Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Next Step

"Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." Helen Keller,The Open Door,1957

This isn't my usual "Quote of the Week" post that I've done in the past. I started out with this quote because recently I've been feeling rather discouraged about starting graduate school. I have to say there have been numerous times I've felt like just throwing in the towel even though classes hadn't even started yet. So why the frustration? While I won't go into all the ins and outs now, it's been everything from the application process to financial aid.

While I'm still not feeling all that excited even today, this quote got me thinking. I found this quote by Helen Keller while working on one of September's book displays for the Shatford Library yesterday. I will admit I've thought about postponing or avoiding graduate school altogether during all the ups and downs these past few months. While thinking about Helen Keller's quote, it has made me realize that I should look on this experience as another adventure in my life and not worry so much about everything. Before everything finally came together, people around me kept telling me that it would all work out. How they were so sure when I was so doubtful is beyond me. But I'm thankful for the wonderful support group I do have that has helped me get through this preliminary time.

In a few days, I will be officially starting the next step as Mrs. Kim always referred to it in Library 104 as I begin classes in the brand-new University of North Texas/California State University, Northridge cohort program as one of fifty students.

Many have asked me to blog about my grad school experiences. You can follow my adventures as a graduate student in this library and information studies program by continuing to read this series, "The Next Step".

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Social Networking - Twitter

Recently, I was enjoying lunch with a writers group when the topic turned to social networking. The evil necessity of being visible online as writers-published or not. As one writer proclaimed her love for Twitter, it made me realize I felt the same way once I started using my account on a regular basis. Why? Because it's simple and easy to use. The pure fact that I can send and receive tweets from my mobile phone without having to log online is amazing to me. Unlike MySpace or Facebook, there's very little maintenance, no updating or adding more photos, etc. once you've set-up your account.

Basically, Twitter asks you "What are you doing?". In 140 characters or less, you can inform those interested in keeping updated about what's going on with you. You can do this via text messaging, instant messaging or from online. In addition, you can use a widget on your MySpace or Facebook account so you can put your Twitter updates there as well. Personally, I think that's a little redundant since MySpace and Facebook already has a place where you can post updates. It states you could also put a widget on your blog page, so that could be a nice addition. You can find this information on their home page under Goodies.

Even though you can use their general Help Page to learn how to use Twitter, I really liked how the help page geared for businesses was set-up much better. So I'd suggest checking out both.

If you have any questions or problems with Twitter, check out their Support Page. One thing I noticed is that I didn't always get the updates sent to my mobile phone which I wasn't too happy about. Their answer for this was: "Missing Twitter text updates is fairly common. If the Twitter text queue is too overloaded with text updates, some will be dropped." Should I have expected that technology is never perfect in the first place? I suppose so.

Upon further investigation, I came across this: "Twitter sends and receives an extremely high volume of tweets each day. We're now sending and receiving so many that we're occasionally exceeding carrier limits. When this happens, we're unable to deliver more text messages to that carrier or phone for a short period of time. If you're not receiving all tweets via text, this is most likely why." They do give solutions though if there seems more to the problem than that. In addition, they do mention that they're working with mobile phone carriers to fix that problem though in the future. Keeping my fingers crossed that they do.

If you're interested, Twitter has their own blog. Their most recent post talks about a new book, Twitter Wit, that features the funniest tweets.

Speaking of books, in the Resources area geared toward businesses, there are two books listed, "The Twitter Book" and "Twitter Tips, Tricks, and Tweets". I haven't gotten a chance to see any of these books but do plan to. There are also articles and blog posts on Twitter and using it effectively.

And for more on Twitter, check out Gena's post from last year.

So far, I'm not following that many people but I do have Library Journal, RefWorks, and the Shatford Library so far along with some friends and acquaintances. In a step beyond Twitter, there now is Twibes which are Twitter groups. More on that next time!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Collecta - Real Time Search of Blogs, Tweets and Videos

Collecta searches in real time for your topic. It includes Blogs and Twitter text into your search.

Collecta Real Time Search Engine
Collecta will continue to look for your topic until you tell it to stop by deselecting the search box. I didn't understand why it kept updating the search after I finished it or went on to another topic. It was like the little engine that could.

Collecta Search Results Panels
The Preview panel allows you to see the content and you can click to visit the source. Here is the neat part; under search options you see the following:

Search options listSearching for comments is interesting because I have found good links and resources that way. I also like the video search aspect but I would like to choose different video distribution sources like Daily Motion, and other similar sites.

This Is A Keeper

Collecta is still in Beta so when I performed a search on "library classification systems" I got results from programing languages, game players terminology and other not obvious classification connections, in addition to library blogs.

Currently there is no way that I could find to restrict the search area; for example I can't tell Collecta to search only Wordpress blogs or only blogs that have "library" in the title.

At this point I think this is a good alternative for Google Blog Search and it can be used as a supplement to other search engines.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Book Repair and Repair Video Tutorials

One of the regrets most of us have is that there isn't time to learn all you need to in class. I have plenty of book at home that need TLC but I have sense to know not to use tape or home based glues.

For every question there is almost an answer. Or a video. Which requires an explanation. There is a niche market for the suppliers of book repair materials. Those that are smart will make videos that demonstrate how to use their product.

The first video is a demonstration from Joyce Godsley at on how to remove an old faceplate from a book. (Please note that there there is no implied or intended endorsement of the products or her company.)

There are other book repair videos. The Health Science Library at the University of Chapel Hill has one on how to make a four flap enclosure. Master Bookbinder Peter Goodwin gives a historical explanation of bookmaking in the 1800s, the reason for brittle book paper and the fate of all acid based books.

I want to give a hat tip to Acquired Books blog to point me to a free online Preservation 101 tutorial you can take to enhance your books repair skills.

Just took a look at the offering and wow, there is info on collection management, collection care and what to do when a disaster (fire, flood or earthquakes) happens to your materials. You can download .pdf copies of the instructions to build your own personal repair tool kit.

This is really good stuff. If you think you might want a little more information about library preservation check out Kevin Driedger's blog, Library Preservation.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Social Networking - Part I

About 10 years ago, I was having a discussion with a friend who doubted that online social networking would ever catch on. And actually, I didn't realize myself just how huge this phenomenon would later become as I had tried to convince him that people would change their tune later. Who would have thought he'd belong to Facebook before me?

Anyone who knows me has had the experience of dealing with some resistance from me through the new waves of technology over the years. The first time I came in contact with a computer was ironically at the library at CSULA when I was a student in 1984. They started out with one or two catalog terminals back then. If you were to walk in there now, it seems as if the computers have taken over the library. Who would have thought?

Shortly after my first introduction to computers, I found out that the small company I was working for then was taking that forward step into technology as we all got our own computers. No more tedious work on an electric typewriter for me!

For 15 years, my viewpoint was that computers were about making work more efficient. Not about meeting and connecting with people online. The whole idea of going online just seemed bizarre to me when a boyfriend tried to explain how it worked. Time and time again over a year's period, he tried to convince me to just try it. The only thing I was willing to do on his home computer was play solitaire. Finally, one day I decided to take that next first step in the land of technology- the Internet.

My first experience involved going into an online chat room which for a hard-of-hearing person was a dream come true. I could understand what every single person said in my open and private conversations in that online room without having to ask anyone to repeat themselves. If I had known what a life-altering experience it would be, I would have tried it out much sooner. I will admit I did become quite addicted to going online to chat to people all over the world. I do still have some cherished friendships from that time even though I no longer have gone to chat rooms for quite some years now.

Back then, if you admitted that you had met someone from online in person, people would often look at you like you were crazy. What sane person would do that? Was it even safe? That was the the just tip of the iceberg. Online dating sites were fairly new but starting to become popular slowly in the late 90s. I have taken that route before and have met some interesting people but never found love there as some have.

For me, it seems technology has taken me full circle as I once viewed it as a way to achieve your work more efficiently. Social networking now has become a visible and viable way to live your life. From myspace to Facebook, Twitter and so much more, it can include every facet of your life- from school to work to hobbies and more. It still astounds me the explosion of technology in what seems a rather short time in history.

My next installments are going to cover various social networking sites as I attempt to familiarize myself with more of them. I've had quite a few myspace accounts that I've opened and deleted until I stuck with the current one I have. In the last year, I've had countless requests to open a Facebook account. I just roll my eyes as I say, "I don't need something else to worry about online." I already have multiple e-mail addresses, a myspace page and a Twitter account I had opened up back in December and forgotten about till I was recently reminded of when a couple of friends added me. That doesn't even include the message boards and blogs I hardly visit any more due to a lack of time or forgetfulness. So whether you're a seasoned social networker or a newbie, follow my journey in becoming more knowledgeable.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ohio University Libraries - The Business Blog

I do try to keep my other interests and avocations off of the PCC Libtech blog but sometimes my life has other plans. While looking for video blogs I discovered another librarian who uses video in his site, Library

Chad Boeninger and writes about how technology in libraries can and should be of service to the patrons.

Chad at Ohio University Libraries
Chad is also in charge at the Ohio University Library Business blog where he locates content and material to help students and faculty make sense of these financially constraining times.

One of the challenges that Chad has to face is working with reduced acquisition fund budget. He has to cut books and subscriptions in order to slash $85,000+ out of the budget.

For those of you who have taken Library 101, Library 103 and Library 104 this is the working example of not only weeding materials but also facing the fact that you no longer own a current copy of the information; it is online in a subscription based system.

That may work when the library system can pay the vendor subscription fees but if money get tight you not only loose current information but access to past history and materials as well.

It is a tough balance. In a prior video, Chad goes step by step on the reasons for canceling certain materials and invites the faculty for input.

This is a good opportunity to get insight on an academic library and real world decisions that have to be be made. As I go deeper into the blog there are screencasts that explain research skills, consumer trends, the current marketplace and those things that would support the goals of the library.

I hope that by visiting these sites it will give context to the impact that budget cuts have on libraries and patrons. It is also a good place to get an insight on how to be of technological service to staff and patron.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Out In the Stacks - Library Assistant Stories

What is like in there real world of library service? Well, you are dealing with real people. Not always on good behavior. Sometimes acting as if the have divine rights that are higher than yours and otherwise can be a pill.

There are those library paraprofessional that have gone before you. Have they got stories! The hard part is for these folks to have the time to write them. Our challenge here at the blog is to find the rascals.

For your reading pleasure or for those that like tales of terror, here you go.

At Once Upon A Time T. Kim Nguyen spins a lament about access, patrons and plumbing.

In crime news, a Las Vegas Library Assistant was arrested after being caught being orally fixated on a 17 year old.

Folks, I don't talk about social media and software just because I'm a tech junkie. The television station pulled the woman's photo from Facebook. Do not have sex with people under 17 years and 364 days. And as an added tip, do nothing in the vicinity of a high school. This is not debatable.

Clover is making a mental note to focus on job and not blog. This ties in with a recent post on when patrons ask for things you can't pronounce and don't have a clue as to what they are talking about.

Well this is scary. Not all library assistants are going to be human. I just found out about DiLiA. Forgive me, but I hope it never gets out of Alpha.

That all for now. Remember don't break the spine if you can't do the time.