Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thing 6

Spelling things with flickr! This is cool! I've always wanted one of those pictures with my last name spelled out like this...

KMcElman_100416_0105 U letter N stencil T letter E letter R

As far as usefulness in the workplace - I'm not so sure how useful this would be for my library. Sharing photos online, however, is very useful for promoting programming or the library itself. I like the idea of highlighting certain parts of the collection, maybe a special collection or an underused area, new books, audio books, etc., so that patrons can see them on the website and maybe come in to check out the items in person. I brought this idea up at a meeting a few months ago, so it will be interesting to see if anything actually happens with it. Libraries could link a Facebook (or flickr) account to their website to promote programs and areas.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thing 5

Ahh. Flickr. So I've had a Flickr account for some years now, but with the exception of last year's addition of my "townhouse in progress" photos, it's been stagnant for at least a few of them. With the advent of Myspace (my account there is also stagnant and should really just be deleted) and then Facebook, I kind of let my Flickr account fall to the wayside. It was just easier to upload pictures to a site that all my friends and many of my family members were already using daily.

Flickr is pretty cool though. It's nice to be able to join the different groups/communities on there. I'll admit to not having looked at the site in quite some time, but I did like it when I actually used it. As far as using it for the library, I used to think it would be a cool thing (we actually covered Flickr in my Library 2.0 workshop that I took a year or so ago, and I linked my Flickr photostream to that blog). But now that my library's YS department has its own Facebook page, we just upload all our program pictures to that, for the same reasons I do it for my person page. It's just easier. But that's not to knock Flickr. I've seen photostreams from several libraries that use it. When I was looking for information on Lego Clubs in the library, I happened upon a few Flickr pages that featured children's programming, so it's definitely useful. I think the only drawback would be having to link it to Facebook or something.

That being said, I'll post my Flickr photostream here anyway. The first pictures are of my townhouse, right after I bought it when my family and I started doing all the renovations. It looks quite different now (but my "after" pictures are all on Facebook), and the later photos are from some of my visits to other states, etc...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Thing 4

The requirement for Thing 4 was to subscribe to at least three feeds from different blogs or news sources. I realized I was already subscribed to the youth services department blog at work and to a blog for another class (LIS 661). So I subscribed to the blogs of two of my co-students and also to the Unshelved comic and the Fox News National Headlines. I'm sure trying to keep up with just these few blogs and news feeds will keep me rather busy!

I decided to use the Google Reader to organize and subscribe to the feeds. I like that it was extremely easy to use (and the step-by-step directions were very clear). The good part of having all the news feeds on one page is the simplicity of it all! Things I might be interested in reading are all right there, together! How easy is that? It will certainly save time since different pages/sites won't have to be loaded up every time I'd like to read something.

For my professional life, RSS feeds would be useful for subscribing to blogs relative to the workplace -- having all the updated information available with a single mouse click would save a lot of time from searching for updates on other sites that are related to the workplace.

For the news feeds I added, it was super simple! I just copied the link for the Unshelved comic into the Google Reader "add a subscription" box. And for FoxNews, I found an RSS Feeds link at the bottom of the homepage, clicked that, then clicked the feed I was interested in (I chose National Headlines), clicked on the Google button, and that was that! Super simple. Now it's just a matter of remembering to read them all! :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Thing 3

Thing 3 deals with searching and another blog search engine using the same search terms and comparing results. For my second blog search engine, I used Google Blog Search. An initial comparison of the two engines makes me favor Google over Technorati. The layout and user interface are much cleaner on Google, and the ads that are present on Technorati really distract from the overall look of the page. I felt that Technorati looked like a much cheaper site, maybe even bordering on spammy. Google's site was more professional and clean, and I preferred it based on initial impression.

I searched for "board games" in both engines. Technorati returned 251 results in blogs and 153 results in posts. Google Blog search returned over 1 million. Wow. WOW! What a huge difference. I wonder what accounts for such a gigantic variance in the result numbers between the two search engines. I liked the way the results were returned on both sites. Technorati showed a screenshot of each blog next to a short sentence from the blog. Google showed a typical Google results listing of text with a headline linked above a snippet of the actual blog entry. The included images on the Technorati search were appealing, though I am still drawn to the clean page on Google. Maybe I'm just biased since Google is my main search engine of choice in everyday life. Yes, I find something I like and stick with it although in this case it would probably be good to venture out and see what other search engines have to offer...

Features of Google Blog Search that I like: ability to arrange/filter results by last update and the advanced blog search and preference options to really pinpoint what you're looking for. I find myself extremely turned off and distracted by the ads on the Technorati site almost to the point that I don't even want to explore it anymore.

I suppose one of the positive aspects of Technorati, as far as the results go, is that fewer results means less time spent going through them all to really find what you're looking for. A million results for "board games" on Google Blog Search is definitely overwhelming to say the least while 251 is a much more manageable number. Overall, however, Google Blog Search gets my vote for the best of the two based on its cleaner look and interface. For anyone familiar with Google, the Blog Search page looks quite similar, and that brings a sense of comfort and reliability without the distracting ads and colors used by Technorati.