Friday, February 29, 2008

More With Thing 6

I created something else, which I'll post here and then come back and edit this since I need to leave and give a tour. OK, back again. My tour was for some students from the MLIS program at St. Kate's. I figured I'd just edit this post and add to it instead of creating a new post about online image generators. This, indeed, will be a fun tool to keep in mind. I like the idea of creating customized things, be they calendars, trading cards, or other kinds of images. I couldn't resist doing the license plate thing, since I've always wanted a Minnesota license with this tag. "Keeper" was my nickname in my former job (and a nickname that I'm actually very fond of.) I was reminded of the term during a trip to Oxford in 1991. In the status of things, a Keeper is the highest level of curator or archivist within the Oxford system (which is probably true for Cambridge and other libraries/archives as well). You are the Keeper of. . . . Part of me just likes that image and the real sense of stewardship that is behind it. Speaking of stewardship, I have a number of projects (and clients) in need of attention. On to the next Thing.

Part Way Through Thing 6

All right, I created a trading card and saved it to my memory stick, since I'm working on a shared computer. What I decided I didn't want to do was to give Flickr toys access to my account, since that access included my private photos (kind of defeats the meaning of 'private.') Also, I'm still wary of creating so many accounts and passwords; I'm trying to keep that stuff to a manageable minimum. Anyway, here's my trading card. A little quiz goes along with this card: why did I put "1895" on trading card? Also, I noticed that the card cut off "Holmes" in the title, something I didn't catch when I created it. Rather rude of me to refer to Mr. Holmes by his first name.

Starting Thing 6

I was going to start Thing 6 while I was working my stint as reading room monitor, but even in a networked situation its difficult to get access to all your images when you're working on another computer. So, instead, I'm going to work on updating my Holmes & Doyle bibliography and get that ready for the end-0f-the-month posting on our web site. This image is a part of the bookplate used for our Holmes Collections and also seen on the website. Maybe I'll try making a trading card with this image. We'll see.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Done With Thing 5

Ok, I'm finished with Thing 5. I looked at all the different sites and got some ideas. I was thinking about the puzzle site that it might be a fun way to create and order a puzzle for someone who is getting some kind of award, recognition, retiring, etc. I was also thinking, on a personal level, that it would be fun to do puzzles for family members as gifts. (The picture, by the way, is an aerial view of where I work; I'm at the point now that if I'm posting to my blog I want to add an image.)

Calendars are always fun to play around with, and they do make a nice way to publicize collections and give them to Friends of the Libraries or Volunteers in the Libraries type groups. We're already two months (almost 3) into the new year, but I might play around with calendars a bit for the next year, using scanned images we already have from our collections. It might make a nice piece to give to our supporters.

As to sharing photos online. . . I'm still a little hesitant on this. I want to play around a little more with the rights and permissions types of stuff. But first, I want to see about sharing these with my immediate family. Once I'm comfortable at that level I might think about putting more stuff out to the public. I have noticed that many of the pictures are watermarked in some way as an additional protection. More, anyway, to think about.

Finally, I am a little sympathetic with one of the comments on the 23 Things blog: it gets to be a bit of a pain having all these usernames and passwords. Maybe there's a mashup there??!!

Thing 5

S p005 E c A shadow of my current self A L & card letter r a R Etched E

Whoopee! It actually worked! I decided to have a little fun with Spell with Flickr, so plugged in the name of my blog, cut the html code that the application gave me, pasted it into my blog posting and here it is.

Playing With Picasa

I'm still having fun playing around, and because I have so many different services through my Google account I thought I'd sign up for a Picasa account and see how that works. I'm in the process of uploading a collection of glass plate photographs I scanned that were taken by my grandfather when he was a young man growing up in Wright, Minnesota. I've uploaded one of those pictures. Basically, he took pictures of family, friends, and neighbors in Wright between (as best I can tell) 1913-1919. For many years we didn't even know that these plates existed, but about ten years ago or so they were discovered in the barn of the family farm. Some of the plates had been cracked or water damaged, but all were still viewable, so I had them scanned at the earliest possible chance with copies made for the family.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Error Message and Done with Thing 4

Well, I'm getting an error message on the Flickr site that says "Something appears to be wrong with the Blogger service. Please try again later." So I will try later. In the meantime, here's my picture from Paris of the BN. I'm going to look at the resources, but at this point I think I can consider myself basically done with Thing 4.

Before I quit, one other quick note. I noticed earlier that all my posting times were off, so I checked the settings and saw that it was set for Pacific time. I changed it to Central time, so all should be right in the world, time-wise.

The picture was taken while I was in Paris, about a week before Thanksgiving 2007. I went there to visit my younger son, who was doing a semester abroad. He was studying in Montpellier and came up on the train to meet me in Paris. A transit strike was going on while we were there, so it was interesting (to say the least) getting around the city (and to and from Montpellier) during the strike. The Metro wasn't running, or running sporadically, so we did a lot of walking. At the end of a long (but very fun) day we ended up at the BN. I was able to catch the last light of the day reflecting off the building. It was a great trip!

Thing 4 Option B

I'm having way too much fun with this which is why I'm spending more time on this at home as opposed to work. I just wouldn't get a whole lot done at work tinkering around the way I have. For the past hour or so I've created my own Flickr account and uploaded 200 images. One of the things I didn't catch is that the monthly display is limited to 200 images. When I was uploading the images I was paying attention to the other message I was getting from Flickr, i.e. that I was limited by the amount of monthly memory, 100MB. So I deleted some of the files for uploading to get it below the 100 meg limit; that left me with 219 images. But when I went to look at them all I got a message that some of my pictures would not be visible unless I deleted newer ones. I just left it as it was, figuring that the new month starts in a couple of days and maybe they'll become visible then. They did, after all, tell me that the photos hadn't been deleted; they just couldn't be seen (unless I wanted to upgrade to the premium version). I'll stick with the free version and just watch my monthly limits.

A few minutes later. . . I just went back to my Flickr account to pick out a pic to tag "23 Things On a Stick." When I did this the first time I forgot to add the quotation marks around the tag phrase so I ended up with the following tags: 23, Things, On, Stick. I went back and put the phrase in quotes to get it right. After that I changed the photo to "public" so that everyone can view it. At the moment its the only picture I've got marked that way, but I'm sure I'll change some of the others to "public" after a while. I just want to get the hang of working with this before I post a bunch of stuff to the world.

Now I'm trying to figure out how to post this to my blog. The instructions on Flickr are a little confusing, so I'll post this and come back when I've got things figured out.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Thing 4 Option A

It was too soon to quit for the night. I went back and looked at the exercise for Thing 4 and realized I was close to finishing the first option (I'm going to do the second option as well), so went back to Flickr and found an image from one of my earlier full text searches. I used the keywords Sherlock Holmes Minnesota and got 3 hits. Two were of the Centennial Showboat (site of last summer's production of "Sherlock's Last Case"), but the photo that caught my eye was one taken in my own library, of an item I helped acquire for the Holmes Collections. Its a photo of our Linus statue, with Linus as Sherlock Holmes. The photo is by Krista76, who lists her occupation as "rhetorician." Our Linus was part of the "Linus Blankets Saint Paul" (#72 in the order of things) tribute to native Charles Schulz. The statue was a gift to the Collections by The Saint Paul Foundation and the F. R. Bigelow Foundation in memory of Ronald M. Hubbs, former chairman of the Bigelow Foundation and an active Sherlockian. The Hubbs Family have been generous supporters of the Holmes Collections, providing a gift for cataloging the book collection (a project that took three years!). Ronald's son, George, was the first president of the Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections and his son, James (Jamie) served as a collection specialist for the Collection at the U of M for a number of years. So it was really neat to see Krista76's photo of "our" Linus!

At the Beginning of Thing 4

Some first impressions of Flickr. I took the tour of the site and pretty much decided that I need to back up my photos online. I've done this in the past by burning CDs, but those are starting to pile up and they really don't give you a way to organize and find what you're looking for. I've also got them backed up on two different external hard drives, but the same issues of organization and searching apply. So it looks like I'll set up an account, figure out what should be private and public and go from there.

I was intrigued by the St. John's/St. Ben's site and can see a possible application for photos I've taken of some past exhibits. We'll see about playing around with that a bit.

I did a search of photos with the keywords "Sherlock Holmes" (which made some sense as I'm responsible for one of the largest Holmes collections in the world). There were thousands of images, which I was able to cut down a bit by just searching the tags. Even then I had over 900 images. I looked at some of them as a slide show, but realized a bit into the show that it would be better to look at these at work, on a computer that has a little faster connection then my DSL at home. Still, it was interesting and I'll probably explore and search some more. It was also interesting to see photos that were clearly scanned from another (copyrighted) source, with no credit given for the original photographer or rights holder. Seems like there's a bit of an issue there.

I've been playing and exploring for a couple of hours at home, so I think I'll call it quits for the moment and pick it up tomorrow. Besides, I see that I've got 40 items in my RSS reader, so I'll check those out before logging off.

Finished With Thing 3

Done with Thing 3. I checked out the additional resources, played around with some of the search possibilities and now its time to move on to Thing 4. I've got six feeds on my reader and no doubt will add more. I have found it a very productive way to get the information I need in one spot without hopping from site to site. One of the things I'm interested to learn is how to set up your own feed. I'm thinking, for instance, that when I update an online bibliography it might be useful to some people to get those updates as an RSS feed. Obviously, something else to explore and maybe add to my list of questions. Onward and upward.

Finding Other Blogs

Another question--I'd like to do a quick search through all the Metronet blogs in the program and find other academic librarians, so I can add their feeds to my reader. So far, I haven't discovered a way to do this. There's got to be a way, but I just haven't found it...yet.

Things On A Stick Northwoods Style

OK, I have to admit, the weather was just too nice this weekend and I had some long sticks on my feet, sliding through the beautiful snow of the Minnesota north woods. But before I left, I set up my reader and subscribed to some RSS feeds on the NY Times, Star Tribune, and Chronicle of Higher Ed. Now its time to check out some of the other Metronet blogs, add their feeds to my reader, and have a little more fun. I have enjoyed using the reader instead of going from web site to web site. I'll have to check out if some of the comics have RSS feeds. I'm sure at least some of them do.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Chat and Our Web Site

One of my colleagues, Steph in CBI, posted a comment about using Meebo on their web site, so it looks like I'm due for a conversation with her and the chance to strike one of the things off my list of things I need answered.


I'm still working on Thing 3, but wanted to note a few things about a RFID presentation I went to yesterday at 3M in Maplewood. I was curious about how RFID might work in an archives or special collections situation and came away thinking that it might work for some things, but not for others. Plus, there would be huge costs for conversion. I like the technology and think that it would make the task of inventorying our collection much easier, but there are also some limitations. The range of the reader is about 18 inches, which means that with our shelving configuration in our underground cavern storage the front box/record carton would have to be moved to get at the back box. Not a big deal, but when you're working on a materials picker 20 feet in the air it might make for an interesting ballet. Also, we're never going to affix a label to any of our rare materials, so the tag would have to be put on a slip which in turn would go into the book. I don't know what adhesives are used on the tag and whether or not they are acid-free, but that would seem to be an issue. Much of the presentation at 3m dealt with time and money savings in a circulating library, but since our stuff doesn't circulate I pretty much dismissed that part of the presentation as irrelevant. RFID would work for collection management, but the standards haven't settled yet, and the costs are still too prohibitive. But I really would like a fairly quick way to do an inventory of our collection. Its been four years since the last, very labor intensive inventory and that is too long to wait.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

An Idea--Reviews, Comments, Suggestions

Another question/issue to add to my list. How can I provide visitors to our web sites a way to offer comments or suggestions (the good old suggestion box idea)? I'm sure there are other parts of our large library system that are doing this, so I'll have to do a little more exploration, but wouldn't it make sense for folks to give us feedback? Or do we rely on e-mail links to do that for us, without a more formal invitation to participate in improving our services, look, feel, etc.?

And yet another thought

OK, I'm through Thing 2 in the program, but stewing around a bit with the resources listed at the end of the Thing. And I have another thought, or question. Is there something already in place that allows users to access material 24/7 for a fee? Here's the scenario I have in mind: we have any number of original scripts to Sherlock Holmes radio programs. Normally, when we get a request for a copy of the script, we make a photocopy and then send that, along with an invoice for the copy fee, to the requester. It would be nice to digitize these, have them available on our web site, and downloadable, but we don't want to make them available for free. We want to at least recoup some cost (and granted, maybe make a little bit of money to support related programs or acquisitions). And we want some way to control the content. We're happy to provide a copy of the script for the cost of the copy, but we don't want copies of copies floating around, unaccounted for. So, here's where the 2.0 world intersects the intellectual property world, and the rights management world.

Another thought--don't lose

I've found it best to get it out of my mind and on to paper (or web) as quickly as possible. There's too much going on and too great a risk of having a thought driven from my mind (like Butterbur the inn keeper in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings). Anyway, the thought: what would it take to imbed an IM or chat feature on my web site? Wilson Reference has chat, and we have IM using Meebo to communicate between the main reading room and our workstations. So, what would it take?

Don't lose this thought

A note to self. Part of the key with 2.0 stuff seems to be interactivity. So, for instance, I have an ongoing bibliography that I'm creating on work related to Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle. In an interactive 2.0 world, would there be a tool that could be created (if it doesn't already exist) to allow interested people to suggest additional entries to the bibliography? I do a lot of the bibliographic work using RefWorks, so would it be possible for me to create a basic input template somewhere on the web page that would allow folks to input a new citation and that citation, in turn, would be automatically loaded into my working file of things to check and edit before I add them to the bibliography? Just a thought, but one I didn't want to lose. And, of course, I'm wondering who (if anyone) will see or hear those questions? (Another part of learning about this 2.0 world!)

Playing Around

All right, so I'm having a bit of fun. I keep tinkering with the look of my blog, adding things here, changing things there. Its kind of like how I've approached computers from the beginning, back when I owned a Corona (a clone of the original IBM PC)--I played and tinkered. Sometimes I read the manuals, but I found more learning took place by just diving in. I figured I couldn't do too much damage if I exercised common sense. In the end (at least in those early days) I was the one always getting the phone calls from other staff on how you actually did something (or troubleshot a problem they were having). I still enjoy the troubleshooting part of it...kind of like a Holmes story.

Still working through Thing 2

Back again. I just finished reading John Blyberg's post about L2. It was an interesting read, and what came to mind while I was reading it was (and is) probably one of my ongoing concerns in this particular wormhole of the library universe: where do archives and special collections fit into the mix. I know there's already some stuff out there, but it will be something that will always be in the back of my mind as I'm working through this program.

In the midst of Thing 2

I may take this program in bigger or smaller chunks as it comes to me, but I thought I'd stop and make a note when something strikes me along the way. For instance, in the video I just watched of Stephen Abram (who I heard speak a couple of years ago at a MINITEX event), I was fascinated by the way the balloons comments/questions were added to the video. This was helpful both for tracking the question (and explaining the background noise in the clip), and it will be fun to discover how that was done. My other observation was on Stephen's comment about a time commitment. It seems like it will be fairly easy to sneak in a few minutes here and there, over lunch, or whenever, to work my way through the program. Its just a question of priorities and curiosity.

Registration Done

Well, I've registered my blog (Thing 1) on the 23 Things web site, so in a day or two my blog should show up on the list under the Metronet listings. I talked to Ann WS yesterday (who reminded me to register...thanks Ann!) and it sounded like registration numbers for the program were very high. I'm looking forward to the program and did grab a few extra postcards to remind my colleagues here. Time for some more exploring...

In the beginning...

I've created this blog as a part of the 23 Things on a Stick program. I'm a member of the METRONET governing board and curator of Special Collections & Rare Books at the University of Minnesota. I'm glad the folks extended the deadline for registration a day or two as I wanted to participate in the program and learn more about Web 2.0 stuff. Well, I need to go create an avatar for my blog and finish the registration process, so more later. Cheers!