Thu - March 4, 2004

Microsoft Gadget grabs images...worn around neck?

"REDMOND, Wash. - SenseCam, touted as a visual diary of sorts by Microsoft Corp., is designed to be worn around the neck and take up to 2,000 images a 12-hour day automatically. ..."

WOW! This seems out there even to me but I get the idea... That's about 166 images an hour or 2.7 a minute... think of the CRAZY possibilities....

Posted at 03:50 PM     Read More  

Fri - February 20, 2004

iSights for Science Alive! (Web Cams in action for the Library)

NRDT, my area at SJCPL , opened the Technology Training Room for our day long science festival called SCIENCE ALIVE . The guys wanted to do something cool with tech as well as offering the access to science-related Web sites. We received approval to buy 4 Apple iSights and we used them to demo video chatting with iChat. @ were set up at opposite ends of the room. Kids could sit down and say "Hi" to each other...

The guys (super-creative lot) devised a cool way to highlight science as well as the video technology - a 5 minute "live" feed from Mars! Every hour on the hour, we'd tune into a video feed from Mars (our office) and chat with Astronaut Bob about some Mars facts! The kids loved and the adults were amused. I kid you not...this was an easy little bit any library could do with some Web cams, a bit of tech expertise and some motivated people!

Bob made the spacesuit and they projected a Marscape on the wall behind him... Dale manned the camera and handled the technical details and Adam hosted the chat in the Training Room while the audience of kids and parents looked on!

Posted at 02:14 PM     Read More  

Sun - February 1, 2004

Teaching Digital Cameras to Library Patrons

Wednesday night I taught my favorite public technology class : Picturing the Digital Camera Revolution. It's a lecture based class originally conceived for my book back in 2000. I have updated it every season and it's always different. These days, I've added bits about Digital Video camcorders, picture frames that display digital images (some are wired!), and photo kiosks at retail establishments like Wal Mart and Target.

This class always fires me up, probably because the participants are there to learn. In discussing it with Michael Porter, he pointed out in an e-mail that he thinks:

"it's because everyone is motivated and really cares about learning it as they are invested fiscally in it. Plus it is a creative outlet for them. It's definitely a different audience response than you get in many software classes."

I agree... we had 28 people on a darn cold night (it was in the single digits!) and they were INTO IT! The questions were lively and thought-provoking as well.

For the class I bring my cameras, some sample pictures printed on my Epson 6400 and by Ofoto, samples of memory cards, blanks CDRs (5" and 3"), a blank DVD, and anything else that helps as a visual aid.

My laptop was showing a slideshow of favorite photos, while I also have many photos incorporated into the PPT as well.

Posted at 09:22 AM     Read More  

Tue - January 27, 2004

Teaching RSS Basics this week

I'm teaching RSS to the Reference Staff this week. I'm using NetNewsWire Lite for the Mac and demonstrating with The Shifted Librarian, Library Stuff and the Yahoo News Feeds page. And touching on Yahoo's My Yahoo RSS stuff as well.

I'm telling them that "RSS is important" (which I believe it is because I've listened to a lot of knowledgeable folk discuss and look to the future of information delivery ) and assigning them the task of downloading the app, subscribing to 3-5 library related feeds and monitoring them.

I have already heard from two librarians who took the class this morning. They both added LISNews and several other blogs of library-related fare!

Useful resources:

Free Range Librarian's RSS Tutorial

Steven Cohen and Jenny Levine's RSS PPT

What is RSS and Why Should I care?

Posted at 10:42 AM     Read More  

Tue - January 13, 2004

Matt Lauer, Blogs, & the Internet Predator (Trainers, add this to your classes)

Matt Lauer taunted me this am as I was getting ready for work by saying "What's a blog?" I had to go but I hit record on the DVR and got back to it tonight.

"My So-Called Blog" is a NYT Magazine story about teen blogging. Here's a bit from the TODAY page:

If your teen isn't text messaging -- chances are they are blogging.  That is journaling their innermost thoughts for all to read on-line.  Today blogs are giving teens the creative outlook they need to express what they feel, think and do on a daily basis. Emily Nussbaum, a writer for the New York Times, talked to "Today" about an article she wrote for this past Sunday’s New York Times Magazine called "My So-Called Blog."

And from the piece:

J. had had his Blurty journal for about a year. He called it ‘‘better than therapy,’’ a way to get out his true feelings — all the emotions he thought might get him in trouble if he expressed them in school or at home. Online, he could blurt out confessions of loneliness and insecurity, worrying aloud about slights from friends. Yet despite the fact that he knew that anyone who wanted to could read his journal — and that a few friends did, leaving comments at the ends of his posts — he also maintained the notion that what he was doing was private. He didn’t write for an audience, he said; he just wrote what he was feeling.

Matt was curious, asked some good questions but brought the segment around to predators finding out teens personal info and coming after them. Nussbaum pulled Matt back from that and said something like "The internet has a lot of good stuff out there and people seem to zoom in on the predator thing." HooooRay!

Here's what I take away: Blogs -- the word, the trend, the whole thing -- are coming more into the "mainstream." When it makes the TODAY Show, in my little book, it's getting noticed. So, tech trainers, make sure you are touching on blogs in your Intro to the Web classes. Define them. Maybe demonstrate one... but help our library users understand what a blog is, how it works and what it means when their teen, grandchild, niece, nephew or whoever says "I have a blog."

Thanks TODAY!

Posted at 07:48 PM     Read More  

Tue - December 30, 2003

A Friend of the Devil Part II

CNN reports David Byrne has published a book/DVD project on PowerPoint...

I'm intrigued by this ongoing debate. Is PowerPoint a "broken tool" as Jimmy Guterman, a writer in Boston interviewed for the article, says? I still don't think so. I think PPT used effectively - to intrigue an audience while presenting is a good thing. I love to put quirky little points up and then explain what I mean as part of the talk.

I also am rather graphically oriented so I'll use lots of pictures to make points as well.

Posted at 11:04 PM     Read More  

Wed - December 10, 2003

Michael Blogging VIA Adam's Sony Clie

Lordy I love technology!

Posted at 09:30 AM     Read More  

Sat - December 6, 2003

Tax Accountants

Even as I type I'm queued up to present the final chunk of a two day seminar held here in South Bend yearly: the Michiana Tax Accountants Seminar. This is my fifth year talking to the group of 80-100 about Internet stuff. We started back in 1999 with Internet and Web basics. Today: Making the most of Google, Office 2003 Overview, Blogs, and XRBL.

I'll post in a bit and let you know how it goes....

UPDATE: It was great! I spoke for 1 hour and 40 minutes and didn't get through all my material because of the great discussion and questions from the group. They were intrigued by the concept of blogging and the marketing and information uses a CPA's blog might offer! I look forward to next year!

Posted at 01:57 PM     Read More  

Sat - November 1, 2003

Have you ego-surfed lately?

I just saw at CNN that "egosurf" has been added to the OED after not ten minutes ago seeing the variation "vanity surf" at The Lipstick Librarian (who made me laugh out loud this am).

I LOVE language and words. I've blogged here about Wordspy and meatloaf and now here is another vocabulary-based post.

What a great term to tell your classes about! Let them all egosurf their names or a friend's name. I did mine at Google. Looks like there are a few of us out there... including a realtor and a Web designer/poet/songwriter.

Use this as a chance to talk about buying domains as well: (purchased but not in use by someone!) (the realtor)

.biz .info .org are still free.

This is fun stuff that gets people (staff or public) thinking and surfing. Try it!

Posted at 11:01 AM     Read More  

Image Blog Added

Take a look at:

I have a ton of fun with my digital pictures AND I love to share I'll be posting images there..... use them in your classes or for projects....

Posted at 11:01 AM     Read More  

Trainers: Update your Digital Camera Classes

If you are teaching a class on "How to Buy a Digital Camera," take a look at this:

Sakes! An 8 megapixel camera sets a new standard for rather expensive but "in-reach" for super digital camera enthusiasts at $1200. My last update of the class I teach -- and the one in my book -- was an 6 MP camera as a new benchmark but it was around $2000. What I might include now is if in the Fall of 2003 an 8MP camera is introduced, in a year prices will fall and our 5MP cameras will be a standard...

Hmmm... what would that 8MP do for the SightBlog ?

Posted at 11:01 AM     Read More  

Add this to your Tech Library!! (Steven Cohen's Keeping Current....)

By way of The Shifted Librarian.... (links to ALA too!) who is at the top of my blog coolness roster right now

I met Steven at CIL 2003 . He was speaking about blogs and RSS and we chatted a bit. I found his ideas incredibly inspiring!! Now I'm blogging here and at dreaming On, sending out an RSS feed and using NetNewsWire to read feeds on my Macs! Life is good!

I will place my order for this title and urge all of you who want to know more about keeping current in our ever-changing profession to check it out!!!

Rock On,


Posted at 11:01 AM     Read More  

Fri - October 31, 2003

Digital Camera Class at SB Parks

After I get back from Internet Librarian, I'll be teaching a 2 hour Digital Camera seminar at the South Bend Parks..

Posted at 10:18 AM     Read More  

Tue - October 21, 2003

"A Friend of the Devil is a Friend of Mine" OR PowerPoint is my Friend,

From LIS NEWS: "PowerPoint is the Devil":

I love PowerPoint. Granted, I hate to see poorly used PowerPoint, but I believe it is an effective way to deliver a message, train, enlighten or entertain. Maybe Abuse of PowerPoint is evil not the program itself...


Posted at 06:31 PM     Read More  

Sun - October 19, 2003

Circulating MP3 Players

Just surfing and pondering and I found this nice page here that outlines the policies and FAQs for circulating MP3 players for a library in the UK... if you are in the planning stages of a service like this... check it out. It's always good to see what other libraries are doing.

Here's some more links:

Nice article:

Don't miss this report on how it's going for some WI libraries:

Posted at 10:17 AM     Read More  

Thu - October 9, 2003

Planning for Technology-Based Library Services

Elizabeth Breedlove writes at about developing a technology plan. Does your library have one? Breedlove writes: "Developing a technology plan allows a library to specify what technology-based library services it would like to provide and to relate these services to its overall service program. A plan provides a clear statement of both short and long term objectives. It assists a library in determining what your library should do, what your library shouldn't do and how your library should allocate its resources. Many libraries try to do too many things and end up doing many things inadequately instead of doing a few things well."

Yes! Are you doing too many things?

I got to thinking about this because yesterday I assisted Julie Hill, our head of AV services, write an evaluation of adding circulatiing MP3 players to the collection. In a perfect world of endless money and endless staff time it would work, as would any new service, but we must look at the big picture. I jumped on Google and found this document, hosted in New Jersey.

I gotta quote this too because it rocks my world: (I'm commenting in black)

The following factors are critical to effective library technology planning:

Involvement of library staff in the planning process: No planning effort will succeed without the full support and commitment of all library staff and management. Include library staff in the planning process. The level of involvement will differ with some being part of the decision making team while others may be included only in informational meetings.

Yes, pull in the staff! Focus groups work well... we are doing one next week for our Intranet redesign.

Direct involvement of other parties in the planning process: The development of a technology plan should be undertaken not by library staff alone but with the active participation by the library's trustees and involvement of other parties such as the local schools, the municipal/county technology department and the library consortium.

Emphasis must be on service-based technology goals and initiatives: Technology is not an end in itself but a means to an end. Technology must be viewed as a vehicle to offer more efficient and effective delivery of current services and to add new services to help carry out the mission of the library.

I kid you not. Technology is a vehicle. Technology provides tools for us to better serve or make better Web sites... to locate info... to train staff..... Technology for the sake or technology accomplishes little. I'm all about the coolness factor. I'm all about a gee whiz once in awhile. I love new stuff. But I'm not all about slowing down a library's Web site with "Flash this" and "Plug In that" so the site crashes 70% of computers that visit it! Who are we serving? Our users. Is it the most effective means of serving them?

Staff development and training: Without a firm commitment to initial and continued staff training and development the benefits of technology will not be fully realized.

Here here. If you've read this blog or seen me speak, you know I'm all about this. Nuff said.

Identification of funding and development of a budget: Any technology plan must address the need for funds to implement the plan. Funds must be budgeted annually to maintain existing technology, to update or replace obsolete technology on a regularly scheduled basis and to provide necessary staff support.

Check out the link above to see the rest of Breedlove's thoughts...

Posted at 10:18 AM     Read More  

Mon - September 1, 2003

Trainers: Update your Digital Camera Classes - Sony 8MP

Take a look:

Wow! Eight megapixels.... Better update those Digital Camera Classes with this new info that an expensive but not professionally priced camera is within serious enthusiasts reach at $1200. I've seen it referred to as "prosumer."

A photo is here.

Posted at 07:33 PM     Read More  

Mon - August 11, 2003

WebJunction Training Tips

I've been spending time with WebJunction and I flipped for this bit from the Gates Foundation for Trainers. Hey, LibraryMan , did you have a hand in this?

Posted at 10:19 AM     Read More  

Sat - July 19, 2003

Digital Camera Class Last Night

I taught "Exploring Digital Cameras " last night at our Centre Township library. We had 20 people on a hot July evening. And they were incredible! I told them we could have taped the class because all of their questions were so right on. They kept me on my toes talking about the wide variety of media cards available, what digital vs.optical zoom means, the benefits of lithium ion batteries, and printing photos versus sending them Ofoto , etc.

Trainers & people that schedule programs in libraries: this class still works and still packs them in! Put one together and offer it! What you need:

a staff member, volunteer or hired trainer that knows the digital camera stuff (or someone on staff willing to learn)

a camera or two to demonstrate but people bring their own usually

some sample photos printed on a printer, at a kiosk at Wal-Mart or from online

a presentation in PPT or some organized script of points to teach

a handout of info and URLs

samples of media cards if you can borrow some (usually people bring em)

some of the ads from Best Buy and Circuit City to illustrate how cameras are advertised and sold

Optional: a lab where folks can surf sites that review cameras like Amazon or DP Review

This class fires me up because people are so eager to talk about the topic and share info and learn from each other. Let me know if you've had success with a class like this...

Posted at 07:33 PM     Read More  

Mon - June 30, 2003

Bloggers, List Ops, etc Not Liable

I don't say what they want
I don't do what they say
So I'm on their list
So I'm gone, I guess
(Fleetwood Mac, "What's the World Coming To?")

Wired News reports:

"The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Tuesday that Web loggers, website operators and e-mail list editors can't be held responsible for libel for information they republish, extending crucial First Amendment protections to do-it-yourself online publishers.

Online free speech advocates praised the decision as a victory. The ruling effectively differentiates conventional news media, which can be sued relatively easily for libel, from certain forms of online communication such as moderated e-mail lists. One implication is that DIY publishers like bloggers cannot be sued as easily. "

Nice.... As a List Op for the Stevie Nicks Enchanted List for 5 years or so I dealt with all sorts of flaming attacks that were sent out to the 400+ members of the list worldwide. Now, as a blogger, I try to always cite sources and be fair! (What was my first question to the Apple PR lady? "Am I in trouble?")

In tech training, when addressing issues of behavior on lists and online, I always point to the Golden Rule....

Posted at 10:16 AM     Read More  

Wed - June 11, 2003

Online Shopping Class

How many public libraries are teaching an online shopping class? SJCPL has been doing it since 1999! Some times we get a full house, other times not so many! Last night we had six people at Francis Branch.

What do people want out of a class like this? Here's what I've found....

How many public libraries are teaching an online shopping class? SJCPL has been doing it since 1999! Some times we get a full house, other times not so many! Last night we had six people at Francis Branch.

What do people want out of a class like this? Here's what I've found:

Some hands on practice (we go to Amazon and eBay ....other sites if we have time)

Info about security, cookies and credit card use. This site has some tips!

Info about useful resources like Safe Shopping to find out more.

In all of the public training I do, I like to bring a lot of myself to the class. Last night I shared a story about having my debit card # stolen and used on an online casino. The kicker -- it was probably taken from me personally, not online!

Shopping examples I use include books, CDs, DVDs, clothing. On eBay I use a search for a Fiestaware gravy boat or an "I Dream of Jeannie" Bottle to illustrate how online auctions work. If it's hands on have the class do a search on words FIESTA GRAVY which sounds silly but yields the results I want.

Let me know if any of you have done a class like this and what has worked well.


Posted at 10:16 AM     Read More  

Sun - June 8, 2003

Circulation Training for Greg

Again, Greg at Open Stacks details his library system orientation.

He writes:

After the meetings concluded Tuesday, I participated in a circulation training session. Now, unlike the other person receiving this training with me, I've already had ample opportunity to work the circ desk. Much of this information proved redundant and some of it only applied to the way things are done at Main (reinforcing my perception that every branch operates differently and has a different interpretation of the "way things are/ought to be"). The class was taught by a girl significantly younger than the two people in the class (and I'm only 27) and though she was quite competent and knew her job well, I couldn't help but wish that our teacher would be more sagely on the topic of circulation.

Here's what strikes me:

some of it only applied to the way things are done at Main (reinforcing my perception that every branch operates differently and has a different interpretation of the "way things are/ought to be").

Yup, I've been on the same bandwagon of late. I'd like to know that the training my department provides insures that circ stuff and tech stuff is done consistently across the system from Main to our branches and back again. I think this goes for using the tools of technology as well as library policies and procedures. It irks me to hear that such-and-such branch "has never done it that way before..." or no one at Blah-Blah Branch "knew how to center the text in Word or attach an image to an e-mail in Yahoo..." We are not doing our jobs correctly when this happens...

I try to send Adam, my Circ Trainer who I think is pretty darn "sagely" for a young fellow (25) to the branches to work with the circ staff as much as possible as well as his training for new employees at Main.

Here's what he does:

60 minutes of hands on training in the circulation module of Innovative followed by 30-60 minutes of hands on up at the desk at Main training with him overseeing how the person does. it works...

What could work better is making sure once the employees are back at their branches they have people who are trained just as well to answer questions, etc.

Posted at 10:15 AM     Read More  

Wed - May 21, 2003

New Yahoo Search Pages

I'm watching VH1's I Love the 80s and I caught a commercial for the new Yahoo Search service. The page has a Web search tab, Directory tab, News tab, Images tab, Yellow Pages tab and Maps tab. It's very clean and uncluttered -- very "un-portal-like!" Read a great article about it here at Search Engine Watch.

Trainers...what do you think? Library patrons LOVE Yahoo! Sometimes it's all they know... We teach Google at SJCPL, with a bit of our Hotlist and DMOZ as well. Could this clean page of easy to click on tabs and longer search boxes be easier to direct people in technology training sessions?

My gut reaction is to run it by the Trainers and see if we might incorporate it into an upcoming Senior Seminar class. Maybe Yahoo! Search and Google together.... maybe even comparing search results between the two. I'll let you know how it goes. :-)


Posted at 10:16 AM     Read More  

Sun - May 11, 2003

"Travelling Trainer Tells All" -- LibraryMan on Training for Librarians

LibraryMan writes in his article at IU SLIS:

Librarians desperately need high-quality training. All over the country, at every library I visited and taught at, I heard this over and over. MLS, MIS, or not, continuing education is an absolute must. If the training is high quality and has practical applications, even if it is full of new and challenging ideas, it will be welcome and quite warmly received. More importantly, it will be folded into day-to-day practice."

Well said! the whole article is wonderful... don't miss it. I'm e-mailing the link right now to my Library folks...

Thanks to Steven at LibraryStuff , I got his RSS feed about the article before I got to Michael's RSS Feed...

Posted at 10:17 AM     Read More  

Thu - May 1, 2003

Training Two Colleagues to Blog!

Hi all! Right now I'm training two of my SJCPL colleagues to Blog with the iBlog software.

Hi all! Right now I'm training two of my SJCPL colleagues to Blog with the iBlog software. Joe will be handling new Book type stuff and Julie will be exploring her world of Sights and Sounds. Watch for their Blogs next Monday when our new site goes live!!!


Posted at 07:32 PM     Read More  

Tue - April 29, 2003

RSS & Blog Session yielded a Surprise

Last Thursday I was doing a brief session with our Main Library Service Heads about RSS and Blogging and I loaded up Michael Porter's Library Man Blog as an example of a rather cool Blog and I was pleasantly surpirsed to see he had mentioned Tame the Web and linked to my WiFi in Italy post. Michael had just been to Italy . The group thought that was cool -- Yet another example of the Internet as Community. They spent some time exploring Library Man as well as Steven Cohen's Library Stuff and the Male Librarian Centerfold . (grin)

I think I'd like to hang out with these fellows at a Conference!


Posted at 10:19 AM     Read More  

Tue - April 1, 2003

CIL 2003: Exploring the Digital Universe

Access to a PPT presentation librarians can use to do a class on all the digital stuff available these days.

I had a great time at this year's Computers in Libraries conference. it fired me up professionally and personally. The library world is shifting so quickly these days. Scott Brandt at Purdue once said at a workshop that Internet years are like dog years: one year equals seven! :-) Ten years ago, we didn't even have the net at SJCPL!

Anyway, I gave a talk on developing classes for libraries. The example I used was developing a class on all the cool digital stuff we encounter today. Look at the ads for Best Buy or Circuit City! I wanted to send everyone who came home with something they could use so i made the PPT of the class available for download at the InfoToday site... Download it here

Rock On!


Posted at 07:32 PM     Read More