Archive for September, 2009

Discovery 14 – Online Databases


The internet is a wonderful source of information and it is literally true that anyone can publish anything on the internet. This free, uncensored publishing produces a lot of misleading information, especially when it comes to important topics like medicine and law. One way to find reliable information is to choose a reliable source, such as an online database.

An online database is a collection of information about a particular topic which is written, selected and organised by experts and professionals in a particular field. Some databases are collections of articles from newspapers, magazines and other publications like encyclopedias. Usually the database contains the full text (and sometimes pictures, animation and videos) that you would see in the printed version of the publication.

Some online databases are free, most are not.  Subscription costs vary from hundreds of dollars to several thousands, so are beyond the reach of most individuals. Therefore, businesses and institutions usually subscribe to databases on behalf of their employees and customers. CityLibraries Townsville subscribes to several online databases, much like we subscribe to printed papers and magazines. The subscription and licence agreements determine how we and our members can access the databases.

Some of these online databases have been adding Web 2.0 features to their services. Let’s take a look…


historyicon1) Head to the History Reference Centre and login using your library barcode number.


Search for any topic of interest. Once you see the results list, have a look at the top of the list for the orange RSS feed icon. You can add this feed to your feed reader (that you first set up in Discovery no. 4). Any new articles or items added to this database, that match your search, will be sent as an alert in your RSS feed reader.

2) While logged in to this database, check out the Visual Search feature. Strictly speaking, it’s probably not a web 2.0 feature, but it does indicate a “user-centered” way of thinking (presenting search results graphically instead of lists of text), which corresponds to a web 2.0 way of working.


3) Your Tutor takes advantage of some online comunciation tools like Instant Messaging, that we played with in Discovery 9.

4) Visit the online databases available from the State Library of Queensland. (If you haven’t done so previously, you will need to register for a QPL account, using your CityLibraries Townsville card. Registration is free and you get immediate access after email verification).

  • scroll down and log into the Proquest Science Journals database
  • perform a search on a topic of your choice
  • as you find relevant results that interest you, mark them with a tick
  • when you are done marking results, click on the Marked Items folder and use the “create a web page” feature to create an html file from your marked records
  • use the “Edit” utility to make comments on your web page
  • after saving your comments, e-mail the web page to yourself and a colleague



Use these tools to set up some useful alerts or reference pages for your work.

Blog about your experiences in this Discovery exercise.


September 30, 2009 at 12:38 pm 4 comments

Discovery 13 – Social Networking


Discover social networking by watching this video:

Social networking services, as defined by Wikipedia, are “primarily web based and provide a collection of various ways for users to interact, such as chat, messaging, email, video, voice chat, file sharing, blogging, discussion groups.” Many of Gene Smith’s building blocks of social sites will be found by users at various sites.

  • Identity—a way of uniquely identifying people in the system
  • Presence—a way of knowing who is online, available, or otherwise nearby
  • Relationships—a way of describing how two users in the system are related (e.g. in Flickr, people can be contacts, friends, or family)
  • Conversations—a way of talking to other people through the system
  • Groups—a way of forming communities of interest
  • Reputation—a way of knowing the status of other people in the system (Who’s a good citizen? Who can be trusted?)
  • Sharing—a way of sharing things that are meaningful to participants (like photos or videos)

It is worth noting that most socail networks incorporate tools already discussed in our other Discovery exercises —blogging, micro-blogging, photo and video sharing, and IM.

Earlier this year, the Pew Internet and American Life Project published a research report that said:

The share of adult internet users who have a profile on an online social network site has more than quadrupled in the past four years — from 8% in 2005 to 35% now (Dec 2008)

  75% of adults aged 18-24 use these networks

One of the more popular social networking sites, Facebook, was originally launched for students at Harvard College. Its membership was opened up and expanded to include almost anyone who has an e-mail address. Facebook recently announced it had 300 million registered users.  Users, in addition to setting up profiles and linking to people and networks, can also pick and choose from thousands of applications.

Ning is social networking service that allow anyone to build their own free social site via a set of integrated Web tools. Ning offers a site to anyone for free and displays ads on Ning pages to provide revenue. Features include the creation of groups, discussion forums, integrated blogs, RSS feeds, tag clouds, integrated video and photos, and personal page customization.

Ravelry is another very popular social networking site with a dedicated focus. It is a knit and crochet community, where you can:

  • Organise. Organise your projects, stash, needles, and more.
  • Share. Show off your work. Share your ideas and techniques.
  • Discover. Find new designs & yarns. Make friends. Try new things.


Facebook requires registration in order to view any profiles of members.
1. Register for the site and add 2-3 friends. Leave a comment at the bottom of this post so others can find and ‘friend’ you.  

2. Complete a profile, write on at least one wall and join at least one group. Here are some possible Facebook Groups to join: (Groups are only visible when logged in to Facebook.)
Library 2.0 Interest Group
Libraries Using Facebook Pages
Librarians and Facebook

Read through the Top Ten Facebook Apps for Librarians and consider using some of them.

Top Ten Facebook Apps for Librarians – Part One
Top Ten Facebook Apps for Librarians – Part Two
Top Ten Facebook Apps for Librarians – Part Three

If you like, register with one of the other social networking sites mentioned above (or any other you may have heard of) and join up with other library staff and library-related groups. Some library-related Ning groups:


Write a blog post about what you thought of social networking sites. Here are some questions to get you thinking:

Which library-related or non-library groups did you join in Facebook (or other networks) and why?
Reflect on why Facebook may be the fastest growing social network. Is that reputation deserved?
How might public libraries use Facebook to deliver library services to the public?

September 21, 2009 at 4:03 pm 3 comments

Discovery 12 – Web Video


Within the few years online video hosting sites have exploded allowing users to easily to upload and share videos on the web. Among all the web 2.0 players in this area, YouTube is currently top dog, allowing users not only to upload their own video content easily, but also embed clips into their own sites/blogs easily.

Do some searching around YouTube yourself and see what the site has to offer. You’ll find everything from 1970s comedy,  1980s TV commercials, pseudo documentaries and the latest movie trailers. Of course, like any free site you’ll also find a lot stuff not worth watching too. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore and see for yourself what the site has too offer.  


Bored in the library one day? Maybe try…

Take a look at the library YouTube videos highlighted at Tame the Web for more inspiration.

Some other online video sites to explore: 


Explore YouTube & find a video worth adding as an entry in your blog.  Try to embed the video in your blog and create a blog post 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?

Feeling brave? Make your own video and upload it to YouTube or Google Video. Promote a library program or introduce your library to the community or something else. If you do, be sure to embed it in your blog.

September 21, 2009 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

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
September 2009
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