Week 9, Thing 23: Summarize Your Thoughts About This Program and Learn More About Where To Go From Here

  • I found Blogger's browser-based publishing more tedious and limiting than traditional web page editing (using OS-based applications).
  • A nice discovery in Flickr is the beautiful presentation of hidden EXIF data for most photos.
  • merlin is now permanently in my bookmarks and I have the intention of using it as a resource in upcoming projects.
  • LibraryThing was the high point of this program. Building a personal library of books represented by cover images, as if the covers were iTunes CD art, is an exciting activity.
  • The disappointments were Rollyo, PBwiki and del.icio.us, for the reasons outlined in the posts below.
I detected an alarmingly high frequency of typos in the Maryland Libraries Learning 2.0 blog. Perhaps these carried over from the original PLCMC blog.

In my view, the greatest benefit of the systemwide implementation of Maryland 23 Things is that, henceforth, we can engage in technology conversations with BCPL staff, knowing that all staff members have been exposed to the specific web services covered in the discovery exercises. ("As you may recall from the 23 Things...")

Week 9, Thing 22: Learn About Audiobooks

I already have a previously established OverDrive account, and, coincidentally, I composed an in-depth orientation to audio book troubleshooting & the OverDrive interface today, in relation to a job shadowing session in our department.

To add some value to this Thing's discovery exercise, I spent time with the OverDrive videos. I selected a title, National Parks: Big Sur California Coastline, and then downloaded and viewed a segment of it without encountering any problems.

Week 9, Thing 21: Discover Some Useful Tools for Locating Podcasts

I browsed the OPAL Podcast blog and came across an hour-long Bill Moyers PBS podcast from last year. The subject matter relates to libraries and civic involvement.

As suggested in the discovery exercise, I added the Moyers on America feed to Rybrail's blogroll.

Week 9, Thing 20: Discover YouTube and a Few Sites That Allow You To Upload Video

I searched YouTube for the movie trailer for Phone Booth (2002/2003). I was very impressed by this exciting trailer when I saw it in the theater before the film was released. In my view, the trailer is better than the movie.

I can easily envision many customer service uses for BCPL-produced online video, on our public site or provided via email links. In contrast, I can't see any useful staff or internal applications for online video. Training is most effective when it's presented face to face.

It may be a while before the mass media craze and coolness factor of online video dies down; until then, BCPL should be wary of implementing online video as a staff development tool.

My selected YouTube video should be embedded below (the freeze frame shows a justifiably terrified Colin Farrell).

Week 8, Thing 19: Discover Any Site From the Web 2.0 Awards List

I selected HousingMaps from the SEOmoz 2007 "short list" (it was awarded 2nd place in the real estate category). It turns out that this site/tool is a mash-up of craigslist and Google Maps, by an enthusiast named Paul.

Although I browsed a far-from-comprehensive listing of rentals and sales (sourced from craigslist) in the Baltimore area, I appreciated the convenience of immediately knowing the property address. In my family's home buying experience four years ago, we were frustrated by the concealment of street addresses. Online searching for houses for sale was slow going because most sites named neighborhoods or ZIP codes, but not addresses.

On a positive note, the site worked as quickly as Google Maps. Most of the map markers attempted to display the associated craigslist photos, but HousingMaps unfortunately presents a fixed four-image pop-up. Therefore, when a craigslist posting includes only 1, 2 or 3 photos, broken images are visible in the pop-up.

Week 8, Thing 18: Take a Look at Some Online Productivity Tools

This post was originally generated by Google Docs. Everything below the line of dashes is the original post (it didn't even have a Title).

Google Docs is clean, accurate and requires (for an experienced computer user like me) zero start-up time. In less than a minute, I pasted in text from a document on my work PC and then published it as a post in the Rybrail blog.

The word processing interface is excellent; it feels like I have the same commands available to me as in Microsoft WordPad. Even the right-click context menu is customized for Google Docs editing actions.

With this abundance of "pros," I feel compelled to state my over-arching "con" with all of these 23 Things and 2.0 web-based applications:

  1. All of these great tools are provided free of charge by strangers: private companies, individuals and organizations.
  2. All of the "Terms of Service" and registration agreements look like deceptive legal contracts.
  3. I don't trust these impersonal providers with my personal creations and private information; they become the owners of every character I type and every image I upload.
  4. If I pay for a service, the situation is different; I then possess reasonable expectations of ownership and privacy.

At some future date, perhaps I will come to a different understanding of the "contracts" I'm entering into every time I register for free with a new web service. But for the time being, I'm going to regard all of these free services as "sandboxes" and protect my valuable personal and work-related intellectual property by storing it in media that is owned by my employer or my family.



  1. Use a computer to connect to the Internet.
  2. Use the web browser software (Netscape, Internet Explorer, AOL) to bring up this web site address:
  3. On the BCPL Home Page, click on the side menu titled "Your Community".
  4. From the list of choices, select "Historic Photographs".
  5. On the Legacy Web home page, use the search box to search for a person, place, or thing.

    Other options: use the buttons to try out "featured" searches, or click on a letter of the alphabet to browse alphabetical topics.


Use this web site address: http://www.bcpl.info/legacyweb

Week 7, Thing 17: Add an Entry Into the Sandbox Wiki Created With PBwiki

The PBwiki editing interface seems a bit clunky to me. It reminds me of my experience using the free JotSpot wiki a couple of years ago.

Because it's a sandbox, staff have created several similarly named pages; there do not seem to be "main" Favorites pages, for example. Also, the marylandlibrariessandbox home page has a very disorganized appearance, likely as a result of all the staff contributing to it.

I added a link to my blog on the "Favorite Blogs" page and then I added content to two other pages: Favorite books and Favorite things to do.


Week 7, Thing 16: Learn About Wikis and Discover Some Innovative Ways That Libraries Are Using Them

I found the ALA 2007 Annual Conference Wiki (linked from merlin's "Wikis & File Sharing" page) interesting. It sure helps with immediate usability when a wiki resembles Wikipedia (the clean MediaWiki default appearance). The Restaurants article is a fun example; it even includes brief reviews!

An library project that would work well as a wiki is the systemwide policy manual, because several authorities (departments and top tier staff members) contribute on an ongoing basis to the body of policies.

A team within our library system is exploring a wiki approach on this very subject this autumn and during the coming winter; I'm excited to be in on the action.

What's in a wiki? Essentially the same information you would find on a collection of web pages (a web site). For some applications, a blog works well; in some situations, traditional static web pages are called for. Some projects work best with a discussion forum. A wiki is simply yet another approach to structuring and maintaining a web presence.

Week 6, Thing 15: Read a Few Perspectives on Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and the Future of Libraries

Michael Stephens' best point in Into a New World of Librarianship is "Librarian 2.0 controls technolust." I'm concerned that many staff members regard the 23 Things program as a form of computer play-time for the more highly paid staff who already indulge in technolust. The managers and administrators need to consciously oppose this understandable but mistaken perception.

The OCLC article got me thinking about how BCPL is addressing the 2.0 phenomenon, beyond participating in the Maryland 23 Things effort. I'm excited about the "Serve Them Where They Are" workplan and my department's opportunities this fiscal year to implement any number of the 23 Things on the public site or the Intranet.

Week 6, Thing 14: Discover Technorati and Learn How Tags Work With Blogs

Technorati appears to be an attractive portal and search engine for blogs.

Not too long ago, I composed a presentation with a co-worker about blogging, and I used the blog directories on Google as my main resource. Technorati is far better than Google at presenting the blogosphere!

I suppose that tagging is to blogs as metadata is to web pages. If everybody did it consistently, the web might be better organized and easier to navigate. I'm suspicious of the Technorati popularity and rating system ("members" making blogs a "favorite"); my sense is that it's open to exploitation by bloggers who wish to draw traffic and make money from advertisements.

Although the settings for this blog tend toward privacy, this post is associated with the "mdlearn2" Technorati tag:

Week 6, Thing 13: Tagging and Discover Del.icio.us

I have never regarded del.icio.us as particularly useful, and my exploring during the discovery exercise didn't change my mind.

I'm very disciplined in terms of my own management and use of bookmarks/favorites. I have a work PC with a collection of bookmarks I use at work, and multiple home computers (one is quite portable!) with their own bookmarks. Rarely if ever do I use somebody else's computer (or a public PC) unless I'm fixing it or providing instruction.

In an instructional situation, it's best not to cut corners by using shortcuts such as del.icio.us. The act of finding or deliberately visiting an URL is a teaching step in itself.

On a positive note, the "user notes" for a socially bookmarked page can serve as a kind of content review, which can be helpful in the workplace to justify why or why not one should link to an external URL.

In summary, I suppose that I regard del.icio.us as an exclusively personal aid, and a personal choice. At this time in my life, this is a convenience that I do not want.

Week 5, Thing 12: Roll Your Own Search Tool With Rollyo

I am disappointed with Rollyo. I created a simple searchroll covering three BCPL InfoLink customer sites, but Rollyo searches only two of them. My Rollyo searchbox appears in the right column of this blog.

One of the sites in the searchroll, www.soldiersdelight.org, has been configured by the InfoLink customer to not mask its true domain (which is www.bcpl.net). Therefore, when you visit the Soldiers Delight site, the soldiersdelight.org URL transforms immediately into www.bcpl.net/~sdci.

I believe that the "non-masking" confuses Rollyo, and therefore it does not index or search the site at all, even though Soldiers Delight is present in the searchroll source list.

Also, I discovered a typo on the "Edit your searchroll" page/form. The annotation under the bold, red "Manage Searchrolls" element misspells "retrieve." In my experience, this is an indicator of an amateur site, or a site that is managed by very, very few individuals.

Week 5, Thing 11: Take a Look at LibraryThing and Catalog Some of Your Favorite Books

I love LibraryThing's registration process: enter a name and password, and you're in.

I compiled a starter library of six of my favorite books; it's at:

I added a LibraryThing widget to the right panel of this blog.

Week 5, Thing 10: Play Around With an Online Image Generator

For this Thing, I explored the Royal Delft "design your own plate" image generator, which I discovered in The Generator Blog.

My creation is displayed with this post.

Week 4, Thing 9: Explore merlin and Then Locate a Few Other Useful Library-related Blogs and/or News Feeds

The easiest method of finding feeds is to visually scan a site's home page for the ubiquitous orange feed icon. On the merlin home page, this approach was successful.

I first hover over the icon to see if it's a link to a page devoted to feeds on the site (perhaps presenting a selection of different feeds, as with the Library Journal site). If not, a simple right-click and "Copy Shortcut" grabs the URL for adding to Bloglines.

Week 4, Thing 8: Make Life Really Simple with RSS and a News Reader

I created a Bloglines account
( http://www.bloglines.com/public/rybrail ) and added my blogroll to the right column layout of this blog.

I like how my Bloglines public subscriptions page works; it's very efficient to skim down the Feeds column and browse the newest blog entries in a consistent, undecorated format.


Week 3 Challenge: How BCPL Can Use Blogger

BCPL can use Blogger as a central information-sharing resource for the branch renovation/construction teams. Other staff can tune in to the team blogs to see project progress.

For example, Rosedale and Owings Mills could have individual blogs with posts from team facilitators and key members, documenting problems, milestones and the continually redefined goals that are inevitable with renovation and construction projects.

Photos showing progress can be linked, tagged, thumbnailed and shared via Flickr.

Week 3, Thing 7: Create a Blog Post About Anything Technology-related

Last year on this day I was visiting family out west, and I was a passenger in a red Saturn VUE with OnStar installed. A relative used the Hands Free Calling function, giving voice commands to dial a relative on the east coast.

The car speakers all around us functioned as a speaker phone during a loud, clear phone call with family. This was my first experience with a car audio system integrated with a mobile phone and the first time I witnessed voice recognition operating within a car.

This technology-related experience came to mind this week because I saw a red VUE.

Week 3, Thing 6: Flickr Mash-ups and Third Party Sites

I was intrigued by the BigHugeLabs CD cover generator. By quickly linking my Flickr account with my temporary session with BigHugeLabs (a.k.a., fd's Flickr Toys and Utilities), I generated this foldable CD cover.

Week 3, Thing 5: Explore Flickr

Originally uploaded by rybrail
Here's a photo ("hosted" on Flickr) that I snapped in my office, using a colleague's digital camera. Configuring and using Flickr was a snap.

Week 2, Thing 4: Register Your Blog and Track Your Progress

My blog registration was completed today, and I'm commencing with the remaining Things. From this point forward, each Thing will be documented with a blog post.

Week 2, Thing 3: Set Up Your Own Blog

I completed this Thing today by setting up the rybrail blog.

Week 1, Thing 2: Seven and a Half Lifelong Learning Habits

The habit that is easiest for me is #2: accept responsibility for your own learning. Why? Because I have always practiced this habit since my late teen years; at some point in my life, friends and family started treating me like an adult, and ever since that point, I have accepted responsibility for my own learning.

In the context of the workplace, the habit that is hardest for me is #7 and a half: Play. Why? I prefer to play at home and outside the workplace. I have precious little time on weekdays for 8 hours to get my work done. If I spent time playing in the workplace, I would be regarded as incompetent by my workplace peers because I would appear to be unproductive and always dropping the ball.

Initial Test Post

This is my initial test post.