Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week - Searchme

SearchmeMaximize stack view

Sitename: Searchme

URL: http://www.searchme.com/

This is the neatest search engine I have come across in some time. I see it as a visual Google. When you do a search, it offers suggestions on which categories to search. For example, I did a search on "North Texas Regional Library System" and it offered me a choice of looking just in libraries, US Government, blogs or everything. I naturally clicked on libraries and was pleasantly surprised when it showed me the pages of the website instead of a textual laundry list. I did another search on "sunburn" and it gave me several possible categories including children's health, movies and cats. The neatest feature is the Searchme Stacks. You can see my NTRLS stack above. This is graphical representation of a favorites list. What makes this so unique is that you can drag and drop the website images to your newly created stack. It is very cool and fun to do. Once you have a stack created, you can share it with others through blogs, emails or just save it to your harddrive. Reference librarians will love it as it will give them a quick and easy way to share websites with their patrons. Be forewarned that the site is still in beta and TechCrunch complained about the relevancy of the searches, but the search engine does attempt to index the entire web so its database will be comparable to some of the big search engines.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week - Art and Seek

Name: Art & Seek
URL: http://www.artandseek.org/

This innovative website is local to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is hosted by the local PBS affiliate KERA. It allows you to search for art events in DFW and gives you further information. They have a blog and several RSS newsfeeds. You can even bookmark various events to any of the bookmarking services. Organizations can add their own events and I noticed there were a couple of library events listed. Thanks to dona weisman again for this suggestion.

Author's Note: TechNet 2008 took place last Thursday. We had over a 100 people attend the conference. I was very happy with the results and I heard nothing but good reports from everyone involved. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the effort.

Monday, June 16, 2008

TechNet 2008 Conference in review

Last week NTRLS coordinated the first-ever North Texas Regional TechNet Conference for library staff members and supporters.

Keynote speaker Barbara Galik, Executive Director of Cullom-Davis Library at Bradley University in Peoria (IL), opened the event with a presentation about Second Life. Of the 20 separate sessions presented during the rest of the day, each participant had time to attend four. One participant commented that deciding which sessions to attend was especially hard since almost every topic each time-period related "either to my work or my interests or both!" Participants also spent time visiting with exhibitors, meeting kindred spirits from other types of libraries and generally expanding their tech-networks.

Exhibitors represented companies from coast to coast (CA to NY) and even from another country! Having Canadian company Insignia Software as an exhibitor and keynote session sponsor prompted staff to refer to the event as "our international conference." We welcomed to the exhibit hall some companies which had never before participated in a library-oriented conference plus several companies which are a core part - and constant supporters - of the library world.

Many positive comments have been received, both in writing and in person, and we've not only welcomed constructive criticism but produced plenty of our own. Several people have let us know already that they're looking forward to next year's conference and wish some of their friends and colleagues had attended this one with them.

The good news is that there WILL be a TechNet 2009 and, thanks to everyone's participation, patience, praise and critiquing, we'll be able to improve and build on the success of TechNet 2008.

By the way... if you work with children or youth in a library setting, you may want to register soon for the next North Texas Regional conference: CYC 2008, the second annual Children and Youth Librarians conference for North Texas library staff and supporters. For information about attending and/or exhibiting at that conference, visit http://www.cyc2008.com/ .

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week - Zamzar

Site: Zamzar
URL: http://www.zamzar.com/.

This site was recommend to me by done weisman, our CE consultant. Although the site does not have social sharing capabilities(although there is a blog), it is too useful of a tool to not mention. Zamzar is a file converter. You can take a file in one format and convert it to another format. The list of file conversions the service provides is impressive. You are limited on the file size if you use their free service, but if you find yourself needing to convert files on a regular basis, this is the way to go.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Great Site for Literacy & ESL Students

GCFLearnFree.org, formerly GCF Global Learning, is funded by the GCF Community Foundation, which is operated by Goodwill Industries of Eastern North Carolina, Inc.

The site offers a free curriculum of tutorials, classes, articles, video modules and everyday life interactive lessons that give learners a chance to experience daily challenges without real-world consequences. A short tutorial helps low-literacy learners understand how to complete the lessons, which have both audio and text directions.

Users are asked to create a site user account, but GCFLearnFree.org promises not to share the information with others nor email the site user without permission. Agencies and organizations are welcome to add a link to GCFLearnFree.org on their websites, under conditions provided on the site.