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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Week 7, thing#23: Final Thoughts

Personnally I think this is good learning experience. Because I am late to the program it gave me the opportunity to test many updated versions of social media sites and tools. I found the following sites and software are most useful to me and have great potential to be used (some of the function may have alreay been incorporated in our web pages) for better serving our customers. Those sites and programs are: Bloglines, Flickr, RSS feeds, Online image generators, Wiki, You Tube, Podcast and OverDrive. Mastering those tools to a certain degree, one can produce pretty decent blog pages or host a web site to communicate and socialise with similar minded individuls or groups. I think online productivity tool, although improved tremendously in the last couple of years, still has a way to go if it wants to compete with Microsoft for real business. It can not be denied that they are great as free tools. One surprise factor, at least, to me is that many online guides and web sites are not well maintained, probably because of lacking of staff or time. My feeling is that it may be easy to set up the program but to keep it current with all new information and technology would be a challenge. I think the instructions and guidance to the participants for the learning program provide Maryland Learning 2.0 is excellent, I especially like the suggested excercises. Although according to the instruction, I am supposed to spend 45 minutes for each "Thing", I think I routinely spend far more than that.    

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Week 7, thing#22: Downloadable materials

OverDrive site is pretty good in design. You can search any material by keyword, title, author and ISBN. You can also perform advance search by combining different search categories. I first search the title "That Used To Be Us" by Thomas L Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, but the title is only available in Adobe EPUB format and only available to some 9 countries other than US. The site provides bookstore search so you can buy the reading right there. In this case through search, I found an Australia store called "Read without Paper" ( that has the e-book so you can purchase the read right for AUD32.03.

In order to test the download function of its website, I choose a title named "The show must go on" by Jane O'Connor. Since I have the title information, I used advanced title field search and get 3 results immediately which includes 2 audiobooks in MP3 and WMA format, and 1 ebook. At this stage, you can listen to the sample to see if you really like it. If you do, you may decide if you want to buy from a bookstore or borrow from a library. If you want to borrow from your local library, you first need to do a search to see if your local library is on the owner list. If it does, then you can select your library on the list. The zip code search is really helpful and effient way for the customers. Once you find your local library, in this case, it is Montgomery County Public Library and its branches. When you click on the library on the list, it will take you to the Maryland' Digital eLibrary Consortium website. You then can check out the e-audio or place a hold by using your library card.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Week 7, thing#21: Podcasts has a clear cut approch with topics grouped in categories such as Arts, Business, Education, etc. but no detailed index. At Podcast Alley, you can add your own podcast to the site by being a registered user. You can also do keyword search in addition to genre category search. Hits of podcast titles will be listed. However when you click on one of those titles you will not get podcast directly. You need either download podcast software or go to Podshow at before you can actually listen to them. So in comarison, Podcast Alley is just a search tool while provides one stop shopping experience. The following is the link to Lincoln City Libraries Podcasts which is listed in my Blogline account (, giving good example of how libraries can take advantage of this technology to better serve our customers.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Week 7, thing#20: You Tube

You Tube site is easy to use and navigate. The quality of videos are vast different. Depending on your time, interest, search skills and tast, it will take some time to get really good, relevant videos on your research topics. There is no question about the entertainment value of the site, especially when you just want to relax and watch some interesting movie clips.
The video I choose for this project is entertaining and beautifully shot and with great music.

There are many ways for the system to use You Tube to enhance our customers' experience with various library services. For example, in-house produced training, policy and procedural videos can be uploaded to You Tube and our web site to accompany text document, providing better communication tool and let County residents know the core value of our service.   

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Week 6, thing#19 : Web 2.0 Award Sites

The list is a little bit outdated (published in 2008) so I choose a top ranking one by Google search. The site is The site tool can crawl customer site each week, identify performance issues and notifying the user. It also monitor rankings for all the keywords customers care about. It gives actionable recommendations for customer website and helps user not only understand where things may have gone awry but gives them clear instructions on what to fix. It uses Keyword Difficulty tools to analyze the current keyword landscape, provides customers with a detailed analysis of the top ranking pages for guiding content strategy and prioritizing keyword optimization. The SEOmoz Toolbar is easy to use (which is available for both Firefox and Chrome) to access a wealth of information on the web. You can review metrics like Page Authority, Domain Authority and link data without leaving a single page. The things I don't like is that it is a commercial product and costs $99 per month after 30 day free trial period.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Week 5, thing#18: Online Application Tools

The layout and tool bar of Zoho Writer are clean and easy to use because they are smiliar to Microsoft words but more. In my opinion, it is more intuitive than Words.

The unique feature of tags-as-folders is a very good idea which makes the document available in mutiple folders according to sugjects! We can click on "Tag Folders" in the Sidebar to view all tag folders.

Zoho Writer responds to the basic human need to connect with others - share a document with others & allow them to work on it. One feature of that is "inline comments" to particular paragraphs/sentences of a document. If you write a report or training plan, team members and bosses can add comments in a document you are collaborating on.

Online Thesaurus is very convient for me to find synonyms and related words. Of course spelling check is also a plus.

Week 5, thing#17: Wiki Play

BP Wiki tour and PBwiki Vidio Gallery are no longer available. PB Wiki tips have many good suggestions.