Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thing 35: Books 2.0

Now you are talking to me! The opportunities to feed my reading addiction have really multiplied with the internet.

Organize Your Personal Library

I have my library listed on LibraryThing (as my sidebar shows) and will be using as a cataloging/social site for my CDs, VCR tapes and DVDs. I just wish there was a cuecat scanner to use with to save some keying. Adding in all my CDs, DVDs and VCRs is a rainy weekend project.

Books On Your Phone

I am likely one of the three people in the United States who still does not have a cell phone. So those applications are of no use to me.

Readers' Advisory

As a school media specialist, I am constantly doing reader's advisory. Two sites that I depend on are Juvenile Series and Sequels from the Mid-Continent Public Library though I have noticed that the lists aren't as current as they could be. I also depend on Fantastic Fiction to find out series order and "what comes next?"

Online Book Communities

I haven't tried any of the listed communities. I do look at many of the groups on LibraryThing. Barnes & Noble also have discussion lists in a number of genres and I have used them. Some of the authors I read also have their own discussion lists. Many of the blogs I follow also sometimes have discussions in the comments sections.

I use my blogs mainly to find good books to read. I don't usually feel the need to discuss a book I have read. I'm too eager to get to the next book. I can talk about books with my students. I don't need to find an online way to talk about books.

Book Group Resources

I recently discovered another site for author resources that looks like it could grow to be quite a community. It is FiledByAuthor and has the potential to be useful. BookSprouts looked interesting and I plan to explore it as soon as I have a little time. I added it to my delicious account so that I can get back to it easily.

I think that the Books 2.0 sites have greatly enhanced the reading experience for me. My TBR pile expanded exponentially since I started reading book blogs and other Books 2.0 sites.

I really enjoy the opportunities it has provided for my students too. Author websites and book websites have enhanced the reading experience for students. And what about the new concept of combining a book with online portions the way Skeleton Creek does?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thing 34: Online Answer Sites

It was interesting to read about the whole issue of the reference desk and the online answer websites. Looking at the question from the viewpoint of a school media specialist is somewhat different though. In the school media center, the media specialist is the reference desk. I receive many of the same reference questions as the public library and college library reference desk. The questions range from "can I use the restroom?" to "how can I find out how many slaves there were when the Civil War started?" to "how do I print this?" I don't get personal or relationship questions from my students (which is certainly OK with me!)

Online answer sites do provide anonymity which may be a large part of their appeal. I did notice that many of the questions asked on the Q & A sites I looked at were subjective or could have been answered by a Google search. Many of my students use Google as an answer site simply by typing their question into the search window. The students have mixed results.

I looked at allexperts and was impressed with the qualifications of the people who answered the questions I looked at. However, the organization of the site would make it difficult for an elementary student. Also, it looks like it covers lots more social topics than academic ones.

My fifth grade students recently used to do some research for a scientist from the scientific revolution. I recommended that site because of the ease of citing their sources. does provide citations for the students to copy and paste for each of their results which is wonderfully helpful. From there it was an easy switch to WikiAnswers. I discouraged that use because my students were trying to use it avoid reading the information they found on their search. For example, they would search for "William Harvey's place in history" instead of reading one of the articles and having to think.

My role is to help teach the students to search for answers, do research and evaluate the results they get. Some of the answers sites may have some use there but I don't feel that my elementary students are good enough at evaluating the results yet to be encouraged to use those sites for schoolwork.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Thing 33: Travel 2.0

I am an armchair traveler at best. Actually, I do almost all my travelling through the pages of a book. I enjoyed looking at the variety of sites in this Thing but I didn't feel any urge to pack my bags and buy tickets.

I can see how the various sites would be useful to travellers and to those who want to be travellers. This is a useful sort of social networking. However, everyone's experiences would be different and "advice" should be taken with a grain of salt.

I did find the hotspotr site useful on my last trip to Duluth when I needed a wireless spot to feed my need to be online.

I will need to do more thinking to find a use for these sites with my students. Nothing springs immediately to mind.