Wednesday, October 29, 2008

VERY local indeed!

How cool is this, just today I learned that my son was quoted in the Roslindale Transcript from an event last week when he spoke in front his entire school (and Mayor Menino!). Earlier today I saw the quote on Wicked Local! Here's the link:
Philbrick School kids get to look ahead at Alma mater day

Looking for spooky stuff - most has already past, but I was reminded of the free walking tours at the Arnold Arboretum, something I've seen but have yet to participate in.
I did put the Roslindale news on my google reader page, which I'm quickly coming to love.

I was disappointed that I didn't find Hyde Park on Wicked Local, only on American Towns. I thought the page layout on American Towns was too busy and I don't see myself going there often, even though I did register and post the Teen party we're throwing at our library tomorrow night. I wish it had RSS, as I also wish the Bulletin newspapers would do. I will be coming back to check on the calendar, as I see someone else has already been posting some of our events there - a nice surprise to be sure!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

virtual book shelves

Library Thing, Good Reads, Visual Bookshelf.... I've had accounts with all three. I really appreciated Daniela's comparison of Visual Bookshelf vs. Library Thing as it pretty accurately described my experiences as well. I currently only update my visual bookshelf, and even that not as frequently as I should (at least this post got me to update it again). I have more friends using it than any other tool. GoodReads keeps sending me updates of what my one friend who uses it is doing, so I frequently feel guilty about not participating, but I just can't take the time to maintain my bookshelf in more than two places (the first being my physical bookshelf of course).

One issue I have is I start a lot of books, but some I have to return to the library before I get a chance to finish them, others I own but keep getting interrupted by other books that I need to read before I have to return them, and these books end up stranded in my "currently reading" list. If I don't intend to finish them I'll take them off, but its a good place to remind me what I want to return to. If only there were somewhere else to put them. I also wish Visual Bookshelf had a tagging component. However, its still very easy to use, and I especially like how I can easily keep track of books I come across that I want to read - if only that list wasn't so dauntingly large! Recently, Visual Bookshelf launched a site external to Facebook that also provides a cool portal into this app. Here's my home page on that site.

I really like how Danbury has integrated Library Thing into their site. I'm impressed they were able to do this on top of Innovative's OPAC. I only wish it was a tighter integration. At first I didn't see LT anywhere, it was only when I got down to an individual title that LT's contributions became apparent. I only wish that after navigating the tab cloud and finding another title the link to the title was a little more intelligent, and that the pop-up window would stick around so I could go back if I wanted to. I actually found the browisng behavior to get quite odd when I clicked on links from LT - if I followed a link and then tried to go back I went back two steps, not the one step I wanted. I wish Innovative would do something more like this in combination with their attempt at integrating social web technology with their new ratings system (viewable on the Minuteman OPAC). I'm also a fan of the aqua browser (here's a link to its application by Queen's Library in New York). I like the neural network of related search terms.... if only a tag cloud could be intpreted this way....

Here's a link to a spooky book you may want to read this weekend, courtesy of Library Thing (Visual Bookshelf is only rarely how I find books, its more how I keep track of my own, I like the recommendations, but more so I like seeing what friends are reading and being able to remember what I've read).

To entice you (because I wouldn't have picked it up just by the cover) I pasted the poublisher description and the LT tag cloud at the end of this post. Hope you have a great halloween!

Wow - I love searching through Library Thing - I may have to go back to using it again!

TAKEN, by Edward Bloor: BY 2035 THE RICH have gotten richer, the poor have gotten poorer, and kidnapping has become a major growth industry in the United States. The children of privilege live in secure, gated communities and are escorted to and from school by armed guards.

But the security around Charity Meyers has broken down. On New Year's morning, she wakes and finds herself alone, strapped to a stretcher, in an ambulance that's not moving. She is amazingly calm - kids in her neighborhood have been well trained in kidnapping protocol. If this were a normal kidnapping, Charity would be fine. But as the hours of her imprisonment tick by, Charity realizes there is nothing normal about what's going on here. No training could prepare her for what her kidnappers really want . . . and worse, for who they turn out to be.

10(1) 11(1) 2007(3) action(1) At School 2007(1) col(1) currently cool(1) December(1) divorce(1) dystopia(5) dystopian future(1) family drama(1) Fiction(8) First Edition(1) first read 2008(1) Florida(2) future(4) futuristic(4) gated communities(2) Girl(1) grade 7(1) grade 8(1) Hardcover(1) hc(1) kidnapping(13) latino(1) lib read 2008(1) non-pic(1) read in 2008(1) ReadNotOwned(1) sci-fi(2) science fiction(4) social class(3) suspense(6) teen(4) teen girl(1) to read(2) unshelved(1) Voigts(2) wealth(1) wealth division(1) wishlist(1) ya(7) YA-Fiction(1) yf - sf(1) young adult(6) Young Adult Fiction(3) young adult literature(1) Young Teen

Friday, October 24, 2008

casting makes me miss a commute

Its not often that I miss the daily commute I gave up when I started working 5 minutes from home. However, this is a case where I do miss it. I enjoyed podcasts most when I took the bus every day and had a full hour of time every day I could dedicate to listening to podcasts. Now, I basically feel its another thing I am just chronically behind on. Like a subscription to The Nation, I know my life would be good if I kept up, but there is just so much competition for my time!
My favorite podcast of commuting was Democracy Now, but its a full hour every weekday. Now I try and make time to watch it at night (you can subscribe to either the video or just the audio), but I must say, I'm behind!
One downside - I can't easily listen to many podcasts while I do something else - I just get distracted and don't pay enough attention. I was listening to a podcast the other day though from all songs considered, which I found really saved me some time and led me to the cool tunes I'm presently enjoying. (It was a story on the new book "1,000 recordings to hear before you die" with snippets from the artists they highlighted. I learned about Lô Borges). I found it in itunes by looking at NPRs various offerings. I also subscribed to The Car Guys top call of the week, the top emailed stories of the day, Wait Wait Don't Tell me and a couple others - but I haven't taken the time to listen to many.... Like I said - if only I was spending more time on public transportation or in my car....

Other podcasts I'd listen to if I could find the time:
Free Speech Radio News - "a grass-roots media worker-run independent half-hour newscast"
Open Source - a blog with a radio show or a radio show with a blog? Quite electic and often very engaging. If you haven't listened yet you owe it to yourself to listen to at least the show "Passion: Libraries".
Oh, I really should find time for Open Source.....

Library Videos

The last time I spent much time on You-Tube I was tracking down Monty Python skits my first grade son could enjoy. Today, I quickly came across another video I know he likes: Mr. Bean in the Library (a great example of why silent libraries are not always a good thing):

I certainly spend the most time watching videos that are funny. There's just so much out there that a video has to really grab me to be worth my time. I couldn't stand to watch a boring instructional video - I can't bother usually to open the instruction manual where I can flip to whatever page I might actually need, so I'm really not going to wait at someone else's pace unless its funny and I'm getting something else out of the experience. A library video that I liked was the following one which was apparently submitted for a library's tech week contest. I especially like it because it:
a: Is made by a fan of a library, so its inherently interactive
b: Shot entirely within Sims 2, sucessfuly employing MACHINIMA - the practice of shooting movies within virtual worlds. This is something I've read about but not had the time to dive deep enough into virtual worlds to experience much of. Too cool and so ripe for creative development
c: In another language (sounds Asian but that's as close as I can get) with English sub-titles - for some reason that really worked for me on this one. Let me know what you think:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

my memories just been sold

at least one teacher in a local middle school asked each of her students this fall to download google earth, find their house, and print out a picture of it.

I remember when my school used to have an aerial photograph of the city and I could find the tree in front of my house - and thought it was pretty cool (ok, I became a geography major so perhaps I'm just wired this way). I still remember the first time I went to Google and realized I could get a picture of my house. Now I use street view to help me visualize driving directions anytime I'm going to drive in town to somewhere I haven't been before - you know how Boston street signs can be tough to spot! For fun I just went and looked up an old address where I used to live. Turns out it was torn down and replaced by a monster so the lawn where my first puppy played no longer exists. Reminds me of the house where my grandfather was born that's now a convenience store (which I can also see on line). At least its only a block from the original Chipotle, although you won't find references to the dog catcher who used to find my parents dogs licking the ice cream tubs behind what was then a Dolly Madison anywhere on line. At least there's a starbucks across the street - news to me as well today.

I'm not entirely comfortable with this. I know all these sites want to make money off me and my browsing. Are my memories really being sold back to me in a twisted way? How will our collective memories be affected by this ability to get near instant access to places of our past - especially when those places really don't exist any more? Time to cue up the radio and figure out how to deal. (Thanks Pandora & J Geils Band).

at the end of the day, how much is a picture worth again?

Wow, I strongly encurage everyone to check out the work that BPL is digitizing. I recently saw the exhibit on WWII propaganda posters on one of the last days it was up. I walked through a couple days later and found myself disappointed that I couldn't see it again - only to find out today that we can see SO MUCH MORE of the same on line. Here's one of my fav's - if only we could do something to keep the rich from hoarding today:

I started using flickr a couple years ago after attending a cousin's wedding and collecting a ton of photos that I wanted to be able to share with people all around the country. I used it a lot more when I had a working digital camera, and perhaps this post will help kick me to get one up again as I really enjoyed it. The only downside is I never had enough time to fully take advantage of the features it has - I pretty much uploaded pics, tagged them, and sometimes threw them into albums. Something I'd like to do more of is adding them to a map - especially when I travel. Here's a link to my map (which will show how poorly I've been at using this feature).

One thing on privacy - I had family members giving me pictures but they weren't always comfortable with the idea of me uploading them so anyone on the web could see them. Then one day I got a weird message from someone in JAPAN commenting about a rather poorly composed shot of my kids riding bikes in a parking lot near our house that would only be of interest to people who knew my kids (and only marginally even then). It freaked me out to have complete strangers interested in my kids, so I decided to make photos of them only visible to certified "family & friends". As this was a bunch of the pics on my site, the public profile is a little odd, but so it goes. Here's my photostream if you're interested.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Social Networking Sites

I first dove into Social Networking sites after participating in a library leadership institute a couple summers ago and everyone who participated was encuraged to join Facebook in order to stay in touch. I've since been a binge Facebook user - I'll use it intensely for a short while, then tune out for a while. I need to go check it again soon - and figure out how to manage it better.

I've yet to set up a myspace page, as most of my friends aren't using it - primarily only musician friends, for whom a myspace page is pretty much required anymore. I've thought about establishing one for the Hyde Park Teen Advisory Board, or the Teen room, but I need to get some feedback from the board before I dive in - I'm not sure how it would be perceived.

Lately I've been trying to be better about Linked it, and several superiors at work have recenly asked me to link to them, which I have certainly agreed to do. It does rase the issue of professional etiquette though - if a boss wanted to be my friend on facebook, how would I feel? Of course, it would depend on my relationship with my boss. Some bosses I've had I would be happy to have as a friend. Others, well, weren't always people I wanted to share my personal life with. I had an interesting experience recently with my change of jobs from Watertown to BPL. I had friends in Watertown on Facebook who I hadn't told I was considering moving to BPL, so I had to be careful about my status updates so that I was able to properly manage those relationships.

At this point, I really don't think I have time for more social networking sites - I have some friends on Good Reads but I'm still using visual bookshelf for tracking my personal reading - it just seems pointless to keep typing in my profile and uploading personal details to tons of different sites. We really need a new protocol to help us merge all this together. I recall when email first emerged, you could only email people within your own group - aol users could talk with other aol users, compuserve with other compuserve, but an AOL user couldn't talk with a Compuserve user without one of the other getting a new account. Hopefully something similar will bring this new 2.0 web together.

Rate THIS!

Wow, you could sure spend a ton of time on Digg!

I just found a story about a college student the FBI tried to recruit to be a mole to infiltrate vegan potlucks during the RNC and:
"investigate terrorist acts carried out by groups or organizations which fall within the definition of terrorist groups as set forth in the current United States Attorney General Guidelines."

I've been to a far number of vegan potlucks. I hope the FBI gets some good cupcake recipes (and if you happen to need some, check out the post punk kitchen, where can you can rate the recipes). Speaking of The Post Punk Kitchen, I really appreciated the comments on the recipe for Matzoh Ball Soup. When we made this for a sedar last year it went over fantastically. We did warn our friends that there was tofu in it and one who is ultra-orthdox decided to decline, but everyone else, who were raised on the traditional chicken broth / egg version loved it - and couldn't tell the difference. The comments helped us manage the religous side, as a rabbi was even consulted....

Back on the subject of Digg, I looked it up on wikipedia and found an interesting article that I recomend for some history. Somehow I missed Digg's role in the movement for free speech, but I hope they keep it up (it was all around posts of the AACS encyption key which is "one of the cryptographic keys for HD DVDs and Blu-ray Discs").


Craigslist is such an institution, I find it hard to remember how we lived before it. I do remember searching for a place to live once before the net and how I had to get a Sunday paper on Saturday and madly start calling numbers for any potentially attractive place hoping to be able to talk with soeone before it disappeared. I think the housing market has relaxed a bit (I've owned my home for a while and not been forced to look for a rental since moving to the Boston area 6 years ago), but I know that when I was last searching for a car to buy I felt I had to log on a ton to make sure I was on top of the latest posts - I didn't want to miss anything. SO - while its great to have the classifieds so much more accesible and so easy to post when you want to sell something, I think its only increased my unease that perhaps if I was only more diligent in my searching I could find a better deal - how much shopping do I need to do? I don't like shopping in the first place and this seems to make it both easier and more complicated.....

Anyway, its here, so I have to deal - I don't see a better option, that's for sure. I've certainly benefited greatly from Craigslist and Freecycle - both finding things and getting rid of stuff. For grins I just tried searching Craigslist and for an Alfa Romeo Spider (see picture below). Craigslist quickly found one on the north shore that just came out of dry long term storage and would be fun to buy (price unknown - I guess if you have to ask its too much?) if only I had the means (and was actually interested in driving such a tiny sports car - I should have looked for a classic VW bus). Well, once I got past all the adds and was treated like a fool having to pck from drop down menus, the search failed, then clearly pasted in a search from, which still hasn't returned anything.....

Here's a pic for eye candy:

First post

Another Roslindale Librarian enters the blog-o-sphere. World, watch out!

I'm not sure how often I'll post, so if you're interested, I suggest adding this to an aggregater - like Google Reader, igoogle, or whatever you prefer - let me know your favorites in a comment.

I'm creating this blog initially to participate in a class called 26.2 things in Boston which is covering the social web from the perspective of Boston Librarians.

Ciao for now,