahoo!'s web-based service:
My user name is, which also is my email address. My email was automatically selected because I have an existing Yahoo account with my email address as my sign in.

I'd change my user name if I were to keep this as a permanent account.

The Yahoo! web-based IM service appears to only accept messages if I am signed into the account with the page open. That makes sense. IM wouldn't be very instant if the messages were accepted and stored for later reading. I think that would be called email.

I've used more than one university library's IM service to chat with reference librarians. The experience always has been good. Fast retrieval. Smart answers.

Confession: Once a caller to my workplace at a magazine wanted to find a story in an old newspaper that is no longer published. I admit that I established two simultaneous IM connections with reference desks at two universities to help out the caller. One library was particularly fast in telling me about a third library where the newspaper in question is kept in microform and I was able to help out the caller while he was still on the line.
Image from

Friday, June 12, 2009

That Shadowy Face on the Followers List

"Your (system) has blocked at attack on your computer," reads that warning box that pops up on my screen when I sign in to blogger now and then.

Yipes! That word "attack" just bothers me.

I am not sure what to do to prevent such attacks, outside of using Norton or some other security program. I really try to be careful about which sites I visit and what email I open. So, lacking any real knowledge, I just did something.

I removed the followers list. Since I've started this blog I've had a follower who describes himself as a French accountant living somewhere in Africa. I could never figure out why a French accountant in Africa would be interested in 23 Things. Just likes numbers, perhaps?

Not knowing how to delete one follower, I removed the entire followers gadget. It may have nothing to do with the "attacks" on my computer. So I hope people still visit my blog through some other means.
Update: I figured out how to delete one follower. From Dashboard, click on followers and click on the photo that accompanies the suspicious follower. From there, you can add the person as a friend or block them as a follower.
Image from

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thing 10: No Ning

Perhaps I am putting too much stock in one blog writer's assessment, but the post on Charting Stocks gave me a poor impression of ning.

I disturbs me that ning is described as apparently planning to capture personal information from people who use ning social network pages and then use that information to promote its own service.

That's just not nice. That's as if everyone who went to a party had his or her wallet stolen by a business rep who only wanted to create an advertising database.

I am staying away from participating until I learn more from more sources about what's happening at ning.

That said, I couldn't resist a peek at ning. I like the way the pages are collected as individual websites. I had fun visiting the page Fiber Arts/Mixed Media, where a monthly creative challenge is posted. For June: Make birds or birdish forms out of castoffs. I also enoyed visiting, where I learned that there will be a tour of DFW-area ponds on June 18.

Photo by fczuardi via flickr's Creative Commons

Saturday, June 6, 2009

No Thing, Just Good Info on Web Evolution

Thing 9.75 v2

The Facebook group known as the American Library Association Members is the most active of library-related groups that I visited. I joined.

The discussions included:
Second masters for academic librarians?
Ethnic programing
Collection development
An opening at the Smithsonian Libraries for interns.

Photo by 10ch via flickr's Creative Commons license

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thing 9.75: More Facebook

Glowing archives

I joined FacebookAppsforLibrarians.

It is a seldom used group and one that is difficult to find in a search. I found it off a link from Facebook's Library 2.0 Interest Group.

I'll be watching this group to see if it holds any interesting postings.

Most groups I find on Facebook don't seem to have a lot of activity. I'll be watching some groups to see if I can come to a conclusion as to why. Perhaps some of us need to get on and do some postings to stimulate discussion.

Through some circuitous path I ran into a quiz called What Kind of a Librarian Are You? under the apps tab.

My Result: Archival Librarian

"As an archivist, you spend your days hunched over old documents and you love every second of it. You've seen every episode of Biography and your dream is to be interviewed for a History Channel special. You may forget your own phone number, but you can retain obscure facts with the best of them. Secretly, though, you're hoping to discover a document that will send you on a National Treasure/Da Vinci Code style adventure."

Photo by Izik on flickr's Creative Commons for photosharing

Thing 9.50: More Facebook

I discovered the value of groups on Facebook.

I can enjoy group discussions on a separate page and not have to stream that conversation through my profile where my non-library friends would only be annoyed.

Today's adventure was joining Facebook's Library 2.0 Interest Group. It's 9,995-members strong and it offers a discussion page of varied posts such as this from a Library of Congress librarian: Did you know that an article on Web 2.0 has been written in Arabic? I wish the post had described how or if the content differed from any other nation's academic literature on Web 2.0. (Only the abstract is available in English) But I can ask that in a discussion group, can't I?

My most fruitful find was AnnaLaura Brown's link to her page. She describes social networking as vital to understanding the culture of our patrons.

I see this group as a good professional development group, only not as beneficial as some of the other library blogs I've signed up for with that handy Google Reader. Still, I'll be checking back.

Photo by Nobuyuki Hayashi on flickr

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thing 9.25: More Facebook

The World Digital Library link has been added to my Facebook page.

This collection of digital images of primary sources is supported by the United Nations Educational , Scientific and Cultural Organization.

It is a fascinating collection of documents, maps and photography. The site is suitable for basic research or for an engaging foray into global culture.

You can find it at

Monday, June 1, 2009

Thing 8: Facebook

If Facebook were a verb, I would Facebook with caution.

I've used Facebook (fb) for about a year. It's a great way to keep track of far-flung former coworkers who have been leaving newspapers in droves.

Although my fb page is limited to viewing by family and friends, I find that I have collected many fb friends whom I do not know well. Some come from my current workplaces. So....I censor myself.

Before I post I ask myself: "Do I want everyone to know this about me?" I put the bare minimum of information in my profile. I tiptoe around religion and politics the same way I do in coversations at a workplace party. I only post the pictures where I look good!

In other words, I don't show my real face.

Fb and other social networking sites allow us to create social identities. That leads to this equation: fb = PR.

Here's an example: Some of my writerly friends can't resist posting links to everything they have published. Clearly, they are trying to increase their hits. Fb has turned them into their own PR agents. I realize on fb that I am getting ads from my friends instead of ads from Coca Cola or Nike.

I do enjoy the videos, the book suggestions, the photos and wry comments about happenings in my fb friends' lives. I like it when they share interesting news articles or announce big news: a baby, a new job, that sort of thing.

I really don't want any more marketing messages on my fb page. I don't typically "friend" businesses, bands or associations (OK, I did temporarily "friend" a certain U.S. President, just to see how he would use fb).

I try to do a minimum of marketing myself. I did put a WorldCat app on my fb page just to show friends how digitally hip libraries are becoming (they can search WorldCat from my page.).

Fb should be a party. Fb should be a conversation. The question we have to ask is: Will people keep using fb if it becomes more of a marketing tool than it already is?

I already have so many sources of streaming news and information. Fb is my separate room. If I allow streams of updates onto fb from libraries, universities, social causes, political causes, won't I eventually suffer from marketing overkill? Maybe that would be good. Maybe I'd get off the computer and call a friend. Then we could *really* talk.

Photo by Jake Botter on flickr

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thing 7: RSS

My home computer is fed a regular diet of Really Simple Syndication feeds. It's contantly being fed. The New York Times technology blog. NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. Howard Garrett's organic gardening column from the Dallas Morning News. Wired magazine.

RSS amounts to an embarrasment of riches. I really don't read everything fed into my computer to the tabbed Yahoo! pages I've created. I just like knowing it is there if I want it.

I do like the display on Yahoo! better than on Google Reader. On Yahoo! everything is arranged into little boxes that I can rearrange. It's like a newspaper, only one that gives a whole new meaning to moveable type.

The Google Reader does give me more headlines to quickly scan, but the interface just isn't that appealing (OK, I am a visual learner). But I am going to keep Google Reader going as a way to capture current literature for my coursework in library science. Because really, it's really simple.

Image above from

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thing 6: Blog Readers

"Information overload," I thought during my first foray into Google Reader.

My blogspot gadget had been offering a tidy list of 11 library-related blogs with just the most recent headlines posted. Easy to scan. Easy to stay up to date. Or so I thought. Until I tried Google Reader.

Google Reader offers an expanded list of the same 11 blogs. Where once I had 11 headlines to read, now I have keeps growing as blogs make new posts and the number of their archived posts grow.

Then I discovered the wonderful world of blog-reader organization and searching.

Here's how Google Reader is useful:

  • Folders segregate blogs into categories (one of my folders is Library Jobs that automagically is filled with recent postings).

  • Tagging highlights topics for later review.

  • Adding stars to posts collects those posts into its own category that I can return to for more reflective reading.

  • Keyword searching scours folders and retrieves articles.

  • Using the search feed function, I was able to pull up a list of academic library blogs that I plan to review to get ideas on how universities are using blogs to reach patrons.

  • The full list of blog headlines on the home page is intimidating in its breadth but does allow for serendipitous finds via browsing.

I want to use Google Reader more to unlock more of its mysteries. I like the fact that it archives blog posts, but how long do they stay up? If I want them "forever" should I copy the content onto my own Word document?

I can see how this tool is invaluable to my library education.
What I want to contemplate now is how to make this tool valuable for library patrons. We could include Google Reader in our bibliographic instruction presentations to show patrons how to keep up with subject-specific blogs. We could use it in Web literacy presentatons. Could we create Google Reader accounts for specific disciplines and make those available via the library website? Or do patrons want to do that themselves?
I'll work on that. Right now I have to go skim, star, bundle, share and tag 434 posts, no 435, for later reading.
The library card above was created at

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thing 5: I Can't Stop

Image generators are addictive. I am trying to figure out how to print this billboard size....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thing 5: Image Generators, Again

I love Wordle. I love Wordle so much that I keep looking for ways to use it in the library.

I don't know how I would use this interpretation of the First Amendment except as art for a literacy instruction PowerPoint.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thing 5: Image Generators

It's possible to do a very, very brief but graphic book review using the image generator at This also might be a fun project for children to do in libraries.

Thing 4: Flickr Mashup

Working on this mashup gave me an idea: Wouldn't it be fun to have a YA reading program create book covers with flickr mashups?

The process of distilling the main idea of a book into a cover is fun and it encourages thought on the book's main theme.

This magazine cover from is my humorous take on that idea.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thing 3: Pershendetje!

That's how you say hello in Albanian, according to flickr, which teaches me a greeting in a new language everytime I log on.

I got happily lost in the photostream of The Commons, flickr's site where the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, The Field Museum and more are posting images that are in the public domain.

These esteemed institutions are asking users to comment or add tags, which are mostly just joyous "how wonderful!" sorts of comments but have the potential to add valuable information to the collections. Who knows, someone might recognize great-grandfather and add a name.

I could definitely see libraries with valuable holdings, such as Texana collections, post photos to flickr to see if any informative tags were added.

The posting of photos on flickr allows libraries and museums to create portals to their other online offerings by offering links to "read more at..."

I also think these collections are good teaching tools. I learned a little bit about taxonomy by reading the cataloging terms used by the institutions.

The photo above is not my great-grandfather and there is no indication he is Albanian.

Photo citation:
Digital ID: 88462. 1860s-1920s
Source: [Photographs and prints of Egypt and Syria.]
Repository: The New York Public Library. Photography Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs.

Adventures and Misadventures in Mashups

A butterfly "mashes up" to a flower!

I mashed up flickr with Goggle Maps and created a map of photos taken at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden posted on a Google map of the garden. The result is toward the bottom of this blog. The mashup was created with

That was great fun.

Next I tried creating a map of Fort Worth Public Library and branches with photos taken at the libraries.

It was then I discovered the downside of social bookmarking.
Anyone can take a picture of anything and tag it: Fort Worth library.
The photos flickr delivered included one that I cannot yet get off of my map. Its headline is: "Jerry Groping Someone Else's Wife." I do not want this photo on my libraries map. Yet there it is. So I have to come up with deliniators that somehow exclude this photo (which is actually a harmless photo, done in fun but still...).
I also feel a little uncomfortable using someone else's image. The butterfly above is a flickr photo said to have been taken at FW Botanic Gardens by an unknown photographer. That's all I know.
I am looking forward to our lesson on flickr mashups. I am just beginning to see some of the problems and possibilities.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Future of Library Research

An article in the May Journal of Library Administration is a reminder of why we need to rebuild library databases to include elements of Web 2.0. It argues that library websites and databases are too complex and not interactive enough to engage today's users.

The abstract and introduction are included here. The full article can be retrieved through Academic Search Complete. Citation: Houghton-Jan, S. Etches-Johnson, A., Schmidt, A., 2009, The Read/Write Web and the Future of Library Research, Journal of Library Administration, 49:365–382

The new social Web is fun and easy to use. The same cannot usually be said of library Web sites and digital resources. Libraries would benefit from incorporating aspects of the Read/Write Web into their services. This article examines how libraries currently erect barriers to service and provides an example of how their barriers could be eliminated by the creation of a social library research environment.

Your experience may say otherwise, but reports such as the Online Computer Library Center's (OCLC) Perceptions survey tell us that libraries are among the last places people visit for research and information work (OCLC, 2005 pp.1-17). Some see these statistics as a sign to abandon providing these services all together. They claim that the Good Ship Reference is sinking in today's tumultuous information ocean and that libraries should focus their efforts on staying afloat elsewhere.
Others, including the authors of this article, see the reported statistics as a call to action, a sure sign that we need to change the who, what, when, why, and how of library information services. With the right tools, we can learn to harness the power of the rough waters and use them to our advantage.
By imbuing library databases with the best of the new, social Web, we can build better research tools that have the potential to engage and connect library users."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Thing 2

The Web is us, says the video "Web 2.0 The Machine is Us/ing Us" posted on The Shifted Librarian at
Web 2.0 is a democratic means of creating and sharing information. It's as exciting as it is frightening. Internet-based applications allow us to bypass the vetting of print publishers or software designers and instead create crowd-sourced data pools that can be wonderful for their immediacy and breadth but horrible for their ability to spread inaccuracies or banalities. I am thinking Wikipedia here, but the same is true for tags on flickr or comments on Facebook.
Perhaps the "wisdom of the crowd" is merely the "passing thoughts of the crowd"!
But like it or hate it, the era of user-as-the-creator-of-data is here, as pointed out so well by O'Reilly Media CEO and President Tim O'Reilly at
If O'Reilly is correct, the trend toward user-created data is bound to make a difference in libraries.
Will library users create "folksonomies" to replace traditional cataloging? That sounds like pandamonium to me. Perhaps it would be better if library web sites added another layer, one that would allow users to visit the traditional catalog or choose to hop on to an entertaining library web-page where they could see lists of most popular check outs, most frequent search terms, or a tag cloud with each print or digital source. As such, Web 2.0 would be a supplement to a vetted system.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The First of 23 Things

I write for other blogs, including the Frog Blog at and also the UNT Dallas Campus library blog at

But I've never created my own blog before. It's been great fun adding tools such as DIGG or Google's technology news search bar. In fact, it is a bit difficult to stop adding and subtracting tools from this, my first digital publication.

So many tools, so little time! I look forward to participating in the 23 new ways to use Web 2.0 technologies in this project sponsored by the 20-county North Texas Regional Library System.

She's pretty much always @ the library

Welcome to She's @ The Library, a blog about electrified information, and about printed information found at the books and mortar libraries I still love.

I am Jessie Milligan, a MLS student at the University of North Texas. I work in the UNT Dallas virtual library, a library with only 1,400 print reference works and media but with access via computer to more than 300 databases and many of the 6 million cataloged items at the University of North Texas in Denton.

I recently left a career as a newspaper reporter. I should say that newspapers left me. The information revolution, as exciting as it is, has been hard on"old media" types, but very good for people like myself who want to dive even deeper into the fast-changing world of digital information.