Saturday, November 12, 2011

Summing Up my Learning 2.0 Experience

At the very beginning of the semester during the new student orientation, I distinctly remember one of the LIS professors standing up and telling us to prepare to have our minds stretched like they've never been stretched before. Now that I'm nearing the end of my first semester and have reached the conclusion of this Learning 2.0 Activity, I can, in all sincerity, say that my mind has definitely undergone some serious mental gymnastics. Though I am really putting myself out in the open by admitting this, the aspect I was most hesitant and afraid of when beginning this program was learning about all of the information technology and Web 2.0 stuff. Computers knowledge in general has never come easy or naturally to me and I have never been exposed to many of the Web 2.0 tools out here on the internet. I frequently have fallen into that trap of self-fulfilling prophesy where if I think I cannot do something because it seems too hard or unfamiliar, chances are I do not do it. Therefore, if I had to pick one thing that I really took away from this course and Learning 2.0 activity, it was that I persevered and tackled each activity one by one. Some of them came easier than others, but I made it through them all and learned a great deal in the process!

I think some of my favorite activities of Learning 2.0 included learning about how to use and set up a blog, learning about podcasts, discovering what RSS feeds were, and the last activity that involved learning about other web 2.0 tools, such as Google docs. I have actually bookmarked that list of Web 2.0 award winners to check out all of those different applications. One of them I am currently exploring is LibraryThing. Perhaps the most surprising tool that I discovered was delicious. When I set up my delicious account, I honestly didn't think I'd ever use it again. Well, I'm eating my own words for I've used it quite a bit since then! I am sure many of these diverse tools can be very useful in a library setting and I am appreciative that I now know more about them and can explore them further on my own.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Other Web 2.0 Tools

Though I participated in the Lync session about Google Docs, I thought I'd check out some of these Web 2.0 tools anyway. Google really has some amazing applications. I had only heard of Google Docs, but never really bothered using it before. What truly impressed me about Google Docs was the ability to collaborate and edit a document with others. I also decided to set up my own Google Calendar. It is really easy to do and (hopefully) will help me with staying on target with my daily tasks and remind me of events. Google Maps is a tool I use ALL the time...I'm so dreadful with directions. I can definitely see this latter Google tool being useful in a public library setting. I'm sure librarians are asked for directions quite frequently and being able to pull up Google Maps, plug in the data and get directions quickly is just so convenient and time saving.

Just for fun, I also decided to check out some other Web 2.0 apps listed on that Web 2.0 Awards list. I really liked Urbanspoon, which lists and reviews restaurants in your area. I know I will be using it in the future when considering where to go and grab a bite to eat! Pandora also seemed really fun. I was able to listen to my favorite music very easily.

Wufoo seemed really interesting and useful. It allows to to easily and freely create forms and surveys to collect information. This could certainly come in handy for a library if they wish to conduct surveys about their services. LibraryThing also seems as if it would be a very useful tool for both an individual and a library. The one downside to LibraryThing is that there are fees involved. If, for instance, you wanted to create a catalog for your own books at home, the first 200 books would be free, but cataloging any more than that would cost you either $10 a year or $25 for lifetime membership. I definitely don't have anywhere near 200 books in my possession, so I think I'm good for now! As per libraries, LibraryThing offers some really neat extra features to the library's OPAC, such as a virtual library shelf, tagging, recommended reading, reviews, etc. However, these features do apparently come with a price tag.

There were quite a few other Web 2.0 tools I had never heard of that I know I will explore in the future. I am especially keen in looking into the professional networking applications, like LinkedIn. I cannot believe how much is available out there.