First–I must apologize for being away from “the Garden” for so long, at least from the posting aspect, as I have been following it when I could. So many personal and professional wildfire this fine fall semester, some of my own doing–some definitely not–but I guess that’s life. Thanks to all who have checked in on me from time to time, by the way.
Well, before I went missing, I was talking about social networking sites and Web 2.0–I know…those phrases again, especially Web 2.0. It is called by many other names, too: “social, participatory Web,” “user-initiated Web,” even “live Web.” In my very recent short introductory article in MultiMedia & Internet at Schools magazine, sent off before I went missing and published a few weeks ago, I mentioned how Web 2.0 is so widely interpreted.
As I mention in my article, the “definitions are many, and this can be distracting. But if, instead, you look at all of this as a new opportunity, a possible way to better communicate, interact, share, create, and publish information online–to connect with those we are already serving and to those we wish to serve in the near future–then it gets exciting! Librarians and other educators everywhere are now using these Web 2.0 technologies in practical and worthwhile applications. Don’t you want to as well?”
I must say that I find it a bit humorous when I conduct or attend workshops or seminars on some of these technologies that some people start tearing them down before they have even seen what others are doing with them, much less even tried them. A lot of people did not like email when it first emerged either. In my article conclusion, I mention that “nobody is saying that you have to change everything you do, or jump into every technology or public relations idea that comes your way. However, we all know that we need to continue to reach out to our students and patrons and get them interested in what amazing things we can do for them.” I, then, one last time, ask the readers to “browse the listed references and recommended readings. Try setting up a library blog with Blogger, or start receiving library- or special topic-related RSS feeds via Bloglines. Build a subject-guide wiki with PBwiki, or start bookmarking, tagging, and sharing with del.icio.us.”
Stephen Abram just wrote a short post yesterday entitled “Bloglines” at his Stephen’s Lighthouse blog. He states that “Many are unaware of the role that RSS aggregators play in making it MUCH easier to keep track of your favourite blogs.” And he further encourages us in “library land” to not worry if “this seems common knowledge” because there are more “folks heading up these learning curves every day. Those who’ve trod the path before need to share the tricks and tips.” I agree wholeheartedly!
I truly do believe that if librarians and other educators would learn and play with some of these technologies and tools that they would get excited as well. It was from talking with and watching three people in particular in our Garden State work with these social Web tools that really got me interested, and I mention them in the article: Pete Bromberg, Janie Hermann, and Sophie Brookover. They are amazing librarians, making amazing connections for those they serve–these are my “local” librarians that I talk about in my seminars, and I am proud to know them and happy to have them challenge me to make better connections myself. I am glad that they continue to “trod the path” and so willingly share their “tricks and tips.”
Anyway, enjoy the article, and feel free to share it if you find it useful for someone thinking about entering into the Web 2.0 domain. The full text of the article is available via EBSCO Academic Search Premier (although many of the links need to be fixed here!) and other library databases, via the MultiMedia & Internet at Schools magazine site (with free registration), and weeks ago in a RedOrbit NEWS Technology blog!
Any of the quotes above spark an interest in you? If so, you will very much like the fact that The World eBook Fair site opened the International Book Fair Month of October earlier today with an offer that you probably cannot refuse–at least that’s how I feel about it! That’s right–1/2 million ebooks await you for your personal reading pleasure (most free) this month!
The World eBook Fair, a very large showcase for ebook authors and publishers, beginning today and continuing throughout October, will allow us to download our selections from their collection of 500,000 ebooks. I actually think this is only fitting, since according to the Fair site, we are now celebrating the centennial birthday of the public library system, which probably enabled many of us and our parents and grandparents to read their first free book and continue to do so today.
Anyway, I blogged late last month about the Google Book Search-WorldCat link-up, providing us with an improved way to find the book we want within the libraries near us, which I find very useful. I also very recently published a short article in MultiMedia & Internet at Schools (a great magazine/guide to K-12 technology and education resources), where I listed some of my favorite places to go on and via the Web to get free full text books, articles, and more, but due to the limited scope and length of the article, I could not mention more there. And although I have updated my original Wow!–Full Text and Free?! hotlist site with more “places” to explore, especially Open Access directories and sites, this World eBook Fair site can lead you to a much more organized listing of free ebooks.
This World eBook Fair site is truly one you must visit. For instance, while browsing it, I visited the Classic Literature Collection there and, being a sci-fi fan, immediately downloaded one of my favorites highlighted on the first page as one of the most popular selections–The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. I then downloaded an MP3 of a favorite by Poe–The Telltale Heart. I also really liked browsing the Online Educational Resource Collection, especially since I am library liaison to faculty and administrators in the School of Education at Rider University–I knew that many there would be interested in the full text of the Innovative Pathways to School Leadership report, by U.S. Department of Education and the Office of Innovations and Improvement, listed on the “favorites” page.
I am very impressed with this entire World eBook Fair Consortia site and, of course, for the free offer to search or browse and download or read online. By the way, although I liked browsing the 112 collections, and Michael Hart with Project Gutenburg recommends this, too, you can also find the title you want by using their full text search option. Note that Michael Hart’s Project Gutenburg is partnering with, among others, The World eBook Library, Digital Pulp Publishing, and the Internet Archive (my favorite digital library “place” to frequently visit for free full text) to bring us today’s World eBook Fair.
I also found that the World eBook Library site lists some other interesting tidbits that I wanted to share, including the following:
“Each year, the World eBook Library nearly doubles its entire digital holdings. Boasting over 500,000+ eBooks and eDocuments, making the World eBook Library Consortium the world’s largest eBook site. More than one 15 million Internet patrons have visited our library, making us one of the most visited libraries in the world. Since our initial launch time our webservers have had a 99.98% up time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and in all of that time our programs and files have been free and open to the public.”
Time to get back to my family, but I must say that I was so happy to be able to search, browse, and now blog about this site today. I highly recommend starting your browsing or searching experience immediately as this is such a tremendous collection! I hope you like it as much as I do–enjoy and share it with others!
Google Book Search has provided a relatively small amount of links to books held in WorldCat-participating libraries for some time now, even though Google has been allowing those searching the regular Google search engine to find books in libraries by providing the “Find this book in a library” link within some book search results pages. But, finally, today it was announced that this valuable library book finding tool is now highlighted within the Book Search service. Once you conduct a search for a book title in Book Search, look for the “Find this book in a library” link on the bottom right-hand side of a results page, directly under the “Buy this book” section. Click on the link and enter a zip code (or other location info) to find which libraries nearby carry your title.
The best news, however, is that Google’s “Advanced Book Search” let’s you immediately limit your search to this WorldCat search page by searching within the option “Library Catalogs,” which is located to the right of “All books” and “Full view books” options, directly above the “Return book with the title” limiter box (see example here). Once you do the search, click on the “Find libraries” link under the book title, and enter your zip code, state, province, or country information to find nearby libraries owning the item, such as the book Libraries and Google. I must say that I have been asking for this since the Internet Librarian 2005 conference last fall, and, finally, it’s here—and it’s about time! Take a look and try a search yourself.
In September 2005, “Secretary Spellings formed the Commission on the Future of Higher Education to launch a national dialogue on the need to strengthen higher education so that our students and our nation will remain competitive in the 21st century.”
It is stated here that their report and the response plan associated with it will be of interest to and respond to the “needs of all consumers of the system—educators, institutions, taxpayers, parents, and students.” Certainly, academic librarians and other educators will want to read this–don’t you agree?
Anyway, in case you did not know, for about a year, the Commission met, discussed, debated, and came up with conclusions and recommendations, important for all of us. They determined that the current system of higher education within the U.S. does not work well for some, especially low-income and minorities; financial aid needs a lot of work; and better information on our institutions is needed—certainly seems accurate.
Yesterday, the Commission presented its report to the Secretary, listing “recommendations designed to improve the accessibility, affordability and accountability of higher education,” quoted below:
- Student academic preparation should be improved and financial aid made available so that more students are able to access and afford a quality higher education.
- The entire student financial aid system should be simplified, restructured and provided with incentives to better manage costs and measure performance.
- A “robust culture of accountability and transparency” should be cultivated throughout the higher education system, aided by new systems of data measurement and a publicly available information database with comparable college information. There should also be a greater focus on student learning and development of a more outcome-focused accreditation system.
- Colleges and universities should embrace continuous innovation and quality improvement.
- Federal investments should be targeted to areas critical to America’s global competitiveness, such as math, science, and foreign languages.
- A strategy for lifelong learning should be developed to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of a college education to every American’s future.
On the 4th item above, I would like to insert after “universities” and before “should” this: “including their libraries,” or maybe even, “especially….” Adding “libraries” to the 6th item would work for me, too, especially if it stated how we are already assisting in this endeavor–what do you think?
Follow this link for highlights of the Commission’s report, for the entire full text report, and info on the Commission itself, all on the ed.gov site, and I recommend looking for the Secretary of Education’s action plan/response soon in the press.
Another marriage between an entertainment giant and an exciting Web 2.0 startup:
It was announced this morning that the Warner Music Group, one of the largest recording companies in the world, has struck an agreement with YouTube to “distribute and license its copyrighted songs and other material,” although no $$ has been mentioned, yet. According to AP Business Writer Michael Liedtke via Yahoo! News, “both companies are betting they will be able to make money from the ads that will show up alongside Warner Music’s own videos as well as amateur videos featuring copyrighted material. To make the deal happen, YouTube developed a royalty-tracking system that will detect when homemade videos are using copyrighted material. YouTube says the technology will enable Warner Music to review the video and decide whether it wants to approve or reject it.”
I believe this will heighten YouTube’s already very popular status, although it will probably attract more ‘copyright police’ as well, but this is a bold move for Warner and seems like a great deal thus far for YouTube. I will be watching it, no pun intended. But talking about being funny, and since we are talking about YouTube, let me again highlight one of their videos:
You may have already watched the July 12th airing of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central and the episode about “This is the Guy in Charge of the Internet.” However, while I was reading about the very interesting new U.S News & World Report article What Parents Need to Know about MySpace: Your Guide to a Kid’s World on the Internet blogged about by The Shifted Librarian, Jenny also reminded me about this very funny YouTube video I watched earlier in the summer entitled “Internet Tubes” from the Daily Show. If you have a few minutes, you have got to watch it (or watch it again), as it is very funny and at the same time a bit sobering. Of course, John Daily “went out on a limb” in public to state that he believes “the Internet is a keeper.” OK, watch it and you will see what he and I mean.
I read this very recently and blogged about it elsewhere earlier today, as this always gets circulated during our new faculty orientations in late August at Rider University, but I thought Library Gardeners might like to browse it, too.
Once again, Wisconsin’s Beloit College‘s annual list is out as they prepare each August (since 1998) to help all faculty prepare for the academic year and the incoming freshmen students. I think it is a good discussion item for librarians, too, especially if you deal with 17 & 18-year-olds. There is a very useful introduction (“note of explanation” in yellow near the top) explaining about the history of the lists and why they do them, in case this is totally new to you.
My colleagues and I have enjoyed reading this since I arrived in New Jersey in 1998, and although we don’t always agree with everything on the list, it is always entertaining and informative–but…who is “Milli Vanilli” (#21)? OK, only joking–I don’t like to sing in public either.
I hope you enjoy it, too, as you browse the list that “looks at entering college freshmen students…” Take a look at the other lists developed since 1998, too (i.e., Class of 2002 through Class of 2010)–I really enjoyed reading these and asking the incoming students about them when I was Faculty-in-Residence at Rider from 1998-2002.
As I said, I do find these lists to be interesting, and, sometimes, very funny, but I thought these six items from the Class of 2010 list from Beloit were pertinent, or at least of special interest, to librarians and other frontline educators:
“8. They are wireless, yet always connected.”
“18. They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.”
“19. “Google” has always been a verb.”
“20. Text messaging is their email.”
“23. Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.”
“36. They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.
Anyway, back to work–got to get ready for these “connected” students arriving at our convocation tomorrow. Summer’s pretty much over for us here, unfortunately!
“Are you a K-12 library media or technology specialist with information technology and the Internet on your mind? Are you looking for ways to bring both into better focus to further your students’ learning and your colleagues’ teaching?” These are the opening questions on one of my favorite conference’s website, Internet@Schools West 2006 (held again this year in Monterey, CA along with Internet Librarian 2006).
I really think this year’s conference is absolutely packed with social networking/L2 ideas and tools, for everyone, really, although geared toward library and technology professionals. I can’t wait to go! I have been preparing for my own paper and presentation there in October on these topics, as well as spending a lot of time this entire week preparing for Rider University‘s new faculty and new freshmen & international student orientations. Therefore, I neglected all of my feeds and ‘posting duties’ for the week, including Blog Day. So, I asked myself, what can I do to make up for all of this neglect?
My answer? Put a plug in for I@SW 2006 and share five (in the spirit of Blog Day) other notable social networking sites–you know, other than the famous MySpace and Facebook sites (by the way, these two are currently ranked very high in the U.S. and have gotten even more publicity due to their recent collaborations with Google and Microsoft, respectively). Anyway, here are five more sites I think that you should know about, in no particular order:
1) Windows Live Spaces – What is interesting to me about this is that WLSpaces is “one of the fastest growing blogging communities in the world with an estimated 100 million unique visitors per month as of May 2006,” according to an article cited within the “Windows Live Spaces” Wikipedia article. Alexa Internet does rank it very high, stating that WLSpaces is ranked 13th in the world in August, and it is 11th in the U.S. It boasts 30 million registered users. Definitely one to watch.
2) orkut – “orkut is an online community that connects people through a network of trusted friends.” The name may sound strange, even though I am sure that we are used to strange names on the Web. However, there is a reason: this social networking site, owned by Google, is named after Orkut Büyükkökten, the creator of the site and a Turkish software engineer at Google. By the way, even though Alexa ranked it 24th in the world in late August, it does not seem to be on the map for the U.S., as it is not even in the top 100. That will probably change. It does, however, have 24 million registered users.
3) Xanga – “Xanga is a community of online diaries and journals….The Xanga service is a blogging & social networking site – it exists to promote sharing and community.” It first started out as a book and music review site. Now, this social networking site is ranked in the world by Alexa as the 41st most popular site, but here in the U.S., it is not as popular as others—-it is only ranked 90th here, but it does have 40 million registered users.
4) hi5 – According to hi5 itself, “hi5 offers a popular destination for the teens and twenties demographic around the world.” hi5 does have 40 million registered members, concentrating in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, and North America. It is ranked by Alexa as 57th in the world, but the U.S. population does not seem to know much about it right now. Something I found interesting about it was that several high profile singers and models are confirmed to be members, according to the “hi5.com” Wikipedia article.
5) LinkedIn – LinkedIn, a personal information search engine, is also a social networking site, although it does cater to business people. It offers both free and fee-based options, and its goal is “to become the most useful business web site for millions of professionals across the globe.” This online network and search engine, as of the summer of 2006, connects almost 10 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 130 industries. You may or may not have heard of LinkedIn, but it is certainly growing, and although it is not very popular right now throughout the world (rank of 262), it is fairly popular here, as Alexa ranks it as the 59th most popular site in the U.S. as of late August 2006.
I hope you find these interesting–enjoy!
Well, we heard about the deal that Google made with MySpace a few weeks ago, being the only search engine to provide search for and advertising on MySpaces’s site. Now, in related social networking news, another major search engine has struck a deal with another popular site: Facebook, which has two specific sites, one for high school and one for college-age participants. This time, Microsoft is the one who struck a deal. They will “provide and sell banner ads and sponsored ads on Facebook.” Click here for today’s New York Times article detailing the 3-year deal.
I was browsing my favorite feeds this evening, and I came across this post over at the Google Blogoscoped, simply stating “Find out what your browser reveals about your personality…”, linking to another much-commented-on post over at the Terminally Incoherent blog.
The post from Saturday evening talks about IE 5.0, IE 6.0, IE 7.0, Firefox 1.x, Firefox 2.0 Beta, Mozilla, Opera, Netscape 7 and below, Netscape 8.x, AOL Explorer, AOL Suite, Safari, Konqueror, and, yes, Lynx users! It should definitely be files under “humor” but is certainly an interesting read, and I thought I would help share it in case you missed it! I have actually used most of them, but, no, I am not telling you which one(s) my wife or I use most often and when! (you will have to read some of the original post’s comments to understand why–enjoy!)