Tuesday, November 13, 2007

#23 Is this really the end? Or just the beginning ...

This really has been an adventure exploring some of the new developments in online social networking. I now have a greater understanding of many of the online tools available.

Before undertaking this program I never thought that I would create or need to use a blog. I have now created four and will soon create a fifth.

  1. With the website at the RHSV I was concerned that there were items that needed to be added for a short period but did not easily fit into structure of the website resulting in a cluttered front page. There is now a blog called RHSV News where information about talks, exhibitions, excursions, books published by previous presidents of the society, grants etc can be placed.
  2. A small set of handpainted glass slides was found in the collection so scanned images have been placed in a blog - Images of the Past - as part of the Treasures of the RHSV page - not just to show the images but hopefully someone might know some additional information about them.
  3. For a number of years I have been planning to publish guidelines for cataloguing resource collections held in historical societies and similar organisations. I had intended to create a website to do this but after indertaking this program, a blog - Cataloguing Guidelines for Historical Societies - has been started to make this information gradually available.
  4. I plan to have another blog to provide information on digital projects for local history.

Some years ago I created a website using the web generator provided in My Connected Community, primarily to try out what could be achieved using the web generator - I usually create websites just using html coding. I regularly receive emails from members of my extended family asking for information so, after this project, I am experimenting putting family history information in a wiki and then some of the other family members can add to it and or create pages. Initially I used pbwiki and added a few sample pages but my son has set up a wiki on his server space for me to experiment with as well. I will later decide which to use for this experiment.

Earlier this year the RHSV received a grant to add podcasts to its website so before this program I had been experimenting in this area. Doing these exercises has provided me with some additional information and more confidence that we are going in the right direction.

Some of the exercises have made me experiment with tools that I had heard of but had never bothered to investigate - Flikr and Google Maps are two such tools that I can envisage using in the future. The tools for creating slideshows could also be useful.

Some of the other tools such as Library Thing could be useful for publicising books on a theme - eg local history, books for sale etc provided that they can be found on list of one of the particiapating organisations (especially as you can add a cover image).

All in all this has been a great exercise to see what is out there at present. It is however a little daunting that while I am learning about these tools a new wave of Internet tools is almost certainly being developed. We have come a long way in a short time but the journey is definitely just beginning.

#22 Audiobooks (or "The end is in sight ")

Interesting to see that a selection of free audio books and other audio files are available as well as text files from sites such as Gutenberg. The World E-Book Fair lists available mp3 files for download. The titles, from a number of sources, currently available are of "classics" such as stories of Conan Doyle, sonnets of Shakespeare and stories from writers such as the Brothers Grimm, Edgar Allan Poe and Rudyard Kipling. There is also a list of chapters from science fiction novels.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit is on the Gutenberg list which I may download later to try.

As more titles become available this could become a useful resource - definitely well worth knowing about.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

#21 Podcasts, Smodcasts!

Placing audio files on the Internet for users to download is another useful way for sharing information and resources. Thanks to the popularity of ipods (and other portable devices for playing audio files) podcasts and podcasting have become the terms for describing this process.

Podcasting directories are useful aids for locating the ever expanding number of podcasts on the web. For this exercise I used Podcast.net - The Podcast Directory and searched the Category - Society and Culture - History where I found a series of a series of audio files relating to Australia and its social history - Open your eyes to Australia by Jim Low

I also clicked the RSS button to add the feed for this site to Bloglines in the History folder.

I first tried placing audio files on a website a couple of years ago when it was suggested that as the RHSV was involved with the Victorian Folklife Fund it would be a good idea to include a link to song from one of the winning entries. Technically this is not difficult to do however not all browsers recognise the code used for placing the audio file online. What works in Windows Explorer does not necessarily work in Mozilla Firefox.

This year the RHSV received a grant to include podcasts of lectures on the web. Currently I am using Audacity to edit the audio file prepared by a RHSV member of a heritage walk in West Melbourne - this will be our first podcast and hopefully will be online in the next week or two along with a map showing the route of the walk prepared using Google Maps.

To experiment with placing audio files online to be accessed by Mozilla as well as Windows Explorer and also to experiment with RSS feeds I prepared a test podcast - Dunk Island - where I included code which should work in both these browsers (and hopefully others).

Libraries can use podcasts to provide information / lectures for people unable to attend. The State Library did this for the family history seminar held in August - A Family History Feast

#20 You too can YouTube

Exploring YouTube - my sons and husband regularly explore this site and can usually be heard laughing about an excerpt discovered - so this exercise was my opportunity to explore.

I was interested to see that one of the examples provided was one that an archivist friend alerted me to last month - the IT Help Desk - which I posted earlier.

This time I decided to look for an item on cricket and found this explanation of the game of cricket provided by Vincent Price.

A major problem with linking to and / or embedding videos is that some items such as this one require the latest version of Flash Player to view the video.

I also did a search for videos on Bayswater Victoria and discovered a number of items including one of a car driven down Power Road to show someone who was homesick. Obviously there is something for everyone.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Google Maps

For a project on which I have been working I have been experimenting with using Google Maps to show the route of a heritage walk.

Link to History Begins at Home Heritage Walk

Google Maps allows you to trace a route and place markers of key places of interest which appear on the online map. When the map is printed the online additions do not appear. The street map however is quite clear when printed in landscape.

I am still experimenting with Google Maps and on my next attempt I hope to get the result I am looking for and hopefully will not make errors when tracing the route next attempt. I will also add the location symbols for some of the main places of interest - this is a wok in progress.

It is possible to provide a copy of the map for printing showing the route and location symbols by taking a screen dump of the map, saving it and then editing the image in a program such as Firefox or PhotoShop. The image for printing can then be inserted in an html page with instructions to set the printing options to landscape.

The image of the map map can also be edited in Firefox or Photoshop.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

#19 Discovering Web 2.0 tools

The categories in the SEOmoz's Web 2.0 awards 2007 reflect the topics we have been investigating in Library 2.0 with many of the tools we have played with appearing in the winners' list. The categories also demonstrate the extent to which sharing and creation of information has quickly become an accepted part of the Internet.

  • *Blog guides
  • *Bookmarking
  • *Books
  • Business
  • City guides &reviews
  • Classifieds & directories
  • *Collaborative writing & word processing
  • Communication
  • Content aggregation & management
  • Digital storage & remote access
  • Events
  • Feed management
  • Fun stuff
  • Games
  • Health
  • *Hosted wikis
  • Lists & polls
  • Mapping
  • Marketing
  • *Mashups
  • Mobile technology

  • Music
  • Online desktop
  • *Organisation
  • Philanthropy
  • *Photos & digital images
  • *Podcast services
  • Professional networking
  • Questions & advice
  • Real estate
  • Retail
  • *Search
  • Social networking
  • Social news
  • *Social tagging
  • Start pages
  • Travel
  • *Video
  • Visual arts
  • Web development & design
  • *Widgets

For this exercise I explored Google Maps which would be a useful tool for creating maps for a heritage walk for example. The path taken can be indicated on the walk, specific locations noted etc. So far I have only gone as far as locating the area of the map I am interested in and had a look at the YouTube guides provided on the Google Map site. Next step will be to add the route etc - when time permits during the next few days.