or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Promoting Patron 2.0

   January 23rd, 2007 Brian Herzog

Mashup Amazon and LibraryThing logos While my library is certainly not ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting Library 2.0 technology, were are definitely supportive of the curvature.

We have the makings of a blog, although we are far from taking full advantage of it. We provide reference service via Yahoo IM (but don't specifically promote our IM name). We're working on developing podcasts and a new books rss feed. When it comes to social software websites like flickr and MySpace, we offer workshops, but have yet to create and use a Library account. Thus far, we've kept much of this "in-house," by trying to grow our own website to display photographs and encourage interactivity.

See, we're trying.

But now I'm trying something new. Rather than just the Library using 2.0 technologies, I've created a Tech Tools webpage to encourage patrons to use some of these tools to improve the way they use the library - hence, Patron 2.0.

This is just the first pass, so please let me know of any tools I've missed, so this list can grow.
libraries, library, library 2.0, patron 2.0, social software, web 2.0

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Web 1.9999999…

   November 30th, 2006 Brian Herzog

In an effort to cater to the Long Tail patrons who are still unfamiliar with internety things, my library is holding a program tonight called Joys & pitfalls of social networking software.

It is really geared towards parents who are concerned for their childrens' safety on the internet. Our thinking is that if we can educate parents about Web 2.0 tools and how they are used, they will, 1) be more comfortable with their kids using them, and, 2) be able to use them themselves to interact with friends, peers - and their own children - through them.

Our program will be presented in three acts. First, our Director will talk very generally about internet trends, citing statistics, as well as library policy regarding internet use. Next, our YA Librarian will mention what teens do on the internet (myspace, IM, etc), and provide tips on how they can do it safely. Finally, I'll bring up the rear by going more in-depth with popular Web 2.0 websites. So far, only the list of websites I'm going to address is online, but I hope to have the entire thing available soon.

internet safety, library, parents, programs, social networking, social software, technology, teens, web 2.0

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   October 26th, 2006 Brian Herzog

R$$: Really Simple SurchargeWhile at NELA last weekend, I attended a session by Linda Braun, who talked a lot about RSS feeds. One of the tools she presented was PageFlakes, which I had never seen before. During her talk, she kind of offhandedly commented that one of the reasons she likes PageFlakes is that it lets her save stories she wants to read, but doesn’t have time to save at the moment. That way, the text of the article gets stored on the PageFlakes server, and, obviously, she can go back and read them later.

She then commented that this is sort of a loophole to subscription news services, like the New York Times. The NYT provides free access to their stories for 14 days, but stories older than that require a subscription fee to read. However, by saving the stories on PageFlakes, she creates her own archive, and never has to pay to read older stories she had saved before they were 14 days old.

I found this interesting for two reasons: first, I like loopholes. Second, though, it made me wonder about RSS feeds, which I think most people take for granted right now (if they know about them at all). But what if RSS feeds go the way of bank ATMs - something that started out as being a free service provided by pretty much all the major players, and then, after people incorporated them into their lives and essentially became dependant on them, were suddenly no longer free (at least, to use another bank’s ATM).

So right now I can get NYT articles for free through RSS, but I don’t see it as unfathomable that they would see this as a viable way to make money in the future - after all, people pay for convenience, and RSS feeds are much more convenient than visiting their website every day.

nela, new york times, pageflakes, rss, technology, web 2.0

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