We hope everyone has enjoyed playing around in Ning and sharing info with library staff from around the state. We sure have had a good time!

If you haven’t finished up the eight activities on Tenn-Share Learn & Discover, head on over this week.


Seven tasks down, one to go and you’ll have completed Tenn-Share Learn & Discover!

“How will I keep learning without a weekly mission to keep me motivated?” you ask.

Don’t worry. We’ve got some independent study ideas, sources for information, and favorite websites to get you started. Plus, you can always keep in touch with the friends you made over the last nine weeks!
This week we’d like you to choose your own site and report back to the community. Take a look at this year’s Webware 100 Winners. They include familiar names like YouTube, flickr, facebook, and picassa, but there’s sure to be sites you’ve never heard of before.
You can also choose one of the sites we like:
James: Hulu, dealnews
Jenny: Jumpcut, Wordle, Mr. Picassohead
Kyle: 30 Boxes, Remember the Milk, BillMonk
Sue: Sketchcast, LOLinator
Tricia: The Daily Plate, YouContertIt, Virtual Tourist
Pam: StumbleUpon, Dead or Alive?, TinyURL

Or you can look through this dizzying list of sites.

Ways to keep on learning:

Read Blogs.
Pick out some blogs written by librarians, like Tame the Web, Stephen’s Lighthouse, or ALA Tech Source. Next, pick up a few technology blogs. Webware, Read Write Web, Lifehacker are a few good ones. They’ll mention crazy things you won’t understand or ever need. But they also have things that you will want to remember. You don’t have to follow 200 blogs. Find a blogger who does this for you, and then tells you about the good stuff.

And add some fun stuff to your feeds!

Realize you cannot know everything, nor do you need to.
We’re all short on time. But, staying current doesn’t take long. 15 minutes a day is all you really need. If you don’t get through all your RSS feeds, don’t worry about it. You don’t have to read everything. But, doing a little bit will keep your mind fresh with new ideas. You can pick and choose which ones are appropriate for your library and your projects. You don’t have to do it all.

Share your finds.
When you find good web sites, don’t keep them to yourself! Email them to your colleagues, tag them for friends in your delicious, or share them with your social network.

Keep on Learning Activity:

1. Choose one site from this year’s Webware 100 Winners.

2. Take it for a spin – what do you like about it, what don’t you like?

3. Tell the group what you think in the Keep on Learning forum.

Do you have any questions?

Discuss them in the Keep on Learning Forum.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that librarians tend to be people who like to read.

This week we’ll explore tools to help organize your books, further your reading obsessions, search for books, create lists, and even get “new” books.

Oh, and we’ll get to Santa and the READ poster in a bit…


Norman is a prolific reader of History and Military Fiction. He has kept a list of over a thousand books he has read since he was thirteen. Norman keeps this list on a dozen legal pads in his desk drawer. He’s been having trouble lately.  He’s enjoys Nelson DeMille, W. E. B. Griffin, and Stephen Coonts, but he cannot recall which books he has read or not. The librarians have been helpful in providing him with their complete bibliographies, but he is not looking forward to comparing these lists with his own note pads. Norman should try LibraryThing.

Norman will spend a few evenings identifying all the books he has read using LibraryThing’s enormous catalog of titles from libraries. Then, he can sort his collection by any heading he wishes: year, author, genre. Norman can even make up his own cataloging system by adding tags to his books, whatever words he wants to sort them by, such as: korean.war, read.on.the.train, audiobook, favorite.

Now, Norman is enjoying sorting his virtual bookshelf based on his favorite book jackets. He might share his catalog with his friends who also use LibraryThing. They can review and discuss books here, but the heart of LibraryThing is keeping and ordering your own book collection.


Penelope loves to read, but she doesn’t really care what she’s already read. She just wants to find good fantasy and spy titles from people with similar taste. Goodreads is a nice way to share books she is reading and get recommendations from her friends.

Once Penelope has a profile, she can join clubs based around her favorite series, The Bourne Identity and Twilight. Plus, she also uses online social networks, so she could use Goodreads to show her virtual bookshelf on her profiles.

Penelope just found a list of historical fiction books with a spy at the center of the story. One of the titles is The Spy: A Tale of Neutral Ground, by James Fenimore Cooper. Then there’s The Spy: The Story of a Superfluous Man, by Maksim Gorky. The copy at her local library is lost. She could try her library’s Interlibrary Loan service. Or she could go out and buy the books. Or, she could try Google Book Search!

Google Book Search

Google Book Search can seem scary for libraries. Is it trying to replace us? Are people going to go there instead of the library? Will everyone buy books instead of check them out? Google Book Search and other websites are changing the way people look for information. But, in our do-it-yourself era, these things are enhancements for the library, not replacements. Allow the big red arrow to illustrate:

Have you seen this big banner sign outside your local bookstore lately?

Yeah, me neither.

You know where I have seen this reminder? On a little website called Google Book Search.

Google Book Search is just what it sounds like – you’re using a special search engine on Google to search for books. You can do a title, subject or author search, just like a library catalog. But, the items you’re searching aren’t just listed in catalog fashion. They’re scanned in. So, you can do a keyword search in the full-text of thousands and thousands of books. The full text – of the book itself. Amazing.

When you find a book you’re interested in, you can often look inside at sample pages and illustrations – not every page, mind you, but enough to see what the book is like. If the book is out of copyright, you can usually download the full-text right from Google Book Search.

Google Book Search can seem scary for libraries. Is it trying to replace us? Are people going to go there instead of the library? Will everyone buy books instead of check them out? Google Book Search and other websites are changing the way people look for information. But, in our do-it-yourself era, these things are enhancements for the library, not replacements.

Take a look at how two people use Google Book Search


One of the great things you’ll find about online book tools is that a lot of them play well with others.

Google Books doesn’t just tell you where you can buy a book you’ve found. It also offers a nice reminder that you might be able to get the book you want at your local library.

When you click “Find this book in a library,” Google Books sends you over to WorldCat. Type in your city or zip code and you’ll get a list of library locations that own the book. That’s nice advertising.

Finding books isn’t all you can do in WorldCat. OCLC has added more cover images and is pulling in reviews from Amazon. They’ve also tried to add a social aspect to the site with user profiles and lists.

Making a list is an easy way to share recommendations with your pals on social networks like delicious, digg, or MySpace. And unlike LibraryThing or Goodreads, Worldcat points users to your library’s books! You can also subscribe to the RSS feed for a list. That means you could create a list of favorite knitting books or genealogy resources and use the RSS feed to post the list on MySpace, Facebook and any other place you can import an RSS feed.

Okay, so it isn’t the next YouTube, but we think WorldCat might be on to something here. What do you think?

To wrap up, here are a few sites just for fun:

Swaptree & Bookmooch

Want a free book? Swaptree lets you trade your used books online for the price of stamps. First, you make a list of the books you’d like to get rid of – type or scan the ISBN. Then, make a list of books you are looking to own. Swaptree will match your list against others’ to arrange trades. You will get an email when a match is found. You can also swap old DVDs, CDs, and video games for books.

Want to trade more books? Try Bookmooch.

READ Posters

The ALA website has a fun online tool where you can create a mini-READ poster. The one that graces this post stars my brother’s bulldog, Wesley. He seems like a literary sort. Take a look at some other mini-READ posters. Then create your own! Be sure to share with the group!

Library DIY Activity:

Option One:
Make a book list with LibraryThing, Goodreads, or WorldCat.

1. Sign up for one service.

2. Make a book list – any list you want.

3. Share it with the rest of us in the Online Book/Library Tools Forum. (optional)

Option Two:
Something with Google Book Search.

1. Browse Google Books for Philosophy books.

2. Limit the view to see only the full-text books.

3. Use Google Books to find this quote: No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience.” – John Locke

Do you have any questions?

Discuss them in the Online Book/Library Tools Forum.

Back in the saddle again, with week five of Tenn-Share Learn & Discover. Get on over to the Learn & Discover page in Ning and say hello!

If you have been following along with Staff in the Know, you have noticed that we recycled some of these posts for the Tenn-Share Learn & Discover program. Don’t let that stop you from participating, we need your experience! Remember, the first 100 to complete the program will earn a nice mp3 player.

“Do I have to repeat all the exercises in Tenn-Share Lean & Discover if I have done the identical ones earlier in Staff in the Know?”

No. You can report a Tenn-Share activity complete if you have done the activity for the same topic during Staff in the Know ’07 – ’08. For instance, if you learned about RSS feeds on Staff in the Know, you have already set up an RSS reader and subscribed to a feed, you can count that done towards the Tenn-Share goal.

We do hope you will join the active discussions about each post in the forum at Tenn-Share Learn & Discover.

Kyle Cook
Jenny Ellis

It used to be if you wanted to hear a song, you would have to buy the CD or you were at the mercy of the local radio DJ and your giant boom box. Several innovative web sites have simplified listening to and buying music online.

Streaming – Listening to music online

Streaming is sort of like radio – just tune into music that is already playing on the Internet. Unlike radio, there are billions of stations to choose from and anyone can pick the tunes! Here are a couple of popular music streaming spots:

Last.fm is a streaming person radio station that tracks the songs you hear, then alters your personal radio station accordingly. Last.fm is also a social network that lets you discover new music by seeing what other users are listening to.

Tell Pandora who you like and they will play music similar to it. So, if you tell Pandora you like Bell Biv Devoe, it will play them, then Bobby Brown, Tony Toni Tone, and Keith Sweat. You get the idea.

Maybe you need to hear “Billie Jean” right now?

Use a music search app like Seeqpod or Songza to listen to single tracks! Enter a song title or artist, and a search may find it somewhere on the Internet and play it. Search is a good way to preview entire new songs or find alternate recordings.

Downloading – Saving music to your computer

It’s fine to listen to “Forever and Ever, Amen” online, but you’ve got to have it – preferably without all the other tracks on the album.

No problem. You can just buy the song you want and download it to your computer. Downloading is different from streaming a song. When you stream a song on Pandora, you just click play and listen – you haven’t saved the song. If you wanted to hear the song again, you’d need to go back to Pandora. When you download a song, you are saving it for later. Downloading and saving a music file is similar to saving a resume or a photo.

If you’re trying to help someone find a song on a library computer, there are a few things to be aware of. Generally, you can download music on most library computers when the site does not require software installation. There are a lot of web sites that sell music, some require software and some don’t. Amazon and iTunes both have music for purchase and download. For security, libraries restrict users installing software on public computers, so you wouldn’t be able to buy music from iTunes. Amazon doesn’t require special software, they let you buy and download a song right to your flash drive.

Free downloads – What if you find that Randy Travis song for free, on a blog somewhere?

Unless Randy Travis himself has a blog, and is giving the song away free there, you want to avoid this free download. Not everyone sharing files online has the legal rights to; you may find song files put online without permission. Hear more about online copyright from The Real Deal 106: Copyright.mp3 (CNET podcast).

Online Music Activity:

Option One:

1. Browse the Cylinder Archive for some wonderful original recordings.

2. Download an mp3 to your computer.

3. Tell us how it went in the Listen, Search, and Download forum.

Option Two:

1. Visit one of the music streaming web sites.

2. Play a song on your computer.

3. Tell us how it went in the Music: Listen, Search, and Download forum.

Extra Credit

That’s extra awesomeness credit. Look like a rock star in the forums: Make a mix tape and share it with everyone in the Listen, Search, and Download forum.

Do you have any questions?

Discuss them in the Listen, Search, and Download forum.