One evening this week, a patron walked up to the desk and said,
Can you find me a website to adopt a cat? But not a real cat.
What he wanted was an online virtual pet. I had never looked for this before, but a search for adopt a cyber cat returned lots of results.
We looked at a few sites*, but he ultimately chose adoptme.com, because it had the best graphics. For the next forty-five minutes, he sat at the computer playing and chatting with it, and every once in awhile he'd come up to the desk to tell us something the cat did or said.
But the last time was the funniest: he came up and said, "the cat said I talk too much." Maybe he exhausted the repertoire of the artificial intelligence of the program that responds to chat messages, and that was how the program forced the conversation to end.
He wasn't deterred though - he left, saying he couldn't wait to come back the next day to play with the cat some more.
Pick an Emergency Web Address (URL):
(You will be sent to this address if you click the special emergency button while playing with your cat. We recommend your company website, or something business related, in case you need it to look like you are working on something else.)
In the video, I'm the "fellow Westford resident" he mentions at 2:14 - yay
I feel bad that the additional information didn't help reduce Brian's trepidation towards the animals, but based on the experience and facts, perhaps it's justified.
Also: it's holiday time again, so I'll be in Ohio all of Thanksgiving week. Instead of blogging, I'll be playing with my nieces and nephews. I've got a big stack of audio books for the drive, and I'll be back the week of Dec. 1st - see you then.
It lets you highlight a portion of a webpage, send someone a link, and then they can see exactly what you highlighted. Great for virtual reference work, but also just good in general.
One of our more tech-savvy patrons emailed me asking if there was an easy way to search the Library's catalog right from book's page on Amazon. There is, using Firefox and Greasemonkey, and it is outlined on my Library's Tech Tools page.
But instead of just sending him the link to the Tech Tools page, I ran it through the Awesome Highlighter, so I could send him a highlighted page, with focus on exactly the portion of the page I wanted him to see. Not that he wouldn't have found it on his own, but it just makes it a little bit easier - especially the "jump to highlights" link at the top.
On the Ning page, there's some discussion about the highlighter working or not working depending on whether the user is signed in. I've only used it a couple times, but I haven't had any trouble. The great thing is that someone from the company is participating in the discussion, so hopefully whatever bugs do exist will be corrected as a result - much like Jessamyn's comments on SWIFT.
If we never speak up, then we'll never get tools that do exactly what we need (I'll refrain from inserting my ILS soapbox here).
I've been working on this for awhile, and finally got it all together - a set of photographs on flickr that serve as a virtual tour of my library.
It is a fairly simple approach to a virtual tour, in that I just took pictures of all the different areas of our library, wrote up little descriptions of each area, and then linked them together using flickr's notes feature (I also made a floor plan of bothlevels and linked all the areas that way, too). It makes for almost a self-guided tour of the library, and someone who saw it recently said it was like moving through a video game or a "choose your own adventure" story.
It's a little less fancy than othertours out there, but I liked it in that all it really required was time - no special software or skills necessary (other than flickr, obviously). Also, being flickr, patrons can leave comments, and the photographs can be easily repurposed for other uses.