In passing...

by tosca on Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hola - quick post. I rely on Bloglines to keep me up-to-date with a lot of movie, book and news related umm news. D'OH. That's what it does. Only this last fortnight Council has since blocked Bloglines - so unless I make a concerted effort to check some 50-plus sites every day I don't have a clue what's going on from one day to the next. Alas, woe is me! Did find a solution, though. And even then, only by accident.

Am still working my way through Learning 2.1, albeit in a lackadaisical fashion (shit, is that the word that I want, and is it even used properly, ack I dunno). Anyway, half-arsedly (yes, that is the word that I want and yes I am using it properly) working my way through it and skipped to the end and saw Thing 69 - Feed My Inbox. People who don't want to have to go to a totally separate site (I leave my Bloglines open and up all day), you can re-route website updates AND rss/atom feeds directly to your Inbox. No shit!

Simply: 1) go to the website, 2) enter the website or rss/atom feed you want alerts for, 3) enter the email address to receive updates at and 4) click submit. Then you receive an email to let you know that further updates for that site/feed will be received at that particular email address and 5) click the link to confirm subscription and voila! All done.

However, the thought of re-doing some 50-plus feeds to re-route through my inbox is daunting. Flicked off an email asking IT to unblock the site because staff use it to keep up-to-date with both national/international news and was asked why we don't use 'normal sites' (wtf is a NORMAL news site, can I ask? and WHO determines what this is? heh rant over) like and No disrespect to either, but whose normal is this? Because it ain't mine. So, decided to be thoroughly anal and list EVERY SINGLE rss feed I subscribe to and explain how I use it and what for and why it's easier to keep Bloglines up all day and check it periodically than visit 50-plus different sites every hour-ish. Come on! Gimme a break =) If I were a total cow (mooooo) I would re-route every feed/website through my work inbox LOL

Anyway, check out Feed My Inbox 'cause this shit is bananas (B-A-N-A-N-A-S!).

Ha, a group of us from work went to an advanced screening of 'Twilight' and YES we were there with a shitload of teenaged girls and YES they did scream/clap the first time Robert Pattinson came onscreen as Edward Cullen - but I forgave them. Aww it was good - cheesy, corny, smushy (and yeah, I know that's not an actual word). The encounters between Bella and Edward reminded me of my interaction with high schools boys - everything resembles one big, long, eternally awkward first date! The scene where Edward admits he's been sneaking in to her room for a couple of months to watch her sleep? I remember turning to Ellie and saying, 'Aww that's creepy. But hot - but so creepy!' LOL When the lights came up I turned to the group I was with and said, 'Ok, I so want a vampire of my very own!' Took me back to my high school days *sigh* Gosh that was a long time ago. The baseball scene was great but hmm - the bit where James realises Bella is human? You know, it was kinda like a timotei shampoo ad where the wind blows and her hair flies all over the place. The wind wafts her human scent over to James and then all the vampires are suddenly hissing and spitting at each other. That part kinda reminded me of The Jets from West Side Story. I almost expected them to start singing, 'When you're a Jet you're a Jet from your first cigarette to your very last breath.' No one did. Go figure. I'm not sure Meyer expected it to be a black comedy, but a lot of girls spent the first 20 mins of the movie laughing and giggling. It a farce. Did she mean it to be? Or was that just how it struck the moviegoers? I thought there was huge comedic value in it, but that's me. Oh yeah, one thing: why did Edward drive a VOLVO??? Come on! I equate vampires with cool. A volvo is not cool. Safe - but not cool!

Some of you may know that Manukau Libraries has, since June/July, started publishing NextReads newsletters which, by the way, is a great readers' advisory tool. I've started to play around a bit with the newsletters I edit (Romance and Biography and Memoir) . A colleague inspired me, our job is readers' advisory and yet, really, we don't train our staff in how to deliver what should be an expert readers advisory service. Our collection is our hugest asset - but we don't actively teach our staff how to effectively assist customers in choosing books. Yet somehow, our staff do this every day. They take the initiative and they do it off their own bat. And we expect them to, but we don't really acknowledge that. I remember just starting out in Manukau Libraries about 6 yrs ago there was this idea (and I guess there still is) that to be caught reading a book, either at the desk or elsewhere in the library, is bad. It shows to our ratepayers that we're wasting our time - but I disagree. It should show that we're always about learning & developing, that we take our job seriously enough to read whenever and wherever we can, be it at the front desk or amongst the shelves (while shelf-tidying or shelving). I discussed with a colleague the idea of having a living display where staff in a branch would take their tea break in the front window, in an armchair and read. Whitcoulls on Queen Street did it a few years back and it proved very effective. Lone Wolf is responsible for devising and implementing Manukau Libraries Best Sellers course and it's opened my eyes to so many things. Not the least of which is when did libraries move away from expecting their staff to be experts in the collections? When did we start becoming experts in purchase orders? And sending faxes? And name and address registers? When do we get back to books? Be they e-books or paper? When do we stop expecting that our staff train themselves in book-knowledge and we do that part?

I remember a customer asked me to recommend a great modern adventure read. I recommended Steve Berry (gosh, I enjoy his books so much) and I held out the book to the customer, who said to me, 'Young lady, would you stake your life on this book?' There was a moment, a brief moment of madness where I almost took the back back. Instead I pushed it across the desk and said, 'Absolutely!' He came back a few days later looking for more Steve Berry but it did make something click in my head - are we ready to stake our lives on our recommendations? CAN we stake our lives on our recommendations? And if the answer is no, then what the heck are we doing there?! Lone Wolf told me (see, I do listen to him, he might be surprised at that!), 'You have to make every conversation count. If you're not promoting books - what are you doing there?' Don't tell him I said so, but he's right ;-)

I just had to post this - and yes, I do know that next on my agenda was meant to be an item off of infodoodads Top 13 list but bear with me! Speaking of readers' advisory - a few weeks back I finally read a book that has been sitting amongst my huge stack for about 3 weeks.

I spent part of my weekend, about 3 or 4 weeks ago (on and off) sitting on the front lawn (I naffed the parental unit's fishing chair) in the blazing hot sun reading a large number of books. But the one which I absolutely enjoyed was 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Now, about a month or so ago I read about the book and it sounded interesting - but the problem is I have about 30 books on the go at any one time, so finally, after about 3 weeks (and with 1 week to go until it's due back) I've finally gotten around to it...and loved Loved LOVED every minute of it.

The story? 'January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she'd never met, a native of Guernsey, the British island once occupied by the Nazis. He'd come across her name on the flyleaf of a secondhand volume by Charles Lamb. Perhaps she could tell him where he might find more books by this author. As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, she is drawn into the world of this man and his friends, all members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a unique book club formed in a unique, spur-of-the-moment way: as an alibi to protect its members from arrest by the Germans. Juliet begins a remarkable correspndence with the Society's charming, deeply human members, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Through their letters she learns about their island, their tatste in books, and the powerful, transformative impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds there will change her forever' -- Jacket of book.

Fairly innocent seeming in all, but the story - oh, the story. Let me count the ways :-) The whole book is written as a series of letters between the most eccentric and charming cast of characters: Juliet (the main character), Sidney (her editor and best friend's older brother), Sophie (best friend), Dawsey (who bought a book of selected writings by Charles Lamb that was previously owned by Juliet and had her name/address written on the inside cover) and the other members of the Society. In the couple of short hours it has taken me to race through the book I have giggled (when a character says that 'Women like poetry. A soft word in their ears and they melt - a grease spot on the grass.'), snorted (Juliet writes to her editor, 'I have an idea for a new book. It's a novel about a beautiful yet sensible author whose spirit is crushed by her domineering editor. Do you like it?'), laughed (about Wuthering Heights, 'I like stories of passionate encounters. I myself have never had one, but now I can picture one...'), sighed (when Clovis Fossey was courting the Widow Hubert, 'Lookie there, Nancy. The gentleness of Heaven broods o'ver the sea - Listen, the mighty Being is awake.' She let me kiss her. She is now my wife.', gasped ('The Society members have colluded amongst themselves to raise the bastard child of Elizabeth McKenna and her German Paramour, Doctor/Captain Christian Hellman. Yes, a German soldier! I don't wonder at your shock.') and yes, gosh darn it, I even cried (when Adelaide Addison wrote to Juliet stating that the Literary Society took Elizabeth McKenna's illegitimate daughter and 'raised that child as its own - toting her around from house to house in turn. The principal work of the baby's maintenance was undertaken by Amelia Maugery, with other society members taking her out - like a library book - for several weeks at a time.').

The group got their rather strange (and long-winded although very charming) name when they secretly got together to eat a roast pig (you really do have to read the story to understand the reference). They broke curfew (Guernsey was occuped by the Germans at the time) and were caught by soldiers and made up a story about being a bookclub. The Commandant said he would come to visit with them which led to the group buying up a crapload of books from the local bookstore and making the others read something to be prepared for the impending visit. From that point on the bookclub became real, and grew, and their signature dish was a potato peel pie, the making of which doesn't sound half as disguting as the thought of eating potato peels. Squick. But Will Thisbee's potato peel pie - cnsisting of mashed potatoes for filling, strained beets for sweetness and potato peelings for crust - was a favourite of the group. And became a part of their name.

I could go on and on about it forever (yeah I know, so much for a 'quick' post, so sue me) but I'll only say, I'm naming this my TOP general fiction read of 2008 - AND I'll stake my life on it. So nah nah nah nah! And if you disagree, well really, who's asking you?!?

Peace. We out =)

This Day in History

by tosca on Friday, November 14, 2008

Just a quick fly-by post. More a 'did you know' than anything else.

November 14th, 1851 'Moby Dick' by Herman Melville (born 1819) was published by Harper & Brothers in New York. Today, the tale of the whaling ship has long been considered a classic novel. Who would have known at the time that 'Call me Ishmael' would go on to become one of the most well-known fiction opening lines? Personally, I'm betting it's right up there with, 'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.'

While Monsieur Melville's novel might be a great American classic today, for many years this was not the case. In fact, it bombed when it was first released, and at the time did not manage to live up to the hype of his first two successful novels (Typee and Omoo). In 1865 Melville left writing behind to become a customs inspector, and died in 1891. It wasn't until the 1920s that his work was 'discovered' (I'm not sure he would have considered it missing) by scholars, and from there ended up on high school reading lists.

Interestingly enough, Melville's final novel 'Billy Budd' was not published until 1924, a full 33 years after his death. Information for this post taken from The History Channel - This Day In History's lead story 'Moby-Dick published'. (Image taken from Claudia Knits).

'Call me Ishmael...'

Interesting stuff (to me)

by tosca on Tuesday, November 11, 2008

So, was toolin' around online in my bloglines account (as I am wont to do) and came across an interesting article at the Herald's online site. Why is the article interesting? Because it's Omar bin Laden. Who's he when he's at home? He's one of Osama bin Laden's 19 children. Why's he so gosh darned captivating? His pacifist views have landed him in a spot of bother in the Middle East and so he, and his wife Zaina Alsabah bin Laden (born Jane Felix-Browne in London), are hoping to seek political asylum in New Zealand. Why? Because, 'It's an amazing country with an amazing history. I believe they have a strong human rights stance and humanitarian stance.' So do I, although I wonder if Omar's paternal link would make people rethink that viewpoint. Read the article for yourself, and then check out the 'Your Views' link to the left of the story. The question is 'Would you be happy if Omar bin Laden tried to move to NZ?' and then readers are invited to Send Your Views (feel free to do this if you are so moved). I didn't have a view to send, probably because I'm not quite sure where I stand on the issue (I'm confused - yes I think he should come but I'm not forgetting his father, but neither should I hold that against him but I'm not forgetting his father, he should have the same chance as anyone for a fresh start but I'm not forgetting his get the idea). I took one look at his dreadlocks and thought, 'Nah, come on over, she'll be right,' which is probably why I'll never make a good diplomat or politician. If you have a view feel free to post it as a comment - but keep it clean, please and thank you. (Image taken from NZ Herald's site).

Was merrily working towards completing my next NextReads Romance newsletter for December 2008 (check out our previous Newsletter issues here) and decided to hunt around for a few links of interest. Who'm I kidding? I got distracted - I always do! And I found the 'Romancing the Blog' blog. In particular, it was Kelly Watson's post 'Fighting the good fight' in which she warns readers she's going to be a little Ranty McRant. Seriously, if that's how she rants she can write my blog posts any time heh =) Kelly had read Wendy Crutcher's post last week and some comments struck home: the less than stellar service some readers receive from their public libraries. It was a damn good article and I encourage all of my readers (all 3 of you, one of whom is my mother, hi mum) to READ IT. And it's certainly made me think about how I'm putting together this newsletter from here on out (the December one will be SPECTACULAR I shit you not), and I'll be watching for how our staff in Manukau Libraries treat their romance readers. I'd have thought we were beyond the pointed looks and snobbery stage but apparently not - it's alive and thriving. A comment a colleague made last week reinforces this idea in my head: libraries do NOT belong to librarians. They belong to the community. Yay, Jody! Oh, before I forget, Romancing the Blog will be one of the links for the December newsletter ;0) (Image taken from Romancing the Blog).

So, if Kelly Watson's article gave me food for thought, then Wendy Crutcher's post from her blog 'The Misadventures Of...Super Librarian' had me in stitches! And boy did it ring some bells. The article I'm very badly blathering on about is 'Welcome To The Real World', in which Wendy lay the smack-downeth on the '...discussion on how public libraries are bowing down to the lowest common denominator by offering up entertainment drivel to people who are too cheap to join Netflix, how we're determined to expose porn to the masses, and how we're responsible for the dumbing down of a generation because we offer video gaming programs in libraries. Public libraries should be all about education! And great literature! And intellectually building up the masses of humanity!' Part of what has Wendy's panties in a bunch (hey, that's HER comment, not mine! and if you don't believe methen READ HER POST please) is that the debate is always '...started by 1) Librarians who should have retired 20 years ago 2) Librarians who have been locked in some academic ivory tower for the last 20 years and wouldn't know how a public library works today if it bit them in the ass or 3) all of the above.' Heh them's fighting words, and I agree with every word. I will be emailing the link for Superlibrarian's blog out to all of my colleagues because it is a) funny shit and b) very goddamned relevant! (Image taken from The Misadventures Of...Super librarian)

From Kelly's post to Wendy's...and from there to Caramel Lunacy's 'A Hoyden's Look At Literature : A Swashbuckling Romantic's reviews of the literary, not-so-literary, the great fun, and the truly awful' blog. It was the profile pic that caught my eye - and had me falling off my chair laughing, and so curiosity had me heading on over the associated blog ;0) There is always (some form of) method to my madness! I won't post the pic, instead I'll insist you go check it out for yerself heh. So, since reading the above 3 blogs I think I have a better handle on how I edit my December Romance newsletter. So keep one eye open...

What am I reading? Glad you asked! In the 2 weeks since I handed in my last assignment for the year I have read (in no particular order): Nicholas Sparks 'The lucky one', Julie Hearn 'Ivy', Julia Reed 'The house on First Street', Peter leitch with Phil Gifford 'What a ride, mate! : the life and times of the Mad Butcher', Jennifer Ashley 'Immortals : the redeeming', Richard Attenborough 'Entirely up to you, darling', Jim Butcher 'Storm front', Douglas Brinkley 'The great deluge : Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast', Patricia Briggs 'Moon called', Alyssa Day 'Atlantis rising : the warriors of Poseidon', Jack Canfield 'You've got to read this book! : 55 people tell the story of the book that changed their life', Jade lee 'Dragonborn', Jim Butcher 'Fool moon', Anne Rice 'Christ the lord : out of Egypt : a novel', Michelle Sagara 'Cast in courtlight', Sarah Vowell 'The partly cloudy patriot', Imaculee Ilibagiza with Steve Erwin by 'left to tell : discovering God amidst the Rwandan holocaust' and Michelle Sagara 'Cast in secret'. School is out with a vengeance. That's the good news - now for the bad news. I have 24 books waiting to be picked up at the library. Eep. (Image taken from callumscott2's Flickr photostream).

Speaking of Fickr photostreams, we're currently holding a photo competition for youth called All Eyes on Manukau. The point of the competition? We want to see what Manukau looks like through their eyes, so this is their chance to challenge stereotypes and provoke comment! We have a few samples up on our Flickr photostream, and 4 entries from Sarah (our very first entrant) that you can view here.

Ok, so this was my 'anything interesting' post (remember, it's interesting to me, if you want interesting for you write yer own post). Next up is an item off the infodoodads Top 13 list. See ya when I see ya =)

Web 2.0 tools and NZ public libraries

by tosca on Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'm looking at the Hastings District Library for this post. I have family in Hastings - so hello to both the Bruce and the Waerea families! And greetings from a misplaced-Wellingtonian-Jafa ;0) And yes, I know that's got nothing to do with the subject matter at hand but it'd be rude not to say anything heh. It's been so long since I looked at a public library for this exercise that I've forgotten exactly what it is that I actually do. Huh! So, where to from here? I have found the Hastings District Libraries 'Library News Update' blog which I have enjoyed reading. And I'm impressed with the turnout for the Flaxmere magic show! They've limited their posts to display 3 at a time, which I think is great because there's nothing worse than scrolling forever to find something on a site. Nice, very visual and uncluttered. They have an 'Ask a librarian' service and they also promote the 'Any Questions' online homework service. Niiiiiice =)

One Book - One Lincoln programme - Was looking around online to see the various ways in which libraries who use NextReads (which by the way is a fantastic readers' advisory tool) promote it, and came across the above programme. 'One Book - One Lincoln is a community reading program co-sponsored by Lincoln City Libraries and the Lincoln Journal Star. The program encourages all adults in Lincoln and Lancaster County to read and discuss the same book at the same time. The goal of the program is to encourage reading and dialogue by creating a community wide reading and discussion experience.' Allof this, and more, you can view/read on their site - but what a fantastic idea! I absolutely love it and would like to see something like this here in Manukau. One day. Maybe. I've requested the book 'The thirteenth tale' that they're reading this year. I'm with them in spirit heh. (Image taken from 'One Book One Lincoln' website).

Newseum - found in an article from Huffington Post that came through my Bloglines account and oohh err it's basically the current day's newspaper front pages from around America and some of the rest of the world. Today's lot features an alert across the top: Please be patient with the site, we are experiencing a high volume of traffic today. And if you couldn't guess the reason, then check out the screen shot beside this pagraph *eyes right* ;-) But I think I'm prob going to visit this site daily, even if only for a quick image check each morning of the world at a glance. Have also highlighted this in the 'History and Current Events November 2008' NextReads newsletter links section (this newsletter is due out this week and is produced by the ever-helpful Natz2-D2 YAY).

I subscribe to rss updates for 'Random House library services' and their movie-tie-ins-page has a piece about John Boyne's 'The boy in striped pyjamas' film. Unsure if any of you read the book but it was a tear jerker. It's a young adult/junior fiction novel that's written from a child's perspective. For the first part of the book you have no idea where it's set or even why the story is important - you just know it is. Soon, though, you notice that the story is peppered with small but significant clues (like the dinner guest Bruno's parents refer to as the Fury) and when you start to put it together it's spine-chilling. The ending is inevitable, you could see the novel moving toward that conclusion - I'm not sure that logically there was any other way it could've gone - but that doesn't stop it from being any less desperately sad. And Boyne's ending paragraph, I don't remember it spot on, but it's something to the effect that it's all just a story, and how everybody knows that stories aren't true. Probably made me cry harder because it did happen and the horror of it is beyond words. Have read a few reviews of the book that were pretty harsh and it made me wonder, when did we lose our ability to just appreciate a book, good, (semi) bad or otherwise? Why do we have to rip it to shit and publicly condemn it? I usually find that my opinion runs against the common thread - if the critics thought it was great I detested it, and if they thought it was crap I liked it. Now, I give up. If I like it I tell everyone, and if I detested it I wince and move on to another one. Needless to say I told umpteen people about Boyne's book. (Image taken from RandomHouse).

I started this post a day or so after completing my previous one and, since then, three major events have happend, two internationally, the other national. The events: first is that Senator Barack Obama was voted in as President of the United States of America - a history making moment; second is that Proposition 8 - a California State Ballot proposition aiming to restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman - received a YES vote of 52.5%, showing that Americans would rather give farming animals rights before legally allowing (I hate that term 'allowing') same-sex couples to marry - where is the love, people? (yes animals need to be protected but ahead of human rights?); and third is that National have come into power, making John Key the Prime Minister of New Zealand. To the first, HELL YES, it's long overdue (although what does it say that Americans want a brown President before a woman, and would the decision for Clinton/Obama have been different if it was a different woman in question?); what the hell to the second - oh, by all means, let's restrict marriage as an instituion for, say, teens who get knocked up, drop out of college and keep alive the idea of the shotgun-wedding, hey, that's a holy union all right; and omg to the third - what was NZ thinking of? I hesitate to make the comparison with President Bush, but I'm not far off it. I can't help but feel slightly thankful that President Obama is commited to ending the war in Iraq because I wonder if our troops may have ended up there under a new government. National has never had a great track record in working with Maori and I don't have great hopes now. Is it a huge issue? Yeah, Labour aren't fantastic but better the devil you know. The proof of the pudding is in the eating...Will he get rid of the Treaty of Waitangi? I hope to Christ he doesn't. I heard a comment recently that Maori would be no better off than they are right now if the Treaty were taken away - and, while in some part I agree, I'm reluctant to have it removed. It gives Maori and the government something to work towards - a blueprint, if you will. I think Maori might be effed royally without it! (Image taken from National Party's offical website). So for now I play the waiting game...bah humbug.

On This Day: 10th November, 1969 - Sesame Street screened for the very first time! Since its inception, well over 74 million people have watched the show. Today, an estimated 8 million people in the US watch the show. And YES I was a Sesame Street baby =)

Thing 27 : Photobucket

by tosca on Wednesday, November 5, 2008

'If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, then tonight is your answer.' (President Obama's victory speech, filmed in Grant Park, which you can view here). Whether or not you're a fan of politics, American or otherwise, it is a truly momentous occasion. And yes, I'm unashamedly biased. It is a new era. (Image taken from

I'm trying to do 1 post a week now that I've completed my last assignment for this year (2 papers to go though and then I have the level 5 diploma, although I do miss having a social life - I vaguely remember what it looked like!). Now, if I remember rightly, my last post involved looking at Google Reader which was one of the items infodoodads listed as 'Google Suite'. Umm I feel like crap because I didn't use it much - and I hate admitting that because I use Google Docs and Google Groups and Gmail and I like them. I think it's prob because I'm already a fan of Bloglines and hate change for the sake of change and, to be fair, prob didn't give it quite the go I should have. So it's ME not Google Reader. (Image taken from Google Reader).

I think I also covered book-related sites/blogs in that last one, as well. Which means we're up to - kaka, that doesn't make sense, eh. Ok let's switch it a bit, here's the deal for format:

  • NZ public libraries and the web 2.0 tools they may/may not be using
  • anything of interest
  • infodoodads Top 13 list (and when I run out of those I'll simply find some other list)
  • book-related sites or blogs of interest (or even just what I'm reading atm)
  • learning 2.1 tutorial (until I finish the list)

Hi de hi! Ho de ho. Ok, so I'm up to the next learning 2.1 exercise which is Thing 27 : Photobucket. I am to err create an account, search for images/videos to do with a fav book or books and save at least 2 or 3 into an album or sub-album, use the 'Find stuff' to browse, be sure to click the 'My album' tab and blog about the experience. But just before I do that I'm going to do a quick catch-up on post-win Obama news AND watch my sisters supervise their pyromaniac offspring in safetly shooting rockets. The mind boggles! Back in a few... (Image taken from the Thing 27 activity page for Learning 2.1: Explore ... Discover ... Play)

Eek, just now one of my sisters (who shall remain nameless yet forever infamous in our family stories) accidentally put a rocket in upside down and lit it...only to have it fall over and shoot the youngest sister (I have 6 sisters altogether) in the butt heh. Even funnier was that the youngest one happened to be filming it at the time so you see these lovely sparks shooting up and then sideways, then you hear a whole lot of swearing, and then suddenly the picture starts to jerk as she hotfoots it for safety. Incredibly dangerous - and awfully hilarious! Siblings provide me with endless amusement, even though my mother constantly assures me that's NOT their function. Hmmph. Really, some people are so touchy :-) (Image taken from

At the time of my posting (approx 9pm) there are roughly 6,318,685,209 images (and still climbing) currently on Photobucket. Whoa! So, Photobucket - very easy process to join, once again 'catatonichataholic' came into play. A harder part is trying to think of something I've read recently that wasn't course readings related. Uhh crap, am going to hafta look up My Info D'OH. Ok, 'The great deluge : Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast' by Douglas Brinkley is what I've chosen, so I've used the keywords 'hurricane katrina' to search by. I found a couple of amazing images and videos that go some way toward capturing the human emotion and widespread turmoil of the time, and you can view them in my 'katrina' album. I then clicked on 'Find Stuff' and went for the category 'Comedy & Fun' and selected a funny - which you can check out here. I think (assuming I've done it right, geez). Err I didn't enjoy searching by 'Find Stuff' at all - it seemed a tad bit random. I know - that's not a bad thing but it could be the lateness of the hour but random so does not appeal to me at 11pm at night. Other than my grumpiness it's actually a very easy-to-use site and, maybe tomorrow, I'll enjoy the experience a lot more! (Image taken from my Photobucket account).

My overall opinion is not worth the toilet paper it's written on (or whatever the cyber equivalent is heh) BUT I like it, what I've seen/used. It's different from Flickr - not better or worse, just different. I do remember a colleague telling me that he had a Photobucket account and a lot of his images, which he got from other Photobucket users, were removed from his account - copyright reasons, I think? Which I find slightly funny because I read somewhere that whatever images are in Photobucket are fair game for any and all users to access as long as it's not for commercial purposes. It kinda soured him on the idea of it, understandbly so, and that made me a bit wary about this exercise.

Cripes, one of these days I'm going to write a small-ish post. YEAH RIGHT ;0)

Blogs/sites of book interest...

by tosca on Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hey Ho! A colleague recently left a post-it note on my monitor with the message 'Hey Ho!' across the top. I laughed myself stupid because I knew she meant it as a greeting. Anyone else might have taken it the wrong way :-)

So - blogs/sites of book interest. Ordinarily I bash on and on about the hilarity of Smart Bitches Trashy Books because, let's face it, they are FUNNY in capitals! This post, though, I mention them in passing. A post on their blog called 'DocTurtle Reads Romance' had me in stitches...which led to my heading on over to the blog 'Judge A Book By Its Cover' (belonging to his wife Maughta who is a librarian in a public library) where they, yes, judge books by their covers. I got a huge giggle out of DocTurtle's situation. He wrote a post (Titter-worthy Titling Automaton) referring to formulaic romance novel titles and how if you've seen one you've seen them all. He also created his own Random Romance Novel Title Generator (which I've had a play with and my title was 'The Assyrian Heir's Tasty Marquesa' - sounds a bit cannibalistic heh). Sarah et al, from Smart Bitches Trashy Books, issued a challenge to DocTurtle - to read Sex, Straight Up by Kathleen O'Reilly, and then a Georgette Heyer novel. Doc accepted their challenge and has since been live blogging his commentary on O'Reilly's book - and I swear, he's a riot! I snickered, giggled and chortled my way through his comments. Show me another man that would voluntarily read a Blaze novel and not be embarrassed? I hear Kathleen O'Reilly's a good sport. (Image from Amazon).

As a result of Maughta's blog I've been reading my way through all of the site (GREAT stuff) which led me to Rex Parker's own 'Pop Sensation' (he also writes every Sunday for 'Judge A Book By It's Cover'. Rex Parker has a vintage paperback collection (god do those bring back some memories of poking around in bookstores as a child) and every couple of days he pulls a book off the shelf and writes about the cover. He says 'That's it.' but really that's heaps! He takes a book and discusses the best things about the covers (front and back) and phrases that catch his interest for whatever reason - but it's the way in which it's done. It's hilarious! And the novels! The novels are fantastic - and a sign of the times. Give it a try and if you don't laugh then check your pulse 'cause it means you're probably dead and don't know it. If I could sniff disdainfully I would. (Image from Pop Sensation's blog header).

OH NO! Pop Sensation and Judge A Book By Its Cover have led me to even more links! Woe is me - crap, there goes my assignment. Try these: The Effing Librarian - god, I love the comment '...but I try very hard to avoid witnessing stupid. I turn away when I see it coming. But this was stupid out of nowhere'; I Hate Asheville - 'Yesterday our patrons were treated to a lovely bit of welcome. One of the trolls who congregate outside decided to hurl right in our entry way. Welcome to our library! Don't mind the puke'; A Librarian's Guide To Etiquette - A good librarian will celebrate freedom of information and the diversity of ideas by celebrating Banned Books Week at the library. The best way to do this is to round up all the really nasty books in your library and lock them all up in a glass display case'; Book Scans which is a visual catalogue of all vintage American paperbacks; The Society for Librarians* Who Say Motherfucker is a place for library staff to talk about what royally brasses them off, a lot strikes a familiar chord, some is sad and some outright funny, you definitely have to check out this video of an hilarious take on an old Tears for Fears music video that was set in a library.

Certainly there are more sites I could have listed and I'm wondering if I should add this to the list of regular stuff I (said I would) blog about. You know, I just might. I've been a bit haphazard lately (read bone-ass lazy) about posting more often so am going to aim for one a week. Heh, we'll see. If there are people still reading this (and I'm beginning to have my doubts but I don't care so ha! the joke's on you - maybe) then feel free to send me any funny book-related blogs you've come across. Please. And thank you!

Infodoodads : Google Reader

by tosca on Saturday, October 18, 2008

YAY! At last, I've got an infodoodads post!! Been meaning to do it for ever and ever and kept getting sidetracked. So, where are we? Infodoodads - in particular, Top *13* Web 2.0 Tools for Librarians! This post I'm looking at Google Reader. Google Reader allows users to keep up-to-date with all online news and blogs, and checking updates is, apparently, as easy as checking your email. Ordinarily I go around joining things without really checking them out but this time I took the tour first.

What is Google Reader and why would I use it - good questions, glad you asked. And even if you didn't, I'm sure you meant to. Google Reader: allows you to keep track of all updates to news, blogs and websites, and stores it all in one place; is easy to use; allows you to share favourite sites/blogs with friends and family via a public page; can be accessed from anywhere; allows you to recommend articles to people and even add a customizable clip that displays your latest shared items in your site's sidebar; works on any mobile phone browser.

The blogs I follow in Blogger automatically get added to my Google Reader account, which I noticed as soon as I activated it (and that was as simple as clicking on 'Reader' while clearing my Gmail Inbox). How handy is that? I'm a huge fan of Bloglines but I've always found adding subscriptions kinda fiddly. It's not a huge issue for me, obviously, because I use it everyday, but it's such an easy process in G-Reader. Although, hmm, I'm still getting used to the layout of G-Reader. I did find a couple of new sites of interest: NPR's Books, the Boston Globe Book Reviews and Best Sellers Lists and Comic Book Resources for daily comic book news, reviews, previews and commentary.

Hokey pokey, so the only way I'm really going to be able to gauge how useful it'll be for me is by using it. Heh so I'll be logging in to my G-Reader each day as well as Bloglines. Why both? Because I can. Because I want to. Just because. So, I imagine in the next post I'll let you know how I find it. I've shared some stuff so you can take a look, too. Does anyone know if there's an easy way to just share all? Or should I be selective with my news? Err. Ack, I'll play with it and find out.

Funny links - HA! Do I have some LINKS for you :-) So let's get started:

Cake Wrecks - What is a Cake Wreck? It's when professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong. The link above is a hoot so check it out and, if you've got time, check out the rest - just don't do it at work or in public 'cause the chortling is bound to get you in trouble (check out the 'Sexual Harassment' cake and if you don't go WTF then seriously, what's wrong with you??). And what was wrong with the guy that ordered it? By the way, Cake Wrecks also won the 'Best Humour Blog' for the 2008 Blogger's Choice Awards.

Gmail's Mail Goggles - I kid you not, eh, I found a reference to 'The Official Gmail Blog' that helps people stop sending emails they may later regret. Mail Goggles checks that you really are sure that you want to send that late night/drunk message. How? By making you solve math problems! Really? (Great follow up question, that. Really?). Yeah, really. Solve a few simple problems (they didn't look that simple to me and I'm stone cold sober). Does it work? I have no idea. Is it for real? Lord, who knows. I found Capitano, who puts it better than I ever could: 'Mail Goggles will challenge you to do maths before it'll let you send emails. So if you're too drunk to do basic maths, you must be too drunk to write sensible emails, so your late night drunken rants won't embarrass you later.'

Playboy downsizes - hard times for Playboy (no pun intended). They're cutting jobs and expenses and also getting out of the dvd business permanently. As the article puts it 'Not even nekkid women can convince people to buy magazines these days.' Eloquent. Interesting to note that this article has had 1,877 views since it was posted on Thursday 16 October, 2008. Was discussing it with my mother (yes, I was discussing Playboy with my mother!) and she said it's logical if you think about it, with all of that free porn on the internet who wants to read a magazine? On the net the people move. Ick. Oh and hmm, I don't have a picture for this paragraph because, seriously, what the heck could I put that wouldn't get me arrested??

Smart Bitches Trashy Books - these ladies (authors and contributors) always have me in stitches. Their humour and candour slay me every time. And the next batch of links is from them.

Vids: two hilarious bride/groom wedding dance clips which you can view here and here; a very funny bad-review trailer put together by Brad Meltzer himself (it's his little league team and his gran's nursing home residents repeating all the bad book reviews he got eek!); Piper Palin spit shining baby Trig's hair; moose playing around and an interesting take on how love chemistry works.

Caption that Cover: name that sound (and no it's not as bad as it sounds, although the pic is heh).

Stuff: body piercings & tattos chat; Mills & Boon moving to 'hardcore erotica' (seriously, is it book porn? not so sure our customers would agree and is it our place to be snobby about it? nooooo so how come the article sounds so judgemental), although there are some very interesting facts about dates for the first of various sex acts printed in their novels, but I have to ask this question, does Blaze have books featuring inter-racial lesbianism like this article suggests because I'd be surprised if they did, oh, and I found that Mills & Boon were actual people whose names were Gerald Mills & Charles Boon - I never knew that; another M&B article titled 'Mills and Boon bodice rippers get naughty new porn titles' - enough of the PORN already geez - value judgement, much?; Paper Bag Press article who, apparently, know why we're here and know what we want and are also 'equal opportunity smut peddlers' LOL Jeepers creepers, all this laughing must be good for my health ;-)

Ok, if I remember rightly, then my next post is meant to be err (I have to check) 'whatever catches my interest'. Ha - looking forward to it. Oh, before I forget, I did watch the third presidential debate and now you can, too.

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I have the IT skills of an axolotyl high on vitamin c...or DO I?

by tosca on Saturday, September 27, 2008

This was meant to be an infodoodads 'Top 13' post but, yet again, something else has cropped up (other than a temporary secondment, an assignment, a cactus, a flag, ducks, a phone sex line AND a mountain of books to get through) that stops me from catching up. But this is me, and all y'all are used to that right? Right! I bet y'all are wondering how the cactus, flag, ducks and phone sex line come into this, huh? Glad you asked! Read on for more . . .

So, anyway, here goes: If I could spit invective I would - and quite loudly, too! The second hand mac I obtained recently has been a blessing (and a curse because I'm still getting used to a different set of shortcut keys, funny how pressing pc-shortcuts gets me absolutely nowhere). Then, Thursday just gone, the dratted thing froze. Indefinitely. So I tried to reboot it, heard the starting 'bong' (hey, not my term, that's how people in mac forums refer to it) and waited . . . and waited . . . for nada, zip, zero, zilch. The pinwheel spun for what seemed like forever, then the classic prohibited sign (once again, not my term - it's theirs) flashed up. Bad mojo! So, hunted around on various forums for info on how to fix it. Bad news is it ain't fixed LOL Although I did buy me a new hard drive and installed it all on my winsome lonesome (YAY ME!). And the disk does just won't ruddy well recognise it *sigh* Anyway, I'm gonna get it if it kills me (only be just my luck if it does). Good news is I now know: how to install more RAM; that I am conversant in the difference between ATA and SATA and which is not compatible with my laptop; what is the maximum amount of RAM I can add; how to use TransMac and Disk Warrior; all of the various boot commands useable for a mac; that a 'kernel trap' is the mac equivalent of a pc-based 'blue screen of death' and what it means for me - found this fantastic forum title 'Who is Kernel Panic, and why is he in my Mac?' (and if you don't get that pun then you probably never will); about compatible internal hard drives. And all of this in one weekend! Never had so much fun in my life *insert sarcasm here*. I can't hurt it any more right? RIGHT!

I did find a couple of FUN-type things though: Edge Tech Corp have fantastic little help vids that are short and extremely easy to understand - so thank you, Drew, and by the way, I like your hair; that Apple Switcher has some fantastic Mac help & tips, but that what I really liked was their Mac Icons - in particular, their Mac OS X Legends of Hollywood icon set (with the Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Charlie Chaplin, James Dean, Edward G & Marilyn icons) and the Mac OS X Legends of Music icon set (with Count Basie, Hoagy Carmichael, Lady Day, Sphere, Pops & Robert Johnson icons). Clouds and silver lining :-) If yer a Mac user, or a nosey-Windows browser, you can view those icons here.

On another, much lighter note altogether: here are a few updates to the 'Smart Bitches, Trashy Books' site. They posted a YouTube clip last Friday for their 'Friday Video' post and it is truly transfixing! What is it? Sticky-notes. Yes, sticky-notes - no innuendo in there at all. You have to see it to believe it. Who knew you could do all of that with a sticky-note?!? The look on their faces at the end when the boss walks in is hilarious. And as for their 'Fun and Games on Friday' post - sheesh. Yet another hoot! Kimberly needs help naming her cactus - and yes, it really IS a cactus and yes, she really wants you to name it, and triple-yes there is an American flag posed beside it. Check out the suggested names - I was screaming with laughter. Caution: may cause happiness. Proceed at own risk. Then, going back a couple of weeks or so, there's another gem about the Fish and Wildlife Service who misprinted a phone number on the back of a duck stamp order form, right? So what should have been 1-800-STAMP24 has now become 1-800-TRAMP24! Oh, can you imagine what customers get? Duck stamps are a far cry from 'Intimate Connections'! According to 'Smart Bitches and Trashy Books' to reprint the cards will cost the organisation roughly $300,000, 'so, frisky ducks will flirt with the stamp collectors until next year when new cards are printed.'

It's been a week or two since my last post (probably longer, but most of you will know that due to a temporary secondment position I am now based elsewhere) so not many of you will know that I have been following the presidential campaign very closely. I've always been fascinated with how American politics work (or don't, depending on your view of the current Bush administration) and to keep up to date I subscribe to Huffington Post and Time updates (via my Bloglines account which I have kept - thank you Kelly). I have laughed myself silly over Saturday Night Live's skits of Sarah Palin: Hilary/Sarah, VP debate, Palin/Couric. I also watched SNL's spoof of the second presidential debate - what a hoot! And the bloggers - they are going CRAZY. For just a small idea check out my bloglines account (the Huffington Post and/or Time) folders and view what people are saying (both Republicans and Democrats). I have also been following the debates (such as they are with no follow up questions and mediators worried about conflicts of interest and time) and couldn't help the giggle when my newsletter from Michael Moore refferred to the Palin/Biden debate as the comedic event of the century. I've also been watching bits and pieces of ABC's 'The View' with Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg et al. and whoa - when they argue get outta the way! I have to say this though, is it just me or does Elizabeth Hasselbeck's views, as espoused on the show, polarise the viewers? Or does it just polarise ME?!

In the way of book chit chat, my mother says I don't plug NZ books enough - the reason for that is simple, I don't identify with a lot of their stories. That's not to say that I think I identify with Ludlum's Jason Bourne who can speak umpteen languages fluently and break all the fingers in your hand just by blinking. Nor do I think I identify with Hamilton's Anita Blake with a slew of good-looking paranormal 'men' (I use that term loosely) who'll kick your butt if you even look at them sideways. Maybe it's more that I do identify with the NZ characters and that's why I won't read them as much - too close to home. There are a few NZ authors whose works I enjoy without reservation so here's my pom pom cheer for: Glen Colquhoun and the late Hone Tuwhare.

Since having completed our web 2.0 tutorial I'm more aware than ever before of how people are informed, and the rate at which they receive information, and bloglines totally blows my mind everyday when I use it. I leave it up all day and periodically check for updates (and yes, I get the latest Brangelina news straight to my account as it happens - SHAME on me). I participated in a customer service course recently and the facilitator talked about the immediacy of news. Her example was the 9/11 disaster - about 20 years ago we would have heard about it on the radio, 10 years ago it would have been on the 6 o'clock news, now we don't just expect our news to be instantaneous - we expect our reporters to be right there on the scene reporting live. Crap, as usual I've rattled on and on and on - catch you up next time (where maybe I'll write about another infodoodads gadget).

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I spy with my little eye . . .

by tosca on Sunday, September 14, 2008

I apologise in advance, this was meant to be my infodoodads 'Top 13' post but I wanted to get this down while it was all in my head (as opposed to being where else I'm not sure). And anyway, I'm sure by now you all know I'm terrible at sticking to the plan! Also, this is a long post - so naff off if you want. You have been warned :-)

iTunes - Have recently started using iTunes again - mostly to purchase NZ music. In particular, Devolo's stuff from his solo album. Devolo is a local artist who is a part of Deceptikonz, and is signed to Dawn Raid Entertainment. He also went to school with my brothers/sisters. I am always very supportive of local music and really like 'Feels like magic' - which you can find on his MySpace profile, or in iTunes. Devolo celebrated the launch of his long awaited solo album 'Heaven n Hell' at Manurewa's Club 220 last week. YAY DEVOLO! (Photo from Devolo's MySpace page - where you can also check out his music).

Just this weekend I also used iTunes to rent movies. Yeah, apparently while my back was turned Apple offered customers the ability to buy or rent movies via iTunes. How come I didn't notice until now?? Makes me realise how long since I last used my iPod. So, to take it for a test spin, I rented 'Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie' for the 4 yr old nephew. Simple enough process: choose what you want, enter your credit (or debit) card details and then it downloads to your iTunes. If I had one issue with it, and it took the 4 yr old nephew to point it out - loudly and at full volume, I might add - it was that every 5 seconds or so it would freeze slightly. Like it was buffering. Almost unnoticeable, I thought, until the 4 yr old got disgusted and stomped off. When I checked the laptop screen, it appeared that the movie image had frozen and the sound was still going. It did this more than once. Would I do it again?
Unsure. Might try buying one next, see what that experience is like. Before now I had ripped dvds I own to my pc, converted them and then shoved them on to my iPod.

Guitar Hero on Nintendo DS
- Gosh - my purchase this week is Guitar Hero for Nintendo DS. Almost caved in and bought the new Guitar Hero console with the game but decided not to be daft and merely purchased the game instead *sigh* Being a responsible adult is overrated! Stuck with buying the cartridge 'cause already have a console. Markie opened it today and I gave him oohh a good 2 mins before I conned a turn out of him - and promptly kept it to myself for the next half hour (much to his disgust). My opinion isn't worth the screen it's written on, but I have one thing to say: RSI. Probably not meant to stay on it as long as I did in one go but it's a game, so kids ARE going to stay on it for ages. I guess it won't hurt if I play the protective aunt (remember, I have his best interests at heart) and nick it off him every 10 mins or so. For safety reasons, of course . . . (Image taken from Wired Blogs : Gadget Lab).

Jaxin was given half of his present today (his birthday is a whole week away - they say patience is a virtue but you can't prove that by me) and he and I were jammin' on the PS2 playing Guitar Hero. He's absolutely stoked to have his own, and now he'll stop giving me those poor oprhan looks that he gives me when he tells me he HAS to play it online - and in Portuguese no less - because that's all there is. Boo hoo! What he doesn't know is that the other half of his present is still hidden away - it's the Guitar Hero : Aerosmith Bundle which includes: 'Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, Wireless Guitar Hero III Guitar, exclusive Aerosmith faceplate, Aerosmith guitar sticker sheet, and Aerosmith Road Book with behind the scenes pictures and stories of their years on the road.' You can read all about it here. (Image taken from Video Games Blogger).

Persusasion - I have spent this last week watching, and re-watching, 'Persuasion'. In particular, the 2007 version with Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones. I enjoyed it a lot, probably because although the storyline never changes (obviously, hello, it's Jane Austen!) director visions do. It also never fails to make me snicker when I see Miss Anne Elliot running pell-mell around Bath, knocking into her intended, and gasping out that she accepts his proposal. Quelle horreur mais c'est tres amusant! A colleague and I have an ongoing discussion: she thinks Captain Wentworth is too good looking and I say nonsense, no such thing! I'm undecided on the running around Bath scene, and she's quite definite it's a no-go. I thought Anthony Head's performance as Sir Walter Elliot was great, but then I've always enjoyed his work from as far back as 'Howard's Way' to as recently as 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Little Britain'. But I will always have a soft spot for Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root's performances in the 1995 version. (Images for the 2007 and 1995 versions both taken from Amazon).

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books - I like this site, and have done since I came across them quite by accident while doing my Bloglines exercise. Their header did it for me 'Smart Bitches, Trashy Books : All of the romance, none of the bullshit'. I subscribe to their updates and one that has had me in stitches recently is their 'Smart bitch contest: What's he looking at?' It features a cover of a romance novel (click on the 'More, more, more!' link and the picture then displays) with a man in a towel looking down at . . . well, who knows what, really. And that's the point of the contest! Readers are then invited to write in with what they think he's looking at, and saying. Needless to say, the results are hilarious! In reading them I have laughed, blushed, chortled, blushed, snickered, blushed, choked, blushed and just outright had a good time. You might, too, so pop along and find out (although not if you blush too easily).

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Learning 2.1 - Thing 26: Little bits of the Internet, on your desktop

by tosca on Tuesday, September 2, 2008

So, carrying on with Learning 2.1, I'm up to 'Thing 26: Little bits of the Internet, on your desktop.' Essentially, it's Widgets! Which is good timing because I'm looking at various types of kids book-type widgets at the moment (how they work, how well they work, what they look like and what value they add).

For this activity, I'm looking at widgets from YourMinis. A widget is a small, interactive programme that allows users to access tools or info. My instructions are to:

1. Go to YourMinis and click Open Startpage.
2. Click one of the "templates" at the bottom of the right-hand pane to add a tab full of widgets to your pages.
3. Create a new tab by clicking Add Tab at the top of the page, and use the gray bar on the left to add some widgets to your page. (If you don't see the bar, click Add Content in the upper left corner.) It's easy to drag them around on the page. Mouse over each widget and click the buttons that appear in its top right corner to set options and change widget color, etc. You can also use the small drop-down arrows beside each tab's name to change the tab background color, delete the tab or perform other "maintenance" tasks.
4. Blog about the experience.

Very simple to log in and Open Startpage. YourMinis does NOT like my Mac - or my Mac doesn't like YourMinis - either way it's a crap shoot for me. So, have resorted to the big pc, which seems to be fine. After some playing around I now have a tab for blogs of interest, one for podcasts and one for general interest 'things'. You can view my public profile here.

The beauty of YourMinis is that you can personalise it however you want, add whatever tools (podcasts, rss feeds, videos etc.) you want, and have it all accessible in one easy place. I couldn't think how to put it, but Master New Media say it better, it's a 'great way of bringing the web to your desktop without having to go searching for it first.' Your virtual online desktop provides all of the relevant information you choose and can be accessed anywhere there's an internet connection. To really get an idea of how YourMinis can be utilised (for personal, work and other puposes) read Master New Media's article and then sign up - it'll make much more sense that way. You'll get a better feel for what it can really do. Play is good - heck, play is great - but I didn't realise it could do half of what is available until reading the article.

So, yes, easy to use and quite fun and nice to have what you want in one easily accessible place! Will I keep using it? Yes, just not on my Mac!

Am currently looking at creating a catalogue widget for Manukau Libraries. That way if we decide to look at a Facebook profile, or blogs for various parts of our services (YA page, Childrens, Maori, PI etc.) then we can also have a catalogue search box there, too. I've almost got it - just got to figure out how to open search results in a new page (_blank instead of _top - only where the heck I put it who knows! I know where I'd like to put it and it's all unladylike!). I did figure out how to get the 'Add Our Search' button on my blog (see top left 'Search Manukau Libraries') and this added a 'ManukauLibraries' search engine on the top right of my browser. So if I'm reading something online and want to see if we have anything on this topic/author etc. in our catalogue, I simply enter the search terms in my toolbar search engine and BINGO! I'm re-routed to a listing of Manukau Libraries' related items. See pic! Although, a word of caution - it only works for Firefox. Bah humbug!

Am still looking for an e-reader for my Mac that incorporates RSS feeds as well - I'm ever hopeful. My next post will be looking at another item off of infodoodads 'Top *13* Web 2.0 Tools for Librarians' list :-)

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Web 2.0 tools & NZ public libraries . . .

by tosca on Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hokey pokey, we're back to checking out national public libraries that're implementing web 2.0 tools. It's not meant to be a criticism of any sort - it's more in the nature of an exploration. I'm genuinely curious about who's doing what with web 2.0, so feel free to leave comments/suggestions if you think I've missed something! Right, on with the show.

It suddenly occurred to me that I wasn't sure if I had bookmarked all public libraries throughout Godzone. And what made me realise that was my mother emailing me at work to say she'd been reading my blog and liked the 'Library Elf - Reminder Service' alert that Hastings District Library uses. Which got me thinking . . . was I absolutely positive that I had looked up all public libraries? Short answer: nah. Solution: make certain. What a process! Prob was a shorter way but ended up searching MetroNet's site (they had 19 libraries listed with them) and then to make doubly sure checked WorldCat. Tried a classic title that most, if not all, NZ public libraries would have ('Pride and prejudice' by Jane Austen) and went through checking every library NOT listed with MetroNet. Then searched for 'In my father's den' by Maurice Gee - figured an NZ author was yet another way to double-check. Kinda funny really considering my post last week about WorldCat *rolls eyes* Isn't that the way? I don't see how it works and then BANG I find a use for it. D'OH. Phew! Now I have some 50 systems to work through *gulps* Sometimes I scare myself ;) I do have to backtrack slightly (at least alphabetically speaking) to cover Central Hawkes Bay District Libraries and Clutha District Libraries.

Central Hawkes Bay District Libraries - (wow, that's a mouthful) has a blog which I have spent the morning reading. The blog is used to highlight events like Library Week guests, or the Montana Book Award winners listing etc. They've also implemented the use of a Meebo chat widget on both their blog and their catalogue, that way customers can IM staff if they need help searching (they do point out that if CHBD Libraries staff are not available they can leave an offline message). There is also a wiki where customers are invited to say what they'd like to see in the library, what they'd like to happen or even just start a discussion about books.

Clutha District Libraries - I had fun trying to figure out how the 'New Books list' works. And I'm still not sure I've got the hang of it - shame on me! It doesn't so much list the new books as you have to search for them. I think. Help? Eek. They do have a pre-compiled reading list on a subject made up of text, electronic and web resources. Am imagining it's something that they're still working on as the only list there at the moment is Trucks. Web 2. tools - it could be this stupid flu but I'm not seeing any. That's not a criticism, it's an observation. Remember, I'm exploring who's doing what and how - not questioning why they aren't.

Note: thought it would be nice to add a 'Label cloud' to this blog. Hunted around online and got a headache reading people's long and convoluted explanations for how to configure a successful cloud. Threw my hands in the air and thought I'd try it again after a couple of days (and some deliberate thought about how badly I wanted it). Jumped online tonight and came across phydeaux3's blog with some technical, yet easy to understand, instructions. Probably the most fun part of the whole exercise was setting the colours. As I'm not familiar with any part of html code or colours or whatever I checked around online and found an RGB colour chart which was a huge help. While it wasn't a total walk in the park, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. And definitely if I can do it anybody can! Although I'd like to learn how to mix it up a bit.

Oh, and please ignore all of the new child related book-widgets that've been added all along the far left. I am experimenting with how they look, what their point is, and what value they would add. It would be nice to see some NZ related book-widgets for Children's and YA services. I wonder if they're hard to do?? Must find that out. The widgets will be gone within a few days so for now - grin and bear it ;-)

Oh hmm, was having a nosey around Library Elf's site and saw two things: quite a few NZ libraries are already members, and quite a few are in the middle of testing it.

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