Sunday, November 22, 2009

Twitter and libraries

The libraries that I looked at seemed to use Twitter in a variety of ways. Some of these were:

Tweets about new and/or interesting titles just received or of note
Tips on how you can use the library services more effectively (eg sending in an online suggestion for purchase)
Comments about news items of interest, often with links to articles or other websites (All Whites, Witi Ihimaera, New moon movie)
Events coming up

Other Twitter users definitely appeared to be interacting with the libraries, and most of the tweets were in a fairly informal, chatty style.

I think on the whole I personally would be more likely to follow tweets with some sort of information or news in them, especially where they included links to articles of interest and other websites. I guess with an instution like a library you're less likely to get the sort of stuff that would be sent between friends and people who really know each other well and understand each other's terminology and are interested in what their friends are thinking, feeling or doing at any particular time. I do agree with a comment I read in one of the articles about Twitter and libraries which said that even if you don't think Twitter is terribly applicable right now, it pays to keep up with the latest technology anyhow, and know what's out there. Which is where I'm coming from in doing this course - not that keen on using Twitter myself but at least I now have a vague idea what it's all about!

OK, here's my attempt at a 'tweet':

A great read if you like cricket: Michael Simkins' book 'Fatty batter' will have you laughing out loud!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Searching Twitter

I did a search for 'Auckland super city', which may not be all that imaginative, but is certainly topical with information about the boundaries and so on coming out today.

I found that the results obtained by searching Twitter's search engine and other 3rd party search engines were remarkably similar, except for my search in TweepSearch which didn't turn up any results at all. I guess this is because this search engine looks at profiles and biographies rather tweets themselves? I also searched on TweetGrid and Twazzup, with a result list which was pretty well identical to the original results from Twitter. Twazzup also showed the most popular links that had been put into tweets, and showed how many people had used them and how many times. The results mostly seemed to be informational, about the announcement that was made today, with links to sites like the NBR, and media organisations, rather than opinions on the super city. Most of the results were relevant as well, although one or two used the 3 terms in my search without actually being about the super city developments. This I guess is because Twitter assumes the word 'and' is between each search term unless you specify otherwise by grouping terms.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The 2 Twitter accounts I looked at were really quite different, which made sense since one was a personal account and one was from a media organisation.

This Way Up is a consumer programme on Radio NZ (which I sometimes catch a bit of after I've been listening to Kim Hill). The tweets seemed to be mainly informational, about what was coming up on the programme, or 'magazine' type items of interest around the topic of the radio show, most with links to other websites. The tweets themselves were in 'normal' language since they didn't need to be shortened to fit into the 140 character limit. So This Way Up's tweets weren't really answering the 'what are you doing' question, but giving information to people who listen to the show or are interested in the sort of topics it discusses.

I also looked at Margaret Atwood's Twitter account, which I found a rather different experience. The tweets were mostly in txt-speak which to be honest didn't mean a lot to me and I found difficult to decifer. (I am one of those miserable pedants who for the most part insists on typing text messages out in full, including correct punctuation where possible!) They appeared to be more social, conversational, sharing of thoughts and ideas and events rather than information, and very personal to Atwood and the people close to her. This did however seem more in keeping with the original aim of Twitter's creators, to answer the question, 'what are you doing?'

To be honest I can't really get excited about things like Twitter, which I'm sure have their place but do seem to have the potential to consume more and more time, though I like the concept of mobile access to a phone rather than logging in to a computer all the time. The blog post about the confusing Twitter terminology was also very interesting and helpful for someone using it for the first time.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Creative Commons

The CC licensing conditions of the Web 2.0 programme are : Attribution non-commercial 3.0 New Zealand

The image from Flickr I used is:
The CC licence conditions are Some rights reserved - Attribution - Noncommercial - Share alike.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I think I would follow the advice given at the end of the material on this topic, and use OpenID for logins where security wasn't a big concern, but not where security was paramount. I can see advantages in not having to create and remember lots of different usernames and passwords, particularly where you may want to login to a particular site once but possibly never again. For example, when purchasing online you are often required to create an account even though you may never want to use this website again. I have found this quite tedious and time consuming, and also slightly worrying if you have to enter name, address and email details, and quite often end up receiving emails from this site whether you want them or not, which does get annoying, especially years after using the site. (Although I guess using OpenID wouldn't really stop this happening). Also, there are enough usernames and passwords to remember every day as it is without constantly adding to them!

I hadn't heard of OpenID before but it is a useful thing to know about, another tool to use or not as you see fit, bearing in mind the advantages and disadvantages associated with using it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Online privacy and security

One of the interesting and slightly disturbing things about the rise of the Internet and the ability for people to have an online presence is that as one of the resources noted, there are no rules surrounding use. People need to be aware of what they are doing when online and the potential consequences. As noted in the resources, publishing information online, especially personal information, really puts it into the public domain and can also give site providers permission to use this information in any way they see fit. Even things like photos of yourself and friends aren't 'private' and if put online can have unintended repercussions. Recent examples of this locally have been incidents where students have posted photos of themselves on social networking sites doing things like dressing up in Nazi uniforms, which have come to the attention of members of the public and cause deep offence and anger.

How many people though really think about this sort of thing when they go online? You might wonder (as I do!) who on earth would be interested in what you do or what you think, but you really do need to be informed and know exactly what you're potentially opening yourself up to. Certainly this is information that we as librarians should be aware of and provide to our patrons. We are information professionals, and our role is to provide access to information and guidance in its use. Patrons need to be assured that any information they provide to us when joining the library will be used appropriately by staff and won't be shared with outside organisations or be able to be hacked into. I assume this can safely be said about North Shore Libraries' online facilities!

The guidelines for parents about computer use and safety were pretty clear and looked very useful. A lot of it is common sense and fairly self-evident, once you understand that what you do online is visible to friends and strangers alike.