Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Now, even when I use the ASP to incorporate the feed, there will still be a minor issue - the hyperlinks found in the body of the WordPress posts will only be seen as plain text - no hyperlinks - you'll have to go to the actual blog entry to use the links. But that's another problem for another day. Maybe overnight tonight, I'll think of a more elegant/practical solution.
It lists a large number of the social bookmarking/tagging services, some I hadn't even heard of, as well as discussing the implications of the trend, folksonomies, etc. (13 pp.)
[Of course, neither YA nor gaming are my strong suit, so I'll concentrate on the core of the Web2.0 materials she presented... besides there was too much to completely cover it all here:]
1. She explained the difference between Web2.0 and Web1.0 (it's multifaceted, but suffice it to say that Web1.0 was static and handed down from content creator to website visitor; Web2.0 is dynamic, interactive, and "mashable" - the end-user is empowered to use the web services/site in a way that works best for them. Web2.0 is also more multimedia-oriented). This led to an interesting discussion about generational differences - about how Gen Y, aka, Millennials, can be thought of as "digital natives"... [I'll add to this the somewhat self-serving side aside that many Gen Xers went digital in their adolescence, though the digital of my era was more command-line and text-oriented... still, Google's creators are Gen Xers, so don't discount the optimism, spirit, and technological innovation of my generation! Who do you think is really BUILDING Web2.0, eh?]
2. She emphasized that Web2.0 is about "substitutions" [I prefer - "transformations", but the idea is the same, just the emphasis is different...]; blogs and websites, etc., substitute for print publications; podcasts substitute for traditional radio; mobile phones, Skype, SMS (text messaging), etc., substitute for traditional phone service; YouTube, Google Video, video blogging (vlogging), Slingbox, etc., substitute for traditional tv; and Netflix, downloadable digital movies, and video games can be used as substitutes for movies delivered in the usual way; also she mentioned the social aspect of the new web - that they can (and are) used by some people as a "substitute for bars" - this happens at Facebook, MySpace, the World of Warcraft, and Second Life (and through many other web services, no doubt).
3. Social tagging wasn't really covered in our session because we'd all gotten offtrack with so much discussion and debate about Web2.0 tech - but suffice it to say, online bookmarking/social tagging, is exemplified by services such as Del.icio.us and Furl.
4. The thing that was newest to me and also the thing that I could probably see the least immediate use of (at this point), was the Virtual 3-D worlds [this despite their inherent coolness factor]... There is a library application of "Second Life", for example, wherein the Alliance Library System/OPAL has setup a virtual library building with true librarians acting as virtual librarians (well, it's kind of confusing and a little hard for me to explain) - go to http://www.secondlifelibrary.blogspot.com for more info... [did you know that you have to buy "land" in Second Life to put up virtual "buildings" in this online world - and that you have to pay with real cash?]
This gives you a good idea of how a Content Management System, called Drupal, has been deployed. Drupal has a wiki component, which helps to support collaborative content creation (a key aspect of the CMS). Gotta love this Web2.0 stuff - also check out this SecondLife library on this site!
"Reading chronically understimulates the senses... Books are also tragically isolating..."
My grandmother-in-law, who's 97, recalls when her parents got mad at her for wasting too much time reading, when she could be spending her time doing more useful and productive things (like sewing). Sound familiar?
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Anyhow, I simply created a frameset (not because I like them, but) because, for me, it was a "quick & dirty" way to make an alphabetical navigation tool that was permanently visible on the left-hand side... But then I wanted to make it uber-easy to print one frame the main contents of the index (just in case someone is so enamored of the resource that they want it in hard copy).
top.main.print();" style="border-style: outset; border-width: 2px"
So, it seems to work in the versions of Firefox, Netscape, and IE that I'm running (which I'll give you are fairly recent). I'm hoping that it's good enough for our users for now ... and that it helps!
Friday, June 23, 2006
Thursday, June 22, 2006
At first, I'll admit it, I bristled in reaction to the title, hoping that this wouldn't be another Luddite diatribe about how impractical innovative technologies are for libraries (as if many in our field need further dissuasion from trying new things), then I read it. I'm happy to report that it was not.
Although I'm not as into the orthodoxy of XHTML Strict encoding as Mr. Breeding is [and further, I wouldn't necessarily take XHTML Strict validation as the measure of a website's success - it's only a measure insofar as it provides a foundation for meeting the users' needs...], the bigger point he's trying to make is right on. We need to get our basic web functionality in order before leaping into Web2.0 technologies.
Mr. Breeding's article was timely for me, because it validated all of the boring, tedious, nearly invisible behind-the-scenes prep work that I've been engaged in so much of my time since beginning here... I would love to redo everything and immediately give the website more of a Web2.0 look and feel, but part of my work is to fix what already exists. In getting it in shape, of course, I'm "shoring up the infrastructure" to ready us for Web2.0, as Marshall puts it.
The other article I recently read that made me feel ok about the behind-the-scenes work I've been doing (and thus my slow evolution, slow inroads into Web2.0) is Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox from March 20, 2006, entitled "Growing a Business Website: Fix the Basics First". Nielsen reminds us of the importance of getting the user what they need quickly. We need to make navigation intuitive and keep our writing brief, for example. (I know that this is my personal weakness; I need to use fewer adjectives, adverbs, and meaningless prepositions...)
We can't forget or completely discount Web2.0 tech - we just need to be aware that we're running on 2 tracks (at least) - both doing the tedious but necessary shoring up of our Web1.0 sites and starting to get into Web2.0.
Monday, June 19, 2006
The four primary factors in the evolution of today's technology, Rob explained, are:
- Technological innovation
- smaller, fast, cheaper - as an example of the "cheaper" part, Rob noted that devices now are often free with service and that it is the service people are paying for (e.g., cell phones)
- rate of change increasing - this final point being the most salient one from my perspective - a realization that if you're treading water, you're drowning... you have not only move, but move quickly these days!
He emphasized how users are seeking autonomy - to do things themselves - to do them online 24x7x365. They want systems that facilitate their autonomy and that anticipate their needs. He talked about the creation of online communities of interest, the use of social software probably most effectively demonstrated by services popular among adolescents & young adults, such as MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, etc. These social networking sites often have blog features. There are also the photo-sharing services, such as Flickr. Though it wasn’t mentioned, I’d add into the discussion, the video sharing service YouTube.
Also not included in this workshop, but important in the overall trend toward autonomy/self-service and social networking, are social tagging/online bookmarking services, such as Furl - http://www.furl.net/ and del.icio.us - http://del.icio.us/. The collaborative creation of web content using "wiki" software, best illustrated by Wikipedia, was covered in the workshop, but I won't go into it here, because there are links to wiki information from the blogshop page and comprehensive coverage in - guess what resource?! - yes, Wikipedia! (BTW, apparently the term wiki comes from Hawaiian for "quick" - "wiki wiki".)
And many/all of these online services are available at some level for free (the only cost for a free account may be your privacy as they often require personal information from you - but apparently this doesn't phase the up-and-coming generation...)
If you haven't heard about these types of services before - blogs, wikis, and social networking sites - and don't have time to follow up further on your own, I would strongly recommend that you take one of the many great workshops being offered on the topic (and no, despite its appearance, this is not a shameless plug for the CSL blogshop!). Connecticut librarians, of course, can take advantage of the workshops provided through the State Library's Division of Library Development (see the learning section at CT Webjunction - http://ct.webjunction.org/do/Navigation?category=6010).
The piece that I really came for was the section on mobile devices. Why? I have no iPOD (and feel little desire to spend that much money on a device that was only designed to hold audio content when I could use it to update my TMobile PocketPC phone edition (a combination PDA/phone with the old mobile Windows and Office suite) to a Treo, Blackberry, or similar device) but patrons do. I don't have a recent "smart phone" (my current smart phone is so old, it doesn't even have bluetooth or a wi-fi card), but patrons do. I don't know how to design a web presence for wireless devices, but have to learn what the basic skills are (it turns out that to optimize your site, you should use Wireless Markup Language and, as I learned from a workshop co-participant, there is a validator to check the look of your site on a PDA through (now Adobe) Macromedia's Studio 8 - (the latest edition of Dreamweaver) - though I haven't checked it out yet). This was the most crucial piece of the workshop for me. Yes, it would be easier not to have to figure out yet another web technology, but mobile computing is becoming so ubiquitous that - to serve our audience as best we can - library webmasters (and/or systems people in charge of library OPACs) have to pay attention to this.
Overall, the workshop provided a broad (if necessarily somewhat shallow) overview on an array of technologies. If you didn't really know what a blog, wiki, RSS feed, wi-fi/wireless internet access, or PDA/other mobile device was, this day-long event got you up-to-speed quickly.
BTW, to see NELINET's entry into the blogosphere, see their TrendNet blog at http://forums.nelinet.net/blogs In Rob's section on blogs, he showed this blog and some of his own. His experience is instructive as he is a self-identified "serial blog abandoner". You see, it's outrageously easy to start up a blog, but it requires commitment and time to continue it. He also noted that the way NELINET was hoping to fight blog authoring fatigue (& to keep its TrendGauge blog up-to-date) was to open up authoring/editing to a large number of employees (maybe the whole staff, I wasn't clear on this). Time will tell if this method works for them. This is a huge consideration in the creation of blogs for an organization.
Monday, June 12, 2006
- TechCrunch highlighted QuickMuse today (see their posting at http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/06/12/quickmuse-famous-poets-throw-down/), which is an interesting concept - get poets online on a specific date and time - give them a time limit and watch them compose online... if you've got the time (the site loads slowly and isn't very full-featured, but be patient & go to the archives), it's interesting to watch the playbacks of the poem creation process - the next "event" will be on June 14th at http://www.quickmuse.com/ ... it makes you wonder if libraries might take advantage of web technology to do something like an online poetry slam
- They also highlighted Platial.com (calls itself the People's Atlas) - an interactive online mapping, event, etc., mashup - e.g., see what's happening in Middletown, CT and map your way to it, add your own information to the system (pictures included, too)
- I'm frustrated by the defeat of the Net Neutrality act - see ALA for more information as to why... Also see the ALA article on CALEA, which denotes that:
“We are disappointed that the DC circuit court of appeals supported the FCC in extending CALEA to Internet access and Voice over IP. Although the decision has no direct effect on libraries because the FCC previously determined that it is not in the public interest to cover libraries, we agree with our co-petitioners that the decision is damaging both to civil liberties and technology innovation.
“Libraries rely on nonprofit private networks like county or state networks to connect to the Internet. The FCC’s order suggested that these private networks had some CALEA obligation despite the fact that CALEA expressly excludes them. We are pleased that the court rejected that notion and made clear that private networks indeed are, and will remain, exempt from CALEA.
“Libraries remain concerned that the court deferred to the FCC’s reasoning extending CALEA to entities providing the facilities that connect private networks to the Internet. Again, libraries have an interest in seeing nonprofit networks remain in service and we do not want non-profits to be saddled with unfunded mandates for new surveillance technologies..."
BTW, Open House Day went off fairly well this past Saturday. Kevin Johnson's portrayal of African-American Civil War soldier was great, the tours of the library and museum were also informative and drew in a grateful crowd, who now know a lot more about what we have to offer them. And that's what it was all about.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Take a look at Bob Englehart's blog (the Courant's cartoonist) entry for June 4, wherein- he depicted the CT 4 vs. the FBI:
http://blogs.courant.com/bob_englehart/2006/06/june_4_2006.html [I received authorization from Mr. Englehart to feature a screenshot of his cartoon on this blog, so fear not, intellectual property proponents - SBC, 6/15/06]
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
If I recall correctly, Adobe has always tried to paint them as some sort of open format, to which I say - C'mon - they've always been proprietary! [curmudgeonly note: not to mention a real pain - slow loading and - depending on the version they were built in and the version of Adobe Acrobat Reader you have on your machine - you can end up with incompatibilities and endless prompts to upgrade your Acrobat to 7, even when you've already done it... not that I'm speaking from experience...]
I should also mention that I've played with Google Reader (Google's fairly recent RSS feed aggregator - to keep up with your favorite blogs, wikis and/or straight RSS feeds - at http://reader.google.com). I'm not in love with it - I find the interface a little frustrating - too few options of how to present and organize my feeds - but I'm sure it will improve with time. And I'm not in love with Bloglines' interface, either, so I think that Google Reader might have a role for some librarians...
And yes, you'll need a gmail account to use this or just about any other Google tool. It's quick, easy, and free - get more info about the service (don't forget, for fierce privacy advocates, there are issues related to automated bots searching your emails to present the appropriate Google "AdWords" - their revenue-generating feature that appears - fairly unobtrusively, I think - on the right-hand side of the screen) http://mail.google.com/mail/help/intl/en/about.html. I can heartily recommend Gmail, which offers great functionality these days (yes, you can even back up your gmail, if you're concerned about Google going belly up or starting to charge for its services - by interfacing with its POP/SMTP support - e.g., using an Outlook-type email client... ) Also, I love the Google personalized homepage as a place to view the feeds of the blogs I'm monitoring, along with my Gmail and my Google Reader (RSS feed aggregator).
So what's up with all of these new Google tools? What do they all add up to? Is it just a mish-mosh... well, close... they're modular web applications, like widgets, that - in theory - in the best case Web2.0 scenario - would allow web users to fit together any way they'd like - to "mashup" the code and integrate these app's with other things of interest to them that are not necessarily Google-based, for example. That's the concept, anyway. Technically speaking, I'm probably using imprecise terminology, but you get the concept. Think building blocks - think of being a "child" on the web, playing with those blocks and making something that is uniquely your own, something that will serve you best (rather than letting a bunch of technogeeks out there decide which will be the features that you're interested in having and allowing them to put them together in a single, monstrously-proportioned, proprietary piece of software that costs you a bundle... not that I'm referring to a specific vendor here, really!).
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
I haven't fully explored it yet, but like the looks of it, so far. Take a look, see what you think and drop me a line - what can we take away from their experience & use here at cslib?
[Meantime, I've been busily prepping for our beta of the blog workshop - coming up on Thursday - I decided to Wiki the resources, so I could work on it iteratively - http://cslblogshop.wikispaces.com/... see you there? Went to Polly Aida-Farrington's blogs & RSS feeds workshop myself today, to see what else might be going on that I didn't have time to learn (& because I'd signed up while still struggling with some more advanced concepts and with the incorporation of RSS into a webpage - to see what I've come up with for a solution on the latter front, view the latest iteration of the "New & Noteworthy" page - http://www.cslib.org/new.asp )... she's allowed me to post a link to her workshop webpage, with it directory to blogs and blog/RSS-related tools - very nice, Polly, thank you!]
"The user is not broken
"Your system is broken until proven otherwise."
A poetic, hopeful, and realistic look at where we're at in libraries - the user is the center of our universe and all systems and services should be designed around them. Right on! And written in more graceful language than I can reproduce - see the original, it's worth your time. There's a boatload of blog buzz (the technical term - a phrase coined by yours truly, I might add) amongst librarians on this post!
- Blogging (a blog facilitates the quick and easy publication of information and - in fact - the commenting feature allows for patron interaction - very Web2.0-y) [Sharon's addition - use of term Web2.0-y ... take that, O'Reilly!]
- Flickr (online photo sharing/storage - get those graphics quickly incorporated into your blogs and websites)
- Google maps - create an interactive map to your library locations
- del.icio.us - social bookmarking to help organize your online resources via subject - share among your fellow librarians [Sharon's addition: Furl is an option for this, too, and no doubt, there are many more]
- Wikis - build a wiki to aloow staff to jointly create content
- Try MySpace or Facebook - get social!
The list of resources from this article is here for your convenience:
Google Maps API—Signup: http://www.google.com/apis/maps/signup.html
Google Maps EZ: http://bluweb.com/us/chouser/gmapez
Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki: http://www.libsuccess.org/
Morrisville College Libraries MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/morrisvillecollegelibrary
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ PBwiki: http://pbwiki.com
Sunday, June 04, 2006
http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/14725354.htm) gives us some insight into the extensive nature of the online records that the U.S. government is seeking from all information providers today (from libraries to search engines to Internet Service Providers). This is an FYI to anyone who uses the internet - with the renewal and extension of the Patriot Act, search engines and ISPs are being asked to store considerably more data for the purposes of surveillance of their users' activities on behalf of the government. Normally, I wouldn't dwell on this - most of my blog is designed to be technical -- sort of a "meta" conversation about the work I'm doing, but because I'm so web-involved, I hear about these things and they do affect anyone providing web services.
The article reminds me of the FBI-vs.-Connecticut librarians case re: patron records being summoned by the FBI through the Patriot Act (and how the Patriot Act prevented the librarians in the case from speaking about the summons, even to colleagues).... the "Connecticut Four" filed in court as John Does, seeking the right to speak about the FBI's attempt to gain access to their patrons' records. They were "ungagged" last week. However, the Patriot Act has been renewed and extended in the meantime.
Some articles (and excerpts from them) related to the Patriot Act and patron records are listed below (available for free to any state resident with a valid Connecticut public library card through iCONN):
[From the September 16, 2003 article in the New York Times, by Eric Lichtblau]
Attorney General John Ashcroft today accused the country's biggest library association and other critics of fueling ''baseless hysteria'' about the government's ability to pry into the public's reading habits.
In an unusually pointed attack as part of his latest speech in defense of the Bush administration's counterterrorism initiatives, Mr. Ashcroft mocked and condemned the American Library Association and other Justice Department critics for believing that the F.B.I. wants to know ''how far you have gotten on the latest Tom Clancy novel.''
...Mr. Ashcroft said critics had tried to persuade the public that the F.B.I. was monitoring libraries to ''ask every person exiting the library, 'Why were you at the library? What were you reading? Did you see anything suspicious?' ''The Justice Department, Mr. Ashcroft said, ''has no interest in your reading habits.''
''Tracking reading habits would betray our high regard for the First Amendment,'' he said. ''And even if someone in government wanted to do so, it would represent an impossible workload and a waste of law enforcement resources.''
[available through iCONN at http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=405606801&sid=4&Fmt=3&clientId=61652&RQT=309&VName=PQD]
[From the Alison Leigh Cowan New York Times article from May 31, 2006]
Being free to speak now, weeks after the Patriot Act was reauthorized for several more years, was ''like being allowed to call the Fire Department after the building has burned down,'' [Library Connection director George Christian] said.
[article available through iCONN - http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1044290411&sid=1&Fmt=3&amp;amp;clientId=61652&RQT=309&VName=PQD]
[See Michael Golrick's blog entry at http://michaelgolrick.blogspot.com/2006/06/from-peter-chaseone-of-john-doesan.html) for his reaction and the letter from Peter Chase, who was one of the John Does in the case.]
Thursday, June 01, 2006
I went to see Kathleen Anderson today, the State of CT's website accessibility guru. She and I talked about my removal of the Bobby logo, as Bobby is no longer in existence & we're not even sure if we're accessible at this point in time. I'm working on the issue - I'll use FrontPage 2003's accessibility checker & Cynthia Says... in the meantime, I've removed logos which claim that we are still fully in compliance until such time as I can make this true. This will be a great experience and will serve as the basis for a workshop Kathleen and I are thinking of running this fall - probably Sept. or Oct. - 3 hours on redoing your website for accessibility - with hands-on use of old CSL pages as an example. Kathleen - an MS MVP (basically a certified guru) for FrontPage will show everyone how to use FP to make webpages more accessible. I'll cover Dreamweaver.
I also saw a demonstration of an AJAX platform, tried out Wordpress (which I like much better than Blogger, I'm afraid!), and added a Wordpress feed to a test page to see if I can convert the New & Noteworthy page. It's been challenging and I feel like all I've really accomplished today was to tweak/edit existing webpages per others' requests (new links, changes in wording, minor stuff). I did a little more work on the public records subweb page forwards.
I also wanted to get my piece of the blog workshop 100% in place, but that hasn't happened - I think I was a little too ambitious to think that I could get so much done in such a short week!