Saturday, June 14, 2008

Moving over to WordPress

Well, I finally decided to move this blog over to WordPress. WP made it very easy to import all of my Blogger posts to the new WordPress blog - much easier than I thought it would be (thanks, WordPress!). Even though WordPress offers its own statistics, I went ahead and ran the feed through FeedBurner just to see the difference in what each offers.

Here is the new feed:

I hope the few of you that are there will keep reading...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Social Networking: Yahoo! for Teachers

Yahoo! recently released a new social network for teachers allowing them to share learning materials.

Once you have an account, you will be able to explore projects added by other educators by state, grade level, and subject.

You can also connect with other teachers at other schools in your city, county, state - or anywhere!

What looks most interesting is the Gobbler, a tool that allows teachers to build a project by saving images, clippings, links, and other information from websites to your projects in Yahoo! Teachers. You can also create handouts or worksheets using the document creator and add it to your project. All your projects can be saved in a portfolio and shared with other teachers, and they can share their projects with you.

To get an account and check out this new network, go to the Yahoo! Teachers home to sign up for an invitation. You will be sent a password for the Beta site. The Beta site will then allow teachers to register for an account.

BAM Challenge: March Review - How to Make an American Quilt

OK, this time I'm not late with my review for the Book-a-Month Challenge.

The March theme was Crafts for Challenge #3 in honor of March being National Craft Month. Since I love quilts and quilting is one the crafts I want to learn someday, I read How to Make an American Quilt by Whitney Otto. This is the story of several women in a quilting group in a small town in California. A different woman's story is told in each chapter, and for each story, the author provides an analogy to some aspect of quilt-making. As each woman's story is told, the reader also gets occasional glimpses of the other women through another's eyes. It's an engaging look into the lives of several very different women who still manage to come together to create quilts.

I'm ready and waiting for the April challenge!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Database Tips: Where did my My NoveList account go?

EBSCO released the new interface for NoveList and NoveList K-8 this week. Here is a preview if you don't subscribe. If you do subscribe, the "Tour NoveList" link on the main page provides training materials and a video tutorial.

Now that NoveList is on the EBSCOhost platform, you may have noticed that your My NoveList account, if you have one, is missing. The personal accounts for NoveList have now been combined with My EBSCOhost accounts. So, if your NoveList lists or searches aren't now appearing in your My EBSCOhost account (as is the case with mine), you can log in to your My NoveList account by adding "~1" to the username for your My NoveList account.

For example:
Username: jsmith
Password: books2008

will now be

Username: jsmith~1
Password: books2008

I spent some time over the last two days recreating most of my lists in My EBSCOhost account because I didn't see an easy way to move them over. However, it was a good exercise in getting to know how the new interface works. This also means you won't have to keep track of separate accounts for My EBSCOhost, My NoveList, and My NoveList K-8 since they will now all be in the My EBSCOhost account.

BAM Challenge: February Review - In the Heart of the Valley of Love

Again, I'm a little late with my review for the Book-a-Month Challenge. But, hey, I'm still hangin' in there!

The February theme was Heart for Challenge #2. I read In the Heart of the Valley of Love by Cynthia Kadohata. The setting is Los Angeles about 50 years in the future. The government rations water and gas. Pollution and sickness are rampant. Loss of loved ones to death or police arrest is quite common. Yet, despite the gloom, we see how people find hope through the main character, Francie, a teenage girl on the brink of adulthood. She, her family, her friends, and her boyfriend still seek love and friendship in the midst of chaos and desolation. I am most impressed by Kadohata's ability to juxtapose hope and despair in the same sentence.

Two down, and ten to go! Bring on the March challenge! I have my book ready.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tech Tips: I *heart*

I love! It's my favorite social bookmarking application (although I will confess I haven't tried too many others since I like this one so much). You can find my account here and see how much I love it by all the tags and bookmarks. :-)

Getting Started
It's quite easy to set up an account and start bookmarking. Since is web-based, you can bookmark pages and see your bookmarks from any computer. You can also assign multiple tags to each bookmark and then organize your tags making it easy to find all the great recipe sites you've bookmarked - or whatever your interest is. You can also build a network of friends on to see what your friends are bookmarking. Since privacy can be an issue, offers a "do not share" checkbox beside each bookmark, so you can choose if there are ones you do not want to share.

Must Have Add-Ons
If you use Firefox, there are browser add-ons that make bookmarking much easier.

1) The buttons add-on simply adds a button and a TAG button in your browser navigation bar. You can bookmark any page as you find it by clicking the TAG button.

2) The Delicious Bookmarks add-on is an updated version of buttons, which also provides a sidebar that lets you browse and search your bookmarks easily.

You only need one of these - not both. My only issue with add-ons is that I have yet to find an add-on that lets you manage multiple account easily. I actually have a few accounts, and I want an add-on that lets me choose the account(s) when I add a bookmark. I know it would be hard to create, but I bet there's a developer out there looking for a challenge. ;-)

Blogging Settings
The blogging settings also offer some nice goodies. If you have a blog, you can include daily blog posts of the pages you have bookmarked in Also, you can add a link roll to your blog (as I just did): for Georgia Libraries

I have a second account here that I set up as an example of how librarians may use a account at their library, particularly for a reference desk in Georgia. I have been experimenting with a ranking system for the subject category tags with the idea that a librarian could give a 1- to 5-start rating to a site based on how good it is for a particular subject. Like I said, it's an experiment, and I may change it. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ideas: Brevity is a Virtue

I saw this post on the EDTECH list referring to a newspaper article that encourages people to write a novel of their life story in six words. I immediately envisioned six-word life stories from all over the world coming through a Twitter feed since its short format and international reach provides a great medium for this type of publishing.

So, here's my attempt at my life in six words:

Learned a lot, but still learning.

You can find it on Twitter.

So, what's your life story - in six words?

Update: I also found Mary Ann Bell's post about this on her blog, which is a great blog to read, by the way. :-)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

BAM Challenge: January Review - A Wrinkle in Time

Well, I confess I'm a bit late on my January review for the Book-a-Month Challenge. But, alas, circumstances beyond my control intervened, and I am now catching up.

The January theme was Time for Challenge #1. I chose A Wrinkle in Time by the late Madeleine L'Engle. This is a fiction work aimed at a juvenile audience, but it's certainly a book adults can enjoy as well. I had not read any of her books before this, but I now appreciate the loss that was felt in the world when she passed away last year. She has certainly been added to my list of favorite authors.

*Warning! Spoilers ahead!*

A Wrinkle in Time is a sweet story of courage in the face of evil and fighting for loved ones. Time (and space) travel is possible by traveling through the fifth dimension, which is the wrinkle in time. Meg Murry, her brother, and their friend travel through time and space to save her father from evil. I love that the author had the children work together using their individual gifts to accomplish their mission. I think this can be a great lesson to young people.

Thanks for the challenge! Now, on to the February challenge...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Library of Congress and Flickr - What Does This Mean for Other Libraries?

As you may have already heard, the Library of Congress and Flickr recently launched a pilot project in which images from LoC's collections have been added to their Flickr page. The purpose of this project is to increase access to the collections and to obtain more metadata in the form of tags for the images.

In order to do this, Flickr created a new model of publication for publicly held collections, which they call "The Commons." This is how anyone is able to tag images on LoC's Flickr page.

And, the response has been awesome! Look at all the tags!

Since I read this news story, I've been pondering if this may encourage smaller libraries to upload their special collections to Flickr as well. I recognize that digitizing photos requires cost, particularly for smaller libraries with limited resources. However, unique collections of historical and cultural items are certainly an asset of our nation's libraries, and I hope this makes it easier to show them off. We'll see what the future holds as we continue to watch this project.

Tech Blog: SEGA Tech has Great Tech Tips

I try to keep up with good technology blogs from people in Georgia, particularly if they are related to education or libraries. I found SEGA Tech (Southeast Georgia Technology) a few months ago. I learn something every time I read a post, but there have been two particular posts that have helped me solve endlessly frustrating tech problems.

1) My home laptop is a few years old. I have particularly noticed that Firefox has been running quite slowly the last few months. Along came this post, The seven steps to a faster Firefox. Browse faster! I followed the steps, and, although Firefox is still a little slow on my laptop, I have seen a big improvement in performance. YAY!

2) Since I do some limited tech support at work, I need to be familiar with both Firefox and IE since they are the most common browsers among our users. Although my preference is Firefox (and, oh, let me count the reasons), I often use IE7 at work (and have kept IE6 on my home laptop in case we need to do testing or troubleshooting). With IE7, I have been quite frustrated that I cannot change the homepage. My homepage comes up, but I can't navigate to another site - argh! Then, I found this post, Fix for Internet Explorer Runounce Error. Ahh! The joy of finally finding the fix to an annoying little problem!

Keep up the great work, guys! I'll be reading!