Friday, October 31, 2008

Podcasts - World Music And Beyond...

My initial reaction to all of the subject availability in existence with respect to the world of podcasting, is one of both overwhelment at the thought of trying to comprehend it all and yet excitement and delicious anticipation at the idea of sampling as much of this rich web-related audio content as I can realistically consume! Some of the subject areas which I have discovered through my podcasting exploits, so far, include: library industry news, world/local news and news analysis, arts, entertainment, personal finance, national/global economy, sports, research, religion, politics, general opinion, literature, health, gardening, food, business, feature stories, and the list goes on and on. There's even a podcast entitled "Anything You Wanted To Know Forum" which answers questions on well yes ... anything!

In searching for a podcast of personal interest, I decided to go with my passion- world music. Even though I was dealing with a specific subject focus this time, I still experienced similar feelings of overwhelment and yet enthusiasm as I perused the podcast offerings. Just to give you an idea of the variety of types of world music podcasts which are currently active, I present you with the highlights of what I found: current trends, concerts, featured artists, interviews, local club reviews, geographically/ethnically specific programming, radio shows, indie /avant-garde music, meditation/relaxation music, and world culture. I picked-up on NPR's The World's Global Hit Podcast.

As far as the actual search itself was concerned, I found to be quite helpful in the area of world music. I quickly retrieved a very comprehensive hitlist with entries that contained good content descriptions, reviews, the ability to create playlists, and instant subscription access. I think that access to some music podcasts on our library web site would be an attractive feature for our patrons and would encourage the use of our recorded music collection considerably.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

YouTube - Library Orientation Tour

This video tour of an academic library was created as an orientation tool for new students.

Renne Library (Montana State University)

Even though they used a series of stills instead of actual live footage, I think that they get their message across very effectively, as the presentation is both clear and informative. I also appreciate their thoroughness in communicating not only where students can find various types of information and services, but also where all the various seating areas in the library are located and the type of study environment offered by each.

I think that we could definitely use a video of this nature on our web site. Many of the patrons I encounter at the Info Desk seem so overwhelmed by the size and complexity of the central library. If they could have access to this type of an introduction to our facilities before they come in the door, just think of how much more manageable and enjoyable their library experience would be! This type of communication would also be useful as a library promotion tool, informing the public of just all we have to offer.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yelp User Photos - Now You See It, Now You Don't

I've been wanting to enjoy a meal up in the Rainbow Room in New York City for quite some time, but have never gotten around to it. I know that the food is pricey, but always figured it would be well worth it just to be able to enjoy a spectacular view while dining. So, I decided to see what pictures were available on this subject and discovered to my surprise that a table does not necessarily guarantee one a view. Notice the obstructions present in the windows of the dining area pictured above. The photo below was also taken at the Rainbow Room, but the question is "From where"? Thus armed with this helpful information, I now know that I need to investigate the situation further before eating there in order the find out if there are indeed actually any tables available in the restaurant that offer an unobstructed view of the city skyline.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Photobucket - The Joys Of Petsitting


Need I say more? I also petsit for two beautiful cats each of whom, you'll just have to trust me on this one, makes an awesome picture!

Photos - Sharing Online

My favorite places to vacation are those locales which offer warmth, ready access to the ocean, and plenty of sunshine. As a result, I have become an avid snorkeler and over the years have developed a strong desire to pursue a hobby in underwater photography. Just look at this exquisite coral! With so many pictures readily available for me to sample, I now have a great source of inspiration to spur me on into making my dream a reality. These photo sharing sites with their useful indexing techniques provide a convenient avenue for me to find numerous snorkeling photos easily. I also get the benefit of viewing personal photos by everyday people whom I can relate to. I see their successful snapshots and think to myself, "Yeah, I think I can do this too!"
As far as the library patrons are concerned, I think one good use of this type of online service might be in the area of travel- always of popular interest. On our library web site we could include a section on "Places To Visit" with links from the various locales to a photo album or group on the web put together by BPL staff. We could even get the patrons involved by encouraging them to contribute their best photos and/or comments on their experiences visiting these places. I know already myself, after viewing all of those magnificant snorkeling photos, how one could easily get inspired to visit numerous new travel destinations!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Setting Goals - 43 Things

The online to-do-list tools seem like a great idea, but my PDA works just fine for me and I am already quite familiar with finding efficient ways to get things done via advice from Internet web sites. The accomplishment of personal goals however, is definitely an area of my life which could see improvement. The idea of actually writing my goals down and sharing them with others seems like a promising venture. So, I've decided to try it for awhile and see what happens.

The 101 Things To Do In 1001 Days Project is one web site which is designed to assist one in reaching their goals. Their approach is particularly helpful for those who are seeking to "find themselves" at some stage of their life and need a considerable amount of assistance in doing so. At the onset, they ask the user to answer a set of probing philosophical questions designed for this purpose, most of which I have already answered for myself. Another drawback, for me personally, was the sense of overwhelment that washed over me as I tried to comprehend actually attempting to purposefully accomplish that many goals, no matter how much time I gave myself to do so! Hence, I opted to sign-up with 43 Things. The features offered here which I think will most help me to accomplish my goals include a personal profile page for listing goals and keeping track of progress made, availability of advice from others with similar goals, shared personal stories of successes and setbacks from fellow members, inspirational ideas for additional goal setting which are even searchable by subject, and a true sense of comradery and encouragement amongst the membership. There's even a membership section for providing advice to others as to how to keep this project from becoming a distraction rather than asset in your life.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

RSS - New Aquisitions

I am really delighted to see that libraries are already using this feature to keep patrons informed of new additions to their collections. As a team selector of music cds for the BPL, I have always wished that we had some way of keeping our users up-to-date and well aware of our new purchases. So, when I came upon the MIT catalog and saw what they were offering in the way of just such a service, I promptly subscribed to their RSS feed for newly purchased music cds. Even though I can't check them out myself, I now have the opportunity to experience this service through the eyes of a patron via Google Reader!

As you can see, their RSS subscription page for new acquisitions is all nicely broken down by subject category to accommodate individual user's interests. Another feature of their's which I really like is the added option of recieving updates by email for those who do not have or wish to use RSS feed readers. I would really like to see this service offered at the BPL. Imagine how much better our patrons would be served if all of our new titles of interest came to them automatically in a nice neat little list, available by the simple click of a mouse! They would also be constantly reminded of all the wonderful materials we have to offer and thus further encouraged to borrow them more often. I would also like to see, as an added feature, links from each title to reviews and in the case of a-v materials sound or video clips as well.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Craigslist Ad - Check Out This Concert!

I've posted this ad in support of an exceptional artist by the name of Pius Cheung who will be appearing at the Boston Pulic Library on 10/25. If you can make this event, you will be in for a wonderful treat, I assure you!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's Classified - Craigslist vs

I discovered that getting somewhat of an actual feel for these two sites worked better for me when I took a more general approach to this assignment, hence, here are some of my first impressions. I liked the format of Craigslist much better from an organizational standpoint. One can readily find their main search categories as they are all conveniently listed on a single page. I had no trouble finding a successful starting point for a search, no matter what I was looking for., on the other hand, was a bit confusing and not nearly so straight forward. I found myself often rather guessing in which section I should start. Once I located a general category for my search, however, I discovered that both sites had their stronger and weaker points as far as a further breakdown into subcategories was concerned. For example, within the personal ad category, Craigslist offers more subcategories of specific types of relationships, but as far as searching for concerts in the Boston area is concerned you will find it much easier to specify your search by music genre in Both sites offer keyword searching, but an added feature which includes, at least in some of their listings, is that of tags which are extremely useful when keywords don't get the job done.

As far as the variety of listings is concerned, I would give the edge to Craigslist but that may be due, in part, to the fact that one can get a pretty clear idea of all that they have to offer via a quick scan of their homepage- not so, with respect to The latter however, provides more in depth coverage of topics within each category. Aside from listings, articles on appropriate subjects and other types of pertinent information are also included as useful supplements.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Reviews/Ratings - Yelp

I love world music and so its no surprise that this passion of mine carries over to ethnic cuisine as well. One of my favorite spots for Indian food is the Bombay Club in Harvard Square (See my review on Yelp).

I think that rating/review options for library patrons would be a great added feature to any library web site. It would be most useful if a patron could look up a title and see what others had to say about it, complete with its average ranking among those who had commented on it. At the Boston Public Library, patron suggestions are a huge factor in determining which materials we are to purchase for our collections. Such suggestions would be more helpful to the selector if they were accompanied by a short personal review.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ratings/Reviews - QVC

I make some of my purchases via the TV home shopping channels. One in particular that I use is QVC which deals in quite a wide range of products. These folks can be quite good at times in convincing you that you really "can't live without" certain of their offerings! I have a particular weakness when it comes to those products that will save me time or make my life easier in some fashion or other. Therefore, I try not to buy anything without first checking out the customer reviews/ratings on their web site, which are made available for all merchandise which they sell. There have been quite a few instances when I have been thankfully detered away from making what would have probably been an unwise purchase, thanks to the advice of my fellow QVC consumers. (See my review for Spray-N-Grow micronutrient, posted by swati on 10/12/08)

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I'm going to be on vacation for awhile, so I will resume actvity when I reutrn.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Social Networking - A Library 2.0 Community

As I am currently involved in material selection for my institution, I see this particular social networking opportunity as a basic resource of new and improved ways for me to accurately ascertain our patrons preferences in this area. I am in the process of designing my own personal blog in hopes of reaching the Boston community and informing them of the many and varied titles which are available in our world music cd collection for their listening pleasure. To date, through this site, I have subscribed to Pro Blogger a neat little resource for blog design tips. In addition, there is ample opportunity here for interaction with my colleagues. Not only will I benefit from their ideas on ways to effectively use Web 2.0 technology within the library setting, but to also from their feedback with respect to some of mine. In my opinion, this site is a comprehensive and extremely valuable resource on this topic.