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. http://docs.google.com/

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 (http://maps.google.ca/maps)

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 http://earth.google.com/
(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 (www.google.com/ig )
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 http://www.librarything.com/

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"
- delicious.com

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 del.icio.us 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 wordle.net

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 del.icio.us. (registration page)

Step 2. Install the Bookmarklets for del.icio.us. 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 del.icio.us 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 del.icio.us 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 Del.icio.us

Resources used in this entry:
- Wikipedia - Social Bookmarking
- Common Crafts - Social Bookmarking
- Wikipedia - Folksonomy
- Tags Help Make Libraries Del.icio.us
- 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