Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How long until lunch?

Yum! Yesterday I got my first issue of Food Network Magazine in the mail, so this is a timely Thing. Lately I have been getting most of my recipes from magazines at the checkout aisles at the supermarket (Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, etc.). I try to find quick but healthy (and relatively inexpensive) ideas for our dinners, and these magazines give me a lot of good ideas. Having said that I certainly do use the Food Network’s website for recipe ideas. A nice feature about this website is that you can keep an online recipe box, which saves on paper. However, the recipes sometime disappear, so I also email them to myself and keep a recipe folder.

I am a huge macaroni and cheese fan (really anything with pasta and cheese is ok in my book), so here is a recipe I want to try soon!

For this Thing, I decided to try Recipe Source because I am unfamiliar with it. I really like how you can browse by ethnic dishes or by the type of dish. Even though I am not really a great cook or an experienced cook, sometimes I like to look at ethnic recipes to see if I can “spice up” (pun intended) some our favorite dishees. Chicken Korma is one of my other favorite foods, so I was happy to see that there was a recipe on this site. I am also a proud cat mommy, so I was excited to see “Cat Food & Treats” as a category on Recipe Source. Here is a recipe for Mikey’s Mackeral Cat Munchies that I know my kitties would go bananas over!

Thank you for reading!

Tweet away!

As my Library has been planning for our blog over the past couple of months, we discussed having a Twitter feed on our blog (or also on our Library’s homepage). Our original inspiration was theUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Undergraduate Library’s use of a Twitter feed (see UGL Alerts on the right side of the page). We thought this would be a great way to inform patrons of more urgent information such as snow closings or technical issues (including when databases are down). It also makes the website dynamic, so patrons know to check it often. Even though I still really like what UIUC has done with Twitter, it seemed like we would be duplicating a lot of information that we hope to have on our blog. Students could still subscribe to updates using RSS or FeedBurner, so the mobility part is also covered. Having said that, I think after we have our blog up and running for a few months, it’s possible that we will revisit Twitter.

I use Twitter in my personal life to keep in touch with family and friends. Sometimes I put up a funny story from the day or a website that I like. It is so quick and easy to do! Twitter has replaced instant messaging in my personal life.

Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Internet radio

First I have to say…FNX rules! Ok, now that I got that out of my system I will move onto Internet radio. I do listen to Internet radio on a regular basis. My favorite is Hit-Radio Antenne 1 from Baden-Wuerttemberg.

I had never heard of Pandora, so I decided to check it out. What a great concept! It seems somewhat similar to Genius in iTunes, but it is not limited to music you own. It was also very easy to use. I typed in “Supreme Beings of Leisure” and it immediately got started. I then decided to create an account (because I definitely plan on using this resource again), and it took me all of 30 seconds. I like that you can create different radio stations, because my music mood changes from day to day (and sometimes hour by hour or minute by minute). The one downside that I found was the lack of German artists. I tried to create a station based on Silbermond and Juli (two very popular German groups), and I couldn’t do it. I also tried to create a Bollywood station and couldn’t. Maybe in time these types of music will be added. I am very excited about this resource though!

I remedied the German pop/Bollywood problem by going to Seeqpod. When I first went to the website, I wasn’t exactly sure what to search. So I clicked on one of the items they were featuring (which happened to be Bollywood). I did a search for Silbermond, and there were a lot of results. I clicked on the “Discoveries” tab, and it listed similar songs/artists. Overall I found this site to be less intuitive than Pandora, but it did fill the gaps that I encountered in Pandora. I will definitely use this resource again!

Thank you for reading!

Internet Archive

I love looking at the Wayback machine! Here is my Library’s current website, and here is the original site. What a difference! This was such a fun Thing. My coworkers and I loved looking at the sites for our College and our Library.

I took a look at the Moving Image Archive, because we do get students who are looking for video clips to use in presentations (and they are not always comfortable using YouTube, which makes us happy that think about the source of their information, even though there is some good stuff on YouTube). I took a look at the News & Public Affairs. The television sub-collections were really great. I took a loot at the September 11 Televesion archive. If you scroll down a little bit, they have links to videos from the major networks throughout the day. This was hard for me to watch, because I remember quite vividly where I was at what time and what was on television. I think these sub-collections will be quite useful when I am helping students at the reference desk.

Thank you for reading!


As a librarian I am quite excited about books infiltrating the world of technology and gadgets. As a reader I don’t care to read my books on the computer or on a hand-held device. (The thought of straining my eyes like that gives me a headache.) As an information seeker and a naturally curious person I am ecstatic about the number of colleges, universities, institutes, and organizations who are making books, journals, and images available through digital collections.

I first looked at the World Public Library, because I had heard of it but had never taken a look at it. I wasn’t really sure what to search, because I know that these sites are not always comprehensive and I wasn’t sure what it would actually have. This site does give you the option of browsing their (125!) collections. The first collection that caught my eye was the Asian Classics Input Project. This collection contains a number of Buddhist texts that can be viewed in both Roman and Tibetan script. I was really quite impressed by this! I was saddened to see that it cost money to access these texts though. Even though it is only $8.95 a year, I am not willing to spend money to look at these texts. However, this is an affordable price for a graduate student who is doing research in this area. I then went to the Digital South Asia Library to see what type of information they would have. They do have a number of interesting texts that are free to view, but a lot of them are on disparate topics. They aren’t a “collection” as such, which makes this resource a little less appealing to me. I also looked at SARAI (South Asian Resource Access on the Internet). Of all the resources, this was my favorite. I liked that you could browse the information by country, by type of resource, or by topic. Using the topical links, I found The Sanskrit Library, which is another free resource.

Again, I love the fact that people have access to books and manuscripts (for pleasure and for learning) more now than they ever have. I still prefer to read my leisure materials in print, but I love to search online digital collections related to my own personal curiosities. As a librarian, I don’t feel at all threatened by books shifting into the electronic milieu.

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

IM/chat reference

IMing is something that I was quite familiar with in college; I think most of us at that time would IM someone over calling them. For personal use it is great, because you can talk to a couple of people at one time.

I think (in my Library) IM/chat reference would be a little hard to implement. First, our reference desk gets really busy, so it would be hard to manage face-to-face questions, email questions, telephone questions, and IM/chat questions at once. I like the idea of having a person who is not on the reference desk monitoring this feature, but our staff is so small that if you are not on the desk you are probably trying to get everything else done. Email questions are nice because you have time to think about the best response, but you don’t always get an immediate response or any response at all from the patron. The nice thing about chat is that you get instantaneous feedback from the patron, so you know if something is working or not.

Overall I think IM/chat reference is a great feature to offer to one’s patrons, and maybe someday my Library will look into implementing it.

Thank you for reading!

Social bookmarking

Like RSS, I have tried to implement social bookmarking sites into my personal life but to no avail. I really like the concept of them, but I just find it hard to make them relevant to my life. I went into Clipmarks, because I had never heard of it. I didn’t really like interface and didn’t find it intuitive to use. I also looked at Digg, because I see buttons for it a lot on my favorite websites. Digg seems to be very similar to Clipmarks, but for whatever reason I find it a lot easier to use. I did a search for Bhutan, and it retrieved a couple of articles and a video. Although the results were interesting, it was not worth my time to search this site. Next I went to Delicious, which I have used a couple of times before. I did another search for Bhutan, and the results list was much bigger than in Digg. This is one of the results that I retrieved, and it is something that I would like to read occasionally (if it is ever updated again!). Overall I think I liked Delicious the best; I found the user interface to be easy to use and my results list was much better than in the other sites.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Exploring my classmates' findings

I love this list of my classmates’ findings, because I try to get to everyones’ blogs but that doesn’t always happen. Here are a few that I chose to look at:

Because I really began looking at the list on Election Day, the first place I visited was538. This was the first post that I read, and I found it interesting because I just purchased Gelman’s book Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State for my library’s collection. (Please note that there is some unsavory language in the comments of the post.) I kept this post in mind as the election coverage began last night.

Next I went to Unshelved. Although the humor of the comic strip isn’t really my cup of tea, I really got a kick out of thePimp my Bookcart contest and pictures. I immediately sent these on to my colleagues, and we agreed that this would be a really fun thing to do!

I had been introduced to AquaBrowser in the past, and I wasn’t too impressed with it. So I decided to revisit AquaBrowser to see if my opinion of it has changed. There are many features I like about this particular browser – the tag cloud and the list of limiters on the right side. However, I find the screen to be way to busy. I think sometime like the tag cloud would be useful to our students for the purposes of refining their topics/search strings or thinking of related terms.

Overall, I found the diversity of everyone’s interests to be fascinating.

Thank you for reading!

Dream Big!

I first have to say that unfortunately I am not the creative, big thinker, so I will probably not have as many grand ideas as some of my classmates. My strengths are organization and implementation.

My library has already started to think about how 2.0 tools can be used in order reach our patrons. One way (as everyone knows!) is Flickr. We have also started to plan a blog, which we hope will not only be informative but fun as well. We hope that the mixture of Library information with fun items will enhance the Library’s approachability factor and make our patrons a little more excited about the Library and its resources. Another tool our Library has recently implemented is SubjectsPlus. Our SubjectsPlus includes an A-Z list of our databases with descriptions, links to our e-book collections, subject guides, custom class guides, and FAQs/How do I … ? (both general and subject-specific). This tool has proven to be a tremendous supplement to our website.

I guess my only “dream big” idea would be short video tutorials that show patrons how to use our resources. These could include the online catalog, our e-books, and various databases. They could also be done a different levels - basic, intermediate, advanced. These tutorials could be seamlessly added to our website, SubjectsPlus, and/or our blog. I am excited to read my classmates’ big ideas!

Thank you for reading!

Google Docs

I have found the Google online tools to be quite helpful in both my personal and professional life. In addition to being a full-time librarian, I am also an online teaching assistant at one of my alma maters. My counterpart is lives in Louisville, KY, and our boss is in Pittsburgh, PA. We have been using Google Docs in order to collaborate on spreadsheets and documents. This has proven to be quite helpful! In the past couple of months, the staff at my library has started to use Google Sites to organize workflows for a number of different projects. Although Google Sites has been useful, we get the bulk of our work done in our weekly meetings.

Thank you to everyone who voted in this election!  It was so great to see such a large voter turnout and general enthusiasm about the election!