Thing 13: Library Thing

We know you are probably a book lover, but are you cataloger at heart? Do you enjoy knowing what others are reading? Then LibraryThing may be just the tool for you. Developed for book lovers, this online tool not only allows you to easily create an online catalog of your own book collections, it also connects you to other people who have similar libraries and reading tastes.

There are lots of ways to use LibraryThing. Add a book to your catalog by just entering the title (it’s so easy that you don’t even need to know MARC format) or connect with other users through your similar reading tastes. You can view your books on a virtual shelf, add a widget on your Web site or blog to display titles that are in your catalog, or install a LibraryThing Search box on your blog. There is a lot of other interesting info, too.

Libraries have started using LibraryThing, too. Small libraries are using LibraryThing to catalog their collections. Libraries are using the LibraryThing widget on their web pages to recommend books and list new titles. Being a non-commercial site makes LibraryThing a good option for libraries. According to their website, LibraryThing "is exploring relationships with libraries, to offer non-commercially motivated recommendations and other social data."

Florida libraries and librarians are using LibraryThing for a variety of things. Explore these links:

This Broward County YA librarian used LibraryThing to track book reviews written by teens

Other groups with Florida tag in LibraryThing

So why not join the ranks of the many librarians who have added their personal collections to LibraryThing and create your own library online. With over 550,000 registered users and 33.5 million books cataloged, you’re bound to discover something new.

LibraryThing Local is a listing of book related venues and events. It includes bookstores, libraries, and festivals. Events include all type of library programs, author signings, readings, you name it. Entering a place name or zip code in the Find Venues box retrieves a list of nearby book related venues as well as upcoming events.

1. Take the LibraryThing tour and learn more.

2. Create an account--it takes seconds and will eliminate the "highload" error message you may get when trying to browse without an account.

3. Add a least 5 books to your library.

4. Blog about your use of LibraryThing. Be sure to link to your LibraryThing catalog on your blog. How popular were your books? Did you find any discussions about your favorites?

5. Try finding local events in LibraryThing Local.

About LibraryThing
Keep up with LibraryThing blog
Thingology blog “LibraryThing's ideas blog, on the philosophy and methods of tags, libraries and such not.”
How libraries are using LibraryThing
LibraryThing also has group forum for librarians

Blog Prompts
How can you use LibraryThing for your library?
How else do you share booklists, etc. with library patrons?
Would LibraryThing offer an alternative?
How can your library use LibraryThing Local?
Could you use LibraryThing to organize your home book collection?

Challenge (optional)
Do more with LibraryThing:

1. Add a LibraryThing widget to your blog or another enhancement from the Things You Can Do list.

2. Explore GoodReads, another social network site built around books and reading. With a big mission "to improve the process of reading and learning throughout the world," it connects friends who read and recommend their reading. Might be good for book clubs or other reading groups. What do you think?

3. ExploreLibraryThing for Libraries, a commercial service that enhances your library catalog with the power of Library 2.0. What do you think? Which features are available on your existing library catalog? Which features would benefit your patrons?


Thing 12: Wikis

A wiki is a collaborative Web site and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content. Wikipedia, the online open-community encyclopedia, is the largest and likely the most well known of these knowledge-sharing tools. Wikis have many benefits, are easy to use, and have many applications.

Some of the benefits of wikis:

• Anyone (registered or unregistered, if unrestricted) can add, edit or delete content.

• Tracking tools allow you to easily keep up on what been changed and by whom.

• Earlier versions of a page can be rolled back and viewed when needed.

• Users do not need to know HTML in order to apply styles to text or add and edit content.

Libraries all over the country have begun to wikis to collaborate and share knowledge. Among their applications are pathfinder or subject guide wikis, book review wikis, ALA conference wikis, staff handbook wikis, and library best practices wikis. As you will see when you view the wikis in the list below, the content of a wiki depends on the knowledge and commitment of participants.

1. Watch this Common Craft video on Wikis. It is a quick and easy intro to wikis.

2. Take a look at some library wikis and blog about your findings. Here are a few examples to get you started:

3. Add or edit an entry in the NEFLIN 23 Things Wiki or any other wiki you choose. (Note: When you create your wiki account and sign in, be sure you uncheck the box asking to receive an update every time this wiki is updated. If you don't, you will receive an email every time anyone edits the wiki.)

If you don't want to "mess up" a wiki (not really possible) practice in the Wiki Sandbox. Let us know in your blog which wiki and entry you edited.


Use these resources to learn more about wikis:
Using Wikis to Create Online Communities – a good overview of what a wiki is and how it can be used in libraries.
This 2007 presentation by Joyce Yukawa, MLIS Program, College of St. Catherine at Minnesota Library Association is a great resource on how libraries can use wikis as their Web presence.
Wiki, wiki, wiki - from the Core Competency blog of the Public Library of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County.
Wikis: A Beginner’s Look – an excellent short slide presentation that offers a short introduction and examples.
What is a Wiki? – Library Success wiki presentation.

Blog Prompts

What did you find interesting about the wiki concept?
What types of applications within libraries and schools might work well with a wiki?
Many teachers/faculty "ban" Wikipedia as a source for student research. What do you think of the practice of limiting information by format?
Which wiki did you edit?

Challenge (optional)

1. Want to create your own wiki? These sites provide free wiki hosting. uses PB Wiki ("easy as making a peanut butter sandwich").

2. Choose a topic, create the wiki, add entries, and let us know what you are doing.



We have no plans to take down the 23 Things Blog after April 15th so if you know anyone who wanted to be part of the program, but did not register before the deadline they can still do the Things on their own time.
They will not be eligible for prizes, but they will still learn a lot.


Thing 11: Social Media

In the “olden days,” reference and information staff would scan the headlines in local and national news sources for the latest in breaking news, government reports, or celebrity scandals in an effort to be one jump ahead of library users trying to find behind the headlines information. Now there are thousands of “new” news sources—not only mainstream media online, but Internet-only news/scandal sources, blogs, chats and more—to keep up with. What’s a person to do?

One way to see what people are interested in is to check out what's popular on social media sites that allow users to nominate and then “vote” for news and other items they find interesting. There are many of these sites—and everyone from mainstream media (for example, The New York Times,, and the Washington Post) to blogs and Web sites includes links so readers can recommend content from these sites to other readers. Look for boxes labeled “Share” or “Article Tools” on news sites, blogs, and Web pages to find links for sharing the article.

These are examples: Here are some of the popular sites:

Digg “is a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web...You won’t find editors at [Digg]… provide[s] a place where people can collectively determine the value of content and we’re changing the way people consume information online.”

Reddit is a “source for what's new and popular on the web…We want to democratize the traditional model by giving editorial control to the people who use the site, not those who run it.”

Newsvine lets “ stories from established media organizations…as well as individual contributors ... Placement of stories is determined by a multitude of factors including freshness, popularity, and reputation... editorial judgement (sic) is in the hands of the community.”

Mixx “is your link to the web content that really matters. There's a lot of information out there… And who knows better than you what informs you, what makes you think, what makes you laugh? So why should some faceless editor get to decide what's important?”

See a theme here? No editors to decide what information is important, user-generated content, reader recommendations/sharing, and you and others get to vote on what makes the top lists—the very definition of Web 2.0. And it can affect libraries—top stories/recommendations will drive reference questions and resource requests. Love it or hate, it pays to be in the know.In this Thing, learn more about the four social media sites mentioned. Then read an article and recommend it to others via the site you choose to use.

1. Watch “Social Media in Plain English” from the Common Craft Show.

2. Explore the sites above to see how each is organized and operates.
Mixx Home Page
Mixx Tour

Digg Home Page
Digg Tour

Newsvine Home Page
Newsvine Welcome

Reddit Home Page
Reddit Intro

3. Read one or more stories on a news/information site (for example, New York Times, Washington Post, BBC News, or another site) and then recommend it via the Share tools.There are other sites like these, too, including StumbleUpon, which focuses on Web sites. Social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Del.ic.ious offer this sort of news/site recommendation, too.

Blog Prompts
How do you think you can use these tools in your library or at home?
Do these tools seem to be a productivity enhancer or a productivity detractor?
Have you ever read a story/item as a result of seeing it on one of these sites?

Challenge (optional)
Dig deeper into these social media sites by creating an account in one or more of them. Each site offers suites of tools that allow you to comment, chat, create your own news column, and more. Having an account lets you be a participatory member of that community.
1. Create the account(s) and explore the tools.
2. Blog about the various tools and any uses you see for your library or media center. Let us know what you do!


Thing 10: Tagging and Delicious

Tagging is a way to categorize items, like your bookmarks, Web pages, pictures, and posts. More flexible than folders, you make up tags when you need them and you can use as many as you like. The result is a way to organize your bookmarks or blog posts or other things you want to label.

Unlike traditional library subject cataloging, which follows a strict set of guidelines (e.g., Library of Congress subject headings), tagging is completely unstructured and free form, allowing users to create connections between data in any way they want.

In the past few weeks, we’ve already explored one site--Flickr--that allows users to take advantage of tagging. You may have tagged some of your own photos as part of that Thing. Searching tags in Flickr or another site that allows tagging lets you find other items with those same tags.

Do some tagging:
1. You can tag (Blogger calls them labels) your Blogger posts with keywords or phrases. From the Dashboard, go to Manage Posts and choose the post you want to add tags to. Enter the words in the “Labels for this post:” box in the lower right. Type in your tags (commas between each word or phase). Click Publish Post to re-publish the post with its labels (tags) to your blog.

In addition to tagging, this Thing looks at the popular social bookmarking site Delicious. Delicious is a social bookmarking manager that allows you to bookmark a Web page and add tags to categorize your bookmarks. Tags can be used in Delicious to organize your bookmarks--and let others know what you have bookmarked. Learn about tagging on Delicious.

Delicious lets you access your bookmarks from any computer--just log into your account and there they are. This is a great timesaver if you need to find a site, but can't remember its name. If you tag your Delicious bookmarks, you can search on the tags. For students, Delicious helps them use bookmarks in their research. The bookmarks are available at any computer they use in the library, the lab, or at home.

Many users find that the real power of Delicious is its social networking piece. You can see how other users have tagged similar links. Following their links lets you discover other Web sites that may be of interest to you. You can think of it as peering into another users’ file folders, but with this powerful bookmarking tool each user's folders helps to build an expansive knowledge network.

For this Thing, take a look at Delicious and learn more about this popular bookmarking tool. Continue with these activities:

2. Watch “Social Bookmarking in Plain English” from the Common Craft Show.

3. Take a look around Delicious using the NEFLIN23things account that has the resources used to create 23 Things @ NEFLIN. Here you will find links to the resources that have been highlighted or used throughout the 23 Things @ NEFLIN program. You can keep up-to-date with what’s added by subscribing to the RSS feed.

4. Explore the site options and try clicking on a bookmark that has also been bookmarked by a lot of other users. Can you see the comments they added about this bookmark or the tags they used to categorize this reference?

5. Create a Delicious account for yourself and discover how this useful bookmarking tool can replace your traditional browser bookmark list. You might even want to explore Delicious’ latest addition, a network badge.

Note: A quick word about the Delicious Buttons. On PCs that have the toolbars locked down, these will install as options in your browser bookmarks. Use the “Post to my Delicious” link to add the current webpage to your account (you may need to log in). Use the “My Delicious” link to view your online account.

Blog Prompts
  • Create a blog post about your experience and thoughts about this tool.
  • Can you see the potential of this tool for research assistance? Or just as an easy way to create bookmarks that can be accessed from anywhere?
  • How can your library or media center take advantage of tagging and delicious? Look at the sites in the Resource list above to see how libraries are using Delicious.
Challenge (optional)
  1. Explore Furl, another social bookmarking site that lets you organize your bookmarks. Compare its features with Delicious.
  2. Pagekeeper is a similar service aimed at teachers--it is an ad-free site that lets you create a list of Web sites for student access. Try the bookmarking features of Pagekeeper and compare them to delicious and/or Furl. Pagekeeper is maintained by Teaching Matters, a non-profit that promotes technology integration in education.

Instant Message (IM) With Us - OPTIONAL

We have added something new to the 23 Things Blog. You now see a Meebo chat box on the right side of the page.

If you want to try Instant Messaging (Thing 8) in a safe can try it out with us. Jennifer and I will be monitoring the Meebo account and would love to practice Instant Messaging with you! If you see that one of us is "online" then just type something in the chat box and press Enter.



We've rearranged the schedule to allow people this week to catch up on their blogs. We will not post a new Thing until next Monday (February 16).

There will be one more catch up week down the line and then two weeks at the end of the program to allow you to finish up. We really do want you to be successful and complete the 23 Things.

If you are up to date PLEASE spend this time looking at the blogs others have put together for this project and commenting on them. People can always use a word of praise or a word of encouragement. This is a learning community. What you have to say is important and can inspire others to continue the journey. Please lend others a hand if you can.

I've been absolutely amazed at the wit, creativity, analysis, and positive feedback on some of these blogs. On others it is the willingness to try, to struggle, to step outside of the comfort zone that encourages me. What a beautiful spectacle the librarians of Florida make. I guess I always knew this, but when our work is displayed in one place is remarkable.


Thing 9: Sharing - slides, photos, databases

A hallmark of Web 2.0 is sharing--your thoughts, ideas, plans, photos, videos, and more. Many Web 2.0 tools we have or will look at are sharing tools—Flickr, YouTube, wikis, blogs, and more all let you share images, videos, and/or information. Del.ic.ious lets you share your bookmarks and the social media sites let you share your likes and dislikes on things you’ve read online.

The tools in this Thing let you share many different kinds of creations via the Web. No need for the computer to have the right software installed to open a presentation, no attachments to open, no remembering your flash drive--you just need an account (usually) and a computer with Internet access. Handy as a backup for your presentations at conferences, your vacation photos, or your book preferences. Web2.0 = Sharing!

For this Thing, explore each of the tools listed and then:

1. Choose one of the tools listed under Slideshows, Photos, or Databases and create a slideshow, photo montage, or database. Add photos or information and then link it to your blog.

Create and Share Slideshows
You can use a service like these as the primary delivery method for a presentation or you can use it to share your presentation after you have delivered it. You can share a slide deck on your library Web site to highlight a program, book displays, or anything else you can think to do. Here is an example of a shared slide show Web 2.0 Tools in Your Classroom.

Each service offers different features. Explore these tools:
Share Your Photos
Flickr and other photo hosting sites are an obvious way to share photos. The sites in this Thing offer "fancier" presentations of your photos. While these are “slide shows,” too, they don’t have the narrative flow of a formal presentation. These tools work best for vacation or library program photo sharing on a blog or Web site.

Picture Trail offers many different ways to organize and display your photos. Called Flicks, they can add pizzazz to your Web page or blog. Upload your photos to Picture Trail, arrange them into albums, choose your Flick slideshow format, and then save. Just copy the automatically-generated code and paste it into your blog where you want the Flick to appear.

Flickr badge creates a set of photos that displays horizontally or vertically. You can use your photos or everyone’s to add photo interest to your blog. (after you sign into Flicker, go to

Big Huge Labs offers many tools for using your photos to illustrate different things—billboards, name badges, motivational posters, and more. It also has a cool feature called Mosaic Maker. Upload your photos (account required) and arrange them in a grid.

All of the photos in these examples are from the NEFLIN Flickr account

Remember, "free" has a price. In the case of many Web 2.0 tools, it is advertising or "special offers." So click through the ad pages, and use the tools. In Picture Trail, once you have viewed the offers, they won't (usually) appear again.

You can create and share databases of information, too. Create a “want to read” or recommendations database and put a link on your blog or Web page.

Lazybase lets you create databases that only you can edit or allows edits from others. (Note: Some 23 Thing'ers have had difficulty accessing this site. We have updated this link, so please try again. If you still have problems let us know.)

Here is an example of a non-editable database: Award Winning Fiction

Need more or want to explore? 50 Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story is a huge list of tools you can use to create and share online. There are tools for storytelling, scrapbooking, video, audio, remixing, cartooning, and much, much more.

Blog Prompts
  • What uses do these tools have for library or personal use?
  • Was the tool you used easy to navigate and understand?
  • Would you recommend it to others?
  • Do you use other sharing tools for photos, documents, or other creations that you would recommend?
Challenge (optional)
  1. Create one of each of the sharing types—slide show, photo montage, database, and then link the results and blog about your experience.


Thing 8: Communication - Web 2.0 Style

Many Web 2.0 tools can be tagged as communication tools. Blogs, Wikis, Flickr, podcasts, & videos all are ways to communicate and share information. Social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook are communications tools for much of the (sometimes younger) population, too. The communication tools in this Thing—email, IM, and text messaging, Web Conferencing—make person-to-person or group-to-group communication easier.

Many libraries have added these communication tools as part of their online reference suite to offer users more ways to reach them. The argument for IM, email, text messaging, or a social network presence via services such as Facebook, is to reach users where they are in their preferred means of communication. We may like telephones or walk-in users, but users want to communicate with us in their preferred ways. Libraries once debated telephone reference—but that was before libraries and librarians were early adopters of new technology!

In this Thing, you will read, listen, and watch intros to these tools and how they work in libraries. There are some activities (the numbered items) to try associated with each one. Be sure to do each of the numbered items and then blog about your experiences.

1) Instant Messaging
Instant messaging (IM) is a real time communication tool that allows users to type into a chat box and send the info to one or more other IM users. It, too, can be a productivity tool or a time user. It is a popular communication among teens, as well as business people because of the instant response possible. Here is how it works.

1a. Watch this video that shows an Instant Message chat with a librarian at the University of Buffalo (Warning: music!).

There are many IM services—popular ones include AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) and Yahoo! Messenger. Both require downloads to work. Google offers two. Google Talk bundles various services including file sharing if you download the software. Web-based Google Talk does not require a download. Google Chat is built into Gmail.
1b. Read about Instant Messaging and libraries in this Library Journal article.

1c. Set up an IM account with others in your building who are participating in 23 Things @ NEFLIN. Practice IMing each other.

2) Text Messaging (SMS—Short Message Service)
Short Message Service (SMS), commonly called text messaging, lets users send short messages of up to 160 characters via cell phone or other communication device. There is a basic cost involved depending on your provider for those who send and receive text messages. With 500 billion text messages being sent per year, it seems that text messaging is permeating our culture. Are you part of the revolution?

Read this article about libraries and text messaging in Smart Libraries Newsletter.

3) Web Conferencing
Web conferencing is used to conduct live meetings or presentations over the Internet. In a web conference, each participant sits at his or her own computer and is connected to other participants via the Internet. This can be either a downloaded application on each of the attendees' computers or a web-based application where the attendees will simply enter a URL to enter the live meeting. These web-based applications are used either with Flash or Java technology.

A webinar is a type of web conference. A webinar can be one-way, with the speaker giving a presentation or it can be collaborative including question and answer or discussion sessions to allow full participation between the audience and the presenter.

NEFLIN has purchased a subscription to OPAL (Online Programming for All Libraries), a low-cost Web conferencing service that offers public online programs including book discussions, interviews, special events, library training, writing workshops, and virtual tours of special digital library collections, as well as many library continuing education presentations. NEFLIN member libraries can use OPAL to offer their own online meetings and programs.

Everyone is welcome to participate in OPAL programs. Usually there is no need to register. Nearly all OPAL programs are offered free of charge to participants.

3a. Read this WebJunction Quick Guide to Web Conferencing (pdf)

3b. Look at the OPAL Archive. Find an interesting program. You don’t have to watch the whole thing if you don’t have time; watch enough to get a feel for the format.

Blog Prompts

  • Communicate your thoughts on these tools in this communication tool--your blog!
  • Describe how your library uses email. Has it improved productivity?
  • Share your thoughts on online reference using some of the other Web 2.0 communication tools.
  • Are you an active user of text messaging, IM, or other communication tools?
  • Which web conference (Webinar) did you attend? How was it? What do you think of this communication tool?

Challenge (optional)

  1. Meebo is an IM aggregator; it lets you view/chat with all of your IM accounts from one window. Nebraska Library Commission has posted a neat video showing one of their training sessions on Meebo for their staff. It's about 18 minutes long but interesting if you are considering Meebo for your library. This provides good information about working with the program and how to set up a MeeboMe widget. If you use Meebo now, or decide to try it, blog about the experience.
  2. Twitter has had a lot of play in library literature. Described as “…a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?” These presentations from BIGWIG Social Software Showcase 2007 give explanations of Twitter and its expansion features:
    • Set up a Twitter account and “Tweet” with some of your co-workers or other 23 Thing participants. How can you use this in libraries?