Friday, July 30, 2010

How Sweet It Is: SweetSearch2Day

Mark Moran, CEO of Dulcinea Media, Inc., has launched a new site, SweetSearch2Day, which invites visitors to "Learn Something Every Day."

According to Moran,
"SweetSearch2Day, from Dulcinea Media, offers a daily curated assortment of the best content on the Web for history, language arts, science, news, culture and other topics. It was developed in consultation with leading educators to help integrate timely topics into daily lessons, and lead students to research and explore the best content online."

SweetSearch2Day continues the company's policy of presenting only "credible, high-quality and trustworthy Web sites, saving time for the novice and the experienced user alike." Companion sites, findingDulcinea and SweetSearch, have already garnered praise from library professionals like Joyce Valenza, who blogged about findingDulcinea as "a human-driven, and very useful tool for locating quality online resources for the classroom."

According to Mark Moran,
"We will launch a full version of SweetSearch2Day in early September 2010. We welcome your comments and suggestions for improvement. Please write to us at "

I could envision this site being used as a resource across the curriculum and/or being offered to students as an enrichment activity. The assortment of facts, images and just plain FUN is sure to pique the interest of any child (or adult, for that matter).

So take a look, offer some feedback, play with the site. Learn something every day.

Images are the copyrighted property of Dulcinea Media, Inc.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Matrix Barcode

Wikipedia defines it this way:

"A QR Code is a matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by QR scanners, mobiles phones with camera, and smartphones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

Common in Japan, where it was created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. QR is the acronym of Quick Response, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed."

A QR code can be read by any mobile phone that has a camera to scan and process its information. It provides a quick and easy way to collect data - for example, contact information about people you meet at conferences or the addresses of useful wikis and websites.

Libraries are exploring the use of QR codes. Sacramento Public Library has a Text 4 Answers page which allows patrons to "Use our QR Code to add our text reference service to your phone's contact list. First, download I-nigma's free QR Code scanner to your mobile device."

Half Hollow Hills Community Library posts QR codes on end stacks as subject guides.

Patrons of San Diego State University Library are advised that they may use QR codes to:
  • Download contact information to your address book with a Vcard
  • Initiate a call on your phone
  • Visit a mobile website
  • Display a message on your phone

Thanks to a link from Cathy Nelson, I was able to access QR-Code Generator, enter the URL of my blog, and create a unique QR. The resulting bit of informational art is now displayed at the top right of each page.

I'll definitely add the QR code to my next batch of business cards. It would be fun to print it on a button, t-shirt or mug, also.

I have a feeling that we may be seeing a great deal more of these intriguing matrices in the future, at work, in the marketplace and in our daily lives.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Social Sig for Me

Update: in response to my suggestions, Jason has added Plurk and SlideShare to the list of available links. How's that for service!

Want to connect quickly with people you know - or with whom you'd like to connect - via various social networking venues?

Jason T. Bedell has created a social media signature generator, Social Sig for Me, to perform just such a function.Users choose from a list of sites, add relevant addresses, and receive HTML code. The icons can be horizontal (with automatic breaks, where needed) or vertical.

Jason welcomes comments and suggestions, so try it out and give him some feedback.

My own Social Sig is now located on the right-hand sidebar, under "Find me online!"

"A computer terminal is not some clunky old television with a typewriter in front of it. It is an interface where the mind and body can connect with the universe and move bits of it about." -Douglas Adams

"Connected" by visulogik

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Navigator's Daughter

"The winds and the waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators." -Edward Gibbon

In redefining and clarifying the role of librarians, various terms have been used, most recently "
sherpa." I'd like to explore a few other possibilities.

During World War II, my father served as a navigator in the Army Air Corps. Among his responsibilities were
"planning the journey, advising the...aircraft Commander of estimated timing to destinations while en route, and ensuring hazards [were] avoided. [He was] in charge of maintaining the aircraft's...nautical charts, nautical publications, and navigational equipment, and generally [had] responsibility for meteorological equipment and communications." -Wikipedia

Navigation was, and is, an important job, one that requires the skilled use of specialized tools, an ability to accurately assess situations and adeptness at effectively conveying information. The navigator served as an essential member of the flight crew; without him, it was almost impossible for the aircraft to arrive at its destination.

Methods may be different in the school library, but the mindset is similar. A modern teacher/librarian collaborates with staff and students, displays - and demonstrates - the use of appropriate tools, and helps learners chart a course to their desired goal, be it the completion of a specific project or the general acquisition of knowledge.

Where the aviation navigator had sole responsibility for completing his tasks, a TL strives to ensure that users eventually become self-navigators, able to access and evaluate data, assess their needs in relation to a project, and adjust their course of enquiry accordingly.

In school libraries, students work with trained professionals in a safe environment, learning what they need to know in order to navigate in the wider world of information.

Because, as Henry Hudson, navigator and explorer, noted, "You cannot fly like an eagle with the wings of a wren."

Photos are from my "Dad - World War II" Flickr set

Saturday, July 3, 2010

365 Project: June

"Mine is the Month of Roses; yes, and mine
The Month of Marriages! All pleasant sights

And scents, the fragrance of the blossoming vine,
The foliage of the valleys and the heights.
Mine are the longest days, the loveliest nights;
The mower's scythe makes music to my ear;
I am the mother of all dear delights;

I am the fairest daughter of the year."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days; Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune, And over it softly her warm ear lays." - James R Lowell

"In summer, the song sings itself." -William Carlos Williams

"I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June." -L. M. Montgomery

You can see a slideshow of the 30 June photos here or view all of my 2010 photos to date here.

The three groups to which I contribute are 2010/365, EdTech 365/2010, and Project 365.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My Conference

I've just returned home from the ALA Annual Conference, in Washington, DC.

We all set off on our journeys with certain expectations, both positive and negative. These can, of course, turn into self-fulfilling prophecies, so some objectivity is a valuable travel accessory.

Large conventions tend to cause sensory overload for me - and I've learned how to tailor the experience to compensate for this personal response. I rarely attend more than a few sessions, avoid the vendor floor, and gravitate to more manageable spaces, like lounge or Uncommons areas.

I've read the critics, who warn of echo chambers and closed minds, but it honestly doesn't work that way for me: I connect with old friends, make new ones, and interact with small groups. The discussions in which I participated were rich with fresh perspectives; the people I met were of diverse backgrounds, united by their aspirations for our shared profession.

When I did venture into formal workshops, they tended to adhere to a traditional lecture format, with minimal interaction and no hands-on component. Much of the content is, or will be, available online.

Both the digital and paper conference guides were cumbersome and difficult to navigate. My preference would be for a searchable site, cross-referenced by date, time, area of interest, presenter, etc. I declined the print copy - maybe there could be a registration check-off box to indicate the participant wished to remain paperless?

Although many attendees mined the exhibition space for books and other freebies (and the Fed Ex satellite did a roaring business!), I'm no longer in a classroom and have no need for these types of goodies. I was content to roam the Washington Convention Center with my camera, hand out some Geek Tribe ribbons and membership cards, and strike up random conversations.

Why did I go? This type of event gathers some of my far-flung network in a single space at the same time. I get to interact face to face with people who matter to me - and we DO discuss relevant topics, like the future of libraries and librarianship, education, and technology.

I certainly don't believe that what I've described is the norm. But this is what works for me. I've returned home intellectually stimulated, my mind teeming with ideas.

MY conference was an incubator/think tank.

Hopefully, YOUR conference was just as successful.