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

Reference Question of the Week – 12/9/07

   December 15th, 2007

Pixenate logoA high school student walks up to the desk and asks if there are any "picture programs" on the computers.

After a bit more questioning, I realize he's looking for a photo editor, like Photoshop. It turns out he was joining some online group, and needed an image for his avatar. He wanted to crop a picture of himself from his friend's myspace account, and use just the t-shirt he was wearing in that picture to be his avatar.

(Quite the far cry from helping a student find information on European explorers for a homework project, but you answer the question you're asked.)

Unfortunately, my library doesn't have any kind of photo editing software on the public computers (not even MS Paint). Perhaps because of this, I've been paying attention to mentions of online photo editors, so I had something to offer this kid.

I personally have used Pixenate (or, PXN8) a couple times. It allows most of the basic photo editing functions, and doesn't require you to create an account to use it. This is what I showed the student, and we were able to save the photo from myspace to the harddrive, crop it accordingly, resize it, and upload the result as his avatar.

I like to think that this high school kid has new respect for the library as a high tech mecca, but since I need to tell this particular kid regularly not to swear in the library, "respect" might not be the right word.

Anyway, here's a roundup of online photo editor posts I've seen recently (along with a few other image-related posts, for good measure):

I'm sure there are more out there, and that everyone has their favorite. I'm going to keep my eye on Splashup, and in the meantime stick with Pixenate for the simple stuff.

image, libraries, library, online photo editors, picture, public libraries, public library, reference question, tools, web-based

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