Archive for the ‘social networking’ category


August 2, 2007

I use this blog to promote technology within MPOW but this article annoyed me: MySpace, SecondLife, and Twitter Are Doomed. When I first read it, I came away with an impression of schadenfreude on the part of the author. I let the article sit for a couple of days and re-read it and am still annoyed by the tone.

Sure there are problems with Myspace, SecondLife, and Twitter. I’ve pretty much abandoned MySpace for Facebook because there is a growing librarian community there and I gain value from using it. Until I learned how to tweak my profile in MySpace, I was bombarded with messages from young women who wanted to be my friend and, by the way, please look at these photos of me. SecondLife is slow and kludgey but it has put me in contact with more people than would otherwise be possible. I’m not sure how I could have participated in a book discussion led by a British physics professor who was in Brazil and attended by people from around the world. Twitter? Well, I don’t get the appeal there either but it doesn’t bother me that it exists.

The author is quite correct in pointing out that there are problems with these social applications and that they may/will eventually disappear. I say, “So what.” All of the social networking applications are evolutionary steps. Some will work, some won’t. I believe that there are people looking at these applications and thinking, “OK, the concept is interesting but I bet I can make it better, faster, stronger and maybe I can combine the best elements of several into a new approach for social networking.” You have to have a foundation to build anything and the current crop of social networking applications are a foundation for future applications.

Sure the press hypes these applications but again, so what. Hype is what lets people know something exists. Hype is what might get a developer interested in looking for ways to improve on a concept or develop a new approach for these social networking applications. Look at what is happening in Facebook. It is becoming a platform where new third party applications are being built daily. You can add your Twitter, Flickr, Google Reader accounts, etc., effectively making Facebook the first application you want to open in the morning.

The author concludes, ironically – Till the next “Big Thing.” I say “Cool, I can’t wait to see what comes along.”



July 19, 2007

Today’s Third Thursday Tech Talk (t4) showcased and our library’s contribution SwemTools. I embedded the Facebook Presentation, but most of the links are below:


Fred Stutzman’s Our Lives, Our Facebooks – given at one of Google’s TechTalks

Facebook Groups for Librarians

And of course, SwemTools.

If you’ve got comments about SwemTools specifically, please post them on the application page.

The Library As Text Part III: Or The Finest Possible Communication Apparatus in Public Life

May 31, 2007

Part 1/2

“But quite apart from the dubiousness of its functions, radio is one-sided when it should be two. It is purely an apparatus for distribution, for mere sharing out. So here is a positive suggestion: change this apparatus over from distribution to communication. The radio would be the finest possible communication apparatus in public life, a vast network of pipes. That is to say, it would be if it knew how to receive as well as to transmit, how to let the listener speak as well as hear, how to bring him into a relationship instead of isolating him. On this principle the radio should step out of the supply business and organize its listeners as suppliers.” (Brecht, p616, The Radio as an Apparatus of Communication () in The Weimar Republic Sourcebook first published in 1932).

The heart wants what the heart wants. Woody Allen

Back to the title of this series: The Library As text. This is not a completely original characterization of the library, in fact it was suggested before in an interesting article by John Budd (“An Epistemological Foundation for Library and Information Science,” Library Quarterly, 65:3, 295-318). The article jives quite well with the “wrought manifesto” vibe I’m going for here, in that it calls for the Library and Information Science (LIS) community to consider engaging in a more intellectually textured way of looking at what we do, moving away from our positivistic roots and adopting a more playful, perhaps meaningful, approach in the direction hermeneutics and phenomenology (pick up a reader on Heidegger, Gadamer or Ricoeur and you’ll catch his drift). (more…)


May 17, 2007

UPDATE: Additional links

flickrvision – real time view of images uploaded to Flickr. The location is where the image was uploaded from.

Examples of embedding images from a photo-sharing site. It includes two sizes of a Google slide show, and three versions of a Flickr badge.

Some Observations About Photo-sharing

I provide a sample of links to discussions about on-line photo-sharing below, and you can see that it has been well covered in the blogosphere. Why am I contributing to the discussion now? Simply, we haven’t discussed it here and the primary purpose of this blog is to present applications that could be of use in our library.

There are billions of images stored in on-line photo-sharing services. As of now, as I type this sentence, PhotoBucket has 2.85 billion images and Yahoo Photos also has over two billion images. Photo-sharing services range from the simple “here they are, come look at them, and maybe buy some prints” to services that have sophisticated searching, secret algorithms to create subject clusters and most interesting rankings based on viewer habits, the capability to assign levels of permission for the use of images, send images to other services such as blogs, and organize images in ways meaningful to the creator.

I mentioned Yahoo Photos in the last paragraph. Yahoo also owns Flickr and recently announced that Yahoo Photos is being phased out in favor of Flickr. Flickr had only 500 million images but has been growing faster than Yahoo Photos. Yahoo is taking an interesting approach to their existing Photos accounts. With one touch, the photos of Yahoo members can be moved to a Flickr account. Yahoo will help those who choose to not to take the Flickr option to move their images to another service, such as PhotoBucket. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. Flickr has restrictions on the number of images that can be displayed in an free account and restricts the number of images that can be uploaded per month. Yahoo Photos didn’t have that restriction.

In other industry changes, MySpace just bought PhotoBucket. PhotoBucket is the main supplier of photos to MySpace.

Basic accounts are free so it is easy to test drive before you commit. You could also maintain several accounts. Perhaps you want one account just to share photos with family and friends and another where you keep all your photos.

Which Photo-sharing service do I like?

There are three services that stand out for me: Flickr, Zooomr, and Picasa. Flickr is owned by Yahoo. Zooomr appeared in 2006 and is looked by industry pundits as a serious rival to Flickr. I believe the founder was 17 at the time. Picasa is owned by Google and thus fits into their suite of services available with a single login. Picasa also has a desktop client that allows you to organize and modify images which you can selectively upload.

In terms of number of web features, Flikr is first, then Zooomr, then Picasa. Of the three, only Zooomr doesn’t have a print purchase service. All three have free and pro accounts. Zooomr has nifty approach with pro accounts: You can get a free pro account if you are a blogger. I started a pro account with Flickr but I’m watching Zooomr.

What’s Interesting About Photo-sharing

People like to look at pictures. People want to share photos with friends and family. People might wonder if other people will like their photographs. OK, granted, these by themselves are not all that interesting. What about making connections? I have several photographs take when I was stationed in Viet Nam. Someone searched on my unit designation and found my photos. He gave me information about what happened to my unit after I left. This is part of what intrigues me about photo-sharing, the added value that on-line photo-sharing can bring to an image. This value is twofold. First, people can add tags, comments, notes, locations on maps to their work and, in some cases the work of others – metadata. Second, the photo-sharing site can take all the information provided by people about an image, mix in what they can determine about how users interact with images and other users, and develop ways of ranking and clustering images. The end result is that access to the image is not static but dynamic and made much more accessible. Flickr is the only service that I know of that takes metadata and combines it with user behaviors to produce a feature that guides a person to other images they may like.

Consider tagging, a concept librarians are trying to come to terms with – people providing their own descriptive terms for an item and not using a controlled vocabulary. A lot of photo-sharing services allow the owner to tag an image. Flickr allows a member to grant permission to tag to friends, family, or everyone. When everyone can tag, you get interesting interpretations of a work. For example, let’s say I post a photograph of my cat and I tag it “cat.” Someone else might view the photograph and notice the cat’s whiskers and add the “whisker” tag. Is the cat asleep? On its back? Is there a marking on the nose? All of these are legitimate descriptors from someone’s point of view. Access to this image has been greatly extended. Tim Spalding over at LibraryThing makes a similar point about tagging books. Bridgit Jones’s Diary is tagged with the non-LCSH term “Chic Lit.” That term is used by other people for other titles. Searching for the tag Chic Lit” will get the user a bibliography of book in this user defined genre. Tim has interesting things to say about tagging. Take a look at When tags work and when they don’t: Amazon and LibraryThing and Percent who tag. It will be interesting to seeif/when tagging makes the jump to traditional library services, such as the catalog.

Flickr is the standout service for librarians. I believe this is true because Flickr adds the most value to an image and provides the most access points to an image.

We want to find ways to direct people to our services. Is Flicker a means to that end?

Value Added to Images Through On-Line Photo-Sharing: a Flick-centric Look

I will indicate which service does not have a feature by using -F, -Z, and -P for Flickr, Zooomr, and Picasa.

  • Share images on-line
    • Public, private, to selected groups such as friends and family
  • allow users to define what the image means to them through tagging
  • add a comment to an image
  • add notes to areas of an image (-P)
  • mark image as a favorite (-P limited to members, not individual images)
  • be alerted when new images are added
  • make the images available to other services such as blogs
  • place an image on a map (geo tagging)
  • advanced searching capabilities (-Z, -P)
  • dynamically generate tag clusters(-Z, -P)
  • dynamically determine how interesting an image might be to viewers (-Z, -P)
  • Create groups (-Z, -P)
  • Place image on map
  • Create slide shows (-Z)
    • Picasa provides code for embedding flash slideshow
    • Flickr doesn’t officially support embedding slideshows on other sites
  • Assign Creative Commons license to an image (-P)
    • Flickr has a search filter to limit search results to images with a CC license

Discussion About Photo Sharing

Discussions about Flickr in Libraries

Examples of Flickr in Libraries

Photo Sharing Sites – A sampling

SirsiDynix SuperConference – Day 2

February 21, 2007

I went to a very interesting presentation called Look What I Can Do! Social Networking and Keyword-in-Heading Searching in the OPAC.  In this presentation the OPAC is Web2 and not iLink/iBistro which is what we run.  The first half dealt with browse headings.  The problem with browse is that the patron has to know how the heading begins.  The first presenter described how he extracts the browse headings to a MySQL database and indexes them.  The patron can then search for keywords within the headings.  If all the patron knows is the first name of the author he could retrieve all the author headings with that name.  Of if he wanted to find things on the Civil War, he could use those words in a search to find all the subject headings that included Civil War.  Clicking on a heading takes the user to the OPAC.

The second presenter described how she rebuilt the MyAccount feature to include tagging, book-lists, and reviews.  As with the keyword-in-heading application, Unicorn data is extracted to MySQL  There are private and public tags and book-lists can be shared for collaborative projects.

As with the presentations I attended yesterday, customers are figuring out how to add value to data outside  boundaries of Unicorn and the OPAC.  I look at these two apps as proof-of-concept and feel inspired to pick up the skills to perform this sort of data manipulation/data massaging and look for opportunities for mashups in the library.

Later in the afternoon was the API Sharing Session which I moderated.  This
session was mostly administrative and

  • we welcomed the new APIers
    • gave them some tips about the forums and listservs
  • discussed the API enhancements and the enhancement process
  • discussed the desirability of an API wiki
  • discussed the API training opportunities

Following the Sharing Session we held the API After Hours session for the die-hard crowd that didn’t want to go to Colorado Springs.  We had two presentations:

  • some very interesting report customizations done by Infohio
  • a more technical discussion of the social networking app from the morning session.

Following the presentations two of our experienced members gave the audience the opportunity to try to stump them.

I might go back and fill in some details of today’s events but right now I’m about to fall asleep.

Social Software Staff Presentation

August 7, 2006

Mack’s Desk

Originally uploaded by Max46. This image was sent to the blog as an example of how applications are sharing information. The original image was uploaded to Flickr for inclusion in the Librarian’s Desks group then sent to this blog.

Here are other links for the presentation. We expect to add an mp3 file later.

UPDATE: Audio of August 7 Social Software Presentation now available
I added an introduction and Troy cleaned up the audio of the presentation using Apple’s Soundtrack Pro. It was fascinating to watch. He removed the audio that preceeded the start of the presentation, the shuffling, scraping noises as people came in and found seats. After I recorded an introduction, Troy added music tracks that play under the introduction and come up at the end.

Listen to it here — Social Software mp3

Zohoshow slide presention

Zohowriter notes for presentation

Diigo links used in the presentation

Get More Out of

July 24, 2006

If you’ve not signed up yet, you seriously need to get over to and create an account to start tagging the web. If you’ve already started, you may enjoy Sean Tierney’s post on “6 ways to pimp your” I’ll provide a brief summary:

  1. Create a “toRead” tag that you can access offline (software like Avantgo can cache these to your phone/pda).
  2. Use the “Private Saving” feature to conceal bookmarks you don’t want to share with the world (in settings > experimental>private saving).
  3. Follow what you’re “mentors” are tagging. In the world, a mentor is a person that writes and thinks like you do…you can subscribe to an RSS feed for these tags to see what they’re finding that’s interesting.
  4. Expose your tags through your blog or other online media
  5. See what other people have bookmarked.
  6. Create an open public dialog (freedbacking) on your site.

To practice what I preach, I just started an account for techview at So check us out (ok, wait a little bit so we can get some stuff in there first).