Tag Archives: Web 2.0

WordPress (Michael Cruickshank)

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What is it?

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WordPress is an online tool that allows you to publish your thoughts and ideas, share any form of online media, and re-post things you like from other users in the form of an online blog. No code knowledge or internet mastery required – just basic computer skills. It provides a seemingly endless array of templates, many of which are customizable (and you can always pay a little extra for the really fancy ones),  for you to use on your site, so set up is easy. You can be up and posting on your new blog in less than a half hour. For those who are a little more adventurous and savvy on the internet can build their own templates from the ground up. You can use WordPress to ‘follow’ other bloggers, and you will be notified about updates on all your favourite pages. A highly dynamic and customizable tools that allows two way conversations between the site owner (you) and your audience (your followers).

WordPress can be used in library settings in many capacities, providing a free space to create a website where interactive sharing and feedback is important, such as writing groups, or book clubs. Many blogs about libraries and library innovations are posted on WordPress, among millions of other topics. Blogs are an excellent source of cutting edge information and keeping current with new developments, as well as a place for subjective observations and insights.

Signing up for WordPress

How do I get it?

Set up is fairly simple with 7 steps that will take you from nothing, to having your first post on your new blog.

1.  Go to the WordPress homepage, and select the “Get Started” button.

2.  Fill out the form provided, using a current and active e-mail address, create a username and password, and finally creating a blog URL address. All of these things can be changed and customized later on if you decided you don’t like it, so don’t worry about it too much.

Confirmation Email

3. WordPress will now send you an e-mail to the address your provided, to ensure security that you are who you say you are. Just check your e-mail and click on the link they provided you with to activate your account.

4. Set up your blogSetting Up Your Blog

You will be directed to a WordPress page where you can now start to set up your actual blog, just give a title for your new blog, a Tagline or quick description of the blog, and finally, your language of preference. Again, you will be able to change these later, so don’t get too hung up on naming your blog.

5. Choose a theme

Choosing an image

WordPress will now offer you a large array of different theme packages that will determine the over all look and feel of your new blog. Pick anything that strikes you, or that relates to the topic you are going to focus your blog on. While there are some high-end theme packages available for a price, there are plenty of free options available that are beautiful and highly customizable. You can select a theme and explore it, see what its options are, and get a sense of the look and feel of each one. Remember – you can change this later, so don’t fret over it. Enjoy the process of creating!

6.  Next, WordPress will give you the option to invite people from your existing social networking sites, (i.e. Facebook and Twitter)  to come check out your blog. This is a very easy process and a great way to let people know you are creating a new blog they might be interested in.

Your First Post

7.  Your are ready for your first post, and WordPress will guide you right to the page to do just that. You can add text, pictures, videos, links and much more. If you want to keep working on your post before publishing it, just save it to your Drafts and it will be waiting for you next time you log in. If you are happy with your debut post – click publish. Congratulations. You are a blogger.

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 Continue to Part 2


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BiblioCommons (Kate Charuk)

What is BiblioCommons?

BiblioCommons is a platform used for online public access catalogues (OPACs).  It’s embedded right into library websites. Many public libraries are using BiblioCommons including Edmonton Public Library, New York Public Library, Ottawa Public Library and Vancouver Public Library.

BiblioCommons does a lot more than older generation library catalogues that only let users search for materials. Instead, BiblioCommons users get involved in making and sharing new content, commenting on the collection, and connecting with the community of people that use it.

If you regularly use BiblioCommons, you may think you know it inside-out — if so, this module should be a breeze! For most of us, though, there are at least a few features we’ve not yet explored such as tagging, video reviews, recommended lists and following other users.

How Do I Get Set Up?

Log in boxMany staff will be familiar with this process.  If you already have a BiblioCommons account set up skip to the next section.
For staff new to BiblioCommons:
  • Make sure you have an active library account and you know your password
  • Click the “login” box on the website and fill in your bar code number and password
  • Create a username, add your email address if you would like to receive emails notices about your account, and sign off on the terms of use.

Okay, I’m Signed Up. Now What?

First, take some time to explore your account.My Account
  • My Borrowing: see materials you have checked out, on hold, and recently returned.  You can also see fines and pay them online.
  • My Collections: track materials you have read (“Completed”), are in the middle of reading (“In Progress”), or want to read (“For Later”). There is also a section for lists you create “My Lists.”
  • My Community: connect with other library users.
Now, let’s jump in:

Part 1 – Rate and review

Find a title of something you’ve read/watched/listened to/played in the library’s catalogue search box.  E.g. “The Paper Bag Princess”.Paper Bag Princess search When you find it in the search results you’ll notice it may have an “Average Rating” of stars next to it. When you click on the item title, you should see a place for “My Rating.”  Select the number of stars you think it’s worth.  Ta-da!
You should get a message like this:
Completed Shelf message
When you rate an item it automatically adds it to your “completed” shelf.  Go to your shelf and see your new item.
**It’s important to know that you can set items in your shelves to be “private” (viewable only by you) or “shared” (publicly viewable in the catalogue). You can see whether an item in your list is private, because it will be marked with a lock icon. lock icon
If you hit any snags, remember you can always ask other staff, the Learning 2.0 Coordinator, or consult the BiblioCommons help directory.
Add a comment
Ok, now let’s contribute something more substantial than a star.
First, find an item in the catalogue you can say something about. Scroll down the item description until you get to Community Activity.
Read what others are saying, then click the blue “Add a Comment” button – and tell the world what you think.
While you’re at it, check out the other tabs:
  • Age: suggest an appropriate age range
  • Summaries: add these for items that have incomplete information (lots of other language materials are catalogued without descriptions)
  • Notices: warn people about particular content
  • Quotes: offer fun teasers
  • Videos: include an embedded link to an online video — hosted, for example on Youtube or Vimeo.

Continue to BiblioCommons – Part 2

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Facebook (Michael Cruickshank)

Facebook can seem pretty intimidating, so once you have completed all three modules, give yourself permission to just muck around and get dirty. Take your time and try out one new thing each day, because the more you know about Facebook, the more you can make it work for you or your library.

It’s not feasible to try to examine all the components that make up the user experience of Facebook here, rather this is an attempt to provide the basics required to set up and get started.

 What is it?

“Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world  more open and connected” (https://www.facebook.com/facebook)

About Facebook

Facebook is the world’s largest and most popular social networking tool that allows you to connect with your friends, family, co-workers, and people all over the world. It also provides a platform  for sharing anything you find on the internet or have  saved on your computer or device with all of your ‘friends’ with just one click. It provides a multi-media experience tailored to your interests. Facebook, unlike many other social media platforms, allows you to have control over your privacy settings such as who exactly can see each post. Libraries can use it to promote programs and activities, to engage with their patrons on all sorts of topics and issues, thereby increasing the presence of the library in their daily lives. Facebook allows a library to promote special events, or create ‘groups‘ for books clubs or teen programs so participants can continue to contribute outside of library walls or specific time frames. It is a perfect way to keep patrons informed about any information that needs to be spread widely and quickly, and its free!

 How do I get set up?

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 10.58.13 AM Getting set up with Facebook is easy: Go to www. facebook.com and provide your first and last name, a current e-mail address, and your date of birth. Create a password, click ‘Sign Up.’ Welcome to Facebook!

Okay, I’m Signed up. Now what? 

Screen ShotFacebook is huge, with 1 110 million users, as of March 31 2013, so you probably already know lots of people who use it. Facebook will  ask you to share some of your existing contact lists from various e-mail addresses you may have, showing you all those people in your contacts who already have Facebook accounts, and you can request to ‘friend’ them by clicking on the “request friend” button by their names.

Your “friends” are all the people you make a connection with over Facebook. There is a tab near the top of your Facebook home page appropriately called “Find Friends,” you can use this tab anytime to find people you might know.  The link leads you through various steps and options that will allow you to find people you already know, be it from e-mail addresses in your contacts list, or because Facebook recognizes you and your “Friends” are likely have mutual friends as well. You can also search for specific people by name, city, or common event, like members of your high school grad year, or even your hometown.

Facebook will prompt you to upload your first picture, and this will be your profile picture, so follow the instructions on the screen. You can take a picture instantly using a webcam or mobile device, or you can upload a picture from your computer or device.

Continue to Part 2

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Twitter (Mike Eaton)

What is it?

Twitter is a social networking site for a technique called ‘microblogging’. Users have a limit of 140 characters to make posts about a number of topics. It can be used to follow people, promote something, or engage in back-and-forth conversations. What is interesting about this program is that it removes degrees of separation between two people. For example, I can send a tweet to the account @KanyeWest, and it will go directly to him.

In the case of libraries, Twitter is an excellent resource for mingling with patrons as well as other professionals. Its egalitarian structure means conversations can be struck up with anyone, and ideas can be shared quickly and easily. Twitter is also the foundation for many other social media tools in that it can be used as a login for them.

Sounds cool. How do I get it?

Twitter 1

Go to www.twitter.com and sign up for a free account. All you need is an Email address. When you create an account, there is a tutorial which prompts you to follow at least five Twitter users. It can be useful to a beginner, but I’d recommend skipping it. There’s a prompt for that at the bottom-left of that window.

Okay, I’m signed up. Now what?

Twitter 3You are hooked up to Twitter, but don’t start tweeting yet. The reason for this is that if you have no followers and aren’t following anyone, then literally nobody is listening. Start by looking up somebody to follow on your library’s or school’s perhaps. If the person has some friends/family who use it, follow them. Then, try tweeting something.

Your user name, like everyone else’s has the name you chose with an ‘@’ in front of it. To search for somebody, you can do it through your Email Contacts list or by searching for people in Twitter itself.

Twitter 4@replies – By clicking ‘Reply’ to somebody’s tweet, you are sending a response directly to them. When doing so, only people who follow both that person and you will see your response. If you want to make it so everybody who follows you will see it, you can put a period at the very beginning.

# Hashtagging — Adding a Hashtag (#) in front of a name, phrase, or theme serves two purposes. First, it provides your tweet with context and second, it will show up for anyone who is searching for tweets related to that tag. A clever tweet using a hashtag can gain you a lot of followers. On the left side of the page, there is a list of Trending Topics showing what many people are talking about at present.Twitter 7Retweeting/Favoriting: By clicking ‘Favorite’ under a tweet, it will appear on your feed with an orange box showing that you have favorited it. For retweeting, there are actually two options:

-Click on ‘Retweet’, then click to confirm. It will appear on your timeline attributed to that person. When you do it this way you, the person you are retweeting, and anybody who follows both of you will see it on their feeds.

Twitter 8-To add to a retweet, copy the original along with the ‘@’ name of the original poster, paste onto a fresh part, remove the time stamp, and then add content. You absolutely should add ‘RT’ to show that it is somebody else’s tweet that you are adding on to.

Twitter 9

Let’s Take it Further

Check out some advanced tips once you’ve figured out the basics.

Would You Like To Know More?

A tutorial about retweeting.

13 Twitter tips for beginners.

Here are some Twitter tutorial videos.

Related Articles

Examples of Twitter being used in Canadian library settings:




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Doodle (Kate Charuk)

What is Doodle?

Doodle is an online survey tool that is infinitely useful. Use to save time when scheduling a meeting among busy people, or to cast votes for where to hold the next staff party.  You can make polls public to get a wide variety of opinion, or only invite select people to participate. Library patrons love Doodle too — to organize personal and professional events, to make tough choices and to figure out others preferences (e.g. what menu items their wedding guests choose).

There are lots of other survey tools (e.g. Survey Monkey) that can handle more complex surveys and analytics, but Doodle is clear and simple for a beginner.

How do I get set up?

  • Go to doodle.com-Click “create an account” in the top right corner
  • Create an account from your email address, or from you Facebook profile or Google account
  • Follow the prompts — you may need to get an activation code sent to your email to complete the process

Okay, I’m signed up. Now what?

Schedule an event using Doodle

  • Once you are logged in, you should see your “Dashboard”.  Halfway down the page you will see the following options:doodle_options
  • Click “Schedule an event”
  • Now you need to use your imagination.  Dream up an imaginary event – a family reunion, a book club meeting, a laser tag marathon. Here is an example of an event poll-Give the event a title, location and description.  Fill out any other blanks in the form and click next
  • Check your imaginary datebook and choose all the possible dates for your event. Click next.
  • Choose your time zone and enter all the possible times for your event
  • Adjust your settings as need be — for example, ask people to submit their phone numbers.
  • Choose how you want to send the message — by contacting recipients with the link to the poll yourself, or by emailing them through Doodle.
  • Send the poll to some willing recipients/co-workers.  And fill it out yourself!
  • Sit back and wait for your responses.  You should be notified when someone fills out the poll.  Use the administrator link that was sent to your email account to view poll or make changes.

Make a choice using Doodle

  • This time log back into doodle, go to your dashboard, and click to create a “make a choice” poll
  • Now, imagine a hard decision needs to be made — what kind of flowers for the wedding, which concert to attend, or whether cats are better than dogs. Here is an example of a choice poll.
  • Give the decision a name, place and description
  • Determine the options participants can choose between
  • Adjust the settings if need be.  (e.g. consider whether you want to limit a participant’s choice to only one)
  • Send the poll out to recipients, and watch for the responses!

Congratulations! You are a super Doodler and have completed the module.
Make sure to blog your success to your colleagues and discuss your thoughts about Doodle — how is it relevant to staff or patrons? What was your experience?  Feel free to share links to your doodle polls.

Take it further:

If you’re up for a challenge, try out another online survey tool.  Check out this list of suggestions.

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Pinterest (Brenda Dyck)

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is the digital version of a bulletin board or a scrapbook.  It is a tool for collecting and organizing things that you like.  With Pinterest, you can “pin” any image or video onto a pinboard and arrange your boards by categories or subjects.  Users can browse other pinboards for images, “re-pin” images to their own pinboards, or pin images directly from the internet.  You can also set up group boards to share ideas on a specific subject or collaborate on a project.

Pinterest provides a place for libraries to share ideas on displays, promotions, adult and children’s programming, new technology, advocacy and staff development.  It has broader implications as a research tool for patrons, students and library professionals.

Click here to see a list of 25 libraries and how they are using Pinterest.   Here’s how a library-themed pinboard looks :


What do I need to get set up?

All you need is an internet connection and an email address.  Pinterest no longer requires that you request an invitation.


Pinterest  gives you the option to sign up with your email or with your facebook account.  If you decide to use facebook, it will import the email address that you use for facebook as well as your birthday, personal description and likes.


If you have any questions or concerns, the help center has instant answers and can also provide assistance by email.


OK, I’m signed up…now what?

Watch this tutorial and then start pinning!

Pinterest features the “Pin It” button that you can drag to your bookmarklets toolbar.  You can use it to pin images and videos directly to your pinboards from the internet.


Watch this tutorial to see how Pinterest links pins to original source material.

Remember to blog about your experience with Pinterest and share your thoughts on how you feel it could benefit your library.

Take it further…  

Create a pinboard of ideas pertaining to the next seasonal holiday.  Include interesting book covers, relevant authors, activities and visual display ideas.


If you would like to know more, check out the following links…

20 Great Ways Libraries Are Using Pinterest

Pinterest–search results for “libraries”

Pinterest–search results for “library author visits”

How to Use Pinterest for Your Library

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Skype (Brenda Dyck)

What is Skype?

Skype is an online communications tool that allows people to have face to face conversations over the internet from anywhere in the world.  You can download the Skype software for free and, if you are calling another Skype user, all your calls are free.  Skype also offers free voice calling, instant messaging and file sharing between Skype users. 

Libraries are making Skype available for patron use at the computers in the library along with all the other internet services.  Many reference departments are using Skype to field virtual reference questions as seeing the patrons’ facial cues and body language enables a service interaction which more closely emulates an in-person interaction.  It is not always successful as some patrons don’t want visual contact but bears further investigation as programs are tested and revised. It has also proven to be an effective time-saving and cost-cutting tool for staff and trustee training and development.   The ALA News recently posted an article about offering professional consultations using Skype.  Virtual author visits for authors of both children’s and adult literature are gaining popularity as an economical option during times of budgetary restraint.

How do I get set up?

All you need to get set up is a computer with a microphone and speakers, a webcam and an internet connection.  Click here to download the free software.  Your computer may ask you if you want to allow this program to run.  It’s ok to say yes.   After the program downloads, you can set up your account.  Skype can be used on computers, tablets and smartphones.

new skype


You can chose to sign up with your Facebook or your Microsoft accounts.  Doing this will import your email contacts and friends lists.  To keep the process a little simpler as you get started, you may decide to create your account with just your email address.  Once your account is set up, you can fine-tune your privacy settings.

OK, I’m signed up…now what?

Now you can start talking!  This helpful video will guide you through your first call.

It’s as simple as that and all for free.  It sounds too good to be true but it isn’t.  As long as you are making a Skype-to-Skype call, there is no cost, regardless of how long you are talking or where you are calling.  You can find friends and family that are also using Skype by searching their name, their Skype name or their email.

new skype a

The Skype website has an excellent support section that has answers and solutions for any questions or difficulties you may encounter.

skype support

It’s no surprise that Skype has millions of users worldwide.  The no-cost service combined with the minimal hardware requirements and the ease of use has made it an essential part of daily communication.  Last year, it saved our trustees time and aggravation as our library board interviewed extensively during our CEO search.  We used Skype to connect with candidates on both coasts and in the United States.  Using Skype eliminated travel time for the candidates and the expense of travel for both the candidates and the board.  In fact, the board came in dramatically under-budget at the end of the successful CEO search and this was very well received by town council.  And while the board has a strict attendance policy, we have used Skype to reach quorum for a critical board meeting when one of the members was recuperating from surgery and couldn’t physically attend.

Remember to blog about your experience with Skype and share your thoughts on how you feel it could benefit your library.

Take it further…

Make an appointment to have a Skype chat with a librarian at Edgewood College

Add Shaun for your first Skype contact  ADD SHAUN TO SKYPE – Cake and beverage available (prayingforoneday.wordpress.com). 

If you would like to know more, check out the following links…

Skype Your Mayor: Ukrainian Library Hosts Online Town Hall







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