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