Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Almost out of balloons

Let's start with GoodReads. I discovered an issue (actually a smart feature) in which you can't send the same recommendation to the same friend twice. In testing, I managed to recommend Toys by James Patterson from my own GoodReads account. I've been using it for a while. I'm friends with the guy who founded LibraryThing, which is something of a geekier competitor, so I do this with mixed emotions. But the interface is decent and the sharing options are good. One of things that drives me crazy about GoodReads is that all books have to be on one of three shelves in your collection: Read, Currently Reading, To Read. Where's "Didn't Finish?" I'd use that all the time.

Bookletters, perhaps the least recognized feature on our website. I've subscribed to the Audio and Lifestyle newsletters in both email and RSS formats forever. Added Book Sizzle because everyone else seemed so enamored of the concept.

NoveList, the capitalization of which I need to correct on our Research Tools page. I went with Science Fiction>Alternate Histories. This is a tool that really speaks for itself, but would be pretty handy for putting together book displays too.

My reading selection tools are a mix of buzz from my social networks, references from my RSS feeds and the random stuff sitting on the shelves of my house that I've never read. But I'm not nearly the voracious book reader that I once was, so I hardly need more books to never get around to reading. Sad.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ninety-nine luft...Oops, I mean nineteen (and twenty).

Oh, wiki, you're so fine. I have lots of experience with wikis. I set up the one we're using as a 23 Things sandbox. I added content to every favorites page and set most of those pages up as well.

I also selected many of the wikis that are part of the explore tour. I realize now that we didn't point people to WikiBooks, which is an open-content textbook collection that can be edited by anyone. Interesting project. You should check out their cookbook

There are so many ideas floating around my head as to how wikis could be used to move the library forward. Ultimately, I'd really like to emulate projects like the ArborWiki which is a community-driven resource covering all aspects of life in Ann Arbor. I could definitely see the library serving a central role in the development and curation of such a resource for Louisville.

No shortage of ideas about how to use wikis internally as well. I've already seen a few projects come together using a wiki, including 23 Things. The ability to work collaboratively, edit easily and keep revision history of your documents make wikis a great format for the type of planning work that so many of us have to do.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Even rats like balloons.

A song by some old friends of mine. This song was featured on the first Guitar Hero game.

I'm looking forward to listening to "Lizard King: the True Crimes and Passions of the World's Greatest Reptile Smugglers," which runs a mere seven hours and one minute.

I have a long, storied relationship with podcasting. Feel free to check out the podcast I used to host and produce. It was called Uncontrolled Vocabulary. The premise was a roundtable discussion of happenings in library-related news. You can check it out at

I still listen to a few podcasts. I've been listening to Coverville since 2004. Just a guy playing all sorts of cover songs from his basement. I also listen to This Week in Tech. I stole the idea for Uncontrolled Vocabulary directly from him.

Podcasts are great as they give a voice to the person with the niche interest. They've helped me endure my hour-long commute for years now. Critical technology for me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Subscribe to my balloons

I've been an RSS junkie since 2002. I've had as many as four hundred feeds in my Google Reader. I have that many now, but half of them are your 23 Things blogs. I can't possibly imagine how we'd track 180+ blogs without the magic of RSS. And I know I wouldn't track very many of the other 200 feeds without it.

I think RSS is pretty much a critical tool of my lifelong learning toolkit and of my environmental scanning efforts within the profession. It's rare that I don't know relatively early about a major news event in libraryland. It used to be that my RSS reader was the first place I'd read about it. Now, that often happens via Twitter or Friendfeed or even Facebook. But the RSS reader is where I go to see what people who can actually write have to say about the news of the day. I still check my reader daily more than eight years later.