Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Silent, upon a peak

Take my trousers. They have a hole in the knee that started forming just after the Large Hadron Collider was switched on. Soon it will take my leg. Then the universe. Such is change.

Consider.. since this course started how the 'things' have changed: Blogger has had a facelift, Facebook a makeover, Delicious and Bloglines upgraded their software, billions of videos have been viewed on YouTube, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of photos have been uploaded to Flickr. Over fifty thousand articles have been written for Wikipedia..

The content has changed and the underlying software has changed, and the possibilities these open up have changed. Forget trouser-devouring blackholes, this is the real dilemma: the relevance of public libraries shrinking in realtime.

One good way to appreciate how much each 'thing' has changed, and how these changes ramify, is to look at the developers' blogs. Take FlickrBlog for example. Reading through it over the course of the last ten weeks it's clear it's about more than just promoting new software developments like layouts for the photostreams, or slideshow features.

These are important, but it's also about new projects and new groups, and encouraging usage, and innovation, and drawing out what photographers have done. Check out these squirrels.. And then there's all those APIs. All in all, an extraordinary buzz of energy and feedback. Not just PR puffery, but useful, inclusive.

And I haven't even started talking about wiki yet.

Meanwhile, the library.

Sure, we've not got anything like the resources of a Google or a Flickr. But we do have possibilities and given a reasonable committment over time..

The problem, as I think this course makes clear, is not technological. In fact, that might be the acutest revelation of the course. Despite the anxious mutterings, I've seen nothing in any of the course blogs that make me think any individual's grasp of the technology is the limitation. Be reassured, more than ever it comes down to how clever we are as librarians.

Oh, and politics.

Whatever, I know what I'm doing in the future. Hopefully the library is doing it too.

Yup. This is the last post.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Netplaying: or social networking

The AP and RP bebo sites.. a weird stew of personal and professional. And it's hard to figure how much each is meant to be an individual or the institution.

I guess this is what Evans means by "the special kind of sophistication" necessary in "an environment that, while ideal for information exchange, is designed for casual interaction."

KaleidoscopicWorld points up the same tensions with lots of curly questions, trying to get at the right balance.

To me it seems social network websites are better suited to individuals. If an institution has two or three or more librarians involved they could set up separately, but still be well and obviously linked. Their interactions would be transparent and part of the thing that draws others in, drives the "net-working," and spins the wheel on the tail of the donkey right between the eyes. So to speak.

Whatever, Evans is right with the "paralysis by analysis."

An ebook in every hand?

Downloaded The Devil's Dictionary. To get it onto cellphone had to use txt format not plucker. Result? Well imagine if every entry in your dictionary was on a separate page, and you could only go back or forward sequentially.

O kay. Explains why there's still a reason for specialist ebook-readers or playaway devices. Average cellphones can do it all, but only barely - the convergence isn't quite there, yet. Neither is that great facilitator, the mobile network.

However a conjunction of device and network is surely approaching, even in nz. It won't be a book in every hand; but a library. In your head.

Playaway remark

What is a library podcast anyway? From podcastalley I bloglined "Keith and the Girl," some lame dj blather-comedy. Anyway would be great if this could play in the background (like a normal radio) while I multitasked my attention to pieces. Unfortunately it cut out when I switched to another feed.

Certainly these podcasts would be great for the cellphone. Set up enough feeds and you effectively create your own station. And no reason why that couldn't include audiobooks, as per the playaway..

And bytheby, don't know why, but I thought "podcasts" referred to just audio files. How embarrassing. Don't tell anyone.

So long & thanks for all the phish

Had a F account once. Had this great fishtank. Filled it with fish. Fish gifts. Gif gifts. Seahorses, etc. Flappyfish, orangefish, wryfish. Lots of. Then somebod invented the skeletonfish. Had to hav a skelie. Given one. Gave into it. Bony wee thing. Didn't look right tho, with all the other fleshfish. Swam the other way. Had to delite them. One after. Til just the skelfish. Grokked. Got rid of the fishtank.

Wikipedia redux

Russell Brown has written of a good incidence of Wikipedia in action, being used, and abused.

The article shows..

..how Wikipedia is recognised as a significantly useful tool by high profile individuals because, presumably, so many people go there, local people.
..how easy Wikipedia is to use - even politicians are in on it.
..how directly accessible Wikipedia is - no PR machine required, no cardre - the man himself can get straight to it.
..how Wikipedia is open to abuse
..and correction
..and its level of transparency.
..how articles evolve and are coupled to their talk pages and their editors - and the rest of Wikipedia.
..that shenanigans on Wikipedia are of interest to perhaps New Zealand's best media commentator.
..that the "main" media channels are clueless; this story played out in the blogosphere.
..that some politicals are fearful of Wikipedia's openness and wish to apply controls.

No mention of public libraries in the story, for some reason.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Fomerly known as video

Librarians can be so.. gosh darn (as in knit) earnest. So I liked that all the infotubey winners used humour. However my favourite is the book dominoes. Batman, in case you're out there, that's dark.

Anyway, one day, hopefully, we'll also see something like Best of Rhymetime, and the world record for the number of stuffed animals riding in a library lift..

So, the answer to the question is: YES.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How now browser pal

Nearly sighted, where the deer- and the antelope-avatars playstation: the new gChrome browser, upon a knol.

Putting aside Goo's plans for world domination, it's intriguing, as the nzherald article notes, to look at how Goop has advertised its new product - with a comic embedded in a GoogleBook.

Personally I find such use of frames and pdf cramped and more cramped and still more cramped, and not at all Web2.0. And I barely had a chance to get orientated before this:

Whatever, more positively, it is a good illustration of the diverse possibilities of marketing something. Rather than a PR broadsheet or a list of links, its visual, with a narrative.

It's also a good example of how quickly a Wikipedia page can happen. About as fast as the thing itself happens.

And, talk of a new browser reminds: nsl still uses IE.er..6? How.. come?

Pipe to the spirit

If the first wave of Web2.0 was creating user-friendly, visual, non-technical passive applications, like word-processor type things; and the second was user-friendly, visual, non-technical set-piece/ slightly tailorable things like rss, widgets, and rollyo search engines; then perhaps the third wave is.. user-friendly, visual, non-technical programming.

Leastways that is the direction I think YahooPipes is heading. It's a big step and still looks a bit complicated, but it's well worth watching the video to get a sense of the possibilities.

Combined with something like wiki-ware or say GoogleSites, which lets you build your own webpage, it's even possible to imagine, one day, being able to chose your own date format. Heaven.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sheep watching