This semester has flown by! I can`t believe it`s December already. As I write this I`m in England visiting my sister and her family, happily covered in baby goo from my 10 month- old niece. 🙂

Coming into this course I didn`t know much about social media outside of Facebook and Twitter, so I feel I learned a lot in this class. It also gave me the opportunity to do some things that I wouldn`t normally try, like blogging or online gaming. I enjoyed learning about the impact and popularity (or lack thereof) of various social media, and the many ways that people use them, for better or for worse.

It`s been great taking this class with all of you. I hope you have a great holiday! Good luck on co-ops, next semesters and with whatever comes next (for those of us who are graduating)!

 

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LOTRO, or Keely attempts to live her Lord of the Rings fantasy life

When I saw that Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO)was one of the choices for gameplay this week, I have to admit I was kind of excited. I recently watched the “long” versions of the movies, i.e. the ones that contain the deleted scenes, for the first time, and was quickly drawn back into the experience I had with the films when they were released in theatres. I always kind of thought that if I were a character in the books/films, I would be a hobbit. (This point prompts me to make a confession: while I’ve read The Hobbit, and really look forward to the movie, I haven’t read The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I tried, but I couldn’t get past “A Long-expected Party.”)

So when choosing a character for LOTRO, I chose a female hobbit. The first thing that caught my attention about this game is that it takes a few hours to download. Once it was ready, I rather impatiently jumped in. The next thing that struck me was that the graphics were very good. However, I wasn’t very impressed with the music; I found it a little too distracting as I was trying to understand the game. I also found it challenging to navigate my character, but I imagine that’s just a matter of practice. I think that with more playtime, I’d find the game addictive!

A game like LOTRO, that is based on a series of books, could perhaps serve as a gateway to reading, which is one reason that librarians might choose to offer such games. Also, relative to other games, it isn’t particularly violent in content. There is fighting, but it isn’t as bloody  as it could be. All of these things make it a good choice for libraries.

 

 

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Mobile web: blog first, podcast later?

Okay, I’m a little intimidated by doing a podcast, so I’m going to sort my thoughts out on “paper” first, although I’m not exactly sure why I’m hesitant. I’ve used Camtasia to make information literacy videos, so I’m not a total newcomer to these kinds of recording technologies. However, I think I always feel a bit strange about hearing my own voice, but I digress…

I think the mobile web is an incredibly interesting topic. I only recently became more involved with it. I’ve had cell phones for a long time, but used them in the most basic ways, and carried them mostly in case of emergency. I now have a Samsung touch screen phone with Android technology, and I love it! Recently I’ve used Western Libraries’ send via text message service to send myself call numbers, which I find very useful since I would probably use my phone to store the information anyway. 🙂

Podcasts and vodcasts are a great way for libraries to share information. When doing research for our last assignment I discovered that the London Public Library has its own YouTube channel where it posts videos. I thought this Halloween video for kids from a couple of years ago was great. While videos and vodcasts are not the same thing, it is easy to see how vodcasts and podcasts can be used in the same way and are great tools for libraries.

QR codes seem to be everywhere now! I was first introduced to them earlier this year during my co-op when we used them on posters to connect students to an online survey that we were conducting. As long as people are using mobile devices and have the technology, QR codes seem to be a useful way to connect with users.

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Cloud computing

I’m still not sure what to make of the cloud. It’s a concept I’d heard of before, and I did the readings suggested in Dr. Neal’s blog, but right now I’m of two minds on the subject. I really like the idea of “the cloud.”It’s very convenient for documents and other things to be located online with external providers and accessible from any device. That the provider takes care of software updates and related issues is also appealing.

Despite its benefits, there are some concerns surrounding cloud computing. There is something disconcerting about handing such important functions over to an external provider and letting them manage it. The security and privacy of information are valid reasons to question the cloud. Further, what if there are technical problems on the providers end? Nonetheless, it looks like technology is generally moving in this direction for    all types of organizations, including libraries.

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Tagging, social media and libraries

To explore tagging I decided to sign up with Delicious. There are advantages to having bookmarks saved to a site that can be accessed from any computer, as Dr. Neal suggested in her post. I really liked that Delicious allows users to place a “save on delicious” tab on their toolbar to easily bookmark a site. It also allows users to create “stacks,” or subjects or folders in which to save bookmarks. I created one called “Libraries.” At this point it contains anything relevant to library and information science, including the ALA site and bannedbooksweek.com. I noticed that other Delicious users have included links to library websites in their libraries stacks. One option that I’m not sure I’m comfortable with is publishing my stacks. I know that it’s a social media site, and that no one need know who I am, but I still feel uncomfortable with the idea of publishing my bookmarks.

In regards to the questions we were asked to address, I feel that Nicholas et al.’s assessment was too negative. Perhaps within academic libraries there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of liaising with faculty, but surely there must be opportunities to use social media to support research.  The article seemed to indicate that some librarians aren’t that interested in social media or face obstacles in using it within academic settings, but I think it has potential if any obstacles can be overcome.

Libraries could definitely benefit from using social media to market themselves, but it can and is used by libraries for other purposes. Libraries often create information literacy videos and post them to Youtube, or use Twitter or Facebook to link to important information.
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Microblogging with Tumblr

As I mentioned in my blog last week, I already use Twitter. I don’t tend to tweet personal updates such as those one might share on Facebook, but I do appreciate Twitter for information sharing in general. I follow some libraries, library associations and related issues, in addition to a lot of other things. Since I use Twitter, for this week’s post I chose to investigate a new (to me) microblogging site: Tumblr.

Tumblr seems to me to be a cross between WordPress, Twitter and Facebook. You can follow people, although I didn’t find it easy to locate library related posts. The site offers a list of subject areas that one can view, but these didn’t appear to be searchable. It seems that most Tumblr subscribers use it to blog and post photos. I’m not convinced that Tumblr would be the best site for libraries to use to microblog. Twitter is designed to share soundbites and is a great choice for sharing that type of information. I thought that David Allen Kelly’s suggestions about how libraries can use Twitter were very helpful. Tumblr would be useful for librarians who want to blog, but I don’t know if it is better than any other blogging site.

 

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Social Networking – Catster

This week we were instructed to sign up for a social networking site that we’ve never used before. I use Twitter and Facebook, and after reading about Dognamic in Dr. Neale’s blog, just for fun I decided to investigate social networking sites dedicated to cats. I love dogs too, and animals in general, but I currently have cats so I went with that. 🙂  I googled “social networking sites cats” and discovered Catster.

Catster offers a variety of features. Members can create accounts for their animals, similar to the Catbook or Dogbook feature on Facebook. Speaking of social media, Catster allows you to like it on Facebook, follow it on Twitter or +1 it on Google+.

In addition to links to other social media sites, Catster offers information pertaining to all areas of feline interest such as information on breeds, health and care and nutrition.

Being a social networking site, it also offers the opportunity for members to interact with each other and to connect with people outside the website. For example, it allows users to locate adoptable cats and veterinarians in their areas, although the information they contain seems limited to the U.S. Catster’s “Community” offers a game page, local listings, forums, members email, various groups and a gift store. The gift store is similar to the former “gifts” feature on Facebook wherein small virtual items such as birthday hats, cupcakes and balloons are posted on one’s profile. The forums appear to get regular use as does “Kitty Diary Central” where people post blogs, sometimes in the “voice” of their cats.

I don’t think I’ll be using Catster much, but I think for those who are particularly passionate about their feline friends and are looking for a one-stop site for cat information sharing, it’s appealing and useful.

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