Wednesday, February 13, 2013
So, for some reason, I was struck today that I needed to remember all the places where my grandmother lived right before we moved to Indianapolis from Kansas City. The mind is a crazy thing... So, I went back through my mental inventory and cataloged what I thought were the apartments and houses she rented. Checking with my mom, I realized I was right. It's good to know that one's memory can remain intact, even 25 years down the road. It got me to thinking that the sum of us is really our collective memory. Without memory, there would be no continuity of knowledge, of what makes us the people that we are as grow and change. Our memories become our very selves. Those memories are then linked with the people who share those same experiences, whether they are still in our lives or not, and it forms a chain (whether visible or invisible). Multiple memories recalling events become history, and history lasts for thousands of years (we're still studying the Sumerians!). Perhaps this is why memory is such a powerful thing. Yes, it can be distorted or forgotten, but it is one thing common to us all. Perhaps this is why I love the study of history so much, especially how the internet now allows us to search for images--many of which from a mere glance will bring to mind a instant memory of an event, a flower sniffed, a joke shared, a meal enjoyed, a breeze that ruffled through your hair, the feel of the warm sunshine through closed eyes... It all calls to mind the incredible poignancy of the scene in Blade Runner, when Roy Batty is about to die, and delivers this monologue: "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die." And I suppose that's just it, unless it is documented or kept alive through the memories and stories of our family and friends, when we die, so do the memories. They cannot come back as they cease to exist on this earth, just as we do when we die. Perhaps this is why I feel a particular kindred with archives, old newspaper clippings, photographs, letters, and ephemera that are stored in libraries, historical societies, and repositories. I want to do my part to make sure these pieces of the human experience are not lost forever, like tears in rain...
Friday, October 28, 2011
Overall, this project has been very interesting to me, and dare I say… fun?!? While the scope of this project was to look at seven “things,” I really began to think that when I have more time, I may go back and complete the whole program. Even those technology tools for which I was at first skeptical as to their usefulness have given me much to ponder. As I explored the content, I began to think of ways that they could be used in a library after all, and this really helped get my creative juices flowing. Yes, learning can be fun!
The last of the seven “23 Things” that I tried for this project was to create a wiki. I know what Wikipedia is (and I’ve heard about the now infamous Wikileaks), but I had no idea how to create a wiki of my own or edit wiki content. As wiki content is user-generated (in many cases, any user can add/remove/edit content), this can be a blessing or a curse. It can lead to dynamic and detailed content, or content riddled with inaccuracies which is not very useful. In order to better understand wikis, I went to wikispaces and created my own wiki at: http://jackiemantel.wikispaces.com/Library+2.0+Wiki.
When looking over the examples of library Wikis, I took some time reviewing pathfinder content. My favorite I found was “History-related Mysteries” at www.libraryforlife.org/subjectguides/index.php/History-related_Mysteries. While it only contained a few entries, it was easy to navigate and I like the inclusion of pictures of the books listed. I can clearly see something like this being of great interest to library patrons. For example, when I’m looking for a new author or series, I take advantage of Amazon.com’s suggested book list (which provides recommendations based on my searches and what other readers with similar interests have purchased), I then toggle back and forth between Amazon and my library’s catalog to check for availability of these titles. I suspect that I am one of many who do this, or something similar. If my public library were to create user lists similar to the pathfinder wiki, I know that I would be thrilled—and I suspect other patrons would be, too. The wiki format also is a great way to involve patrons in the process—since they in turn could add links to a “recommended reading list,” and even comments/reviews as well. This would help develop a vested interest in such a tool, especially for those patrons who are keen to be “involved” in some way with their library.
In contrast to some of the other Library 2.0 “23 Things,” I have had some experience with listening to podcasts, but I had only done so casually. I was interested in learning a bit more about them “from the ground up,” and thinking of ways they may be useful to a library. A podcast is an audio file that is uploaded and can be listened to; likewise, a user can set up an automatic download for new podcasts as they become available. While playing around with podcasts, I was able to add NPR’s podcast 50 Great Voices to my Bloglines account, which I found very convenient.
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library offers podcasts through their Reader’s Club, with discussions of recommended reading lists, librarian book reviews, and author interviews. I find this to be an excellent use of this medium—especially if it is done well and with a mind to patron interest. What a convenient way to learn more about books that are just coming out or one’s favorite authors! The Orange County Library offers the Children’s Podstory, where children can listen to storytellers read some popular favorites. Parents can subscribe via iTunes or mp3 formats. At first, I was not sure how podcasts could enhance patron services at a public library, but after looking at the different way that have been used, I readily see the value they add.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I must admit that I am a fan of YouTube, the extremely popular video-sharing website. Users can upload videos to the delight, chagrin, amusement, or education of others. Comments can also be left. Primarily, I go to YouTube to listen to music, watch funny animal videos, as well as support a friend of mine who uploads videos of herself singing and playing her ukulele (she is actually quite talented, see www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5mtPK9rzw).
But how do libraries utilize this resource? Kansas University’s academic library has created a series of video tutorials and posted them on YouTube. This is a novel approach to helping educate users on how to navigate the library’s catalog in order to conduct a thorough search for academic sources. Many students may feel ill-prepared (and some may be shy about asking a reference librarian for help), and watching a video which goes step-by-step in locating an article in a scholarly journal can alleviate some stress (the link KU created is: www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5VUmgJXOYQ). The Allen County Public Library has also posted a very interesting tour of their Genealogy Center, and it is quite well-done. I’m not sure that all libraries would find video sharing to be a valuable resource in their Library 2.0 communication portfolio, but these examples demonstrate that there is a very real, practical use for libraries.
Friday, October 21, 2011
I had not created a Twitter account prior to experimenting with the “23 Things,” but was eager to finally give it a try. I set my account up at: http://twitter.com/MantelJackie. Twitter posts are essentially like little “mini-blogs” confined to 140 characters per post, and they allow the user to send instant messages in one of social networking’s most popular spheres. As libraries and librarians are blogging in increased numbers, so are they also “tweeting.” Like other Library 2.0 technologies, Twitter is free to set up and is an easy communication tool that can help libraries communicate with patrons while staying current with the latest technologies. Twitter is fund and useful, and even if one isn’t necessarily keen on tweeting themselves, by following outlets or individuals, you can receive timely updates specifically from those you chose to follow. For people “on the go,” having quick news updates may be very appealing. It also allows people to “converse” with others in a way similar to text messaging—without having to give out their mobile phone number.
Libraries use Twitter primarily as a communication tool—to let patrons know about upcoming events and programs, send service updates, or even to inform followers of changes to hours in the event of inclement weather or building emergencies. Since it is free, simple, and requires little time commitment, it is a social networking tool that libraries can easily adopt as a way to interact with their patrons.