Thursday, October 29, 2009

#18 - Week 8 - Zoho Writing

Zoho Writer is an excellent tool that eliminates a lot of the extra steps necessary for word processing "the old-fashioned way." Out of all of the web technologies that I have seen this semester, this is one that I will probably use most in the future. The tutorial is informative, but not overwhelming. Every web innovation always tries to show its potential users that it is the greatest advancement of all time, but the Zoho crew actually made me believe them that they are indeed top notch. The tutorial/introduction was that convincing to me. I created a simple document - just a greeting to anyone from LS 589 - and saved it to my account. I did run into a little trouble, though. I attempted to add the document to my blog, but I, uuhhmm, couldn't find it at first. I eventually found it after I first published this post, so that is why the chronology is a little off. In retrospect, adding the document was pretty easy - I just had to find it in the Drafts section of this blog. Anyway, Zoho Writer looks to me to be an extremely useful tool that I will more than likely return to often.

LS 589 - Welcome to the Land of Zoho

Welcome those that are reading this from LS 589!


I will be trying to post this to my blog.  If you are reading this right now, then the post worked.  That makes me happy.  This is one of the coolest tools I have seen so far this semester.  I will definitely use it more often.  Take it easy, everyone.

OK - So I didn't post this exactly right initially, but I did figure out where the greeting went and it wasn't permanently lost in cyberspace, which is good. I guess most pieces of information aren't permanently lost in cyberspace when you think about it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

#17 - Week 7 - The Sandbox

Man, I had a tough time on this exercise, to be perfectly honest. I'm not sure exactly why. Creating the lesson plan wasn't a problem, but figuring out where and how to post it certainly was. My main snag was figuring out how to create a link of the lesson plan in the Sandbox. Once I finally got over that hurdle, everything was aces. Here is a link to my WebQuest lesson plan:'+Fate.htm

Sunday, 11/1/09 at 7:36 PM - UPDATE! UPDATE! - The above lesson plan is a solid one (in my humble opinion, of course), but is probably not as web-based as it could and should be. I put together another lesson plan that incorporates more web-based activities. The lesson can be found at the following link and also on the class wiki:

Note: I'm not sure why the above links are not directly sending the user to the webpages. I couldn't figure out how to "link" them.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

#16 - Week 7 - Wikis

Fortunately, I - and many of my classmates - are familiar with wikis. Not just because we use Wikipedia at times, but because we had to set one up for one of our previous classes. I like the idea of complete and total collaboration. No one person can really bully his/her way into becoming the ringleader. It's about checks and balances, and no opinion or critique is more valuable than any other opinion or critique. As far as sharing and adding reviews and/or editorials goes, wikis are very cool to use. The Blogging Libraries Wiki and The Book Lovers Wiki are great examples of this sharing of ideas. However, I do have some reservations about the most famous wiki of all, Wikipedia. I know my credibility is somewhat shot because I mentioned in the first sentence that I definitely use Wikipedia at times, but how can that information be trusted? When people go to that website to look something up, more often than not I'm guessing they're assuming that the information is reliable. That's a big, big assumption, and if you are using it as an absolute factual resource, then you are taking your chances.

I don't mean to be a downer, because I think wikis are an excellent learning tool. I think it goes something like this:

Sharing ideas/opinions/reviews on wikis = Really useful and helpful

Sharing 'facts' on wikis = It can be reliable, but it can also be difficult to separate actual fact from information that someone perceives as fact but actually is a little off

Sunday, October 18, 2009

#15 - Week 6 - The Fairness of Fair Use

First, I'd like to mention that the video about fair use with the Disney characters as central figures was really, really creative and must have been a long, tedious process to put together. It's a very different way of learning about the basics of fair use and copyright permission without reading directly from a bland textbook. Some of our previous classes have covered fair use policies, so I am pretty familiar with the concept. It seems that a lot of potential copyright infringers could be protected under fair use policies, as the policy itself can be manipulated to fit one's needs. 14 years is a reasonable time for an author or artist to benefit financially from his or her creation. After that, it should be a part of the public domain. A lifetime plus 70 years? I'm all for protecting an author or artist, but what kind of copyright rule is that? Isn't that a little excessive, and who is that benefiting, anyway? Only if there are strict stipulations concerning royalties to be paid to the author's or artist's family is that amount of copyright protection benefiting anyone.

The writers of Classroom Learning 2.0 have actually borrowed some of the content of the original Learning 2.0 program and molded it to fit their needs for this course. They received permission to do this under a Creative Commons License.

I viewed several of the Discovery Resources, but the Did You Know 4.0 YouTube video was the best tool to show just how much Web technology has altered the way we find, read, and analyze information. It is difficult to believe that three of the most visited social networking websites - facebook, myspace, and twitter - did not even exist five years ago. The prediction that we will all be connected to the portable Web by 2020 is absolutely believable. We were required to read the young adult novel Feed during the previous summer semester. For those who haven't read that novel, please do. The theme of the book reminds me of just how tapped into every possible bit of available information we will be in the not too distant future.

#14 - Week 6 - Taking the Fear Out of the Enormity of the Blogosphere

Technorati is a great site to help sort out and search the vast amount of blogs. Not just blog posts, which might as well be infinite, but blogs themselves, which number in the millions. I'd say that's a lot of information to keep track of and sort through, and it's only expanding, as 32 blogs are added to cyberspace every second . That's pretty intense.

I used the keyword "School Library Learning 2.0" and my results were very different. Under Blog Posts, I found 216,226 posts directly related to "School Library Learning 2.0." However, under Tags and Blog Directory I was unable to produce any related results. I don't think I was doing anything wrong - the procedure is pretty direct. I guess there aren't any tags or blogs with that exact phrasing.

When I looked through the most popular blogs, I wasn't exactly surprised that politics, technology, and entertainment - in that order - were the themes of the top 100 most searched blogs online. I was surprised that not one sports blog (ex: ESPN, Fox Sports) found itself in the top 100. My Dad will be happy that his favorite blog,, is in the top 50. I've checked it a couple of times, even though one of the contributors is a Blue, and as a member of the Red Half, I can't in good conscience condone that.

A searcher can find a ton of relevant information by effectively using tags to his or her advantage. However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, if a searcher is looking for a particular article or blog, tagging isn't going to aid in the search that much.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

#13 - Week 6 - Everything's, Thank You is a useful site for sharing information and taking part in discussions with others who share the same interests or information needs. Specifically using the SJLibraryLearning2 account, I clicked on several bookmarks and found a ton of useful articles and other bits of information about libraries and the profession in general. I found the comments other users added about particular bookmarks pretty easily.

The only reservation I have - and that may be too harsh of a term - is that sometimes tags can lead a user or searcher astray. If I'm looking for an article about a topic, how I would choose to tag the main idea or theme of the article will differ from others. No tag is right or wrong - the importance of the tag is in the eye of the beholder. In that way, I might miss out on some useful articles because the tag that I click on isn't exactly related to what I'm searching for. I noticed that some of the articles on the SJLibraryLearning2 site were tagged by terms that seemed only loosely related. Of course, that's my opinion. I guess that's my point. Do you see what I'm saying?

The Courtney chapters brought up good points about that little snag, though. Basically, if you're searching for a specific article, you're going to use the title or author as a keyword search. If you're searching for a general article about a topic, using what seems to be a loosely related tag is still probably going to generate a decent amount of useful information. It might take an extra step or two, but you'll get there pretty quickly.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

#12 (Week 5) - Rollyo Fun for Everyone (?)

Well, maybe not. I like the idea of the Rollyo website. It seems like a fairly easy way in which to collect a bunch of useful URLs and keep them in order, rather than trying to remember them or writing them down in a notebook somewhere and then forgetting where you put the list. I even noticed that some celebrities had put together searchrolls for us common folk to view. However, I have to be honest and say that my overall experience with Rollyo has been less than stellar. I'm not exactly sure what is going on with the site, but saving changes to my searchroll hasn't really been possible because the website has been ssslllooowww. I mean really, really ssslllooowww - as in not useable. I just noticed through my school email that I am not the only one who has been frustrated by the technical difficulties. Anyway, I was able to create an account and add a few websites to my searchroll, but when I attempted to add more websites at later times I was thwarted at every turn. I do want to edit my searchroll - not just for class, but for my own personal use - but I guess I'm going to have to wait until the technical problems are sorted out and I'm not booted off the website every time I try to save my changes.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

#11 - Week 5 - For Those Who Live in a Virtual World But Still Love Tangible Printed Work

Although being familiar with the available technology at our fingertips has become increasingly important over the last few decades, I figure that the foundation of any library program still centers around books and the love of reading. It does for me, anyway. With that premise in mind, I chose to explore the award winner (2nd Place, Category: Books). A user can find really rare material if he or she is looking for it. I don't usually need to find rare material, but over the last ten years or so I have made an effort to replace every paperback in my collection with a hardback version. I know it can be viewed as a waste of money and/or a little neurotic, but I just prefer hardbacks over paperbacks. They hold up better and, with proper care, can stick around for more than a few generations. helps with my hardback vs. paperback dilemma. I searched for a hardback version of George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia - I've been looking for one for a while - and found a few editions to that I can choose from. I'll probably purchase a copy after completing this post, actually. I like that a user can set very specific parameters (ex: first edition, dust jacket or no dust jacket, stores in the U.S. or both the U.S. and abroad, price range, etc.) so he or she doesn't waste a lot of time looking through irrelevant material. This website looks to be very useful and is a lot more thorough than more general purchasing sites like,, or even or

Here is a link if you are interested:

#10 - Week 5 - The Endless Universe of Image Collecting

I initially searched GeneratorBlog for an image and had a pretty good time exploring the infinite amount of pictures to use. Some of the names of the links on the left hand side of the page made me laugh (zombie speech, fantasy romance title generator, t-shirts that suck). I searched a bunch of links and found something pretty cool under the link Monster. I uploaded an image of a monster but for some reason only the middle of the image posted. Basically, you couldn't tell what the image was.

I decided to check out ImageChef and designed a replica jersey of tight end Heath Miller, my favorite Steeler. For those sticklers reading this post, I know that the letters and numbers on a Steelers jersey are white instead of yellow, but this is the closest I could come up with. When I played around with the white lettering, it looked like a Raiders jersey. Not good.

Here is a link: