Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summarizing the Things

I've had a good time with the 27 Things. I happened to already be familiar with a fair amount of the technologies, but revisiting them through the eyes of a librarian was informative. Even with the tools that I previously explored in a class while in school, comparing my findings for their practical use back then (in theory) compared to now (in practice) was an eye-opening experience.

I was also introduced to quite a few new sites and online tools, some of which didn't do a whole lot for me, but some of which I found to be intriguing. I was also reintroduced to some things I knew about and used casually in the past, some of which I am now leveraging more fully. Hopefully, this blog will be on of them!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What's a thingfo? Fo'... (insert joke here)

Coming up on the end of SPL's 27 Things, I signed up for and explored Thingfo, a newer social networking and analytics tool that I must confess I've never heard of.

I couldn't really figure Thingfo out, at first glance. I created my Thingfo and took a look at what the inimitable Ars Legendi is up to on the social web... mostly uploading pictures to Flickr, if my little content widget is to be believed. I kind of didn't see what I could use this for, initially, and was even a little put off at having my movements tracked and analyzed like that.

However, with a little thought, I can envision a number of uses for this that go a little deeper than casual use. Primarily, Thingfo is a great way to keep track of your brand as it wends its way through the Internet (as its considerable interconnectedness with Twitter demonstrates). So, while it didn't do much for me personally, I think that technologies like Thingfo (and the valuable metadata that they provide) could be fairly useful to a savvy information professional as their organization gets more social.

As of this writing, it looks like Thingfo has restricted new user signups to invitiation-only while they work on some "exciting things for release later this summer," so it will be interesting to see what functionality they add.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tudo Bem

I think I'll cheat a little bit and roll 3 of the 27 things into this post, partly because it's been a while since I've updated and partly because I've already got a fair amount of previous experience with them.

SPL Website
Sending me on a scavenger hunt through our new website is a little unfair, seeing as how I was on the Web Team that helped design it. =) From that experience, though, I can point out one of the most useful aspects of the new site, which informed a large part of the design process: multiple access points for information. Any page on the new site can be accessed through the hierarchical menu at the top, though there are links and boxes scattered all through the site (and the catalog) that act as shortcuts.

So, for example, Twilight can be found and requested using the "Find in the Catalog" box at the top (with Encore), or through the "Catalog" link in the main navigation menu (with Millenium). Financial information is on our MoneySmart and Smart Investing Book Bulletins, which can be found through the "Get Money Smart" box on the home page or through Services > Book Bulletin at the top. The health research aid and job resources page are a little more difficult to find, but are on the second level in the Services and Communty sections, respectively. The beauty about these pages is that once they are found, you can look up at the top menu to see exactly how you got there, which makes it easier to find the next time you need it.

A lot of people recognize my last name as Portuguese (to the point where I often get asked if I know another person with the same surname, to which I have to patiently explain that there are literally thousands of people with that name in this state alone). I'm actually Azorean; my great-great-grandparents immigrated from São Jorge in the Azores, and my mother had an aunt who spoke only Portuguese, with the exception of some English curse words for emphasis. My own experience with the language (Brazilian, which tends to be more common here than the continental dialect of my ethnicity) comes from the years I spent studying capoeira:

Of course, I only really picked up enough vocabulary to sing the songs, name the techniques, and hold only the most basic conversation. Since I've always wanted to be more proficient with the language, I checked out the first few Brazilian Portuguese lessons in Mango, and found them to be a very pleasant and interesting surprise. The audio lessons are very organic and easy to follow, and the mouseover pronunciation feedback was incredibly helpful (especially considering the need to unlearn my Spanish accent when speaking Portuguese). After two lessons, I knew enough to go home and start irritating my wife with my newly learned phrases. Of course, an Azorean speaking Brazilian Portuguese is like an American speaking British English, but I'm still having fun.

I'm pretty comfortable with Twitter, as evidenced by the badge at the right that has been there for the entire duration of this blog. I follow both friends and colleagues, and have it linked to my cell phone and my Facebook. Twitter honestly makes me feel a little old, as I didn't really find it useful when it first came out and I still prefer other digital "homes" now that I use it. However, as the recent Iranian election showed, people are using this simple little tool to do some pretty big things, and as a library marketer, I obviously am all for seeing it put to new and novel uses in the library.