Task Force on Social Networking Software

Medical Library Association

Registration Now Open for Web Collaboration Tools CE

Filed under: Current Awareness,Task Force Updates,Tools in Use — Bart Ragon at 1:12 am on Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dig Deeper with Social Media Free CE Course
Web Collaboration Tools
Course Dates February 16th – 22nd

Web collaboration tools allow people to create, edit and share documents over the Internet.  This course will focus on editing and sharing that can by done synchronously, or asynchronously. The main advantage of using web office tools is that these documents are accessible anywhere that there is an Internet connection.  Course content will demonstrate how helpful these collaboration tools are when working with others to create and modify documents.

Registration for this course is required by February 9th.

Sign up today

Course Website http://sns.mlanet.org/snsce_advanced/

Inauguration 2.0

Filed under: Current Awareness,Tools in Use — Bart Ragon at 5:14 pm on Tuesday, January 20, 2009

No matter what your politics, you have to be impressed with the integration of social networking around the inauguration.  CNN is displaying Facebook posts beside the live video feed.  There are Flickr feeds to gather photos and Twitter feeds to grab tweets.  I’m sure there is a lot more out there that I haven’t mentioned (I’ve been scurrying setting up digital displays and projectors all morning).  If you know of more you can share them here in the comments.

It is certainly makes the occasion more participatory.


NAHRS Nursing Resources

Filed under: TF,Tools in Use,wiki — Molly Knapp at 5:29 pm on Thursday, November 6, 2008

You wouldn’t know it on first glance, but the folks over at the Nursing and Allied Health Resource Section are using a wiki and Google sites to collaborate on information on free nursing resources such as e-journals, databases, and websites.

Check it out: Nursing Resources

Are you a member of NAHRS & want to get involved? Contact Pamela Sherwill.

Kudos to NAHRS for providing a professional looking and well organized example of wikis in use!

Second Life in health care education

Filed under: Tools in Use,Virtual Worlds — Molly Knapp at 4:25 pm on Thursday, October 30, 2008

An article from the September issue of the Journal of Medical Internet Research offers an interesting and critical overview of three-dimensional (3-D) virtual worlds and “serious gaming” that are currently being developed and used in healthcare professional education and medicine. Also includes discussion on two learning theories applicable to the use of 3-D learning environments, and the challenges and benefits associated with it.

Link to PubMed Abstract & free full text
Versatile, immersive, creative and dynamic virtual 3-D healthcare learning environments: a review of the literature.
J Med Internet Res. 2008 Sep 1;10(3):e26. Review.
PMID: 18762473 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

For a librarian’s point of view of health care education in virtual worlds, check out P. F. Anderson’s Emerging Technologies blog for a load of visual presentations and reflections on Second Life.

Sites from the Super Searcher

Filed under: IL2008,TF,Tools in Use — Molly Knapp at 5:27 am on Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Making sense of search results is currently a big trend in search engines. That’s the word from Mary Ellen Bates, founder of Bates Information Services, prolific author and all around search engine expert (read her blog here). For example, take a service from Yahoo India called Yahoo Glue, which organizes search results by platform, instead of the classic list format. Take a look at this search for ‘cat‘. Instead of a single list, you get results grouped by categories such as Flickr, Google blog search, Yahoo answers, wikipedia, howstuffworks.com, and more.

More “sense making” search engines you may have not yet heard about… (Read on …)

5 things you didn’t know about AJAX

Filed under: IL2008,Tools in Use — Molly Knapp at 12:42 am on Monday, October 20, 2008

1. It’s not just a cleaning product.

It was also the subject of a workshop at IL 2008. AJAX is short for ‘asynchronous Javascript and XML’. Basically, it’s a way for a web page client to communicate directly with a web server without reloading the page, using the magic of the JavaScript XMLHttpRequest object. For a more detailed overview, check out this tutorial from W3 school.

2. This blog is using it right now.

Ajax has many potential uses, from error checking and auto-suggest features on forms to pre-loading content and drag and drop functionality you see on sites like Google Maps Street View. One of the things I learned is that WordPress (the software that provides this blog to the public) uses it to provide some features on their platform. Ajax is also a way to explain the new features you see when databases redesign. EbscoHost, Ovid and Scopus all have a the feature where you can click a link to ‘view abstract’ and immediately the content is revealed, without ever having to reload or go to another page. Ajax is one of the methods that allows web pages to do this.

3. It can help you provide a more dynamic library website.

Ajax has many library applications. It can offer a way to browse subject headings by suggesting likely terms, or alert users to potential number of search results, as Virginia Tech did with “Guesstimate” in their library catalog. It can serve as a substitute for long drop down menus, or keep pages clean by offering a search box only when users click on a link (click on ‘Site Search’ on this page from Montana State University Libraries for an example). You can even use Ajax to write your own federated search engine, as Curtain University Library in Australia has done. Of course, writing your own federated search engine comes with it’s own unique challenges, especially when it comes to authenticating users, which if you’re wondering, can in some cases be done using API keys from vendors.

4. You don’t need a Computer Science degree to use it, but it helps.

One of the things I realized during this class was how much more I needed to learn about xml, css, php, sql, and various other programming-related acronyms in order to implement anything scripted in Ajax on my library site. The workshop instructors (Karen Coombs and Jason Clark), in addition to being highly informative and engaging teachers, were also both self taught, and one the best pieces of advice they gave was to read up on the documentation and just keep practicing and writing pages until they work. One of the other librarians in the workshop wondered about the challenge this offers to those who do not have time to learn a new scripting language on top of their other responsibilities. Karen Coombs had an astute observation in this respect: that it is good for Public Services folks to at least see what is going on behind the scenes on library site design. In gaining an understanding of what the tech people have to do to make something work, you start to understand that it is not all just that easy.

5. Medical Librarians are EVERYWHERE.

Well, this one is not really about Ajax, but I have to point out that out of about 17 people in the CE, 4 of us were from medical libraries. And just next door, Sadie Honey was teaching a class on project management. We’re certainly pervasive, aren’t we?

Suggested resources

The workshop’s slide presentation – Ajax for Libraries
Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications brief overview by Jesse James Garret
Getting Started with Ajax from Alistapart.com
Google AJAX libraries API
Foundations of Ajax
by R. Asleson & N. Schutta (ISBN 1590595823)

New York Times & API

Filed under: Social Networking Applications,Tools in Use — Molly Knapp at 5:06 pm on Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Coming soon to the Grey Lady: application programming interface capabilities. The online rumor mill is buzzing that the NYT digital side aims to make the entire newspaper “programmable.” This feature might appear as soon as a couple of weeks. Marc Frons, NYT Chief Technical Officer, told mediabistro.com that internal developers at the paper will use the platform to organize structured data on the site. The paper plans to offer developer keys to the API, which would allow programmers to more easily mash up the paper’s structured content — reviews, event listings, recipes, etc. “The plan is definitely to open [the code] up,” Frons said. “How far we don’t know.”

We touched upon Mashups and API in Week 8 of the Web 2.0 101 CE.

If it is useful, they will come

Filed under: Current Awareness,TF,Tools in Use — Molly Knapp at 4:38 pm on Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ask a scientist what blogs, wikis or social networking sites they use, and you’re likely to draw a big blank stare. But make something useful, such as software that helps geneticists replicate one another’s experiments, and you’ll have users coming in droves. An article by Lila Guterman from the Chronicle of Higher Education this week reports on trends in online tools for scientific collaboration at the annual conference of the Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers.

Click here for article

How to use a wiki

Filed under: TF,Tools in Use — Molly Knapp at 4:20 pm on Friday, October 12, 2007

Wired Magazine‘s annual ‘How to’ issue offers bits of advice on everything from baking a Wii cake to ruling the blogosphere. Here’s an excerpt from how their “How to work” feature on using a wiki**:

Use a Wiki

Free online applications like MediaWiki and PBWiki make this brainstorming and collaboration tool even more valuable. Observe these dos and don’ts.

Document, don’t discuss. Wikis are best for storing shared group knowledge — tutorials, style guides, agendas, meeting minutes, and so on. They’re not mailing lists or forums.

Learn the markup. Only wiki n00bs post big blobs of run-on text. Take a few minutes to learn how to add links and create readable bullet points, section headers, and paragraphs.

Sign your name. Many wikis allow for anonymous contributions, but your fellow collaborators will appreciate knowing who said what. Plus, users with a reputation for
making valuable contributions are less likely to get their edits rolled back than an AnonymousCoward.

Encourage participation.Inform colleagues that if they don’t participate in the wiki, you’ll be forced to have a — ugh! — long, boring meeting.

Compose offline, then cut and paste. Others may want to modify the file while you’re writing.

Who out there in library land uses a wiki?
For starters, there’s the Hospital Librarian’s Wiki, sponsored by the Hospital Libraries Section of the Medical Library Association, as well as UBC’s HealthLib Wiki, which has had over 300,000 page views since its launch in 2006. Meanwhile, the American Library Association has ReadWriteConnect, a wiki listing all of ALA’s blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, podcasts, and “next generation” online tools. There’s over 30 wikis available. Where’s yours?

Want more information?
Check out Brenda Chawner & Paul Lewis’ 2006 article WikiWikiWebs: New Ways to Communicate in a Web Environment from Information Technology & Libraries for an overview of wikis and their applicability to libraries.

**Wiki (wik’e): A collaborative website workspace that multiple people can edit together, share files and documents, and collaborate.

Learning 2.0

Filed under: Tools in Use — Melissa_Rethlefsen at 1:25 pm on Friday, September 21, 2007

In our last post, Molly pointed out the 23 Things/Learning 2.0 project developed by Helene Blowers at the Public Library of Charlotte/Mecklenberg County.

23 Things/Learning 2.0 is a set of self-directed exercises designed to let all library employees explore the new social software tools on the horizon in a fun, hands-on way.   Because Blowers created this program to share, libraries across the country, whether public, academic, or special libraries, have taken up the mantel and created their own versions of the 23 Things/Learning 2.0 exercises.

As the Learning 2.0 course is self-directed, even solo librarians can work their way through the exercises, though working through the exercises at the same time as your peers can be helpful, especially when it comes to bouncing ideas around and getting feedback.  One idea to consider is forming a Learning 2.0 community with other librarians in your area.  Perhaps even MLA Sections or Chapters might consider hosting a Learning 2.0 course for members. Distance is not an issue.

In collaboration with one of my colleagues in Jacksonville, Florida, Ann Farrell, I am currently in the midst of hosting a Learning 2.0 course for my library system (one week to go!).  We’re spread out over 4 states and over 20 libraries, so an online course was a good option for including all of our staff.  To make this course relevant to medical library staff, we modified the 23 Things substantially, both to customize it to our library system and to introduce more medical social software applications, such Connotea, PubMed mash-ups and third party tools, medical videos and images on YouTube and Flickr, and etc.  We also had a great session on medical librarian and medical blogging, taught by David Rothman.  Blowers has given the library community a great pattern to work from, but you can really make it your own.

What has this program done for my library system?  Time will tell, but already our library staff, both the librarians and library associates, have come up with dozens of ideas to improve library services and make their own jobs easier.  We’ve also had a lot of fun, and that’s what’s really important.

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