Archive | October 2011

Tech Twirl: Podcast #1

My podcast (whose link can be found, below) is about the experience of reading PDFs across various devices.

In truth, this 8+ minute podcast is only the first podcast in a prepared series of three podcasts that will feature this subject.

In this initial podcast, I begin by discussing “what a PDF is.”

“PDF” stands for “Portable Document Format.” It’s “portable,” because PDF documents are easily transferable from one computer to the next without disturbing the formatting and location of the documents’ elements.

I compare the portability of the PDF to that of the Microsoft Word document, which is subject to format alterations when switching among computer terminals and devices.

I also discuss Adobe’s Acrobat Reader software versus Adobe’s Digital Editions software; in doing so, I reveal my preference for the latter over the former where ebooks are concerned. Not only is the reading experience less grating on the eyes, but the Digital Editions reader allows the user to borrow DRM-protected content from library websites.

In part two and three, I will discuss the experience of reading PDF’s on various Digital eReading devices (the Kindles, Nooks, and Sony Readers of the world), and in part three, I will discuss the tablet market and about the ease of use of various apps in the Apple and Android Stores, respectively. I will also share my hopes for Amazon’s Kindle Fire, set to be released in mid-November, in terms of my preferences for PDF reading applications on tablet devices.

The Link: Tech Twirl Podcast: The PDF Experience Across Devices

If you don’t already possess a copy of the Adobe Digital Editions software, I highly recommend it. You can download the software at the following website:


Library 2.0

The Web 1.0 world was a world of static links and pages. Enter Web 2.0. Today, the web is a budding, buzzing network of social interactivity. The web of today represents a burgeoning conversation, with users from all ends of the earth providing the impetus and inertia driving the news and commentaries of today.

Library 2.0 is all about libraries leveraging these platforms in order to help better serve their communities; meeting patrons “where they are” and “when they are,” beyond the walls and stacks of the physical library structure and into the virtual spaces of society. The online “conversation” will take place, with or without your library’s presence. Better, though, to seize these tools and use them for the good of your library’s “image” as well as for the good of your local community. The social layer of the world is presently interlaced with the web world, and libraries constitute powerful hubs for knowledge and resources to help assist communities in their endeavors.

Library 2.0 also makes good economic sense. Times are hard, and resources are strained. Web 2.0 tools are, more often than not, free, easy to use, and do not require additional software/downloads on the part of the end user. Web 2.0 tools can serve a myriad of purposes, from education, to event notification, to resource distribution, to “you name it.”

Libraries should utilize these tools; however, tools are only means to ends. A library should set clear goals before entering into any online setting. Web 2.0 services may be easy to initiate, but they are not particularly easy to maintain. While setting one’s goals, patrons and their needs should be kept in mind; for, after all, a service that is not “used” is not a Web 2.0 service. Interactivity and relevance are key to the success of a Library 2.0 endeavor.

Concerns also exist for the Library of the Web 2.0 world. Who will update the materials? Staff members have their prescribed duties, and these duties often take up the bulk of their days. Library 2.0 activities are frequently activities that are “beyond” one’s paid duties.  And what about if that individual leaves? Who will host the data? If they are hosted on another site, is there a risk that one’s data might be lost? Who will monitor the activities on these sites? Is there a concern that users may post inappropriate materials to the online service?

I believe that there is little to lose in adopting Web 2.0 technologies and much to gain. In large part, a library’s success in this forum involves its ability to set goals and then enact those goals, all while keeping its audience in mind.


Casey, M., Stephens, M. (2008, Oct. 15). Transparent library: Library PR 2.0. Library Journal, 24. 

Crawford, W. (2011). Library 2.0 five years later. Online, 35(2), 58-60. 

Strong, M. L., Dunnington, A. (2009) Can u wiki, Flickr, and blog?. Louisiana Libraries, 72(2), 15-17.

Library of Congress on Flickr

The Library of Congress has truly embraced the role of a “Library 2.0” leader. From blogs, to Facebook, to Twitter, to podcasts, to “you name it,” the LOC’s virtual footprint is impressively large.

The following link includes a list of all of the LOC’s virtual spaces:

I am particularly impressed with the LOC’s Flickr photostream, located here:

The LOC has an impressive “Prints and Photographs” online catalog through its official site; however, it’s often not the most intuitive catalog to navigate. Not all of the items are digitized at a decent resolution, and many of the collections are, frankly, a little lack luster.

With over 14,000 items, the LOC’s Flickr Photostream is quite impressive. Each photo is accompanied by its most pertinent cataloging data. The LOC has also taken pains to group its photos into themed sets, each carrying a unique, descriptive title. Furthermore, one can sort the photos based on the year they were taken (with an “earliest date” of 1834!). The photos have also been carefully tagged; the “tag cloud” for the LOC’s collection is quite impressive.

Moreover, unlike the LOC’s online catalog, Flickr’s format allows commenting by users, thus adding additional “value” to the user/visitor. This is the heart of the Web 2.0 world – users adding value. The LOC is “America’s Library”; it’s good to see the LOC reaching out to America through social media, making its content the joint property of the web world.

Not everyone searches the LOC’s digital catalogs, but many people frequent Flickr. It’s wonderful that the LOC is taking advantage of social media platforms in order to extend its reach and its information to new populations.