#Tw101VPA – Two classes about Twitter

TwitterMy IST 620 Advanced Topics in Information Innovation class is a project based course. The professor broke the class up into small groups and connected us with real-world clients. My partner, Jennifer Liddy, and myself have been working with the Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) to create a document of social media guidelines that they can use for opening new accounts, branding, and best practices. One of the other things our clients wanted to learn specifically was how to engage more with their community through social media.

To meet this need, Jennifer and I gave two presentations today on how to use Twitter to the faculty and staff of VPA. Twitter 101 was a basic introduction to the mechanics of how to use Twitter. We helped them open accounts and taught them how to Tweet and use #, @, and RT. In Twitter 201, we focused on more advanced techniques such as how to find followers, build a reputation, develop a brand, and interact with followers as a representative of VPA. If you are interested, you can view the presentations on Slideshare or in my Portfolio.

While the attendance was not as good as our contacts at VPA had hoped for, we reached the people that needed to learn the most. Even the staff members who use Twitter the most often learned something new from us. That counts as success.


Internship and School Update

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, but don’t think my lack of updates speaks to laziness, more a testament to my busyness. This is the last week of classes in school for the Fall 2011 semester and I’m a little sad and also a little excited. As this semester ends, I am looking towards my last semester in library school in the spring and then the scary terribleness of potential unemployment. Don’t worry, I’m already actively searching and applying for jobs. I just worry about what happens if I graduate without one ready. As the semester ends, I’m also working hard on the last few assignments due. One paper on policy recommendations regarding lending ebooks in libraries is really interesting to research. But alas, as with all papers, less fun to write.

I’m also finishing up a group project in my social media class with suggestions for CNYCentral to revamp their social media and internet presence. Our group was focused on integrating social media networks into the CNYCentral webpage and the introduction of blogging to the contributors. That one is due on Thursday, but I’m not worried, we rocked that project.

Next semester I’m still playing with my course schedule but I’ve pretty much decided on what classes I’ll be taking. You can find the list here. Tech, social media, teaching, and collection development. Oh yeah!

For my internship, all of the books and CDs for the early literacy kits have been ordered. Collection development for the reference and nonfiction collections is completely interesting. As of today I’ve completed 61.5 hours for my youth services internship and 50 hours for reference. I still have a few (38.5) hours to go to meet my 150 hours, but I’m almost there. I’ve really been enjoying everything I’ve done so far and I’m looking forward to finishing up the early literacy project even after my internship hours have been completed.

(reference internship hours completed: 50 of 75)
(YS internship hours completed: 61.5 of 75)

Goodreads – A Review

For my class on Social Media, I was given the assignment to write a review of an emerging social technology and I chose Goodreads.

Goodreads Logo

A home for casual readers and bona-fide bookworms alike, Goodreads users recommend books, compare what they are reading, keep track of what they’ve read and would like to read, find their next favorite book, form book clubs and much more. – About Goodreads

Goodreads was launched in December 2006 and has grown to over 6.3 Million users who have shared reviews on over 210 Million book titles. It is the number one social media network for readers and book recommendations. Goodreads looks at the titles you have read and the ratings and reviews you have written to create reading recommendations based on those of members with similar tastes.

How to use Goodreads: 

As a Goodreads member, you have the ability to add books to your virtual bookshelves by browsing or searching for title, author, or ISBN. The Goodreads mobile app also allows you to search for books by scanning the barcode on a book using the phone’s camera (for iPhoneand Android). There are three default shelves: Read, To-Read, and Currently Reading. They are mutually exclusive, which means a title can only belong to one of these shelves at a time. However, members are able to build as many additional shelves as they would like, such as “reference” or “never finished”. Books can belong on as many non-exclusive shelves as desired. 

Once you have made 20 ratings, Goodreads will begin to make recommendations for you. The more books you rate, the better your recommendations will be. Recommendations are made according to genre as well as tailored to the contents of your individual shelves. The Goodreads recommendation engine is based on the principle that the best book recommendations come from friends. Unlike Amazon and Barnes and Noble, Goodreads recommendations aren’t based on sales data or skewed towards popular titles, they are instead based on the opinions and reading habits of members who have show similar taste in books (more about the Goodreads recommendation engine on Mashable). Yet another way to find new reading material on Goodreads is to add friends. All of your ratings and reviews will be visible to your friends, and when your friends perform any activity on Goodreads, it will show up on your main page in your Recent Updates feed. You can also link your Goodreads account with Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, and Blogger.

Goodreads lets people connect, regardless of geographic location, to share common reading experiences. One way to do that is to join one of the Goodreads Groups. Goodreads Groups are generated by members and are similar to traditional book clubs, but instead of meeting exclusively face to face to talk about the book being read, Goodreads hosts the discussion on a board (for example: The FFL’s Meet the Authors Book Club). Goodreads also offers trivia, fun quizzes, challenges, giveaways, and member generated book lists.

The Good:

  • Socially driven.
  • Recommendations based on actual reader opinions.
  • Interactive.
  • Free!
  • Easy to use.

The Bad:

  • More suited to social interaction than maintaining a collection. 
  • Cannot search by genre or topic. 

The Competition:

Librarything is another book-based social network. It has some of the same features as Goodreads such as adding books to a collection, writing reviews, and getting recommendations. Librarything is also sometimes used by libraries and other organizations to keep inventory of a collection. It is more focused on cataloging than social sharing.

Shelfari is the Amazon owned social reading network. It uses your past purchases on Amazon.com as well as your own additions to make recommendations. Because it is owned by Amazon, it makes every possible attempt to get you to purchase the books that are recommended to you. 

My Experience:

I started using Goodreads about two years ago. At first, I just liked keeping track of my to-read list. But then I realized how many other uses there are. I have added some friends whose taste in books I share, and found others who are interested in my recommendations. Right now I am working on developing a collection of board books for a local public library and I’ve been using Goodreads to see ratings and reviews of board books to determine if a title is worth considering. I’m also using Goodreads to keep track of the board books I have chosen to include in the collection so that other people or librarians interested in board books can use the work I put into evaluating titles to begin their own collection.


With such a large number of members and integration with most popular social media networks, Goodreads will continue to be a fun and useful resource for book recommendations. The mobile app allows members to use all of the functionality of the browser based webpage as well as adding special features such as using your mobile device’s camera to scan barcodes. Goodreads has also recently introduced features to connect your e-reader with your Goodreads account. For example, if you have a Kindle: “It will automate setting your “currently-reading” and “read” shelf books based on what you’ve shared on your Kindle. It will also sync your highlights from the kindle to your Goodreads quotes.” Goodreads was not the first social media network to be built around the reading experience, but it has show such growth and adaptability to make Goodreads a useful and fun platform for reading-related social interaction.

The Library in the Library

I can’t tell you how excited I am about today. Last week in Professor Lankes’ class we met Meg Backus, an librarian with amazing ideas, who invited us all to participate in a new project she is starting called the Library in the Library (here’s some more info). The first meeting is today at 3pm and I will be there. Then, after the Library in the Library, we have class at Bird Library where we will tour the preservation labs and the Special Collections. I am SO excited about that!

I think the only drawback to meeting so many types of librarians and learning about so many kinds of libraries is that I am finding it hard to choose just one…

Scandinavia has the best libraries.

I had another moment. You know, that moment when you hear a librarian talk about what she does and then you want to BE that kind of librarian. In my International Librarianship class today, we had a children’s librarian from Finland (via skype) tell us about libraries in Scandinavia. She showed us pictures from two or three different libraries but the one that really stuck out was Rum för Barn in Stockholm, Sweden. It is a library designed especially for children under the age of eleven. The shelves are made to be climbed on and in, there are special peek holes where crawling children can find butterflies and things, and there are very cool shadow boxes that show children what kinds of books can be found on each shelf. I was so jealous, looking at her pictures and thinking about how I’d never been to a library like that and now I wouldn’t fit. Also, at the same library the librarians, who are all coincidentally women, wear special skirts with many pockets. In some of those pockets, they carry slips of paper with words on them. Some of the words are real words and some are nonsense, but children can “borrow” the words to use as inspiration and “return” them in a special basket when they are done. How awesome is that?

The guest speaker also spoke about something called “book talking” which I had never heard of before. The way she explained it, it is exactly what it sounds like. Basically outlining the characters in a book and giving one exciting event that happens, then telling the children to read the book. Awesome! Tell the kids just enough to get them hooked on the story and then leave them with a “and you should read the rest of it yourself.” I think that’s a great strategy to get children interested in reading. I know I’d have to read the book to find out what happened.

But anyways, all three of the libraries she showed us pictures of are REALLY awesome. I now want to study Finnish or Swedish so that I can move to Scandinavia and be a children’s librarian in a totally amazing children’s library like Rum för Barn.

Possibilities of QR Code Graffiti

It's me!In IST605 this week, we learned about QR codes. It wasn’t the first time I’ve seen them, but it was the first time I ever thought about them. Having lived the last four years in Japan, I got used to seeing QR codes everywhere. They are on food packages, fliers, and some books. Probably the best use of a QR code was on bus stops. Next to the printed schedule was a QR code that would take you to a digital copy of the schedule that you could bookmark on your phone and to the transportation website where you could do a “route finder” search to find out the cheapest, fastest, or arrival/departure time specific routes.

In 605, we were prompted to think about how libraries could use QR codes to improve member experience. In my small group we thought it would be interesting to have a QR code on each resource (book, dvd, cd, etc) with a link to related works and things by the same author. Ever since class, I’ve been seeing useful places to put QR codes. Like the bus stops in Japan, wouldn’t it be awesome to put a QR code on calendars or event posters so people can record the dates and times or event information? The Syracuse International Film Festival is going on this month and I’ve seen posters for it, but none of them have schedules and a QR code would take up little space but could give complete listings for all films that will be screened. Also, I went apple picking this weekend and QR codes next to the apple variety names would have been a great way for the apple farm to give information about the types of apples, like whether they are sweet, tart, or are a good choice for making apple pie. And wouldn’t it be interesting to find a QR code on a restaurant menu that takes you to a website where you can vote for your favorite dish or write customer reviews?


I have to say, the second rapid response assignment for 511 was probably the most fun I have had doing classwork since 6th grade when we did medieval day and got to wear costumes to school. My group made a video with “interviews” with two fake and two real librarians to kinda show the differences between the stereotype and the real thing. Coming up with the script was fun and then filming was HILARIOUS. There’s even an outtake at the end because we were cracking up so much. Once filming was done, I got to learn how to edit a video. I can’t tell you how excited we were when we realized we could add music to the introduction and the closing credits. Anyone recognize the song? That’s right, it’s Lady Gaga’s Disco Heaven. We just had to put Lady Gaga in somewhere because of this video.

And I am very excited right now because I just got accepted for an internship!!

Here’s our video again: