Monday, October 27, 2008


I have a love/hate relationship with Etsy. I love, love, love it, and my bank account hates, hates, hates it! I stumbled upon Etsy a couple of months ago when I was looking for pictures of cute penguins. This adorable set of felt penguins came up in my results lists, and then I followed a link to a book on how to make them. The book was listed in Etsy, and thus our relationship began. I have ordered a number of things from Etsy – jewelry, switchplate covers, prints – and I have been satisfied with everything. Just as Jennifer suggested, I have already purchased a few holiday gifts on Etsy. I find the quality of the things I buy to be quite good, the items are unique (you can’t necessarily get them at the mall or big department stores), the prices to be reasonable, and I really like supporting independent artisans. I like the “Main Showcase” feature on the front page of Etsy. I try to browse this once a day to continue getting ideas for holiday gifts. I also like how I can add items and sellers to a “favorites” list; however, I wish that I could make my list public so I could give it to my family for gift ideas. I haven’t yet found a way to make that possible. Here is a link to one of my favorite sellers. I really do think that this is a great way to business, and I don’t think that a lot of these sellers will be badly affected by the economic downturn. As I said, the prices for the most part are reasonable, and I find this to be a much better option for my shopping than going to the mall and buying mass-produced items for the same price or more.

I also took a look a MOO, which I had never heard of before. I think I might take advantage of some of the products they offer for the holidays. For instance, I have a 3-year-old niece who just loves stickers. I think she would go nuts if she saw herself on a sticker. Again, I like how these items are unique and special, but are also affordable.

Thank you for reading!

Really, in my own backyard? :)

This was another thing that I enjoyed, because I wasn’t really familiar with these tools. Overall, I liked WickedLocal better than American Towns. I don’t have any good reason for it other than WickedLocal was simply more appealing to me. However, I do like that American Towns is national, because I am from PA and go down there to visit a few times a year. So I do see American Towns being useful to me. One link I found that might be useful is this one about Halloween.

I also found Placeblogger to be great, because it is international in scope. What a great tools for someone traveling to a new destination (that is, of course, if that destination has a placeblog). I was excited to find some placeblogs for Germany, but none existed. However, I did find on for a location in Austria. Many of the blogs that I viewed had no postings, so they weren’t really useful to me at all. I think if this tool was updated more, it would be a really great tool.

Thank you for reading!

LibraryThing Thing

I was excited to see this week’s LibraryThing Thing (does that make sense?), because it is a 2.0 tool with which I am unfamiliar. Of course I have heard about it before, but I haven’t taken the time yet to explore it. I really like the ability to search the user-generated tags; I wish I would have known about this when I was working in a public library and had to do reader’s advisory! Signing up for a free account was really easy, and within a couple of minutes I had already added books to my library and joined a group. I decided to do a tag search for chick lit, as that is my favorite genre and I haven’t be able to keep up with it for a while. I found this general tag search useful, but what I really liked were the tagmashes! What a great idea! Most genres have a number of sub-genres, and most people prefer one or two of these sub-genres to other sub-genres. I clicked on “chick lit, travel” and found some books that I might like to read and others that I have already read and enjoyed. Two that I might like to read are Weekend in Paris and When in Rome. Another tagmash that I might use is "chick lit, humor, mystery". I also like how Danbury incorporated the tags into their catalog; again this would be great for reader’s advisory in the public library. I also think it would be useful for students who trying to find books for their research. LCSH usually provides a great start, but I think that user-generated tags would be better understood by college students.

I do use Visual Bookshelf on Facebook, but I usually only update this with books that I am reading. I do not use this to create a catalog of the books I own, but I could see myself doing that with LibraryThing. Overall, I like LibraryThing better than Visual Bookshelf, because I think it gives users a lot more options.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


One of my majors in college was German, and I love speaking and hearing the German language. However, I no longer have a way to hear it or speak on a regular basis. So this one reason I really like podcasts. One of my favorites places to go on the Web to practice my German is Deutsche Welle’s website. Luckily for me, they have many different podcasts that I can listen to on my computer or download onto my iPod through iTunes. This is a great way for me to hear native speakers and keep my listening comprehension up-to-date. I also used to listen to Rick Steve’s travel podcasts a lot when I didn’t have cable and couldn’t watch the Travel Channel. I was able to learn about a number of destinations and glean many tips from Rick Steves and his guests; however, it was difficult for me to hear about a destination and not see images of it. So it was harder for me to listen to these on a walk or a jog, but nice if I could sit at my computer and look up images of the destinations.

I know that many libraries are podcasting as well. If you go into iTunes and search the podcasts for “library”, you will get a number of different types of podcasts from many different types of libraries. I think that podcasting is 2.0 tool that is a little bit more difficult to implement in libraries, because you really need to have an audience that is already captivated.

Thank you for reading!


I was surprised by the different types of library videos found on YouTube. When I was in library school, I took a marketing class. For this class, we had to undertake a large marketing project related to libraries. One group of classmates created a video that they placed on YouTube to market the use of libraries in general. I thought that this video was very creative and well done. The other type of video that I was surprised to find (although I probably shouldn’t have been) was instructional videos FOR librarians. I was not surprised to find that many libraries were advertising themselves and their services (including video tours) on YouTube. I am a online TA for my alma mater, and the students were asked to evaluate library fundraising videos on YouTube. From the evaluations I read, the students believe that the video had to have an obvious purpose/agenda, needed to be fairly short in length, and needed to be put together well. This does not mean that they thought the videos needed to be professionally done, but done well enough that it was obvious there was care and thought put into the creation of the video. I expected to see more instructional videos that librarians have created for their patrons (for instance, how to search the OPAC or a database). I know that some libraries have started creating these types of videos (See the “Finding articles from a citation” video tutorial). I think putting more of these types of videos out there might be a better way to reach our patrons.

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Photos on Yelp!

As I’ve mentioned before, I use Yelp a lot. One of the things that I look for when I go to Yelp is pictures of the location. This is especially true of restaurants. When I look at the pictures of restaurants, I determine if the place is clean and kept up well and also what type of dress might be the most appropriate if I go there to eat. One of my favorite places to eat is Border CafĂ© in Cambridge. I looked it up on Yelp to see if there were any pictures, and I think that the pictures posted on the site were accurate. You can see from the exterior pictures that the restaurant seems to be kept up well, and you can tell from the group shots that it is a fun, relaxed, and casual place to eat. I also looked up Cambridge 1, which is another spot that I try to frequent. There weren’t as many pictures for this restaurant, but there was one that showed their pizzas. I personally think it looks delicious and makes me want to go eat there! Also, you can see from the pictures that this restaurant is a little on the darker side, which makes me think that it is probably a more calm and quiet place to enjoy a meal.

I also just used Yelp to see there was a yoga studio local to me that I would possibly try. The pictures were extremely helpful in this case, because they showed me the set up of the studio (in one of the studios passers-by could look right in), how clean the studio is, and if participants are using any equipment other than a yoga mat.

Thank you for reading!


Thank you so much to Jennifer for the publicity to my Library’s Flickr page! We’ve worked really hard on it, so it is nice to see that other people will view it. If anyone has any feedback on the page, I would certainly love to hear it (good, bad, or otherwise).

Photosharing tools are something that I have taken advantage for many years, as my family lives in Pennsylvania and I have moved around a lot. I like being able to take pictures of what I am doing up here, and not only get to tell my family about, but show them as well. In my personal life, I use a Flickr Pro Account. I have found Flickr quite easy to use, both as a poster of pictures and a viewer. I have yet to find a photosharing tool that I like more than Flickr.

I first took a look at Photobucket for my discovery activity. I do like some of the special effects that you can do with your pictures, but I didn’t really find anything that I would use personally or professionally. I did a search for cats and looked at some of the pictures (very cute!), but again, I cannot see much of a use for this particular tool in my life. UPDATE: I had my picture taken with the stars of one of my favorite TV show this weekend, and I went onto Photobucket to see if I could create a funny greeting card for Xmas. I was able to use the sticker function in order to put Santa hats and winter apparel on us. It was really cute and pretty easy to figure out!

I also took a look at Picasa to see if it is something I would use to edit or organize my personal photos. I didn’t like that I would have to download software to my computer, even if it is from Google.

I also took a look at SmugMug, which is a site that I had never heard of. Although it is a little more expensive than Flickr, it is a tool that I would consider switching to for my personal photos. I like the idea of themes for my photos. I have a number of travel photos, so I think it would be nice to select a theme for these photos. Other than that, SmugMug didn’t seem too different than Flickr.

Thank you for reading!

Monday, October 6, 2008


Although I read several blogs everyday, I have not found RSS feeds to be useful. I have tried to implement Bloglines and the Google Reader in my personal life, but I have never been successful. I think this is because I like going straight to the source; receiving the RSS feeds feels somewhat cold and distant.

Having said that, I can certainly understand why they have become so popular. I would imagine that many people enjoy having all their content accessible in one location. One of the reasons my Library would like to implement a blog is because feed subscribers could receive emergency updates very easily through RSS technology. I have also heard of libraries using RSS feeds to notify patrons of new purchases within a certain subject area, which I found to be clever and efficient.

I will keep trying to give into feed readers, but I am not sure that I can be converted!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Apartment classifieds

I’ve moved a lot in the past few years (fortunately I am going on my third year in my current apartment, which is a record for me!). I’ve used Craigslist for my moves both around Boston and out-of-state. I really like this website for apartment listings, because you get all types of people posting. You get a person who is looking to sublet, you get the person who owns a few rental properties, you get small management companies that don’t have much money to advertise, and you also get large management companies who are trying every outlet they can. The one thing I don’t like about Craigslist for apartment searches is that sometimes the results list is a bit overwhelming. Although you can search within the results list, I don’t always find this to be very effective (maybe it’s because I am a librarian and I’m picky about these things). Having said that, I find Craigslist in general to be an interesting concept. I haven’t thought of using it for things other than apartment rentals, but I am certainly going to explore the site a bit more.

I have also used for apartment searches. I find that the types of postings are a bit more narrow than Craigslist. It’s usually (although not always) medium to large companies who probably have a bit more money. (This is not always a bad thing when looking for a home though.) The one think I do like about’s website is the number of limiters they give. You can search in one town, for number of bedrooms, for maximum rent, etc. quite easily. However, due to the fact that there are not as many postings at Craigslist, you can sometimes narrow yourself down to no results.

In summary, I like both of these websites for apartment listings for very different reasons. If I have to move again in the next few years, I think that I would use both of these sites in my search.

Thanks for reading!