Saturday, November 17, 2007

Online Outreach and Marketing

Not all insights come from conferences. I try to continue learning while I'm waiting for the next conference!

Those who read my blogs probably have figured out that I'm an unabashed fan of the LibrarianinBlack, Sarah Houghton-Jan. I regularly read her blog.

This week she posted a .pdf of a presentation she recently gave at the Hawaii Library Association conference. It offers useful advice if you're interested in finding ways to publicize your library and its services. Many of her tips are free or inexpensive. Sarah was a virtual librarian in her last job, so she knows her stuff. Take a look!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Information Goddess

I've been coming across so many great Web 2.0 tools that I decided to devote a separate blog to them. Take a look, mortal!

Learning 2.0: Tools for 21st Century Learning

Diana Laufenberg is a young social studies teacher at Mount Elden Middle School in Flagstaff. I rarely miss one of her sessions at the Peak Performance conference. Diana is enthusiastic about using technology to further the cause of learning.

Diana arrived at this conference with over a dozen of her students. Their charge was to interview and photograph speakers and those in attendance and to create a conference wrap-up slide show to be shown at the closing of the conference.

Diana devoted a section of her wiki to her Learning 2.0 session. Here's her introduction to this page:

"It's all about the learning. Tech tools and gadgets are fun, no argument there, but they don't necessarily make for good teaching or learning without sound pedagogical footing. Asking compelling questions, focusing on process, pushing the envelope on critical thinking are all goals of the learning and we live in an age where there are tools to serve those educational endeavors. Do not confuse a fun gadget with something that is necessarily good for the learning. First define the learning and find the resources to support. In my humble opinion, this is the key to effective teaching in the 21st century. Work to carefully define what are the goals for learning and use the most appropriate tool for the task."

Diana always schedules hands-on presentations in a lab and gets her audience involved in creating or exploring something on a computer. This year we explored the wiki page and I went nuts when I found this link: Top 50 Web 2.0 Sites. What a treasure trove!

I'm not going to post my notes on Diana's session because her Peak Performance wiki page is almost an exact duplicate.

I will report on two items of interest:

1. Diana also is a fan of TEDTalks! I'm addicted to them and, in fact, recently purchased a new video Nano so I could watch the vodcast version. The TED (Technology Entertainment Design) conference is held annually in Monterey -- yes, in the same venue as Internet Librarian. They select a theme and gather the great minds of the world to present their ideas. Aforementioned Great Minds are given twenty minutes to share their passions with the world. Visit TED's site or the Podcast section of iTunes, search for TEDTalks, and wallow in free access to either audio or video podcasts! Diana showed a clip from Dr. Ken Robinson's talk, "Do Schools Kill Creativity?"

2. I asked Diana if she was familiar with any web-based audio editors since we still don't have Audacity installed on any computers in my library except for my laptop. She logged into her Twitter account, which is dlaufenberg, and asked her circle of contacts. No one had a solution, but it was inspiring to know that some of the big names in educational technology were being polled for help with my question. Professional collaboration on the fly!

Teacher librarians, Joyce Valenza has a Twitter account! You can sign up for a free account, too, and read what she and her circle of acquaintances are discussing. Or, better yet, ask her a question -- or answer one.

It’s Time to Upgrade: Making the Case for Change

Dr. Tim Tyson will be presenting the keynote addresses at each of the three AzTEA conferences this year. Every keynote will be different. After enjoying his keynote at the Peak Performance conference, I'm looking forward to hearing his presentations at the next two conferences.

Dr. Tim Tyson has been an educator for over thirty years. He currently works as a consultant and speaker. Prior to this, he was the principal of Mabry Middle School in Cobb County, Georgia. School Library Journal has referred to him as the "Pied Piper of Educational Technology." He started a student-led digital film festival at Mabry.

Here are my notes from his keynote:

It’s all about perspective. We get stuck until some tragic emotional experience shakes our perspective. Are we powerful enough to change our perspective without a tragedy?

The nature of work has changed because of technology. Global competition, consolidation, mergers, and layoffs have resulted in a third of America’s work force being laid off. They’re now independent contractors. To thrive in the economy, right-brain skills are essential. (Both Tim and LSLibn highly recommend reading Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind.) Unfortunately, many schools still focus on Rules, Rituals, Routines, and Right Answers.

Tim said he worked in a middle school with “hormonally handicapped” kids. (Sounds pretty typical, eh?)

Students sitting in rows is an outdated practice. We need to be doing project-based learning to prepare them for the workplace.

John Dewey (1916): “One learns through direct experience, by being engaged in authentic tasks. Learning is not, then, a process of transmitting information from someone who knows to someone who doesn't; rather, learning is an active process on the part of the learner, where knowledge and understanding is constructed by the learner. Moreover, learning is a social process: learning proceeds by and through conversations....”

A Big Question for Teachers

Who owns the learning? Teachers are working themselves to death and their students aren’t. Students need to take ownership of their learning.

The way we work, play, communicate, build and maintain relationships, travel, etc. have been transformed by technology. But school is pretty much the same. There’s LIFE and then there’s school.

Trivia: People in one out of every eight marriages in the U.S. last year met online.

The New Bad Word (per Daniel Pink) Is Routine

We need routines to be efficient, but anything that can be reduced to routine can be automated, digitized, and sent around the world at the speed of an electron. If you’re engaged in a job filled with routine, your work can be outsourced.

Students believe what happens in schools is irrelevant to both their present and their future. We can’t continue school as usual. It's time for new beginnings! Opportunity! Potential! Transformation! Metamorphosis!

The transformational power of the laptop is more potent than the printing press.

School 2.0

- Authentically engaged learners
- Self-directed learning - “If you require a boss, you’re already too expensive to hire.”
- Project-driven instruction
- Independent problem-solvers
- Empowered by technology innovation
- Collaborative learning community
- Relevant

Connectedness, meaningfulness, significance, and contribution are hallmarks of School 2.0.

We shouldn’t think our job us to pour information into children. Instead, they need to gather information on their own, assimilate it, and then use it to make the world a better place.

Put kids’ work into global distribution. This is the first time in history that we can do that and it doesn’t hardly cost anything. It’s simple and cheap. Tim started the school year at his middle school by asking students: “What do you as a student have to say that is so important that everyone in the world needs to hear or read about it?” This was very inspiring to his students.

His podcast,, on iTunes has had 2.2 million downloads so far in 2007.

In New Zealand, every teacher and student has a blog that serves as a digital portfolio.

Authentic Assessment

The concept of childhood is very recent. Tim's grandmother started early to make a valuable contribution to her family. Her contribution was respected and essential. Children today are entertained and minimized.

When does meaningfulness start for a person? When students graduate from high school? College? Get a job? Marry? Have kids? It should start today. It’s time to refocus our thinking.

What’s on Students’ Minds?

Inspired by Tim's challenge, some Mabry students wanted to shoot a video about human embryonic stem cell research. Tim, concerned a bit about the volatility of the topic, told themm “Come up with a plan and keep me informed on every step you take.” Their next progress report was to request a field trip to Emory University to speak with Dr. Chedda, a researcher, who had committed to spending two hours with the students. Tim went with the students and their parents wanted to go, too. The researcher gave the kids the same presentation she gives to colleagues. She didn’t dumb it down, but she drilled down to explain concepts and vocabulary. Students toured the lab, saw actual stem cells, and witnessed experiments being conducted. The video they made after the visit was judged by a panel, including someone from Georgia TV.

Other topics of student-created Mabry Middle School videos:

- Children’s slave labor in the chocolate industry on the Ivory Coast
- Commercialization of pure drinking water
- Saving lives in Africa from malaria - Students collected donations for bed nets when it was aired.
- Captivity of elephants -- The teacher had shot video of elephants during a vacation in Africa. Tim rejected the student request for a field trip to Africa (!), so students filmed videos of elephants during a field trip to the Atlanta Zoo. They discovered the elephants in the zoo had a skin condition because they don’t have enough room. They researched that and raised people’s awareness.
- Organ donation

Students are not assigned a letter grade for their films. Their reward is what a thousand attendees say when they watch the project on Film Night.

The point is not the technology. The effective educator in this age of hyperconnectivity is the educator who uses tools to get students involved in their world.

Children want to be prepared to make a contribution today.

“The self depends for its wholeness upon its surroundings.” - John Dewey

Tim claims his greatest fear is that No Child Left Behind will accomplish its goals and will create an entire nation of minimum achievers. Will -- or have -- the students who are achievers be overlooked because we’re emphasizing the bare minimum?

Contact Information

drtimtyson/blog - He invited attendees to email him “if I can help you in any way.”

You can watch some of Mabry Middle School student videos by searching for MabryOnline on iTunes.


On Saturday, November 3 I attended the Peak Performance conference in Flagstaff. Two conferences in one week! I was in Web 2.0 heaven! Peak Performance is the first of three conferences held around Arizona by the Arizona Technology in Education Alliance (AzTEA). This year’s conference was held at Northern Arizona University for the first time.

AzTEA conferences provide an excellent way to learn about educational applications of Web 2.0. It's an excellent opportunity to meet colleagues from around the state. Most of the presenters who teaching the sessions are working educators.

The next AzTEA conference, called the Teaching and Technology Conference, will be held in Tucson at Pueblo High School on January 26th. The final conference of the year, the WOW Way-Out West Technology Conference, will be held at ASU West on May 3.

AzTEA annual membership costs $35. Individual conference registration is only $50, and there is a discount when you register for multiple conferences. For example, you could register for the next two conferences for $80.

If this wasn't already a sweet enough deal, here are a few more incentives. You collect a conference tote and tchotchkes from the exhibitors. Breakfast and lunch are provided. A raffle for techno-goodies and gift certificates from local vendors and restaurants is held at the end of each conference. Professional development certificates that will add seven hours to your stockpile are distributed. And, if you're very, very lucky, you might win a free week at Plug and Play tech camp! (I was very lucky last spring and tech camp was a fantastic experience! A week at a 5-star resort with hot and cold running technology!)

I'm going to post some material from Peak Performance and try to chip away on the remaining Internet Librarian sessions, too.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Good Morning, SUSD Librarians!

Need a fun way to deliver a message (or a top notch keynote "speaker")? Try Dylan Messaging.

Be sure to put some text on each blank "page" for the best effect. A nifty possibility is presented after you send off the image to yourself or a friend. Click on the link to view it. In the lower left corner you'll see an option to retrieve the code you need to embed it in a blog -- as I have below -- or on your website.

Who said web ads had to be obnoxious?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Web 2.0 Training - Promoting Play Through Online Discovery

Meredith Farkas, Distance Learning Libraries, Norwich University, Vermont
Helene Blowers, Public Services Technology Director for the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County

Meredith's Training Experience: Five Weeks to a Social Library

Drupal was selected as the online course management system. It allows multiple blogs so each individual in class can have an individual blog but all can be accessed at one site. It can create static web pages. Chat rooms and wiki “stuff” can be employed.

MediaWiki -- the same software used by Wikipedia -- was put to use as a “sandbox for participants to play in.” is similar to YouTube and is nice for both podcasts and video content. (Linda’s note: I used to post the second batch of conference podcasts.) It’s also a one-stop shop for multimedia. offers a good display of screencasts, which are like showing movies of what you’re seeing on your desktop to others.

They discovered that robust web conferencing software wasn’t free. OPAL -- a membership organization for libraries -- offered them free access to their platform.

They used both synchronous (everyone working online simultaneously) and asynchronous (log in when it’s convenient) sessions.

Examples of libraries that have implemented Web 2.0 resources and done it well are important to include.

Students were required to write one blog posting a week in which they reflected on their learning. Meredith contends this “makes the learning more sticky.” They permitted outsiders to comment on the students’ blog posts and were delighted when some of the aforementioned Big Names participated. They were even more thrilled when the Big Names wrote about students’ comments on their own blogs.

Weekly chat sessions were scheduled. They divided students into eight groups to meet with a facilitator once a week.

The final project was to create a proposal for using one or more social library tools in their libraries. The ambitiousness of some of these projects was quite impressive and very gratifying.

Everything on the Five Weeks website has a Creative Commons license. We were encouraged to steal their ideas and use them!

If you do plan your own class, be sure to provide for both experiential and reflective learning. Provide ways for people to have many different conversations about what they’re learning.

Use tools that aren’t so difficult to learn that they become a barrier. Be flexible when technology problems arise. They will!

Be open about the process and allow criticism from inside and outside the project. You may need to change your plans midstream. It’s all about Library 2.0, which is characterized by being flexible. We’re in perpetual beta!


Playing with technology is essential to learning technology.

Reflective learning is critical -- it makes ideas stick.

Learning from peers can be more important than learning from a sage on the stage. Instructors were participants and were learning, too. They “ate their own dog food.”

Online learning can be developed on the cheap. Their only cost was server space and that expense was minimal. This form of training is very doable.

Helene’s Training Experience: Learning 2.0
and Learning 2.1: Explore ... Discover ... and PLAY!

“Learning is more important than the training aspect of it.” Learning 2.0 is another online discovery learning program.

Listen to Helene's hour-long 23 Things presentation on the SIRSI Dynix Institute site. See also:

66% of the staff at Helene’s library voluntarily signed up for the program and enjoyed it. She was able to offer an MP3 player as an incentive to those who finished the class.

Explore Discover Play!
is a continuation of the 23 Things program. It isn't conducted by a trainer. Each month, a different person takes over and is given the server password to post one or two new discoveries. Everyone -- us included -- can ask to be one of the monthly guides. Recently a librarian from Guam did the posting.

What can we do to keep up with these changes?

Don’t worry about the “What ifs?” Don’t delay to schedule a program until is perfect and you consider yourself an expert. Just consider yourself a player and go forth!

Definition of player: 1. One who engages in a competitive sport. 2. Somebody who plays.

If we’re going to become knowledge players, here are five tips:

1. Devote 15 minutes a day to keep up and explore new things. The information landscape is constantly changing. One of Helen's recent discoveries is Animoto. You can quickly upload photos and create a music video.

Subscribe to at least five blogs using an RSS news reader. Helene’s recommendations: LibrarianinBlack by Sarah Houghton-Jan, Michael Arrington’s TechCrunch, Nicole Engard’s What I Learned Today, Wired, and Learning 2.1.

3. Tag “play items” in if you can’t take time to explore when you find good things. Stash play items for others. Helene’s tags her new finds “mustblogthis” so she can quickly find them when she has time to explore.

4. Create a learning blog. Build your own toolbox.

5. Play! Give yourself and others time and permission to play.

How can you help others navigate the learning maze?

Throw away your trainer/teacher title. Become a learning guide. We don’t have to know all the answers. Be like a wilderness guide and cut the reeds out of the way to guide others towards discovery. Participants can share with us and help us learn, too.

This is not about training, which is about us and our goals, but rather is about learning, which is about the learners and their interests and needs.

Two things need to be present to learn:

1. Engagement

2. Motivation

Remove the classroom

Challenge yourself as you develop learning activities. Is there a way to remove the classroom? To encourage the participants to benefit from peer-to-peer sharing?

Remember exposure is the first step towards learning. Focus on exposure to tools that learners haven’t used before. They’ll gain confidence in their skills.

Learners have as much to share as guides. Build an environment where everyone can learn.

Focus on FUN!

Both presentations are posted on SlideShare.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tardiness Can Pay Off

I had planned on attending the "Teach Me More! Fun & Gaming in Libraries" session yesterday morning, but I missed a lot of this presentation because of the Pod-O-Matic meltdown that occurred when I was trying to post the podcast of Joe Janes' keynote.

The next session I planned to attend was scheduled in the same meeting room. I tiptoed in towards the end of "Teach Me More" as the presenter was asking attendees for their good online gaming ideas related to library instruction.

I overheard one of the attendees after the session sharing an idea with the presenter. His college is getting ready to hold a campus-wide event they're calling "Are You Smarter Than a Freshman?" It’s based on Jeff Foxworthy's TV game show “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” This sounded like an idea that could be “borrowed” and expanded upon in a number of ways.

Gary's Latest Web Research Update

When Internet @ Schools West co-chair Susan Geiger introduced Gary Price yesterday afternoon, she said he had "librarianship in his blood."

Gary is not the most dynamic speaker at the conference, but he may be one of the most passionate. He believes in libraries and advocates for them.

If you don't subscribe to his weekly ResourceShelf newsletter, I will recommend it. (Another alternative is to set up an RSS feed for it! My notes from Steven Cohen's presentation on RSS feeds will be posted here soon.) It's unlikely that you'll use every resource Gary mentions, but some can be passed along to dazzle library customers, students, teachers, and/or administrators.

Gary likes to proactively build online collections. In a recent ResourceShelf newsletter, I discovered that he's been collecting free sources for audio books. I bookmarked most of them. I'm certain this collection will be a gold mine some day soon.

In addition to ResourceShelf, Gary offers DocuTicker, another free online service where he collects primary documents from government sites and other locations.

Gary also serves as the Director of Online Resources at He's made a great contribution to this search engine. If you haven't searched it since the Ask Jeeves days, go back and try it again. Note for elementary librarians: Gary announces at the end of his presentation that a new Ask for Kids will be available soon.

The podcast of Gary's presentation is here. (Please be patient -- Gary does get closer to the mic after the first minute.) You'll find the links to the resources that Gary mentions during the presentation here.

Hold the P&B, Just Give Me the J

On Monday, I was delighted to hear Mary Ellen Bates rave about the Jellies as Living Art exhibit at the Monterey Aquarium. Addicts appreciate company.

On Sunday, I easily spent an hour in the darkened room that Mary Ellen finds so mesmerizing. I completely understand her fascination with those glowing white orbs that are gently floating in a darkened room lined with tanks and mirrors. Spending time watching them is close as I can come to transcendental meditation!

I packed my monopod and my new digital camera in the hope that I could finally take some photos that would do justice to the jellies. It's a tough goal. The room is quite dark, the jellies are in constant motion, and the glass reflects pinpoints of light from outside the room.

I got "in the zone" and snapped lots and lots of photos -- so many that I haven't even looked at all of them yet. Here are two to share. I've added them to my Monterey Aquarium set on Flickr. Enjoy!

Hands-On and Minds-On at the Exploratorium

Presenter: Deb Hunt, The Exploratorium, San Francisco

The images and videos shown during the presentation are free and available to download for educational use.

Deb provided a history of the Exploratorium, which is located in the Palace of Fine Arts that was constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The building was designed to slowly crumble and return to the earth after the Exposition ended. Restoration projects have taken place, however, and the Exploratorium now is a model for other hands-on science museums. It is a museum of science, art, and human perception, not just science.

The Exploratorium's site is one of most visited museum websites in the world. There are over 18,000 pages and everything is free for educational use.

The Exploratorium sends out travelling exhibits to circle the world.

Tools for Teaching are at

Digital Library ( includes the Digital Assets Archive, which has 13,000 assets such as images, educational activities, Quicktime movies, streaming media, .pdfs, sound files, etc. An advanced search feature is provided. You can limit a search by resource type.

A resource to know about: The National Science Digital Library at includes thousands of teacher and learning resources. The Exploratorium contributes to that collection. You can search it by grade level. Links are provided to get to related documents. Many of the items in the collection have teaching tips included.
Microscope Imaging Station offers research-grade microscopes in a museum setting. A team is developing a virtual microscope and more classroom activities. They’re planning live demos and remote operation. High-resolution images and videos are provided.

“Snacks” are bite-sized versions of the Exploratorium’s full-scale exhibits. These have been compiled into books, but many are out of print. One book, Square Wheels, still is available.

The Snack Show is not on the website yet but they’re hopeful it will be soon. Three episodes have been produced.

The Exploratorium is doing webcasting ( or the much more memorable out on the museum floor and also in remote locations all around the world.

Also look at the Iron Science Teacher, which is modeled on the Iron Chef.

10 Cool Sites ( is similar to Librarians' Internet Index only it has a science focus. Anyone can recommend a cool site, and all sites have been vetted.

Sign up for the free Educator Newsletter at

View the PowerPoint presentation at

Contact Deb at

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gadgets, Gadgets, & Gaming

Barbara Fullerton, Manager, Library Relations, 10-K Wizard
Sabrina Pacifici, Editor & Publisher, &
Aaron Schmidt, Director, North Plains Public Library, OR
Erik Boekesteijn, Jaap van de Geer, and two other unnamed fellows from the Delft Public Library

This presentation is a light-hearted staple of Internet Librarian. This time the presenters snagged the Tuesday evening session.

Wi-Fi Detector Shirt - $30 - Lights up when a wireless network is detected. (“It really works!” claims Aaron, but you can't wash it with the batteries installed.)

Asustek Internet Radio - Can connect to the Internet using a standard LAN connection. Accesses 10,000 stations. $27

64 GB chip coming in 2009 (Sorry, I blinked during this one!)

Archos 30 GB 404 Camcorder - $300

Palm Centro - $399 or $99 with instant discount and a 2-yr. Sprint service agreement. This is a relatively inexpensive alternative to an iPhone.

iPhone - $399

Wireless SMS Keyboard that rolls up. Use it and save your thumbs! Powered by the cell phone. Not yet ready.

The Mandylion Password Manager manages up to 50 login records at one time. Windows only. Keyfob size. Includes a self-destruct feature! $49.99.

Trivia contest: According to Californians, where do you place memory sticks (flash drives) for safe keeping? The freezer! A prize was rewarded for the correct answer.

Cable Cat untangles your computer cables. Looks like a cute cat. $7

Canon Snap Concept. Tiny camera with a one-button interface. Wear it as a ring. Not yet released.

Sunray SX2 - solar-powered golf cart made by Cruise Car. Can go 35mph. $7000

Blackjack cell phone uses Mobile OS and has a 1.3 pixel camera. Download music and videos. $199

Meebo Firefox Sidebar - better alerts, easy link sharing. Price: free!

Touchscreen wireless patient forms clipboard. Bacteria-resistant touchpad computer. Eliminates repetitous filling out of paper forms when you go to see a physician. Use the touch pad for data entry. Free to partipating doctors.

MyGo Cane offers the potential to replace seeing eye dogs as guides for the visually impaired. Mini wheel at tip of can. Smart sensor and a camera combo capable of measuring the ground and pushing auditory feedback to the user.

Format war update: Blu-ray discs are outselling HD-DVD 2:1.

e-ink based ebook readers - Sony Reader PRS-505. Capacity: 192 MB, which will hold several hundred books. $300.

iGo Everywhere85 is for mobile gadget users. Charge all your rechargeable techno-toys for $130.

Vudu - Broadband set top box that’s an on-demand movie rental service. Price to rent a movie can be as low as $.99 up to $20 to purchase it. Price: $249

Trivia: What two computer companies are merging? Acer and Gateway

Darth Vader and Yoda slippers - $34.99. Also look for a complementing Darth Vader flashlight on eBay.

HP: Cloudprint. Print documents on any printer almost anywhere. System assigns a document code, which is transmitted to your cell phone. Print in PDF format. Free! HP has done a "soft opening" for this service so it's not getting any buzz yet.

Skitch is in beta for Mac OS X only. It simplifies the way you take screenshots and will work with Flickr. It's free! Jing is a comparable tool for Windows users.

iPod Video Googles. Plug into video iPod and project a virtual 24-inch TV. Please don't watch this while driving! No external power is required because it's powered by your iPod. 80 GB iPod can run for more than 4 hrs. Cost? $199.99.

Instant messaging: choose your application at

The iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store is coming soon to Starbucks.

Gadgets Going Green

Pop-open cafe building looks like a folded origami building that just pops up and into place. Could it be converted into a mobile library branch?

A recycling washer and dryer was designed by an industrial design graduate students at the University of Wisconsin. It's presently just a concept design. It will recycle and reuse water while (we hope) cleaning clothes.

Gidget gadget case. Recycled case for MP3 players that's made out of billboards. $28!

Wattson monitors energy use. Price: $300

Marcus Levison-Hays Electrobike Pi is a solar-charged electro bike. It runs on a single charge for 25-30 miles. Only $7200. Get out your calculators and figure the break-even point on this purchase.

Canon Rebel XT uses 35% less power. Self cleaning. (What is it cleaning? The case?) 13% lighter. $480.

Blackle is an all-black interface for Google that uses less power on CRTs. A Desert Mountain High School student was telling me about this last week and encouraging her class to use it to save energy.

GreenPrint software eliminates those annoyingly wasteful pages with nothing on them but a page number or URL. $30-75 at

Staple-less staplers that look like cats. They cut a tiny flap in the corner of the page that is tucked into a tiny pocket. $5.99-7.99

One laptop per child is now a reality with hand-cranked power and wireless broadband. $200/computer. They were designed for use by children in third-world countries. During November, buy one, donate one for $399.

On to the gaming portion of the program. That really was about more than gaming. Four guys from Delft in the Netherlands are visiting American libraries and shooting a documentary. I believe you can learn more about this group and see some of the footage here. I can't connect to the website. Perhaps everyone who was at the evening session is trying to get more information about the Shanachie Tour, too.

They started by demonstrating a push system that works on Bluetooth-enabled phones. What does this mean? They could -- and possibly are -- using it to push out a book chapter every day at busy places, such as a train station, in Delft. The range is 10-40 yards. They told us as librarians they want to reach out to their community and allow them to pick content out of the air.

Then the Dutch Men in Black -- they all wore black t-shirts with shiny silver LBI logos on the front -- shot some video footage of the crowd and interviewed blogger librarians Jenny Levine (the Shifted Librarian) and Sarah Houghton-Jan (the Librarian in Black) about their visions for the future of library service.

They showed clips from the library documentary they've been shooting at public libraries around the U.S. Included were clips of after-school teen gaming programs (including a frenetic Dance, Dance Revolution clip featuring two boys who end up with perfect scores) and a teen music and video production facility. A staffer at Salt Lake City Library showed them the handmade, limited edition zines they collect. Someone dressed as the Statue of Liberty in New York City said the Internet, not the library, was the trusted resource for him. Two staffers at a small library sang a song about the wonders of their Open Source automation system -- this was quite funny and included a line about being able to afford to give the staff raises.

I filled my still camera's memory card with videos of these clips. It was dim in the meeting room, however. I plan on posting some of the better ones.

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

There was a moderate 5.6 earthquake just outside of San Jose about 90 minutes ago. Internet Librarian is held in Monterey, which is about 55 miles away from the epicenter. When the earthquake occurred, I was sitting in a large meeting room in the convention center. We didn't really notice any shaking, but a little later one of the conference organizers announced the earthquake had knocked out the Internet network.

The woman sitting next to me looked behind her and said to the person sitting there, "Oh, I thought you were kicking the back of my chair!"

Another woman who lives in Palo Alto received a call from her husband, who said he had been concerned enough to go stand in a doorway. Another person reported a Significant Other on her home front had noticed the ceiling fan moving around.

I had been futilely trying to log into Southwest Airline's site to snag my boarding pass. My plan was to print it in the hotel's Business Center after the session ended. For the first time during the past two days, I actually reached the point where my computer could detect the wireless network. Joy of joys, I managed to log in! But then the connection stalled.

After the session ended, I returned to the hotel and a wired connection and was able to print the boarding pass.

Some Good News from EBSCO

I talked with an EBSCO representative in the Exhibit Hall. She reports that Visual Search will be new and improved in January. Grokker has had "performance issues -- OK, it is slow!" she admitted in a moment of candor.

The new Visual Search will be faster. Hurray! Visual Search has been the one bright light of EBSCO database instruction as I work with high school students because the regular search interface is very unappealing to them. It needs the database equivalent of an HGTV remodeling! (Why, yes, I did happen to mention this to the rep.)

21st-Century Libraries - Getting Your Administrator on Board

Presenter: Carolyn Foote, Westlake High School/Eanes ISD, Austin, TX

Carolyn’s blog is Not So Distant Future, and she’s also been involved in this month’s K12 Online Conference (

“Part of your schools’ participation in Web 2.0 depends on administrative support and an understanding of the advantages of these tools.” Her goal for the presentation is to share tools that will be useful to principals. Administrators hold keys to budgets and giving permission to use Web 2.0 tools.

“Radical transparency” is a concept that sometimes is associated with students having personal blogs, Facebook and MySpace sites, participating in Rate the Teacher, and snapping shots with their cellphone cameras. Some radical transparency can be negative, but there are good Web 2.0 tools that principals can use to communicate with the school community.

Uses of Web 2.0 Tools for Administrators

Promote work efficiency
Model use for staff
Communicate with parents
Provide transparency about school’s goals and activities - this can help in rough times
Promote a sense of community
Internal planning
They help a principal stay current and aware of educational trends - PowerPoint images can be saved as JPEGs and pulled into VoiceThread. VoiceThread offers a record button so you only need a mic to add an audio track to the slides.

How?: Notes on Sharing

Factors to ponder when sharing tools with principals (from Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk blog):
- Simplicity
- Ubiquity
- Reliability

Foote uses Twitter to poll her network of contacts on topics, including polling principals on what to put in this presentation! Results were coming in every time she checked.

Recommended Blogs

- Leader Talk is recommended reading
- Mabry Online is no longer current but it’s a good model. Mabry is a middle school where PTA, nurse, principal, cafeteria, teachers -- just about everyone -- had blogs that were more like newsletters.
- G-Town Talks is another good model for principals.

One principal’s take on blogging: “I have been amazed at the response to my blog. It has helped convey the district initiatives, help staff and community better understand me as a leader and individual, and has helped recruit teachers...”

Educational Discourse

The Dangerously Irrelevant blog is highly recommended. See “Creating digitally interested administrators” entry, which models a conversation about blogging.
Castle - Great Blogs for Administrators. Has tools for administrators.
Edublogs - good for educational blogging. It also supports podcasting.

Speaking of Which -- Podcasting

It’s easier for an administrator to podcast than you might think.

Use a Olympus Ws-100 digital recorder (or an iPod and a Belkin TuneTalk) to record podcasts.

Check Tech Tools for Administrators, pt. 1 and 2 on the Podcasting Principal blog. The blogger explains the technology tools she uses for principals.

Gabcast - records podcasts directly from a cell phone. (Could this be Gcast?)

Use Audacity, free Open Source software to record and edit podcasts and the LAME plug-in to convert the podcast to MP3 format for posting.


- PBwiki
- Wikispaces
- WetPaint - allows multiple user editing and allows others to be invited. Students apply to be a writer. Can see how much each student has edited. Can see how many minutes students spent on wiki.

Use wikis for inservice planning and/or use them as an internal communication tool.
Connected Libraries offers a jointly editable calendar.

Other Tools

Use the web as an awareness tool. Enter a search term on Google Alerts to have alerts sent to you when sites mention your school. Also be sure to check your school’s Wikipedia page.

Google Docs. and Spreadsheets

Google Calendar allows you to have joint calendars for different groups. These can be migrated to a wiki. - writer, sheet, show, meeting, notebook, project, CRM, creator, wiki, chat, mail, and business features - all are free

Bookmarking or Furl are good services for sharing websites

Tracking Blogs

Use Bloglines to compile a page with the blogs you read. This offers one-stop shopping for new posts.

Pageflakes is similar (as is NetFives) but it offers a graphical interface. Add a “flake” - an item such as a podcast or an RSS feed.

Best source for learning about RSS is Will Richardson’s Weblogged blog. Look for the RSS tab. He’s also written a book about blogs, wikis and podcasts.


Set up an account. Set up groups within the account such as department chairs, secretaries, English Department, 4th grade teachers, etc. It’s voice activated so the principal can record a message after stating which group is to receive it. The message is processed through voice recognition software and a text message is sent to the phone numbers associated with the account. A sound file also is sent to the group members’ email accounts.


Like YouTube for educators.
Watch Walkthroughs (, an amusing video by principals for principals.

Carolyn has a VoiceThread video on analyzing information resources that she has posted on her blog.

Also take a look at Connected Libraries PBWiki. This has a link on the sidebar to her district’s Destiny technical support wisdom!

Summary: If principals use Web 2.0 tools, they can be more understanding and supportive of their use in the school setting.

Reference 2.0 Keynote -- You've Got to Listen to This!

If I was one of my students, here's how I'd describe Joe Jane's keynote this morning: "OMG! The dude was so awesome. LOL!!!"

Yes, I tapped away on my computer and took notes. But this is one presentation you need to listen to, especially if you're a public services librarian. Or a library administrator. Or a person who's been a librarian for a long time. Or a person who is a brand-new librarian. Or if you wonder about the future of reference service. Or, hope against hope, if you're someone who can help increase budgets for libraries.

Joe Janes sees the future -- and the past -- and shows us the way. No worries about this being another panicked "You Are a Neanderthal" put-down, folks. His message is positive and affirming, and you'll laugh as you listen to it. Trust me.

(Note: Pod-o-matic still is not sitting up and taking nourishment. The beauty of using Web 2.0 tools is that there usually is another one or two or a hundred that will do the trick. Listen to the keynote podcast on


Photo credit: Jenny Levine,

What Are the Chances?

The same woman I chatted with yesterday morning was waiting for the elevator as I rounded the corner in the hotel this morning. What are the chances we would run into each other twice in this big hotel?

Making small talk, I asked, “How was your MRI conference yesterday?” “Good, but I flickered off there for a while.”

I told her if she was attending the Internet Librarians’ conference, Flickring off would be a desirable activity.

She described all of the math involved in magnetic resonance imaging. I shuddered as she said, “They’ve done a great job of dumbing it down, though.”

She asked me if the librarians had been having fun. I assured her we were having loads of it and once again gratefully headed off to today’s keynote.

Multimedia Search

Presented by Ran Hock, Online Strategies

Ran formerly worked for DIALOG. He now has his own business to teach people how to use the Internet more effectively and efficiently. He says that he’s trained more than 14,000 people in over 30 countries.

Trivia: His son is the lead singer in a rock group, the Explosion.

Ran spoke in sound bites!

Some Facts/Observations

Use different tools to search for different types of media.
Use more than one engine. This is always good advice for searching.
Indexing is a problem, but in some cases it’s getting better.
Search qualifiers are often quite limited.
Use the Big Services -- Google, Yahoo!, Ask, Live, Exalead, and AOL.

Trends in the Big Engines

Integration of multimedia results with regular Web search results.
Google’s Universal Search - a bold step backwards. Altavista did it in 2002, only without images. Universal search has maps, images. does a better job of integrating images, and includes news images.
Yahoo! provides images with results.
Exalead does great job of integrating images in results. Links to multimedia on right side.

Image Search Engines

Indexing problem: For most images, there are few words on web pages that are definitely descriptive of the image.
Tagging could theoretically help. But not for a billion images, not with any consistency, not without high spam risks.
When searching, start with not more than two search terms.

Major Image Search Sites

Google has high numbers, but often low relevance.
Yahoo has lower numbers, but often offers higher relevance. Includes audio in addition to images and video. often has very low numbers and very high relevance.
LiveSearch frequently has low numbers. Its relevancy varied.
Exalead often has low numbers; relevancy varies.
Picsearch has lower numbers, but often higher relevance.
For all, there often is very little overlap among the first 10-20 items retrieved.

Search Features

Google - content type (any, news, faces), size, file type, coloration, site/domain, safe searching
Yahoo- size, coloration, site/domain, safe search
Ask - suggestions, size, file type, coloration, related video
Live Search - size, link to video, safe search
Exalead - size, file type, coloration, layout
Picsearch - size, images-animations, coloration
Coloration searching can be useful for locating line drawings.
Limit to .gov domain to find images in the public domain.

Images - Searching Flickr

Can search everyone’s photos, your photos, groups, Flickr members, or by location.
Can browse by month, category (groups from multiple photographers, sets from individual photographers)
Can search for group names
Advanced Search, Click on Search box to get to advanced search page, where you can limit results to Creative Commons-licensed photos. (This is how I locate photos for the DMHS PodSquad podcasts and for my instructional presentations and handouts. It's time for all of us to learn about Creative Commons licensing!)

Searching for Audio

Audio found on web pages is what is usually retrieved -- i.e., podcasts and music

Audio from Web Pages - Search Engines

- Old Timers - Altavista and AllTheWeb (identical results since both owned by Yahoo. These two have better results than Yahoo! Audio Search, however.)
- Yahoo! Audio Search
- Exalead
- AOL Audio Search (music only)
- Internet Archive

Yahoo! Audio Search

Over 50 million audio files
Search by subject, artist, album, etc.
Options to limit by materials, such as podcasts, the web, and online music stores
Refine by song title, artist name, album title, and lyrics

Exalead Audio Search

Do a regular web search and narrow it to audio.
Results are nicely organized.

Internet Archive

200,000 audio recordings, mostly music
44,000 recordings of live concerts and tons of old-time radio programs are available.
Open Source Audio, primarily Creative Commons material, is provided.
Can narrow search by 12 categories

Searching for Podcasts

Yahoo! Audio Search - incorporates capability of greatly enhanced metadata using RSS enclosures
Do an audio search and narrow results to Podcasts
Podscope - speech-to-text using voice detection software. Must look for synonyms sometimes. Example: MRSA vs. staph
Everyzing - speech to text over 10,000 podcasts

Searching for Music

Sites to search include iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody, Napster, etc.

Video Searching

More and more searchability due to tech. apps. such as voice recognition and enhanced metadata using RSS enclosures
Both big and specialty search engines
Google, Yahoo!, Live, Exalead, AOL are big players. Google, Yahoo! and AOL allow you to upload your own video.

Google Video

Archived TV programs, educational videos, and personal productions
Viewing some videos may require a fee. However, this may be going away because Google is offering refunds.
All content is stored on either Google Video or YouTube. No videos are retrieved from other sites.
Google is backing away from transcripts.
Advanced search for language, duration, domain, genre

Yahoo! Video

Gathers video by crawling and from metadata provided directly by suppliers.
Advanced search offers format, size, duration, domain, and safe search.

AOL Video

Some content is offered for purchase.
Contains legitimate clips from news services.
Can narrow results by popularity, ratings, and most recent.


Searchability - terms automatically ANDed, can use OR and a minus sign for NOT
Title, description, and tags are searched
Can narrow by categories.


Radio and TV search - real-time monitoring
Aimed at the corporate world, which wants to know what media is saying about their companies.
Fee-based but some free initial searching is available.
Indexes audio feeds.

Shadow TV

Fee-based TV monitoring/ news clipping service
Monitors over 120 stations including all major US networks and cable stations.
Closed captioning is searchable and readable.
Has a 4-yr. archive
Search by keyword and some Boolean operators.


This free service searches primarily TV with some radio.
Has 18 million hours of video.
Creates transcripts.
Can search keywords and use Boolean operators.
Can rank results by date/relevance.
Conceptual searching
Has “wallet” feature that allow you to embed a search on your web page.
Advanced search offers exact phrase and ability to restrict by content providers.


Be aware of the range of tools.
Using more than one tool will pay.
Look for search quality to improve as new technologies are implemented. has links to all sites covered during presentation.

Advocacy 2.0

Presented by Aurora Jacobsen, Information Services Librarian and Mary Beth Sancomb-Moran, Advocacy Coordinator for Southeastern Libraries Cooperating (SELCO)

They feel lucky to live in Minnesota where the Legislative Library is amazingly resource-full.

Use RSS in Government to tap into your local resources. (Report: There are no listings for Arizona, but there is a link for the U.S. Federal Government.)

Political candidates are utilizing the web. They're using blogs, YouTube, mobile messaging, mapping, and other social networking sites to build an online presence.
Personal Democracy Forum - Technology is changing politics.

According to Mother Jones: “Open-source politics is the idea that social networking...will revolutionize our ability to follow, support, and influence politica campaigns....That kid with a laptop has Karl Rove quaking in his boots. And if you believe that, we’ve got some leftover stock to sell you.”

Do social networks make a difference?

- Dallas immigration protests: Students found out about them from MySpace and Facebook sites
- Oxfam is frequently cited for its results in this endeavor.
- Darfur - Social networking is keeping this issue in the news
- 500 volunteers signed up to work on a door-to-door campaign for Obama. All 500 showed up.

Why are librarians afraid to play politics?

Why don’t more libraries have appeals for help on their websites?
They displayed Oxfam’s page with Donate Now links for worthy causes.
Even more in depth is the ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History site, which is "Powered by: You."

Some libraries are getting more proactive about asking for help and support. - the beginnings of something national
Facebook Petitiion - Petition to save the Portford library from closure
I (heart) the La Crosse Public Library

Who’s doing library advocacy?

St. Paul Public Library Friends have an advocacy page.
Buffalo & Erie County - Advocate for Your Library provides links to finding state officials.
Providence Public Library's Support the Library page mentions funding cuts but donations, not political support, are solicited.
Mount Horeb Public Library provides a script for a conversation with a legislator about the library.

Mary Beth recommends linking to legislators on these pages. How have you encouraged your patrons to speak to their legislators about libraries? Every other nonprofit does it. So should you!

Librarians shouldn’t be shy about asking people to help us. They love libraries and will speak up.

Contact info.:

Presentation online at

Successful Web 2.0 Initiatives with Students and Teachers

This session was presented by Michelle Kowalsky from Whippany Park High School in Whippany, NJ and Terry Bese from Fresno Pacific University in Fresno, CA.

Collaborative Tools

- Wiki Tools

- Google Docs and Spreadsheets - Use Google Docs to collaboratively write a piece.

- PB Wiki is quick and easy. Your wiki is up and running in 30 seconds. Students can’t collaboratively write on same document, though.

Edublogs - district IT might like this blogging alternative more than Blogger.

ClassBlogMeister - free from educator David Warlick. It offers good controls to the teacher for managing the student side. You can have aliases for students. Can moderate all comments before they are uploaded. Email David to get an account for your school.

Blog Uses for Teachers

- Establish professional development communities

- Communicate with colleagues and solidify your own thoughts

- Populate your web page with news items easily (offers RSS feed too)

Student Blog Projects

- Teach about plagiarism of text and images. Students will Google items on others’ postings that sound too good and rat out the plagiarists!

- Talk about legality of deep linking

- Integrate with RSS from the start

- Keep it scholarly; use as a resume or portfolio item

- Blog to document an ongoing project, such as a science project. For example, document plant growth.

- Blog about your school's battle of the books planning. Students posted their reviews of the books they wanted included in the battle. Students debated others’ choices. Entries that were better written got more positive comments, which tended to make students write better. Student moderators rotated and were in charge of watching the comments. Let kids be involved in setting ground rules so they will self police.

- Moblogs are cell phone friendly. Good for field trips. People can upload images and comments on site. Turn on or off mobile blogging when you set up your blog. Blogger supports mobile blogging.

Forum Tools

Purpose: To have threaded discussions with a large number of people and/or on many topics at once.

Forumer is free.

Moodle is free and has a good podcasting module. How does library get integrated into Moodle? Can follow link to library databases. Michelle has been assigned as a teacher to every class and can periodically monitor and give feedback recommending books and other information resources.

Blackboard is not free. It has discussion boards. Students have to be assigned to a library resource class to access library databases.

Forum Uses for Teachers

- Whole group discussion
(Sorry, I missed the rest of this slide.)

Forum Uses for Students

- Complete homework in a more honest way.

- Continues conversation after class has ended.

- Encourages in-person shy voices to have their opinions expressed and treated equally.

Example: Cloning forum. Teacher and librarian purposely left material out of class discussion so students could find and share. Forum was for analysis of resources they found.

Working together and giving feedback is a 21st century skill.

IM Tools

TappedIn is available for free to teachers.

Skype - Provides audio IM & video conferencing. Teachers can set up virtual office hours.

Use chat features in Gmail.

YackPack - Click on icon for person and talk if s/he is logged in. You can leave an audio message if not.

Allows Q&A

Instant Messaging for Students

Terry reported on IMing by students during college classes.

- Talk on the back channel to discuss course topics as they occur. "What did the instructor just say?"

- Allows students instant access to the teacher to get their questions answered.

- Allows for personal attention and differentiated instruction.

Instant Message Tips

- Always turn on the history.

(There were more tips but time was running out and they were racing through the final slides.)

The PowerPoint of the presentation will be posted on the InfoToday IL conference site.

Contact and

Monday, October 29, 2007

Get Your Game On

This session was part of Internet Librarian's educational conference, Internet @ Schools West, that runs concurrently with IL. It was presented by Aaron Schmidt, who is the newish director of the North Plains Public Library in Oregon. Aaron has been one the young Turks at IL for about five years, which I guess makes him an aging young Turk. He's embracing new technologies harder than almost anyone and seems to have a heart-felt affinity for working with teens. No surprise that he was wearing a Change Agent pin! (Sharon Ewers distributed these to the SUSD teacher librarians recently.)

This session was subtitled "Gaming and Learning in the Library." He began by saying that gaming inspires creativity and obsession and that librarians should take notice. Gaming is an $11 billion industry -- more than cinema, CDs, DVDs, and book sales COMBINED. It has a huge impact on our culture but is woefully underrepresented in most school and public libraries.

Aaron mentioned a book titled Everything Bad Is Good for You by Stephen Johnson. There is a chapter where Johnson imagines the poor reviews that books would get if online games had been invented first: Reading is a solitary activity, promotes strictly linear thinking, etc.

Games reinforce:

* Risk taking and experimentation
* Collaboration
* Prioritizing
* Continuous partial attention/multi-tasking
* Persistence
* Decision making skills

All of these are skills we teach in schools and are 21st century learning behaviors.

Aaron referenced a white paper that was co-written by MIT's Henry Jenkins on the topic of media education. This white paper was developed for the MacArthur Foundation. Jenkins lists play first in the section titled "What New Skills Matter?: New Social Skills and Cultural Competencies."

"Play, as psychologists and anthropologists have long recognized, has a key role in shaping children's relationship to their bodies, tools, communities, surroundings, and knowledge. Most of children's earliest learning comes through playing with the materials at hand. Through play, children try on roles, experiment with culturally central processes, manipulate core resources, and explore their immediate environments. As they grow older, play can motivate other forms of learning."

Read this section here. (Or click on the link in the first paragraph to access the whole white paper.)

Aaron reported the ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) is studying gaming and mapping information literacy standards to gaming. ASU has an information literacy game called Quarantined. Get the facts straight or your roommate dies! (At least in the game. Not in real life.)

The Nintendo DS (dual screen) has a number of educationally relevant games, including Big Brain Academy; Brain Age; Cooking Mama; Trauma Center Under the Knife (includes medical terminology); Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney (which includes a lot of reading); Hotel Dusk (an interactive ebook with map. Players have to read clues.) DSes are relatively inexpensive at $150.

Aaron delved into the logistics of equipment, which I'm not going to cover here. If you're interested, let me know and I'll send you my notes or listen to the podcast. (Yes, the soft clicking you'll hear is my fingers flying over the computer keyboard.)

The short version of his recommendation is to buy a Wii or two if you can afford them and can get them -- they're still in high demand. Wiis will bring in the kids. Dance, Dance Revolution is hot and it, along with extra dance pads, should be included in the equipment for library gaming programs. Don't have enough equipment to go around? Project the action on a big screen and kids will interact from the sidelines. Feature recommended items from your library collection because some teens will want to check out material.

Let students help by recommending, configuring, and training you on the equipment. They will enjoy this mentoring role.

30 Search Tips

Mary Ellen Bates, who owns Bates Information Services, is one of the nation’s leading experts in customized information research. Her "30 Search Tips" presentation always is a must-attend session at Internet Librarian. Here's a podcast of it.

1. - Firefox fix for Google that offers nice customization features. Removes ads; offers infinite scroll of results; numbers the results so you can tell where you left off; and provides links to let you easily repeat your search using other search engines.

2. Google's Experimental Search offers a new way to see search results. Add view:timeline or view:info to the search query to see different results. Can get dates, measurements, and locations highlighted in search results and images that appear on the web pages are included in the results.

3. Simply Google. Excellent overview site of all Google’s features and sites, downloads, blogs. This is a nice site to give customers to introduce them to Google’s features, filters, etc.

4. Limit your Google image search to retrieving faces by typing &imgtype=face to the end of search result’s URL. In, add filter:face to the query. Result will present images that include faces. The results are not perfect.

5. Limit your image search results to black and white images. Use the pull-down menu in's image search results. Add filter:bw to your query in Can combine with face search in

6. SearchMash is an unbranded Google site. Results are sorted by web page. “Horn of Africa” was her example. Other search results -- images, blogs, videos, Wikipedia -- are presented in upper right corner of results page. URL in results list provides main URL of the site where the information item found and not the URL of the actual page. You can click on that URL to continue your search limited to the site. This is an easy way to drill down through a site and to teach customers that sites have more than one page.

7. In Google, an asterisk (*) is a placeholder for a whole word. It's kind of a NEAR operator. Example: “tax ** increase” (This tip went by way too fast!)

8. GooFresh limits a Google search to only sites recently added or updated in the index. Great for doing a repeated search. Can limit to today, yesterday, last seven days, or last 30 days. It's not perfect, but this is one way to find fresher results. Side note: Mary Ellen recommends we subscribe to the ResearchBuzz newsletter. It pulls sites that are useful for researchers -- lots of databases and invisible web content.

9. More Google date limiting. In Advanced Search, pull down the Date menu to limit to material first seen anywhere from the last 24 hours to the last year. You also can create your own date limiter by adding &as_qdr=dn to the search results page’s URL, where n represents the number of day Her sample search was for the last nine days of results for the Colorado Rockies.

10. compares Google and Yahoo search results. Can “prefer” results from one or the other using the Trust-o-meter. Google and Yahoo orphans -- sites unique to each browser -- are tabs at the top of the results page.

11. Yahoo’s Mindset feature. Are you researching or shopping? Hybrid cars was the example. Use slider bar to reorder results by your intent.

12. MSN’s cool Keyword Group Detection, a synonym suggestion tool. Intended for helping search engine advertisers identify similar words to buy ads for. Example: Searching for "aluminum" brings up "aluminium," the British spelling. This is not a taxonomy or a thesaurus, but it can be helpful for searchers looking for pages created by “regular” people. It also provides a way to find common misspellings. Check “parallel.”

13. I’d prefer this... At, add prefer:word to query. These search results are ranked higher.

14. Live Search Academic offers great search results including page; sort options; and slider bar for verbosity. On the latter, slide it one way to get the petite Cliffs Notes version of the search results, the other way for the full information. Infinite scrolling so you never have to click on a Next link. Mouse over to see abstract in a frame on the right side.

15. MSN’s Keyword Mutation Detection, a common misspelling-suggestion engine.

16.'s maps offer both driving and walking directions. Walking directions are often shorter. Local topography is taken into account.

17. - Use Exalead’s NEAR/n operator to limit results where words are close to each other. Example: (solar OR sun) NEAR/3 power.

18. Exalead supports true wild-card internal truncation for alternate spellings.
- colo?r retrieves color or colour
- globali.ation - The period represents exactly one character so you'll retrieve both the American and British spellings.
- gr(a|e)y whale - a way to limit to specific alternate spellings
- paral+el+ -- The plus symbol is used to mean one or more of the preceding character. Good when you're not sure if there are multiples of a character.

19. Use the search engines’ quick answer feature. Ask’s is especially good.

20. Gigablast's limit to multiple sets. Look at query syntax in the Help file. John | Smith tells search engine to look for first name. Then it looks for sites that contain the word "Smith." Results are ranked only by the second word. Mind you, the first word has to be there, but the ranking is only by second word. Way to get common first word out of results. (I'm not sure how I'll use this, but it's one of the 30 tips, guys.)

21. SnapSearch is very visual and it offer a preview of your result in an actual connection before you visit the site. Helps those who evaluate a site by its look.

22. PageBull is a metasearch tool that's entirely visual that's useful for right-brained searchers. Results are screens of thumbnails from sites. Good for quickly finding a page you remember seeing in the recent past.

23. Squidoo is a hybrid of a web page, interactive polls, Flickr-like photos, notes from readers, and a blog. Great way to share resources with colleagues. Example was Workwalker. It's a way of building your own personalized page with a lot of interaction with users. It's better than enabling blog comments.

24. - The search results deliver small fact-bites in sentences. Maximum of 30 results, however. You may be able to learn what you want without visiting a site.

25. TextRunner for “information mining." It looks for assertions. Example: “what kills bacteria” TextRunner is an experiment from University of Washington that's in beta.

26. is a great source for international statistics. Cool tool for presenting graphical information. The data is from WHO, World Bank, CIA World Factbook, UNESCO, NGOs, etc. Example: Confidence in social institutions

27. TouchGraph finds relationships among URLs. It's good for finding related concepts. Uses Google’s “similar pages” function. Finds related books in Amazon. Uses subject terms. Use for name searching to see how someone relates to other people.

28. Need to get a crash course on a topic? Check out podcast lectures from Yale, Princeton, UC Berkeley, Stanford, and Johns Hopkins professors.

29. OneLook is a reverse dictionary where you can find a word by its definition. Great for those senior moments where you can't think of a word. Example: Large birds.

30. is a vertical search engine on steroids. Excellent clustering on health, US politics, finance, travel, autos, video games, etc. Filter a search by criteria. Can see more liberal or more conservative sites when you're looking for political views. Still in beta.

Mary Ellen offers free subscriptions to her epublication, Search Tip of the Month. I subscribe and recommend it. You can view previous tips and sign up here.

Monday's Keynote - Rainie on Internet Life

Lee Rainie is the Director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which collects data on social trends in web use. Rainie is a former journalist and is working on a book.

For those of you who prefer getting information straight from the source, visit my podcast of the keynote.

Rainie's keynote was characterized by its rapid delivery and the prevalence of lists.

Eight Hallmarks of New Digital Media Systems

1. Digital gadgets are prevalent.

2. The Internet is at the center of the revolution. 73% of American adults use the Internet and 93% of teens use it. Half of the population have a broadband connection at home. Broadband users are different -- they’re content creators and they also search the web differently.

3. New gadgets allow people to enjoy media, gather information, and carry on communication anywhere. Wirelessness is its own adventure. Users who are wireless, especially those who enjoy mobile wirelessness, are growing. They’re different, too because they're much more into it. They're more likely to be content creators and are weaving the Internet into the moments of their lives. 88% of college students own cell phones; 81% own digital camera; and 63% have MP3 players.

4. Ordinary citizens are content creators. 55% of online teens have created their own profile on social networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook. The majority of these teens are sensitive about posting personal information online. (Only 20% of online adults have such profiles.) 61% send a bulletin or group message to all of their friends. 82% send private messages to a friend. 84% post messages to a friend’s page or wall. 76% post comments to a friend’s blog. 33% of college students have blogs and regularly post to them. 54% read blogs. 12% of online adults have a blog and 35% read them. Some people don’t realize they’re reading a blog. 19% of online young adults have created an avatar -- “an icon which represents a user in a virtual reality/Internet setting” -- that interacts with others online. A scant 9% of adult Internet users have done this.

5. All these content creators have an audience. 54% of college students have read blogs, and 36% of adults do, too. Political commentators’ blogs get a lot of attention, but many more people are just journalling for their friends and family. Young people don’t like attracting a wider audience -- they’re blogging for their close friends and "two worst enemies." They don’t want parents, college admissions people, and prospective employers accessing their blogs. 14% of young people are podcasting.

6. Many are sharing what they know and feel online. 36% of young adults have rated a person, product or service online. 32% of adults have done so. These people believe this is a community service. 34% of teens have tagged online content, and 28% of adults have done that. 25% of teens have commented on videos and they post comments on blogs and photos. Only 13% of adults do this.

7. Online Americans are customizing their online experience with Web 2.0 tools. 40% of teens customize news and other information pages. Half are on specialty listservs. 25% of teens have set up RSS feeds. Some people don’t know that’s what they’re using.

8. Different people use these technologies in different ways, whether they be men and women, people of different ages, or those representing different ethnicities. Rainie categorized these users.

10 Major Technology User Groups

1. Omnivores, which are 8% of the population, are in their late 20s, are primariliy male, and represent diverse races. 89% have broadband. They tend to be students and are avid users of wireless, photo, and video. They voraciously blog and manage their own web pages. Although they're older Al Gore, and SIRSI’s Stephen Abrams are examples of this group.

2. Connectors, which are 7% of the population, are in their late 30s and predominantly female. They are into the communication aspect and are upscale. 86% have broadband. They're email fanatics + use instant messaging and cell phones. This group suspects their gadgets can do more for them, but they aren’t going to wade into user manuals to learn about the features. Examples: Diane Keaton and Jane Dysart, the IL Program Chair.

3. Lackluster Veterans, which are 8% of the population are 40ish, male dominant, and upscale. 77% have broadband access. They're not thrilled with information and communications technology. In fact, they're grumpy about being always on. They view technology as a necessary evil. Tony Soprano was Rainie's example. He shot his computer in one of the television shows.

4. Productivity Enhancers are 8% of the population. They're 40ish, upscale, and 71% have broadband at home. They represent the flip side of the lackluster veterans. They're not into blogging or creating content. Agent Jack Bauer from the TV series 24 was the example for this category.

5. Mobile Centrics are 10% of the population. They're in their 30s, middle income, and minorities rule. 37% have broadband. They love their cell phones. They're phone texters and photo takers, but not early adopters. They're likely to be single. Paris Hilton and Alicia Silverstone's character in Clueless were the examples for this category.

6. Connected but Hassled are 10% of the population. They're in their mid-40s, females, white, and middle income. 80% have broadband. They go online less frequently because technology is stressful, not fun. The GEICO Caveman was the example Rainie gave for this category.

7. Inexperienced Experimenters, 8% of the population, are 50ish, female dominant, represent diverse races, and middle income. 15% have broadband access. They have less online experience and fewer technology assets, but they're willing to give things a try. Example: Marge Simpson Googling herself and finding a photo of Homer sunbathing in the nude.

8. Light but Satisfied, 15% of the population, are in their mid-fifties, white, and have below-average income. 15% have broadband access. They're the people you have to phone to have them check their email. They are late adopters who love their TV and radio as they have always been delivered. Technology doesn’t play a major role in their lives. Example: Your oldest tech-wary relative.

9. Indifferents, 11% of the population, are in their late 40s, white, and have below-average income. 12% have broadband. They don’t like technology and don’t need it. “I don’t even have the Internet. I wouldn’t even know how to use it.” This quote is from Rainie's example who is a football coach. (The Chiefs? Sorry, I'm football illiterate!)

10. The Off the Network category represents 15% of the population. They're in their mid-60s, female, diverse racially, and the poorest group. None of them have broadband. They believe the Internet is full of porn and bad information so they're tech wary. They use traditional media. Example: Aunt Bee from Mayberry

The surprises from this study include how large the low-tech crowd is -- 49% -- and how small the technophile group is -- only 8%.

We're far from the mature phase of Internet technology adoption and use in the United States. There's a lot of technological capability sitting idle in people’s hands and homes.

“Demand pull” dimension of technology adoption lags “supply push” considerably. It’s going to take people a while to tap in. Librarians need to keep this in mind, especially with older patrons. (SPLers: Schedule more Internet classes!)

What type are you? Take the quiz: Rainie claimed we would take the quiz and be mad about the category we fell into.

Here is what connectivity is doing to us:

* As the volume of information grows; the Long Tail expands. Individual books, bloggers, etc. can garner bigger audiences.
* The velocity of information increases and "smart mobs" appear. Simple example of smart mobbing: teens feel they have a social obligation to text friends with movie reviews as they leave the theater.
* Venues of information intersecting with people multiply.
* Venturing (searching) for information changes. Search strategies and expectations spread in the Google era. People think the information they need is out there and can be quickly accessed.
* The vigilance of information either truncates or elongates attention. People can suffer from continuous partial attention or they do "deep dives" into subjects of interest. Some people are always on, even on vacations. They're concerned they'll miss helpful input.
* Valence (relevance) of information improves.
* Vetting of information becomes more social. People ping their social networks to check with friends if they don't trust information. They used to check with their librarian!
* Viewing of information is disaggregated and more horizontal. Per Allen Renear at University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, new reading strategies emerge as coping mechanisms. Examples: People scan abstracts rather than reading full articles. They read headlines rather than bodies of stories. They skim everything.
* Voting on and ventilating about information proliferates.
* inVention of information and visibility of new creators is enabled.

Rainie advised us to be confident in what we already know about how to meet people’s reference and entertainment (enlightenment) needs. The elements of our training as librarians are preeminent in this age. We know how to find, assess, and act on information. The value of these skills is more important than ever. Librarians know about citizens and their questions. We just have (or need) new ways of serving them.

Memorable quote: Rainie said people used to just read content, but now they can create their own. "Now the audience is on stage."

Administrivia, Retronyms, and a Beef

This year there are 1380 attendees at Internet Librarian, up from 1250 last year. There are 102 exhibitors -- meaning companies with booths in the Exhibit Hall.

The Publisher/President of Information Today, Tom Hogan, introduced IL attendees to a new word today. Retronym is "a word or phrase created because an existing term that was once used alone needs to be distinguished from a term referring to a new development." The world had guitars, plain and simple, until an electric guitar was innovated. Now we call the original type of guitar an acoustic guitar. Other examples of retronyms are bar soap, mainframe computer, regular coffee, whole milk, classical music, cloth diaper, and day baseball.

Nancy Nelson, who was an editor for one of Information Today's journals, coined the term "Internet librarian" in 1993 as the title of a regular column in the magazine. “Librarians are becoming convinced that the Internet is desirable...” she wrote. Tom challenged us to enter a contest to find a retronym for a non-Internet librarian. One of the attendees sitting close to me muttered, "Unemployed librarian." Do you have a good idea for this contest? I'll submit it!

There is some grumbling about the lack of Internet access at the Internet Librarian conference. Web access in my hotel room costs $9.95/day, but that doesn't mean I have access to the web in the same hotel's meeting rooms. This morning it was announced that wireless access would be available in the main conference center. It didn't work in any of the meeting rooms in which I attended sessions.

This explains the delay in blog postings, folks. I have to come back to my room and plug in my computer!

An Auspicious Beginning

I was waiting for the elevator this morning in the hotel with a fellow graying middle-aged woman in sensible shoes. I asked, “Are you going to the conference today?”

“Yes, but it’s a different conference at another hotel. We won't have as much fun as you librarians have.”

Turns out she’s attending a physics conference focusing on magnetic resonance imaging. I wished her a fun day full of new insights and gratefully headed into the IL keynote.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

To Link or Not to Link

Many sessions at Internet Librarian are jam-packed with recommended URLs. Last year I labored late every night to ensure that each site I mentioned included a link to connect readers to it. Given the quantity of sites mentioned each day, this was a HUGE job!

I sat next to the LibrarianInBlack, Sarah Houghton-Jan, at the closing session. She had been effortlessly blogging the conference. Sarah recommended not taking the time to link each and every website mentioned during the sessions. She contended that readers will seek out the resources that interest them.

Rest assured that I'll try to provide links to sites that have more complex URLs. If you can't easily locate a site for which I don't provide a link, please let me know.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Internet Librarian 2007

Internet Librarian 2007 is my first conference of this fiscal/school year. Please check in Monday, October 29nd through Wednesday, October 31st as I attempt to keep up with the presenters! So much to blog, so little time...

Take a look at the conference schedule and exhibitor list here. Let me know if you have any questions or comments that you would like to have passed along to a presenter or exhibitor.