Tag Archives: Learning journal

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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The Magical World of Google

1 Nov

As many of you know, I am a huge Google fangirl (Yes I realize that I have a WordPress blog instead of blogger. That is because I prefer WordPress and I don’t like to choose something based on the name alone…).

With that being said, Google has some pretty awesome things going on. A fellow classmate of mine presented on Google Doc this past week and I thought I would share what I know, along with what I learned! I am narrowing this down to things that will help you do group work and whatnot. So I hope this is beneficial for you!

Google Drive (Formerly Google Docs)

Drive has some great features for students (really anyone who needs to do group work). For instance, if you don’t have Microsoft Word you can use Drive and create a ‘document’. It can be saved in .doc or .rtf  formats (there may be others but I am not positive). You can also create presentations, spreadsheets, forms, and use a “Paint” like program. The best part of all of these things is that they are easily shared and edited by groups. Here is how:

  1. Create Document
  2. Input data
  3. Hit “File” then “Share”
  4. Then choose how you would like to share (Email, social media, etc)
  5. Change how the other users can use this document (e.g. Can they edit or just view?)
  6. Hit “Done”
  7. Now all the other users can view and edit the info!

 

Google Plus

HANGOUTS! Yes Hangouts! This feature is amazing! Oh yeah, the other stuff is good too but I am pretty sure you have tried playing with the typical G+ stuff like creating circles and posting info. I personally prefer G+ over Facebook but sadly all my friends are “used to using” Facebook and don’t want to make the switch. Which is fine because there are tons of “professionals” using it (Like Librarians and my super geeks!) so it isn’t too bad. I digress.

The hangouts are awesome for several reasons.

  1. It’s free
  2. You can live stream the info through YouTube (Google owns YouTube in case you were curious)
  3. You can use it on your phone (so for you Apple people, it is like Face Time if you have a forward facing camera on your phone)
  4. You can chat face to face with up to 9 group members

Here is an example of how Librarians are using Hangouts. American Libraries has created a Live event with 9 episodes planned over the next year on various topics ranging from “Landing your ideal library job” to “Digging into new databases”. Check it out! I looks quite promising!

But G+ isn’t just about Hangouts, it has other great features. There are too many to cover in one post so I may just slowly add them to the blog throughout the year. Maybe I will even make tutorials for you…who knows. 😉

Google Calendar

I love the Calendar feature. Like all things Google they allow you to share your calendar with selected people. For instance I share a calendar with my husband so that we can both see what the other has planned for the day. This way his dental appointments or my volunteer hours don’t sneak up on each other.

It also allows you to set reminders via email or text for any event. I like to have a reminder sent via text 1 hour before any meeting I have so that even if I forgot about the meeting I can still make it no matter where I am in town. Or I set a 1 week notice for presentations I have to give and really the list can go on.

 

Do you have any Google features that you love? What are they and how do you use them? I would love to hear about it! Comment away!

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.

Social Media Week

23 Sep

Hey everyone, guess what starts tomorrow?! If you guessed Social Media Week then you must have read the title of this post! OK it is still a bit early, give me some slack. 😉

“Social Media Week is one of the world’s most unique global platforms, offering a series of interconnected activities and conversations on emerging trends in social and mobile media” (FAQ). Social Media Week is a biannual conference that teaches users how to do things like simple programming, social engagement, marketing your brand or business, and emotional intelligence and how it affects Social Media usage. The class lists are extensive, and most are very reasonably priced. I saw a lot in the $35-$150 range.

So if you are in any of these areas over the next week it might be a good idea to stop in and register for a class! Maybe next year they can offer more in an online setting. You know, for those of us who can’t travel to awesome places like London or Vancouver. 🙂 Maybe I will try to be in Toronto next time!

Click HERE for the link to Social Media Week!

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