23 things: Part 9 – Web 2.0 sites and apps

Activity 9 – Web 2.0 sites


I visited Go2Web20.net to browse some of the latest Web 2.0 apps and websites. The site features hundreds of start-ups and well known social media websites that serve all manner of functions, from productivity to entertainment.

There are so many social media and app sites, it can be hard to keep track of them. Directories such as Go2Web20 make it easy to pick and choose apps and sites to try without needing to follow tech blogs and news.

Because this activity was about discovery, I decided to try a few of the applications featured on the site, rather than focus on a single one.

The following is an overview of the sites I explored.

FoodJournal: http://www.foodjournaling.com/

FoodJournal is a photoblogging site for people who want to watch what they eat. The idea behind the site is that those concerned with their diets are more likely to be aware of what they eat if they photograph it. The social aspect is meant to encourage a sense of solidarity among dieters. While not especially useful for instruction, I supervise a large team of undergrad girls at the circulation desk, all of whom are on diets and permanently attached to their smart phones. I think they will love this site.

Greplin: https://www.greplin.com/

Greplin ‘s creators call it “the search bar for your life”. Given the amount of information that most people post to the web, Greplin really is a search engine for your online life. The site allows registered users to search for information on the social networks and media sites that they regularly use. For instance, the site can search your Facebook, LinkedIn, and GoogleDocs accounts (and many more), indexing your online content and making it easy to retrieve.

Ubidesk: https://www.ubidesk.com/

Ubidesk is a subscription-based collaboration site that allows users to work on team projects on a cloud-based server. For users who cannot install and maintain a program such as Microsoft’s Sharepoint, Ubidesk may provide a powerful alternative. However, Ubidesk is not the only program that meets this need; users will need to compare and find the site that best fits their need.

Keepio: http://www.keepio.com

Keepio allows users to catalog their belongings, and provides the option for community members to trade and swap items. I was intrigued by the idea of keeping track of my belongings, it seems like a good way to have a record of your belongings for insurance purposes (or for the sake of curiosity).

Web 2.0 and ILI

While the individual sites that I explored proved to be more playful than productive, I did find the Go2Web20 directory useful. The growing popularity of social apps has led to the proliferation of sites such as the ones listed on Go2Web20. However, while not all sites succeed, a new one appears to pop up as soon as another disappears. This makes it difficult to keep track of the latest tech trend being used by web savvy patrons. Regularly browsing the sites listed on a Web 2.0 directory can make it easier for members of the library community to maintain a solid web presence and establish connections with patrons in an online environment. Meanwhile, productivity and collaboration sites can make the process of content publishing quick and efficient for instruction librarians.

23 things: Part 7 – Rollyo

Activity 7 – Rollyo Custom Search


Rollyo is one of the first gadgets listed on the 23 things program that I have not used in the past. The concept behind the program is similar to that behind a meta or federated search (searching multiple databases at a time), but the site allows users to create custom search engines that search across websites selected by the user in addition to those already available on the site. After reading about the site’s purpose, I created my own profile and started playing with custom search rolls. My first attempt did not go as planned because some of the URLs that I included in my selection required authentication (I was trying to test it with OPAC urls. I am sure other librarians have tried this as well.). However, my second attempt proved much more useful.

After considering some of my research interests, I decided to create a search roll based on Victorian reference resources (an area that I often explore). I included a selection of resources that I frequently use (mostly reference sites and other websites that I use for general Victorian research), as well as Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Google Books. I then tested it by conducting a search on George Eliot and another on corsets. I received thousands of hits from the sites in my custom roll, but I was able to refine my search by choosing to browse through results from each of the sites individually (a sidebar option appears on the results page that allows the user to view only those results derived from a particular website). Overall, I was pleased with the relevance of my search results and the variety of items retrieved.

Using Rollyo in ILI

I found the site useful, and the custom search roll option especially effective for a subject specialist who prefers to search a particular set of websites for quick reference. The custom search can provide an easy access point through which to search across these sites, increasing efficiency.

I do not recommend instructing students or patrons to create custom searchrolls, unless they are knowledgeable internet users, but I do think custom rolls can be created and linked as part of subject search guides on a library’s website in order to lead students to valid web sources that might meet their information needs.

23 things: Part 4 – RSS & Newsreaders

Activity 4 – Google Reader


RSS feeds allow newsreaders, such as Google Reader, to aggregate entries from your favorite or most frequented blogs in a single, easy to access location. Most blogs and news sites have the option of easily subscribing to that site’s RSS feed, though many sites now make it easier than ever to subscribe to their feed through various social media services and apps.

I first started using a newsreader when the number of blogs that I frequented became too much for me to follow on a daily basis. Programs such as Outlook and Thunderbird, and services such as MSN and Yahoo, provide an option for users to subscribe to RSS feeds, but my favorite service remains Google Reader, a completely free application available through Google. I have probably mentioned this before, but I am a total Google devotee.

One of the things that I particularly enjoy about Google’s reader service is the ability to tag and categorize items and/or blogs. This makes it much easier for me to read what I am interested in at the moment. It makes it so easy to follow blogs that I often find myself subscribing to far too many, which may pose a problem when the blog writer posts with regular frequency. I recently had to review the number of sites to which I subscribe, unsubscribing from those that I could no longer keep up with, or which I prefer to read on a less regular basis. I currently have 19 subscriptions categorized, or “labeled” as, book blogs, author blogs, cooking, baking, libraries, Austenites, and misc. It is something of an addiction.

Newsreaders and Information Literacy

One of the main uses of RSS feeds and readers in information literacy is the opportunity for professional development that these services provide, especially when the user is interested in remaining abreast of trends and best practices in information literacy instruction.

They are also a great way to follow library and librarian blogs to gain insight into the way that others in the field are handling issues and challenges in their libraries, and interactions with patrons.

When I first considered library science as a career option, I turned to librarian blogs for insight into the real world of librarianship, the kind of information that you cannot find in textbooks. I started following bloggers such as Jessamyn West and Librarian in Black, as well as LIS News and others. This provided me with my first glimpse of the roles librarians play and prepared me for the options that would be available to me in the profession. My advice to students and friends who ask me what it means to be a librarian often involves telling them to follow a few library blogs to see if they are interested in the topics discussed. I think this works equally well for librarians interested in finding their own voice within the online library community and sharing their experience and desire to learn about information literacy.