Thanks to Resource Shelf, I’ve seen a posting about Zoho Meeting.  I’ve been a bit of a fan of Zoho (as opposed to Google Docs) for some time now, and if this is good, I shall be glad of it.  The idea of being able to do low-cost web-conferencing is something that appeals to me, especially for training.  And even more, not being a google site, it’s less likely to be blocked by corporate firewalls for now.  Something to watch.  I’ll be interested to read what others are doing with it.

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I could write a very long post about this, as there’s so much to comment on, but the first thing must be the excellent organisation. And attention to detail. The things I loved most were the “Bright Ideas” boards around the room, which encouraged everyone to write up things they would like to do (or see done); and the fact that we were not just talking about 2.0 anymore, but we were discussing putting things into practice, what we’d done, how we’d done it, and how it had gone. Given that all of us are from small, time-poor libraries, this was very exciting. Especially where the result was a resounding success in communication or marketing. And very replicable, if we want to do the same.

Just before I left, I was reading Meredith Farkas’ comments on going to two conferences back-to-back where she comments on the need for people to be good and enthusiastic presenters. I concur totally, especially for vendors who are trying to sell us their product. In this context, I was most impressed by the presenters in the Poster Session I chaired, where a couple of the presenters were clearly nervous, and new to presenting – but were clear, interesting, and kept to time. Well done!

Now comes the hard part – getting back to an overflowing in-box with little things to be completed before we can set out on the journey of new ideas from the Forum.  My genuine hope is that we can look back in a year and see more things that are happening, and that these two days will kick start some more interesting and clever ideas.

Okay, it’s really nine months, but yet again, I’m doing a presentation for Australian health librarians on L2.0; and each time I do one of these, I try to take stock of what’s happened since the last time. Firstly, I’m aware that it’s all not very new anymore. I certainly take things like blogs, wikis and rss feeds for granted (which is why I’m so frustrated that my ILS doesn’t support rss, but that’s another gripe). And I’m using more tools personally – I now use igoogle at work to keep my life together and am thinking of something for my non-work life; i’m moving to an online calendar (still torn between yahoo and google – suggestions, anyone?); and I’m on facebook. All of which sounds old-hat to many 2.0 afficionados, but the interesting thing is that this is in my personal, not professional life.

But professionally, we’re not doing much more than we were nine months ago. No great leaps forward, no wonderful inventions. Just more of the same, which seems to be working well. However, I am drawing up a wish-list of where I want to be this time next year, and there are some great leaps that will need to happen there. I’m looking forward to the challenge of working out how to make them happen.

I finally got around to entering my data into the 2.0 Survey (below), and found to my surprise that none of the listed sites were blocked!  Amazing.  The reason for my surprise is that so much really useful content is blocked (we find sites every week), yet at the moment, these networking sites are all available.  I can go onto facebook, blog or podcast to my heart’s content.  Mind you, part of it is in the wording, which we haven’t altered from the MLA’s survey.  While I can use flickr and download mp3 files, I can’t do a search on the image section of any of the major search engines, and I can’t play video direct from a site (eg a news report from our national broadcaster).  Totally illogical and frustrating.  Nor can I get to any webmail sites, which has a flow-on that random bits of the google site are blocked, which is very annoying when trying to set up groups or docs under google.  Sigh.  So it will be interesting to monitor when these sites are gradually blocked – mind you, they did try blocking all blog sites a few years ago, but we created such a storm, that it was hastily reversed.  If I don’t get my bloglines fix of feeds from overnight, I’m not a happy person.

Although I should also point out that we refuse to let the technology stop us … if something is blocked and we legitimately need it for our work (like reading the important blogs from our profession), we’ll find a way!

There’s a cross-posting between this blog and Libraries Using Evidence about the social networking survey we’re undertaking. I’m really interested from the 2.0 angle, looking at what tools we can harness, and also, what barriers are being put in our way. This then ties into the idea that we need to be evidence-based in what we do, so then there’s the angle that we’re collecting this evidence – what does it show us about our practice, potential practice, or barriers to practice? I’m also excited that we’re using the tool that was used by the MLA Social Networking Taskforce (with permission, I hasten to add), and that we might be able to do some comparisons. Of course, there are many fewer of us here than in the US; but that doesn’t mean we’re not sitting on more of a bleeding edge than they are!

I’ve just signed up for another online suite of journals, and discovered, with a sigh of relief, that I can set the client username and password.  We have soooo many different logins and passwords for our clients, I don’t blame them for just dumping a lot of stuff into a document delivery request form.  I hate the fact that we have one major suite of resources – from a centralised source – but because it’s a proprietary set of resources, I don’t like to use the password with their competitors’ resources.  So we use the same login and a different password.  But a third resource doesn’t give us the choice of login, so we must give an unintellligible string to our clients.  Not to mention logins for individual journal subscriptions.

We can’t use IP addresses, there’s no way we’ll be allowed to run EZ Proxy or something similar, and it’s driving me nuts.  I know about Athens, but it’s expensive for a small campus, and I don’t really want to be supporting individual logins – although I’m sure I’ll get there soon enough.  Actually, I’d love to know how Athens goes with the way that Ovid and Ebsco are pushing individual accounts, where you have to login after you’ve logged into the main site.

Anyone with a magic solution out there?

The Australian Health Librarians and Web 2.0 Survey is NOW OPEN.

Go on, take the survey now!

The survey :

  • is open to all health-related librarians/library technicians/assistants etc across Australia

  • will be open 29 Oct 07 – 25 Nov 07
  • is endorsed by Health Libraries Australia (HLA)

Please contact Lisa, Suzanne and Gillian at projectchili2007@gmail.com for further information.

What is it about facebook?  I was asked twice in 24 hours if I was on it, so joined last weekend.  Since then I’ve discovered a bunch of friends on there (I think I’m up to about 15), but the interesting thing is that none of them seem to have been there for more than a few weeks.  Is it just a wave of facebooking sweeping my particular circle, or is it this month’s “in” thing to do?  I know there are theories that the gen y’s are getting off now that we oldies have found it, but I’m still intrigued.

It’s been interesting to see that the MLA’s Social Networking Survey has been released – and that the most commented on item seems to have been the question asking about which technologies were blocked. (no, I’m not hyperlinking to them, I’m sure you’ve read them already). It’s an issue causing much grief here in Oz, as well, so we’re planning to mirror the survey here to see what results we get. We can’t really challenge the situation until we realise how bad it is. (or isn’t?).

I’m currently writing a training document on “Current Awareness” – how our patrons can keep up with the firehose of information now available to them. In the course of a couple of conversations, it was suggested the document might be of interest the wider Library community because of the way I’m incorporating so-called “2.0” concepts without actually making a significant fuss about their newness or that they’re something that needs to be learnt separately from any other learning/knowledge resource.

In the course of one of those conversations, an interesting comment came back that rather nicely illustrated the very point I was making, and allowed me to have a little philosophical ramble. Which I reproduce here, in the hope that maybe someone else understands it as well!

Lovely library person who sent me links to their astonishing podcast collection said:

> We are now considering using a Wiki instead of our intranet!!

And I blurted, more or less without thinking:

Now, here’s a mental exercise that illustrates, more or less, what I’m getting at, and please forgive me if this comes across as chiding, because it’s NOT – you just beautifully stepped into an example of where I’m heading with my documents :)

See, you’re not using a wiki instead of your intranet. You’re using a wiki as your intranet :) . Intranet, after all, is just the information concept – “internal internet”. Currently it’s probably fairly standard interlinked web pages, where each page has to be individually published after going through an approval process. What you’re considering is using a different type of software – but the result is still going to be an “internal internet”. A Wiki isn’t a new concept; it’s just a web page with improved user interactivity.

So if I start saying to my doctors and nurses and clinicians “consider using a Wiki for collaboration purposes”, they’ll back away slowly. But if I say “consider using interactive web pages for collaboration purposes”, they’ll look interested and ask questions.

One of my concerns about 2.0 hype is the fact that people are getting tied up in the terminology, and forgetting what’s actually underneath it. This is common, of course; early adopters need to spread the word about the new toys. But take-up of those toys doesn’t happen until the everyday consumer can place that toy in their everyday context; and I’m concerned we’re leapfrogging that phase into a wholesale adoption of the “new” precepts and “throwing away of the old”, without proper consideration of the fact that the new is part of the old.

Damn geeks and their insistence that the entire world is binary, rather than an analogue sliding scale :)

This concern that people are concentrating more on the technology, than what our users can use the technology for in the here’n’now is, of course, not new, and I’ve read umpteen posts that deal with this very issue. I’m also a little behind on my reading, so maybe I’ve missed it, but the vibe still seems to be that in order to overcome our concerns with “2.0”, we just need to learn more about it – and to learn, we should be teaching.

My concerns is that by teaching our patrons about “2.0” – about RSS and wikis and social software, we automatically make it something separate to the “ordinary” (1.0) web. If you give it a separate name, it must be a separate thing, right?

But really, all “2.0” represents is the convergence of how everyone expected computers to behave back in the 70’s. It’s exciting because science-fiction is becoming science-fact, because the underlying networks have finally reached human-like speeds, so the real-time high-graphic interactions expected way back when I was learning about computers are actually real now.

The excitement will die down, the hysteria will head off and find another target, and if we’re to retain our patrons past this wave, we need to incorporate these resources into their everyday usage NOW.

I’m not sure any of that agglomeration of different concepts made sense … but then, “2.0” is such a vague concept that I’m not even sure we should be having a debate about it as such, except it’s such a handy term to mean “new toys we can play with!”.

Anyway. I attach the very, very, very rough, early, and incomplete document I’m playing with. The first page pretty much illustrates where I’m trying to go with this; the following pages just flesh it out.