Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thing #43

I don't usually go this far, but this time I overachieved. I've struggled for years to find out what's going on in this town, and still am. And here's why.

I looked at Patch,, 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. 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. 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, 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

Thing #42

Tweet, tweet, yourself, already.

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.