Monday, September 08, 2008

QuarkBase: Everything about a website

For those of us who often do library instruction sessions about website evaluation, there may be a new tool that can help with that task. Check out QuarkBase. According to their website, QuarkBase"is a mashup of over 30 data sources and many algorithms gathering information from Internet on various topics like social popularity, traffic, associated people, etc." There are other good web traffic sites out there. What is nice about this site, though, is that it has the added bonus of giving info from Twitter, Technorati, delicious, and digg. A very cool site to look into.

To learn more, visit this review of QuarkBase on Technology Review.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Library Learning Space

Looking for some ideas to help you rethink your teaching and learning space in the library? Check out this site. It is a place to go to see how other libraries are using their space for instruction. They have a nice image gallery where visitors can leave comments as well as pages on furniture ideas, info on vendors, floor plans, and a place for discussion. I have seen a lot of talk on various listservs on the library as space topic, especially as it pertains to instruction--how to make the library more functional, how to be more creative with instruction rooms, how to make better use of what we have (since few of us have the money to renovate or build new space), what kind of laptop cart should be used, and what about furniture choices/options. If you have been asking these kinds of questions, you should definitely visit this site.
Image--Emory's Center for Interactive Teaching / Woodruff Library, Emory University

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Virtual classroom at the University of Central Florida puts teachers to the test

As a UCF College of Ed grad, I was very interested in this article about the way they are training their future teachers. I do think it is great that Lockheed Martin is getting involved. (They are a major employer in Orlando, are right down the road from UCF, and likely employ many UCF graduates considering UCF has a large engineering program.) I imagined myself "practicing" teaching this way, and I admit I was apprehensive. I am not sure which would be more intimidating, the virtual students or the real ones.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Google Calendar Sync

It has been a while since I have posted. I have been trying to decide exactly where to go with my blog. In the meantime, my colleague and I recently discovered a wonderful tool that you will hopefully find as useful as we did. Many people have found work-arounds to syncing their Outlook and Google calendars for a while. Well, Google has finally created an official way to do it. Announcing Google Calendar Sync!

I work in an environment in which there are five library team members: two librarians and three library staff. The other librarian and I are constantly in and out of the office in meetings and instruction sessions and the other team members have appointments and meetings, as well. We do not have an administrative assistant who keeps up with where we are throughout the day, so we needed some kind of tool to help keep us organized so I could keep track of appointments, sick and vacations days, and so the other team members would know where the librarians were if that information was needed. We wanted to find a way to create a shared calendar for our team that was accessible via the web but that would sync with all of our Outlook calendars. We couldn't seem to find a simple way to do this with Outlook. So, we turned to Google. While there have been ways to do this in the past that weren't too complicated, it was exciting to find that Google had finally released their own tool that would sync one way or both ways. This works perfectly for us! We each created personal calendars that we sync with our Outlook calendars. Next, I created a separate "Work Calendar" for our team; then, I "shared" this calendar with each team member. This is not a public calendar since it may contain personal appointments that we want our team members to know about, but not the world. We can add appointments to this calendar in Google or in Outlook. Since it syncs both ways, the appointments will show up in both calendars. There is an advantage to adding events and appointments in Google: there is an option when editing an event's details to copy to another calendar. This makes it very easy to not only add it to one calendar, but to then copy it to a second calendar. (In our case, we copy it to the team's Work Calendar.) So, when we are in Google, we can add an appointment to our personal calendar, and then choose to copy it straight to the Work Calendar so we share it with our colleagues.

What we discovered, though, is that to make your Work Calendar events appear on your Google calendar, you need to make sure that 1) you are using the Google account that is affiliated with the same account as your work email address. We found that not all of our appointments and events were being added to our Google calendar when we were trying to sync our Outlook calendar with a Google calendar affiliated with our Gmail accounts. 2) You can only sync your Outlook calendar with your Primary Google calendar. If you are like me, you have more than one Google Calendar. Make sure you are dedicating your appointments and main events to the first calendar on your list of calendars in Google. That is the one it will sync with your Outlook calendar.

I hope this all makes sense. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. I am no expert, but I can share our experiences. Happy Syncing!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Online Photo Sharing Tutorial

The folks at Commoncraft are at it again with another great video tutorial, this time covering Online Photo Sharing. I love their no-frills approach. Clear, concise, and easy to understand. Check it out!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Learning 2.0--Mashup Editors

I worked with Yahoo Pipes to try and create my own mashup. Creating a mashup wasn't the difficult part; what I had the most trouble with was coming up with something original. I read through the Mashup Award Winners page and found lots of ideas, but I wanted something more related to libraries. What I really wanted to do was to come up with something that could somehow show relevant data from EKU's catalog (eQuest) mashed with starred reviews from School Library Journal or another well-respected children's literature review source. I know, I know. Way too ambitious. I could have done something simple with Yahoo Pipes that would have fulfilled the Option 1 choice of this learning activity, but I didn't want to just copy what the video tutorial showed us. I do want to revisit this in the future and find a way to apply the potential of a mashup to our catalog. I have ideas brewing, but I am waiting for Encore to emerge and to see if there aren't ways to blend it with an API to form a really cool mashup.

Another cool mashup that I found: Auction Reminder. OK...I am gonna stop posting about mashups now. I promise.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Learning 2.0-- LOLcat mashup

I couldn't resist posting one more mashup. If you are a LOLcat fan, if you just like cats, or if you just want a good laugh, try the LOLinator. Too cute! :)

Learning 2.0-- Mashups...with one "wii-qwest"

As we approach the home stretch of our formal Learning 2.0 program journey, we take on the task of exploring Mashups. I confess that this has been one of the more confusing applications for me. I think I am making it more difficult than it really is, though. A mashup, as I can figure, is taking data from two or more different sites and putting onto one site turning it into something useful. I remember looking through the flickr mashups earlier in the semester and found several that I liked. I wanted to try to find some mashups unrelated to flickr this time, so I explored the web mashups directory and looked through the top picks. I found a great one related to shopping that I thought was especially appropriate as I think about good deals for Christmas. has a great all in one site: it is a place you can find information on products, where the best deals are for those products, product reviews, and even price comparisons. It is truly one stop shopping! That is my kind of mashup. Now, if it could only help me find a deal on a Wii...