Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Readers and Booklovers

I have looked at some of these on-line book suggestion sites previously, and found some are quite good. However, sometimes the favourite book or author I typed in did not result in any findings. Other times I got a useful list to start looking at. I did not find the trails on Twitter were very useful - quite laborious finding my way around the site.

I will use some of these I am sure, in the library

Readers and

File converters

Three cheers for file converters. I am so pleased to know that these things exist - no more having to ask a friend to convert a file to a pdf for me, or open a tricky format. I am sure some library patrons will be equally delighted. I have bookmarked some of the File converter websites for future use.

Looking at the training document on my hard drive and comparing it with Google Docs was interesting. There are some obvious differences, such as the table outline disappearing entirely in Google Docs, the font choice for the heading has changed, although the remaining content could be the same or a very similar font, and the size has changed.

On the hard drive the bullet points are arty and dramatic, whereas Google docs shows them as plain black dots. Bold and italic have remained. I feel that practice with the programme would see mastery of these differences, probably by choosing universal fonts rather than unusual, and playing with the size.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Google Specialist Search Engines part 2

Quite difficult to look for my topic of 'Greek island' in Time magazine as Time wasn't there (thanks for the tip about this!) I did find some articles in Life magazine, which gave me a chance to play around with the advanced search options.

The advanced search option of 'magazines' gave me a long list of magazines and I chose "Scouting". Selecting one issue of my list (limited by dates of publication) results in a page with a large photo of the cover, with a contents page. Within this issue I could search for specific topics - nothing on hypothermia, but several items on safety.

Choosing 'overview' of the magazine was also interesting, and the page brought up several thumbnails for other issues and their content pages.

This resource would certainly be helpful in locating an article about a specific topic in a specific magazine. Learning to refine the search to seek out something less specific would take a bit of practice. I think the resource is very useful and I am sure that library patrons would be pleased to know about it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Specialist search engines - part 1

I looked for videos on the topic of "Amazon forests" in YouTube and Blinkz. Looking for the Exact Phrase in Blinkz using BBC returned me nothing, I needed to be less restrictive. I preferred the advanced search on YouTube, but found it very laborious moving the location - in this case to 'near London' so that I could fairly compare it to the Blinkz search. When I did this both providers achieved about the same number of hits. I found it much easier to restrict content providers than location. I have spent ages on Module 4, so will complete this exercise next session.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Getting more from search engines

There was a lot to look at in this module, and I learned some useful tricks. I did 2 searches - "Authors like Stieg Larsson" and "healthy eating for 4 year olds". For the healthy eating search Google came up with 13 million plus results. Limiting it to News reduced it to 426 items, most of them 'sensational' stories, rather than hard facts. The wonderwheel was better, heading me off in specific directions to locate something useful.
The Stieg Larsson search options of blogs and books did not help me to find the information I wanted and the best the Wonderwheel and I could do was to find general sites for crime writers.
Yahoo was not as helpful in getting results with either search - took me a while to find Also Try, but that option could be quite helpful. The options and advanced search facilities looked really good even though I didn't find what I wanted.
Bing resulted in me finding a good local site for healthy eating, but when I limited the search by country using Advanced Search, I couldn't find the site again. However in Bing I found 2 helpful sites for Authors like Stieg Larsson. I liked the brief profile that appeared for each website on the original list.
Exalead did not help with either search particularly, and I did not find the terms offered in Advanced Search very user-friendly. The idea of visual thumbnails seemed good at first but they are too small to be anything but another form of quicklink, so I felt they were a bit of a waste of time. Perhaps I missed something here - it wouldn't be the first time!
As many patrons will not have explored the search engine options I think they will enjoy finding out about them. Options and advanced searching will be useful in researching authors and topics at the reference desk. I preferred the set up of Google and Yahoo to Exalead and Bing, but I cant deny that Bing helped me most with one of my queries.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Google alerts

Alerts created were
1.New books 2009 Alexander McCall Smith
2.School curriculum Year 8 NZ
3.Steig Larsson book 4
4.Breast cancer young women

The first alert is too broad and needs refining to avoid getting older releases, and too many blogs. I will restrict the alert to news items and change the wording.
The second relates to a patron's question at work recently, but my alert has produced no useful information, and needs careful refining.
I will refine the Steig Larsson alert by converting it to a question.
I will restrict the fourth alert about young women just to news items.

Alerts could be recommended to patrons to keep in touch with new releases by favourite authors, and for those researching particular topics. I think I will set up some alerts on my home email, but will trial them a bit longer to get more experience in narrowing the scope.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Twittering on

Library twitters were fascinating to follow. They advised of events, promoted specific books or reading for pleasure, and responded to followers' tweets. Some were educational, with 10 tips for this or that, one tip per tweet. One site was tweeting about an event as it happened - perhaps Birkenhead Library could try this on opening day - a running commentary! Another updated patrons about a systems outage, and I spotted a competition - the 100th tweet wins a prize.

The styles vary from normal, trendy to frankly alien. They include links to topical websites. The 'audience' is assumed to use other social networking sites, and to be (it seems) on their cell phones and computers practically all the time.

A tweet for North Shore libraries (see www.shorelibraries.govt.nz)

Going away, heading for sunshine? Avoid library meltdown, smart dudes freeze requests; my info, log in, requests, tick and freeze. Yay!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Searching Twitter

Swazzup provides more links and connections than the Twitter search engine, such as most popular links, photos, news and highlights. Both allow you to connect to Profiles. Often the results of these 2 search engines are quite similar - same tweets, same links. 'Trending topics' on Twitter seems useful.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Twittering on

At first contact Twitter looks a bit like texting on the net - complete with own jargon, spelling and numerous fans. I checked out Barack Obama and Jodi Picoult.

Jodi tweets about everyday things she is doing, shares her thoughts sometimes, empathises with followers and promotes events related to her books.

Barack Obama advises of key events, celebrates his political successes, calls for support and shares follower's responses. Clearly he is using it as a political tool. Does he really has time to write these himself?

I enjoyed reading these tweets, even though it was one-sided as I was not logged in. Some are very clever. The language and abbreviations need practice - one day I will have a go, but not in the few weeks before Christmas.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Creative commons

Good to learn about Creative Commons as full copyright can be really restrictive in making displays in the library. I am sure I will find sites and photos with Creative Commons licenses helpful.

The CC license for the Web 2.0 proramme is CC License Attribution, Non-commercial, 3.0 generic.

Found the following photo with CC License Attribution, Non-commercial, No derivative work 2.0 generic.


Module 1 Topic 2

Open ID seems a great idea for training exercises like these, and Web 2.0. I was aware that OpenID was occurring between some sites during Web 2.0 exercises, and wondered what was behind it.

People who use social networking and who join up to new sites regularly would find OpenID simplifies access and would be useful. However I would not use if for banking or webmail or other sites where a high degree of security is desirable.

Many library patrons have trouble with their passwords and pin numbers. It would be good to suggest a simple solution that didn't take long to explain. Maybe a leaflet outlining the pros and cons of OpenID with links to explanatory websites would be helpful to some or our patrons.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Online Privacy and Security

Some of this course material will be valuable for patrons, friends and family. It is important for library patrons to remember online security, especially when using OPAC to pay online, and Pharos for printing private documents. My Info has contact details that could be used inappropriately by others.

We sometimes need to remind people about copyright and to let them know if they might be breaching the law. Netsafe's website and McAfee's brochure about security could be recommended.

Friends and family may need to be reminded to only place information on the web that they want to share, and to choose carefully who they share with, when using social networking sites. Keeping anti-virus software up to date, and using Netsafe to block some content are important for families.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Book shop experience

This book shop in a well-known chain had a right old clutter at the entrance - large unattractive tables of mixed specials - books, cards, pens etc, small stands of nick-nacks, a table of all sorts for children's Father's Day presents, posters on the sides of stands, and behind all this, some books.

Getting past all this into the main book displays it was very different. Lots of books were displayed face-out with ends of stands looking very attractive. Often they used multiple copies of a single title, a simple colour theme and clear signage.

I had very limited time, but learnt something important about what not to do with an entrance, and confirmed again that face-out displays using simple colour schemes and effective signage draw people to look twice.

Reading experience

On Google, one thing always leads to another and after browsing a number of larger American sites I eventually came to the whatshouldIreadnext.com website. A search on this site can be as simple as entering the title of one book you have enjoyed, which will result in a list of ten recommendations. You can register to add more books you have enjoyed to your list, which helps refine the selection. This could be a useful tool for a patron in a hurry.

I also really liked the Manukau Libraries Next Reads section, where recent fiction and non-fiction titles are grouped into categories and one click takes the reader to a short selection of reviewed books. www.manukau-libraries.govt.nz.

Monday, May 11, 2009

There are many reasons why reading is important to me. Aside from learning about other people's lives and experiences, I can drop out of the real world for a while, restore my tranquility, take a break from mundane stuff and share new journeys with countless others. Or I can choose a book that has me sitting on a knife edge, or starts a debate, or gets me thinking.