Monday, October 22, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thoughts on Things

Ok, to sum up (Thing 23) and ponder (Thing 15) what all this 2.0ness means to me, the library, the world, and the nature of the Universe:

Um... Ok, here goes... (The author stares at her keyboard for several minutes)

I am a young librarian. I just turned 29, and I have been at this, my first library job, for 4 years. I foresee working as a librarian until I retire. That's about 40 years to go, give or take. What will my library be like in 40 years?

To tell the truth, I have no idea what the world will be like in 40 years, let alone my library. I do know this: it will be very different.

I believe there will be a fundamental change, in my lifetime, in the nature of information, media, and especially concepts of copyright and ownership. It is becoming increasingly clear that content cannot be effectively "locked" in the digital age, and eventually the creators and "owners" of content will have to give up on tactics like DRM ("Digital Rights Management," which keeps library audiobooks from working on my iPod, among other things).

I believe that printed, bound books will still exist and be printed in great number, but print-on-demand will account for a huge part of publishing. Books and other "printed" matter will exist as flexible-format digital files, ready for P.O.D., display on a screen, or transfer to personal devices or e-paper. The library's collection will probably consist mainly of an access portal to these digital works, offering a multitude of formats for viewing/listening/experiencing.

I believe the chaos of incompatible & proprietary media formats that now compete for market share (Windows Media Player? RealAudio? iTunes? Adobe eBook?) will settle into a set of seamless cross-platform standards so that stuff just works, regardless of where you got it and what you're using to access it. And the continued evolution of social networking and user-created content will mingle with the evolution of formats so that there is a continual ebb, flow, and change in the content streams on the "Webbernet," as the Ask-A-Ninja likes to call what the Internet/World Wide Web/Worldwide Cellular network is becoming.

My place as a librarian in this ever-changing sea of information and content will be to help people access and use it in order to do their work, meet their goals, and enrich their lives. Just what we librarians do now, but with more and different "stuff," and in different ways. The "stuff" will be out there, supposedly free to everyone, but a divide will remain between those who "have" and "have not:"
  • The technological tools to access the "stuff" on the network(s)
  • The information literacy skills to find, choose, evaluate, & use the "stuff" they need and want
And I believe that public libraries and librarians will be there to bridge that divide. We will keep striving to provide the needed tools and expertise to everyone in our communities, so that no one is left out.

Oh yeah, and there will always be Story Time. I guarantee it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Google Docs- More!

Did you know that Google Documents does presentations? Really! Here is my Google Documents Presentation all about Google Documents Presentations:

Introduction to Google Documents Presentations

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thing #23 Summarize your thoughts about this program and learn more about where to go from here

I did it! I did it! I finished all 23Things! (Ok, so if you were really paying attention you'd know that I kind of skipped Thing 15)

Summarize my thoughts? Later. First I deserve some chocolate. Or a lot of chocolate.


See Thoughts on Things for summarized thoughts, ponderings, and general philosophizing.

Thing #22 Learn about Audiobooks

Overdrive audio and video are not compatible with Macs. They weren't compatible 2 years ago when I first tried to download an audio from the library, and two years of rapid growth in the Mac-using population later, they still aren't. And Overdrive does not seem to be the least concerned with trying to build a compatible product. How does this make me, a Mac user, feel?
Frustrated. Angry. Dismissed. Cheated. Cranky.

(One might think, then, that the solution would be to use another computer to download an audio. Say, for example, the wonderful free hi-speed public internet computers at my local public library? But oh, no. Downloading from Overdrive is not permitted on library computers. As a tech-knowledgeable library staffer, I know the many good reasons why this is so. As a customer, it's still incredibly stupid and frustrating.)

There is more to this compatibility problem, and it's actually a much bigger deal:
Overdrive is not compatible with iPods. The exact numbers vary widely by source, but well more than 50% and perhaps as many as 80% of all portable digital audio players are iPods. This is not likely to change anytime soon. What's the relevance of Overdrive if they're not even trying to develop iPod compatibility?

I love audiobooks. I listen to them a lot. I check them out from the library on CD in great number. I would greatly prefer to listen to audiobooks on my iPod, but alas, the library ones don't work, and the retail downloads (Audible, Amazon, iTunes) are much too costly.

Thing #21 Discover some useful tools for locating podcasts

I so want to podcast. I even bought a little headset thingee for my laptop and downloaded Audacity. Unfortunately, recording and editing something that's worth listening to takes time, and time is a precious commodity in my life right now.
I subscribe to a number of podcasts. It's easy for me because I have a Mac with iTunes and a teeny-tiny iPod Shuffle (the cheapest one they make). What's on my podcast directory right now?
Often, I'd rather listen to a good podcast than watch TV. I mean, what's on TV anyway? I pop in the earbuds and listen to 45 minutes' worth of an excellent feature article about the misadventures of migratory bird scientists evading crocodiles in Costa Rica... while getting stuff done around the house. Or I use my $14.99 car stereo adapter to turn my twice-weekly 2 hour round trip to Dunkirk into something much more enjoyable.

For this Thing, I checked out, and found the TeenLinks Podcast from Hennepin County Library. I subscribed to it on Google Reader, to which I've returned after getting too disgusted with Bloglines. I think I'll link to TeenLinks from our TAG pages, and see if it inspires any of our teens...