Category Archives: Student Entries

Snapchat

Snapchat is a photo sharing app with a difference: images self-destruct just seconds after viewing. The whole point is to safeguard privacy. Images are not saved in the cloud where they can come back to haunt the user when s/he least expects it.

Using the Snapchat app to photograph my bookcase

Using the Snapchat app to photograph my bookcase

The user interface is simple. You snap a photo, choose how long you would like it to last (3-10 seconds), select a recipient and tap the send button. When you receive a message, you simply press down on the notification line. You then have a very limited time in order to view the photo. I found it annoying that you have to press and hold, which means that you can’t view the whole photo because your finger is in the way.

Once the time is up, neither the sender nor the receiver can see the photo again. As Snapchat reminds users, however, the app cannot prevent recipients from taking a screen capture of the image that you send them. Thus, even though images are not stored anywhere on your phone or in the cloud, Snapchat is not a completely safe technology to use for sharing photos privately.

I first read about Snapchat a few months ago in Bloomberg Businessweek. The article draws particular attention to the issue of privacy in the digital age. One of the books it references is called Delete: The virtue of forgetting in the digital age. I immediately ordered it from my local library and read it with great interest. If you are at all interested in technology and privacy questions, I highly recommend it.

Snapchat’s effort in attempting to address the issue of Internet privacy is to be commended. While it might not have any direct application in libraries, I believe it does have indirect application in spurring us to think more deeply about reader privacy.

Farewell, Google Reader

Was anybody as disappointed as I was when I found out Google will be discontinuing their RSS feed aggregator, Google Reader? I use this tool to fuse together all of my blogger interests in one place: librarianship, fashion, social media and home design. All of these things, that have little to do with one another, can be found in my blogroll. We’re talking at least a hundred subscriptions (I might have problems). How in the world am I going to keep up with them now?

I wasn’t alone in my outrage. I read several articles that other bloggers wrote upset with the termination of a tool that some readers use religiously. However, once I started to delve into other articles, the termination of Google Reader didn’t seem so insane, just extremely premature. There are arguments that RSS feeds are becoming obsolete and no longer useful. I also read arguments saying that RSS feeds are esoteric, or not common to the average technology user. However, an even bigger percentage of tech writers argue that RSS is on the decline, true, but it’s nowhere near being dead. This debate reminded me a lot of our email discussion topic.

So what does this mean for libraries? Well, it’s one less RSS tool that a library can use if they wanted to have their patrons subscribe to their blog, or provide a public RSS feed for patrons to access multiple relevant blogs. It’s also one of the easiest to use (in my opinion), which is frustrating because users will face a learning curve transitioning to another reader. Libraries can also lose a lot of their readers in the shuffle from one reader to another. Some just won’t bother to do it. If libraries are utilizing blogs they should probably have a blog post alerting their readers of the change, and options on alternatives. This is a perfect example of why information professionals need to be up-to-date with changes in the information sphere. Without being alert to this change, they could wonder why their blog analytics have changed all of a sudden.

This also means that libraries may need to search for other digital means to direct traffic to their blog. Cross-publicizing their blog via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or Pinterest would be extremely useful in retaining old readers and attracting new ones.

Between now and July 1, I’ll be searching for a suitable replacement for my beloved Google Reader. Suggestions are welcome! 🙂

The use of social media from someone in the general area of Boston

Like another classmate who previously posted, I was also planning to write on another subject. I was going to write about custom QR codes. I’ll probably still try to work that into my social media plan, or perhaps write a post about it later. But I feel like I should post about my social media life on Monday and Tuesday.

I live in southern New Hampshire. It’s roughly an hour north of Boston. I’m not supposed to be on Facebook at work, so I first heard about what was going on in Boston when I happened to go to the reference desk, where a coworker was looking at a news site. This was about 30-45 minutes after the explosions.

I knew one friend was home from work, because she’d posted about it. It was Patriot’s Day, so a lot of people in Mass either had the day off or were working from home. It just makes sense if you want to avoid the traffic mess the marathon causes. When I thought about it, I realized I actually know a lot of people who live or work in or near Boston. People who may’ve been running or watching the marathon. At that point I did go on Facebook, though it wouldn’t be until my workday ended that I could really comb Facebook for information and updates on people I knew.

I saw people checking in. I saw people asking other people to check in. I saw people offering to open their apartments to anyone who needed, well, anything. I saw people sharing information about where and when to donate blood. I saw others sharing information on websites to check on runners or other people. Early on, there were reminders to text rather than call, since it uses less bandwidth. I saw people sharing information as a way of helping, and I saw people just expressing general support and sympathy.

I had plans yesterday (Tuesday) to go into Boston to see Book of Mormon. I checked the Boston Opera House’s website to make sure it was still scheduled, but there was no information. I subscribed to their Facebook page, but there was nothing. Around about noon, I checked in again and there were people wondering what I was wondering.. was the performance going to go ahead? I had to resort to a phone call to get that information. Although eventually, around about 3pm, they finally did think to post to Facebook. Probably to help out their overloaded phone system. (I got a busy signal more than once.) And it was clear they didn’t keep much of an eye on their Facebook page normally. They post about once a month, and there were numerous spam comments on old posts that hadn’t been deleted.

I again used Facebook to inform my mother (mostly) and anyone else who might need to know, what my travel plans were. And I posted again when I got to Boston. And again when I got to the theater. Not that it did much good, because my mother still called me to ask!

My trip went fine. There were cops and military everywhere, but mostly they were just standing around. They were checking bags on the T and at the Opera House, but we hadn’t gone in with bags for that reason. The Celtics game was canceled, so there were no drunken revelers (or.. what’s the opposite of revelers?) to contend with. We thought some people might not have gone to the performance, but it was packed. I guess nobody wanted to miss Book of Mormon!

I am thankful my Facebook friends are, mostly, not the sort to post wild theories or condemn various groups without evidence.

I can’t help think about 9/11 and how I found out about NYC friends from mailing lists and blogs. I can’t say Facebook was any better, but it was different.

I’ll leave you with a link to an io9 post. How the Boston Marathon tragedy revealed the best side of social media.

Going Beyond Powerpoints with Prezi

I’ve been looking into some presentations options that go beyond the (sometimes bland) land of Powerpoints.  One that I really like the look and feel of is Prezi.  With zooming presentation software, it allows you to move seamlessly through your ideas and create a more cinematic and engaging experience.  With 3D capability, you can guide your audience through a spacial journey, zooming out for an overview and in on the details.

Here’s a 1 minute video that gives a nice overview:

And there’s this helpful tutorial page as well:
http://prezi.com/learn/

In addition, they also offer free live webinars to help you create and share your first prezi–so lots of support options to get started.

You can make your Prezi portable by downloading a version of it, which you can view offline or present in a setting where you don’t have internet.  When presenting your Prezi, you can control the speed by setting the time interval between path steps.  For those wedded to Powerpoint, you can import your slides into Prezi–one at a time or all at once, with just a few clicks.

You can sign up for free, or upgrade to paid options:

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 1.26.45 PM

And there are many attractive templates to choose from:

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I’m impressed with what I see and excited to put it to use!

Tiki Toki Time

I attended the Society of California Archivists conference this past Saturday and discussed with my Preservation Management teacher, Vicky McCargar, part of a session on Thursday about social media and digital collections.  She shared with me the tools highlighted in the session that she had made note of.  I reviewed one that seemed like a neat tool called Tiki Toki through which you can make timelines.

http://www.tiki-toki.com/

Outside of the timelines shared on the homepage as examples of how to use the site, you cannot view or search for timelines there.  I resorted to conducting a Google search for “tiki toki library” and retrieved some examples of library related timelines.  Of the sites I looked at, my favorite timeline was developed by ALA for Banned Books Week.

http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/51787/Banned-Books-Week-Celebrating-30-Years-of-Liberating-Literature/#vars!date=2010-06-24_23:14:11!

Other information organizations with timelines include the Metro Transportation Library and Archive, the Weinberg Memorial Library, and the Salinas Public Library.  Some of the examples link to their organizations’ websites through their timelines but I was unable to find any of the organizations link to the timelines through their websites.

http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/49819/Metro-Transportation-Library-and-Archive-History-of-Transit-in-Los-Angeles/#vars!date=1873-07-03_00:00:00!

http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/15233/Weinberg-Memorial-Library/#vars!date=1989-01-01_00:00:00!

http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/106071/History-of-the-Salinas-Public-Library/#vars!date=1912-09-27_01:37:5

Not only can Tiki Toki be used to display the history of an organization, it can also be used to share and highlight an information organization’s collections.  Timelines can be made public or private.  The tool is integrated with YouTube and Vimeo allowing for the display of videos.  Categories of events can be color coded as was done with the Weinberg Memorial Library timeline.   They can be embedded onto a website as well as available for group contributions.  To allow for multiple people to work on a timeline, they have to be provided with a password.  Unfortunately, access to features is determined by the subscription level and the free service is limited.  The ability to embed the timeline onto a website as well as group editing requires at least a five dollar monthly fee.  In addition, the amount of embedded views per month and the number of timelines that can be created under one account is also limited and based on your subscription rate.  These associated costs may have something to do with why I could not find links to the timelines on the websites of the organizations in the examples.

Here is a short YouTube video about Tiki Toki.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdZUUVMSNJ8

A wiki site for Online Instruction

SchoolRack.com is a free site to create a classroom website for collaboration with student and parents. I located this tool on a website (http://www.emergingedtech.com/2011/02/what-are-the-best-free-hosted-course-management-systems-on-the-internet/ ). The tool has the functions to create, collect, and grade assignments for students. A teacher can collaborate by sending private messages or hold online discussions. Students and parents are separate groups.There are three ways to create groups. They are Students, Students and Parents and Parents. The recommended way to create a group is to use the dashboard of your site and send the generated code to only those people who you want in the group. The other two methods require approval of members. Student or Parents can find my website by going to http://www.schoolrack.com and using the Search tab to look for my name.
It has options of pages and posts with text, images or videos that others can download. Similar to Pinterest or Flickr, this tool allows the creation of photo albums. The tool can also be used for a portfolio by using pages as competencies and adding groups for each criteria and then adding document to each folder. I created a website and created groups, pages and uploaded documents. It took me less than 20 minutes to begin working with SchoolRack.com. However, to add documents to the site will require a subscription of $5.95/month
A junior in High School created this tool as a class project. He maintained the website while attending Columbia University. Artia Moghbel founded the website as SchoolRack.com in 2003 (he was 16 or 17) and it has grown worldwide and no serves over 3 million student and parents every month. The tool began as a collaborative site for K-12 teachers.
The privacy policy is simply stated as “we will never share any of your information—with anyone—for any reason.” A teacher is only required to display a name and e-mail address. Even if more information is displayed on the website, SchoolRack.com will not sell it to anyone. Credit Cards are protected by using PayPal®
I was not certain of how a website had to comply with the ADA. Therefore, I researched on Google. I found (http://jimthatcher.com/webcourse1.htm) “Basically, technology is accessible if it can be used as effectively by people with disabilities as by those without.” He explained the original use of section 508 compliance applied only to the Federal Government. Today section 508 includes “technical standards” for websites. The standards are listed by the U.S Department of Health (see appendix-ADA compliance). I viewed the source HTML of the website so that I could check for compliance. I used http://www.validator.3WC.org to test the dashboard of my schoolRack.com wiki site. 3WC found six errors which were missing attributes from the dashboard. None of the errors had to do with privacy or ADA compliance. They were all formatting errors.

Library 2.0 Network

I just got an email from the Library 2.0 network announcing the upcoming 2.013 Worldwide Virtual Conference in October.  The conference is free to attend and the call for papers is very open and inclusive.  I first caught wind of this virtual conference last year and joined the network to access the 2012 conference.  Sadly, I was unable to attend synchronously, but remained a member and promptly forgot about it and didn’t update my profile.

However, now that I’ve been reminded, I decided to add content to my profile and explore the site.  Library 2.0 bills itself as “the future of libraries in the digital age.”  They boast over 16,000 members from 160 countries.  Conference participants don’t have to become a member in order to attend, but membership is encouraged to access up-to-date news and interact with other presenters and attendees.  Once you join the network, you can do as little or as much with your profile as you like.  San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science is the founding sponsor, and many SLIS instructors are members.

The site keeps archives of presentations from the 2011 and 2012 conferences.  I viewed many of the keynote and session recordings when I first joined, and found them to be highly relevant to digital and social librarianship.  Looking back at the presenter names now, I recognize many of them as folks that I think of as “movers and shakers” in 2.0 librarianship.  I’m  considering submitting a presentation proposal for this year’s conference– anyone want to collaborate with me?

The social networking aspect of the site involves groups, forums, and individual profiles.  You can become “friends” with other members and interact in similar ways to other social media networks.  You can message people, do status updates, write longer blogs, add photos and personal information, and comment on others’ activity.  You can create and join groups and have more focused discussions.  Groups include kinds of libraries and LIS focus; geographic areas and personal interests; and boards, presenters, and volunteers for conferences.  I joined “The New Librarian Experience” (you don’t have to have your MLIS yet to join!) to see what group interactions were like.  There are a few forum threads and a comment wall, and 166 other members I can view and potentially interact with.  Some groups have very few members and very little activity; others are more robust and active.  Overall, social interaction is better than I expected, but it’s no Facebook.  Perhaps members become more active in the weeks leading up to the conference?

Please feel free to “friend” me if you decide to become a member of the Library 2.0 network!

~Caroline McNabb