Monday, March 31, 2008

Blog #11: Winding down?

We're starting to finish up changes on the blog and to work on training materials. It looks like we will be filming our openings on Thursday (so I will try to remember not to look like I just woke up) and we are writing the scripts this week but may not film them this week. We aren't sure yet. It depends on Nancy and what she says she wants to change. This is pretty much her last opportunity to say if she hates something or not before we have to finalize so we can film training materials and finish up. We each have two scripts to write. Mine are the counter widget and the search feature which includes my new and working tag cloud. I have started to kind of play around with what each thing is capable of to write a short script for it. I think I'm just going to jot notes for each step I take and go from there. I'm not sure yet but I better get sure soon since we're looking at them on Thursday at our team meeting.

This has all gone so fast. I can't believe it's almost over. I also can't believe that after all the time, energy, and frustration that the tag cloud was something the wiki had built in to the search feature all along. Oh well. it works now the way I want it to. It's useful and I like it. I'm pretty proud of the way it looks. I've had a coworker take a look at it and she loved the way it looked and wondered if she could get me to set one up for her. As much as this has been very interesting and I'm glad I know how to do it now and feel confident just playing around with things, I think she's on her own with that one. She can learn how to do it when she takes the class.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Blog #10: The Tag Cloud Saga continues...

I think I might officially hate tag clouds. The truth is that I want to be able to use the tag cloud widget on our site the same way it's used on the wordpress blog and it doesn't seem like an option with a free tag cloud widget. I made a tag cloud out of a sample of 20 words that we can use as pretty general tags on our wiki and I like it but it's small. If they want to keep it and use it I think they should have a list of at least 100 words for tags. I'm also not sure if they'll even want to use it or if it will be just one more step people won't want to do. It's hard to say. I don't know how useful it's going to be to them to see the amount of times a tag shoes up on the site but maybe it will be. It's pretty cool idea but it takes too long to update and it is kind of a pain. I used tag-cloudgenerator.com and I couldn't find a better one. I liked the way it came out and I like the way it goes onto the site so far but I'm just not sure of it in general.

Looking toward the future I think we have to finish it all up and tie up loose ends at this point and move forward with our quick start guide and training materials. I'm not really worried about those as Kay knows what she's doing and I've had a little bit of experience with it as well. I think our training materials will go well and will loom great. We just have to come up with a list of everything that needs to be included as well as write the scripts and just do it.

Also my counter widget is up and running correctly and I like it a lot. I'm glad we changed. I'm glad we're using an easier service and I'm glad it has some additional features that I think are pretty cool. I'm pretty proud of the way the wiki is coming together, especially when you think that none of us had any idea how to do this in the beginning.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Blog #9: World wide widget hunt

I kind of hate widgets right now. I spent most of yesterday looking in to what I thought would be a pretty simple widget hunt. I had to add a counter widget to our wiki and look at tag clouds to see if they would be useful for our wiki as well. Finding the counter was not had at all. It took me just a few minutes to locate one I liked and only a few more to add it so that it would actually show up on the page. This was the easy part. It was there with the widget adding area of the edit menu. It read 385 visits. There was a place to go to reset the widget for your site but it would not reset. I tried everything I could think of. I took it off, logged back in and relinked it to try it from scratch again. I got rid of all of it and tried again. I tried to reset on different computers. I tried it all but it would not work for anything in the world. I ended up looking around for different widget and loading that onto the site. So far so good. It works and started at 1. Amazing. Now I just have to figure out if I can easily reset it and we'll have to add that information to training materials.

The tag cloud is different altogether. I'm not sure it will even work for us. All of the generators I have been looking at need you to add the tags you want it to look for. This is fine if we want to give them a list of tags to use all the time but if they want to create their own tags they won't want to keep generating new clouds. If there was a cloud that would look at all the tags and create it's own list it would work well but I don't know yet if there is. The tag cloud on the YA area of the ACPL site is great and I am going to ask who found it and where they found it to see if we can recreate it but if not we might have to give up the cloud. It was suggested to us by one of the YA librarians as something they might like to see but if they have to generate new clouds every time they come up with a new tag then it's not worth it to them. They want something quick and easy and that would be neither. It was a cool idea. Too bad it might not happen.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Blog #8: Green Shorts

No, you don't have to actually wear green shorts to participate but if you feel that will get your creative juices flowing...then by all means.

This week duing YA program on Wednesday afternoon we are beginning a program called Green Shorts. This first meeting will be to brainstorm ideas for short films on how to go green. The summer reading program is going green this summer and at my branch we're taking this very seriously. We've started a One Green Summer blog to talk with each other about ideas and this will be the tens' first program on going green. They're going to come up with ideas on how we can make Youtube videos about going green.

All week I have been looking at Youtubes that might work as examples. I've found some of the PSAs from Live Earth that I'm going to show them with actors they know. There are also a bunch of band PSAs I'm going to show them as well.Then we're going to talk about what we can do in the library and start to search for quotes on changes we can make and effects of those changes. From there we're going t start writing scripts and then eventually video tape and edit these videos together. This is planned to take 3 to 4 afternoons to do. It might take more. I've worked with Youtube only one other time and it took me 2 hours to edit a 45 second video. It should be interesting to show teens how to do it and see how long it actually takes. I'm excited to see their finished products and possibly be able to use them this summer and for class visits in the late spring.

Here's the only Youtube I've ever done. I hope you find it half as funny as we all did.