Thursday, December 9, 2010
I looked at Patch, Outside.in, Placeblogger, and a site I found myself.
Patch is adding the country, one state at a time, and acting like the local paper. In that capacity, it will, eventually be a good substitute. But it will take a looong time, I think most of the states shown only have half the state actually set up. Weather, news, crime, sports, classifieds, businesses, ads, a map ( I mean, a map--boon to newcomers and locals alike in the larger towns like Lincoln!) And adjustable and addable. Just slow moving. And getting around in it is easy, so very familiar. I looked at St. Charles MO, and at DesPlaines, IL. DesPlaines even has a Q&A section, with answers to "best hamburger in town", "best pizza in town", etc., and with comments already. But I found it a little harder to get out of each town and back to Patch. But it it doable.
Outside.in was much more disappointing, at least the day I looked at it. It does aggregate newspaper articles, but how up to date is it, and who's keeping it updated? Under the headings to the left, we have no: High Schools, Libraries, Colleges or Universities. Unless you look under the general heading of "Get News About Schools & Libraries", and this gives you: Nebraska Association of School Boards, Union College, Counseling & School Psychology Clinic, Bryan LGH East College of Health Sciences, Southeast Community College Professional Development & Customized Training...., Trinity Lutheran Church and School. Under businesses, there are 62, with several Medical services and hospitals there, not to mention out of business companies. And I thought it wasn't the Westfield Shopping Center anymore? I definitely found an about of business shop under Jewelers--please hold nasty catcalls, it's where I had my watch batteries put in and jewelry repaired. We won't even mention the bookstores--Lee's was still there, of course, and when you clicked on it, no new stories on this business. But when I searched Barnes & Noble, Lincoln, Nebraska, in the blank, the Lee's going out of business story came up. Plus stories about the other B&N. And Indigo Bridge Books wasn't listed, ether.
Placeblogger has some possibilities. The search engine is terrible, unless there's a secret that I didn't figure out. I did use the hot buttons in our text, but after looking at these, I tried to find a few other cities in contiguous states--apparently there's no one blogging about Ames, Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa; or Iowa City, Iowa; or Colorado Springs, Colorado. But, oh, my! are they blogging about Denver. And this is where I ran into my complaint about the search engine. I put it in with the city, and country capped, and found Denver mid way down the page! But this is definitely what the site should be about! The Lincoln and Omaha sites aren't much, Chicago, pretty good. But you really should hunt up Denver. Maybe it's just that bit larger, or something.
Patch, I think, is the best of this lot, and I think a spot on it would be good for a library, just as one would in a local newspaper--new books, book reviews--preferable by locals, story times, program announcements and times, hours, any weather closings, etc.
Outside.in really needs some marketing and someone local to keep it up, in the manner of Patch. It's news aggregator engine needs fine tuning, too, but the links on the side need to be linked to the searching, somehow. I don't remember getting a story off a left hand link. If I did, it wasn't recent. And the links need updating badly.
Placeblogger need marketing too--aggressively. I feel there are a lot of blogs that could go on here that aren't--Lincoln Chief of Police, jumps to mind, for one. And, it too, could be monitored for age of submissions. But this is a place libraries could easily link their blogs too. All of these sites are wonderful ideas for the new, and non native residents of cities, large and small.
I think as libraries we need to monitor, and then participate in the Hyper local service that our patrons are using. Or possible lead them to it. Placeblogger could benefit from LCLs making a few email requests of fellow blogger, like the Lincoln Chief of Police to join and provide more local information.
To be perfectly honest, some libraries already provide some local information on their web sites--but they could benefit from a service like Patch. Especially if their local newspaper has closed. I mean--maps! Businesses! Current events! Best Hamburgers!;-)
I did find a site for Lincoln, Nebraska, not quite so social, but enough so, URL HelloLincoln.com, businesses, maps, opinions both pro and con under"Hyper local & Reviews of Businesses". And events, and yes, there was something going on at Barnes & Noble, and at Bennett Martin, and a Power Farming at the Lincoln Lancaster Event Center...I do have to report that the security on my computer did eventually freeze this site, so there could be a problem with it. On the other hand, I may finally find out what's going on in town before it happens.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Ok, I couldn't resist. I can really see this working for the libraries and for librarians with services, such as story times, special programs, reference, and even advertising new books, etc. I'm not in that category so it's different for me.
But I didn't remember working with Twitter except for a little searching for tweets about my home town etc., so went a little further, this time, put up my picture, entered info in my bio, and followed more people. I even have followers, this time. I think it's connected to my blog, but I'm not certain. And what others twitter about can be interesting, since I'm following libraries (Omaha Public, Lincoln Public, New York Public, and British Public...real spoilers the last two.) I have written a few tweets, even. And responded to a couple. Although no one has responded to my first one, and that's the one I really wanted to hear from.
I don't see the libraries using it much as a conversation, though. Some do make conversation starting comments, but often its more of an announcement of an upcoming event. And a box about "Twitterquette for Institutions" comments that it should be a conversation, not "a broadcast medium".
I'm also following a couple publishers (Tor--Science Fiction, Penguin--paperbacks), and Penguin, of all things, is following me back.
My next challenge tweeting will be adding a web site, still haven't done that. I've known about tiny.url for a long time, but never used it, and soon I may have to.
I was going to go on and do the next step, then read the articles, and felt like it was all well and fine, but what did it have to do with me. But I came back to it, and tried Twellow, looking for other professional librarians on twitter. And using "librarians" in the search mode didn't pull up as many hits as using their Twellow Categories--libraries and librarians are on page 10. So I clicked the "add me" to the category, so I'll show up. Most of the librarians who twitter are reference or tech librarians, it seems. But I found a few more folk to follow, even some I knew, who hadn't popped up with the first search. And then there's the Twellowhood, click it and get a map of the world, click on the area you're interested in, down to the state/province level, and it lists the cities, and the number of twitterers there. Some very low numbers for some of our small towns, like my home town-2, the country seat-6, but Norfolk was 130 I think. There may have been more, actually, these may only be the ones listed with Twellow. And not as many buisinesses as I would have thought.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Grasper had more videos on the topics I looked at, or at least had more videos in small segments. Chineese calligraphy was well covered, and there were some lessons on copperplate, too. But the segments on knitting were plentifull. And some were very good, with slow motion and full screen options. I searched for the wider topics I was intersted in.
In Instructables I first used the tabs, and was impressed by the youthfullness of the projects, and the inventiveness and creativity. I did find the search box, and searched on knitting, and found more "how to" type instructions. I was a little disapointed that it was "slides" or "stop action", but when I thought about it, realized this was something that could be printed out and taken to where I knit--which isn't in front of the computer. And there were different ways to display the instructions, too. A little edgier, more fun site.
And the there was Monkeysee. First time I looked at it, I couldn't get rid of the live action ads, and they showed up on every clip I watched. Then there was a little add at the bottom, but there was a X you coul click for that one. The second time was much less ad intensive. This is video again, with stop action, slow motion and full screen. Fewer vids, again, but some that are very well produced. The calligraphy series I watched did advertise her studio, but shse was very good, and had very good advice.
I think these are very good additions to the do it yourself and hobby books that we own and have in our libraries. I know from time to time, I go through my books, and am still not certain what the magazine means by it's instructions, especially if it's a British magazine! But even the U.S. instructions can be confusing, taking for granted that you'll know to do_________ when you get here, in your knitting pattern.
I can see how some might go to them instead of the books, but I really can't think of them as replacing the books. Even a laptop can't be held in the lap while you're knitting--at least not for long, and let's not mention sewing, engine repair, cooking, etc. The laptop is fragile, overheats, doesn't respond well to hot/cold dusty/oily environments, or flour. Neither do our books, that's why for some hobbies, it's best to buy your own....still.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I started with Pixlr, and really prefer it over Aviary. Played with several things before settling down, which is, I admit, a pattern in many of my examples. First I played with a head shot of me, but I lost the example I liked, so it stayed lost. I chose this photo because it was already out of focus. Playing wasn't going to ruin it. One of the things I did was to use the Pastel filter on it, which brought out he center of the daisies. I've tried the Pastel filter on other photos with no effect that I could see. Then I used the Solarized filter on it.
This one I believe I used the Unsharp Mask filter, to soften the hard edges of the snow scene, then used the Vignette filter for the grey edges in the corners (they can be made closer or further away), and lastly, as an experiment, tried the Embossed filter.
Then I tried something in the Adjustment column, I think it was, the column before the Filter column, and used the "curved" effect to get a sort of solarized Blue jay in the snow, but slightly different than the filter.
Then I finally went to Aviary, which in contrast I found confusing. I also had to create another password for it. And then importing was a little more difficult, not much, but a little bit more opaque. After awhile I came up with the below. I think it's the Pointillism filter. Something I don't like about Aviary is that it prints it's title on the picture.When you start saving, it wants you to share it on it's interior social space. It's also set up for "layers" a lot more than Pixlr.
I did try to move a photo to peacock, but never got one over there. I tried to work with other parts of the software, but learned quickly, that I'd no idea what it did. I finally came up with this by using a couple different filters.
I finally went back to Pixlr to try to figure out how Allana had done the Kaleidoscope photo--and at least in part, she moved the picture a half turn, and used the Kaleidoscope filter on it again. At least that's how I came up with the following. She may have enlarged part of her photo.
As you can tell, I learned a little more about blogger, too. I had started the entry, and downloaded the first photo, then tried to do it again, and couldn't that day. When I closed down for the day, I discovered the window behind all my others. When I brought these in , I tried to have them justify left and center, and all that remained, was the justifying center. It certainly is a learning experience.
But this has exposed one to free software that can retouch and artistically restyle photos for the library. And I can see teens at a library really loving this.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
I started in Google, full name and last name, and of all things, came up with three people finding sites in the first three hits. A geneaology project--Nebraska Genealogical Preoject, Colfax County Press, which had my Dad's obitauary, even though we're from Cumming County. There was another that came up with a totally unrelated Catherine _____ _____ Hatterman, which was interesting. A response to a request for information I'd made to Acqnet-L was there--I'd forgotten all about that. That was the most interesting, and startling thing about this search. Not too many years ago a friend Googled me here at work, and there were hardly any hits--maybe part of a page. On one of my searches there were three pages, and what wasn't people search sites, or geneaolgical search sites, were events I'd forgotten, the few responses I've made to blogs or columns in the New York Times. The most successful search was under the shortened form of my name and last name. That I'd forgotten the items I'd responded to was bad enough, but finding things that I hadn't really attached my name to, like this blog, my Netvibe page online, and my Facebook page, (Facebook didn't really surprise me that much. And the really disturbing ones, like geneaology pages that neither I nor family had entered--I know, because the names attached are totally unknown to me. They had my name, my ex's name, our marriage date, and an approximate divorce year! It also brought up pages from NLC's staff pages, the NLC Commisioners Notes, the Statehouse Observer (15 years of service...). I was surprised. But searching on my name also brought up search sites for names, genealogical sites for names, and most common names by %.
And one site even had the other people with my name, "alias's" (one's married name shouldn't count as an alias!) and addresses. Something of a creepy feeling from that one, too. At least I know the other people by my name are out there, yet. This time I couldn't find them.
Then I tried Bing, on a different day. Same assortments of my name. Bing had a tendency to take my name appart, so it really wasn't great for this exercise. And apparently, my full name happens more often on the genealogical sites. The shortened form did pull up more sites about me.
Lexxe was a much better site for this exercise. Agian, the full name was more genealogical, but the shortened form nearly brought up all the hits that Google did, but Google is still the Big fish in the pool. At least the first two hits weren't searching sites, or genealogical sites.
I'm already in Blogger, Facebook, and LinkedIn, with possibly the most minimal profiles possible, but from a search, you could find out I was a librarian at NLC, my position, my supervisor, etc. However, looking me up isn't as simple as it may seem. There are all those historical Catherines, that aren't even related to me. In Ohio. Greatgrandfather may have gone through there, but as far as we know, he didn't leave any kin there. Actually, a prospective employer searching on my name might need to be a little careful, to be certain he found the correct person, time period, and state of origin. At least for me. An I thought I had afairly unique name, at least the last one!
Monday, July 19, 2010
But, a good point was raised, that if one missed a program, and it was recorded and stored online you could watch it at a later date. Even if you had to go to the library to use a public-use computer. And that fact could be announced with the announcement of the program in the paper--or in the Library column in the paper!
I had an idea that one might be able to use Netvibe as a home page on the public use computers, and have some URLs there. Like a page devoted to Job sites, or one for home work help sites, or even a gamer page. And even some social networking sites. Although I'm not sure how that would work.
I think that advertising a program on the library's home page blog, the newspaper, and with posters in town would be good. Then videotape/record it, and take still shots as the program is in in process. If it's the type of program that can be totally recorded and archived, that would be great, too. A lot of parents today can't get everywhere they want to due to their kid's activities. Advertise that it will be archived on your website, and that they can come in and watch it on the computers if they don't have one at home. Then afterwards, also put short, edited bits of the program on UTube, stills on Flickr, and connect to your home page.
One thing I thought of while writing this is what a great place the library is when you're waiting for the mechanic to finish working on your car. Could be a marketing program there.
Friday, June 4, 2010
What really appealed to me was the sense of creating a historical narrative of the library and the community, that hadn't existed before. Capturing today, while it can be correctly annotated, unlike "Nebraska Memories" where some of the information is sometimes missing or incomplete.
I also really like the concept of using existing photos from one's own library for posters as portrayed in the presentation. A good way to present we're more than just books...or a way to show we''re part of the community...
And uploading pictures has gotten a lot simpler. I haven't tried to do it from home yet, or to share from Facebook, but moving them from the work computer to Flickr seemed much easier this time, especially moving more than one photo at time.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
At least I think I have a Netvibes page on public. It didn't load when I looked at it. I'll give it another try later. I used the Wizard, and then weeded several widgets out. I was really blank about what to put on the pages, really didn't want to make a "library page" Netvibe, and the more I thought about it, added some of my bookmarks via the general widget for comparison shopping for books, a tab for review sources, and a tab for Used/Antiquarian bookstores. I really felt like this was starting to be a page I could use as a homepage.
I'm still uncertain if one can add Facebook, Twitter, etc., without letting everyone in? So I didn't add Facebook after all. I did have trouble adding some of the book store sites, two were too big.
In the end, it's useable for me, and may give others some ideas about how shop for lower book prices online. Once you get used to the sites, it doesn't take too long.
- ▼ 2010 (9)