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