Friday, May 22, 2009

Technorati Panda

One reason I used panda as my search term for trying out Technorati is because the phrase "Technorati Panda" just sounds good, like the words naturally go together. Actually, it sounds like some high-tech panda toy. But really, my search did yield an interesting result. First, I just did the search in the main "Search the Blogosphere" box, and the results were definately not promising. For example, the second result was an interview with someone called "the Weakonomist" and the only reason it showed up in the results was that the person conducting the interview is from "Green Panda Treehouse" which has nothing to do with the animals. And the third result was in another language, so I couldn't tell if the blog entry had anything to do with pandas at all.

Needless to say, I was very happy with the boxes at the top of the results screen which allow you to filter your results. I limited the results to "tags only" and "In English" and did get one result concerning pandas, although a lot were about a sofware company named Panda. I got a few more about the animal when limiting to results with a lot of authority. Interestingly, of the four results about pandas in videos, three were about the animal.

Being able to filter the results made a big difference, like the difference in the library catalog between doing a keyword and subject search. Of course the analogy is not exact, since there is no controlled language for tags on blogs, like there is for subject heading in the catalog, but I find it interesting that even without controlled language, the tags do a lot of good in pointing you toward what a blog is "about."

I couldn't find an explanation for how Technorati decides which blogs have authority and which don't, but assuming there is some good logic behind their decisions, this is a great feature! One of the big problems with helping patrons (or even myself) find info on the web is trying to decide how unbiased and authoritative websites are that you have never seen before. And it seems like this problem would be even greater for blogs, since they are used more for presenting ideas and random thoughts than are most web pages, which tend to be used for presenting information about a topic. So it is good to know that Technorati is out there rating blogs by how authoritative they are, because that makes me more likely to introduce and use blogs as a source of information to patrons and myself.

Delicious cookie recipe

I must be really hungry or something because I somehow ended up in the recipe bookmarks section of Delicious. Ok, actually it was because when I went to the homepage and looked at popular topics, I chose the food one. Then I ended up at an article about sugar in foods, and then one about breakfast foods, and eventually I ended up reading an article with a recipe for yummy Chocolate chip and toffee shortbread. I think I will try making this recipe! The tags certainly make it easy to connect to lots of different bookmarks about the same of similar topics.

What I liked about being able to see all the people who bookmarked an article and what tags they used was that you could get an idea about who is interested in the same topics as you (in my case, food) and who is good about using lots of helpful tags. For example, when I looked at the list of 34 people who bookmarked the shortbread recipe, I noticed that "FarmgirlFare" has 7 tags for this recipe. This makes me think that she really cares about this bookmark, to take the time to create 7 tags for it. This, in turn, makes me think that maybe she will have some interesting things to say about other food topics, so I link to all her bookmarks and explore them. I can do the same with "moireach" who has added a comment, in addition to just tags, about the shortbread recipe, and therefore may have more helpful comments on other topics.

Monday, May 11, 2009

More fun with my book collections

My Rollyro Search Roll:

Having just added one of my book collections to LibraryThing in the previous "thing," my book collections were still on my brain when it came to creating a search roll, so I decided to create one that I could use for adding more books to my collections. I added sites that I regularly check for used and out of print titles, and even found a few I have never used before. Now I can use my search roll when I am looking for a specific title or just to explore books for sale by a specific author. This will certainly be easier than having to go to each site separately and do the search! Of course the danger is that it is now too easy, and I will spend all my salary on books - this 27 Things can be dangerous!

Oh yeah, and sure this Rollyo thing could be useful for work too. For example, you could create search rolls for commonly asked questions. Say you are always getting asked for information about animals by kids doing reports (and they always ask for really specific and obscure species - what is up with these teacher assigning these poor kids these animals that are not in any kids' book?) You could create a roll with sites you trust that have information of the type kids can use and that list the animals by species and scientific name. Then it will be really easy to find info when kids come in. Also, you could share your Rollyo search roll with your co-workers so that all your fellow staff members can benefit from your work and have an equally easy time when they are the ones to get the animal question from kids.

Adding my collection to Library Thing

My LibraryThing catalog:

As someone who collects books (OK, how many of us who work at libraries aren't guilty of this, to some extent), I found Library Thing very fun and helpful. I used it to catalog my collection of books by Patricia Beatty, although in the future I plan to use it to catalog my Lois Lenski and Marguerite de Angeli collections. (Hmm, I am beginning to think I have way too many collections!) I used ISBNs for the most part to add my books, and Library Thing did well, even finding the ISBNs for books from the 1970's. The only problem I ran into with this method was with a Scholastic edition of the title Bonanza Girl, (maybe Library Thing doesn't include Scholastic editions) which I ended up having to add by title. I also had to add by title some of the books in my collection that didn't have ISBNs listed in the book, but I was able to find the title with the correct publication year for each one. Being able to add tags for each title was very helpful; for each of the ones so far I gave it the tag "Beatty Collection," so that when I enter my other collections in the future I will be able to quickly identify the titles by which collection they belong to.

While taking the tour of Library Thing, I remember reading that you can access your catalog by cell phone while in a book store, an idea which I was very excited by. As any book collector knows, you need a list of what you already have in your collection while combing through the shelves of used book stores. I currently have lists of my collections in a physical "Book Diary" but I look forward to not having to lug this around once I get all my collections on Library Thing. Of course, I have to figure my cell phone out first!

Friday, May 8, 2009

More Panda Flickr magic

I think I found out a sort of answer to my earlier question about how to print those mosaics that you can create using Flickr photos (on Montagr). I created the same sort of mosaic (only smaller) using fd's Flickr Toys and then saved it to my computer. Voila - I have a way to print out a panda mosaic! Now I just need to get it framed and put it with the rest of my collection...

Online Gift Generator!

The online image generator "thing" is so timely! Here it is two days away from Mother's Day and I have created the perfect gift for Mom! Yes, I do have the kind of mother who loves anything I make (I'm still her smart little girl at age 32!) and thinks I am a technological genius (which only tells you how little she knows about technology!). So learning about these Library 2.0 things is not only good for work, they can also be used in your personal life. And remember, Father's Day is only about a month away! Actually, I'm sure the other image generators where you use your own photos would be even better for making gifts, but I don't have any personal photos on my work computer to use for that right now.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Little RSS crazy

I get that RSS feeds make it very convenient to follow many websites, blogs, etc. It is much easier than trying to go to each individual site and pick out the new information. My problem is that I didn't do this before. I am now subscribed to 13 feeds, only two of which are from sites that I normally check on a regular basis. (OK, so I did go a little crazy on the NPR feeds, but I could actually have subscribed to many more.) If I end up checking my RSS feeds on a regular basis, I will be a much more informed person than I was before and will know more about favorite topics (like the new baby panda at the Atlanta Zoo), and I will be spending less time getting informed than if I had to go to each individual site, but it will take me more time than living in blissful ignorance, as I was doing up until this morning. To sum up, I guess I am a busier, but more informed and technologically savvy person than I was yesterday. Now, I'm off to do all that work that has been piling up while I've been exploring the wonders of RSS feeds...