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...

Oh - That's what an RSS feed is!

I am soooo glad that we are learning about RSS feeds because this is one of those tech terms that everyone throws around and I hated to admit that I didn't understand. In fact, I have had several people try to explain it to me, but there's nothing like setting up your own Bloglines account and subscribing to a few feeds to make it much clearer. I like that Bloglines offered some suggestions of feeds to subscribe to when you set up your account - I subscribed to a few news sources, The New York Times books, and two library-related feeds.

The fact that library-related feeds were offered in the initial set-up process made me wonder. Did Bloglines somehow know that I am a library person, or does everyone who sets up a Bloglines account get these choices? I mean, the email that I used to set up my Bloglines account makes it clear that I work for a library, but is Bloglines sophisticated enough to catch that fact from my email and offer me choices of feeds based on this? If not, I like the idea that everyone gets offered some library feeds at the outset. It makes me feel like us library folk are having an effect in technology land. OK, I probably shouldn't include myself in that category since I didn't even understand what an RSS feed was before this morning, but I salute those library folk out in the forefront of technology!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


A family friend who is a librarian just sent me the link to this CNET article about a service that aims to be a Netflix for books:

It's an interesting idea, but I do wonder how well such a service will catch on. It doesn't seem as convenient as Netflix, especially since you have to worry about how much a book weighs. I guess it would be a good source for specialized books or titles from small publishers that a library might not carry. I just wonder how many of these kinds of books BookSwim owns. It sounds like the service may be more for people who just can't wait to get a bestseller from a library and are willing to pay a little money to get their hands on the book now. I wonder if BookSwim will sell used copies of bestsellers once they aren't so popular any more and aren't needed for their subscribers. Hmmm, a new source for used books, perhaps...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I find the hompage for Gizmodo a bit intimidating. I am not a gadget person and feel like these people are speaking another language. I don't understand how the postings are organized, so I decided to try a search. I searched for "digital camera" because my branch is going to be purchasing a new one, but all of the postings on the first few results pages are old. Digital cameras change so quickly that anything even from 2008 isn't going to be helpful. Oddly, I can't even figure out what order the postings are in - alphabetical and date order don't see to be it.

However, I did find another section of Gizmodo which I liked -- Dealzmodo and the Gadget deals of the Day. Who knew that you can get a free gift if you bring three plastic bottles into a Disney Store today? OK, the gift probably isn't that great, and I'm sure it's just a chance for them to plug their new Earth movie, but its still free. I have an uncle who is obsessed with getting great deals on everything; he's the kind who will buy tons of stuff he doesn't need just because he can get it a great deal on it. I know he follows certain websites that tell you about deals, but I am not sure if he knows about this one. I will pass the link on to him and get some "great niece" brownie points. I just wish we had an O'Charley's restaurant here in Sac so I could get the free Strawberry Lemonade they are offering today!


Wow! There are sure a lot of ways to waste time/have fun on the web. After learning about all of them in 27 Things, I may never get any work done again (If you are my supervisor and reading this, please be aware that this is all a joke - ha ha!)

I am currently using Flickr Montager to create a mosaic of panda pictures (I am obsessed with pandas and have collected panda stuff since third grade). The only problem is that the search function seems to be based on the tags assigned to the photos by the Flickr member who posted them, so you don't always get just what you wanted. Some of the photos included I can understand, such as those of cars (there is a car in England called a Panda) and street crossing (they are always talking about panda crossings in the British mysteries I read), but why is there a photo of some guy at the beach? Anybody know if there is a way to print out these mosaics -- perhaps in larger format? I would love to print out the panda one for my collection!

Rat Terriers

I like the tags in Flickr because they allow me to search for photos of things I am interested in. So I did a search for "Rat Terriers" which is the kind of dog I have, and have discovered that there are lots of other rat lovers out there. I also found out that it is not a trait of the breed to dislike wearing clothing and costumes. As proof, see the two images from Flickr in the links below:

Now I know the truth - it is Benton (my dog), not rat terriers in general, who are to blame! Yes, I am one of those crazy people who would love to dress my dog up for Halloween, Christmas, etc. He actually refuses to even wear a shirt when he is cold or a raincoat when we go on walks in the rain (and he really hates getting wet, so go figure). I once tried putting antlers on his head for just long enough to take a picture for a Christmas card, but he would not cooperate. Not sitting still for a photo, though, is apparently not something Benton is alone in, as you can tell from the title of this guy's flickr image:

I also discovered a "group pool" for rat terriers, which is a way for different members to have all the rat terrier photos in one place. Check out this image - it's hilarious:

Password Craziness

Just signed up for Flickr, which means I had to sign up for a Yahoo account. By the end of 27 Things, I am going to need a notebook to keep all of my various passwords in! I'm not all that concerned about security, i.e. someone finding my passwords and being able to log on as me on Google, Blogspot, Yahoo, Flickr, etc., so I think I could just have a notebook or something to keep at my desk with all my log-in info for each service. Of course, if someone would like to log in as me, feel free -- just be sure to do the 27 Things excercises for me for the week (just kidding)!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


By the way, I was thinking of titling my blog "Marisa's First Blog, and boy is she frightened - Ahhhhhh!" but I thought that perhaps this showed a little too much pessimism.

7 1/2 Habits

I consider myself to be quite and organized person, and I have taken online classes, so such steps as "accepting responsibility for your own learning" and "create your own learning toolbox" are a piece of cake for me.

My big challenge is to "view problems as challenges." In fact, I don't think this is just an issue for me in learning, but in life in general. I see myself as more of a "view the problem and panic" kind of person. This is especially true when it comes to technology. If I can't figure out how to do something right away, I tend to get frustrated and scared. So I am very happy that we are doing these 27 Things in a very organized and supportive environment. At least for this project, I have coworkers to help me and remind me not to panic!