Thing #23 The end, or the beginning?

Wow! Congratulations!! You’ve reached the 23rd thing. Be sure to give yourself a pat on the back for completing the program. Your reward for completing this journey by our deadline (December 31, 2008, 11:59pm) is ONE OF MANY FABULOUS PRIZES. But before sending this off you, I ask for one last discovery post.

For your last and final exercise for this program please reflect on your learning journey and post a few thoughts. Here are some questions to prompt you if you're drawing a blank ...
  • What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?

  • How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?

  • Were there any take-aways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

  • What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

    And last but not least…

  • If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you again chose to participate?

In closing, I want to thank each and every one of you for joining me on this journey. My greatest hope is that this not the end of our learning journey together as a staff and a system, but rather it’s just the start of something amazing

Thank you,

Your 23 Things Team.

Thing #22 Downloadable Media

With the possibility of a new MP3 player right around the corner, it’s time to take a look at the downloadable items available at SAPL. We have contracts with both Overdrive and NetLibrary to provide our patrons with e-Books, audiobooks, movies and even music to download onto their computer.

Some key reasons why we love BOTH of these products:


  • is the sole source for Recorded Books, a big name in the audiobooks world.

  • has the Pimsleur language learning products downloadable online.

  • allows unlimited checkouts per copy on all items SAPL currently owns.

  • is a well-known product from a well-known name (OCLC).


  • is very user friendly and has become the innovation leader in downloadables for libraries.

  • has movies and music as well as eBooks and audiobooks.

  • has a very large selection of publishers and titles to choose from.

  • allows many iPod-friendly downloads. (update: NetLibrary to also offer this beginning January 2009)

For this discovery exercise, we'd just like you to explore the interface of either NetLibrary or Overdrive. Choose one to play around with and blog about it. What do you think makes it easy and difficult to use? What kind of patrons do you think will use the service?

Discovery Resources:

NetLibrary Demos. NetLibrary has created several demos to help you get started with their various kinds of content.

  • Note: The "Media Center" demo is not yet live, because the "Media Center" is an upcoming upgrade to NetLibrary. Look for an email regarding that upgrade soon.

Overdrive's Tour. Overdrive also walks you step-by-step through gettings started with their content.

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Watch one or both the tours above and select one of the platforms to explore.

  2. Browse and Search for different subjects or titles that interest you.

  3. Checkout and download an item from one of the services. (Note: Because ITSD prohibit software downloads, if doing this from a staff or public library terminal, you will have to either use Netlibrary or explore e-books only in Overdrive)

  4. Create a blog post about your findings.

Thing #21 Podcasting

The word podcast is used to refer to a non-musical audio or video broadcast that is distributed over the Internet. What differentiates a podcast from regular streaming audio or video is that the delivery method for podcasts is often done automatically through RSS or serialized some other way. In 2005, "podcast" was named the "word of the year" by New Oxford American Dictionary and with the growth of podcasting over the last few years, it's easy to see why.

Podcasts take many forms, from short 1-10 minutes commentaries to much longer in person interviews or panel group discussions. There’s a podcast out there for just about every interest area and the best part about this technology is that you don’t have to have an iPod or a MP3 player to access them. Since podcasts use the MP3 file format, a popular compressed format for audio files, you really just need a PC (or portal device) with headphones or a speaker.

Tunes, the free downloadable application created by Apple is the directory finding service most associated with podcasts, but if you don’t have iTunes installed there are still plenty of options. For this discovery exercise participants are asked to take a look at some popular podcast directory tools. Do some exploring on your own and locate a podcast that is of interest to you. Once found, you can easily pull the RSS feed into your Google Reader account as well, so that when new casts become available you’ll be automatically notified of their existence.

Discovery Resources:

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Take a look at one or two of the podcast directories listed and see if you can find a podcast that interests you. See if you can find some interesting library related podcasts here like book review podcasts or library news.

  2. Add the RSS feed for a podcast to your Google Reader account

  3. Create a blog post about your discovery process. Did you find anything useful here?

Optional: If you're super-ambitious, why not try out a podcasting service and add an audio post about your experience to your blog. (see Jamie's audiopost on Library 2.0 as an example)

Thing #20 You Too Can YouTube

Within the past year 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 serving up over 1 million video views a day and allowing users not only to upload their own video content easily, but also embed clips into their own sites easily.

Do some searching around YouTube yourself and see what the site has to offer. You'll find everything from 1970s TV commercials and 60s music videos to library dominos and kids singing about bloopers here. Of course, like any free site you’ll also find a lot stuff not worth watching too. Explore and see for yourself what the site has too offer. :)

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Explore YouTube & find a video worth adding as an entry in your blog.

  2. 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 componets of the site that might be interesting if they were applied to library websites?

    OPTIONAL: Try placing the video inside your blog using the copy and paste code for the for "Embeddable Player.” Note: you'll need to use Blogger's Edit HTML tab when pasting this code.

Other popular video hosting sites:

Thing #19: Add to your 2.0 Toolbox

Throughout the course of this Learning 2.0 program we’ve explored just a small sampling of these new internet technologies and websites that are empowering users with the ability to create and share content. If we had more time there are so many more we could explore. Time will tell which of these new collaborative, social networking and information tools will remain on top, but one thing is certain, they're not going to go away (at least anytime soon).

For this discovery exercise, participants are asked to select any site from this list of Web 2.0 Awards nominees and explore it. With so many to choose from, it might be handy to first select a category that interests you (like Books or Personal Organization) and then select a tool/site to explore. Be careful to select a tool that is Free and that doesn't require a plug-in or download. The majority of these free, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

Discovery Exercise:
  1. Select any site/tool from the list of Web 2.0 Awards nominees. (If you prefer to select from just the winners, here’s a link to the short list.)

  2. Explore the site you selected.

  3. Create a post about your discovery. What did you like or dislike about the tool? What were the site’s useful features? Could you see any applications for its use in a library setting?

Thing #18 Online Apps

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. Already, many new small and affordable laptops (called Netbooks) do not come with office suites, instead using free online applications. This makes them much more affordable than laptops with expensive software preloaded. Others think web-based applications have their place, but not in the office, citing difficulty in securing information online. 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. 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 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 (formerly known as Writely) to author and publish posts to your blog. It’s this type of integration with other Web 2.0 tools that makes web-based apps so appealing.

For this discovery exercise, participants are asked to take a look at a web-based word processing tool called Google Docs, create a simple document and then document your discoveries in your blog. If you're up to the challenge, you might even export your document as a web page or publish it to your blog.

With web-based applications, the possibilities are endless.

Discovery Resources:

A short list of web-based productivity applications – Note: Created in Google Docs, then clicked "Share", and "Publish as web page".

Discovery Exercise:
  1. Create a free account for yourself in Google Docs (you should be able to use your Blogger account).

  2. Explore the site and create a couple test documents, spreadsheets, or presentations.

  3. Try out a few features (maybe Share or Publish), and create a blog post about your discoveries.

    • Can you imagine using this at work? What about in your personal life?

Thing #17 Hands-on Exercise: Playing in a Wiki Sandbox

"Sandbox" is the term that wikis often use to describe the area of the website that should be used for pure play. For this discovery and exploration exercise, there's a whole Learning 2.0 Favorites wiki* that’s for nothing but play!

For this “explore-and-play-with-wikis” exercise, you are asked to add an entry or two to the PBwiki Learning 2.0 wiki. The theme of this wiki is simply “Favorites” : Favorite books, favorite vacation spots, favorite restaurants, favorite anything …all you need to do is play and add your thoughts. To mark your adventure on this site, you should add your blog to the Favorite Blogs page.

Discovery Resources

Discovery Exercise

  1. Access the PLCMC Learning 2.0 wiki and create a login account for yourself. The password is on the bottom of the login page: plcmc.
  2. Add your blog to the Favorite Blogs page (look for the San Antonio Public Library logo toward the end of the page). That's how we'll know that you've been there. It’s easy to do if you follow this simple syntax (11/24 UPDATE: the all-text instructions below will only work if you switch to the "classic" editing mode. The default is the WYSIWYG mode. Try both. See which one you like. You won't break anything!):

    [ URL Title of blog]

    [ Learning 2.0 ]

    With brackets [ ] and just a little typing, you’ve added a link - yup, it’s as easy as that! (If you don't want to do it old-school style, there's a handy WYSIWYG editor, too.)

    OPTIONAL: Add a favorite or two to a few other pages (Favorite books, favorite vacation spot, etc). And, if you feel up to the challenge, you might even want to create a separate page for book reviews or short travel essays and link up to that.

  3. Create a post in your blog about the experience.

* NOTE: The PLCMCLearning Wiki was created using the free version of PBWiki, a tool that lets you create webpages that anyone can edit.