Thursday, July 23, 2009


I can certainly see the real value in Delicious. I did encounter a problem however when I first started using it a while ago. It was such an aggravation that I reverted back to not using it. However now that I look at it again I think I'll work on it and stick with it.

The problem comes in importing a large collection of existing bookmarks. When I did this I was stuck with two options--either putting everything up with blank tabs, or letting delicious add in common tags. In the first case, it would take hours to tag 300 or so bookmarks. In the second, I find that my list of tags is huge (465) and full of lots of odd labels. In other words, with this second option the tag list is too junky to be of much use.

So the librarian in me can envision a nice list of bookmarks, accessible to me from any computer that I can share with the world. Yes, it all sounds good, but to get my existing 300 bookmarks into useable shape I would have to expend a whole lot of time and energy tagging. One more project to add to my list. Probably worthwhile in the end.

I'll most likely go back and upload my existing bookmarks again, this time leaving them all blank in the tag field. Then I'll start tagging a few each day until I eventually get a workable list.

Another thing I would like to see on delicious is a way to make folders to store groups of links. Maybe I am missing it and just not seeing it. I suppose the tag menu on the right is supposed to do the same thing. My mind I think still works in the "put like items" in a folder from years of windows use :)

Friday, July 17, 2009


I think tagging is something that most of us librarians at least over the age of 40 (or maybe just the tech services folks like me) tend to cringe at. I was raised in a world of controlled vocabulary and it is hard to let that concept go.

I have encountered tagging all over--probably the most prevalent on flickr and on Youtube. The quality is extremely variable. In some cases, when thoughtful people knowledgable about a subject apply tags they can be very useful. In other cases I have seen long strings of not very useful tags on an item.

I think the question though is not really so much "does tagging belong in libraries" as "tagging is clearly here to stay, so what do we do about it now." It is just one of those things that everyday users are going to want to do. It is intuitive, can be fun and in some senses useful and logical. Does it supplant an army of subject specialists really hashing over the issues? I really don't think so.

I suppose, at present, I can see a purpose to have both systems coexisting. I don't see why articles and other media objects shouldn't be classified in the traditional manner as well as letting users tag them. Ultimately, it just increases the possible data points for searching. Perhaps overl0ading it in some cases and destroying the kind of precision us fuddy-duddy exacting types enjoy, but I am afraid this is one battle we have probably already lost. :)


Well, this is one service I always scoffed at and avoided. I started hearing about its use during the Iranian protests (like everyone else on earth) and thought I'd finally make an account. I found a couple of friends there from facebook and started following a couple of celebrity/political people. Perhaps I just haven't spent enough time with it, but I can't say that I find it very impressive in terms of something I can see myself or my library using.

I can fully grasp the dramatic impact it had on the situation in Iran, but for day to day use I have yet to see any applicablility to what I do in my life. I'll keep stopping back and playing with it and see if I can catch on to the buzz.

Instant Messaging

I am motodew on yahoo messenger. Have used it for years and it is my prefered client (probably just because I am used to it.) Feel free to say hi there. I don't have it on much at work because it can get to be a real timewaster. Sometimes it is up but I stay on invisible. I'll keep it up during the 23 things however (but may be invisible).

I have found it a great way to keep up with friends. I have even used it during the workday to im a collegue across the country to help me with some arcane question I had on microsoft excel. She answered the question and I felt good about using it for a legitimate work purpose instead of yet another quasi-time wasting tool.

We have implemented a chat system at our library. The problem is it is a stand alone product only accessible from our university pages. This limits its popularity greatly. I think an aggregator like Meebo would serve us much better. I think there is a great potential for people to im the library with questions as long as they don't have to disconnect from their existing service. Meebo covers all the basic services and I think it would be an excellent thing for us to set up a presence there.


I found an excellent Ning network run by Acoustic Guitar magazine with free lessons, etc. This was quite impressive. Many of the other interests I put in didn't seem to have a lot of hits.

I can see the point of Ning for an easy way to create a branded social network for a library, etc. It might be worth experimenting with, but one wonders just how many networks people can be expected to join before fatigue sets in. I am not going to take the time to sign up and look for library-related NINGs, but there is some potential there. Again I am a bit skeptical that a whole lot of people are going to want to add yet another social network to their facebook, and myspace portfolios, but maybe I am underestimating what people are interested in.

More Facebook

Well I have been suprised, as a matter of fact, at all the people who have hunted me down on facebook. It is currently overrun with several of my relatives who have newly discovered the thing and are engaged in taking ever single quiz and participating in every single mob wars and farmtown game.

Still, it has been a fun way to have the sense I am "keeping" up with people in an easy way. Being a natural hermit, Facebook is useful to me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thing 8: The Mighty Facebook

Facebook is another of those things I had already set up long ago. It is amusing to see how these things become popular. I made an account at least a year ago and found about 5 friends from college there. I barely used the service at all and would just check it ocassionally. Within a period of a few months as the hype grew EVERYONE I knew from high school, college, former jobs started coming out of the woodwork and making accounts. I noticed many people got way into it and become heavy posters. This period went on for a few months and now I notice that a lot of the activity has died down, at least on my friends list.

This ebb and flow is sort of the story of these technologies for me. Ebb and flow or perhaps boom and bust might be a more accurate way to put it. People get excited about something and rush to it. Then the newness wears off and they are onto something else.

I have enjoyed Facebook as a way to reconnect to many people I had lost track of. But, ever the cynic, like other technologies we are trying during this training, I don't know if I am catching on to the revolutionary aspects of it all. I think the North Texas 23 would have been a lot more interesting to me if I didn't already have accounts at all these places. Looks as if there are some things coming up I haven't tried, so looking forward to that.