December 31, 2007

R.I.P. Netscape Navigator

Netscape Navigator will finally be laid to rest next month.

Final double-click on Navigator
Netscape Navigator, the storied Web browser that launched an Internet boom but is now a mere shell of its former self, will soon be put out of its misery.

Now under the umbrella of Time Warner's AOL, Netscape will continue as a portal, but AOL said it will no longer engage in further development or even technical support for the browser beginning Feb. 1.
For most of us, Netscape Navigator is a distant memory, long abandoned for IE and Firefox--itself a project that originated at Netscape. But I still remember the first OMG moment when I tried it out for the first time.

1995 at the Mercer Library in Macon, down from the Atlanta campus for a staff development day. They had installed Netscape on the computers and everyone else was working in pairs, but I was lucky enough to be on my own. I got to Yahoo and wandered around the directory, and found the Star Wars websites. Spent the rest of the time clicking through the pages and being so amazed that this was out there.

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November 02, 2007

Building Academic Library 2.0

Notes from Meredith Farkas' presentation at the LAUC-Berkeley Academic Library 2.0 Conference. I'll add some commentary later tonight.

Web 1.0 – democratized access to information

  • Users interacted w/ web as consumers; to produce, needed experience, space, etc.
Web 2.0 – all participants in web creation/contribution
  • Hubris of 2.0 – assumption that nothing revolutionary happened before 2.0
  • More of an evolution, driven by technologies; libraries not the only game in town anymore
Academic Library 2.0 – state of mind
  • Meeting user names
  • Trusting our users (radical trust)
  • Getting rid of the culture of perfect (start simple and test, more iterative, not waiting until something is “done”)
  • Aware of emerging technologies and opportunities
  • Learn to extrapolate to see what other types of libraries/non-libraries are doing
  • Looking outside of library world for applications, opportunities, inspiration
Building Academic Library 2.0 Externally
  • Know your users; look beyond netgen stereotypes: what do they value, how do they research (Univ Rochester anthro study); go into their space and ask for feedback
  • Question everything: do you still need to be sitting at the refdesk when all of your ref contact is IM? Dropping Dewey for bookstore-style classification
  • Communicate better with patrons (blogs, etc.) – including by library directors, accepting and using feedbackHighlight collections with tools like Flickr; RSS for new collections; adding our resources to Wikipedia
  • Embed services where they are: Facebook and Myspace, portal in WebCTBuild participation: take advantage of our users’ knowledge of these subjects in saved resources (wikis); social bookmarking (PennTags)
  • Better at building partnerships
  • Don’t focus on technology, or abandon constituents who won’t use these tools
Building Academic Library 2.0 Internally
  • Build learning culture; not everyone one gets to go to conferences; create in-house learning (Learning 2.0 at PL of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County)
  • Develop risk-tolerant culture; “perpetual beta”
  • Collect knowledge internallyCapitalize on your network: Facebook as online rolodex
  • Be transparent, internally as well as externally
  • Good ideas can come from anyone and anywhere
  • Nurture talent (she heard this from some LJ Movers & Shakers at IL--that they weren't feeling appreciated at their institutions)
  • Be agile (need 3 mos to decide on blogging software?); Empower staff to make some decisions
  • Involve staff from all levels in planning; helps avoid tunnel vision
  • Avoid technolust; start with needs, then look tools
  • Understand staff member’s needs and limitations (why people fear change; understand learning styles; some staff need more than just written instructions—prefer hands-on instructions/help)Time must be devoted; staff not given time for this, they way we do with reference shifts, etc.
  • Keeping up w/ new technologies and share with colleagues – make part of job description
  • Need new staff, or shuffle w/in existing staff with these interests
Question we were left with: Is your organization currently structured to make this happen?

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June 01, 2007

Google Gears/Reader

I spent the morning trying out Google Gears with Google Reader at the airport before my flight out to Denver for SLA. For anyone who missed the many announcements this week, this is Google's first big public move into making their applications work offline.

There's a plugin to install, and then you're ready to go. You can then download your feeds to scan offline, read the feed headlines and summaries, and star what you'll want to read when you're back online (making sure that you've left your Google Reader page up when you go offline) and then resynchronize your feeds to go back to online mode.

  • It was a bit slower in offline mode, but not enough to be a problem
  • The 'Mark All As Read' button is disabled, so you have to J-click through the feed headlines
  • Images did not get pulled into the feeds in offline mode, whether they were web comics or structures from ACS journal abstracts.
This is a very exciting development, and I can't wait to see what's next. Docs and Spreadsheets, maybe?

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May 22, 2007

RSS Feeds: Science Direct

Science Direct now has RSS feeds!! I think that's the last of the big science publishers.

About the feeds:

  • The article feeds will show up on the journal homepage as well as any browsable list of titles--but they did not show up until my proxy authentication kicked in.
  • You don't right-click-to-copy the links in the icon. Instead, left-click to bring up a popup that will give you the RSS feed URL and several auto-subscribe buttons (Bloglines, My Yahoo, etc.)
  • They also have feeds for cited reference, topic and search alerts. The topic and search alerts require a Science Direct username and password.

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April 25, 2007

Social Software & Chemistry

This week's Chemical & Engineering News has an article about the March 25th Using Social Networking Tools to Teach Chemistry symposium (morning & afternoon abstracts) from the Chicago ACS meeting. This was a great program and I was delighted to be the lead-off presenter.

One idea discussed was integrating Wikipedia-writing into coursework. A research paper assignment could be revamped so students have to write it like a Wikipedia entry.

I expect we'll see more of this at the next few ACS meetings, how faculty are using Wikipedia like this and the impact it has on their students' work. And I just found out last week one of the chemistry faculty here is trying it in a grad/undergrad combo class this quarter. The grad students are to write their papers as Wikipedia articles--and post them.

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April 20, 2007

From Blogs to Wikis

Testing out the blog for my Staff Development Workshop. TGIF!!

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March 16, 2007

My Firefox Extensions

My list of Firefox extensions continues to grow. In preparation for my library staff development Web 2.0 workshop series (#6 of 6), I've reorganized the page as well as updated it with the extensions I have started using in the last month.

Yesterday afternoon, I e-mailed 3 colleagues to ask if they had other extensions they'd either just come across or had been using for a while. And I immediately got an additional 2-3 from each of them, which I've added at the bottom until I get a chance to give them a test run.

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March 12, 2007

Add This Widgets (RSS/Bookmarking)

I guess these have been around for a while, but I only noticed them this week on

The Add This widgets are fantastic way to offer subscription and bookmarking features on your blog without having to create separate buttons for each RSS reader or social bookmarking system you want to include.

The widgets are easy to set up and customized, and then you just copy/paste the resulting code. Clicking the Subscribe to SD Librarian button takes your user to a page where they can select one of 22 web-based or desktop reader. The Bookmark SD Librarian widget is available in two versions: bookmark the entire site or bookmark a particular entry--with 30 social bookmarking sites to choose from.

The code for the RSS and "Bookmark this site" widgets was placed in the Subscribe HTML/Javascript page element in New Blogger. The code for "Bookmark this blog entry" got pasted into the template with no problems.

With an account, one can: 1) get some user statistics for each page that uses one of the widgets, or 2) customize the Add This screens to bypass the prompt pages and go right to subscribing to the feed or bookmarking the page.

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March 09, 2007

Google Spreadsheets - Testing

Testing Google Docs & Spreadsheets to see if I can embed a presentation here. Linking to the public view of it certainly works.

If you're curious, it's a list of the books that in our Science & Engineering Library Browsing Collection + the books that aren't in the collection yet.

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March 02, 2007

RSS/Podcast Presentation (Slideshare)

Just loaded my first presentation up to Slideshare. It's #3 of the 6-part Web 2.0 workshop series I'm teaching for library staff. Tomorrow's class is on social software tools (bookmarking, citations, and media sharing), so this will give me something else to show them for the media sharing part along with Flickr and YouTube.

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February 23, 2007

Tagging in Compendex/EiVillage2

Along with 'Blog This' and the RSS feeds for search alerts, we now have tagging in Compendex. The rep who visited last week pointed out that it had just gone live. Not sure if it's in Inspec since we get that through Ovid.

To tag anything, you must first create a profile in Compendex. Once on a single record view, you get the option to tag the citation, with a choice of selecting public, private or institutional tags as well as posting the citation to You can also select the Tags + Groups tab to search or browse articles by the tags other users have already created.

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January 18, 2007

Web 2.0 Staff Workshops

Here's the blog for my workshop, "From Blogs to Wikis: Getting the Most Out of the New Web." This is a 2-part workshop I now teach through my university's staff development office. One of the things I've been working on is integrating the tools we're covering in the workshop in the actual learning/instruction process. It's a learning process for me, as I want to bring more of these techniques into my chemical information seminar this Spring.

This week, the focus is on blogs, RSS and Google applications like Docs and Spreadsheets.

I'll be adding more stuff over the week, and hopefully the workshop participants will accept their "assignment" and continue adding to the blog and trying out one of the Google products. Next week will be wikis, the whole social networking/tagging/bookmarking arena, and possibly Firefox.

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