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