Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Extra Reading

A new article has just come out describing the "Web 2.0" concept and libraries. It's a nice introduction to everything we are discussing here, so I thought I'd make it available here and I'll probably make it required reading later on in the lessons! If you want to get a head start, though - head over to RedOrbit to read the article now!

Robin Hastings

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

11. Technorati

I have used Technorati in the past, mostly to claim my blog and check on specifically tagged blogs (such as the ones for the conference I attended last week - most tagged with xml2006), but I've never played with the "popular" books, movies and news features. I can see those being *really* helpful when trying to find a new book to read or movie to watch. Sort of a meta-review collection from real people, rather than professional reviewers. I think that is a pretty cool application of Technorati's technology! "The Prestige" was one of the popular movies listed when I visited, and I thought that the ability to scan through the blog posts and get people's opinions was helpful - I'd seen the movie already, but if I hadn't, I definitely would have found the almost universal approval of the movie very helpful in making my decision!
I also added a couple of blogs to my favorites list (something I'd never done before) and was having fun looking at all of the cool things I can do with my favorite blogs! I'm definitely coming back to this when I have more time!

Robin Hastings

Monday, December 11, 2006

10 -

While we were setting up this program, I didn't have a chance to really absorb all of the information in the links we were finding for you all. This means, of course, that I had the chance to be wowed by the 12 minute movie that we linked to because I was able to sit and listen to/watch it and really concentrate on what she was saying this time. She had some great ideas for using as a reading list. I tend to stick stuff that I don't have time to read right now in there quite often! I used to blog about them, but that takes almost as much time as reading the article/web site/news story does. Now, with the addition of the bookmark (or - for those of you using Firefox, the plugin), I can quickly add stuff to my reading list! Another use I came up with this year was as a Christmas list holder. I have tagged stuff I want for Christmas with a "christmasgiftwish" tag and anyone who is interested in knowing what I want for Christmas can take a look at it.
I created an account with (name of rhastings - feel free to add me to your network if you have an account yourself) and find it to be INCREDIBLY useful - especially with the browser buttons and links that they provide. This doesn't even take into account the benefits that putting our (MRRL's) reference links in (user name mrrl) has created!

Update: I'm a dork, I just realized I posted twice for this lesson, but I wanted to keep both posts, up, so I'm just going to advertise my dorkiness to everyone... Enjoy both posts!!
Robin Hastings

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

In Boston

I probably won't be posting anything really "project" related this week, since I'm in Boston and keeping pretty busy with the conference I'm attending. I did want to make a note about what we are doing here, though! When I sent in my "blurb" for the conference track moderator to use when introducing me (before my presentation), I said something about "playing" on the web for the last 12 years. He commented on that during my introduction, saying that he believed that the only way to get a really deep understanding of web "stuff", you have to play with it and approach it like you are ready to have fun. Karen's latest post on her project blog mentions the fact wikis are - like the rest of this web 2.0 stuff - limited to people who have access to the web and who are comfortable with it. As a library, we are providing services that offer access to the web to people who might not be able to afford it themselves. As participants in this project, you all are becoming people who are comfortable with these technologies and concepts because you are playing with them. I'm so proud of all of you who are taking the time to do this! Playing is important when it comes to really getting computers and I truly hope you all have fun and approach these lessons as "play time" as much as "learning time"!

Robin Hastings

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


For those of you who may be wondering how to figure out if you have 150 words in a given post, I've got a tip. On the top left corner of your Gmail account screen (where you read your email), there is a link to "Docs & Spreadsheets". We'll be playing with these later in the lesson, but if you want to write your blog posts in this tool, follow along with the instructions below.

1. Click on the "Docs & Spreadsheets" link
2. Click on the "New Document" link at the upper left
3. Start typing out your blog post

You can check your word count by clicking on the "file" menu at the top left of your page. The second to the last menu item is "Count Words". The pop-up box that appears will tell you your word count for that document.
You can also post directly to your blog from this interface.
1. Click on the "Publish" tab at the top right of your screen (while editing a document)
2. Click to set up a blog to post too.
3. Choose "Blogger (beta)" from the drop down list at the top and enter your gmail account address (including the and password.
4. Enter the title of your blog (mine is RobinsBlog, Bobbi's is Bobbi Blogs, etc.)
5. Choose to use the title of the document as the title of your post.
6. Click the "Test" button to make sure you can post (you should get a confirmation message that says you can begin posting) - if you have problems, let me know!!
7. Click on the "Edit" link at the left to get back to your document

This is pretty advanced stuff - if you don't feel like doing it, don't stress, but if you are looking for a challenge... have fun with it!!

Lesson 10: Tagging

Can you see the potential of this tool for research assistance? Or just as an easy way to create bookmarks that can be accessed from anywhere?

Again, I can definitely see the potential for to be useful for reference work - since I set up the original MRRL account for us to use in managing the reference staff's bookmarks. If you go to our Reference Links page ( you can see the tags that I've used to categorize the reference links listed. Click on the tag and see the reference links for that "category". All of these links are actually managed by the tool! One of the benefits of this is that, as reference staff become familiar with (from this set of lessons, perhaps?), they can add new links to those pages just by adding a link to MRRL's account (contact me for username/password information if you are in the reference department and this sounds like fun to you). One of the great advantages of using the service is that you can put a button on your browser's toolbar to post new sites to your account with a single click. That's helpful for reference staff or for anyone who may want to keep track of all of their bookmarks on more than one computer (personal desk computer, service desk computer, home computer) without having to manually move bookmarks or favorites around!
Robin Hastings

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Lesson 7

After reading through these articles, blog postings and lists, what do you think about libraries using Myspace?

I think it's a grand idea - of course, I've been managing MRRL's MySpace presence for a while now, so I would think that, wouldn't I. The Librarian in Black and Nicole (of What I Learned Today) both have great points when it comes to using MySpace for libraries. I posted in my "professional" blog a while back about a bill that would ban MySpace in libraries altogether - I don't believe that it's MySpace that is the culprit. Kids will be kids and if we ban one social networking site, they will just find another to use. We need to be educated about the pros/cons of the sites (which is what you all are doing now) and know how to protect the kids that come into the library. I've gotta say that I'm very proud of each and every one of you for going through this program! You are learning about these social networking sites so that you can be on the front lines protecting and informing our patrons!

Robin Hastings

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wiki Week

This week I learned about a number of cool things that libraries are doing with wikis. I was already familiar with the concept of wikis, but some of the very creative ideas and projects that other librarians are creating with wikis was an eye-opener. I really liked the idea of the subject guide as a wiki - that seemed to be the best way to allow multiple people to stay on top of frequently changing information like web links.

Robin Hastings

Lesson 5 - Wikis

What did you find interesting?
I found the fact that all these libraries and librarians are really working hard to figure out how wikis can be used in all sorts of ways in the library pretty interesting. The SJCPL subject guides really knocked my socks off - the idea that any librarian can add content and any user can comment with more information or to clarify/correct information was pretty cool!

What types of applications within libraries might work well with a wiki?
Obviously, the subject guides seem to work well, and I've heard of entire library websites being built with a wiki, but I think smaller projects will work best. The concept of the staff or internal website being wiki-ized (did I just coin a word?) is pretty cool - seeing as how I set one up for us... The more people who feel empowered to add content, the better, in my opinion!

Robin Hastings

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

First Post

I've created my first blog post! I'm now officially entered into the MRRL learning project!

Robin Hastings