Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Internet Librarian 2006 - Day Two

Hi again from California where sea otters munch on food in the water while you eat your lunch at the Fisherman's Wharf....

I decided to focus my efforts today on social computing. Podcasting and Videocasting was the first session. We heard from several people. I highlight the ones that really impressed me. Greg Schwartz from the Louisville Public Library introduced the crowd to podcasting. His definition of podcasting was the "distribution of audio files over the Internet using RSS technology." The beauty of podcasting, according to Greg, is that patrons can subscribe to content and receive automatic downloads. Greg mentioned that it takes commitment of time and staff to offer podcasts and libraries should analyze their communities on whether it is a service worth offering. Libraries offer podcasts of programming events, upcoming events, library news and bibliographic instruction. It can also be used for visually impaired sector as well as staff training. Greg mentioned nine steps to podcasting.

1. Determine content and format
2. Assemble equipment and people.
3. Record
4. Edit and export to mp3
5. Listen!
6. Upload file to server.
7. Generate your RSS feed using
8. Publish feed URL.
9. Promote. Respond. Repeat.

Jeff Humphrey of INCOLSA spoke of how they are migrating their streaming online videos to videocasting. Instead of paying for the cost of steaming, they have decided to go with the latest trend and have their users download their CE videos via a RSS stream. I spoke with Jeff at length at the break on how they were accomplishing this and I believe this is something NTRLS should explore doing with its CE program. I will research it and see what I can do.

David Free of the Georgia Perimeter College talked of lessons learned from his podcasting experience. Here is his list:

1. Make sure it feeds.
2. Promote, then promote some more.
3. Keep it short (6 to 10 minutes long)
4. Use music sparingly
5. Multiple voice rock.
6. Podcast events work best.
7. Consider your web presence (make the links readily available)
8. Listen to your listeners.

He said the best format for the podcasts is 96 kbit/s in mp3 format. Finally, buy a good microphone, it makes all the difference.

David King of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library talked about videoblogging. Videoblogging allows people to subscribe to video feed versus the audio feed subscribed to with podcasts. He showed some really great footage from some of the more popular videoblogs. One video showed a gentleman trying to open a can of soup and not being able to do it. It was a great commentary on the product. Rocketboom is the most popular videoblog online today. They often show advertisements and get $40K for it. The difference with regular commercials, however, is that they get to do the commercials themselves. The net changes everything doesn't it?

David listed several ways libraries could use videoblogging.

1. booktalk
2. bibliographic instruction
3. cultural memory project
4. collaborative project with schools and other organizations.
5. environmental
6. Library- behind the scenes
7. travel segments
8. political debates
9. hobbies and lifestyles.

After a lunch with the otters, I then attended a session on Flickr and Libraries. Flickr is one of the better Web 2.0 tools available today. The two speakers, Michael Porter of OCLC Western and Michael Sauers of BCR, showed some neat usage of Flickr. The National Library of Australia was by far the most impressive as they asked their citizens to upload their pictures to Flickr for historical reasons. They currently have 1.2 millions photos for this project. If you want to explore some neat ways to play with Flickr, go to Fd Flickr Toys.

My last session of the day was on RSS and Javascript. It was a good session on how you can place RSS newsfeeds on a website. I learned that I could use a site like RSS Mix to combine several feeds together and then use Feed2JS to place this mix on our website. If you are worried about time lag on loading the RSS newsfeeds, you can download the Feed2JS software to your server. I also learned about RMail which is a free service to allow people to have RSS news headlines sent directly to their email accounts. You can create widget to place on your blog to allow your readers to do this.

Overall, it was a good day. Tuesday night, a Farmer's market set up shop down the block from the hotel. It was great fun to walk up and down the street looking at all the booths. Finally, if you are ever in Monterey, you have to try Rosine's. Best food I have ever had at a conference event.....the pies are fantastic.

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