Wednesday, August 29, 2007

#23 - Final Thoughts About 23 Things

The most rewarding aspects of 23 Things was creating and maintaining a blog using Blogger, setting up a Bloglines newsreader account to receive RSS feeds (I'm a major news junkie), learning about the many wonders of YouTube (terribly addictive and fun), podcasting (ditto), and test driving the Maryland Overdrive audio book and video program.

RSS feeds and podcasting signals a change in how news, information, and entertainment is produced, distributed, and accessed. In light of what we've learned, all of our library's programs and events should be preserved as podcasts for members of the public who are unable to attend them live. Downloads of our podcasts should be included in a library's usage statistics.

The 23 Things format encourages you to learn at your own pace and develop your blogging skills. Based on the amount of time spent on each activity, I would have expected more CEUs being awarded. If that's not possible, then every participant who completes the program wins an iPod!

I would be interested in participating in future Web 2.0 or 3.0 classes.

One important web communications tool that could be part of a future Web 2.0 class is the EZBoard and Jelsoft vBulletin community forums. Both EZBoard ( and vBulletin enable you to participate in or create your own community discussion board.

EZBoard describes themselves as the "largest online community network site." EZBoard's platform is easy to use and you can get set up in only a few minutes. Ezboard's members are described as "young and economically strong. Forty percent of ezboard household heads are between 18 and 35, and half between 35 and 54. More than 50% of our members are women and over 90% of our users are on ezboard sites for more than an hour a week."

Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd is a UK based new media company and their flagship product is vBulletin. Detailed information about vBulletin is available at

As someone who owns and plays several Martin guitars, I make it a habit of visiting the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum ( on a daily basis. The UMGF is one of the largest guitar owners forums on the web with over 10,000 members and is a prime example of an active and dynamic EZboard hosted forum. The next largest guitar owners forum in membership and number of threads is the vBulletin hosted Acoustic Guitar Forum ( .

At their best, these forums are incomparable sources of insider's knowledge, especially when several forum members have insider's knowledge about Martin, a 175-year old company that's been run by four generations of Martins, a rarity in American business. At their worst, long-time members can be terribly rude to new members asking a question or posing a topic that's been discussed in earlier threads but cannot be found using the forum's crude and ineffective search engine.

Like a library blog that invites reader participation, a community forum must appoint an administrator to monitor the site. Examples of an administrator's responsibilities include alerting members to periods of downtime due to technical upgrades, banning members from the forum for bad etiquette, and closing down or moving inappropriate threads.

#22 - Overdrive Downloadable Audio Books & Videos

I prefer reading print books over listening to audio books, but out of curiosity I searched the available audiobooks through the Maryland Digitial Library Consortium at, which uses the OverDrive Media Console™, version 2.1. The audio book titles for the most part are two or three years old two and I remember reading many of them when they were issued in print. If you want to listen to newly published titles like FDR by Jean Edward Smith and Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan, be prepared for a long wait on the hold list. Evidently, the MDLC is very popular with our library's users. Hopefully, more new titles published during the past year will hopefully appear on future lists.

Videos can be downloaded in either enhanced or mobile quality formats. Even in enhanced mode, the audio and picture was not as clear as on a DVD, but it wasn't bad. Even with the library's high speed Internet connect, it took over a half-hour to download a 1 hour video.

Unfortunately, you cannot test drive the MDLC Overdrive program in your library, but if you have high-speed Internet through your local cable provider at home, check out these two videos:

Home Movie by Chris Smith (2006)

From the publisher: Home Movie is Chris Smith's loving look at five extraordinary homes and the charming, bizarre people who inhabit them. Smith (American Movie) interweaves their stories in a way that makes the audience think about the meaning of home and the place of the individual in society. Smith delights in the eccentricities of these unique characters in much the same way that he did in American Movie and connects their stories into a mosaic of American ingenuity and architectural possibility.

Glenn Tilbrook: One For The Road by Glenn Tilbrook (2006)

From the publisher: Ever wondered what it would be like to go on a cross-country tour with a rock star? Filmmaker Amy Pickard did and made a movie about it. Expecting 18-wheelers and five star hotels, she found Glenn Tilbrook, the former lead singer of Squeeze, touring in a mobile home and bedding down in roadside campgrounds. This charming documentary follows Tilbrook on every step of his first solo tour of America in his beloved - but not so reliable - home on wheels. From the search for his missing RV; adventures with engine repair and exploding generators, to a musical house call that one fan will never forget: All access, all of the time. It's the story of how an established artist adjusts to his independent surroundings. It's a commentary on the current state of the music industry. But, most importantly, it's a human-interest story that transcends its musical base. Songs: Another Nail in My Heart, Take Me I'm Yours, Goodbye Girl, Is That Love, Third Rail, By the Light of the Cash Machine, Is That Love, Pulling Mussels (From the Shell), Up the Junction, Tempted, Slightly Drunk, When the Hangover Strikes, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Hourglass, This is Where You Ain't, Parallel World, Some Fantastic Place, GSDH Essential

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

#21 - Search Tools for Locating Podcasts

After searching the podcast directory Podcast Alley, I discovered that some podcasts won't play on your computer until you download a Podcast Aggregator like the highly rated and easy-to-use Juice Cross-Platform Podcast Receiver 2.2 which you can download at

Once you have installed Juice 2.2, all you need to do is simply cut and paste your favorite podcast's URL from Podcast Alley into Juice's subscription folder. Click download updates and it automatically updates to the most recent program. This is especially helpful if you are interested in programs that broadcast on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis.

After searching Podcast Alley, I discovered MVY Radio's weekly Blues@8 program out of Martha's Vineyard, MA. Each program program features a different style of the blues from the 1920s to the present.

LibVibe ( - is an eight minute newscast of serious and quirky library news from around the world. Updated every 3 or 4 days.

Recent stories:

  • Young librarian pens book about humor in the profession, says he likes the quirky patrons

  • Director describes flood damage at Lexington MA Public Library's historic East Branch built in 1883.

  • A strike by library workers at Vancouver Public Library (Canada)

Podcasting and blogging is posing a serious challenge to the mainstream media by offering listeners an alternative source for music and news. Blogging and podcasting is slowly maturing into serious journalism that stimulates informed discussion of issues that matter to us. For example, bloggers are leading the charge in the consumer backlash against harmful Chinese toys and providing links to American- and European-made alternatives. Blogging and podcasting is a natural extension of the core mission of journalism: helping foster a vigorous public dialogue.

#20 - The YouTube Experience

YouTube has lost a great deal of content after TimeWarner and other major media publishers threatened Google with lawsuits unless they removed unauthorized copyright material. If you didn't find out about YouTube until now, you won't be able to see the entire Eric Claption MTV Unplugged concert. The only clip remaining on YouTube is the "Lonely Stranger" video which I've posted earlier on this blog.
YouTube is still a great source for music videos (when supplied by the record companies) and the sound and video quality is much improved. Dig deep enough into YouTube and you will find live (not lip synched) TV performances of pop and country music legends like Hank Williams, Marty Robbins, and Johnny Cash - all playing my favorite instrument - the Martin guitar.
Classical music is well-represented on YouTube if you can find pieces shown in their entirety.
Examples include cellist Yo Yo Ma's complete Bach Suites video and guitarist John Williams in a live performance of Joaquin Rodrigo's popular Concierto de Aranjuez.
Among the interesting classical music artists from the present and past on YouTube:
Bryn Terfel, bass - Arias: Se vuol ballare and Non piu andrai from Mozart's Marriage of Figaro in a classic Metropolian Opera broadcast from 1998 under the direction of James Levine. To my knowledge the Met never released this on video. A shame for it's a stellar cast with Cecilia Bartolli (Susanna), Rene Fleming (Countess), and Dwayne Croft (Count).
Murray Perahia, piano - Excerpt from Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27, K. 595. His set of the complete Mozart piano concertos from the 1970s and 80s (Sony Classical) is notable for Nos. 15-19, 23, 24, 26, and 27.
Dennis Brain, horn (1921 – 1957) - Beethoven: Horn Sonata Op. 17 (Complete). A great artist who died tragically young in a car accident on a London motorway. Brain was born into a family already well known for producing fine horn players. He's famous for his 1954 EMI recording of the Mozart horn concertos with Karajan, which has never been out of print. Purity of tone and effortless phrasing marks Brain as the greatest horn player of modern times. Only Alan Civil (played horn on Paul McCartney's song "For No One" on the Beatles' Revolver album in 1966) and Barry Tuckwell are his nearest rivals. I own a copy on CD of Brain's first recording of Mozart's Divertimento in D Major K. 334 in February, 1939 with the Lener Quartet (EMI Classics, out of print).
Zino Francescatti, violin (actually, René-Charles), eminent French violinist; b. Marseilles, Aug. 9, 1902; d. La Ciotat, Sept. 17, 1991. Mozart Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major, K. 218 (Complete) An assertive, secure and lyrical performance from the mid-1950s.
Fracescatti studied with his father RenĂ©, a violinist and cellist, and with his mother Erneste, a violinist. When he was only 5, he made his public debut in a recital. At age 10, he appeared as soloist in the Beethoven Violin Concerto. After making his Paris debut in 1925, he toured England in duo recitals with Ravel in 1926. He soon established himself as a virtuoso via tours of Europe and South America. On Nov. 18, 1939, he made his U.S. debut as soloist in Paganini's 1st Violin Concerto with Barbirolli and the N.Y. Philharmonic After the close of World War II in 1945, he pursued an outstanding international career until his retirement in 1976. He then sold his celebrated "Hart" Stradivarius of 1727 and established the Zino Francescatti Foundation in La Ciotat to assist young violinists. In 1987 an international violin competition was organized in his honor in Aix-en-Provence. Francescatti's playing was marked by a seemingly effortless technique, warmth of expression, and tonal elegance. Source: "Zino Francescatti." BAKER'S BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF MUSICIANS®, Centennial Edition. Nicolas Slonimsky, Editor Emeritus. Schirmer, 2001. Reprinted by permission of The Gale Group.Photo by Studio France-Presse, courtesy of Oberlin College Library Special Collections.
Herbert Von Karajan/Berlin Philharmonic - Beethoven: Symphonies 1-9 (Complete)
Electric, intense and lyrical performances from the 1963 and 1968, for the most part equal to or better than Karajan's 1962 and 1977 studio recordings. Good video. Very good to excellent mono sound. Too bad TV didn't broadcast in stereo back then. The soloists in the 9th are Gundula Janowitz (soprano); Christa Ludwig (alto); Jess Thomas (tenor); Walter Berry (bass).
* * *
YouTube dislikes: User comments are laced with negativity, insults and profanity. Aside from the great archival material, most of the content is rather juvenile or amateurish. Too many blinking and pop ads. Ads are now inserted into the videos. After Google acquired YouTube, clips are limited to 5 minutes max. but earlier contributions run twice or three times as long.
Features or components of YouTube if they were applied to library websites: Ability to post and store videos of appearances by notable authors performing artists, book discussions, historical lectures, meetings with elected representatives, departmental staff meetings, and staff training videos, and grand opening ceremonies for the new Boonsboro branch library.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

#19 - Web 2.0 Awards List: & HousingMaps

HousingMaps, a mashup of Google Maps and Gregslist, enables you to search for real properties for sale or rent for major U.S. metropolitan areas, plus a few foreign cities. Why London and not Paris, Rome, or Berlin? Canadians will be happy to see Toronto and Vancouver represented, but what about Calgary, Regina, Montreal or Ottawa? You can limit your search results by price range. I was surprised to see quite a few Baltimore area properties in the $50,000-150,000 range, an indication that housing bubble has indeed burst. is excellent for property searches in outlying towns and cities. Checking, the prices for homes in Washington and Frederick counties are much lower than they were two years ago.

HousingMap's useful features:

* Google Maps: Click on an icon to select city. In each city, click on the icons and see listings. You can also click the icons next to the each listing
* Price Range Drop-Down Menu
* Yellow icons have pictures.'s useful features:

Zoom in to the state level or below to see homes in this area.
For Sale: Homes that are for sale on Zillow by owners, agents, and builders.
Make Me Move™: Homes in which the owner has set "a dream price" for their home.
Recently Sold: Homes that have sold in the past 12 months or within the time range selected below under "Sold within."
All other homes: Homes for which we have Zestimate™ home valuations. These results cannot be filtered by price, beds, baths, etc.
Lists homes recently sold
Together with, two helpful reference tools when a customer is looking for home in a city, suburb and exurb and want to limits a list of properties to a particular price range.
Go to Home

Librarians: Book Bandit Robbing Libraries
DENVER, Aug. 5, 2007
(CBS) This story was reported by Brian Maass, investigative reporter at CBS4 in Denver.

Librarians throughout Colorado suspect a prolific book bandit checked out and attempted to sell thousands of books, tapes and DVDs. Library losses are estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars.

"He stole from his neighbors. He stole from this community," said M. Celeste Jackson of the Denver Public Library.

Thomas Pilaar, 33, obtained seven library cards from the Denver Public Library by using different names, CBS4 investigator Brian Maass learned.

The library says Pilaar then checked out as many as 300 items on each card, selling many of them via the Web site

A woman who recently bought books from Pilaar through Craigslist noticed the library identification stamps and alerted authorities.

"It appears his intent was to sell 2,100 (items) from the Denver Library collection," said Jackson, who estimated the losses at about $35,000.

Denver is hardly alone. Librarians from Aurora, Arapahoe County and Douglas County say they too have been victimized in recent months by Pilaar. Arapahoe County library administrators said Pilaar obtained three different library cards and checked out between 250 and 300 items.

James Larue, Douglas County's head librarian, said Pilaar checked out more than 300 items from two Douglas County libraries, mostly DVDs and pricey coffee table books. He says the library system's losses stand at $11,000.

"At one point $11,000 worth of material was about to go overdue, did go overdue, and it turned out that all of us very quickly shared that information and decided, 'Oh, it looks like we have a problem with this patron, let's be careful about that,'" Larue said. "Just like any other system, it's possible to abuse it. And this guy, if he is who he claims to be, shows up at some of the libraries and developed very quickly a pattern of just not acting like an ordinary patron and checking out way too many DVDs."

The Denver District Attorney's Office is investigating the library thefts and is considering filing criminal charges against Pilaar. Prosecutors are asking anyone else who may have inadvertently bought library books via the Internet, or anyone who knows where these books might be, to contact the Denver D.A.'s office.

Authorites arrested Thomas Pilaar within the last week on an unrelated parole violation. He is being held without bond at the Denver County Jail. He declined a CBS4 request to discuss the library thefts.

For more news from this CBS station, visit

© MMVII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

#18 - Online Productivity Tools

If you have a Blogger account, you can log in to use Google Docs without registering. According to Google, when you publish your document to the Internet, anyone will be able to access and view it online. Your document will be assigned a unique address (URL) on that you can send to your friends and colleagues.

The above article was copied and pasted using Google Docs.
Zoho Writer is comparable to Microsoft Word in terms of the number of useful editing features. Importing a complex Word document with pictures results in a jumbled mess. Uploading a Word document with Google Docs doesn't distort the formatting as much, but it's not as perfect as if you copied and pasted a Word document from one window to another.