Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Final Task - Summary

I learned that a free email account is a passport to a number of snazzy free Web 2.0 accounts. An email account is required for each of the services' registration areas for verification and communication purposes. Working in a public library, staff regularly teach classes on setting up and using email accounts.
In my opinion, all of the tasks were pretty straight forward. While not necessarily challenging, the most time consuming was setting up the email account since there were more fields of information that were requested to fill in on the registration page.
PVLD can create user communities or share timely information with some of these technologies and incorporate these into the PVLD website via widgets/badges/etc.
The "self-directed" learning model was extremely successful because many staff people finished the tasks whether at work or at home depending on the amount of time they required. The carrots and celebrations definitely contributed to the interest/excitement in the topic. Now that people have been exposed to this, they see how useful and user-friendly these technologies are and are not as hesitant to casually talk about them.

Task 10 - Explore MySpace.com


MySpace is a social networking site that gives people a free way to communicate with friends acquaintances and strangers. Used by many to keep in touch with friends and invite others to events, it is also used by people who are networking or promoting. The benefit of having a freely hosted profile, email/chat account, event/birthday reminder service, and blog is very nice. The fact that it is easy to configure and that there are many websites with profile editors and a large community willing to help newbies is also positive.
The downside of this is the pathological human element. People who do bad things can also freely join MySpace and other social networking sites with anonymity. These bad people can abuse information, spam people, and write inappropriate comments/emails. It's unfortunate that bad people also join MySpace. I guess that since this is in an online, "virtual" human-to-computer-to-server-to-computer-to-human domain, good people magically forget that people are at the other end and that the same rules that apply in everyday human-to-human life don't apply online. This is a mistake on the part of good people and they need to be reminded that regardless of the medium, whether face-to-face, on the phone, or online, safety is important above all. People who understand this need to communicate this to people who are unaware of this.
MySpace owes its popularity to it's ease of use and free accounts. The company is able to keep accounts free through ad revenues. Some people use ad blockers since they find the Adobe Flash-based advertisements annoying (the ones that make noises and follow your cursor).

Task 9 - Explore online office tools

Google Docs and Spreadsheets are a free and convenient way to create a number of documents where you can do anything from write papers, crunch numbers, or put together presentations. Given the digital work environment it is also possible to quickly and easily share this information with others. Additionally, the files can be edited online in a collaborative environment that is more "real-time" than emailing people a document and having them send drafts back and forth with their own edits. It's definitely a feature-rich set of tools and definitely where this sort of software needs to be.

Task 8 - Explore Youtube.com

Another pvheadland username was set up with YouTube.com.
I made a comment on Abba's Super Trouper video:

YouTube is popular because of its wide range of video content. From entertainment to education, there is something for everyone.

The library can use YouTube as a means of outreach and bibliographic instruction. If we offer a new database subscription we can use screen recording software to create an online video demo for the subscription product and distribute it freely via email or link to it on our website.

Task 7 - Explore Wikipedia

On Wikipedia I created a username and added two links to the PVLD entry under the name pvheadland.

It's important that information professionals are aware of how online resources acquire their information. In the case of Wikipedia, I was able to create an account and edit an entry in under 5 minutes. Despite peer review processes, the information that I posted was immediately readable by online readers. If I chose to be malicious and wanted to post something incorrectly or hurtfully, I would have the ability to post that information and have it posted for worldwide consumption until that information was removed. Fortunately people for the most part are good-natured but nonetheless, Joe Q might be misinformed and accidentally post inaccurate information. Misinformation is a serious problem, especially in sources that are supposed to be informative in nature.
Simultaneously, the weaknesses of Wikipedia are also strengths. For example, its ability to cover all sorts of emerging subjects and things on the fly in a timely, non-peer review fashion is something that can not be done by a print publication that is published once a year.

Task 6 - Instant Messaging

I created an AIM express account and my username is (surprise, surprise) pvheadland.
The buddylist is important because it allows people to know when their contacts are online so that they can chat with each other in realtime. This mode of communication has its advantages and disadvantages over static communication like email and other communication forms like face to face or on the phone.

Task 5 - Explore Flickr.com

I created a Flickr account and added a flash-based Flickr badge to the right...

Tags are important because it is a fast way to connect viewers with meaningful results. Tags are made up of text which can be searched with great speed, whereas pictures (at this point) can only be organized by color or various pattern recognition systems which are slow compared to text searching. Flickr offers useful tools that allow users to tag pictures in batches reducing a lot of redundant tag-making.

An online community is a group of people who meet together online. Norway is a group on Flickr.

Task 4: Take a Digital Photo

My nephew, Jo, in San Diego with some goodies I brought him from Rio de Janeiro...