Since getting my broadband up and running at home I have been pushing my little Mac Mini to the max checking out all those mysterious sites which were heard of but never seen (at least not at my workplace!). Blogs, RSS feeds, wikis, podcasts, vidcasts, photo sharing – “social software” “web 2.0” “library 2.0”, it was time to play…
Here are my thoughts so far on what I’ve tried and tested…
This was my first real venture into the 2.0 world. As we are unable to download anything at all onto our work PCs I wanted an RSS reader that I could access from anywhere. Bloglines has certainly transformed my online experience although it has given me indigestion a few times when all the blogs I subscribe to get updated at once with really interesting posts! Now I check my RSS feeds at least once a day and can even sort them into folders like my email. I also have my blogroll from Bloglines showing on my blog here (over on the right there) and it updates here when I update it there.
The more blogs I read the more I looked at links to Flickr. I don’t take a lot of photos but I did enjoy uploading some of my favourites and I always enjoy looking at other people’s photos. There is so much more to Flickr that I haven’t even looked at yet like groups and forums.
Blogger My Blogging tool of choice! I tried a couple of others but this was the simplest to set up and just start blogging. I’m on the Blogger Beta version so there are some bugs and new things arriving but I’m certainly blogging and you’re reading it here!!
MySpace The one that most people have probably heard of! Although I’m probably the target age group etc I have to say that almost no one I know uses this site! I mostly joined up because one of my favourite bands Cato Street Conspiracy moved there and I thought I’d investigate. So far I have found my younger sister and someone I went to university with 10 years ago – not exactly a social hub… On a more practical note this site is blocked at work as we have the same filters in place as the schools and MySpace is very firmly on the dodgy list in the UK. Think it may be sometime before we have a MySpace presence as excellent as Denver Public Library over here.
PBWiki Peanut Butter Wiki – as a peanut butter addict I had to use this as my first attempt at creating a wiki. Mostly I used it to plan with the idea of an interactive staff manual for my interlibrary loans department and it was simple and easy to use. Before I knew it I had a wiki that worked and would be really useful, no more carrying round notes or uploading PDF files to an antiquated staff intranet. I’m really interest in taking the staff wiki idea forward… watch this space!
del.icio.us Tonight I used del.icio.us for the first time but I doubt it will be the last. I’m always finding things at home and then wanting to look at the website at work (or vice versa) and I also use PCs on the enquiry desk at work and can’t remember the website address of every bookmark on my desk PC. I do not have the memory of an elephant!! del.icio.us was so easy to use that I can’t believe I didn’t try sooner. Originally I was put off by mentions of Google toolbar and downloading toolbar buttons (not approved of at work!) but I have no Google toolbar and adding bookmarks to del.icio.us is as easy as adding them to my browser. Haven’t looked at anything else on the site yet, just added some bookmarks and tagged them to see what happens but I’m looking forward to having a play.
LibraryThing Another site that I”ve heard a lot about but never looked at. Now I have a pile of books on my desk that I have “catalogued” and I’m very excited by this site. I don’t imagine I’d use LibraryThing for some of its suggested uses – if I’m in a bookshop and can’t remember whether or not I own a copy of a book then I don’t own it and don’t need to look at LibraryThing on my mobile to check my home catalogue! But imagine being able to check your local library catalogue via a mobile phone. LibraryThing is so much friendlier than most library OPACs I’ve seen and does everything new LMS suppliers offer and more. Working in interlibrary loans I’ve looked at most public library OPACs in the UK and a good number of the academic ones as well, none of them make me want to stay and look around once I’ve found the book I want. LibraryThing does.
I did plan to include a jargon free guide to these sites as well but this post is already too long so this is the end, for now…