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Discovery 16 – Lifelong learning


Congratulations – you’ve finished this Discovery exercise before you even started! What you have been doing over the last few months, working through the 15 other Discovery exercises, is what lifelong learning is all about. You don’t always need to sit in a class and be taught by an ‘expert’. Hopefully you will have discovered that you have the skills, the time and the resources to explore new technologies, play with new ideas and programs, and to make connections with your work and/or personal life, without waiting until the training comes to you.

We all need to keep informed. It is very easy to get involved in the day-to-day running of a library, with issuing and returning books, shelving, meetings, running programs, troubleshooting, meetings, information desk work, collection development, heritage work, meetings, meetings and more.

In spite of all that work, we do need to stay up to date on what our customers are using, talking about, and asking us for help with. As libraries continue to evolve, we need to be informed to evolve with them.


We hope that you have also discovered a sense of play and fun that comes from learning, and from helping each other to learn.


You have one last task……continue the learning! Armed with the set of tools you have discovered through these exercises, you are now well equipped to stay up to date with new and emerging technologies and ideas in libraries and the wider world.

Take a moment to compose a blog post about your overall thoughts and feelings about the CityLibrariesLearning learning 2.0 program.

Don’t stop learning, and take the time each day to Discover, Play and Connect.


November 26, 2009 at 3:50 pm Leave a comment

Discovery 15 – Mobile Phones


They’re small, they’re light, they’re mobile phones!

Oh, perhaps we’d better take a look at something more up to date:

Back in Discovery 9 we took a look at SMS / texting on mobile phones. The latest mobile phones are almost like fully functioning computers, which allow you to:

  • access the internet and email,
  • shoot photos and video and upload to sites like YouTube
  • access web 2.0 tools like Facebook and Twitter.

The second video above is about an application (often abbreviated to ‘app’) for the latest version of the Apple iPhone. There are now thousands of apps (some free, some you need to pay for) available to add extra features and functionality to iPhones.


If you don’t have access to a recent phone to play around with, have a chat with your supervisor – most of our work mobile phones can access some online services.

Play with these facts and figures…

Who has a mobile phone?

According to the ABS, one third of all Australian children (between ages of 5 to 14) have a mobile phone (*1). In the 12 to 14 year age group, that jumps to just over 75% ownership. It’s not just city kids either. According to the report: There was no difference between the proportion of children who had a mobile phone by their location (living in a state capital city or outside of a state capital city (including Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory)). Mobile phone ownership was 33% for children living in outer regional areas, 31% or children living in major cities and 30% or children living in inner regional areas.

According to another a recent government report (*2), at June 2008, there were just over 22 million mobile phone subscribers in Australia – about the same number of people in Australia (*3).

How are people using mobile phones?

 This recent report (*4)  from the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association has some interesting stats:

  • 77% of survey respondents use the mobile phone for a purpose other than voice and SMS
  • 21% of respondents said they visit websites on their mobile phone at least once a day
  • 25% of respondents said they carry out mobile searches at least once a week
  •  57% of respondents used MMS (sending pictures) in the last 12 months; 36% used email, 18% used IM; and 9% chat

How are libraries starting to deliver services via mobile phones?

  • mobile phone versions of library websites
  • SMS notification services (overdue notices etc)
  • Reference services via SMS
  • Library collections like e-books, audio books, music etc which can be used on mobile phones
  • Audio-tours of the library

Check out the article on M-Libraries in the Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki for links to many library examples.


Think of one service that CityLibraries could (and should?) deliver to customers via their mobile phones. Write an explanation in your learning blog.


*1.   Australian Bureau of Statistics. 4901.0 – Children’s Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, Apr 2009.

*2. Australian Government Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. Statistical Snapshot – 2009 (PDF, 1.2 mb). Key statistical information for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

*3. Australian Bureau of Statistics.  Population Clock:

*4. Australian Interactive Media Industry Association. Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index, 5th edn. September 2009.

November 25, 2009 at 4:33 pm 1 comment

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

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. 🙂

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

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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.
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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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