Monday, March 31, 2008

Sense and Sensibility Part 1

Sense and Sensibility was on Masterpiece last night. It's brand new adaptation of the book and it was worth it. Andrew Davies wrote the screenplay and it was apparent. It was well done and explained the story without confusion and without leaving certain details out. The actresses who played Elinor (Hattie Morahan) and Marianne (Charity Wakefield) both fit into the roles with ease. I enjoyed them and their acting and the script really let viewers get the differences between the two sisters. Really, I think it is the characterization that sets this version apart from Emma Thompson's version of S&S. The characters were very real and believable. The look and feel of the film also fits the Regency period. It feels damp and cold by the sea and even the colors (muted and darker, say at dinner) fit with what lighting must have been like. The use of light and dark is also well done (so far). There is a scene in which Marianne and Willoughby are in a window and she is all white in light and he is all dark in black. It's a great use of light and dark for setting some foreshadowing and what might happen.

So far, this adaptation does S&S justice, where other versions in the past, have not. (Despite how much I love Hugh Grant as Edward Ferrars. :)) My only disappointment was that it was only an hour and a half long instead of a full two hours in length for the episode. Until next week.

Online Video Tools (Thing 18)

I thought this page that lists 62 sites for online video sharing was cool. Has anyone ever heard of many of these?

Check out the video above from YouTube titled, "A Librarian's 2.0 Manifesto." I thought it was appropriate given 23Things and what I am learning about all of these tools. It's a bit long, but fun to look at.

You Tube is great and I am quite familiar with it. The hardest part about this thing was that I decided to do it at work and YouTube is blocked. So...I had to go around the server about 20 different times and it just took a bit. BUT the videos do load faster at worker than at home, so that was why I chose to do that. At least as the media specialist I have the rights to unblock certain sites.

ELM Productivity Tools (Thing 17)

This thing asked us to explore ELM (Electric Library of MN) database special tools. Most of the databases now offer special Web 2.0 tools like RSS feeds & webpage development tools.

Gale Info Trac Student Edition RSS Feed:
I did the search on "youth smoking" and clicked on the link to add an RSS feed. I'd read a lot of other blogs that said the original link was dead or that the link once posted in an aggregator did not work. The first time, I pasted it into Google reader, it did not work, but then I noticed it had 2 extra spaces after the last character. I deleted those and it worked perfectly.

Ebsco Page Composer in Academic Search Premier:

This part of the thing asked me to created a web page. The tool has features to search specific databases (I chose Ebsco Animals) and created a link my media center wepage, and added a blue background. I struggled with this one. What would someone use this tool for? I already have a media center webpage and already create webpathfinders for classes and their projects, so when would I use this? (I already to direct links to search the databases on my pathfinders.) Here is an example of one of my pathfinders.

Proquest: To the left is the page that I created using Proquest Newstand. This tool was simple, it was just saving articles and then choosing to save the articles to a webpage or to email them. I liked this because it was easy and didn't require me to do a lot of work like the Ebsco one did.

Netlibrary: I viewed the Netlibrary book and checked out different parts of the book. I could see this being helpful to students in college or above for serious research when the content you want is only available in an eBook. The ability to mark pages or portions of the book and just jump back to them would be very useful. In my day to day use right now, however, I'm not sure I'd use this or could get my MS students to use it.

Arrrr, matey, I'm a pirate! (Thing 15, Part 2)

I have successfully played several games in Puzzle Pirates. I created my own personal Pirate, BlogginBB (sorry, no creative names last night) and learned to Bilge and Carpent the ship. I lost interest in Sailing. This was a site to use and the games were fun, but I am not much of a game person. (This said from someone who did NOT grow up with a game system in her house.) The site was easy to start (creating said pirate) but not so easy to follow after that. There were too many text boxes all over the place and it wasn't the most intiutive to follow around. I felt like I was clicking here and there with no direction at all. I also could not the to "intereact" with the other sailors. Again, not as intuitive as it seemed or maybe I just missed something. It was cute, but not something I need to do again.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Student 2.0 Tools (Thing 16)

I have looked at the Research Project Calculator before. I like that it offers one the real planning capabilities and shows ALL of the steps research involves. But, I find that when I work with my staff, they are not willing to take this kind of time to spend on their projects. I just can't seem them working with this tool. I feel like I've made great strides in getting them to plan and do the the research correctly (spending time, like several days! on research, using citation, taking time to teach kids how to take notes) and that this is just something that they don't need.

When I created a login about 2 months ago, one of the things that distracted me was that it (the RPC pages) seemed to cluttered and hard to follow. I like teaching tools to be very simple for my MS kids. I don't think this is very simple in a visual sense. Working with 6-8 grades on a daily basis makes me realize how simple you have to make everything. It just needs to be extremely simple and the RPC is not.

The assignment calculator from U of MN libraries is great. I just pretended to have a project due in 15 days and chose a subject area to see what would happen. I like that it really breaks it down and says today you should...and then offers you links to the tools that will help you accomplish this step. HOWEVER, do students, rather most students work like this or think like this? I'd argue no. I'd say that it's a great tool and we need to work on getting more to use it, but the majority of students or parents helping kids do a project need the material bc it's due in 5 days or the next day. These tools are great to empower folks, but how many are using them? Just food for thought.

Online Gaming & Libraries (Thing 15, Part 1)

I have to skip this one for now. We are traveling and I can't get either to download with our laptop and internet connection. Saving it for home or school.

Jane Austen Quote of the Day Blog

I have discovered a Jane Austen Quote of the Day blog. It's great! It is by the author of a book called, A Walk with Jane Austen, Lori Smith. I've been enjoying reading it via my Google Reader account. She has a lot of fun links on her blog, so I've been trying to actually go to the blog to read it at times, too. Enjoy.

Oh Emma!

Emma re-aired on Friday evening this week. It is the Kate Beckinsdale version from 1996.

I was reminded how much I:

1. Don't remember a lot of the specific details of the story. Obviously, I need to reread Emma. I was trying to remember and explain to JD the details of Jane Fairfax & Frank Churchhill and those details were quite hazy. Sigh.

2. While Emma isn't one of my favorite JA stories, I did so enjoy the movie. There are just some great moments. Mr. Elton in the carriage proposing to Emma. Box Hill. It's just a treat to watch.

3. I really can't stand the actress who plays Harriet Smith. JD described her last night as a 2 day old kitten with her eyes hardly open. That was more of a description of the character, but that actress, Samantha Morton, drives me batty. She was also in the 1997 A&E production of Jane Eyre, which was the sole reason why I disliked that version. What can you do?

I'll close with this quote from Mr. Knightley, on the Box Hill incident.

"It was badly done, indeed! You, whom she had known from an infant, whom she had seen grow up from a period when her notice was an honour, to have you now, in thoughtless spirits, and the pride of the moment, laugh at her, humble her--and before her niece, too--and before others, many of whom (certainly some,) would be entirely guided by your treatment of her.--This is not pleasant to you, Emma--and it is very far from pleasant to me; but I must, I will,--I will tell you truths while I can."

Dear Mr. Knightley chastising Emma for her ill treatment of Miss Bates
Emma, volume 3, chapter 7

Friday, March 28, 2008

LIbrary Thing (Thing 14)

This week I tried both Library Thing and Shelfari! (Thanks to Frenzied Media for letting me know about Shelfari!) I'd just discovered Goodreads, too.

Library Thing & Shelfari are great ways to make lists of books and show what you are reading, have read etc. After trying both sites out, I like Shelfari better. Shelfari is a fun tool that allows you to make lists of books--what you've read, what you own, what you're currently reading, what you want to read or your favorites. But it's not a just a list. You select the title and it's a book cover that gets added to your shelf. A visual representation of what you are reading. It also has a widget option that allows you to post your Shelfari shelf to a blog or other webpage. If you view the actual blog (not in an RSS reader or email :) ) you can see my shelf. I haven't had time to actually add reviews to any. But it's fun. I decided to just do a "What I'm reading" shelf on the blog here, that way, I can blog about what I've finished reading in a blog entry. (Should the spirit move me, that is.)

Library Thing is much the same, however, the cataloging is much more in depth than Shelfari. Here's what it looks like:I think this is great, but the librarian in me isn't much of a cataloger. I don't need this much information. I am quite a Type A, but that person inside me doesn't need to catalog all of my books at home or make a list of everything I personally own. From what I can tell, Library Thing seems to have a more vast selection of books (with cover images) than Shelfari. It seemed that I had several from Shelfari that did not have cover images. Both LT and S allow you to make "friends" and see what they are reading and tag your books for easy finding. Another reason I like Shelfari better right now, I already had friends signed up for it. :) I also liked the widget better in Shelfari. Rather than just show a "random" selection from my shelves like the LT widget does, S lets me pick which list to share. I like that better, too.

I think that using either tool in a library setting could be useful. Rather than make handouts (brochures, lists of what to read or if you like this or that), a library could tag books that are similar. The hardest part of this is getting patrons to use the site. There are also databases (What to Read Next, NoveList) that allow patrons help in finding materials, too. I'm not sure which site would be better, but for making lists and sharing the tags, LT would be easier to use and offers a bit more flexibility. However, the widget from S, looks a bit more fun and clever on a webpage as an extension of what someone is reading (maybe what this or that librarian is reading) or or what the top checkouts are for that week?

All in all, both are fun tools!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Online Productivity Tools (Thing 13

Customized Home Page: I chose to use iGoogle simply because I am familiar with the customized Google products and already have a login and I am getting "login" overload. I like the options in the Google homepage. I loaded my Google Reader feeds, along with news and cooking feeds. I found a fun header and there it was. Creating a google homepage is easy and to me this is nothing new. I've been a Yahoo user for a long time and the MyYahoo main page is essentially the same thing. Although, I think that iGoogle offers a lot more choices and more tabbed pages. I like the drag and drop features, the ability to move the feeds around as much as you want.

Calendars: Again, I used the Google calendar for ease of use. It is very easy to use and I am tempted to share my calendar with JD's and then we can have a combined family calendar. I do like printed, calendars and like to write stuff down, so I'm not sure if it is something I want to use or will use on a regular basis.

To-Do Lists: I quickly tried Remember the Milk just to see what it looked like. It also had the option to import it into the Google calendar. I thought that it might actually inspire me to use it at a later date. HA! For me, to-do lists are a tactile thing. I like to write them out and rewrite them and cross things off. There is something in scribbling, though, isn't there?!

Backpackit: I'm on login/tool overload. I looked at it, but didn't sign up or try it.

I think that these tools can be useful. But there comes a point when I'm just sick of being on the computer. (And I'm really getting to that point tonight, so I need to finish this blog entry.) I want to use a piece of paper and a pen.

JD and I discussed using calendars at work for scheduling. In my school, I have a print calendar for the media center and for my personal calendar. Our computer labs use the electronic calendar in our email client. I hear people complaining about them all of the time. People want a calendar to view in front of them, not on a computer screen. They want to flip through the weeks and see it quickly and in front of them. I've thought about going to an online calendar but I don't think folks would use it and I'd get stuck with more scheduling that I want to deal with or have time to deal with.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Just a quick note: Emma is on PBS on Sunday!! Be sure to watch!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Best of Social Bookmarking--Diigo (Thing 11, Part 2)

This School Library Journal article, Best of Social Bookmarking Article, was one I'd saved from a while back for when came up. It mentions Diigo and the author of the article says it his favorite social bookmarking tool. Because of that, I thought I'd take a look.

Diigo is very similar to, except that is has more features and tool for a researcher. These tools were what appealed to me from the article. Diigo allows one to import bookmarks just like, so I just imported my bookmarks complete with tags from there to speed things up. There are two ways to have the sticky note and highlighting tools that Diigo offers. You can download an extension for your web browser, which of course, I didn't have the latest and greatest Firefox, so I couldn't. The other way is to create a Diigolet on your bookmarks toolbar (simply a drag and drop) and then you click on it when you are on one of your bookmarked pages and the tools appear in a navigation bar at the top of the screen. I can then add a sticky (post-it) note to anywhere on the page and also highlight text and have it saved for later. Then I can come back to the page and look at what I'd marked up. If only this had been around for my senior undergrad paper... Below is a screenshot from the Republic of Pemberly. (Which btw, is a great JA, site if you need one!) See the yellow sticky note and the yellow highlighting I did? Diigo remembers what you've done on that page in your bookmarks. Kinda cool, eh?

Overall, I liked Diigo. Although, I think has a more simpler user interface. I also noticed that I was pretty much the only person that had some of the bookmarks I do and on, I was one of several hundred. I guess that means more people are using right now. I will have to play with Diigo a bit more but I could see real applications for use in high school and colleges and how students do research.

I'm Not Sure I Can Digg It (Thing 12)

All of these news/information sites seem the same with a few exceptions.
Mixx homepage sorts by subject (Popular, Tech etc.), Digg and Newsvine were not anything special to me. Although, Newsvine's homepage is a bit much for me. They could do without some of the content to clean it up a bit. But that's just me... Reddit's homepage was simple, but almost too much so. It is almost hard to tell the stories apart because they seem very close together on the page.

I also noticed that the Reddit help lists four ways to use Reddit. The first one being, "Read: User-submitted links, it's more fun than being productive!" Ok, so isn't that right there the crux of the matter?! When do I have time to use these sites and do I care? Ok, so some of the more "news" content I find interesting, but I don't know that I need to read about all of it. And whatever happened to good ol' newspapers? Seriously. Is it is a good thing that people are stuck on their computers reading all of the time. They might be well informed but do they have social skills.

Ok, sorry about that rant. I think for me this is really about that I do not need 20 different service to bring me information and find web content I enjoy. What I am learning about some of the Web 2.0 tools is that we really need to pick and choose what we like and just stick to that. Otherwise, where does the rest of your life kick in? When do you eat? Exercise? Have hobbies? If I'm stuck reading all of the various information sources, I wouldn't have time to go for a walk (speaking of which, it's almost spring in MN!...) or cook dinner! So, can you tell I think that these tools are a productivity DETRACTOR?

That said--I am still struggling to figure out how to use these sites in a library setting. If anyone has any good ideas, put them on your blog. I'm going to start looking at what others have said, because I am drawing a complete blank.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tag! You're It! (Thing 11)

Tagging and is not a new thing for me. While it was the first time I'd actually created my on account, I've used it plenty because of work and friends. This thing, for me, was more about sitting down and making the time to do the tagging. It took some time and a good hour and a half was spent just puttering around looking at other sites that people tagged Jane Austen related. I disovered some fun new fanfiction blogs. Yes, there are numerous people out there that read more JA fanfiction than I do and are even a trillion times more obsessed with it than I am. GASP! Here's a link to my account.

I haven't used at school because I already have a system to create links/bookmarks for classes. While I think that the tags can be great, I like what I've done on my school library website (not to mention the time it's take to create the links) and I am not going to start using something different just be using a web 2.0 tool. I am essentially doing the same thing, but without

In exploring I realized how valuable this site could have been to me when I was working my my senior research paper in undergrad. It was a topic (Women as Other in literature and magazines.) that was hard to find solid information on and the web didn't have anything as organized or as helpful with links from others on it like does now. I remember searching and searching and it took time to find valuable information and it wasn't out there. I think this site could be useful in that sense. What others deem insteresting or valuable might be for someone else doing a research project, too. Of course, there is a lot of junk out there, but it is another tool to use and put in the research toolbox.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wikis (Thing 10)

Wikis can be a fun tool. They are not new to me. I think that they could be useful, but some of the features in Google Docs could be just as useful or equally useful. (If I make a word doc in Google Docs, doesn't it serve much the same purpose--of course, depending on the purpose of the document you need a group to edit.) The link to the St. Joseph County Public Library system wiki pathfinders was excellent. That was the idea that I most liked and found applicable to what I could incorporate into what I use at school. JD shared this link about Web 2.0 merging into Web 3.0 and the joys of editing forums like Wikipedia. It's interesting--basically stating that people are getting sick of others editing becuase it's the same old people again and again and some do it for personal gain. A new generation calls for more fact checking! Hurrah!--Fact checking? A librarian's dream! (Yes, JD, I just linked to Slashdot. Aren't you proud?)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Enthusiasm & More Letters

Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman (Young Adult Fiction)
Julia loves P&P and she introduced her best friend Ashleigh to it. Ashleigh becomes more than enthused with P&P, she becomes obsessed! Suddenly they speak like 19th C heroines and are dressing in empire waste dresses and are on the quest to find Mr. Darcy & Mr. Bingley. They crash the nearby boys prep school ball and meet two guys. Then it's romance and a series of misadventures until True Love is found. Cute, funny, although somewhat predictable. I don't see this one being popular with teens and it's a teen book...
2 Bonnets

More Letters From Pemberley: A Novel of Sisters, Husbands, Heirs 1814-1819 by Jane Dawkins
This sequel takes off where the first Letters left off in the saga of their lives. However, while the first book was only letters from E to Jane, this book contains letters from E to Jane, Mrs. Gardiner and even to D himself. It is an interesting addition to the story and would have been a bit boring without the change up in who the letters were to. The story takes us on joys and sorrows with E & D and is another fine addition to the pleathora of P&P continuations out there.
3 Bonnets

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Good Friends, Books & Food

Bookclub had game night last night. It was a non-book meeting planned to just allow for gabbing and some good laughs! There was good food, good friends and lots of laughs.

Sigh....La vida es hermosa!