Archive for August, 2009

Food for thought

This isn’t a discovery exercise, but something that is related to the question of why we are doing the CityLibrariesLearning program.

Watch the video, then post some thoughts on your learning blog about the statement made in the video:

Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.

Feel free to agree or disagree. ūüôā


August 19, 2009 at 4:41 pm 1 comment

Discovery 11 – Online collaboration – Online Docs and more


It’s time for another movie! Grab your popcorn, sit back, relax and learn about Google Docs.

The availability and use of online productivity web-based applications (think word processing and spreadsheets) has exploded over the past few years and for good reasons! These powerful applications provide users with the ability to create and share documents over the internet without the need of installed desktop applications. Some experts speculate that this emerging trend may mean the death to Microsoft Office and other software-based productivity tools, while others think web-based applications have their place, but not in the office. But no matter which side of the office suite platform you side with, on this both sides seem to agree: web-based apps have their place.

One large benefit to web-based applications it that they eliminate the need to worry about different software versions or file types as you email documents or move from PC to PC or Windows to Mac! You can create a document at home, but work on it anywhere that has an Internet connection. Another bonus is that they easily accommodate collaboration by allowing multiple users to edit the same file (with versioning) and provide users the ability to easily save and convert documents as multiple file types (including HTML and PDF). And, you can even use many of these tools, such as Zoho Writer and Google Docs to author and publish posts to your blog. It’s this type of integration with other Web 2.0 tools that also makes web-based apps so appealing.



For this discovery exercise, take a tour of Google’s version of web-based word processing, Google Docs, register and create some simple documents. 

There are many more web-based apps to play with and explore, so if you are already familiar with Google Docs, try another one like Zoho which offers a range of applications.  Zoho Writer is the word processozoho-writer-logo1r. It allows instant collaboration, inline commenting and chat facilities. It allows multiple users to work on a document simultaneously, you can import Microsoft Word (DOC), OpenOffice text (ODT & SXW), HTML, RTF, JPG, GIF, & PNG files. Options include sharing documents only with your colleagues/friends or you can publish them for public view. Take the Zoho Writer tour.


1. Sign up for an account in Google and/or Zoho.
2. Create a document. Upload an existing document to your account. See if you save your document as a PDF or another file version.
3. Publish the document (Public) and post the link on your blog for others to view and/or edit. (*Note: the important part of this exercise to learn and play with web-based apps. If you don’t want to put your document in your blog or link to it, you do not have to, just make sure you blog about your experiences.)
4. Blog about the tools’ ease of use, potential in the library, and other thoughts

August 19, 2009 at 12:58 pm Leave a comment

Discovery 10 – Online Collaboration – Wikis


What’s a Wiki? Watch and learn…

A wiki is a collaborative website and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content. Wikipedia, the online open-community encyclopedia, is the largest and perhaps the most well-known of these knowledge sharing tools. With the benefits that wikis provide, the use and popularity of these tools is exploding.

Some of the benefits that make wikis so attractive:

  • Anyone (registered or unregistered, if unrestricted) can add, edit or delete content;
  • Tracking tools within wikis allow you to easily keep up on what been changed and by whom;
  • Earlier versions of a page can be viewed and reinstated when needed;
  • Users do not need to know special computer code (HTML) in order to apply styles to text or add and edit content. In most cases, if you have used Word to edit a document, then you an edit a wiki.

As the use of wikis has grown over the last few years, libraries have begun to use them to collaborate and share knowledge. Among their applications are pathfinder or subject guide wikis, book review wikis, conference wikis and even library best practices wikis.


Some staff of CityLibraries have already dipped their toes in the water with these two wikis

Have a browse through some of these wikis to see how people are using them.

  • SJCPL¬†Subject Guides¬†‚Äď a pathfinder wiki developed by the St. Joseph County Public Library system.
  • Book Lovers Wiki¬†– developed by the Princeton Public Library.
  • Library Success: A best practices wiki
  • The Albany County Public¬†Library Staff wiki¬†‚Äď an example of a wiki created for library staff to document procedures.
  • Library¬†Blog¬†Wiki
  • ¬†


    Your task for this discovery exercise is to add some comments, links or other content to the CityLibraries Information to Consider¬†wiki. ¬†The review of Information Services is something that every staff member can contribute to (especially if you don’t work on an Information Desk – we really need to hear your views!).

    Create a blog post about your experience.

    • What did you find interesting about the wiki concept?
    • What types of applications within libraries and schools might work well with a wiki?
    • Many teachers/faculty ‚Äúban‚ÄĚ Wikipedia as a source for student research. What do you think of the practice of limiting information by format?
    • Which did you think of the experience of editing a wiki?

    Well done – you have finished another Discovery exercise!

    August 19, 2009 at 10:23 am 1 comment

    Discovery 9 – Communicating Online


    Image courtesy of DailyPic

    Image courtesy of DailyPic

    This discovery exercise is going to take a look at some online communication tools that you may already be familiar yet – indeed you may use some of them almost constantly already. But how might a public library service use these ‘every-day’ tools to better reach our customers?

    The tools we’ll look at are:

    • Instant Messaging
    • Text Messaging / Texting / SMS
    • Web Conferencing

    Instant Messaging (IM)

    ¬†IM is real-time online¬†communication between two or more people. Think of it as very fast email exchange between two people! Each person needs to log into the same IM service, and know each others IM name (much like you need to know someone’s phone number before you phone them). Messages are typed and sent to the other person, and sometimes files (pictures, videos etc) can be shared as well. IM is useful because of the immediate response you can get form another person.

    Some more information on IM from How Stuff Works and Wikipedia.

    Text Messaging / Texting / SMS (Short Message Service)
    If you have a mobile phone you probably know about SMS (or text messaging). This service lets you send short messages of up to 160 characters via your mobile phone. There is a basic cost, which you pay as part of your mobile phone plan or pre-paid account.

    Read more about SMS at Optus or Telstra.

    Web Conferencing

    You can conduct or attend live meetings, training or presentations over the internet using web conferencing. This service allows you to sit at your own computer and connect to the conference over the internet. Sometimes this requires a downloaded application on your computer but it can also be a web-based application where you simply enter a URL into your browser to enter the live meeting. These web-based applications use either Java or Flash technology. A webinar is a type of web conference. A webinar can be one-way, with the speaker giving a presentation or it can be collaborative including question and answer or discussion sessions to allow full participation between the audience and the presenter.



    Instant Messaging (IM)

    Join up and start chatting! There are stand-alone IM services, but increasingly IM functions are built into social network sites like Facebook. Some IM services require downloads onto your computer and some work totally online. Some popular online ones are:

    1. Register with an IM service. Share your IM name on your blog, or share it with friends, family and workmates. Organise a IM chat with someone at another library branch during work hours if you need to practice (Warren and Neal are happy to chat!)

    2. Read about Instant Messaging and libraries in this Library Journal article.

     Text Messaging / Texting / SMS

    ¬†If you have never played with SMS, or if you don’t have a mobile phone to SMS with, try asking your work colleagues if they could show you SMS on their phones. Your supervisor may have a work mobile which you may be able to borrow and use to try SMS.

    Curtin University Library in Australia has an SMS a Query reference service. This paper TXTing Librarians at Curtin (PDF 252 kb) was presented at the Information Online conference in February 2005.

    Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki has an extensive list of libraries using SMS and IM for Reference and other customer service work.

    Web Conferencing

    The State Library of Queensland offer free training to public library staff via web conferencing. They are advertised through the opalinfo email list and the software used works well on CityLibraries staff computers. Sign up for a training session!



    Post your thoughts about Instant Messaging, SMS/Texting and Webinars in your learning blog. If you already use any of these tools, share what you like about them and how you use them. If this is the first time you have used one of these services, write some ideas about how you might use it at work or home.

    August 6, 2009 at 4:43 pm 2 comments

    Twitter – TownsvilleLib

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    Learning 2.0 is a discovery learning program created by Helene Blowers. Content and style for CityLibrariesLearning has been borrowed and duplicated with permission, under a Creative Commons License.
    Creative Commons License
    CityLibrariesLearning by CityLibraries Townsville is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License.
    Content has also been borrowed and duplicated under Creative Commons Licenses, from All together Now by the School Library Journal and Michael Stephens and 23 Things on a Stick
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