Archive for the '23things' Category

23 Things- Images- Graphs

November 29, 2008

Not another images post I hear you groan.

And I wasn’t but these are NEW TO ME. And I can see that this is going to be so useful.

Thanks to Sue Waters from Edubloggers (and WA TAFE fish guru) we now have a couple of graph generators to play with. See her posts Creating Equations Using An Online Graph Creator and Using Online Tools To Create Simple Graphs for Blog Posts.

I am off to play and work out the two tools that she points to Crappy Graphs and GraphJam. Dont wait for me to post the results- just go play too.


On play and dithering perfectionism

November 19, 2008

Jessamyn used the term “dithering perfectionists” on Twitter last night in reference to a library she was in. It resonated strongly with me this morning probably as I have spent the week trying to convince colleagues that they are allowed (nay – required) to play with our WordPressMU installation

I think that it is dithering perfectionism that we are trying to get away from in our 23 things explorations and the “library2.0” movement. As librarians attention to detail and perfectionism are highly regarded traits. But perfectionism that stops us from exploring and trying new things out is hand in hand with fear of failure, leads to dithering perfectionism and hinders innovation and growth.

In Helene’s 23 things programs the trait that is desired is playfulness. A desire to try and tinker and learn from mistakes and not worry about getting things right or perfect.

We all know rationally that without the possibility of failure there will be no innovation. And I am certainly not the first one to point this out in the biblioblogosphere recently. The trouble is knowing it rationally does not overcome our inate dithering perfectionism. We need to practice our play regularly.

23 things – Mashups – Flickr uses

October 13, 2008

As I said on the previous post one of the ways that new content is generated on the “read write web” is that existing services release their API.

Flickr did this and there are a large number of services that use either the API or the RSS feed to enable users to generate new images from Flickr images. I have tried only a couple – Color Fields Experimental Colr Pickr which lets you find photos using a colour wheel and Spell with Flickr which generated the image below. A Trading cards generator has been extremely popular with librarians.

s32 Italic Capital Letter U (Beltsville, MD) gold e McElman_071126_2020 I Alphabet Block b R A r26 I A n

Homework for this post is to try two of these services that I haven’t and write a post reviewing them.

As usual thanks to Helene Blowers and Kathyrn Greenhill for pointers to the resources talked about here.

23 Things- Mashups

October 13, 2008

One of the principles of Web 2.0 is the the web is now the “read write web”. Content can be user generated and not only via posts to blogs and wikis. Via RSS and sites choosing to release their API , data can be taken from sites and re-purposed in many ways. Taking “data” or content and re-purposing it is often called a mashup.

During this 23 things program we are going to be looking at a few different mashups and ways of creating them.

Have a look at Sirexkat’s post about other Web 2.0 principles especially her great presentation shared with us via slideshare and read a couple of the references.

Also have a look at this presentation from Larry Lessig at TED about the implications of mashups for copyright law:

So this post’s task is about reflection. Perhaps write something about the bigger picture of what we are learning, Web 2.0, Library 2.0 or mashups. The next task will be hands on again.

23 Things – Images #2

September 12, 2008

This is a fun one.

It has two parts.

a. Avatars.

On blogs and online social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed and Flickr we can not only represent ourselves with a name or handle but also an image. We can use a photo of ourselves but we might have privacy concerns about this or worry about being prejudged by our age, race or gender

But there are also online image generators which we can use to generate fun custom cartoon images of ourselves which we can use.

Here are just some:

Look for more by searching delicious for “avatars”.

The task is to make a new avatar for yourself and use it somewhere online. Facebook or a blog post or Flickr. Somewhere that you can link to. Oh- and tell me where it is.

b. Image generators.

Similarly there are a whole heap of other online image generators that you can use for that perfect image to accompany a blog post or for a powerpoint.

For inspiration check out the powerpoint that Kathryn Greenhill made for an Unconference in 2007. Also the slide set of the images made by the PLCMC 23 things program.

There are lists on the other 23 things sites at Murdoch University Library and PLCMC. A good resource for this one is the Generator Blog. And of course a search of delicious.

(By the way- have you noticed that delicious searches have feeds??)

Obviously the next task is to choose an image generator and generate an image.

23 things – Images #1

September 10, 2008

Last year I went to a talk by the inspiring Stephen Abram. One of the things that he covered that resonated with me was that librarians need to know about, and cater to, the different adult learning styles. According to him Engineers are predominantly visual (image) learners whereas Librarians tend to be text based learners.

I would like to find the citation that backs this. However I only need to compare the heavy text based library web site at MPOW to our client’s presentations (lots of visualizations- graphs and diagrams) to think that it is probably true. It shouldn’t have to be spelled out that our web sites should actually be catering for our clients learning styles not our own.

So we need to learn more about images in a Web 2.0 environment – finding them, sharing them, using them and manipulating them for our uses. As with the original 23things from Helene Blowers we will break these three aspects into 3 tasks.

1. Finding and sharing photos with Flickr

by Gloel (Flickr)

by Gloel (Flickr)

As usual have a look at the resources put together by our 23things predecessors:

Our exercise is the same. Explore Flickr. Join up. Compare its features with any other photo site that you already be experienced with. Find images using tags.

One feature of Flickr that is very helpful, is the ability to search for images according to their creative commons license. You can find this feature under search/everyone/advanced. When people upload photos to Flickr they have the choice to allow others to reuse their photos under certain conditions by choosing a creative commons license rather than complete copyright.

As usual I am suelibrarian on Flickr. You can find and friend me if you like. But the task will be to find a suitable image or use one of your own images from Flickr and workout how to embed the image into a blog post on your blog. By suitable I mean suitable to the text of the post and not subject to copyright. For extra credit 🙂 find an RSS feed for a person, pool, group or tag and add it to your reader.

My task will be to include a suitable image into every post on this blog from now on. I need to follow my own advice. My posts are far too text heavy.

23 Things part 3- a blog

August 18, 2008

First of all a little refresher. Use your delicious account to search for resources tagged “23things”. Read a couple. Bookmark them if you want- using delicious of course. When you tag them try adding the “for:suethelibrarian” so I will see them too.

Now – time to bite the bullet.

The original “23 things” starts of with some reading then creating a blog. So far we haven’t done that. Mostly because I knew that you wouldn’t be comfortable with it but also because I knew that RSS feeds and social bookmarking were really useful to you right now and it was best to get them done in case you dropped out. 🙂

I need to be able to show you later how to incorporate the things that we will be using later into the blog so you will need to have one. So we will each create a blog with the express purpose of using it to record your progress through the 23 things and reflecting on the implications of what you are learning for libraries and our services.

First of all have a look at the three 23 things links below which are specifically about setting up a blog

The programs above use Blogger as it is very easy to set up and links to your Google account. However has added functionality and it will be good to get familiar with the interface. It’s just a hosted version of WordPress. We will use

The basic steps are to:

1. Sign up for an account. Choose your email that you want to link to your account very carefully as they say. All comments moderation notifications etc are sent to that account. You may not want to use your work email. (Your blog may get very popular and get lots of comments and comment spam.)

2. Think about your privacy options. Choose your username carefully. It will appear on your posts. Also now is the time to think about the title of you blog as that will be in the URL.

3. Take a look at these clues from “Where do I start” also their features page.

4. Once you are signed up you will be presented with the administration dashboard. Explore all the tabs here. Especially check the options under “settings” and “users” which hide over to the right hand side of the dashboard.

5. You will see that you have 1 post “hello world” and 1 page. You will probably want to change these. Leaving a “Hello world” post on a blog unaltered is not a good thing.

6. Have a look at your site. It will be very sparse and the design will be the default “theme”. Have a look at the other themes available under the design tab. Pick one. Play with the available widgets.

6. When you are signed in and on your site you will see a top bar with ‘My Account” and “My Dashboards” on it. These will not show to visitors.

7. Write a post.

8. Find the RSS feed. Subscribe to your own blog.

9. Put the URL for your blog in the comments of this post.

If you need help there is a help link from your dashboard or contact me.

Have fun.

23 Things for colleagues

August 15, 2008

I have been “trailing” a 23 Things program with a few colleagues . I wanted to limit it to just those who were really keen and asked me so it has had a small audience. We are all doing it in our “spare” time. A very limited commodity lately. Its running about 4 weeks behind.

So far I have been using email to set them tasks but that is not even Web 1.0 let alone Web 2.0. I didn’t want to use the corporate wiki to do this because it has a very large audience and my selected colleagues are helping me with feedback so that we may roll out a better version to the larger community once the trial is done.

So this morning, running late for work (because I was playing with the new manga me avatar creator), I thought of using this blog as the communication vehicle. I will send out the URL to just the colleagues that are involved in the last email that they will get on the subject.

I have set up a separate category with a separate feed. Those that only want the 23 things updates and not the rest of my ramblings can just subscribe to that feed and get the updates.

The “thing” that we are up to is thing 3 of our modified version and will be to create a blog. The instructions will be in the next post. So you will need to put the first two lessons into effect to get the next thing.

[For the benefit of those others reading this they were RSS feeds and Google reader, then social bookmarking using Delicious]

So colleagues- subscribe to one of the feeds from this blog and look out for the next 23 things post. Please use the comments for each post to give me feedback, critique my instructions etc- just as you have been- but this way you will all get to see each others comments. Be aware that I have comment moderation turned on for this blog to deter spam, so your comments will not appear right away. If you don’t want others to read your comments just say so and I will read it but not approve it for publication. But online conversation is a big part of what we will be discovering so I hope you wont be put off.

Other dear readers- so sorry this may not be interesting for you but I know that a couple of you have run programmes of your own. If you chose to stay around I would welcome your feedback also.

[UPDATE]: Guys – I forgot – probably not a good idea to clearly identify our workplace- this is a public blog. And you might want to use a different email than your work one to post comments. I dont think that they show up but you never are too sure.

Recollections and 23 things

June 11, 2008

As part of my motivation for this blog was to figure out how to evangelize Web 2.0 technologies to my colleagues I have been thinking about how I came to be here.

As I didn’t document the process its fairly unclear but I remember some events along the way.

In January 2004 I went to VALA where just one of the highlights was Lorcan Demsey giving the closing keynote. I came away with a notepad full of acronyms that I hadn’t heard of and I swore not to get so far behind in my professional current awareness again.

Then in March 2005 I bought a Treo 650. I was motivated to buy a smart phone as I was sick of carrying around a PDA and a phone and had a very ancient phone. The thing with a Treo is that it isn’t a toaster. It takes some work to set up and customize. To get full use out of it I started looking for help on the web. That lead me to various Treo forums and to Jenny Levine’s blog and her series of Treo posts. A librarian blog!

One thing leads to another. I started with a Bloglines subscription sometime in 2005 (judging by the date on some saved posts in the clippings folder) then moved my ever increasing feeds to Google Reader. I was working part-time during this period and had some time and access to the web at home to play. I had been reading but just started reading Librarians Matter in time to catch that Jessamyn was coming to Perth and I happened to sit next to Kathryn at that talk. 2007 was a whir of starting a new full time job that gave still gave me full access to the web, meeting other librarian bloggers, joining Twitter and going to a Barcamp, Podcamp and an Library Unconference.

I think the main lessons from this long and rambling post would be to start with a motivation to be aware and keep aware of new technologies, get some tools and some mentoring to help the process. Also people need some time with full web access to play.

We have been talking about running a “23 things” program since February. I have added it to the todo list but need to research running it for distance learners. (There are 27 of us all over the country with a great deal of variation in awareness level.) I am also curious about the designer of the program’s choice to introduce blogging and Flickr before RSS whereas my experience was the other way around … and I am blogging well after everything else. 🙂