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Social Cataloging: Goodreads & Library Thing

12 Nov

As someone who has around 300 books in their personal collection, I find sites such as Goodreads and Library Thing to be very useful to say the least. I have been using Goodreads for around a year and a half now, and although I had a Library Thing account for just as long I am just now coming around to using it again. Why? Glad you asked!

Even before I started my MLIS degree I was looking for a way to organize my books as well as a way to keep track of what books I have read and what I thought of them. I came across Library Thing first and played with it but for some reason dropped it and found Goodreads instead. I am not sure why I did that at the time, but now that I have been playing with them both here is what I think of both of them.

Goodreads

To get straight to is, I like Goodreads (GR) for their social aspect. I have it linked with my Facebook account so whenever I update my status on GR it updates on Facebook as well. I also have it set up so that when my Facebook friends create an account on GR they are automatically added to my friends list. It makes finding and following friends much easier.

I created this account for the sole purpose of helping me remember what books I have read and to keep a running tally of books that I want to read. It has a great, easy to use interface that is very welcoming to the new user. I won’t waste a ton of time here discussing how to use the website because a quick trip over there and five minutes of playing and you will just about be a pro! Within a few minutes of playing around you can add all the books you remember reading as well as adjust the edition of the books so that it reflects the exact copy you read (admittedly this is a bit gimmicky but also very fun).

When you select your book’s edition and add it to your “Currently Reading” list you are able to update your reading progress so that you can track how much you have read and when. Then when you have marked the book as “Read” you can write a review and rate it (5 star rating system) so that your friends can read it, or even the public if you have your settings programmed that way.

I love GRs for tracking my reading progress, however I don’t find GR very good for cataloging my own library. This is where Library Thing shines.

Library Thing

When I first playing with Library Thing (LT) I didn’t care for it much. I didn’t like the layout and the HTML feel of the site nor did I see a way to do what Goodreads did which was updating reading progress. However, now that I have gone back and looked through what LT offers it meets different needs. Although I still don’t see a way to notate reading progress (which may be there, but I haven’t played enough to find it) but what I do see, is a way to catalog a personal library.

This may sound unexciting, but it was a problem I had been facing for a while. As I stated above I have around 300 books and no real why to keep track of them. I tried to create an Excel spreadsheet which worked OK for a while, but it was very time-consuming (especially because I had to look up the call number I wanted to use which took quite a while) and very annoying to update. But LT is quite easy, again I won’t go into all the details because it is easy enough to play and figure it out.

When you search for your book you can choose the edition and all the details, but the best part is that you can choose how and what details you want shown. You can choose to show the Title, Author, ISBN, LC Call number, reviews, etc. etc. It also links to various book sites like Worldcat.org, amazon.com, google books, and Audible.com. This doesn’t make for good social sharing but it does help a Bibliophile like myself organize what I have at home!

 

So basically, both sites are great! They help users document what they have read and interact with fellow readers.

 

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Some Helpful Readings on Social Media

28 Oct

My course on Social Media is turning out to be way more informative than I originally thought it would be (not to mention I am actually learning about Research Methods in this course more so than other courses I have taken…including a separate course on Research Methods. But that is neither here nor there).

So I thought I would share some of the readings I have found most helpful so far:

Google Speaks: Secrets of the Worlds Greatest Billionaire Entrepreneurs, Sergey Brin and Larry Page

by Janet Lowe

I learned a lot more about Google than I thought I would ever know! 🙂 However this book did inspire me to try out some new things using Google. I am pretty sure I NEED to work at the Googleplex (Preferably the Dublin, Ireland location! *Ahem* Google I can send you my CV!!!).
I tabbed a lot of the pages to come back to later and bookmarked webpages that I can use later on (like www.bananaslug.com). However, because Google is so fluid in their side projects, several of the items mentioned in the book were already removed from Google Labs by the time I read the book (which was published in 2009). Otherwise, it was very interesting to see how our Gracious Overlord was born. 🙂
It is definitely worth a read if you are in the information business. 🙂

This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All

by Marilyn Johnson

I have had this on my “to read” list for a while (if I am completely honest, it is because I love the title and the cover, CYBRARIANS! You really can’t do wrong with a Librarian with a cape and an e-reader flying off to save people…).

 

First let me say that this is a book written about Librarians by someone who is NOT a Librarian. So seeing the profession from someone else’s viewpoint was refreshing! I might, however be biased, as the author does love us! She also has great quotes like, “Are Librarians obsolete in the Age of Google? All I can say is, are you kidding? Librarians are more important than ever. Google and Yahoo! and Bing and WolframAlpha can help you find answers to your questions, sometimes brilliantly; but if you don’t know how to phrase those questions, no search engine can help provide answers.” (p. 20). I think that is brilliantly phrased! Another favorite quote is, “And Librarians aren’t programmed to say, ‘We have no idea’ The words feel like chalk in their mouth” (p. 39).

I have learned a lot about the Alternative Librarians. And what I mean by that is, the Librarians who have created Libraries in places like Second Life, blogging Librarians, those promoting Radical Reference, those using various Social Medias, and the list can go on!

I am still reading it (I am about 70% through it) but I have learned so much about new ways Librarians are creating or using to “step out of the building” (p. 105) and creating a presence online. And let’s face it, that is where a bulk of our patrons will seek us out!

A great must read!!

The Facebook Effect

by David Kirkpatrick

This book highlights the birth and life of Facebook starting from the halls of Harvard through present (well 2010 at least). There really isn’t much to say about this book. But it is worth reading if you would like to see how something as small as University’s paper facebook handouts can spark a multi million (billion?) dollar company. Check it out!

Articles

And lastly, here are links and citations for some of the articles I have read (most of which were assigned class readings) but are nevertheless very interesting and worth a quick read.

Networking through Social Media

18 Oct

In Libraries it is important to network, especially since most of us are looking for our first jobs. As most of you are aware, LinkedIn is a great resource for networking in a professional setting, but there are other sites that offer networking. Another thing to be aware of is your public image online. Here are some of the tricks I have learned and the sites that I have used.

LinkedIn

This site allows users to upload resumes as well as create personal profiles that employers can search through. That is LinkedIn at it’s very core, however the last few years have seen several additions to the site. One such addition is discussions which allows you to interact with professionals in the field on a variety of topics. I have joined several of these discussion boards and have it set up to send me emails once a week collating all of the unread posts. I have come across many interesting articles this way.

LinkedIn also added endorsements allowing you to ‘endorse’ friends, family, or coworkers. The endorsements are pre-selected, I think, and you just click on the bubble next to a contact’s name to endorse them. I know I am not explaining it very well, but go and check it out!.

Lastly, they have a newsfeed option that is very similar to Facebook. You can post status updates, comment,  and ‘like’ friends’ posts. I personally don’t use this feature, but I do have this blog as well as my Twitter feed linked to it so that it posts all of my updates from these two sites to my LinkedIn wall (There is an option to link your Facebook account as well, but I like to keep that one site private, but it is an option).

Klout

I am fairly new to Klout, but I do find that I like it! It is easy to create an account just register using Facebook or Twitter. Once you have an account just update your profile with all the information you are comfortable with then link all of your social media accounts that you wish to link, sit back and wait for your score.

Your Klout score shows you how influential you are on the internet. (I am at 63! Which isn’t too shabby if I say so myself. I have some celebrity friends on here as well who are paid to be social media nerds and their scores are only about 5-10 points away from me…) It tallies how frequently your Facebook posts are liked and shared, how many times your Tweets are retweeted or favorited, it basically tallies all the social media sites you subscribe to and lets you know how popular you are among your friends. It also shows your friends’ scores (assuming of course that they are on Klout as well). I am not sure exactly how this would get you a job, but there is definite networking potential here somewhere… I’ll find it eventually, probably when I have more free time!

BrandYourself

BrandYourself helps you to create your brand image online. This doesn’t sound very important until you think about how employers seek you out and how they try to find information about you. This site gives you the tools and holds your hand while you help bring your positive search results to the first page of Google and subsequently bury the negative or unrelated links.

Currently my score is a D- (this task is proving difficult as I have a very common name, and my fellow Amanda Richards’ are very visible. There is a singer, a Transsexual, and a smattering of other individuals by the same name). I have however brought my BrandYourself page as well as my blog page to the first page of Google results which is very exciting!

When you log on you are greeted with little thought bubbles that guide you. They have made branding yourself practically effortless. They show you secrets like adding your full name to the metadata of all of your social media accounts, as well as advise you to use the same name and photo on all of your accounts for continuity. It is very easy and free to use the basic service. However if you want more options there is a pay-for option as well.

I think that is about it for now. Using these 3 tools together I have noticed my LinkedIn inquiry count jump from 1-2 views a week to 8-10. I haven’t had and job offers yet, but that is probably due to my lack of applying for positions because I have been very busy preparing and taking Comps (Which I just finished 2 days ago!!!) So now I am going to settle back, and work on the copious amounts of reading and writing I have to do for the remainder of the semester.

Let me know if you have tried these services and what you think of them. Do you have other networking or Branding sites that you use? Tell me about them in the comments!

…One Giant Leap!

16 Oct

First things first… New layout!! Woohoo! It was time for an upgrade 😉

Secondly, sorry about the lack of postings, I JUST TOOK FREAKING COMPS! But I am not really able to talk about it until after they are graded (I am pretty sure that is how that works… who knows).

Anyway, I am off to pass out from exhaustion and give my poor hands a break from typing. lol JK!

Yeah I wish, I have more homework to complete 😉

Web 2.0

4 Oct

I have been in Grad school for over a year now, and I keep hearing the term “Web 2.0” in regards to internet technologies. So I wanted to dig a bit deeper and figure out where the term came from and maybe even catch a glimpse of where we are going.

The concept and term Web 2.0 was coined in early 2000, supposedly between Tim O’Reilly and MediaLive International. But what is Web 2.0? In short it is a new way to visualize and use the internet. Prior to the dot com bubble burst in 2001, the internet wasn’t nearly as interactive as it is today. Things were still being figured out and people weren’t quite sure what the “World Wide Web” was capable of offering. Web 1.0 consisted of information that was only available through ‘standard’ means such as email, visiting a website, and similar activities that didn’t allow the user to alter or personalize much of anything (remember how exciting it was when AIM first allowed you to personalize your font and personal icon in the IM software?).

There were so many options becoming available during this time, that people were beginning to wonder if that was all the internet was good for, cheap tricks and mild entertainment. However, there was a shift in thinking that spawned a new era of services. The idea of a static web was replaced with the notion that web users wanted collaboration, and Web 2.0 was born. Sites such as Flickr, Napster, and Wikipedia began to surface where users were able to contribute information, and the internet we know today was shaped.

After using a collaborative internet for so long it is difficult to imagine it being any other way. We now have Facebook and Twitter; ThePirateBay and Wikipedia; and we upload an unbelievable amount of data to the internet daily (see infographic below). Which brings me to my next thought, is there a Web 3.0?

If Web 1.0 was considered a “platform” (O’Reilly, 2005), and Web 2.0 is the interactive web, then logically Web 3.0 should be … Who knows! HowStuffWorks thinks that it will be a glorified personal assistant, stating that you could type in complex statements into the browser and it will give you immediate results (Their example is you type in that you want to see a funny movie and then go out for Mexican food. The browser then sorts through all the possibilities and gives you a result that is best suited for you). Others, such as W3C, have stated that it will be a ‘semantic web’ allowing for further collaboration as well as greater amounts of data being process directly and indirectly by computers.

There isn’t really a good answer as to what Web 3.0 will bring. But it is certain that it will be exciting. So brace yourselves! The internet is about to get more interesting.

The Travelin’ Librarian

18 Sep

I have written very briefly about this particular blog about a year ago. I also follow the author on Google+! I am talking about The Travelin’ Librarian, Michael Sauers. His current title is Technology Innovation Librarian for the Nebraska Library Commission in Lincoln Nebraska. How awesome is that title? I’m a bit jealous.

Michael’s blog is one of the first blogs I subscribed to once I started Library School and have loved reading his updates. This blog is really a little bit about everything but it includes a lot about how to incorporate technology into the library. He does a lot of presentations as well which he graciously posts! Thank you! And it doesn’t hurt that he is a big Doctor Who Geek like me! 😉

I wanted to focus on this blog because I feel like his tech based posts and presentations have been very useful for me. For instance, he recently posted about Internet Librarian 2012 which is a conference that covers topics, you guessed, covering the Internet and it’s uses in the Library!

He also posts information videos that he has either recorded himself or has found around the web on topics like Public Speaking, Networks/Security/Hardware/Troubleshooting, and Social Searching for Librarians. I think he posts great resources for students as well as Librarians.

Of course I don’t have the stats on his blog, so I can’t really say how popular his site is within the blogoshere, but I know for me it works. I think the content that he posts, and the manner in which he writes helps to make the information accessible by pretty much anyone. He doesn’t talk in jargon or talk over your head, he writes like you are having a conversation with him and I can appreciate that.

My Feelings on Social Media

9 Sep

So as a “twenty something” social media  is rather central to my life, not only personally but academically and professionally as well.

Social Media (SM) is many things. It is a way to network for jobs, stay in contact with friends and family, find new friends who have interests in niche topics, a way to express yourself and your beliefs, and I could go on. I think that SM is different for everyone and that everyone molds it to their needs.

Facebook

For instance, I use my Facebook account to stay in touch with friends and family. I post all of my personal pictures and stories there so that the people I love and follow what is going on in my life as it happens (It really saves a lot on phone bills). I am on Facebook daily, typically I just open it in the background and use the chat feature to get quick messages back and forth from my colleagues as well as family.

I also use the smart phone app so that I can upload the pictures I take from my phone easily.

Twitter

I use Twitter more to follow people and companies and get up to date info on new gadgets, ideas, software, etc. Following companies like G4 (@g4tv), Tekzilla (@tekzilla), and This Week in Tech (@TWiT) have helped me stay on top of the tech world and learn about new hardware and software, gadgets, and really everything, that is coming out. I find this to be very helpful! Especially when you don’t have time to surf the web daily and look this stuff up by yourself. I typically try to check my Twitter account 2-3 times a week, which is not as frequent as I would like, but I am very busy. However the accounts that I think are very important like Tekzilla and TWiT I have sent to my phone as a text.

LinkedIn

I use LinkedIn to network professionally. It also has a news feed that you can post updates to (very similar to the Facebook feed) where I post job related posts and things that I think my colleagues might find helpful or interesting. I check this account maybe once a week if that. I update my CV frequently and if I am trying to apply for a job I look up the people on my contact list so that I know who I am dealing with. I figure they are doing the same thing to me so it is ok. 🙂

Google+

Google+ is good for me for both professional and social interactions. I find that there are a lot of tech and Library related people on this site and so I follow them and have learned a lot from their postings. I check G+ maybe twice a week. It is linked with my email account so all notifications go there anyway. And because not very many people use this service the updates for the week only take half an hour to read through. So it is quite manageable, which I like.

Pinterest

I also try to play with pinterest for keeping projects I want to try in one place. I very rarely use this service. I think it is cool but I haven’t really found a use for it other than organizing the hours upon hours of crafting I plan to do once I graduate.

Goodreads

The one site I might use above all the others is Goodreads. I read a lot and this platform allows me to create a virtual library where I can list all the books I read and review and rate them. I am also able to view other people’s ratings and such. I like that they create a place for people to join book clubs as well as host book giveaways daily. So I am on this site at least once a day! But again I think this might be more personal site than a professional or academic site.

Flickr

My husband and I love to travel and do some pretty awesome things. I am also pretty sure that my husband was born with a camera in his hand, so we have several external hard drives full of pictures we have taken over the years. So when Flickr opened to the public instead of just photographers we were thrilled! It is $20 a year for unlimited storage (the only SM we pay for) but it is worth it. You can upload your pictures to be shared publicly or privately and you are also given copyright options. In fact a few years back we were contacted by a hotel to use one of our images for their website. So that is awesome. I generally only upload photos here to share with my friends and family as they don’t distort images like Facebook does.

Klout

I just started using Klout maybe a month ago. It is a website designed to show you how influential you on in various social media platforms. You are given a score, I believe from 1-100, and it even breaks down where you get the most and least attention and gives you tips on how to improve your score and make yourself more visible to the people you want to market to. I login here maybe once a week just to see how my score is changing. I think this is a good service for small business owners so that they can see how their marketing is working.

Brandyourself

This site is very similar to Klout in that it helps you boost your info to the top of search results. It shows you where to put information on your various sites so that it is found by the Google Bots. I am currently ranking well on page 2 of Google 🙂 It is free to use but you are limited to the number of things that you can do unless you pay for a premium account. For me personally it is not worth it, but I think a small business or library might benefit from it! I very rarely logon, only when I get an email telling me that something on my account has changed.

I am sure I have more SM accounts, but I am at a loss as to what they are currently. I may update as I remember!

Basically, each SM platform has a market that it works best for.

And because I use so many sites I try to also use an aggregator.

Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck is good for Twitter and Facebook as it allows you to create ‘columns’ for specific things. You can have one column that updates you on one specific hashtag (#) or a column that updates you on just direct messages you have received from others, and so on.

Alternion

However, I like to use Alternion. It is in its second round of beta testing so they are still working on the bugs, but it is pretty awesome. Last I checked they allowed you to link 202 SM sites to your account. The home page has two viewing options, one that resembles the Facebook layout, and the second resembles the pinterest layout. The news feed pulls all the info from all your other accounts and places them on one screen, so that you don’t have to sign in to 18 different pages to check your social media accounts. And when you want to post something all you have to do is post it on Alternion and then hit a button that says ‘post to all accounts’ and then send. Then that update is on all accounts! Easy!

Again, they are still working out bugs, like posting to Google+ and notifying you of messages and such from outside networks. But it is work checking out in my opinion!

And, as a fun little extra, here is a tag cloud for my blog! 🙂

Here is a pretty awesome tag cloud I made on Tagxedo.com. This might be the best interface for creating tag clouds or word clouds I have used yet.

Week 2, Social Media for Information Professionals

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