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 – 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 – 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 “ban” 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

    Discovery 8 – Keeping track


    Do you keep a list of favourites in Internet Explorer? What about bookmarks in Firefox?

    Different browsers call them different things but they are all essentially the same. Favourites and bookmarks allow you to save the url (uniform resource locator or “link”) to a website in your browser for quick reference at a later date.

    They are super easy to add and very useful. However how many times have you lost bookmarks? It might be that your hard drive in your computer fails or the IT guy forgets to back them up for you when he is repairing your computer.

    Online bookmarking provides us with a website where we can keep a bookmarks safe from all of the aforementioned disasters. Plus you can access your online bookmarks from any internet computer, anywhere.

    There are a host of online bookmarking sites but we will only cover two here. Delicious and Digg


    Visit Delicious and search for some topics that interest you. Look at what is popular, see who bookmarked those sites, and then keep on clicking to see what other related sites that person also bookmarked.

    Visit Digg and look at the most popular articles. Try to sort them by popularity or recency. Play with some settings to organise the list. Do a search for something that interests you and see which articles have the most diggs.


    Create a user account on Delicious and bookmark some websites. Use Delicious as a search engine for interesting websites and see what is popular. You can even add an RSS feed to your aggregator of popular bookmark topics.

    Create a user account on Digg and digg some articles. use this daily as a means to keep up with the bleeding edge news on any search items or currently trending topics. Use the functionality of digg to sort your list into “most dugg” or “newest first” to help organise your news items.

    Finally, don’t forget to update your learning blog with some thoughts and comments about online bookmark services.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

    Discovery 7 – Tagging


    As librarians we already know all about tagging. Even if we think we don’t. Have a look at our Catalogue page here. You’ll notice there is a tab labelled “Subject” by searching our catalogue by subject we are in fact searching using tags.

    So what is tagging?

    Tagging is a form of meta-data. A descriptor applied to data to define something about it, usually a searchable term. So we use tagging in libraries for our collections, the tags we use on the catalogue are actually from the Library of Congress Subject Headings for Bibliographic records. These are set tags that we use on our collections to make them searchable by subject.

    Generally when we talk about tagging we are talking about user generated meta-data used with many online tools and websites.


    By this point in the Learning2.0 program we are already signed up on Flickr, Twitter and have a blog going. All of these tools can benefit from tagging posts or pictures. Think about it, When you do a search for a picture on Flickr. The search results are based on tags from your search term.

    Think about what types of online data you can be tagging?

    Flickr has a list of tags to the right side on every photo page. Tags can be created for images at or after the time of uploading and tags can even be applied to your photo’s by someone else.

    Twitter uses tagging as well. People started creating hashtags for twitter meme’s as well as covering certain topics of interest, for example. A group of people all attending the cebit conference that was held in Sydney in May were using the #cebit tag on their posts. You will also notice #followfriday and #musicmonday on twitter. check out Twitterfall for currently trending topics and tag searches.

    When writing your blog posting in your chosen blogging platform (WordPress for most of you) you will notice you can add tags to the posting. Have a look at the Learning2.0 tags we have used on these posts.


    Place some tags on your flickr photo’s, make sure you tag your next blog postings and try using some #hashtags on twitter.

    Now that you’ve used them. Search for them, Try to find your own posts by searching Flickr or Twitter for the tags you used.

    Seek out other things that interest you based on key word tagging. (Photography, Gardening, Motorsports, State of Origin etc.)

    Create a tag cloud using Wordle and bask in it’s Taggy goodness.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:25 pm 2 comments

    Discovery 6 – Mashups


    A music video to get you in the mood!

    This is a mashup from Kutiman, a musician / artist from Israel who mashes up unrelated  music videos from YouTube to create new songs and music clips. 

    When something like a song, picture, map or piece of text is digitised (copied or scanned so a computer can ‘read’ it), it is relatively easily to mix and mash it together with another digitised thing.  The results can be entertaining and fun, like the music video above, but mashups can also help represent complex and seemingly unrelated data in new and interesting ways.

    Some companies like Flickr (which we explored in our last Discovery exercise), offer a service called an API – Application programming interface. This is something like a computer program that can remix and reuse data that is supplied by you.


    They best way to learn is to play around with mashing up some of your own data. You’ll need the photos that you have been uploading to your Flickr account to play with these Flickr mashup tools. If you don’t have enough photos uploaded yet, you can easily use other photos available on Flickr.

    If you run out of ideas with those tools, there are heaps more available at:


    Have a play with as many of these mashup tools as you like, and then post the results of at least one of your own mashups to your learning  blog. Most of the mashup services will give easy instructions about how to save results of your mashup or how to upload it to your blog.

    June 23, 2009 at 4:07 pm Leave a comment

    Discovery 5 – Flickr

    How many times have you thought “I wish there was a way I could share my travel photo’s with family and friends without the hassle of emailing or posting cd’s/dvd’s”

    It’s something we have all come across at various times in our lives and it’s not simply limited to travel photo’s. It might be photo’s in general, Not all of our friends and family are close by and sometimes sharing images can be a hassle.

    It may have passed many of us by but in the late 90’s several online image companies rose providing hosting and photo-finishing services to it’s clients. It wasn’t really until the earlier 2000’s that online social media sites popped up with image storage and sharing functionality.

    Flickr was one of the first, founded by Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield. In 2002 Flickr revolutionised the way we share images.


    Watch this video to discover the concept of Flickr

    As you can see Flickr allows users to upload, Edit, Organise, Share, and Engage with their images. Flickr in it’s maturity is the best of breed for online photo sharing and is widely used throughout the world.

    Take the tour here

    Additional to personally uploading, organising and sharing your own photo’s, Flickr encourages us to get out and Explore! the world of online images. Explore allows us to view random images from Flickr based on something the Flickr team calls Interestingness.

    Flickr is comprised of many user created and moderated groups, you can become a member of a group and post your photos as well as participate in discussion in a forum style setting.


    Sign up for a flickr account here, click on the “Create account” button.

    Check out some groups of interest, the below are just library ones but do a search for some subjects that interest you.

    Create a set in Flickr. Sets are like groups and allow you to better organise your photo’s.

    Upload a photo, add it to your new set.


    By now you should know your way around the basic functions of Flickr.

    Setup your profile page and account settings. Your profile page should say a little about yourself and can link back to your blog.

    Your account settings is the place where you can change privacy and permissions and should be carefully reviewed before uploading to Flickr. The default setting for privacy of images is “All rights reserved” however you can chose to apply a Creative commons license to images for rights and usage. More info on Creative Commons here

    Upload some more photo’s and place them in multiple sets. Also add them to some groups. If you are a member of the Townsville group then that’s a good start.

    Now is a good time to participate in some discussion, pick one of your new groups and post on one of the discussion threads. Spend some time and look around for a subject that you can actively participate in. (You’ll be suprised how much discussion happens in flickr groups.)

    Comment on other people’s photo’s. By this point other participants of the learning2.0 program should have some photo’s up online.

    Finally record your experiences on your Learning2.0 blog.

    Note:- Flickr has many options and various little facets to find and work out. If anyone has any issues or questions make sure to contact any of the Learning2.0 program team. Feel free to Tweet questions, we  will reply where we can.

    Comments on this post are also a good central place for Q&A’s.

    June 9, 2009 at 10:49 am 2 comments

    Discovery 4 – RSS

    Feed-iconAt this stage of your learning journey, you may have found that you have quite a few websites and blogs to visit on a regular basis. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just go to one spot to read the latest news and blog postings? RSS can help!


    RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” It is a computer file format for delivering regularly updated information over the web.

    Think about the websites, blogs and news sources you visit every day. It takes time to visit those sites and browse the pages for just the information you want to read. Imagine if you could visit all those information sources and web pages in just one place and all at the same time … without being bombarded with advertising… without having to search for new information on the page you’d already seen or read before… and without having to consume a lot of time visiting each site individually. Would that be valuable to you? Well, it’s available now through a newsreader and RSS.

    Watch this video to get an overview of RSS:


    To gather and read useful and interesting RSS feeds in one place, you will need a feed reader (also known as an aggregator).


    1) Set up a free account with a feed reader/news aggregator. Here are some choices:

    Bloglines – simple but useful reader, ideal for beginners

    Google Reader – also easy to use, has some more features than Bloglines

    Netvibes – has a more graphical interface and tabbed pages so you can group feeds by topic

    All of these sites do a similar thing (aggregate RSS feeds) but the look of each is different. Play with each one and choose the one you like the best.

    Each of these tools have step-by-step instructions and help pages to get you started.

    Bloglines Help

    Google Reader Tour and Help pages

    Netvibes Tour and Help pages

    2) Subscribe to at least 10 blogs or news feeds. It is very easy to add feeds – check the Help pages of your selected reader for tips if you get stuck.

     Where and how to find blogs and feeds:

    • This blog! CityLibrariesLearning
    • Your fellow CityLibrariesLearning participants! You will want to add some of your fellow participants’ blogs to your account. This will help you keep up-to-date on what they have to say about CityLibrariesLearning, their discoveries, and comments.
    • Do a blog search in Google. This search limits results only to blog postings. This can lead you to bloggers talking about what you are interested in.
    • Libraries Interact – a collaborative blog written by a group of Australian library staff. This blog also has a list of individual Aussie library blogs
    • Unshelved – a daily Library cartoon
    • LIS News – articles about Libraries and information science from a variety of sources



    Now write up your thoughts about RSS in a post on your own learning blog. Here are some tips to get you thinking:

    • What do you like about RSS and newsreaders?
    • How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your personal life?
    • How can libraries use RSS or take advantage of this new technology?
    • What tools or ways did you find to locate newsfeeds?
    • Find any great sources we should all add to our feed reader?

    June 3, 2009 at 9:05 am 3 comments

    Older Posts Newer Posts

    Twitter – TownsvilleLib

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.


    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
    December 2018
    M T W T F S S
    « Nov