Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Technorati was new to me. A giant directory of the world's blogs. I found searching, especially the advanced search, worked well, much better than the subject headings in the "directory", which I found too general to be much use.
I've now joined Technorati and have "claimed" my little blog of education resources, which I maintain in an occasional way on the Edna social networking site for Australian teachers,
It's easy to find intriguing things on Technorati which you could follow up and share with other people, but blogs are also a gigantic timewaster, so I'd need to use Technorati in a very focussed way to justify it.
My little education blog is at:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Google maps and docs

Google Maps is such a useful public service that we have started to take for granted the ability to find locations this way. I've come across it on real estate websites, and many others where maps and directions are needed. I was surprised that it didn't include my local street in St. Lucia, and in fact had the wrong name where the street should be. How common are such errors in Google Maps?

Not as beautiful as Google Earth, which gives the illusion of carrying us up into the sky to zoom down again to our own particular locations.

Google Documents is also a very handy public service, allowing people to save and email documents without storing them onto a computer. Very handy for travellers, I imagine.

The privacy issues referred to in the Wikipedia article (linked from the 23 Things instructions page) are real; even on our "private" space on Google, we should not send anything confidential or money-related or potentially embarrassing...

Librivox, Delicious

Librivox looks like a great way of sharing audiobooks, though limited to the public domain. I found classics there, e.g. Shakespeare, Yeats, Melville. Should be a valuable resource for people with a visual impairment, and others who like the audio format. ( And because these books are read aloud by human beings, they should be so much nicer than the robot-voices generated by Adobe pdfs.)

I've put a Librivox book into Itunes to listen to. (It's Yeats, and I hope it won't be in an American accent the whole way through! I was hoping for an Irish voice.)

I've been aware of Delicious for some time, but have now signed up for an account and have copied some of my bookmarks into Delicious. At an Education librarians' workshop last Friday, a teacher who runs workshops for Education Queensland employees shared her Delicious bookmarks with us; a great collection of over 700 Web2.0 sites which may be useful for educational situations. I can see that Delicious offers a way of creating a resource list and very easily sharing it with others with similar interest.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Google Books

I've used Google Books for years now, -- very handy for many previously-awkward information desk questions, such as finding quotations within books. I also show academic staff how to use it to find citations of their publications within books. I find that students use it, finding it helpful to be able to access even sections of a book online, from home.

I've now started a little Google bookshelf of books on Moreton Bay. Nice though none of them can be read online.
I see that in "Advanced search" in Google Books, it's possible to choose to find only books where the fulltext is available, or books which are in the public domain. This is a nice feature I hadn't been aware of before.

Google Books, like Library Thing, could be used to make a little "shelf" of books on a topic, to share with a club or group of interested people.

Wikis in the library/higher education context

It's been interesting to explore some of the uses libraries are making of the wiki format. Wikis seem especially suitable in the context of a community of some kind, and it's interesting to see public libraries using them in some of the examples provided.

I have been involved for about a year now in a wiki created by a group of education liaison librarians at QULOC universities. We found it necessary to meet and do some groundwork first, to establish a framework to give a structure to the wiki, which people can now contribute to.

Our wiki is aimed at a particular public, and for a particular purpose: it's aimed at student teachers, and is intended to be a place where they can find and share web resources which are using for prac teaching in schools. It's called Prac Resources Wiki. It's growing nicely.

Wikis seem well suited to staff intranets; staff directories (e.g. UQ Contacts) which allow self-updating; sharing recommended best practice; identifying and sharing resources.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Twittering -- bats in a fig tree

Have set up a Twitter account today and have tried searching to see what may be of interest. At first impression, it looks like a device to seize what shreds of personal time may be left in my life. I did not choose to tell Twitter my email address or (imagine!) mobile phone number. Imagine being bombarded via phone or email with mindless announcements of what your "friends" are doing now.

However, I have an interstate colleague who is a librarian webwriter/writer/magazine editor, who told me she is quite excited about Twitter. I have just found her on Twitter, and have clicked to "follow" her. I see that she is using Twitter in a very business-like way, to make announcements about developments in the field of youth studies, which she works in. So it may also have useful possibilities. I guess it is quicker than blogging, and more interactive, more like chat in fact.

I have called my Twitter account "Bats in a fig tree".

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Today I've created a new Bloglines account, as per Task 8.

I have used RSS feeds for a couple of years, using Google Reader, and am familiar with using RSS feeds for journal and citation alerts and for podcasts, for example, the French language programs which are podcast by SBS from their website.

I have taught many of my academics how to set up alerts via RSS feed; many of them begin using RSS feeds, but revert to receiving their alerts by email, because the feedreader is just another site to check. I tell them it's just a matter of personal preference.

Well, on my new Bloglines account, I've subscribed to the Guardian's "Poetry workshop" RSS feed, Edna's Higher Education news headlines, and a colleague's 23 Things blog. That's one new thing -- I haven't used RSS readers to subscribe to blogs in the past. I've signed up for the blogs of 2 friends, the jeweller Rebecca Ward and the writer Ynes Sanz. Rebecca's blog led me to a new blog, a collaboration between herself and a ceramicist, based on the wallum country.

It's a bit like setting up a little webpage of favourite things, very quickly, but the Bloglines page is quite ugly (though I'm sure there's a way to customise the appearance if one had time).

Re the "public URL", I can see the template for creating it, but as my Bloglines username is an email address, I don't quite see how to use it as part of a URL. The template is:

Friday, June 19, 2009


I've heard about LibraryThing for years, so nice to try it out. After adding my first five books, instantly I have a connection with a Queensland poet who has the same lovely book by poet Lydija Cvetkovic in her LibraryThing book collection.
I think this is very much a networking site -- a site for talking about books and making collections to share, not so much a site for finding out, though you can do that too.

Over the years in library work, from time to time people ask how they can make a simple catalague for the book collection of a society, for example. LibraryThing is one very easy answer.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

WikiLeaks -- radical use of the web

I was interested to read about this inspired use of the web in The Australian weekend magazine of 30-31 May. Through a complex arrangements of servers and by uploading the files from Sweden where the law protects journalists' sources, Wikileaks offers a place where documents of significance can be made public anonymously by people around the world.

The site says:
Have documents the world needs to see? We help you to get the truth safely out.

Among the documents posted has been the United States' classified operations manual for Guantanamo Bay.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Meeting Flickr (again)

I'd almost forgotten that I made some photo albums on Yahoo's free photo site, when I was overseas in 2005. They were a nice way to share some photos with friends back in Oz, without using email attachments. These photos were moved to Flickr and are still there! so I already have four little sets of photos on Flickr, of France and a visit to Copenhagen with Birgit, and more recently a trip to Hinchinbrook Island back here in Qld.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

23 things -- here we go

"Piano, piano" is what a kind Italian lady said to me in a shop in the mountains, encouraging me to try speaking Italian. I gather it means "little by little" or step by step. So here we go.

I'm already using several of the 23 things and am keen to use this program as a way to "get around" to using some of the others that I've been meaning to explore, such as Flickr.

Re the 7 and a half good habits, I probably find it hardest to "keep the end in mind". Also to find time to play/learn creatively, among many demands for my time. So this program is a nice little endorsement for us to spend a few hours in learning things that may enhance our work.

I am also a bit skeptical about blogs, as a form; I have read that many more people write blogs than read them! and I lack the confessional impulse. But I have set up a blog for the top-notch teaching resources which I send to the academics in Education, where it's useful to be able to look back through the postings; I used the Edna social networking site for teachers, just to see what it's like -- my little blog is at:

I admire blogs which become a humourous artform.