Friday, May 2, 2008

Thing #23: Wrapping Up

Let's celebrate finishing the OCL Web Things Challenge by having a Web 2.0 style party. YouTube will provide the music and entertainment, and you can provide the blog comments and snacks.

In the last ten weeks, you have learned about new technologies that are changing the way people are using the Internet (and libraries).

The great (and sometimes frustrating) thing about the Internet is that it is always changing. The technology companies and bloggers are already working on a definition of what Web 3.0 will be.

The OCL Web Things Committee hopes that you enjoyed the Web Challenge and will continue to be a life long learner. Thank you for playing.

Discovery Exercise
This is your last required blog post, so make it a good one. What was your favorite thing you learned about? Conversely, what did you like least about Web 2.0? What areas of Web 2.0 do you think the library should get more involved in? What Web 2.0 services have you shared with your friends and family?

Advanced Optional Exercise
Look up Web 3.0 and predict what you think it will be.

Thing #22 : ListenNJ

Do you know what a digital audio book is?

Digital audio books are similar to the audio books that the library circulates. Instead of picking them up at the library, you can download them on your home computer. Once you have downloaded the audio book it can be listened to on the computer. Some titles can transferred to an MP3 player or burnt onto a CD.

Did you know that Ocean County Library offers its customers through ListenNJ ?

ListenNJ offers a wide variety of audio books for customers to access from their home computers. Topics include fiction, biographies, business, children’s literature, current events, history, mystery, romance, suspense and more.

To access digital books at ListenNJ you will need:

  • A valid Ocean County Library Card
  • Access to the Internet
  • OverDrive Audio Book and Windows Media Player 9.0 software (both are free and available to download from ListenNJ)
  • An MP3 player

Currently, ListenNJ is not compatible with the following devices:

  • Apple Macintosh computers
  • Apple iPod portable media players
  • Microsoft Zune portable media players.

If you have one of these products, fear not. ListenNJ’s parent company OverDrive announced that they are working on supporting these products in the future.

UPDATE for IPod OwnersOctober 3, 2008

Over two hundred titles are now available on ListenNJ's website in MP3 (IPod compatible) format. To see a complete list, choose the advanced search option, then choose "Overdrive MP3 audiobook" as the format. Click search and you'll see the complete list. You can check the box "Only show titles with copies available" if you want to see only what can be downloaded immediately. You can get on the waiting list for titles already checked out.

Discovery Resource
Ocean County Library’s instructions for ListenNJ downloading. You'll need your library card number to use ListenNJ.

Discovery Exercise
If you have a MP3 player already, great. You'll download a book to the player and listen to some of the audio to make sure everything worked. If you don't have a MP3 player (yet) or don't want to download a book to your MP3 player, that's okay. Use the instructions above. Go to ListenNJ and download a book of your choosing onto your computer (use a PC Plus computer at work) and listen to some of the book to make sure everything worked.

Hint: To make it easier to find the downloaded file, download it to the desktop. Once you're done with the exercise, delete the file off the desktop.

Don't forget to blog about your experience downloading a book through ListenNJ.

Thing #21 : Finding & Listening to Podcasts

One of the greatest buzzwords in the Web 2.0 world is podcast. We've had quite a few podcasts for you to listen to throughout this challenge. But you may still be wondering, what is a podcast?

Podcasts are download-able audio programming that you can listen to on a variety of topics. They are created by your neighbor, your coworker or large media companies like ESPN, CBS and the New York Times. Best of all, the majority of podcasts are free.

When we said that anyone can create a podcast, we mean anyone. All you need is a microphone, a computer and some simple recording software to create a podcast. The number of podcasts grows daily and there are podcasts on virtually every subject. From sports to cooking to gardening to video games, you can probably find a podcast about anything you can imagine.

So how do you listen to a podcast?

The old way to get podcasts was to check the website of your favorite podcast frequently for updates. Once there was an announcement that a new podcast was available, you could then listen from the website or download it to your computer.

Web 2.0 made listening to podcasts easier. A few weeks ago you learned about RSS? Podcasters now use RSS feeds to distribute their podcasts. People use programs called podcatchers to subscribe to their favorite podcasts. Once they subscribe to a podcast, the podcatcher will automatically download new podcasts for you.

There are a variety of podcatcher programs available. The most popular is Apple’s iTunes. Below is a video that shows how simple it is to maintain your podcast subscriptions with iTunes. Most other podcatchers work similarly.

Doesn’t that look easy?

Once you have downloaded a podcast, you can listen to it on your computer or transfer it to your portable media device, like your iPod, Zune or other mp3 player.

With newer portable media devices like the iPod and Zune having video features and home digital video editing equipment becoming easier and more affordable, some podcasters have stepped up their game and gotten into video podcasting. It works just like regular podcasting, but instead of producing audio they are making video programming, or vodcasting.

To help promote their Ratatouille movie last summer, Pixar produced a series of vodcasts about the film. These “rat” casts were free and distributed through podcast listings.

Discovery resources
1. Uses of podcasting
2. Apple's iTunes FAQ on podcasts

Discovery Exercise
1. Explore a podcasting site like or Odeo.
2. Search for a podcast on a topic of your choice and listen to it. Post a link to the podcast and blog your reactions.

Advanced Optional Exercise
If you have an iPod, use your home computer to subscribe to a podcast. Blog about your experience.

Thing #20: YouTube & You

The most popular website/service in the Web 2.0 world is YouTube. The committee is sure that you knew about YouTube even before the web challenge. Each day, people view hundreds of millions of video clips on YouTube, ranging from news, sports clips, music videos, classic television commercials and more.

What makes YouTube special is the "you" part--anyone can post videos to YouTube.

Libraries can use YouTube in a variety of ways. Videos can be made and placed on YouTube to promote library programs and services. The Public Relations department put together this video to promote an Anime Event at the Toms River branch this February.

YouTube videos can also be used to show what is going on at your library branch. Katelyn Nesi posted a video of Maggie Worsdale's "Great Jewish American Songbook" concert that was held at the Jackson branch.

The library also gets promoted inadvertently through YouTube. Remember the anime program we mentioned earlier?

The program at the Toms River branch featured voice actor Vic Mignogna, and
there are several videos of him speaking at this program.

Discovery Resources
1. View this video. It tells the story of how YouTube was started.
2. This is a great article on how YouTube's popularity is starting to rival television.

Discovery Exercises
1. Play around with YouTube and use the search tool to look for some videos that interest you.
2. Post the link to a video you found, blog about the clip that you found on YouTube.

Advanced Optional Exercise
Embed the YouTube video you selected in a blog post.