Posts tagged ‘tools’

Rise of the ebook

I used to be an ebook skeptic. I’ve been a big believer in the affordances of paper, and as a lifelong reader I thought the emotional appeal of printed books was too strong, that ebooks would never be able to get significant market share because that obstacle was too big. I figured there might be a niche market for textbooks and professional journals – things which are expensive to produce and expensive to buy – but I was convinced that fiction ebooks would not really take hold until we had used up all the trees and exhausted the paper supply.

And then I got an iPhone and had a baby.

One of the hardest transitions of my first few months as a mother was the lack of reading time. Yes, babies sleep, but usually when they do you’re either trying to sleep yourself or frantically trying to accomplish something before the baby wakes up. I found that I had little pockets of time while trying to get the baby to sleep or during the middle of the night when I was trying and failing to get back to sleep myself, but I couldn’t manage a regular book while I was holding the baby. Then I heard about the Kindle app for the iPhone. People, it changed my life.

I can hold the iPhone and navigate the books with one hand, no problem. The screen is bright enough to read by in a dark room, but not bright enough to disturb the baby. Best of all, I always have books with me, wherever I am. I used to choose purses based on their ability to hold at least one book in addition to all my other gear, but now I always have a selection of books on my phone, and can easily download another if needed so I never run out of reading material. I now use two different reading apps – the Kindle app and Stanza. Yes, I pay for new content, but there are also plenty of public domain books that are available for both apps for free. I can bookmark significant passages and go back to them later. I can adjust the text size according to my preference. Sure, it’s easier to flip back and forth between sections in a printed book, but I’m finding that the benefits of the ebook format far outweigh the inconveniences. In short, I’m sold.

In a professional capacity, I’m also very intrigued by some of the collaborative options that are becoming available for online books (CommentPress, BookGlutton) and by new publishing models (Free). The long-term implications for libraries are going to be huge. But ultimately it comes down to the question: “does this work for me?” Surprised as I am, for me the answer is a resounding “yes”!


August 6, 2009 at 3:34 pm 3 comments

Tech Tools for Library Outreach

 links to be added

Paul Pival
Chad Boeninger

Outreach is fostering relationships with people unconnected with the organization
Why provide outreach?
We must be where people are…

WP Polls plugin for Word Press blogs
can use blogs as a knowledge base

teach classes from wiki content
online “handout” of course materials

use it to make yourself accessible/approachable
link to your profile
import info from blogs, etc. into facebook
occasionally gets reference questions in facebook

Pigeon – plugin connects to meebo widget
embed same meebo widget in lots of places
embed different widgets to know where people are coming from (embed one in catalog, for example, listed as “catalog help”)

Skype – VoIP
share video and audio

capture still or video images with audio; save, embed, share
doesn’t allow editing
works with anything on your desktop
similar, web-based tool
browser capture only?

Knowledge Base Publisher
open source
for FAQs, etc.
See stats on views of each FAQ “article”
user ratings
customers can submit a question
provides suggested answers as well as place to email questions?
Easily add questions from customers to the knowledge base

November 2, 2007 at 8:25 pm

Mashups and Data Visualizations

links to be added

Darlene Fichter

The eyes only see what the mind comprehends

web 1.0
people who knew html

web 2.0
everyone can participate
don’t need to know html (blog, wiki)
citizen journalists, stock photo sites

DIY Programming
5 minute customization of applications
no longer the purview of techno elite

Mashup: a web application that uses content from more than one source to create a new service
uses api or rss feed
term comes from pop music

open data
open set of services & apps (APIs)

programmable web – mashup dashboard
most mashups involve maps (also photos, shopping)

Web 2.0 implications
fastest growing ecosystems
don’t have to get anybody
s approval to provide a new API to the Internet operating systems
Content that can be repurposed and remixed gets used

mashup tools:
Yahoo maps
Google Maps
Yahoo Pipes

Frappr – map of blogging librarians – social applications, identifies communities
uses google API and community contributed content

community walk – good for showing tours

Google My Maps
go to
click on My Maps
add pushpins plus notes, photos, to create a map
Embed the code in your library site
library branches
historical buildings
locations in stories
google API and Directory data

McMaster Aerial Photos
Google API and library photo index data

Western Springs History
easy for anyone who edit some html or xml files
Google API and location of historic buildings
need production API key or developer code

Yahoo Pipes
Powerful, but more complicated

Cambridge public library
Top 20 new books
Syndetics – book covers
data – top 20 new books

Unintended consequences
Garbage in, garbage out
client side scripts that modify pages
-al instances of Microsoft on any site are rewritten to say “…”

Visualization Tools
Facets as elastic lists

Social sites for data visualizations
allows new kind of data analysis
both curious and serious, statistician and citizen
important new medium

in a nutshell:
an individual should get value from their contribution
contribtions should provide value to peers as well
organization that hosts the sites should derive some benefits and derviv aggregate data

drill down to see data

Many Eyes
view and discuss visualizations, create visualizations from existing data sets
register to upload own data


November 2, 2007 at 8:22 pm

Screencasting & elearning on a shoestring

 links to be added

zoho show (can work offline)
google presentations

drupal chat – works around filters and firewalls
single party clients –
AIM, Yahoo, MSN, Gtalk
Group chat requires some knowledge
Have to have an account for specific platform
often blocked by firewalls

Third party clients
Can talk to multiple protocol chats
run AIM, Yahoo, MSN, Jabber all at once
requires download

doesn’t require download

Group clients
Anyone can participate without login or account
can be made private if desired
Similar to IRC channel
easy to access
Often embeddable in website

Blogger – hosted, has added a lot of features
can have your own domain
Word Press
.com, .org, .MU
Open source
posts to the future
auto saves

Movable type
free for personal use, but not multiple users
fees for support, etc.
integrates with your authentication system
junk mail file
tags and widgets
email notification

Can have
true video
blended together

Complex to use

Can export to
iPod video

Macromedia captivate
Simple to use
Exports as flash
not full motion screen capture

Open Source
Windows only
Very simplistic
Exports as AVI of Flash

Exports to lots of different formats
captures screen and voice
place to store screencasts
can post to blog
allows you to archive at Internet Archive
Make a flash file for viewing
keeps your original

most expensive part of any project
tools are expensive – created for businesses
OPAL – online programming for all libraries
only works with PC and IE

open source
installed, free (techie only)
hosted, $8/month
browser based
multi-user chat
records and archives
No mac, but works with IE and Firefox

Zoho meeting
free, while in beta
person who’s running it has to have install
works on everything
broadcasts presenter’s computer to attendees

Vmukti Meeting Place
free, open source
no install
open or private meetings
audio, video, web conferencing
must install and run on server with a MySQL database
support is free but there is installation support for $100

create audio files
import existing audio
trim, adjust levels, fade in and out
Create MP3
Set IDE tags

can upload audio or video
create a podcast feed
add content to the Internet, archive automatically if desired
Apply creative commons license to your work
create feed for podcasts
add information for iTunes
keep stats of subscribers

iTunes University
organize content by course
upload audio files
add/edit track IDE tags

Wordpress plugin
create a podcast feed off a wordpress blog
upload audio files
collect stats
add podcast to iTunes and other directories
embed audio in blog

November 2, 2007 at 8:20 pm

Cool tools for webmasters

Darlene Fichter and Frank Cervone

**update: links added**

Communicating ideas – drawing and audio – capture and share images on screen

  • use when showing works better than telling
  • just in time demos – canned screens for common how-to questions

picnik – online photo editor, plugin for IE or Firefox

  • allows capture of full page, not just what appears on screen

Just for fun!
Kerpoof – make online cartoons, movies, pictures

Other power point sharing sites;
capture screen or page image

Visual pagerank

IBM Unstructured Information Modeler

  • analyze unstructured data sets
  • automatically classify and create categories
  • works for 1000 – 10,000 records


  • compare differences in two different directories (e.g. Hard drive and thumb drive) using graphical interface
  • logview

SOAP Sonar

text editor – adapts to a large number of programming languages; color codes different languages and elements

Perl Express

Fun with Images

Search and Indexing

Open source federated searching

IBM Omnifind Yahoo edition

  • Supports up to 500,000 documents
  • go from installer to searching in minutes
  • easy to use graphical tools to configure look and feel
  • configurable synonyms and featured links increase relevancy
  • download and install on server

Google Coop CSE
good site integration

OpenURL referrer Toolbar
doesn’t go away when you delete cookies

Flog Blog

Pack your own browser
Portable Firefox – bundled with portable apps to take bookmarks, extensions, passwords

asterisk logger v.1.02 – reveal stored passwords
undelete – recovers deleted files, unerases lost data
unstoppable copier – recover all bytes from scratched cds
simple file shredder – securely delete files so they can’t be restored
KeePass – store all your passwords in one database, locked with one master key

October 30, 2007 at 11:10 am


I picked up a copy of John Ruskin’s On Art and Life, mainly because of the beautiful cover. I am working my way through it, slowly, but this quote near the beginning is so great:

 You must either make a tool of the creature, or a man of him. You cannot make both. Men were not intended to work with the accuracy of tools, to be precise and perfect in all their actions. If you will have that precision out of them, and make their fingers measure degrees like cog-wheels, and their arms strike curves like compasses, you must unhumanize them. All the energy of their spirits must be given to make cogs and compasses of themselves….On the other hand, if you will make a man of the working creature, you cannot make him a tool. Let him but begin to imagine, to think, to try to do anything worth doing; and the engine-turned precision is lost at once. Out come all his roughness, all his dulness, all his incapability; shame upon shame, failure upon failure, pause after pause: but out comes the whole majesty of him also; and we know the height of it only when we see the clouds settling upon him. 

October 26, 2007 at 4:06 am

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." - Pearce