12 August 2008

Thing 7: Text, text, text

I started working on Thing 7 in late June, about the time I started teaching the class that meant I didn't do any of the 23 Things for the next month and a half. (It was a 2-credit course on research skills, and it's going really well.)

At least I read the long article about e-mail—the readings for this Thing were particularly lengthy, perhaps because the things themselves (e-mail, texting, and webinars) are so lightweight? Methinks the medium doth protest too much—as I was preparing a lecture on the history of the Internet. So I worked in some facts from the reading, such as the date the first e-mail in the world was sent (1971), that I hoped made this extremely dry topic a little less dry.

Speaking of dry, here are the questions that the 23 Things people think I should be blogging on for this Thing:
  • Describe how your library uses email. Has it improved productivity?
  • Share your thoughts on online reference using some of the other Web 2.0 communication tools.
  • Are you an active user of text messaging, IM, or other communication tools?
  • Which OPAL or MINITEX Web conference (Webinar) did you attend? How was it? What do you think of this communication tool?
Whew! And, mind you, I'd like to get a little Twitter in for extra credit (even though I already use Meebo on the job, another extra-credit item). So I'd better do all this in future blog posts, rather than clutter up this one. Later!

11 August 2008

Thing 14: Redundant Books

I just finished reading Reading the OED, which is a book about reading a dictionary. So it's only appropriate that I jump to Thing 14, which is all about cataloging one's books with the help of a bazillion other users who seem nearly as obsessive about books as Ammon Shea, the author of Reading the OED. How could I resist?

What I entered in Library Thing today was mostly the information I had already put on this blog, in a sidebar. I like the sidebar better because it has links to the St. Paul Public Library catalog entries on the books. Library Thing links, by default, to Amazon, because Amazon is who supplied the images of the book covers. Other than that, it is commercial-free. You can list up to 200 books without a fee; thereafter, it costs $25 for a lifetime of book-cataloging, or $10 a year if you don't want to blow $25 all at once. (As someone who makes part of her living cataloging library books, I would feel a little odd paying someone else to let me do this.)

A caveat, now that I've invested nearly an hour in data-entry time: I need to remind myself that Web sites don't stay around forever. Whether or not you pay the fee, your virtual bookshelf (but, fortunately, not the real one) can vanish in an instant. I am still mourning the sudden loss of Simon Delivers, the local online grocery-delivery service that has been making my home life easier for more than a year now. They decided 40,000 customers weren't enough and pulled the plug this month. No more green buckets on the front porch, no more friendly Web lists of what you ordered last time, no more large containers of laundry detergent lugged up the front sidewalk by someone with a dolly. Sigh.

Here, before I forget, is the "widget" that will tell you one random book that Library Thing now knows I've been reading:

You can see the whole list at http://www.librarything.com/catalog/metrorebecca. Back in the saddle again!