Lrbolsover’s Weblog

September 29, 2008

Gaming & Virtual Worlds

Filed under: Uncategorized — lrbolsover @ 12:47 pm

These were not new topics to me as both my (now) adult children are gamers and I have viewed 100s of hours of gaming at home both them alone and with friends and participated when allowed! I was new to Second Life however and I found the experience fun but the navigation around was a bit clunky. At home I prefer games like (challenge your friends to) Quiz games and of course on-line Scrabble (which I am very bad at). Of the games suggested I tried Runescape but quickly got bored as progress was so slow. Which leads me to my only real criticism of gaming and virtual worlds -it does take a big chunk of time out of your life.  Any parent or educator who has some experience would agree that real experience is better than virtual experience. The virtual experience has sprung  out of parents and educators no longer having the time to expose students to more real world experience. This was part of what Robert Winston was discussing in his talk at our AwayDay- exposing students to real experiences rather than second hand ones.

Our virtual medical examination was a case in point. I have to declare inside knowledge here and say that my husband teaches beginning health service/medical students and has for double decades. Every year in the end -of term evaluations students seem to consistantly express two things: one-they like the older professors with their traditional methods two- they want more real experience (lab or otherwise) as that is the way they learn fastest and it sticks with them. The virtual medical exams was more like going through a question and answer book or a simptom sorter than it was examinaing a real person so while its was “fun” it shouldn’t be considered a substitute for the real thing…



Filed under: Uncategorized — lrbolsover @ 12:31 pm

I accepted an invitation to join the Ning group and viewed the page. It looks similar to a facebook page and has similar function. I uploaded a photo here at Imp. Then I tried to do more from my home computer. Ning required me to sign -up again so I was a bit impatient with that. I can see clearly that a closed area where a group could share ideas on a topic would be very useful educationally especially since no matter how uncontroversial you think your discussion topic is you can always get your “Wall” space highjacked by some silly argument. My history group on facebook was recently highjacked by two such folk having different opinions on if one should go to war with Napolen Boneparte should he miraculously come to life and want to lead an army in the modern world…very silly. On the other hand I don’t like the idea of any educational information being in a “members only” space because you learn much more by viewing others questions and dialog on topics than you do if access to info is restricted. I think that open access to all dialog on educational topics is very, very important …so I don’t like Ning.

September 21, 2008

Catch Up Week

Filed under: Uncategorized — lrbolsover @ 5:11 pm

I used the catch up week to put some Web 2.0 learning into practice. I made a facebook group for Harrow Nature Conservation Forum (a group of volunteers which maintain many of the woodland areas where I live) and am hoping to get some younger volunteers by listing events on the facebook page. Most of the people actually doing the conservation work are older- many retired -and have been doing this for years. They need to develop a younger group of workers they can eventually pass on the work to and although young people are very interested in the environment and conservation it is sometimes very difficult to “connect” with new volunteers that will actually commit to working outdoors on a semi-regular basis. I’ve got events listed through the end of October and I’ve uploaded photos from a recent moth night. I’ve added some recent news and I’ve got 6 members at the moment. I’m hoping the “joining” will be spontaneous but have also looked into running a facebook “ad” directed at London members who have listed volunteering and conservation in their profile- in case it all stalls at six members! This would not be free but it might be interesting to see if it proves effective. I might just have created a facebook group that looks too “square” for many to join…we shall see. I’ve also added a link to the main website for HNCF at and a few others dealing with the opposition to some local housing initiatives (Agenda21-protecting the Green Belt) and a couple for insect identification or just for browsing. Hope it works…

September 6, 2008

iTunes and podcasts

Filed under: Web2.0 — Tags: , , — lrbolsover @ 9:09 pm

I have been looking more closely at podcasts in the last few days. First I added some podcasts subscriptions to my Google Reader. These were from the BBC and very easy to do- after that I tried to add some interesting book related podcasts to Google Reader but found that Google reader wouldn’t support them so got frustrated. With the time available for me to search- I could not find podcasts with content that I wanted to add to Google Reader. At the same time I picked up to read the July-Dec edition of UCL People which had an article on UCL lectures on iTunesU. Since we had just had our nice talk by John about the way lectures and teaching material are being presented now I wanted to go have a look- and ended up downloading iTunes and subscribing to The Library Channel podcasts from ASU Libraries. This kind of content was much better and actually worth spending a bit of time to sort through. I am also looking at the language and history podcasts from various universities. This could be good!

September 4, 2008

Embedded music attempt

Filed under: Uncategorized — lrbolsover @ 9:30 pm

I hope you enjoy this small audio clip of some classical music. I downloaded this from MFiles because I couldn’t find anything I liked on the websites suggested. Then uploaded it to my husbands website- with his permission and all seems to work okay. I would think audio embedding would be very useful for using perhaps audio clips from authors on library websites or to help blind or partially sited people during induction- to name just two uses. Sorry the music sounds a bit like it’s being played by Kazoos!!

August 31, 2008

iGoogle and Mozilla 3.0

Filed under: Uncategorized — lrbolsover @ 8:14 pm

I looked at personalised homepages among other things this week. Lawrence had showed us his Pageflakes page at the end of one of the sessions and I really wanted to see what it did. I tried Pageflakes but quickly got bogged down- maybe I just didn’t have the time to concentrate that day and I am short of patience sometimes! So next I tried iGoogle. It was a lot of fun setting the theme up and adding pages and applications. The I went to look at what they actually did and deleted at least half since they didn’t really give me anything useful. I managed to display my Flickr photos in the Flickr widget and got my Facebook site on the home page. Then I tried setting up a personlaized page for non-standard iGoogle content. Here is where I began to feel frustrated as it didn’t seem to support many of the RSS feeds I wanted. I got a few working but have had to let it lie for now as I ran out of time.
On the Browser side- I have mostly used Mozilla for a while- because (as mentioned above I am freqently impatient) it is much quicker than IE. Mozilla 3.0 which I have recently downloaded is the best yet. It remembers which websites I had tabbed open and loads them the next day like magic. I love this as both in Acq and Subs Man I usually have to have multiple windows open and it saves time getting started. I also have the add-on Stumbling which has practical as well as social aspects. Not only can you find unusual content but also see who else is interested in the obscure subjects you are. Although when I have tried serious subjects like- I don’t know “e-journals” or something I get very little.
Opera seems very high tech and much more integrated with moblie phone technology than others browsers. I found it a bit scary so-far. Shall try again soon and have a more coherent comment.
Finally- I got a response to one of my Blog postings from outside our group! so I guess the internet world is really listening. I like it

August 28, 2008

Potential to provide Library services via mobile phones

Filed under: Uncategorized — lrbolsover @ 7:55 pm

I think that using mobile phones for communication between the library and students will probably prove to be the most popular way to exchange information with the students. They always have their phones and they don’t need to log in etc… I definately found that it got better results when I was working in a bookshop and mass texting customer when goods arrived. There are commercial business of course now that offer text reference services. A friend of mine works for AQA (Any Question Answered) and answers general queries by text (such as how long would it take a Stanna Stairlift to get to the moon) and it is popular enough for her to support herself after a fashion even though she only gets 30p of every pound spent by the punter! Surfed around for examples of how libraries were using text referencing and I could only find US based ones. Such as:
The Times-Reporter
Posted Mar 27, 2008 @ 10:54 PM

Starting Tuesday, the Tuscarawas County Public Library at New Philadelphia will begin offering instant messaging reference service. During open hours, reference staff will respond to questions that allow short answers via instant messaging on the library’s Web site at
Wednesday, August 20, 2008 4:26 PM EDT
y cant i find my sox…u know where they r

Queens Library staff probably can’t answer this question for you. But this is one of the few exceptions – librarians there can actually respond to a surprisingly wild variety of inquiries including texting,

I’m sure there are UK ones as well…
I also found this referencing service in a library in Kansas that had all its’ links for IM, Chat, Text, & E-mail on one page and I especially liked it so here is the link if you are interested:

August 27, 2008

My camera phone and it’s contents!

Filed under: Uncategorized — lrbolsover @ 9:18 pm

Steve in the Kitchen

Steve in the Kitchen

Uploading a photo from my phone is a first for me. I usually just use my digital camera. I had to download software and hope that it all worked as there were no instructions with the phone but the phone managed to communicate after the downloads were complete and all was well… Next time I witness a crime I’ll be ready to record the perpetrator face with my camera and publish it!!!!!

August 22, 2008

Bookmarks and IM

Filed under: Uncategorized — lrbolsover @ 5:50 pm

This week I migrated all my bookmarks to Delicious on Monday and started tagging and using them on Tuesday.  I realized as I started using them that I hadn’t really thought out how to organise them and could do better when I get the time. I started using the IM to send messages/questions to Karen in IRD. That’s been very helpful and fun as well. Then Ann did some upgrade on Thursaday night to my PC in acquisitions and BAM I have no profile! All my bookmarks and settings etc…are gone BUT I still have my book marks on Delicious so it’s has been a good week for showing me that web based applications are very useful! Hopefully next week when Subs Man is fully manned and I will have a bit more time to play.

August 20, 2008

IM and it’s use

Filed under: Uncategorized — lrbolsover @ 8:43 am

I realize I haven’t written anything about IM yet. I was a bit disappointed when I activated it on my work computer in acquisitions. The computer immediately began to run slower so I haven’t used it for a while. It may have been just a problem with IE-the problem didn’t seem severe when I switched to Mozilla. I guess I’ll try again. I would guess that the library might be thinking of using IM to inform users when books they have recalled or their Interlibrary loans etc… are ready for collection and I know that other libraries use IM for this. But I also heard it worked better at Universities where students were required to purchase laptops and have them connected to the university internet. Here, as far as I know, that isn’t true and we can’t be sure that users even have internet access at home. On the other hand I think all students have mobile phones and I have used “Telephony” software commercially to send out “Pick up” notices by text message direct to user/customers’ mobile phones. With this system all the mobile phone numbers are added into a batch screen at once and the program sends the text message (“Your book/item is ready for collection at Central Library Issue Desk”) or whatever) to all phones all at once- It was a great time saving device and we had a very good response rate from customers who would often show up immediately to pick up their books. It might be a better method of almost instant messaging here.

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