Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
To me, these labels just conjure up more labels, such as "redneck" or "white trash". And this is the way to label hard-working folk from middle America or from the rural South? Or, Alaska? Shame on Governor Palin and Senator McCain. From the way they use these "ficitional people" or "charicatures" to talk about Americans, they just serve to incite the people at their rallies to spew even more labels, calling Senator Obama a "terrorist", for example. Really? Is that what a highly intelligent family man and public official is called these days if he is black? Shame on all of you.
When I hear Senator McCain and Governor Palin refer to "Joe Six-Pack" and "Joe the Plumber" during their speeches, they are not referring to the decent, blue collar people from America's Heartland or the conservative "base" of the Republican Party but rather, I think, to all the "racist", "close-minded", "uneducated" people that still exist out there.
That's why the only Joe I want to hear about in this presidential race is Senator Joe Biden--a real American Joe.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Still other conventioneers waved signs saying "Drill Now", while Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska was telling the crowd how great it would be to open up part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to do more oil drilling in her state. Okay, so let's dig up a critical polar bear and caribou habitat -- one that's also important to the native peoples of that area -- so we can have more oil to feed our SUVs and Hummers and off-road vehicles. And then we can have ice shelfs and ice caps drift away and cool off the North Atlantic even more than it is. And then we can have even more devastating effects of global warming, not to mention an even bigger energy crisis.
Now which slogan would you prefer to rally behind: the Republican's "Drill Baby, Drill" or the Democrat's "Yes We Can!"? Which message is going to help our nation?
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Seeing history in the making Thursday night could be the ultimate in reality tv. Seeing that men and women of all ethnic backgrounds, religions, and persuasions could come together to show their love of country and concern for our collective future is as inspiring as Obama's speech. Now we all just have to follow through on the promise of that day. Now we all have to make our voices heard by voting on November 4.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Senator Biden also seems like a genuinely nice guy who cares about his friends and family and the people he has served. An example of this could be seen last Friday when journalists were "staking out" his home (his only house) in Delaware, hoping that he'd drop a hint as to whether or not he has been chosen for the VP job. Instead of feeling harassed by these journalists (or shouting "No comment!" to the press like they do on "Law & Order", the senator was congenial to them and even brought them coffee and bagels! (It looked like he went to Einstein Bagels, but I couldn't make out the logo on the boxes). Like a good host, he served his guests (albeit uninvited) a treat. Coffee and bagels! Now that shows class!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I got to thinking of "Muriel's Wedding", the 1995 Australian film starring Toni Collette. ABBA's music was central to that delightful film, too.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
I love to learn! If it was up to me (and I had unlimited funding), I'd be a perpetual university student. With all the formal schooling I've had (I have two bachelors' degrees and a master's), I should have had a PhD by now. Someday I will get that degree, but for now, I've been taking every advantage my employer has offered to enchance my professional skills: computer classes, supervisory and leadership classes, workshops, etc. Each year, our library even dedicates a whole day for training the entire staff. However, this year we tried something new: we were encouraged to participate in this self-study training program.
I think my favorite exercise was creating this blog. As a writer and journalist, I obviously like to write. And I also like graphic design, so the layout and design aspect of the blog was fun to do. As was our exploration of Flickr and photosharing. Although I had a Flickr account prior to doing this project, I didn't use it much. But now I think I will use it some more. I just returned from an Alaska cruise; therefore, I can upload my vacation photos to my account in order to share them with my friends and family without having to print out all 200+ photos. Maybe I'll even post some of my travel journal on my blog, along with my favorite photographs. I definitely want to continue blogging and keep this blog updated.
Finally, I would like to thank the Web 2.0 Exploration Project Team for all the hard work they put into making this a fun and educational project.
Having thoroughly enjoyed reading Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, of which "The Golden Compass" was the first book, I thought I'd begin my foray into the audiobook world with a title in which I was familiar. Since my library didn't have the audio version of this book at that time (neither on tape, CD, nor through our digital audio collection service, Overdrive), I decided to buy the audio from iTunes. (By the way, we now have the book on audio CD).
When the librarians all attended a training workshop for Overdrive, I found out why "The Golden Compass" wasn't available through that service: there is hardly any children's or young adult titles in the collection. Oh. And you can't use iPods with Overdrive. (Apple Inc. hasn't contracted with them as of this writing). So, as a library patron, why would I want to use this service?
Apparently, a lot of our patrons are enjoying Overdrive. We get a lot of questions about it at the reference desk. Our patrons get to listen to best sellers and popular nonfiction titles for free. While I'm still not big on audiobooks (I've yet to finish listening to "The Golden Compass"), I can appreciate the fact that many "readers" enjoy listening to a good book (and not have to pay upwards of $25 for an audiobook like I did). So I'll give Overdrive another try for my personal edification -- and because it's one of the last assignments for our library's Web 2.0 exploration projects.
Explore. Explore. Explore. Browse. Browse. Browse. Oh what to "read"? Oh wait. Cool. I just found Stephenie Myer's first novel for adults, "The Host". Sounds good to me. Stephenie Meyer is the "hot" young adult author of the best-selling "Twilight" series.
Now I'll listen to an excerpt...
Okay. When I go home I'll download the Overdrive software (easy, because I have a Mac and high-speed internet access) and "check it out" for the 14-day loan period. I do have an MP3 player my friend gave me, so I can listen to it on that device. Thus, I'll give this audiobook stuff another try.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Librarians also seem to be willing to experiment with new ideas and technologies. As we've seen with other Web 2.0 tools, podcasting also has useful applications to the library world. Podcasting, like blogging (and like the Internet in general), can have democratizing effects in the public sphere. Unlike traditional mass media -- in the case of podcasting, commercial radio broadcasting would be the comparison -- Web 2.0 tools can be utilized by almost anyone. For example, you don't need a broadcasting license to transmit a podcast. Then why not take advantage of this free medium?
One of the most innovative ways public libraries are using podcasts is for services to teens. Teens are already "plugged in" to their I-Pods and MP3 players, so for those libraries wishing to market their services and programs for young adults, podcasting would be a great communication tool. The Seattle Public Library offers a teens podcast produced and "recorded for teens by teens." Young adult patrons simply subscribe to the podcast via a link to iTunes or RSS on the teen center page of the library's web site to enjoy book reviews, radio theater, and learn about upcoming programs and events at the library.
I think it would be fun for my library to produce a podcast for our teens, too.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Since I'm already familiar with YouTube, I'll talk about how it can be used as a marketing tool for our library. My Adult Programming Committee and the Community Relations staff came up with the idea of using YouTube to market our 2008 Adult and Children's Summer Reading Program: Whole Wide World @ My Library. We thought a YouTube video could be used as a way to advertise the program. Instead of paying costly television advertising fees, the free video hosting site was a unique way of getting our Public Service Announcement out in the community. A script was written by the Community Relations Manager and the video was directed by our graphic designer.
2008 Summer Reading Program Video
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The site has well-organized and thoughtfully put together in what the founder calls the "Music Genome Project". Besides offering music to listen to, you can find artists' biographies and photographs of the musicians and the album artwork (I mean CD covers). I explored the rock music offerings and found both newer musicians (my "American Idol" fave David Cook) and established artists (U2, The Beatles).
For my library's Web 2.0 exploration project, we had to study whether or not this 2.0 app would be useful in a library setting. Although I like the site and would use it at home for personal enjoyment, I don't see how Pandora could be used in a library. Other than as a research tool for finding information about the music and artists. But we have reference books that provide more in-depth information. However, I can see where this site could be used in an education setting: a teacher or professor could play songs for a music history class without having to switch CDs or make mix tapes.
A Rainbow or Two From Heaven:
Rembembering Tim Russert (1950 - 2008)
by Donna Marie Smith
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
(photos from: NBC)
I was attending the Henry Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia, the year Tim Russert took over as anchor of "Meet the Press". The year was 1991. I had hopes of being a music journalist, writing for "Rolling Stone", one of the most influential music, culture, and political magazines of the day. While my path took a different turn, Mr. Russert continued to follow his rainbow to become one of the most objective and honest journalists and political commentators in recent times. Even though I am not a journalist by profession -- I am a public librarian who happens to use her journalism skills at her job -- I can follow Mr. Russert's example. I can continue to be a caring person, a conscientious professional, and a patriotic citizen. Like the double rainbow that was spotted after his memorial service in Washington, D.C., Mr. Russert's spirit of kindness and integrity lives on in his family and in his professional legacy. If only we, too, can aspire to be a rainbow or two from heaven.
I thought Zoho Writer was easy to use, especially since I have been using Microsoft Word and Correll Word Perfect for about 20 years! However, I got stuck when I tried "publishing" my document to my blog. I kept on getting an error message saying "blog not available".
Eventhough I like to try to figure things out for myself, I finally gave up and consulted my friend. He discovered that Zoho gets hung up on any punctuation or symbols that are in blog titles. I had to take out the comma and ampersand in my title in order for the publish feature to work. Interesting...
These tools can be useful for collaborative projects: for authors co-writing a book, for editors of newspapers and magazines, for employees working on a project together. It's handy if you don't want to fool with sending email attachments or if you have to remember to carry your flash drive with you. As long as these applications remain as safe as possible from hackers (or corporate spies!), then these tools can be a convenient and easy way to share information.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
My entry for "Favorite Vacation Spot": Alaska!!!
My entry for "Favortite TV Show": I couldn't narrow it down so I picked my current favorites: Battlestar Galactica (new series), Doctor Who (new series), House, Pushing Daisies, and Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
As I discussed in my previous blog entry, I am wary about using a wiki to disseminate information could be problematic, particularly if the author is unreliable or careless. However, wikis used in this informal manner can be a fun way to share ideas. For example, you can create a wiki for your family and share news and photos, or if you are in a club, you can share information about events and meetings. The possibilities are endless.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Library Success: a Best Practices Wiki is an example of presenting knowledge in an informal way, and information listed on a wiki is not necessarily written by an expert. Wiki's are egalitarian. They're collaborative. Is this good?
I think wikis like the one above can be useful in that it is maintained for the most part by a group of professionals. I came across a section of "Library Success" that deals with my area of library services: adult programming. The section included "ideas for adult programming", a list of related blogs and web sites, and links to articles. I even found a reference to a library that had created a database of programs, something I am interested in since I'm collaborating with a colleague to create a programming database as tool for our branch librarians to use in program planning.
So are wikis useful in other instances? The granddaddy of all wikis is the ubiquitous Wikipedia. The jury is still out for me on whether or not this is a reliable source of information. I cringe when students cite "Wikipedia" as a source, especially when they are doing an essay on an easy-to-find subject that can be found in the easy-to-use World Book Encyclopedia.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
In fact, I think that the librarian is still a library's most valuable resource. Despite the "social" nature of Web 2.0/Library 2.0, the face-to-face contact with a "live" person remains important to many people. I can appreciate the Library 2.0 model being important to university students and the younger generations, but there is still a large segment of society (the elderly, but even some people of all ages) which is not comfortable using a computer, never mind working in an on-line environment.
I also read some comments from notable librarians who have blogs dealing with the library profession. In a cover story called "Mattering in the Blogosphere: Observations from the Well-Connected" (American Libraries, March 2007), librarians discuss the "democratizing power of blogs to add fresh viewpoints to the professional dialogue." Perhaps if us librarians continue to explore the possibilities of Library 2.0 in the Web 2.0 environment, we can continue to incorporate such online modalities into library services without losing our "human touch".
Now with the world of blogs -- these digital diaries of sorts -- you are sharing your thoughts with the World Wide Web. If you are a blogger, you obviously want others to read your thoughts and ideas. Maybe even market your blog. So one of the first things you can do to get your blog noticed by others is to tag it or have it with blog search tools such as Technorati. You can also make sure people find your most updated posts by pinging them to search engines.
For our library's web 2.0 exploration project, we took a look at Technorati and learned how to tag our blog posts with the site's tags. For this excersie, we searched the tag field to see what blogs we could find about the concept of web 2.0. I found this type of search to be a bit cumbersome. First, I got 35, 289 hits. Second, I noticed in the "related tags" list that there are other tags that were variant spellings of "web 2.o" ("web 2-0" and "web2.o"). Third, not all the "hits" dealt with web 2.0. The first blog I looked at was just an advertisement and not someone's ideas or thoughts about web 2.0.
Overall, as a librarian, I didn't find the use of tags in techorati or del.icio.us or other sites to be useful in finding relevant information. I can't imagine how to find information without using formal knowledge classification systems (Dewey Decimal System, Library of Congress). Even with minor flaws, these systems are more useful to me in that they are based up a standard -- an agreed upon designation -- for any given subject or body of knowledge. It would be like driving without a road map. You might get to your destination, but you might wind up going in circles before you arrive.
However, as an informal method of sharing information, tags and such can be a fun way to drive around the blogosphere, seeing sites and things along the way that you might not have discovered if you had that road map.
Monday, June 9, 2008
After exploring the site and seeting up an account, I can think of several ways in which this tool would be useful for librarians. First, del.icio.us can be used for computer and internet instruction classes. The instructor can set up an account and then be able to access the bookmarked sites he might want to use for the class. That way, he won't have to bookmark the sites for each computer/laptop he uses for any demonstrations. He can "transport" his "favorites" from Internet Explorer via a del.icio.us account.
Second, del.icio.us can be used as a reference tool. For example, instead of having to bookmark frequently used websites at each reference station, a del.icio.us account can be set up for all the librarians to share. Likewise, the specialist librarian can set up an account of his own to use at the reference desk or at a training class. Then again, if a library has a web page like ours does -- a "useful weblinks" section organized by subjects -- then that would be a more useful tool for librarians to use.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
While searching through WebFeat, a meta-search tool, I came across an article about my hometown: "Babylon's 120th year: fiscal stability, economic progress." (Long Island Business News (Sept. 14, 1992 n37): 19(1). General OneFile). Wow! It's been 20 years since I lived there, and I remember when the town celebrated it's centennial anniversary. I even have a commemorative mug that my mom saved from that time. Without the internet or newspaper databases or tools like WebFeat, we would not be able to easily access newspapers or magazines from other places.
Monday, June 2, 2008
As someone who likes to work with design and color, I find image generators to be an interesting tool for the Web 2.0 generation. Designing layouts for web sites and blog sites are easy to do with these applications. Just cut and paste the code onto your page. How simple compared to the HTML coding I had to learn when I was the webmaster for the library I worked at while getting my master's degree. Kind of like using word processing software versus manual typewriters. Or doing database searching versus using print magazine indexes. Or taking pictures with a digital camera versus a SLR camera. You get the idea.
Take two: Create your own image.
Take three: Have fun!
Make your own movie clapperboard by visiting: http://online-generator.blogspot.com/2006/06/movie-clapper-board-generator.html
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
image by dustindonlove
There is Justice in this world. Yes, I know this is a singing contest, but the idea that someone you care about wins something -- in this case his dream to be a rock singer (not to mention a recording contract, a car, publicity, etc.) -- it just gives me a sense of hope.
Although I've been watching "American Idol" for the past few years, other than Chris Daughtry, David Cook was the first contestant that I cared about winning the competition. ("caring" equals "would buy his record", "go to his concert").
See, I have this sense of Justice. I hate when the "underdog" doesn't get treated fairly. Even though the Idol judges praised David C. all along, during the last night of the competition, they blew him off by declaring David Archuleta the champion.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
I adore my I-Pod Nano. I can download songs for a minimal charge. Any song I want (provided it's in the I-Tunes catalog). Current hits and old favorites. I hardly buy CDs anymore, mostly because I have no more storage space, but also because I like the idea of not having to spend $15.00 for a whole CD. Especially if there are only one or two songs from that I like from the CD. I now can spend 99 cents for each of the songs I like.
I like my digital camera. It's light-weight and easy to use. Just download the photos to my computer and print out on photo paper.
I think my Mac is brilliant. It's so intuitive and easy to use. The sleek white acrylic flat screen, wireless keyboard, and egg-shaped wireless mouse exemplifies high-tech design, of a quality suitable for a MOMA exhibit.
My 20th-century technology:
I still have all my records: 33 1/3 LPs and 45s. The album cover art is something that has gone by the wayside with the advent of audio cassettes and CDs. Now, digital music is all about the music. A completely different way of experiencing music. The nostalgia of albums, record stores, and the rock and roll experience is something only Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers can savor as the world goes digital.
I have my dad's camera collection. Old SLR cameras. They're gorgeous examples of mid-century design and how we experienced light and image. I took a photojournalism course in college and remember the detailed process of adjusting F-stops, flashes, and all those rolls of film.
I don't have my electric typewriter or my word processing machine or even my first Apple computer anymore. I first learned to type on a manual typewriter. I even won an award for being the fastest typist in my high school class; although that was not as cool or prestigious as getting a varsity letter jacket for basketball or making the National Honor Society. I don't miss using a typewriter. I sometimes wonder how I made it through two bachelor degrees using such primitive technology. By the time I got my master's in the late 1990s, we had these lovely personal computers, electronic databases, the World Wide Web, and other technologies that 21-century students couldn't imagine being without.
It's a high-tech life now, and the only thing is to enjoy the ride. Or get left behind.
I uploaded this photo to my Flickr account as part of our library's Web 2.0 exploration project.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
As the adult programming coordinator for my library system, I can use a programming blog as a marketing tool. I can let patrons know about upcoming events, perhaps providing some more details than I can offer through our web site or print articles and announcements.
After the event, patrons can post comments about their experience. While we get feedback about the program by handing out evaluation forms, patrons might also want to share what they learned at a workshop, for example, by posting comments on the programming blog.
A programming blog might also be used for our book discussion series or our adult summer reading program. The interactive nature of a blog makes it conducive to talking about ideas, about literature, about life.
Ultimately, blogs are just one of the many tools librarians can use to communicate with their community.