Posts filed under ‘Social Web and Social Networks’

Mashups and Other New or Improved Collaborative Social Software Tools

Following up on two articles–both available at robertlackie.com/ under the “Selected Online Materials” page–published in late 2006 on Web 2.0 and social networking sites of interest to librarians and teachers, a colleague of mine at Rider University and I (Robert D. Terrio and Robert J. Lackie) just published another article in MultiMedia & Internet@Schools magazine continuing the discussion of practical free tools and technologies that teacher-librarians are currently using.


This article, “Mashups and Other New or Improved Collaborative Social Software Tools,” has just become available in HTML full text within the EBSCO Academic Search Premier database and soon in PDF within Wilson databases as well as at the MMISchools.com site. The goal of our article was…

…to continue the discussions of practical Web 2.0 tools and social networking sites that have been brought up in this magazine and at recent school librarian conferences and to highlight other collaborative tools and exciting developments in free Web 2.0 social software, items we will categorize as “Useful Collaborative Tools” and “Practical Mashups.”

We see that librarians and other educators are continuing to learn about and integrate Web 2.0 technologies and collaborative tools in practical and worthwhile ways, and we think it’s very exciting to be a part of it! We hope that you will take the time to read the article, check out the sites, explore the references, and share these and your opinions with all of us.

Additionally, if integrating Web 2.0 into the classroom or library is new to you, read, watch, listen to, and play with many of the interesting resources listed at the Web 2.0 info site of Kathy Schrock, one of my favorite authors and presenters, and continue to come back and visit us at the Library Garden for more discussions, communication, sharing, and creating of valuable content to and ideas for librarians and other educators!

Technorati Tags: collaboration, communication, Library Garden, mashups, social software, web 2.0

August 21, 2007 at 3:43 am

STEP ONE: STOP CALLING THEM DATABASES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A friend of mine has said many times that she believes we in libraryland need to stop calling databases databases, and I have always agreed, but I have not done anything about it. I haven’t written about it, talked about it, blogged it, mentioned it, or thought about it any more than that.

When I hear the word “database,” and if I didn’t know what it was, it conjures up for me some really complicated spreadsheet system or, well, database, that is way too complicated for me to figure out and use, and that is TOTALLY BORING – not exciting or attractive to me in anyway, doesn’t sound useful to me and doesn’t make me want to use it or care to find out how to use it at all!

Well, yesterday this flew out of my mouth (or my fingers rather) in a twit over on twitter when someone mentioned they were changing their database descriptions to try to at least better reflect what they were to try to get their students to use them…. I put out my thought that if we really want to become more “2.0” and more valued and user-friendly, we need to stop calling databases, databases and do it now! More like do it yesterday!

This created a nice little chat discussion on twitter about what we SHOULD call them and that led to another nice little discussion about what they really are and what the users think they are and want to call them.

I want to thank Rochelle, KGS, Pete Bromberg, Library_Chic, cindi, wanderingeyre, awd, and everyone else for that twit yesterday. I am using the verb to twit as in a chat, to chat here …

This was also a great example of a nice use of twitter…. a quick IM-like conversation between a few people that was captured in the twitter program for me to go back and look at today.

It wasn’t an IM session – that in most cases would be between two people and wouldn’t necessarily automatically have been captured for me to refer to today. It wasn’t a chat room, it wasn’t e-mails, it was a quick conversation among some professionals that was saved as it happened. We commented back and forth while doing other things on this topic – in the 140 character limits of twitter – so we had to be brief and concise – no waste! I thought it was great!

Today I could go back and refer to all the suggestions and thoughts and questions and compose this post over here on Blogger.

So, to get back to the issues of the databases…. Really now, what can we call them so that people

1. Want to use them
2. Get the idea of what they are
3. Don’t be made to feel stupid (see the excellent post on this over at Tinfoil Racoon’s blog)
4. Don’t feel intimidated or turned-off by them
5. Find out the value of them

The twitter conversation went something like this:

Databases are mentioned.
I say we need to stop calling them that.
Someone says, then what do we call them? “…those article thingies?” *
We decide to “brainstorm” this

Someone says “Find good stuff with these search tools”
I say “yeah, search tools, electronic resources – still “eh” on those”
Someone adds, “search tools for [discipline(s)"]?

This causes me to start wondering if the databases are search tools or the resources within them? “but is the database the search tool or the gold in the mine!?”
Another adds, ” “library resources”? “resources to use in your research”? “

Then, of course, we got a little silly with:
“crap that your professor wants you to use so just do it already”?

And then in response to “tool” vs. “gold mine” we got to
“The trick is the meta-search of multiple indexes and then cross-linking to the full text in their respective happy places “

Which resulted in
“tool to find happy place of needed articles” ;-)

and

“that’s the problem. Catalog = search engine, inventory control, or lipstuck pig? Database = search or result or full-text?”

At one point, the brilliant KGS characteristically asked, “why don’t we ask the user?” and
someone replied, “*has* anyone asked the user what to call it?”

Then a few “gasp! ask the user!? oh no!” comments and jokes twitted by and then we continued questioning “well what is the database TO THE USER, not TO US!?”

Someone comments that their kids say the databases are websites, “database, electronic resource, etc=”website” “

Which gets a reaction of “knee-jerk reaction “no it’s not!!”…but really, isn’t a database just an iteration of a website? at least to the user? “

We get a little silly again:
“goldmines of knowledge” is suggested
“Goldmines of knowledge = databases, I love it. Is hilarious and descriptive”
“what to call databases: Stuff you need to convince your teacher you used more than wikipedia “

“Infopools, factipiles, report’o’calls” (some of my personal faves!)
and finally,
“Put on your hipboots, kids and wade into our authoritative, full-text Sludgepits o’ Knowledge”

Okay, okay we were getting a little out-of-hand toward the end, but you get the idea….

So, c’mon everyone: What are we going to call these things that are expensive, incredibly powerful, valuable, under appreciated, under marketed and UNDERUSED!?

I KNOW we can do better than databases.

STEP 2: Get everyone on board calling them by their new name……..

* I have decided to not cite who said what in case anyone wouldn’t want their terrific twits shared with the world – I am not trying to withhold credit, but protecting against exposing anyone – if you want to claim any of those – go ahead – and/or tell me and I’ll give you credit where credit is due! ;-)

July 13, 2007 at 8:48 am 22 comments

You Don’t Need Physical Proximity to Feel Close

I am sitting here at work in tears.

I have just seen and read about Michael‘s dear dog, Jake. I had been watching his decline through Michael’s posts on flickr and knowing that eventually this post would come. Then I read Karen Schneider’s perfect post about pets, and unconditional love and social networks, and I just have to share.

We really can be one large community.
I have only met Michael once in person, but I feel that I “know” him somewhat through the Internet – his posts on flickr and his blog, his generousness, intellect and humor that truly come across no matter what medium he uses to communicate. And, especially as a dog lover/owner I certainly could “know” his relationship with his dog, Jake, and feel such pain for him at this time. I wish there was something I could DO. But I am hoping that Michael and his family and his other dog, Charlie, can feel us all around him, even though we are not physically present with them, sharing their sadness and caring so much for them in these ways that we can – posts, emails, instant messages, etc..

The Internet can be an amazing thing. I wish I could tie this all together better somehow, and make some more profound point that I feel is here but just out of reach, but I feel too sad to do it right now. Anyway, Karen really said it best and said it all.

June 18, 2007 at 3:38 pm

Not Attending ALA? Here’s an Alternative…

This is posted many places but I want to be sure that no one misses it!

Not able to attend ALA but still want to find out what’s going on in cutting edge technology and social software!? Well check out the BIGWIG Social Software Showcase…

From their page:

The Social Software Showcase is an online unconference occurring around and during the time of ALA Annual 2007.
On this wiki, you will find eleven wonderful presentations on cutting edge technology and social software by librarians and leaders in the field. Regardless of where you are in the world, you will have the opportunity to discuss the presentations here in this space.
We will also be having a face to face roundtable discussion with some of our presenters at ALA Annual in Washington D.C. on Saturday, June 23rd, from 1:30-2:30 in the Renaissance Mayflower Cabinet Room. If you are in D.C. please come and join us.
This wiki will be a work in progress as we iron out a few things, including the embedding of the presentations. But we’ll be ready and running before ALA! [end]

This is a revolutionary way of presenting information! Please do check it out.

The presenters include the VERY excellent:

Michael Casey – Library Crunch
Michael Porter, aka Library Man! – Library Man blog
Jessamyn West – Librarian.net blog
Karen Schneider – Free Range Librarian
Her post on this.
AND MORE!

You can read another excellent post on this for some more information on the Information Wants to Be Free blog here.

The Bigwig Social Software Showcase is here .

Check it out! :-)

Happy Weekend!

June 15, 2007 at 7:53 am

You Don’t Have To

Feeling overwhelmed by everything?

I sure have lately! Finding facebook and loving it somehow pushed me over the edge. I thought of myself as “keeping up” and “in the know,” and then somehow I found myself feeling as if I’m drowning in the sea of incredible, new and fun tools, unable to get a breath!

I was talked down by this post from The Shifted Librarian (Jenny Levine). All I can say is, Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jenny. Your timing couldn’t have been more perfect (sorry for that word ha ha.)

Please, for those of you feeling overwhelmed, I highly recommend you read it. Now.

You can’t do it all, and admitting it is okay. This online stuff, it’s
great. We *love* living in this time, right? It’s fun, it’s constant learning,
it’s empowering and alluring if you love learning and information. All of those
tools at our fingertips to learn about and play with, all to help people. It’s
beyond cool.

But it’s not your life, nor should it be. You have to learn to let some of it go and then be okay with that (which is the hard part). Michael Stephens talks a lot about how librarians need to let go of the “culture of perfect.” For the younger bibliobloggers I will add that you have to learn to let some of the pressure go. You physically cannot keep up with it all, so beating yourself up over failing to do so is pointless.

May 30, 2007 at 11:06 pm 6 comments

Twittering about Second Life

Monday I got this e-mail from my director:

Those of us at the Futures conference heard about the increasing rate of change
and how technology is central to it. So, do any of you read the Sunday Star
Ledger? If you do, did you notice the articles on pages 2 and 3 of the first
section (not buried somewhere) – Twitter and Second Life. When things like this
become news that’s prominently placed, you HAVE to sit up and take notice.

True, this past Sunday’s Star Ledger carried articles about Twitter and Second Life (actually, there were two about Second Life, there was also this one). Well those are the ones I found online, I didn’t actually see the print paper.

While I’m certainly not a “Twitter celebrity” I have discovered that Twittering is kinda’ fun. The first time I heard about it I thought it was ridiculous and didn’t even sign up for it – even though I am a major “joiner”! ;-) However, when a friend invited me to join and be his friend, I did it and then found out that getting little messages about what he was doing was kinda neat and fun. Then I added another friend. It also became fun to post little tidbits about what I was doing (you are limited to 140 characters). I am by no means “addicted” or “obsessed,” but it is fun.

The article calls Twitter a “booming new social networking site,” “micro-blogging,” “addictive and may just be the future of communication.” People are using it to find like-minded friends and connections without all the “noise” of MySpace. Especially funny tweets become popular and their posters gain visibility.

One day when I checked the public timeline I saw people posting to each other who were at some kind of conference and checking-in to say when/where/what they were doing – making plans about where to meet up and when to eat, etc….

At the Futures Conference Ray Kurzweil talked about things doubling very quickly. Well, according to one of the founders of Twitter, its users are doubling every three weeks!

Check out Twitter Map and Twitterholic if you’re into it.

As for Second Life, the first article offers a sort of “travel guide” to it with tips and a warning that “sex is everywhere,” hence the second article about someone offering child pornography there.

Again, I am not a big user of Second Life. I did eventually sign up but have only been “virtual” once. I just fumbled and stumbled around and ended up getting stuck on a fence somewhere. However, Second Life has more than 6 million registered participants (according to the article) and I have seen some interesting things on useful applications and results from Second Life. Of course, there is a library there and many “real world” things take place there – concerts, buying and selling, advertising, building or creating things, meet people, own land, etc..

Maybe I should give it another try. If anyone knows how to get off that darn fence in Second Life, Twitter me!

May 15, 2007 at 8:36 am 6 comments

A Serendipitous Stumble: Social Computing Magazine

I was just surfing around looking for information on several topics for a variety of reasons when I came across Social Computing Magazine and had to share my serendipitous find.

Actually, I did not find the site directly but rather the article Wikis, Collective Intelligence and Libraries written by Laura B. Cohen. The article challenges academic librarians to create more subject-based wikis and to collaborate with students in order to take advantage of the collective intelligence of students and to keep their sites current. I think that public libraries should also be trying to harness the collective intelligence of their community via the use of wikis and this article gave me some great food for thought for a future post on this topic.

It is hard to tell how long the “magazine” has been around — I would say no more than two months given the dates of the articles in their online archives and the fact that some of the topics have yet to be written about. The articles and topics on the site look promising, but when I went to the message boards it seems as if they are just getting going with them.

While I was exploring, I read the article on The Blogger’s Code of Conduct and bookmarked it separately for future reference and use in blogging classes … oh, and though it took some doing, I finally discovered the crucial information I was wanting to know — who is the person/people behind this venture. I finally found it at the bottom of the article Is ‘Social Computing” a Breakthrough — or an Oxymoron?

Jeremy Geelan is Founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of Social Computing Magazine. He blogs at The New Web Blog and is Executive Director of The Social Computing Foundation.

It will be interesting to keep tabs on this in the months to come.

Edited to add:

Jeremy Geelan emailed me today to thank me for the positive review (and it is a positive review, I found the content useful and the overall site design easy to navigate). My one complaint about not easily finding the information about who was behind the site was a lot more visible than I originally thought — I will blame it on the fact that I was posting late on a Sunday night after spending the day in the garden and chasing after my toddler ;-)

In any event, here is some text from the email Jeremy sent that will help clear up the issue:


… As to prime movers, there is one other link on the SCM main page that would have helped you, at the bottom left: http://www.socialcomputingmagazine.com/editboard.cfm . We probably need to move that up above the fold, but we wanted content to come first, and personalities onl a distant second.

Between them, these guys are some of the most forward-thinking, savvy minds involved anywhere in and on the Web today. I am just the (lucky) conductor… they each play their instruments far better than I ever shall!

Thanks for the good thoughts,…and don’t forget, either, that SCM is a participatory site, so the more folks become involved the merrier: http://www.socialcomputingmagazine.com/submitnews.cfm

I for one plan to become involved and encourage others in the biblioblogosphere to do the same and give a librarian voice to this new venture.

Thanks for emailing me Jeremy!

April 29, 2007 at 11:20 pm 2 comments

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