Monday, April 6, 2009

Week 13 - Catch Up and Reflect

We're done!

Congratulations to those who have successfully completed each week in this RULA 2.0 Adventure.

For those who have not finished all of the 13 week activity, now is the time to get caught up!

Can't get enough Learning 2.0? Check out some of the concepts and tools listed below.


One of the exciting thing about these new Web 2.0 utilities is the ability to smush them together to make hybrid services.

Many Web Applications offer API's (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow these services the ability to intermingle, providing the user with a more enriched web experience.

Want to create your own Mashups? No programming required! Check out the following:
- Microsoft PopFly - Make services and games through click and drag options
- Yahoo Pipes -
Pipes is a powerful composition tool to aggregate, manipulate, and mashup content from around the web.
- Google Mashup Editor - (currently in BETA) A little more advanced than Microsoft's and Yahoo's implementation (check out the screen casts)

Web 2.0 Games!

Savvy web users have even turned these web services into little games.

Here is one example (Create a Band!):

1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random...” or click
The first random wikipedia article you get is the NAME of your band.

2 - Go to "Random quotations" or click
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the TITLE of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” or click
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album COVER. (Or do like I did, search Flickr's Creative Commons only for photos OK to alter, choose the third one.)

4 - Use photoshop or similar to put it all together. ( Picnik is one option)

5 - Post it with this text in the "caption" and TAG the friends you want to join in.

Broader Concepts regarding the use of Web2.0 Technologies:

The various technologies you are learned on this 'Learning 2.0' adventure will change, and that change will happen quickly and frequently. But it is not the services like Blogger, Flickr, or pbWiki that you are really learning.

What you are learning is the greater concepts driving these services:
User Empowerment, Social Networking, Collaboration, etc...

The following videos provide a pretty good assessment of the use of 'Web 2.0' tools within Acadamia and how they can benefit our students.

- Web 2.0 : The Machine is Us/ing Us (YouTube Video)
- A Vision of Students Today (YouTube Video)
- Harvard's 'H2O: Go With the Flow' Collaborative learning Program (Promo Video)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Week 12 - Videos/YouTube

There are many sites on the Internet to view, post and comment on videos. Whether you are looking for music videos, self help videos, news, entertainment, entire television shows, videos are now accessible all over the web.

By far the most popular site is one we all know called YouTube. YouTube is arguably the largest video site on the Web today offering 1 million video views a day and allowing users not only to upload their own video content, but also embed clips into their own websites.

YouTube is a video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips. The site was created in February 2005 and 2006 was later bought by Google Inc. Their videos are distributed through streaming media technology.

An amazing feature of YouTube is the ability of users to view its videos on web pages outside of the YouTube site. Each video is accompanied by a piece of HTML code, which can be used to embed it on a page outside the YouTube website such as social networking sites such as Facebook and Blogs.

Some Other Examples of Sites with Video Content:

Myspace tv- MySpace TV has quickly become one of the most popular video sites on the Web. You can find all sorts of interesting videos here, anything from animation to sports.

Dailymotion - Dailymotion allows users to browse videos by searching tags, channels or user-created groups; the search system also introduces results based on things other users have searched for. - ATV allows users to stream television programs over the web. Shows are often broken into segments of 10 minute clips.

Metacafe - Metacafe is a community based video sharing web site, that specializes in short-form original entertainment, where users upload, view and share video clips.

Vimeo - Vimeo is a video-centric social network site which launched in November 2004. The site supports embedding, video storage, and allows user-commenting on each video page.

Activities For This Week:

  1. Sign up for a YouTube account.

  2. Find a video that interests you.

  3. Leave a comment.

  4. Send the video to a friend in the library using the send link.

  5. Don’t forget to blog about your experience. What did you like or dislike about the site and why did you choose the video that you did? Can you see any features or components of the site that might be interesting if they were applied to library websites? Don’t forget to include a link to your video choice

Advanced Activity (Optional)

  1. For those with a digital video camera, create your own video and upload it to YouTube.

  2. Write a description about the video and mention the RULA activity.

  3. Write a blog post about your experience and try to place the video inside your blog using the copy and paste code for the “Embeddable Player.”

Note: You will need use Blogger's Edit HTML tab when pasting this code.

Optional Readings and Resources:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Week 11 - Podcasts and Audio Files

This week is about podcasts and audio files. If you’ve just gotten an iPod and want to fully utilize it, this is the week! Even if you don’t, there is no need to worry, you can easily listen to an audio book or a podcast using an mp3 player or any computer.

The word "Podcast" was named the "word of the year" in 2005 by New Oxford American Dictionary and there have been amazing growth over the past few years. So, what is a podcast?

Think about “Podcast = MP3 + RSS”, it is like a radio program except you can download it to a portable device and listen to it at your convenience. Podcasts can have only sound or sound and video. A video podcast is sometimes called a vidcast.

Many libraries and educational institutions embraced podcasts too. By archiving tutorials for training sessions online, it saves time without repeating work and provides 24/7 accessible content for library clients and patrons. Examples of podcast sites are:

Denver Public Library
SirsiDynix Institute
iSchool Podcasts
CBC Podcasts

You must be tempted by now and anxious to know the next steps. This is how you can get started:

Step1: Download iTunes

You can always download each individual media file by right-click -Save Link As (Mozilla Firefox) or Save Target As (Internet Explorer) to your computer or USB drive. However, this week we are going to try a new way of doing it. It will be a onetime setup and make your life much easier in the future.

To receive all of the new episodes automatically, you will need podcast software, also called podcatcher or podcast receiver/aggregator. The most popular one is iTunes. Click the following link to download and install it to your desktop:

iTunes (Windows/Mac OS X)

There are also a number of other freely available options (optional) if you are interested:

Juice (Windows/Mac OS X)
The Odeo Player (Mac OS X)
Podnova (Windows 2000/XP, Mac OS 10.3+, GNU/Linux)

Step 2 Subscribe to RSS

Assume you have installed iTunes on your computer. Open iTunes, on the top menu, select Advanced, choose Subscribe to Podcast from the drop-down menu. In the dialogue box enter the podcast RSS feed URL. For example:

Once you've subscribed, select Podcasts on the left sidebar. You will see all subscribed podcasts listed. By default, the newest program should download automatically. You can specify where the files will be stored on your computer by going to Edit > Preferences and selecting the Advanced tab.

To listen to your file, double-click on the episode title. You can play, pause or fast-forward like a normal media player. iTunes will check for new episodes every time you open the player (or more frequently, if you set the preferences accordingly), making sure you always get the freshest content as soon as it is available.

If you have an iPod, the next time you plug it in your computer, all your podcasts will be automatically synchronized between it and the computer.

Step 3: More Exercises:

(1) Listen to a podcast
Go to :
Click “Listen to the Interview”, you can listen to it online directly

(2) On the above page, find the RSS Feed URL, and subscribe to it using iTunes
(Advanced- Subscribe to Podcast).

(3) Listen to an audio book
Go to the Librivox Catalog, search for an audio book and listen to it.
e.g. Click here for a list of audio books

Last but not least, please don’t forget to mention in your blog that you have completed this week’s exercises!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Week 10 - Browser Tools

This week we are going to explore some tools that you can add to your browser to make it more productive, fun and interesting.

About Browsers

There are a variety of browsers available (Firefox, IE, Flock, Opera, Chrome), but no one browser is likely to fulfill all your needs. This is where browser extensions (also called add-ons or plug-ins) come in. Third parties, usually talented programmers, create small programs that extend the browser's functionality. By installing some of these extensions, you can customize the browser to your liking. Of the big two browsers (Firefox and IE), Firefox has traditionally been the most extensible as it is based on open source software. Many more extensions are available for Firefox, although IE users now have several options available to them.

About Browser Extensions/Addons
What will these extensions let you do? Practically everything; however, you do need to exercise some judgement as to how many extensions to install. The more plugins, the slower your browser become, particularly on start up. Depending upon your interests, you may want to install extensions related to entertainment, social networking, increasing productivity (always a big hit in the Library), research, etc. If you added the Delicious toolbar in week 5, you will already have one extension in your browser. Here are a few examples of plug-ins that may interest you:

Cooliris is a plugin that lets you transform your browser into a lightning fast, cinematic way to browse online photos and videos. It works with a variety of sites: Flickr, Facebook, Google Images, YouTube, KodakGallery, Picasa Web Albums, etc.
Cooliris for Firefox
; Cooliris for IE

StumbleUpon lets you discover websites based on your interests. When you click on the StumbleUpon button in your browser toolbar, you are brought to sites of interest to you. For more information, check the StumbleUpon video (approx. 1 minute).
StumbleUpon for Firefox
; StumbleUpon for IE

Colorful Tabs is a fun extension that merely adds color to the tabs in your browser. Colorful Tabs for Firefox

Screengrab saves webpages as images. It will capture what you can see in the window, the entire page, just a selection, a particular frame... basically it saves webpages as images - either to a file, or to the clipboard. This is particularly useful if you want to capture screenshots for a presentation or even if you just want to record an error message.
Screengrab for Firefox

Google Toolbar
lets you search Google and access your various Google services directly from your browser toolbar. Google Toolbar for Firefox and IE

is a toolbar that libraries can customize and offer to their patrons. It allows users to search their library catalogue, eresources, Google Scholar, etc. directly from the browser toolbar. It also allows users to do searches in their library resources for text found in web pages by providing a right-click context-sensitive menu. More information and installation instructions for Firefox.

Zotero is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It lives right where you do your work—in the web browser itself and provides functionality similar to RefWorks.
Zotero for Firefox

More extensions for Firefox and IE

Activities for this Week

There is one main activity for this week - choose one of the browser extensions above (if you use Firefox, you will find that you have more choices), install it in your browser and then blog about your extension experiences. If you have installed other extensions that might be of interest to other RULA2.0 participants, let us know about them in your blog.

When installing extensions in Firefox and IE, you will most likely get a message similar to the following:


This message will pop up just above the webpage and is easy to miss. It is just warning you that you are about to install a software programme. You will need to follow the instructions in this bar to be able to install your plug in.

Removing Extensions
If you have installed an extension that you no longer want, you can remove it. In Firefox, go into the Tools menu, select "Add-ons" and select the extension you want to uninstall. Click the "Uninstall" button. In IE, go into the Tools menu, select Manage Add-ons, then Enable or Disable Add-ons, select the add-on. Click the uninstall button then OK.

Advanced Activity (Optional)
By installing something called Greasemonkey in your Firefox Browser, you can customize the way a web page looks and behaves. The Library has created a script to run with Greasemonkey that will show you the status of books in the Ryerson Library when you are searching the Indigo, Amazon and Google Books sites.

To enable this for your Firefox browser you will need to:

Optional Readings and Resources
Seven Best Add-ons for IE7 (Wired)
Web Browser Extensions - Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki
Firefox Addons

Monday, March 9, 2009

Week 9 - Social Networks

If you walk around our library, you will probably notice that many students are using Facebook. You may wonder why social networking websites like Facebook are so popular among students. This week we will help you to understand what social networks are, how they work and why we need to learn about them.

What are Social Networks?

A social network is a social structure made of nodes (which are generally individuals or organizations) that are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as values, visions, ideas, financial exchange, friendship, kinship, dislike, conflict or trade. - Wikipedia.

If you would like to watch a good video for a short explanation about social networking, please check out CommonCraft’s Social Networking in Plain English (Less than 2 minutes).

There are many social networking websites today. The following list contains links to several popular social networking websites:

· MySpace
· Facebook
· Bebo
· Friendster
· Hi5
· Windows Live Home
· Linkedin
· Twitter

Library Social Network Sites

Social networking is a new approach for some academic and public libraries today to reach library users and provide information and services. Here are a few library related social network sites.

Library Thing
New York Public Library Social Network
The Brooklyn College Library
The Houston Public Library
The Denver Public Library
Manchester Library and Information Service (UK)

Facebook is the most popular social networking website in Canada.
Facebook is a free-access social networking website that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. Users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. The website's name refers to the paper facebooks depicting members of a campus community that some US colleges and preparatory schools give to incoming students, faculty, and staff as a way to get to know other people on campus. Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook while he was a student at Harvard University. Website membership was initially limited to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. It later expanded further to include any university student, then high school students, and, finally, to anyone aged 13 and over. The website currently has more than 175 million active users worldwide.
- Wikipedia.

An article in the Toronto Star repored that of January 2008, Toronto had over 1 million Facebook users and that over 50% of Canadian web users have Facebook accounts.

How to Use Facebook?
Here is a video to teach you how to register and join Facebook
Here is a video to teach you how to use your Facebook homepage
Here is a video to teach you how to find, invite, and add friends on Facebook
Youtube has many other online tutorials about Facebook.

Ryerson University Library on Facebook
Ryerson Library has created a presence on Facebook where students can search the library catalogue and find articles from the library subscribed e-resources. Once you have set up your Facebook account, you can add this application. The Chronicle of Higher Education mentioned our Library Facebook app in an article last year.

Facebook Activities

Only 4 activities this week!
1. Sign up for an account on Facebook if you do not already have one. Some may be a little hesitant to create a Facebook account, but remember, you can delete it after the RULA20 programme or you can choose to not include any personal information. If you prefer not to create a Facebook account, you will need to ask someone from your RULA 2.0 group to show you how Facebook works.
2. Go to your “profile” page to edit your own information. This is where you can prevent your birth date from showing. Add as little or as much information as you wish. You have control over what information is displayed and to whom. This article, 10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know gives tips about Facebook privacy settings.
3. Go to and find one of your friends or coworkers on Facebook, and use “add as friend” feature to add him/her into your friends network.
4. Blog about your experiences using Facebook or other social network sites.

Of course, you have the option to create an account on other social networking sites such as Twitter, but please remember to blog about your experience. Have fun!

Additional (Optional) Reading:
· MySpace, Facebook and Other Social Networking Sites: Hot Today and Gone Tomorrow?
· Social Networks Primates on Facebook
· Online Social Networking for Educators
· Libraries in Social Networking Software
· Facebook and Updating the Stereotypical Librarian Image
· Library myspace account action

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Week 8 Working with Google Applications

This week we will look at Google applications - there is more to Google than just its search engine! Besides creating a new verb in the English language (to google), Google is constantly creating (and buying) new applications and services. For example Blogger which this blog sits on was bought by Google in 2003. Google also owns Youtube (2006), Gmail, Google Scholar and too many other services/applications to mention.

What you will learn this week:

For the purposes of RULA 2.0 we will be sticking to

1. Google Docs
  • Learn how to upload a document and share it with your co-workers.
  • Work in real time on a shared document.

2. Google Maps

  • Find yourself on a map or get directions to the PARTY!
  • Try more advanced features
  • Is this a tool you can use in your daily life or in your future activities?
3. Personalizing your Google Account.

  • Decide what else you want to explore in the Google universe?
  • Make your Google search page your own.

1. Google Docs

Google Docs is a free, web-based application that will hosts your word, spreadsheet, presentation, and PDF files. It allows users to create, edit and upload documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users.

For more information you can check out what Google has to say or Wikipedia.

Common Craft also has a neat video on WHY you should be using Google Docs - It’s a revolution in document sharing!

Google Docs Activity

Create a document you’d like to share with your group or just your group leader. It’s up to you if you’d like them to be able to edit it or only view it.

One suggestion: You thoughts/feedback on the Technology Petting Zoo from February 24th or 25th.
• What you liked and what you are now going to run out and buy?
• Your favorite toy that wasn’t there but you want to let the community know
• Questions you have on any new technology you’ve seen here on RULA 2.0.
• What ever you want!

1. Sign in to Google Documents using your Google account.

2. Start a NEW document or UPLOAD an existing one.

3. To start collaborating, (1) Click off the documents you wish to share, (2) Click the SHARE button and enter the email of your co-workers (There are various user roles you can define).

4. Explore! Organize your Google Docs, Try other formats etc.

2. Google Maps – Never get lost again.

Google Maps relies on mapping technology (including satellite images) and local business directories so you can find an address or get directions from one address to another.
It’s also a great teaching tool and vacation tool – you can look up where your hotel is, directions to the Eiffel Tower, etc!

The webpage is constantly adding value added options like pictures, videos and Wikipedia entries to enrich your experience.

Google Maps Activity -Find your self on the map.

1. Go to Google Maps Canada (

2. Enter in an address or place of business in the search bar at the top– Have fun!


3.Click on “Get Directions” and enter in your current address and the address of where you want to go (have fun).

4. Once you’re there click on all the different options at the top of the map! (Satellite, Terrain etc)

Warning- For those wanting the try the advanced option

Create your own map!
1. Click on My Maps
2. Google will give you the tools to place markers and routes.

Here’s an example of my walking route to work.

View Larger Map

Cool Option:
Google Earth
(Caution –This needs to be downloaded to your computer. )

Fly over the earth and now the oceans with real satellite images and 3-D. New features include historical imagery and Museum tours.

3. Personalize your Google Account.

We’ve only gone over 2 Google Applications but there are many more enjoyable ones you can add.
In Google click on “My Account” you’ll see the ones you’ve signed up for and a list of some new ones you might want to try.


Try the new I-Google ( )
Make I-Google your home page and customize it with weather, news, maps etc.

Remember to create a post on your blog about this week's activities. Did you like them? How can we use some of Google's services in the Library?

The Wrap Up

Here’s an in-depth list of all the Google applications/services

AND above all check out Google Labs – these are services/applications Google is still working on but they want the public to test drive!

And Introducing……..the newest Google application released this month…..

GOOGLE LATITUDE -See your friends on a map and get in touch

Lattitude uses GPS technology to track down your friends through their cell phone or WiFi location. Friends must agree to this before their locations can be tracked but this is still raising lots of questions about privacy in media and academic circles. What do you think?

Fun Stuff!
Did you know every April Fools Day, Google does something to make us laugh! They also like to leave hidden Easter Eggs in their applications/services. In tech speak Easter Eggs are hidden jokes or good surprises left by developers.

Here’s one Easter egg that’s still up and running. You can check out their past hoaxes on wikipedia.
1. Go to Google and type miserable failure in the search box
2. Click on the “I’m feeling lucky” button.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Week 7 - Play Week

This week we will be taking a bit of a break from the relentless weekly exercises to give everyone a chance to catch up. We do have an activity planned for this week and that is the Technology Petting Zoo/Gadget Playtime sessions that are scheduled for Wednesday (12-1) and Thursday (1-2) in LIB386C. Drop by if you would like to see or try out any of the gadgets/toys pictured here. To give us an idea of numbers of attendees for each day, please register for either Wednesday or Thursday.

On Wednesday we are hoping to have a special guest with an e-book reader; stay tuned for more details. If you have any gadgets or tech toys that you would like to bring along, please do so.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Week 6 - LibraryThing

Welcome to Week Six RULA 20 participants ; We are are at the half-way point in RULA 2.0 .

This may prove to be a fun activity week with --a LIBRARY THING ! Social cataloguing, tagging, and blogging continues for Web 20'ers.
So , here we go with a book lover's Web 2.0 activity. It's LibraryThing week.

What's been said about LibraryThing:

"Fantastic. Addictive and very, very cool."

"LibraryThing is like iTunes for books, except it's free. ... it's easy and oddly satisfying..."
Johnny Dee, The Guide (The Guardian).

"It's Library 2.0: the internet celebrating the book, not killing it. " (Mail & Guardian online)

So, what is LibraryThing?

Try Wikipedia to see what the wikipediis say?

Have a look at a short introduction to LibraryThing

LibraryThing ACTIVITY
In this exercise you will gain an understanding of social software through setting up an account with LibraryThing. You can then add books to create your own Library, with your customized notes and tags.
Yes, one more username and password to create and remember, but, really, it's fun.

1. If you haven't already, have a look at a short introduction to LibraryThing and for additional detail Take a Tour .

2. Go to

3. Create an account by Clicking on "Join Now". Note your username and password.

4. Click on the ‘add books tab’ and try adding a few books (anything you like!) to your library. You can choose to search any cataloguing source – Amazon, Library of Congress, National Library of Canada or any of 600+ sources . Or Create your own Library from your home bookshelf. Add some tags for each of your books, including RULA as one of your tags. Add at least six books to your library.

5.Create your unique Profile in Library Thing, with as much detail as you wish

6. On your blog, make a comment or 2 about your LibraryThing experience.Please include a link to your LibraryThing catalogue. Compare tags to LC headings? Did you find any discussions about your favorites? or any other comment on LibraryThing.

EXTRAS in case you are really excited about LibraryThing

Added features include: change book covers. Choose from custom ones- or upload from another source. Example- I've scanned or taken a photo of book covers and added them to "my Library books". Not all books have book covers available from the listed sources. (Watch copyright, though.)

Take a look at the zeitgeist pages and the interesting stats

Have a look at the blogs and the buzz pages to see the innovations LibraryThing is bringing out and what all the fuss is about.

Take a look at LibraryThing for Libraries and see it in action in OPACS .

Check out LibraryThing Local (‘Local’ tab at the top) and search for venues in Toronto or any other location.

Explore the ‘legacy libraries’ (libraries of dead famous people) by clicking on the ‘stats’ link at the top of your profile page.

Build your Library and add to the LibraryThing community

Monday, February 9, 2009

Week 5 - Social Bookmarking and Tagging

"The Web is a big place, full of new and interesting things to discover. The problem is finding the good stuff and keeping track of it all"

This is where Social Bookmarking and Tagging come onto the scene. We will be looking at two revolutionary services this week that provide a new way of organizing information on the web.

First, some quick definitions:

Social Bookmarking allows you to store, organize, search and manage bookmarks of web pages. It differs from traditional bookmarking services in that its service is not tied to individual computers. You are no longer using the web browser to manage bookmarks, instead they resides on the Internet and can be accessed from any computer with Internet access. One of the interesting things about this new form of bookmarking is that it's social! You can share your favourite links with friends, co-workers, and even the general public.

Common Crafts have created an excellent introduction to Social Bookmarking using the website as an example:

Tagging (Also, referred to as *Folksonomy, collaborative tagging, social classification and social indexing) is the practice and method of collaboratively creating and managing tags to annotate and categorize content. In contrast to traditional subject indexing, metadata is generated not only by experts but also by creators and consumers of the content. Usually, freely chosen keywords are used instead of a controlled vocabulary.

*Folksonomy (from folk + taxonomy) is a user-generated taxonomy.

Tagging also allows the creation of Tag Clouds which helps you to visualize the textual information.

A Tag cloud is a visual depiction of user-generated tags or simply the word content of a site, used typically to describe the content of web sites. Tags are usually single words and listed alphabetically with the importance of a tag shown in font size and color.

An excellent example of Tag Clouds can be seen at

Social Bookmarking at Ryerson:
On the bottom of Ryerson's web pages, you'll see the following:

These are a combination of popular social bookmarking, social networking and social news sites in use today. By having these links at the bottom of the pages, we're provide users of those sites a quicker way to bookmark our pages. University Advancement have provided a quick explanation of those services if you want to learn more.

Social Bookmarking and Tagging in Libraries:

Many libraries have embraced social bookmarking and tagging even though adding keywords to resources lack Authority Control. There is a lot of controversy regarding this use of user contributed tagging in libraries. If you are interesting in learning more, the 'Additional Reading' section of this entry has some links to the discussion.

University of Pennsylvania have their own Social Bookmarking and Tagging website called PennTags which lets their patrons navigate and tag their entire collection of online resources.

Harvard's H2O program have also implemented tagging (in beta testing) to help faculty, students and staff navigate through online resources using "rich links" (i.e. social tagging).

Some libraries use Social Bookmarking for their Research Guides. This provides patrons with the most relevant information (as long as the Librarian keeps their links organized and up to date).

Activities for this Week:

Step 1. Sign up for an account on (registration page)

Step 2. Install the Bookmarklets for This will make your social bookmarking experience a lot easier.

Step 3. a) Find ten websites that you think your fellow library staff-mates should know about.

Step 3. b) Bookmark each of these sites in and assign them descriptive tags of your choice and also add the tag 'RULA20' to them.

Step 4. When you are done, check out the websites that other people tagged with RULA20. Did anyone else tag the same sites as you?

Step 5. Blog about your experiences.
  • Was the experience liberating? Empowering? Horrifying?
  • Does a lack in authority control bother you?
  • Should social bookmarking and tagging be used in libraries? If so, how do you think they should be used? If not, why not?
Congratulations! You're now a social bookmarker! Feel free to keep bookmarking and tagging sites that you come across in your travels with for the remainder of the course. Also, check the RULA20 tag often to find some interesting links tagged by your colleagues!

What!?!?! You haven't had your tagging fill yet? you want to do more?

The following steps are optional:

Step 6: Go back and edit your blog posts and add tags to each entry.
(Note: Blogger calls them 'Labels for this post')

Step 7: Turn on your blog's Tag Cloud which will show the most popular tags for your blog.

Additional (Optional) Reading:
- Folksonomies - Cooperative Classification and Communication Through Shared Metadata
- Metadata for the Masses
- Library of Congress controlled vocabularies and their application to the Semantic Web
- Tags Help Make Libraries

Resources used in this entry:
- Wikipedia - Social Bookmarking
- Common Crafts - Social Bookmarking
- Wikipedia - Folksonomy
- Tags Help Make Libraries
- Social Tagging for Library Science
- Wikipedia - Tag Clouds

Monday, February 2, 2009

Week 4 - Photo Sharing

Photo sharing is the publishing or transfer of a user's digital photos online, thus enabling the user to share them with others (whether publicly or privately). - Wikipedia.
You have probably already noticed that many Bloggers routinely add photos to their posts. One way to do this is to use Blogger's photo uploading tool, but you must ensure that you use only your photos or ones that you have permission to upload. Another method of adding photo content is to harness the power of Flickr, which allows you to blog your own photos plus those licenced under a Creative Commons License.

Photo sharing sites are some of the most popular destinations on the web. They may also be the fastest growing sites too. It is not uncommon for 5000+ images to be uploaded to Flickr during a span of only 1 minute! There are dozens of photo sharing sites, but for this exercise, we will use Flickr.

Here is how you can get started with Flickr.

1) Take the What is Flickr tour.

2) Explore Flickr:
2a) Groups - there are groups for almost every conceivable subject on Flickr, from camera types to dogs, people, things, concepts, styles. Have a look around for a group that interests you.

2b) Tags - Flickr was the first web site to popularize tagging. Tags are keywords or metadata that you can add to your photo. As as aside, Toronto is always one of the most popular tags on Flickr. There are more than 1.5 million photos tagged with Toronto on Flickr at present.

2c) Explore - Flickr designed an algorithm that displays some of the most popular photos on Flickr.

2d) The Commons - Flickr Commons is a new and fascinating example of how museums, libraries, and archives are using Flickr. You can browse thousands of public domain images, and even add tags too.

2e) Services - Flickr has an open API (application programming interface) that permits anyone write a program to display Flickr content.

Some library-related photostreams:

Ryerson Library
Library Journal
Sequoya Branch, Madison Public Library
Darien Public Library, Darien, CT
Oregon State University Archives
American Library Association

Flickr Activities

Choose one of the following exercises (or both if you are motivated and have a digital camera or a scanner and photographs).

NB: An important note on Copyright. Unless the image is covered under a Creative Commons license, assume that all images on the Internet are copyright and cannot be copied without the consent of the copyright holder. Fortunately, Flickr's advanced search function allows you to narrow your search to photographs with a Creative Commons license.

1) Browse Flickr to find an image that interests you. Write a blog post about the image (why you chose it, what you like or dislike about it) and provide a link back to the photo. Do not download the image and upload the image unless you are certain it is licensed under a Creative Commons license, in which case you still need to credit the photographer and provide a link back. If you decide to set up a Flickr account, you can use the Flickr Blogging Tool to post the images to your blog. Note, this only works if the account holder of the photo has set his/her account settings to permit blogging of his/her photos. If blogging is permitted, you will see "Blog This" above the photo.


2) For those with access to digital cameras or a scanner, create a free Flickr account and upload some of your photos. If you upload someone else's photos, you will contravene Flickr's terms of service and your account could be deleted. Tag the photos with keywords and add the tag RULA. Make sure that the photos are public. Once you have done this, create a blog post about the photo and include the photo in your post. To include the photo in your post, you can use the Flickr Blogging Tool or grab a link from the "all sizes" option above the photo. If you choose this option, you will need to edit your blog post in HTML, so the blogging tool might be easier.

Additional Site of Interest:

Flickr Blog

Monday, January 26, 2009

Week 3 - Wikis

This week we will be looking at Wikis. Wikis are websites that are collaboratively written and edited by their community. The following short video will show you how wikis can be useful for coordinating a project:

Wikis in Plain English
(approx. 4 minutes)

To be able to do the exercises below, you will need to create an account on the Wiki that has been set up for this week's activities. Please go to and request an account using your ryerson email address. It may take some time before you receive confirmation that your account is active. We are suggesting that you do this step now so that the account will be ready when you need to use it.

Wikis in Libraries

Wikis are being used in libraries for a variety of projects. Some libraries have decided to use wikis for their subject research guides, to build communities of users who have a common interest e.g. book lovers, and for creating a space where groups of staff members can collaborate on a project. Wikis are also useful in conference planning. Following are a few library-related wikis that you may want to check:

Scholars Portal Spot Docs
SJCPL Subject Guides
Bizwiki - a subject guide for business at Ohio University
Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki
Albany County Public Library Staff Wiki

Wikis at Ryerson

CCS is using a wiki internally to manage some of their projects. This wiki requires a login, but you should be able to view the introductory page.

Diane developed a wiki for use in the Issues in Marginalization course which had an assignment on Wikipedia.

Other Wikis

The most famous and often controversial wiki is Wikipedia. Our library users are using Wikipedia instead of other reference tools such as encyclopedias. One of the main reasons is that it is accessible on the web from any location at any time. If you haven't used Wikipedia, check it out. It is also available in multiple languages.

Much of the controversy that surrounds Wikipedia relates to the authority of the articles and the number of errors. In December 2005 Nature published an article on this topic: Internet Encyclopedias go Head to Head

Globe and Mail's Public Policy Wiki

Creating and Maintaining Wikis
There are a variety of tools available for creating your own wiki. Like blogging tools, wikis can be hosted on someone else's server (wiki farms), or they can be installed on your own server. For our exercises we are going to be using a tool called pbwiki which is hosted on a non-Ryerson server. Graham has set up the RULA2.0 wiki using this software. Before you start on the activities, you might like to have a look at:

pbwiki tour which will illustrate some of the features of pbwiki.

1. Create an account on the rula20 wiki.
If you created an account above, you can skip this step. If not, go to and create an account with your Ryerson email address.

2. Edit or create a wiki entry.
If you have your account, go to the RULA2.0 wiki and sign in. Once you have signed in there are many ways that you can contribute to the wiki.

You can edit a copy of the Ryerson Library entry from Wikipedia. The entry for the Ryerson Library in Wikipedia is outdated and needs some work. You can edit the entry yourself on Wikipedia, but we thought we would work on a copy here then upload all the changes to Wikipedia for the world to see.
Another option is to create some content for the recipes section of the wiki - you can upload food photos, submit a recipe, provide some cooking tips and tricks, whatever you like.

If you are not interested in food, feel free to create another section on any topic you choose.

After you have completed the above activities, post about your wiki experiences on your blog. Possible topics: how can we use wikis in the Library, can you see using a wiki as a tool to help with a group project?

Optional Readings

Using Wikipedia to Extend Digital Collections, D-Lib Magazine, May/June 2007

PEW Report on Wikipedia Users
Student Wikipedia Use Policy - Dept. of English, UCSB

Is Wikipedia Becoming a Respected Academic Source - Lisa Spiro, Director of the Digital Media Centre, Fondren Library, Rice University

Veni, Vidi, Wiki

Wikis and Libraries: Resources, Articles and Links

Monday, January 19, 2009

Week 2 - RSS Feeds

During our exploration of blogs last week you may have noticed a variety of little orange icons on some of the blogs. This week we will discover what they mean and how useful they can be.

What is RSS?

If you check several websites each day to keep up with the new items on each site, you probably realize how much time this takes. Wouldn't it be great if you could just visit one place and catch up on all your news instead of visiting all of these sites. RSS is the tool that lets you do this. For a brief description of RSS, check out this short (approx. 4 minutes) video from CommonCraft about RSS feeds.

Sites that have RSS Feeds

Many of the Library blogs that we looked at last week had RSS Feeds. For an example, go to the Information Wants to Be Free Blog. If you scroll down the right-hand side you will see a "My RSS Feed" with an orange RSS icon beside it. Click on the icon. You should get a page asking how you would like to subscribe to this feed and offering some subscription options. To be able to subscribe you will need to set up an RSS reader account which we will do as one of our exercises in a few minutes.

How Libraries are using RSS Feeds

In addition to providing RSS feeds from their news blogs, many libraries, particularly public libraries, are using RSS feeds to provide their patrons with lists of new titles.

Have a look at Cambridge Public Libraries offering of new books, cds and movies. Anything with an RSS icon has an RSS feed. (On another note, try clicking on the purple eye icon beside any topic to see how CPL displays their new books online.)

How Ryerson is using RSS Feeds

University Advancement maintains several feeds of news about happenings on campus. There are news feeds for Events, Campus News and Research News. In addition to being available for subscription, these feeds can and are used to provide content for some of the LCD panels you see around campus.
The Library is using a feed from its news blog to create the headlines that you see in the middle of the home page and to provide the same headlines to the News section of the MyLibrary tab in Blackboard.


1. Set up a Bloglines account for yourself.
If you have any difficulty doing this there is a Bloglines Tutorial that you might want to check out.

2. Subscribe to at least 10 rss feeds. Following are some suggestions:

Co-workers feeds

You can subscribe to your co-workers blogs by entering the url directly into Bloglines. Click on the add link on the top left-hand side of the page once you have logged into Bloglines. Paste the url in the box on the right side of the page. You will find the urls of your co-workers blogs on the right-hand side of this page. Add at least two of your co-workers feeds to your Bloglines account.

New Titles Feeds
You may also want to subscribe to some of our new titles lists for various subject areas. Choose one of the faculties Arts, Business, Communication and Design, Community Services or Engineering, Architecture & Science, then on the resulting page, click on the RSS icon beside a subject that interests you.

Other feeds
Bloglines also has a list of their top 200 blogs that may interest you. You can subscribe to any of these by clicking on the subscribe button.

RSS Feeds in the Wild
Any time you see one of the little orange RSS icons in your travels of the web, you can subscribe to that feed. Usually clicking on the icon will bring you to a page that asks you if you want to subscribe and will list several options including Bloglines.

Toronto Weather - RSS Link is at the bottom of
the page in blue

Once you have finished adding feeds to your Bloglines account, you will need to set up your Bloglines public url which will allow you to tell others about the feeds you are following and provide you with a link to add to your blog.

To set up and find your Bloglines public url:

1. Go to your Bloglines Account - login if necessary
2. Click on "Account" at the top right
3. Click on "Blog Settings" side of the screen
4. Enter a username and Click in the circle beside "Show my Blogroll".
Your public url will be listed on the right. Make note of this url as you will need this for your blog posting this week.
5. Click on the Save Changes button

To finish up this week's activities, create a post on your blog about this exercise. Suggested topics:
  • what you like and dislike about RSS and RSS readers
  • how we might use this technology in the library
  • could RSS feeds help you in your work or personal life
Then add a link to your public Bloglines account at the bottom of your post.

Here is an example of a public Bloglines url that has listing of library related blogs.

Additional Readings (Optional)
Keeping up using RSS by Roy Tennant
Feed Me: A gentle introduction to Internet Feeds (from Palinet, a library cooperative)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Week 1 - Blogs

What is a blog?

For a quick overview of blogs, check out CommonCraft’s video about blogs (approx. 3 minutes)

A blog (short for web log) is a means of easily publishing content on the web. Blogs have the following characteristics:
• Entries appear in reverse chronological order
• Entries are date stamped
• Content is archived

There are millions of blogs available on the web on every imaginable topic. The following list contains links to several blogs that you might want to check out:

Finding Blogs of Interest

There are search tools that you can use to find blog postings on topics of interest to you. Google Blog Search and Technorati are two of the larger ones that you might want to try. You can search them by keyword for blog posts or use the advanced search options to narrow down your search. Try searching for a topic of your choice or Ryerson Library.

Library Blogs

Many libraries have created blogs to publish Library news and happenings. One advantage of using a blog is that comments can be enabled on the blog. This allows readers of the blog to comment on the news items that have been posted and provides the library with feedback (both positive and negative about what the library is doing). If comments are enabled on a blog, you will see a "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.
After a slow start, the Ryerson Library news blog has finally started attracting more comments. One of our most commented upon items was the post about the new iMacs in the Information Commons. There are 34 comments on this post.

Here are a few library related blogs you might want to check:

A more comprehensive list of Library blogs is available on the LIS Wiki.

Ryerson Blogs

There are a variety of blogs in use at Ryerson . Some professors have integrated blogs into their teaching. For a short description of how Vinita Srivastava is using blogs in her classes, check this 2 minute video.
Other Ryerson Blogs

How to Blog

In order to create a blog you will need to use blogging software. This is not as hard as it sounds. There are many blogging services available on the web that let you to create an account and set up a blog. These are called hosted blogging services. Blogger, WordPress and Live Journal are examples of hosted blogs. Your blog exists on a web server somewhere out on the web and someone else looks after the running of the blog service. There are also blogging software packages that you can install yourself, but this is something you would probably only want to do if you are running your own web server. For the purposes our project we will be using a hosted blogging service.


IMPORTANT NOTE: How you choose to identify yourself on your blog is your choice. You can blog under a screen name, anonymously, or as yourself. To qualify for the staff incentives and prize drawings, you will need to let your team leader know the name of your blog (see step 2 below).

  1. Create a blog using either Blogger or WordPress. For this project it doesn’t really matter which you choose, but if you would like to know the pros and cons of Blogger and WordPress, check out this (you guessed it) blog post. You will be using this blog weekly to track your progress in the RULA 2.0 programme.

    To create a Blogger blog, go to and click on the orange “Set up an Account” button.

    To create a Word Press blog, go to and click on the blue “Sign up Now” button.

  2. Once your blog has been set up, create your first post on your blog. This post can be anything you want – you may want to write about your expectations for this programme or anything else of interest to you. Email your group leader and let him/her know the url of your blog. (If you are using blogger the url will take the form of or if using WordPress, A link to your blog will be placed on this blog.

If you have not yet been assigned to a group and don’t know who your group leader is, please send an email to to request that you be added to a group.

Feeling Adventurous (Optional)

Twitter is a service that combines social networking and microblogging (very short blog postings). Users post text-based updates , called tweets, of up to 140 characters which most usually answer the question What are you doing now? Interested, check out the Commoncraft Twitter video or check Twitter out directly.

Other Information about Blogs
State of the Blogosphere 2008 - Statistics about the who, why, what, when and where of blogging.
Weblog Awards - Annual awards for various categories of blogs

If you have any questions, please post a comment here or contact your group members or leader.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

RULA 2.0 Learning Groups

Listed below are the RULA Learning 2.0 Groups, leaders and participants. The groups are designed to provide a smaller community where you can support one another by sharing ideas and challenges while working through the RULA Learning 2.0 programme. You are not limited to interacting with just your group members; feel free to talk to anyone participating in the programme.

The groups are informal and the group members can decide if the group would like to meet. Your group leader(s) will be able to answer general questions about the programme or you can ask questions or make comment on the weekly activity blog postings.

If you name is not listed in one of the groups below, please send an email to and you will be added.

Group 1
Leader: Fangmin Wang
1. Sue Giles
2. Dan Jakubek
3. Elizabeth MacLaurin
4. Don Kinder
5. Lei Jin
6. Noel Damba

Group 2
Leader: Brian Cameron
1. Joan Parsons
2. Anna Tassone
3. Hope Farrugia
4. Farzana Khan
5. Ophelia Cheung

Group 3
Leaders: Weina Wang and Jeanine Orleans
1. Robert Mazur
2. Michelle Chen
3. Ursula Trescases
4. Jim McKelvey
5. Shellina Sajan
6. Michael Macdonald

Group 4
Leader: Kelly Dermody
1. Beth Knazook
2. Rosalynn Mackenzie
3. Ursula Nocon
4. Madeleine Lefebvre
5. Liz Bishop

Group 5
Leader: Naomi Eichenlaub
1. Val Lem
2. Aileen Farray
3. Lies Weijs
4. Jadwiga Kiebalo
5. Doris Lovadina-Lee
6. Maria Nunes
7. Carmen Brown
8. Laurie Woods

Group 6
Leader: Graham McCarthy
1. Alan Miller
2. Dana Thomas
3. Kraigen Brown
4. Mandi Arlain
5. Denise Matchett
6. Donna Kewley

Group 7
Leader: Sonny Banerjee
1. Sina Emami
2. Jane Schmidt
3. Kelly Kimberley
4. Jey Wolofsky
5. Helene Desouza
6. Abraham Kassa

Group 8
Leader: Sally Wilson
1. Debra Jo Sujka
2. Zita Murphy
3. Trina Grover
4. Anna Huta
5. Val Fox
6. Rosita Leung
7. Jean Emanuel
8. Lucina Fraser