Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Live Blogging: Everything You Always Wanted to Know about the New Social Tools

Okay..here is my first attempt at blogging a conference meeting live. NILRC is meeting in Collinsville, IL and Jenny Levine is here to present to the group. Sarah H. from LCLS is here with me, we just had a nice lunch chat with Jenny and now were in "Ballroom B" waiting for Jenny to get started.

By the way...it is freeeezing here and the wind is not helping.

My own comments will be in ( ). I'll try to remember that :)

The lights are dimmed and they're just waiting for a few more people before they get started. There is a pretty good sized group here, about 30 or so, all watching as Jenny is trying to leech the free wifi.

Tip: Many times its better to check the box: "Let windows manage my wireless connections" in the settings. I do this on every wireless PC I use and it has not failed me yet.

John Berry from NILRC has just started his introduction, welcoming everyone and introducing Jenny to the group.
(Maybe I'm typing too much :) )

(( her presentation will be available at: http://www.mls.lib.il.us/ ))

Jenny had all the bloggers, then RSS users, then IM users, and cell users raise their hands. Cell users by far outweighed all, bloggers & IM were in a tie for last.
Apparently, I dont count as a blogger yet :)

The "Information Shift" is a new era where information is coming to us. The millennial generation is the first genration born into and expecting information to follow them.
Pervasive Internet
Wireless/Wi-Fi
3G Networks

Digital convergence in devices
more storage / smaller package
faster

The U.S. is definately behind the curve on what we're doing with our cell phones vs what other countries do. Things like high speed video, kids school schedules, gaming, e-books on the phone, even checking out books with your cell phone at the library.

(we're getting there, but we've still got a ways to go)

The Beloit College Mindset List - a fun site that lists what kids of graduating high school classes have come to know and expect.

Kids now are growing up in a totally networked world, where geographic/personal information is shared and kids think nothing of it.

Things like wearable computers/smart clothing are just around the corner.

Eye Toy (I'm definately getting one of these). Eye toy projects you into your PS2 Games. It's a camera that you stand in front of an actually become a part of the game. (I'm SO BUYING ONE).

Gaming is relevant kids are learning many things from gaming. It's not just the mindless blasting many people make it out to be. Games are social, challenging, and are teaching decision making processes. Games are coming in different formats as well.

Books: What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Literacy and Got Game.

Tip: Don't call yourself a boss. Bosses are video game enemies that must be defeated. Be the strategy guy. (see "Got Game")

Got Game offers some good research on how gaming has shaped kids today. (I see some of these qualities in myself...)

How can we reach this audience that expects information to come to them?
Web 2.0 - the read/write web - the participatory web - the two-way web.
The new web is becoming more interactive and collaborative.

Blogging
Easy way to get your content out there (Definately!)
Blogging can help your staff get content onto your website faster and in a timely manner (this has definately helped LCLS since we converted to a blog style system for our website).

Information needs to get out there and not be held back. Many times if the information is a week or two old its stale. (Information also needs to be archived so those that miss it can find it. Blogs help with that too)

Blogs can be used in so many ways to reach your community. They are simple to set up (Free from places like Blogger) and easy to update (just as easy as using email). (If you arent thinking about a library blog - you should be!)

If you want to see a good model for a library/community blog: Check out the Ann Arbor District Library.

By using these web 2.0 tools, you are inviting your patrons into a dialogue with you, that may never have happened otherwise.

You can also integrate blogs with things like link resolvers and other tools to link to even more content.

Wiki
Collaborative, editable-by-anyone webpages. Users add the content. (Ahh..wiki means fast in Hawaiian..that makes sense now *click*)

(Good idea: A wiki for reference databases - something that librarians could contribute to, and people could comment on the ref databases - see Butler WikiRef)

Using wikis for meeting notes. SLS used this to post meeting notes and make corrections (Hmm..combined with wireless..this could be a fast way to take notes at staff meetings or the GateNet meetings)

Jenny demonstrated the libsuccess wiki. She went into programming - gaming - and then added an entry to the wiki for the Gaming in Libraries Symposium.
(Libsuccess.org has a cool wiki - check it out.)

(see the code project for a wiki/knowledge sharing app)

What about using a Wiki for your online catalog instructions? Let the users post up tips on how they use it.

pbwiki.com - free wiki resource, try it out, see how a wiki works

RSS
"The future of the web" - RSS Lets you create content once and display it anywhere on the web (back to my selling point: imagine going to to one website to see the content of your 20 favorite websites, instead of going to 20 seperate places.)

RSS itself is not for humans to read - computers interpret its display and formatting based on rules. (this is where things like style sheets and xtensible stylesheets (xsl) come into play. You make the rules for how it should look and the computer displays it that way).

"RSS was made for information junkies" - Jenny (great quote I think.)

Even more love for bloglines in Jenny's presentation. It really is a great site. (You really, really, really should just try it. Pick 5 websites, find their RSS feed addresses, add them to bloglines and just trying going to bloglines to check these websites instead of going to the 5 different sites on their own.)

Reading RSS feeds isnt enough. You NEED to start one. The easiest way to get an RSS feed is to start a blog. RSS will get your content out there and findable by even more search engines.

RSS will also let you bring other website content to your site.
Warning: You dont control the content of other websites..choose what content you bring to your site carefully.

(You need to really think long and hard about using RSS, both consuming it and PROVIDING it. RSS will soon be so seamlessly integrated into the browsers and into your operating system, that if you arent learning about it, you'll be far behind when it really becomes mainstream.)

Example: Proquest will be offering RSS feeds. You can subscribe and when you click into the content (from bloglines or your RSS aggregator), you will either be IP authenticated or asked to provide you barcode.

Other things you can do with RSS:
create a page of aggregated resources - things you recommend - and display them on a web page for your patrons.
create a page of recommended RSS feeds
Create a public view of your bloglines account and let people see what you recommend to read
Use RSS for research

With RSS, your content can be used by your patrons? Scary - you should see what patrons do with it. Imagine - a patrons blog or website with a section that displays what they have checked out or what they have on request. People are already doing this.

(III's 2006 LE has RSS support! Look for information on this soon...)

Podcasting
RSS with MP3 files attached. Podcasting is publishing audio via the Internet, usually with Mp3 files. This ties into "time shifting".

How it works: You record content on your computer (using a microphone and software), you take that recorded content (an mp3 files), upload it to a webserver, and if you use a blog that has RSS your file can be streamed across the Internet to your subscribers who can take the file and listen to it on their PC OR put it on their MP3 player.

Software: Ipodder - free software that downloads podcasts for you and saves them to your PC/MAC.

(Could we use podcasting for CE?? Big question..glad I'm blogging this, so I don't forget)
(what about podcasting for meetings?...if you miss one, you can catch up by listening in)

The "casting" part of "podcasting" is putting that MP3 file on a website and into an RSS feed.

Pitfalls:
Copyright - make sure you have the speaker's permission. (If you're creating your own content, OK, but if you have a speaker come in, make sure you ask).

By podcasting - your content can make it into iTunes. There is already a library category there.

Check out OPAL Podcast

Software to check out: Audacity - free software that lets you record MP3 files on your computer.

Podcasting requires RSS 2.0 - check the specifications on how to make sure your MP3 file gets picked up by the aggregators.

Instant Messaging
Kids are using instant messaging more than any other medium. Want to reach them? You need to be using IM.

Imagine: What if you could IM your catalog? Skip the browser, skip searching, with an IM bot, its possible to IM the catalog and get a response over an instant messaging program.

IM is the preferred method of communication for anyone under 25.

(thought: When you disable IM and chat in your library, you are telling your patrons [kids especially] that you don't want them in the library. Same with the cell phones. This is how people want to communicate..why are you stopping them?)

I.T. wont let you around IM? Use meebo.com

The goal is to reach your patrons where they are. That is what they are coming to expect.

Don't forget about "texting" or SMS. Sending short messages over your cell phone. Google has an SMS service where you send a txt message to a number and it replies with an answer.

Libraries should think about using SMS for reference as well as using IM.

Trillian
- a good multi-service IM program. Connect to AIM, ICQ, Yahoo!, and MSN in one program.

Cool Tools
Del.icio.us - this is a great social book mark site. (Check my links to the write to view my delicious book marks). Tagging - labelling data with meta data - but using the users vocabulary.

(Tagging is a huge thing. Users can describe their content in their own vocabulary and remember where they put it. This will not be going away)

Tag clouds - a webpage that lists the tags people are using and uses different font sizes to show (relatively) how many items are associated with that tag.

Try del.icio.us. Its like being new to the web again.

Furl - similar to del.icio.us, but not as social, FURL also has ratings for websites. FURL saves the URL, but also a copy of the page. It has a 5GB limit, but on the web, that should take a while to get to. FURL can keep copies of things you may only have access to for a limited time. These copies are not shared, but the people can subscribe to your FURL with RSS. It also preserves the date it was saved.

Blinklist - takes del.icio.us one step further and adds network groups. This lets you hook up with other people and form a social circle to share book marks.

Citeulike / Connotea - Academic versions of del.icio.us

Social tools can connect you to people you may never have otherwise met; people with similar interests/hobbies/work.

Flickr - a social photo-sharing site. Very cool tool, share your photos, tag them, add notes ([read: meta data] that displays over the top of the picture) and put them on the web for all to see. Flickr is all about sharing.

How can you use flickr? How about posting & tagging photos of your library, programs & people @ your library. Check out Flickr and get lost for a few hours and see how people are using it.

(ok..i'm gonna wrap this up)

Jenny is still going through some of the new and fun online tools and how people are using them. Bottom line: there is a lot out there and a lot of things we need to look at outside our usual box. Our users want interactivity, they want responsiveness, and they want things delivered to them.

We need to be running towards these technologies instead of away. Take a while to let this all sink in, come back to it if you have to. At LCLS we'll be offering some exciting tech programs this year. Keep your eye on CLeO (subscribe to our RSS feeds) for these events.

Through technology, the users are now shaping the landscape, we need to be ready to be responsive to that!

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