Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vista May Not be as Bad as You Hear

I haven't seen Vista yet except in a few demo videos, but all I've heard is negativity. Michael Sauers pointed me toward this post that referred me to the Mojave Experiment. This is "a focus group effort we initiated a few weeks ago. We interviewed and polled 120 participants in San Francisco, in hopes of better understanding everyday users' perceptions of Windows Vista and seeing whether there really is a gap between perception and reality. We wanted to see how people reacted to Windows Vista when they were not aware they were seeing Windows Vista. We recorded our discussions, and today you can see them for yourself."

Tricky, tricky marketing ploy, but I bet they would have pulled the wool over my eyes too. Makes me pause and think I shouldn't believe all the negative hype until I use the OS myself!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bibliocommons for the Future

Be still my heart... I just saw the most amazing catlog at Oakville Public Library in Oakville Ontario. Thanks to Michael Stephens for pointing this out to me. Watch the tour and see the future unfold. This comes from Bibliocommons "a complete social discovery system for libraries". I want, I want...

Cool Video Explanation of Web2.0

I can't believe I haven't seen this one before. If you have, sorry for bringing it to your attention again. I just think this was so well done. One of the best visual explanations of Web2.0 I've ever seen. Michael Wesch of Diginal Ethnography at Kansas State University put this gem together. For a transcript of the text, go here.

You can download your very own high resolution copy here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Can this be true?

Obviously, someone has played quite a joke on me. PLEASE do not vote for me, I have NO DESIRE to be president!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

List of Blogs in Pennsylvania

PA Commonwealth Libraries is presenting Web2.0 Hands On Workshops across the state in August. I am lucky enough to be the presenter/trainer for these workshops. I'm really looking forward to them.

On Friday, one of the people attending asked for an example of a library blog. Bonnie Young of Commonwealth Libraries sent out a link to some listservs and asked for any other examples. They came rolling in all day long in separate emails.

Since the idea of Web2.0 technologies is sharing, I decided to create a quick and easy wiki where anyone in Pennsylvania who is connected to a library can put the link to their blog. Go to PA Library Blogs and add your blog today. Just follow the instructions on the front page. I welcome any feedback and suggestions in the comments.

Want to paint like Jackson Pollack?

Click here and use your mouse to paint just like him (well, kind of...)

Friday, July 25, 2008

MaintainIT Webinar for Trainers

Thanks to Brenda Hough for inviting me to a webinar for library technology trainers on Wed 8/6 at 2pm EST. Rather than restate all the details, I'll let her tell you about it. Go ahead, click that link and read about it. Or click here to register.

Playing the Building

This is an amazing art project by David Byrne (yes, the guy from Talking Heads). It's in NYC until 8/24/08. Maybe a library will sponsor a bus trip? I would love to see this in action.

Thanks Rocketboom for making my lunch hour so special!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sneak Peak at the NEW WebJunction

If you haven't caught on by now, I'm a huge fan of WebJunction. On August 4, they will be unveiling their new website. I've seen some sneak peaks of this, but now they are on describing great details of what's to come. This was done very well. I love the conversational style of the videos and how Michael Porter and Dale bring us the highlights as if they are newscasters. Please subscribe to their feed so you're ready to rock n' roll when the new site goes live!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Trying to post to blog via email

If this works, it will be most excellent!

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Day in the Life #5 - LAST ONE

Well, it's Friday already. I'm always amazed at how quickly the weeks go by at this job. The best part is I'm not waiting for Friday on Monday morning like some previous jobs. I truly enjoy what I do and that is such a blessing.

I have to say I was a little nervous about the Webinar when I got to work this morning. I logged in 45 minutes early to do some more practicing just to make sure I was ready. Gratefully, there were no major technical snafus on the part of the participants, the other presenters, or myself. Woo hoo!! You just never know with the Internet; know what I mean? Everything flowed very smoothly and the presenters and participants all did great. Now there's a big check mark off of my list of things to do!

That took up the whole morning, so I went home for lunch, but Xia was sleeping :-( When I got back to work it was email ciy since I hadn't touched it all morning.

  • I scheduled some one on one training for a new branch manager starting next week
  • I entered in some training hours for a coworker (I keep track of all continuing ed taken by the people who work here at the system on top of a list of all of the attendees of trainings we conduct or coordinate)
  • Helped with some Spanish Translation (no I do not do this well but offered input on some translation we received back)
  • Closed a couple of Work Orders that finally were finished: A name correction for a user of our intranet wiki, you'd be amazed how difficult that was to do. It took a couple of weeks to work it out with support and our IT Manager and Asst Manager did it, not me - way over my head. Also closed a couple of work orders asking for reports. I sure wish Millennium's reporting modules were easier to use. I offer trainings and people take them, but it's still very difficult for the users to do this on their own. If only we had a programmer on staff that could make it magic by pushing a couple of buttons and getting canned reports like they do at NOBLE. Ahhh, wishful thinking.
  • And of course, then I jumped back into the world of Outlook Exchange. I just wish I could get a big chunk of time on this!

Well, I appreciate you all joining me for the ride. Don't know how exciting you may find my week, but I'm so glad I have a job that continuously challenges me and makes me keep on learnin! Have a great weekend :-)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Day in the Life #4

Before I get rolling on my day today, let me say that I FINALLY made it to an episode of Uncontrolled Vocabulary last night. I've been wanting to dial in and be a part of this live podcast done by Greg Schwartz using TalkShoe, but 10pm is pretty late for me. I really enjoyed it, but I don't know if I'll be able to do it again. I usually listen to the archived podcast of the show. I stayed pretty quiet; in fact, I didn't really do much more than introduce myself. I was hoping to just sneak in and mute my phone, but Greg caught me and I got pulled in. It's pretty heady dialog for me, but I learn so much from it just by listening.

So, today - Thursday - Day 4 - has been pretty exciting. I did my first official screencast today because so many people are having trouble with logging in to our intranet wiki called LILLY. You can see what I did here. I had Jing bookmarked as something to try and I finally downloaded it today. My only gripe is that I had to install Microsoft's .NET frameword for it to work, but it works so easily. I had it done within 20 minutes after download. Their blog has great how-tos with videos of it all (of course). I still don't think I'd use something like this for official online tutorials to put on our OPAC or anything like that, but for quick and dirty stuff it was great.

Got caught up on email and finally devised a system to keep track of sites I want to review and videos I need to catch up on, archived webcasts etc. Tried tagging in as dowhentime, but never got around to it. So I started sending myself emails with the links, but they were just piling up in my inbox. So I created 3 folders in Outlook (since I don't use gmail for my work email, bummer, love the labels in gmail)- "Links to listen or watch when time" (which means over my lunch hour), "Links to look at when time" and "Links-suff to blog". Whew, that cleaned up my inbox as it was all very confusing. I use very detailed subject headings on these to help me know what's what. This really seems to be working well.

After that I received word from WebJunction that my ppt for tomorrow's webinar had been loaded and polls added where I wanted them. So, we're ready to roll. I'm a little nervous about the start of tomorrow's web conference. I used to do these all of the time at my last job with Spectra Marketing, but that was almost 5 years ago now. Wimba is really easy to use so I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about getting everyone in to the conference. I remember that was always the hardest part. If they haven't run the test wizard; if this is their first webinar; if they aren't real tech savvy; don't have admin rights, etc it can get kind of hairy. I'll let you know how it goes.

Worked on my new "Links.." folders in Outlook over my lunch hour as I couldn't go home for lunch yet again today. Hubby and daughter off to a playdate at the Choo Choo Barn today. Again, severe jealousy! My husband and I had one of our very first dates there. I knew I would marry him when he leaned in for a kiss as the lights went out and the mini train display mimicked evening with twinkling Christmas lights on the ceiling as stars. Come on, it doesn't get more romantic than that, right? LOL

Next I got cracking on the survey that needed to be finished today in surveymonkey. Got it done. Then I had a request to help someone create a complex list in our ILS system, Millennium, using the Create Lists mode. That ended up taking almost 2 hours, so here I am at the end of the day. Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Day in the Life #3

Helpdesk Wednesday. Yep, today was my day to cover the helpdesk. We usually get this duty once/wk within the department. We have an email address that all member libraries use to submit their helpdesk requests. So once/wk one of us monitors all the incoming email and then logs the information into our help desk management solution called Track-It! We haven't gotten to the point yet of having the member libraries do the submitting themselves through the online client, though I sure hope we do some day.

The issues that came up today varied from, all Millennium ports being used, an OPAC not working, how to set up a vacation message in our IMail system, adding a laptop to a networked printer, etc. Needless to say it's hard to focus on a project with all the interruptions that come in on your helpdesk day, but hey, it's only one day a week.

Still finalizing some parts of the ppt we'll be using for the web conference on Friday. Met with our PR Coordinator and will get to create yet another survey in surveymonkey. She is going to survey all of the staff and volunteers of the libraries to find out what types of database and OPAC trainings are needed to help us better serve the patrons. I think this is a very exciting initiative. I also hope there will be time some day when I and the system staff have enough time for me to train them how to do this themselves. For now, it's faster for me to just do it for them.

I entered in some names to our training database as I was getting a little behind from the last month's worth of classes. So that's now all up to date.

Had a discussion with the IT Asst Mgr, Mark about all of the details he has learned about Exchange this week. Lots of confusing stuff to sort out. My goal now is to just learn the whole thing inside and out and be ready for the questions rather than try to create some big training document. It's too big to do that. I hope to just make some quick job aids people can refer to for the basics and then serve as a resource for the more complex stuff. This first wave of training is just showing people how to send/check mail and manage contacts, we'll delve deeper later.

Lastly, I've been meaning to try out and there was a post about it on techsoup so I finally went over there and realized I needed a "beta code" to get in. The site states " is a simple service that makes updating your social networks a snap". Wanting to get this off my checklist today, I threw out a share on FriendFeed and literally within 5 minutes got the code from David. Thanks David. If anyone else needs to know, for today it is pingbewithyou. So now I can just post in one place and it goes out to all of my social networks. Pretty cool. Just another example of how social networks DO help you. I can instantly get answers to my questions without using email - do you need more incentive than that?

Lastly, I am doing some contract work on my own time for the PA Commonwealth Libraries and the invitation to come to a Web2.0 Hands On Workshop went out to the PADLC and PASYS listserves today. I'm very excited to be able to do these workshops across the state as I've been waiting a long time to be able to train on Social Software. My goal for the workshop is to begin by creating a blog in Blogger; then create an account in Bloglines to subscribe to the blogs we created; then set up a account for social bookmarking (and show how to incorporate that into the blog) and show a little Flickr and YouTube along the way (also incorporating that into the blog). I haven't been able to do such a workshop at the system as this will be a full day workshop (my trainings aren't to go over 3 hours at a time) and there are other projects that have always taken precedence. So, I'm burning a lot of midnight oil to do something I love :-) By the way, if anyone in PA reading this wants to register, please check those listserves for the post sent today from Bonnie Young. This is the only way to get at the registration form. They don't have online registration :-(

Well, that's a wrap for the day. I didn't get to go home for lunch today as my husband and daughter went to the wonderful Family Place program at the Quarryville Library. She LOVES that. You can see how much she loves it here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

All My Faves

Being a visual person, if you can present something to me in a picture, I'll be much happier. Enter AllMyFaves. Here's what their About Page says:

"How often have you visited search engines and couldn't find exactly what you wanted?
You searched the web for a specific site and found only sites that had nothing to do with your actual request. Why search? Our team of experts did the search for you! We have searched the web and provided you with a visual directory that includes the best sites in each category!"

Check it out, it's darn perty. And thanks to the Baldgeekinmd for pointing it out!

A Day in the Life #2

Helloooo Tuesday. This was quite an interesting day. Let's see what I can remember of the day...
  • more email to sift through as usual

  • helped organize some training dates for new staff coming to the Pequea Valley Public Library's new branch, Salisbury Township

  • blocked some dates for a new Branch Manager that will be coming to the Mountville branch of Lancaster Public Library.

  • stayed in for lunch today as Grammy is taking care of my daughter today

  • watched my favorite video blogs during lunch:
    Tekzilla Daily
    Mobuzz TV

  • Also followed an online chat during lunch hour from Philanthropy Today titled "Building Your Online Presence on a Tight Budget". Didn't get to follow it too well and hope to read the transcript at another time.

  • created the survey for the mini-grant being offered by the PA Spanish Outreach mentioned yesterday.

  • received approval for the final version of the ppt we will be using during Friday's web conference and sent it off to the Webjunction folks

  • chatted with Lori Reed about Outlook training

  • figured out I DON'T have to train two different versions of Outlook Web Access - just one! A consultant was in last week and got rid of some legacy stuff so what I was actually seeing was OWA 2003 interface and in reality EVERYONE will now see OWA 2007 interface. Yippee! I'm so glad I hadn't done too much documenting already

Hope you'll stay for the ride for day 3 tomorrow...

Monday, July 14, 2008


This is a really cool site for those of you who don't want to learn how to use an RSS Aggregator (like Bloglines or Google Reader). You:
  1. enter in the URL of the site you'd like to subscribe to - THEY find the RSS feed for you.
  2. Enter in your email address and choose your delivery preferences.
  3. Preview what the RSS email will look like and subscribe!

It doesn't get any easier than that, folks! So stop checking websites every day that have feeds, get the info delivered right to you.

(I still think taking the time to use an RSS Aggregator is better!)

Thanks to David Bigwood who commented on Nicole's post and pointed me to this great resource.

A Day in the Life #1

So, welcome to Monday. The day always begins with a catch up of all the email that came in over the weekend. First task, help a few people learn how to log into our intranet, LILLY. We use Mindtouch's DekiWiki for our intranet, and this is still a fairly new process. Now everyone can comment on pages or even create their own pages. It's a great way to exchange information and build internal communication. However, you must log in to use it, and a lot of people are still struggling with how exactly to do that. I'm hoping we can create a screencast that we can post on the entry page that demos how it's done.

Every Monday morning the IT Department, which I am a part of, has a meeting at 9:30am. Today, it was pushed back to 10:00am. Then, we received an emergency helpdesk call in the middle of the meeting. It's always tough to get all 6 of us together. The department is made up of:
  • IT Manager/Deputy Administrator - Bill Hudson
  • Assistant Manager - Mark Sandblade
  • PC/Systems Specialist - Jordan Binkley
  • PC/LAN Technician - John Ditmore
  • Webmaster/System Specialist - Jeff Somerfield
  • Training Coordinaotr - Stephanie Zimmerman (hey, that's me!)

We have a lot of projects going on right now, so it's always good to get together and figure out where everyone is and what needs to happen next.

I helped someone unlock a record in our Millennium ILS (Integrated Library System), helped someone figure out how to edit a header in a Word document, then off to lunch. I try to go home as often as I can over my lunch hour to spend some time with my daughter, Xia.

When I got back, I did some prep work for a web conference I'll be running with the rest of the PA Spanish Outreach team this Friday. We're going to be using WebJunction's Horizon Wimba client and I'm really enjoying that system. Our state coordinator realized she had some LSTA monies left over in her budget, so we're going to offer some mini grants out to people who come to the web conference. There are lots of criteria to work out and it has to be done quickly, but this is a great incentive for people to come and a great way to reach Latinos for our state's libraries. I will be creating a survey in surveymonkey that they will use to submit their proposals.

So now it's 3:30pm, and as soon as I post this, I'm off to work on getting ready for Outlook Exchange Training for our first library that is going to be migrated at the end of this month. For some reason, I am finding this to be more difficult than when I had to create training materials for Millennium! The main hurdle is that I really have to create a training plan and brief documentation for 2 separate groups. One group will ONLY use the Outlook Web Access 2007 interface. The other group will use Outlook 2003 on their desktop with Outlook Web Access 2007. What's so frustrating is that the interface for OWA for those who DON'T have Outlook 2003 on their desktop looks and acts differently than the OWA interface for those that DO have Outlook 2003 on their desktop. Go figure! If anyone out there has lived through this already, PLEASE share with me how you did your training in the comments.

See you tomorrow as you journey with me in A Day in the Life of a "Librarian".

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Librarian

Well, I'm not a librarian, but I train a lot of librarians. Taking a cue from Bobbi Newman at Librarian By Day, I will attempt to give you a picture of my days next week. She proposed that librarians out there bust open the myths of what librarians REALLY do (NO, they don't sit around and read books all day!) by having librarians blog about what it is they do. So those of you who care to know what it is I do will get a picture by reading about it next week.

Would you like to join us? Check out the wiki put together by Lori Reed and read her directions of how to use it here. Hope to "see" what you all are doing next week :-)

Genious Way to use

I stumbled on an amazing way to use the social bookmarking site the other day. In addition to being a trainer, I am also a new mom and new to this whole cooking for a family thing. Simplemom, a mommy blogger, decided to use to create her meal planning. See how she did it here. See her food planner here.

This is truly genious! It's times like this I'm sad that I don't work directly in a library. What a wonderful program this would be to present at a library. Do a hands on class to teach people how to do this themselves. Sure hope someone will try this out and if you do, PLEASE tell me all about it!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Medicare and Medicaid Services Toolkit

From WebJunction:

"This extensive toolkit will help librarians direct Medicare beneficiaries/seniors to the right place when needing help regarding Medicare issues. Resources are provided in both English and Spanish."

Go and get it today!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Library2.0 Roundtable: Virtual Cafe Archive from ALA

Go over to WebJunction and check out the archive of the Library2.0 Roundtable - Virtual Cafe. Lots of great information on how your library can apply Library2.0 concepts. I think this experiment went very well. Way to go WebJunction!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

100 Awesome YouTube Vids for Librarians

Thanks to The MLxperience for pointing out this great list. Don't think YouTube is relevant to libraries? Think again!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Proof I was at ALA on Saturday

Thanks to Lori Reed for taking a shot of my virtual presence at ALA on Saturday. It went very well and I'm anxious to see the archive at WebJunction.

The Girl Effect

Another great post from Techsoup. They talk about a video that the Girl Effect put on YouTube which went viral. A simple, clear message with some nice music and text. It's powerful and made me log into their site. Imagine doing something like this to market your library. How information found in the library or with the library's help can CHANGE the world. Go ahead, do it and when you do, PLEASE share a link to the video with me. Or, maybe you already have done it - then PLEASE share a link to the video with me :-) Here's the video: