Connecticut’s 23 Things

A Learning 2.0 Program

Archive for December, 2009

Connecticut’s 23 Things

Posted by kabery on December 8, 2009

This web site has been set up as a Connecticut State Library continuing education program that will encourage all of us to learn more about emerging technologies on the web that are changing the way people, libraries, and society access information and communicate with each other. The program aims to show you and your colleagues  new web tools and trends that are increasingly popular in libraries and increasingly popular with our patrons. The design of this online program was completely built on Web 2.0 technologies that are freely available on the Internet.

Over the course of the program, we’ll become familiar  with wikis, blogging, RSS news feeds, tagging, podcasting, online applications, video and image hosting sites, and other Library 2.0 technologies.  All of the 23 Things program units are posted below for you to complete at your own pace.

The goals of Connecticut’s 23 Things are wonderfully simple – you should explore, play, and have fun!

The content for this self-discovery program was borrowed from the Learning 2.0 program designed by Helene Blowers, the Technology Director of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. There are several other libraries that we also drew heavily from including InfoPeople, Swineburne University, Learning 2.0 @Mac, and the Missouri River Regional Library. We’ve also borrowed instructions from Library 2.0 in 15 Minutes a Day and Polly-Alida Farrington’s Learning 2.0 wiki.

We would like to encourage anyone who starts the Connecticut’s 23 Things program to complete an online pre program survey. Even if you are unable to fully complete the program, we’d like to hear your thoughts. Click here to take the survey.

Thank you for participating.



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Week 1: Getting Started

Posted by kabery on December 7, 2009

FAQ – a must read!

Refresher Course in Lifelong Learning

  • Discover the 7 1/2 Habits of Lifelong Learners.  This tutorial includes audio, so set the volume on your computer or use headphones (we have a supply of headphones at all the reference desks)
  1. Play – the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem-solving
  2. Performance – the ability to adopt alternative identies for the purpose of improvisation and discovery
  3. Simulation – the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes
  4. Appropriation – the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content
  5. Multitasking – the ability to scan one’s enviroment and shift focus as needed to salient details
  6. Distributed Cognition – the ability to interact meaningfully with with tools that expand mental capacities
  7. Collective Intelligence – the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal
  8. Judgement – the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources
  9. Transmedia Navigation – the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities
  10. Networking – the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information
  11. Negotiation – the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms

What is Library 2.0 anyway?

Library 2.0 is  a term used to describe a new set of concepts for developing and delivering library services.  The name is an extension of Web 2.0 and shares many of its same philosophies and concepts including harnessing the user in both design and implementation of services, embracing constant change as a development cycle over the tradition notion of upgrades and reworking library services to meet the users in their space, as opposed to ours (libraries). For more information, check out Wikipedia’s entry for Web 2.0 and  Library 2.0 which includes an extensive list of references.

Libraries around the world have learned the 23 Things:

Check out these different perspectives on Library 2.0 from OCLC:

Away from Icebergs

Into a new world of librarianship

To better bibliographic services

To more powerful ways to cooperate

To a temporary place in time

Computer Use 101

The primary vehicle for Web2.0 is your web browser. How familiar are you with changing the settings in your web browser or even with finding out which version browser you’re running? Review our Browser/Support 101 document for help with these topics.

Learning Activities for Week 1:

1. Watch the 7 1/2 Habits of Lifelong Learners
2. Read one or two of the perspectives on Library 2.0 from the list above. Library 2.0 can be  many things to many people. What does it mean to you?
3. Use our Browser/Support 101 document to learn about your web browser and get ready to begin.

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Week 2: Blogs

Posted by kabery on December 6, 2009

What is a blog?

A blog is a website with regular entries of commentary, discussion of events or other material such as graphics and video. It is usually maintained by an individual (or organization) and blog entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order.  (Thanks to Wikipedia)

Enjoy watching Blogs in Plain English, a Commoncraft production on YouTube

Why are blogs important for libraries?

  • Provide up to date information on events
  • Low cost/no cost way to promote library programs
  • Blogs can be updated quickly
  • Good way for staff to keep up with professional news

WebJunction has an interesting posting on Blogs in Libraries that describes the benefits of blogs.

What are some examples of blogs?

You’ll notice blogs everywhere. Since blogs are websites, you may not even realize that the site you’ve been visiting all along is a blog. Explore these blogs to get an idea:


ALA Tech Source Blog
Connecticut Judicial Law Librarians’ Newslog

1000s of library blogs & the biblioblogosphere are monitored at

See how Connecticut libraries are using blogs.

Blogging Software

What distinguishes a blog from a regular website? Actually, not much. A blog is a website, but unlike a more “traditional” site – it is published using blogging software (e.g., Blogger, WordPress, Movable Type, TypePad, or LiveJournal).

Blogging software makes it painless for authors to publish content to the web. Blogs don’t require authors to know html or to have special web editing programs (e.g., Dreamweaver or FrontPage) installed on their computers. To publish to a blog, you only need a web browser. In fact, you can publish blog entries from any web-enabled device, including smart phones — all you need is a connection to the internet and a browser capable of interactivity.

If your library runs a website and a blog, it’s possible that your blog “lives” on a third-party’s server, such as those run by WordPress or Blogger. Alternatively, the server your library uses to host its main website could also be used to run blogging software (e.g, the WordPress open source package – see

The News from CSL, for example, currently lives on, though the latest entries appear in the home and news pages of the site.

No matter where your library’s blog lives, the nature of the web makes it easy for your website and blog to be linked and/or combined. The technology that makes such combinations possible is the RSS feed that is automatically generated by blogging software. For more information on RSS, fast forward to week #5.

In some cases, the blog itself can be an organization’s entire website. Blogging software, such as WordPress, can double as the organization’s web “content management system”. Full web content management systems usually include their own blog modules.

Are blogs indexed anywhere?

Try one of these sites to find a blog / blog entries on topics of interest to you:

Learning Activities

Now it’s time to create your own blog.

Now that you’ve done some exploring around blogs, it’s time to set up your own.  We’ll use our blogs to record and share our discoveries and experiences as we work through the Connecticut’s 23 Things activities. For this program, we’ll use Blogger, a popular free online blog hosting service that is extremely easy to use.


  1. Go to 
  2. Create an account, be sure to save your login and password, and the name you give your blog
  3. Name your blog
  4. Select your template

Once you’ve created your blog here are two important things to know:

To add posts: The maintenance interface that you will use to add posts, edit or change the set-up of your blog is accessed online at Be sure to write down your login and password.

To view your blog: Your blog address is http://(xxxx), (xxxx)=the unique identifier you entered in Step 2. Be sure to also write down your blog address.

If you run into problems or would like more information about blogs and using Blogger use the Quick Tutorial


Post some observations about what you’ve learned so far to your blog. For instance which fun blogs you found, other ways your library might use blogs.   Each of your posts should provide insights into what you have discovered and learned. Share what has worked…and what didn’t…what suprised you….what frustrated you…and what amazed you.

PLEASE NOTE: You will be creating a post for each of the “Learning Activities”.  Please label each blog entry by titling each post with the week number and activity to which it refers. For example: Week 2: Blogs , Week 3: Wikis, etc. 

FINALLY: Register your blog and JOIN THE PARTY!! Send an email with the URL of your blog ( and “Connecticut’s 23 Things” in the subject line to Kris: . Once registered, it may take up to 24 hours for your blog name to appear on “Participants” page.

If you do not want your blog to appear on the “Participants” page, that’s ok! Include the phrase “PRIVATE BLOG” in your registration message. Only the program administrators will view it, and it will not be shown on this page.

**Use of Blogger is only a recommendation. If there is another blog hosting site that you are more comfortable with, please feel free to use it.**

Are there any guidelines or rules for blog posts?

While there are no rules per se, these are a few things to keep in mind as you blog your progress:

  • Privacy? There is none! Everyone can read your blog. This is the nature of blogs in general. Remember, you can remain anonymous by choosing a generic name for the blog and hide your user profile if you wish.
  • Keep in mind the type of posts you make and use discretion in mentioning names/places.
  • Copyright issues and intellectual content also apply to blogs.
  • Photo posting – When posting identifiable photos of other people (especially minors) it is advisable to get the person’s permission before posting their photo in a publicly available place like Flickr. Never upload pictures that weren’t taken by you (unless you have the photographer’s consent) and always give credit when you include photos taken by someone else in your blog.
  • Respect your colleagues’ thoughts and comments, but feel free to disagree. That’s how discussions ensue and change happens!

What do I blog about? And how do I write effective blog entries?

Maybe you’re wondering what the key to a good blog entry is.

Take a look at the following resources for guidance:

Did you know?

  • that a blog is sometimes seen as a replacement for the traditional library newsletter? (for Internet Explorer users, you may be interested in this OPAL presentation on “A 21-st century printing press: blogs as a publishing mechanism”)
  • that the addition of blogs to your web presence can enhance the search engine ranking for your library’s main website?
  • Many library conferences use specific tags to make it easy for you to follow the conference online. Bloggers who attend those conferences tag their entries accordingly. So even if you can’t attend, you can get some of the conference buzz. Simply run a search on (or monitor a feed of) that conference’s tag. For example, in Technorati search on CIL2008 (or link directly to to pull up the Computers In Libraries 2008 entries.
  • “micro-blogging” is a hot new segment of the blogosphere. Twitter is the primary example of a micro-blogging site. We discuss Twitter in the Social Networking section of Connecticut 23 Things because it is similar to communicating via a social networking site, such as Facebook. For more on micro-blogging, see: Micro-blogging

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Week 3: Wikis

Posted by kabery on December 5, 2009

What is a wiki?

A wiki is a collaborative website and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content. With the benefits that wikis provide the use and popularity of these tools is exploding.  WIKIS ARE COOL!!

Some of the benefits that make wikis so attractive are:

  • Anyone (registered or unregistered, if unrestricted) can add, edit or delete content.
  • Tracking tools within wikis allow you to easily keep up on what been changed and by whom.
  • Earlier versions of a page can be viewed and reinstated when needed.
  • And users do not need to know HTML in order to apply styles to text or add and edit content. In most cases simple syntax structure is used.

Enjoy  Wikis in Plain English, a Commoncraft Show on YouTube

Find out more about wikis:

WikiMatrix – useful tool for comparing the features of various wikis

Wiki, wiki, wiki – from PLCMC’s own Core Compentency blog

What is a Wiki? – Library Success wiki presentation

Using Wikis to Create Online Communities – a good overview of what a wiki is and how it can be used in libraries

What are some examples of wikis?

Libraries across the country are embracing wikis for many different applications

  • Collaborative workspace for staff working on a large project
  • As a subject guide for complex topics
  • As a FAQ site for difficult research questions in a library
  • To share book reviews
  • To record and share meeting/conference proceedings
  • As easily update policy/procedure manuals
the online open-community encyclopedia, is the largest & perhaps the most well known of these knowledge sharing tools, search for “Connecticut State Library”
Grand Rapids Public Library’s wiki
Libsuccess, a space for librarians to share success stories including staff manuals, subject guides, & project management
Developed by Colorado College to provide links to “all sorts of government information”
Developed by Princeton Public Library for a summer reading program for adults
Examples of wikis used for collaboration between library staff
University of Connecticut Libraries Staff wiki
Teen Lib Wiki, a database for and by librarians serving teens.
Educational Wikis, examples of educational wikis.

Learning Activities

1. For this discovery exercise, take a look at some library wikis and blog about your findings.   What did you find interesting? What types of applications within libraries might work well with a wiki? What other ways could you use wikis at your library?


Want to set up your own wiki? Try one of these tools: PBWiki, WetPaint or WikiSpaces. Post your thoughts and comments to your blog.

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Week 4: Social Bookmarking

Posted by kabery on December 4, 2009

What is social bookmarking?

Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages. Users save links to web pages that they want to remember and/or share. These bookmarks can be saved privately, shared only with specified people or groups, shared only inside certain networks, or another combination of public and private domains.


  • Social bookmarking allows you to have access to your bookmarks from any computer connected to the internet.
  • One of the major advantages is that users are not tied to a specific browser (i.e.Internet Explorer Favorites or Firefox Bookmarks).
  • Social bookmarking lets users organize or categorized their sites with tags instead of the usual browser based folder system. This enables you to label data with your own terms or popular terms that others have used.
  • Social bookmarking also allows you to share your bookmarks with others.

Take a look at  Social Bookmarking in Plain English at YouTube

What is tagging?

Tags are simply keywords or labels that you can use to describe and organize your bookmarks. Tagging is completely unstructured and free form, allowing users to create connections between data any way they want.  A tag cloud is a way to view tags where the most-used tags are bigger and the less-used ones are smaller. This can help you visually understand and navigate a large collection of bookmarks.

A staff member used del.ici.ous to keep track of the websites we used for this project.  Below is an example of the page, the bookmarks are on the left, the tag cloud is on the right.  By clicking on any word in the tag cloud, you’ll get a list of just the bookmarks with that tag.  So for instance, if we wanted to know all the sites we used about wikis, we could just click on “wikis” in the cloud tag.   Take a look at

(you may have to adjust the “tag options” if you want to see the cloud)

Thirteen Tips for Effective Tagging

More benefits of social bookmarking

  • If friends use Delicious, you can share bookmarks. Send them bookmarks that they can check out and they can do the same for you. You can also use the Delicious subscriptions and network features to keep track of the tags and users you find most interesting.
  • Discover the most useful and interesting bookmarks – you can see what’s hot with users by checking out the “popular tags” feature of Delicious.

Where can I participate in social bookmarking?

There are many other Social Bookmarking applications you may want to check out.

Examples of Libraries using

Be sure to check out the libraries using list for great links and innovative ideas. can be used to develop Subject Guides.

Check out Library Subject Guides Using and look at the Subject Guide to Physics posted by Buley Library at SCSU or the French Language Subject Guide created by the College of New Jersey Library for ideas. Other social bookmarking sites such as Furl and Yahoo’s My Web can also be used.

Learning Activities

1. Explore the page we developed to build this blog,
2. Take a look at some of the ways libraries (from the list above) have incorporated to enhance services.
3. Create an account in, Furl or StumbleUpon and add some bookmarks.  Utilize tags and invite some colleagues to share.
4. Revisit Technorati (remember from Week 2) and see how tags work with blog posts. Try doing a keyword search for “Learning 2.0” in Blog posts, in tags and in the Blog Directory. Are the results different?

In your blog postings this week share the URL’s to your bookmarking sites if you’d like. Consider if there is potential to use these tools for research assistance, or for collaborative projects. How could you utilize these tools at your library?

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Week 5: RSS Feeds & Custom Home Pages

Posted by kabery on December 3, 2009

What is an RSS feed?

Enjoy and learn from  RSS in Plain English, a Commoncraft Show, on YouTube. You may also want to check out Feed Me: A Gentle Introduction to Internet Feeds a good tutorial from PALINET that covers Bloglines, Feed Reader and Google Reader.

What is a widget?

A widget is a symbol that contains html code that you can just click on to navigate the web. You’ll see them all over the internet, including web pages, blogs & wikis.

These are pictures of some common widgets:

How is the State Library using RSS feeds

Look for the RSS feed widgets at each of these sites:

How can we keep track of all our RSS feeds?

You can use a “reader” to aggregate all your RSS feeds into one place. Here are two examples of sites where you can create your own reader, and check out the Bloglines section under “Learning 2.0 Examples and see all the links that were created.

Google Reader Tutorial,
a Commoncraft video on YouTube
Site for searching, subscribing, creating & sharing news feeds, blogs & the web.

Customized Internet Start Pages

Using a reader is fine for just your blogs, but for one-stop shopping for all your blogs, bookmarks, wikis, photos, web pages and everything else you do on the web,you can create a personalized home page.

Take a look at the custom home page examples (iGoogle, Netvibes, Pageflakes) which includes links to things like RSS feeds to blogs, a calendar, to-do lists, calculator widget.

Where can I build a customized start page?

Create your own web start page to keep you up to date on your blogs and news resources.  You can also add photos, calendars, email and to do lists
Another customizable start page, including the capability of adding web feeds and cool Google gadgets.
A multi-lingual personalized home/start page. Netvibes is organized into tabs, with each tab containing user-defined modules. Modules include an RSS feed reader, weather forecasts, bookmarks, notes, to-do lists, multiple searches, and email.

Learning Activities

1. Follow the resources above to learn more about RSS and newsreaders.
2. Create a Bloglines account & subscribe to at least 3 newsfeeds to your reader (see Using Bloglines Tutorial steps 1-3 for instructions).
3. Create a customized web page using any of the above.
2. Add at least 5 gadgets or modules to your page.
3. Create a post in your blog about these exercises. What do you like about RSS and newsreaders? How can libraries use RSS or take advantage of this new technology? How can you or your library use customized home pages? What kind of gadgets or modules did you add to your customized home page?

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Catch Up Week

Posted by kabery on December 2, 2009

Catch Up / Play Week

As you might have noticed, there isn’t really a lesson this week. Instead it’s Catch-up Time and/or Play Time.  Revisit an old 2.0 friend you didn’t have enough time with, or maybe discover a new one in the Suggestion Box section.

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Week 6: Organize Your Books

Posted by kabery on December 1, 2009

Many online applications have developed for book lovers to organize their collections, participate in book groups, share and collaborate.  Check these out:

This site not only allows you to easily create an online catalog of your own books, it also connects you to other people who have similar libraries and reading tastes. Explore:About LibraryThing, Library Thing tourAnd discover Librarians who LibraryThing
You  can catalogue your own books, list what you’re reading  have read or want to read. You can review books, tag them, rate them and add a widget to your blog. You can be linked to Amazon to purchase  & you can search library catalogues!
A community dedicated to books and book clubs. Find reviews, discussion guides or take a course.
A virtual library where you can browse everyone’s bookshelves, read their reviews and book ratings, join discussion groups or start a book club.

LibraryThing and Libraries

How libraries are using LibraryThing

Librarians Who LibraryThing

Examples of how public libraries use LibraryThing for Libraries  to enhance their catalogs


And how about sites for our favorite authors?  Check these out:

Authors on the Web and AuthorYellowPages are put together by, which also created, an online community for reading groups, and, a great place to get to know more about your favorite authors, as well as several other reading-related sites.

Learning Activities:

  1. Explore the sites above.  Choose one and create an account.

  2. Develop a library with at least 5 books, and invite a colleague to share their reviews/comments
  3. Considerations for your blog this week:  Include a link to the library you created.  Which one did you like best?  Where there features missing that you wished had been there? Are you aware of any other libraries using these tools?  Any ideas for applications at a public library?

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