Today, I’m moderating Track D: Library Issues & Challenges along with Michael Sauers of the Nebraska Library Commission. This track is an experiment, where we encourage more interaction and participation from the audience. We’ve got them at round tables instead of in rows of chairs, and we’ve asked our speakers to keep the “talking head” mode to a minimum and to encourage lots of questions and contributions from the folks out there. It worked really well at Computers in Libraries 2012, and now we’re trying it at Internet Librarian.
I’m going to try for one post a day
David Weinberger, Opening Keynote
“Libraries as Platforms”
Not just about resources being digital – “The real change is in the networking.”
Library as Platform, with some advantages:
- provides a unifying framework
- social networks taken seriously
- increases the value of the library, both perceived and real
Mentioned J.L. Austen, philospher.
Allows access to resources, encourages community networks to arise, including knowledge networks,
Knowledge networks are really big (huge scale) and have many many links – just like the internet.
Our brains are really small – just one kilogram of matter – and yet we want to know everything with it.”
We’ve come up with strategies to deal with this:
- We need to filter.
We divvy the world of knowledge up into brain-sized chunks, put those chunks into people and call them experts.
We also take the products of those experts and put them into a physical medium and call them books, and libraries.
- The property of these storage mediums have shaped our idea of the shape of knowledge.
Including the idea that knowledge is “settled”
- The answers that we get from knowledge are stopping points – we’ve got an answer and we’re done.
Knowledge lives in networks – not in the nodes of the networks, but in the connections between them.
Knowledge lives on the internet – that’s where the new news is.
The value of this network comes from the disagreement.
The internet is exposing the lie of The Enlightement: we, collectively, don’t agree about anything, not even facts.
Since the Web has infinite space, ‘forking’ a conversation is easy – just tell people to take it offline or offlist.
It’s also a different way of disagreeing – much more public, and can be more productive.
Social learning. – “Software developers now live int he fastest, most efficient environment ever for rapid learning.”
One of the biggest concern of this truth about the internet is that the Echo Chamber Effect will simply become magnified. “If this is true, then the internet is not the dream of democracy but the nightmare of democracy.”
Reddit can be an echo chamber that has figured out how to open some windows: it’s the promise of the Enlightenment without the presumption that at the end, we will all agree on what’s so.
What do we want from these networks?
- Iteratively Add Value
Thinking about libraries in terms of services – NOT assets, whether digital or physical
“There’s no difference between data and metadata except the direction of the operation…. At some level, everything can be metadata for everything else.”
“Backends can be Webstarts” – support standards, share our work, make things as open as possible, rethink privacy
There’s so much we can do with this data once we figure out the right balance of risk and opportunity.
You need to find enough in common to begin a conversation. You get to the 99% of sameness so you can then go off and talk about the differences.
Locality enables difference, but there must be difference – that’s where the conversation/discussion is formed.
Libraries should take everything that they know – assets, library staff from every single department (front and back), users, and the connections between all of these – and make it available to every user and network of user that can be improved by having access to it.
Keeping on with our DIY theme, let’s look at site for musicians, sound technicians, and vocal artists of all kinds.
What Is It?
Soundcloud is a place for anyone who has created any kind of sound to upload that audio file to share with the world.
And that’s it – it’s like Flickr for audio files instead of photography. Any kind of sound that can be saved digitally and uploaded can be added to Soundcloud: music, singing, sound effects, talking, symphonies, or anything else. Then, it’s available for anyone to listen to and comment on, giving you feedback on how good (or not-so-good) your audio is.
How Does It Work?
If you just want to listen to the sounds already on Soundcloud, all you need to do is visit the site and search for something you might be interested in. You won’t find popular music here, but you will find millions of tracks by independent DJs, sound technicians, sound effects artists, vocalists, and other sound creators.
You can search for Tracks, for People, and for Groups. Most likely, you’ll be searching for tracks, and the easiest way to do that is just to type in a few words about what you’re looking for into the search box at the upper right corner. You can also go to the track search page and choose from the advanced search options to be more specific.
Use words to describe the style of music (instrumental, vocal, electronic, acoustic), the feeling of the music (downtempo, some number of beats per minute), or other kinds of audio (sound effects, comedy recordings, podcasts). Then click on Search and you’ll get a list of track results.
On the site (not in this image), just click on the Play button to listen to the track. At different points, you’ll see comments that other users have added about the music, good and bad. Then you can either search again, click on the track’s creator to hear more by them, or click on one of the tags off to the right for other tracks like this one.
If you want, you can also create an account to leave comments, or even upload your own files.
How Is This Useful?
For listeners, Soundclound is a free source of all kinds of sound. It’s a great way to discover DJs you enjoy and may want to see live, or for theater and filmmakers to find sound effects for their productions.
For sound creators, Soundcloud offers a free and easy-to-use way to share your work out to the world, and help bring together lots of different styles and kinds of sound art in one place.
Help & Resources
The best place to go is simply the Soundcloud help center. You can search for your questions, look at the existing questions, and even ask a support person for help.
One of the things I’ve been wrestling with at IL & CiL lately is that I’m too advanced for a lot of the beginning sessions (heck, I’ve been presenting on them for years) and not specialized or advanced enough for many of the rest. I was sitting in the gap, and for a little while I tried to help create programming to fill that gap, but that didn’t work out so well.
[fast forward 3 hours]
It’s time for lunch, but I wanted to get blogging this conference off to a strong start. More to come…
A short but important DIY post this week, LLO readers. This one’s for the fiber artists out there.
What Is It?
Ravelry is a social network and online community for fiber artists: knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers. Once you set up an account, you can post your projects from pattern to finished piece, and get all sorts of suggestions on yarn, technique, and great resources.
You do need to be a member to use Ravelry, but setting up an account takes only a minute or two. Just visit their main page and click on Join now!. Enter your email address and click on Send a signup link. In a few minutes, you’ll receive a link from Ravelry to finish creating your account. Click on the link and then enter all of the information they ask you for.
For more information and Ravelry news, check out their blog.
How Is It Useful?
My usual answer to this applies – “You can keep everything about your projects in one place, online, accessible at any time from anywhere” – but there’s more to Ravelry than that.
- Connect through comments and discussion forums with other fiber artists from around the world
- Find technique help, pattern suggestions, and yarn recommendations
- Get encouragement and support for your projects – post updates and photos as you work and when you’re done
- Use the growing number of mobile apps that work with Ravelry to update and work with your account wherever you are
- Check out Ravelry’s video tutorials for more walkthroughs of their features
Next week on Learning for Life Online, we’ll take a look at some DIY sites for musicians, sound engineers, and special audio effects artists of all sorts. See you then!
Let’s take another look at a resource we introduced in our Supporting Small Businesses, Online post.
What Is It?
Etsy is a crafter’s dream come true, an online craft fair with artists and suppliers from around the world. Everything from handcrafted jewlery to dollhouse miniatures, from custom dresses to funky towels for your bathroom – you can find pretty much anything crafty on Etsy.
Etsy was created to help individual artists and crafters sell their work online. Etsy provides the online store and conducts the payment transactions, letting the crafters focus on making their work and shipping it to the people who buy it. Later, sellers started offering supplies like yarn, beads, fabric, patterns, and even vintage pieces for altering. It’s truly a DIY one-stop extravaganza!
Buying and Selling on Etsy
In order to buy or sell anything on Etsy, you do need to sign up for an account. Signing up is easy – just choose a username and type in your email address – and free. It’s only when you actually buy or sell anything that you need to enter credit card information or use your PayPal account. (Make sure to check out our Tips for Safe Online Shopping.)
You can find things to purchase in a few ways:
- Browse by category, if you know you want yarn, knitting patterns, or finished pieces
- Use their fun search by color to see items in your favorite shades. Click on a few colors to get going, then click on Organize at the bottom of the page to see the items they suggest.
- See what other Etsy members have suggested or favorited
- Enter your ZIP or postal code to find sellers near you
- And, of course, right now they’re featuring Halloween items of all kinds
Once you’ve found something you like, read through the notes from the seller to see the details. Sometimes they need measurements to make something custom to your size, sometimes you need to let them know what colors you’d like, sometimes you need to pick and choose from a variety of pieces listed in the same place. Read everything, give them the information they need, and then you can purchase your item and enter your shipping information. The seller will ship directly to you, usually within a week for ready-made items and longer for custom work. Once you’ve gotten your item, you can leave feedback about the seller about how wonderful (or not wonderful) they are.
If you’re crafty and want to set up an Etsy shop to sell your stuff, it’s just as easy as setting up an account to buy. You can set up your store for free, then Etsy will charge you fees as you list items for sale and as people use the site to make purchases. You do need to choose what kind of payment you can accept – PayPal and credit card purchases are the easiest for your potential buyers.
How Is It Useful?
Etsy isn’t ‘just another place to buy crafts online.’ They are trying to help independent crafters and small businesses of all sorts to be part of the global marketplace, pushing their reach around the world. As Etsy’s About page says, “Etsy is the world’s handmade marketplace. Our mission is to empower people to change the way the global economy works. …We are bringing heart to commerce and making the world more fair, more sustainable, and more fun.” If how and why an item is made is important to you, then Etsy is the place to go.
Help & Resources
For the month of October, we’ll be looking at DIY – “do it yourself” – tools and resources available online. We’ll start with the biggest and best: MAKE Magazine and Instructables.
MAKE Magazine is one of the best online and print magazines for handy folks. Every issue is full of suggestions for projects, from decorative pillows to a LEGO record player. Many projects are practical, and many more are just for fun. Their Halloween issue is good for decorating, snacks, costumes, and more.
MAKE also helps to organize MakerFaires around the world. MakerFaires are gatherings of makers and DIY-ers and inventors of all sorts, where you can learn the basics of building a robot, welding, or sewing your own fantastical costumes. If you’re local to Boston, check out MakerFaire Somerville on October 13th, 2012 from 3p – 7p in Union Square, Somerville. It’s a good way to get a taste of makering.
Check out everything from MAKE:
- the main MAKE site
- the MAKE blog, with news and links, as well as projects
- More information about the print edition of MAKE
- MAKE projects – just the projects, with instructions
- reviews of project kits
- “Cool projects for kids of all ages”
Instructables.com is a place where anyone can share their favorite projects and the instructions on how to create it. First, explore the projects already on Instructables, including a recipe for Oreo Nutella Brownie Bites, replacing the vinyl cover on a car armrest, or making rubberband helicopters or a spin art machine! Each project or idea has step by step instructions complete with photos, going through the entire project from start to finish.
Then, if you’ve got a project you want to share, read the instructions for uploading and contributing your instructions and photos. No project is too big, too small, too silly, or too easy to share. Everyone needs new ideas and new ways of doing things, including yours.
And, of course, Instructables is currently featuring Halloween projects for house and tomb.
Next week, we’ll take another look at a few sites we introduced this time last year in the post on supporting small business online. Stay tuned…!
Apologies, all. Due to unforseen circumstances, there’ll be a one-day delay in this week’s LLO post. Check back this time tomorrow.
For our last bit of visual fun online, let’s look at two apps that take real-world visual art and turn it into a digital treasure.
What Is It?
Art My Kid Made and Artkive are apps for iPhone or iPad (Android coming soon) that let you easily take a picture of a child’s artwork, add information about it, and share it with friends and family. Art moves easily from the refrigerator to the world!
How Does It Work?
Both apps work the same way:
- Download the app and create an account for a child
- Use your iPhone or iPad to take a picture of the child’s art
- Add the child’s name, age/grade, the date created, a title, and any additional information
- Save the image to the app’s cloud storage, easily accessible from anywhere in the world
- Share the art via email (ArtKive) or Facebook, Twitter, & Evernote (Art My Kid Made)
There are differences, though. Art My Kid Made instantly shares images to Facebook, Twitter, or Evernote, as well as uploading to its own web page. It also has a simple photo editor that lets you add “stickers,” effects, text, and crop the image to just the best bits. They also feature an “Artist of the Day” on their website and Facebook page.
ArtKive makes it easy to keep several kids’ worth of art organized by their first names, and you can create a small Share Circle of email address to send the image to only the people who care most. ArtKive will also eventually let you print the artwork as a calendar, on a mug, or as a picture book!
Why Is It Useful?
If you have children in your life at all, you know that one of the hardest things to do is to organize (or get rid of) the artwork they make at school and at home. It’s all precious, and an important part of their growing up. These two tools help you preserve and organize this part of kids’ lives, and share the art easily with friends and family.
If you’re one of those friends and family, you can use either app to help you organize art made by grandchildren, nieces & nephews, cousins, godchildren, children of close friends, students, or any other kids in your life. ArtKive, with its drop-down menu to choose the artist, makes managing multiple accounts a snap.
You can also take pictures of more than just drawings and paintings. Capture and share that A+ school assignment, the clay paperweight, an image from a school play or musical recital, or any other moment from a child’s life. Check out the Facebook pages for both apps (in the list below) for more suggestions and ideas.
Help & Resources
Last week, we looked at Issuu, an online newsstand full of print documents like magazines and reports. This week, let’s take a look at a similar but different idea – creating a magazine or newspaper made up of website and online images and videos.
What Is It?
paper.li lets you create an online newspaper from websites, images, videos, or even searches for particular terms and topics. As these sites add new posts or the searches find new results, the links appear as part of your newspaper. You need to use either a Facebook or Twitter account to log in, and then include additional sources of information.
Scoop.it is similar, but it’s more of a magazine than a newspaper because it has that glossy look and feel. Also, rather than adding automatic feeds from other places, you pick and choose specific pages, articles, images, or videos to add to your Scoop.it magazine. You can use your Facebook or Twitter account to log in, or create an account just for Scoop.it.
For both tools, adding content is as simple as choosing items off a list or copying and pasting URLs. You can create different sections and add your own notes and articles. Other people subscribe to your online newspaper or magazine and as it gets updated, they see new content and information. You can also add your paper.li or Scoop.it feed to a blog or website so that visitors can see the content you’ve curated.
How Is It Useful?
Just like Issuu, paper.li and Scoop.it allow anyone to create an online resource for a specific group of interested readers. With a print newspaper or magazine, you need to be able to see a large number of subscriptions to make it cost-effective. Using online tools, you can easily put together a publication for just a handful of readers who are all passionate about a particular topic.
For example, an editor named Tollcraft curates a paper.li newspaper for crafters in Tollcross and Edinburgh, Scotland. The news might be from anywhere in the world, or from right in their own neighborhood. Meanwhile, Public Relations News curated by Lee Odden is for anyone in the world who’s interested in PR or marketing.
This video from Scoop.it gives you another example:
In all of these cases, it’s the fact that real humans are curating this content – picking and choosing what gets included – that makes it most useful. Someone decided that particular websites, images, videos, or other links were relevant to a particular topic and put them all in one place. This aggregation and content curation are a way for people who don’t necessarily want to create content to be able to share other useful content instead.
Try It Out
You don’t need to create an account with either paper.li or Scoop.it to read the content that other people have created. Just visit the paper.li newsstand or browse topics in Scoop.it, click on something that looks interesting, and enjoy yourself. You can also use the search boxes at the top of each screen to find topics that are important to you.
If you decide you want to create your own online newspaper or magazine, read more about signing up and getting going:
- What Is paper.li?
- Getting Started With paper.li
- A Guided Tour to Scoop.it’s Features
- Getting Started with Scoop.it