Welcome to 23 Things On a Stick

Oh, no!! Round 2 of 23 Things On a Stick is closed. The blog will stay up indefinitely so you can continue on your own. And, watch for More Things On a Stick in January 2009. Thanks for participating.

Have you ever thought, ”Gosh, I wish I had time to learn more about Flickr, wikis, or (enter your Web 2.0 tool here)?” Well, this is your chance to take the time to focus on your personal and professional development around Web 2.0 tools. It’s fun to explore these tools and figure out ways to use them in the library, with your personal Web sites, or in other ways.

23 Things On a Stick is the Minnesota twist on the Library Learning 2.0 program developed by Helene Blowers at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenberg County and adopted or adapted by many other libraries and organizations since then. 23 Things On a Stick was developed by the seven multitype multicounty library systems as part of the staff development the multitypes offer in their regions.

Who Can Participate
This program is open to all staff in any Minnesota library—public, academic, school, or special—as well as members of their Governing Boards, their Friends groups, or Advisory Groups. 23 Things on a Stick is approved for Minnesota Certification for Library Employees and CEUs. Experienced Web 2.0 users as well as novices and everyone in between are invited to join. This is self-paced and self-directed.
Registration for Round 2 begins May 15, 2008.
  • You must register your blog by June 15, 2008 and then complete all 23 Things by September 15, 2008.
  • Each person participating must have and register his/her own blog.
  • Didn't finish all 23 in Round 1? You can re-register your blog and finish in Round 2.
How It Works
You are in charge of your learning in this program. We have identified the 23 Things for you to do over the course of the program, but you decide when you do them—and the amount of time you spend and the depth of your exploration. Each of the 23 Things can take as little as an hour or as much more time you have to give. You document your participation by setting up and maintaining a blog (Thing 1).
Each Thing will show you one or more Web tools. These Web 2.0 tools are bringing library staff and our patrons in touch with the entire world through social networking, video, audio, and gaming sites. We have found many places for you to explore, experiment with, and think about creative ways to use this in your library. Participation in 23 Things on a Stick allows you to take time to explore and enjoy these tools.
Even if you think you know all about all of the tools in 23 Things On a Stick, we encourage you to join the program. We have added Challenge sections to some of the Things to stretch you and you can always learn more about any of the tools through independent exploration. And we will learn from you because you will blog about your discoveries.
Everyone who registers by June15, 2008 and completes all 23 items on the list and blogs about each one by September 15, 2008 will receive a completion prize and be eligible for other prizes. Otherwise, there is no deadline and this course will remain online through 2008.
Read on! Registration occurs as part of Thing 1.
Tutorial Format
Each week begins with a brief explanation of a new Web 2.0 topic or tool, followed by a numbered list of activities related to the tool. These exercises give you the background you need to understand the tools you're learning about. Don't skip them!
When you have done the items in each list, you comment or post to your blog. (You will learn how to set up a blog in Thing 1.) Your blog is the tool to communicate your reactions, new-found skills, ideas, questions, and favorite Web sites to the other 23 Things On a Stick participants and is how your completion of all 23 Things is documented.
There will be no statewide classes or workshops offered to support this program. Instead, staff are encouraged to work together with others in their libraries or region and share with each other their discoveries, techniques and "how to" both in person and through their blogs.
Check your multitype region’s Web site for any regional 23 Things On a Stick updates and activities.


About 23 Things On a Stick

This blog has been set-up as part of the 23 Things on a Stick: A Library Learning 2.0 Program. The 23 Things encourage all of us to experiment and learn about the new and emerging technologies that are changing how information is used and created on the Internet today.
The 23 Things On a Stick Team modified The Learning 2.0 program designed by Helene Blowers, Technology Director, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County that was loosely based upon Stephen Abram's article 43 Things I (or You) Might Want To Do This Year (Information Outlook - February 2006) and the Web site 43 Things. We also used ideas from the California School Library Association School Library Learning 2.0 and other Library Learning 2.0 programs.
23 Things On a Stick offers ideas to "jump start" your learning. We hope you will share your ideas on how these Web 2.0 tools can be used in your libraries and media centers. We have used many Web 2.0 tools to design this program, including Blogger, Flickr, YouTube, PBWiki & Bloglines—which we learned as we went. You can learn them, too.

Frequently Asked Questions
1. How does this online learning program work?
This is a self-discovery program that allows participants to take control of their own learning. Participants are encouraged to work together with others in their buildings and regions and to share their insights and discoveries with others through their blogs and in person. 23 Things On a Stick is web-based and not tied to any particular computer. You can work at home, at school, at your public or academic library. You may need to work at home if your place of work or local library blocks multimedia or other sites.

2. Who can participate?
This program is open to all staff in any Minnesota library—public, academic, school, or special—as well as members of their Governing Boards, their Friends groups, or Advisory Groups. Each person must register her/his own blog. 23 Things on a Stick is approved for Minnesota Certification for Library Employees (12 contact hours) and CEUs.
2a. I started 23 Things On a Stick in the first round. Can I do this round, too?
Yes, you can. Use your original blog, but re-register here, so we know you are part of Round 2. Anyone who wants to do them all again can re-register, too. We want as many people to finish as possible so we will have a group ready to do More Things On a Stick.
3. How do I register my blog?
After you have created a blog using Blogger or other service as explained in Thing 1, register by clicking here. Note that you will not receive a confirmation of registration.
We will add your blog to the main mother blog by region--check the Participants' Blog list on the sidebar for your blog. This may take a week or so, since we must add them manually. We will not list your name; only your blog's name. Don't know your region? Click here for a map.
3a. Where's my blog? It is not on the list under my region.
All of the blogs are entered on the list manually--it is not an immediate process from SurveyMonkey to the 23 Things On a Stick main blog (wouldn't that be nice?). It may take a week to get the blog listed. If your blog is not up after a week, email with your name, the blog name, and URL.
3b. The link to my blog doesn't work or goes to some weird blog. What's the deal?
Possible reasons:
  • The links are copied and pasted into the main blog, so it is possible the link had a typo or was incomplete. We try to check them, but we miss some. Email with your name, the blog name, and URL so we can check the registration info.
  • You registered a blog that belongs to someone else. If you did not create your blog prior to registering and just selected a URL without checking availability, you may have a link to a "weird blog." Re-register with a new URL. We will change the list to reflect your new blog.
  • We couldn't figure out the URL you supplied, so it is not listed yet. You will be hearing from us soon.
  • You registered multiple blogs with different names and/or emails and we are waiting to get that straightened out with you.
4. How long do I have to complete the program?
Participants who wish to receive the completion incentive must register their blogs by June 15 and complete all 23 Things (and blog about each one!) by September 15.
Registration for Round 2 begins May 15, 2008.
5. Are there prizes?
Yes! Participants who complete the entire course will receive a completion incentive and be entered for additional prizes. To be eligible for prizes, you must register your blog as described in Thing 1 and complete all Things by September 15. Only Minnesota participants are eligible for prizes.
6. How do I track my progress for the 23 Things?
You will create a blog of your own in Thing 1 to track your progress. Please use your blog to write your reactions to the lessons and add any ideas you may have on how to use Web 2.0 tools for yourself and your library. This is your time to experiment, have fun, and learn at you own pace. Links to the blogs of all participants are listed by region on the front page of the mother blog.
Include the Thing # and title in the heading of each post. It will help you and the 23 Things on a Stick Team track your progress. It is helpful when you want to refer back or add something new on a specific topic or tool, too.

7. How will you know I have done all the Things?

You will write about each Thing you complete (see previous question). Each of the multitypes will be reading and tracking their participants' blogs.
8. Can I blog anonymously?
Yes & no. Since you control all the information that you share on your blog, you can choose to use a screen name to keep yourself anonymous if that makes it easier/more comfortable for you. However, if you want to be eligible for the prizes, you must register your blog with the 23 Things On a Stick team with a valid email. Your blog will be posted on this blog, but your "real identity" will not be listed.
But, really, why be anonymous? Other 23ers want to know who you are so they can share and learn more. It is not necessary to put all your personal info in your profile, but complete anonymity works against the social community we want to create with 23 Things On a Stick.

9. How much do I have to write in my blog posts?
Each blog post must describe which Thing you have completed (remember to put that in the post title, too), what your experience was learning about it--easy, hard, impossible--ideas how you can use this in your library or media center or in other areas, and other comments on the process. While we don't expect a dissertation on every Thing, we do expect thoughtful reflection and active participation that is clear in the post. Single line posts or those that show perfunctory participation will not be counted.
10. Will there be any training classes offered on how to do this?
There will be no statewide classes or workshops offered to support this program. Instead, staff are encouraged to work together with others in their libraries or region and share with each other their discoveries, techniques and "how to" both in person and through their blogs. You are encouraged to be resourceful and find a co-worker or another staff member who can help. Be sure to share your knowledge and expertise too!
We will provide helpful hints, encouraging words, and post comments on your blogs from time to time. The 23 Things On a Stick team will be available by e-mail to answer your questions. Individual multitype regions may offer opportunities to work together or additional sessions on the 23 Things On a Stick. Watch your multitype’s Web site for more information or click the region under 23 Things On a Stick Activities on the sidebar.
You will receive a weekly newsletter starting in mid-June (after registration is closed) that includes hints about the Things.
11. Is there any tech support?
We can assist you with the course, but not your computer or Internet connection. Here are some hints about Web 2.0 tools that might help you.
12. Do any of the 23 Things On a Stick require downloads?
Flash is required to view many of the applications. Chances are this is already installed on your computer, but if it is not, click here for a free download. Adobe Reader is required to read a few of the links. If you do not have it, you can get it free here. Java needs to be enabled for many of the applications, too. Here are instructions on how to enable Java. Always check with your tech people before downloading anything.
A few of the Things have activities that may require a download. However, most of the Things have options that can be done without downloading anything extra. Click here to see a list of Things that have downloads.
Most of the 23 Things are Web-based applications that do not require additional downloads or plug-ins to work. Many Web-based applications have third party features that require downloads. These are not required—although they are often fun and add functionality.
13. Why Do This?
This is a great chance to spend time on your personal and professional development. All library staff need to be up-to-date with the latest trends and technology tools that Web 2.0 is bringing us everyday. We need to take time to learn how the tools can be utilized in or with our libraries. And we will know what our library users, especially younger users, are talking about!
14. I noticed some of the Things have a section headed Challenge? What is this and do I have to do it?
The Challenges are there for those participants who are already familiar with that particular Thing and want to learn more and/or for those who are intrigued by what they have learned doing the first parts of the Thing. The Challenges are all optional; you do not have to do those parts to have completed the Thing. If you do one or more the Challenges, be sure to blog about it!
15. Who are members of the 23 Things On a Stick Team?
The Directors and staff of the seven Minnesota Multicounty Multitype Library Systems are the core of the team. We had help from Jennifer Hootman at MINITEX, too. This group has worked together to create the 23 Things On a Stick blog, modify and create the content and instructions for the Things. The team will read participants’ blogs.


What Are the 23 Things On a Stick?

We're glad you asked! These are the 23 Things On a Stick that participants must complete. All the red links below take you to the details and activities for that Thing.

Click on the links and read the entire Thing so you understand the activities and then jump in and have fun learning!

Be sure you have read this and this so you understand how the program works.

Getting Started

1. Set up your own blog, add your first post, & add an avatar. Register your blog and begin your 23 Things On a Stick adventure. Each participant must register her/his own blog to be eligible for the incentive.

What is Web 2.0 and Why Should I Care?

2. Read & watch these perspectives on Library 2.0, Web 2.0, and the future of libraries. Share your thoughts.

Keeping Up

3. Learn about RSS and news feeds and set up an RSS account of your own. Locate a few library-related blogs and/or news feeds to add to your RSS account.

Photosharing and Editing

4. Explore Flickr and learn about this popular image hosting site.
5. Have some more fun with Flickr and discover so
me services and mash-ups from Flickr and others.
6. Play around with an online image generator.

7. Web 2.0 tools make communication a snap. Try these tools and think how your library can use them.
8. Share your slide decks, photos, or presentation slides on your Web site or blog with these tools.

9. These Web 2.0 tools make it easy to collaborate on documents and presentations without the hassles of email attachments.
10. Learn about wikis and how libraries are using them. Add an entry to the 23 Things On a Stick wiki.

Social Media:, Tagging, & Digg, and More

11. Learn about tagging and, a social bookmarking site.
12. Do you Digg? Have you Reddit? Maybe StumleUpon is your thing. Major publications (NYT & Washington Post, for example) offer readers the chance to "rate" and recommend their articles to others via these social media sites.

Online Productivity Tools

13. Try out an online productivity tool and learn about others.
14. Take a look at LibraryThing. It is not just for personal collections; libraries are using it too.

Online Games in Libraries

15. Libraries and games are becoming a hot topic. Explore some online games.

Minnesota Library 2.0
16. Media specialists, academic librarians, and public librarians can help their 2.0 students be more efficient in their research with
these Web 2.0 tools: Assignment Calculator & the Research Project Calculator.
17. ELM is more than articles. Use these ELM productivity tools to maximize what ELM can do for you.

Podcasts & Video

18. Discover YouTube and other sites that let you watch and upload video.
19. Explore podcasts and consider creating a podcast of your own.

Social Networking

20. Facebook and MySpace are the way many people communicate--with each other, with the greater community, and in some cases, with their libraries.
21. Facebook and MySpace may grab the headlines about social networks, but there are other networks.

Staying Current

22. With Web 2.0 tools evolving, growing, and changing—not to mention all the changes in Library 2.0
how can you keep up? It definitely takes some effort, but here are some ways to keep learning.

One Last Thing
23. Complete this online evaluation and blog about your 23 Things On a Stick experience.


Thing 1. Set Up Your Blog

Now that you have a better idea of what 23 Things On a Stick is all about, it’s time to set up your very own blog to begin recording your progress and thoughts on the 23 Things On a Stick. There are several free online blog hosting services including Wordpress & Typepad, but we recommend Blogger, a Google product.

This is a very important Thing. You will record your progress in your blog & others will be reading your blog. Read through all of the instructions!

Set up your blog by following these steps:

1. Create an account in Blogger

  • Go to
  • Click on the long orange arrow that says Create Your Blog Now. Follow the 3 step instructions.
  • You will need a Google Account. Follow the directions to set up a Google Account if you do not have one. You can use any email address—it does not need to be a Gmail address. Your email becomes your Username. Your Display Name is how your posts are signed--you can use your real name, initials, or a nickname.
  • Create a password for your account. (The first of many usernames/passwords you will create for 23 Things On a Stick. Think now how you will remember them all. Or use the same one or similar ones for every Web 2.0 tool.)
  • Remember to write down your Username and Password.
2. Name your blog This is the hard part! You will create a both a blog title and a URL for your blog.
  • The blog title is the name that will appear on the banner at the top of your blog. The blog title does not need to be unique--nor will you be able to tell if it is unique. There are probably hundreds of blogs with relatively generic names--BobBlog or Musings, for example. That is OK. However, we do recommend that you not name your blog 23 Things On a Stick, 23things, or similar names just to avoid some confusion. Add an identifier--Bob's 23 Things or 23things on the Prairie. Browse the list of Round 1 blog names for ideas. Be sure that the blog name appears in the masthead of your blog. If it does not, go to the Settings tab and enter your blog name in the Title box. Click Save.
  • The URL is the unique Web address of your blog. This URL is how you will find your blog or tell others how to find it. We recommend a short, easy to remember URL. You must be sure that no one else has registered the URL you want on Blogger! Blogger will tell you if the URL you want is available--click Check Availability. (Note: This is where some Round 1 23ers caused a lot of confusion--they just picked a URL and registered it with us without first setting up their Blogger blog and checking URL availability. Some of those URLs took us to highly unusual places!)
Remember that the whole web world can see your blog title and blog address. Create a name that reflects the 23 Things On a Stick program, but is uniquely yours. Here are some names of other people’s 23 Things blogs:
  • In Blogger, the URL format is There is no www in the address when using software.
  • The URL for your blog will look like these examples
Please remember your URL address and/or bookmark it.

Blogger Settings
Be sure that you have enabled comments. We want to comment on your posts, as do others.
1. Under the Settings Tab, click the Comments link. We recommend the second choice under Who Can Comment? Registered Users.
2. If you want to moderate comments (review all comments before they are published) scroll down and turn moderation on.
3. If you want others (up to 10 people) to know when you receive a comment, you can enter their email addresses in the box near the bottom of that page.
Click Save Settings once you are done.
3. Select your template.
  • The fun part--Blogger has several templates so choose one that fits you. The first Choose Template screen has only a few; choose one. If you want to experiment with other Templates after your blog is set-up, go to Layout and choose Pick New Template. You will see many more choices. Try some; it is easy to see how your blog will look in the different choices.
  • If you run into problems, check out Blogger's Help file and Tutorial or here’s a MINITEX Blog Tutorial . Another tutorial is here. You can ask us, too.
  • Be sure to enable comments under Settings on Blogger.
  • Be sure your blog title appears on the masthead of your blog. Go to settings and enter it in the Title box if it does not appear.
  • Spend some time exploring the features of Blogger—spell check, how to upload photos or video, font choices, text size and color, and more.
4. Create an avatar.
  • An avatar is an online representation of yourself. Go to to design an avatar. There are many choices for appearance, accessories, pets, etc. (You will have to set up an account if you don't use Yahoo!) You can make an avatar that resembles the "real you" or create an entirely new you (If only it were so easy!)
  • Save your avatar and export to your blog.
Here's how to export your Yahoo! avatar to your blog.
  1. When you are on your page, go to "Home" tab and look at the right column. One of the options is: "EXPORT: Use your avatar in web pages and blogs and more." Click there.
  2. In the Center of the page, one option is your avatar's HTML code. Copy (Control C) the code, go to your blog. Sign in. On Blogger Dashboard there is an option to add a Manage posts, settings, or layout; Go to "LAYOUT." You will see various page elements.
  3. Click Add Page Element from the page. From the pop-up box that opens, choose the item marked "HTML/Java Script
  4. Paste (Control V) the HTML code into the Content box. Add a title in the title box if you wish.
  5. Click Save Changes.
  6. Back on the Layout page, you can drag and drop that PAGE ELEMENT to wherever you want your avatar to appear on your blog.
After you have completed Steps 1-4, you are ready to register for 23 Things On a Stick. Register one blog per person.

5. Register your blog.

Here's how to register:
  • Click here to register your blog. Once you have clicked the Register button, you are registered. You will not receive a confirmation email. SurveyMonkey, the tool we use for registration is very reliable; we will get the registration. Don't know your region? Click here for a map.
  • We will add you to the 23 Things on a Stick blog lists according to your region. We will not list your name; only your blog's name. Remember, it may take a week or so to get your blog on the mother blog. Don't panic (and don't re-register!)--it will get there as soon as we can get it up.
You’re ready to start posting!
Whenever you complete a Thing, write a post reflecting your experience with the Thing you accomplished. Please clearly label each entry in your blog in with Thing number and the subject. We just need to be able to see which Thing you are doing. Read and comment on other 23 Things bloggers’ posts, too. That’s part of being part of this library learning community. And everyone, likes feedback.

Each of your posts should provide insights into what you’ve discovered and learned. Share what worked for you, what didn’t, what you’ve shared with your colleagues, any surprises, frustrations, and eureka moments. We will offer some blog prompts to get you thinking, but don’t feel limited by those—splash out and share!
You are joining many, many librarians who blog. The Bloggers Among Us is a recent survey of library bloggers. And if you need inspiration for your blogging, glance through the blogs of these Top 25 Library Bloggers.
Remember, each participant must have her/his own blog to record progress.
NOTE: It may take a up to a week for your blog to appear on the Participants' Blogs lists. We must enter the info manually. If your blog does not appear a week after you register, email with your name, blog name, and blog URL. Check the FAQs for more info.
Challenge (optional)
1. Add features from Blogger's selections on Layout and Settings pages. Add a blog roll of blogs of your fellow participants or of other interesting blogs you've found. Add photos or video. How about a poll?
2. Already have a Blogger blog? Explore other blogging software and compare and contrast features. Which ones have great features? Which one would you recommend?
3. Add third party features to your blog--visitor counts, email subscriptions and more. Feedburner and Sitemeter are two sources of additional features.
4. Be sure to blog about your experience with the other blogging software and/or third party features. Any features you think all blogs should have?


Thing 2. What is Library 2.0?

Library 2.0 is a term used to describe a new set of concepts for developing and delivering library services. The name, as you may guess, 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 traditional notion of upgrades, and reworking library services to meet the users in their space, as opposed to ours (libraries.) Web 2.0 tools make it easy to create content and then share it via the Internet. Libraries can use the tools to promote programs and services, create useful content, and then communicate it to their users.

Many have argued that the notion of Library 2.0 is more than just a term used to describe concepts that revolve around the use of technology; it is also a term that can be used to describe both physical and mindset changes that are occurring within libraries to make our spaces and services more user-centric and inviting. Others within the profession have asserted that libraries have always been 2.0: collaborative, customer friendly, and welcoming. But no matter which side of the debate you fall on, just about everyone agrees that libraries of tomorrow, even five or ten years from now, will look substantially different from libraries today. 23 Things On a Stick can help you get ready to participate in the changes!

1. Watch this video. Stephen Abram kicks off 23 Things at Murdoch University Library in Australia.
2. Read this blog post by John Blyberg, a library blogger from Connecticut.
2. The latest on Library 2.0 is in Library Technology Reports, Volume 43 Issue 5. Read this article "The Ongoing Web Revolution". (The full volume can be found via ELM; click on Vol. 43, Issue 5 and go to the article.)

These articles offer more views on Web 2.0 and libraries:

Blog Prompts
Here are some ideas to blog about--but don't let these questions limit you. Share all your thoughts, ideas, and discoveries.

  • We know time is always an issue--Stephen Abram shares some ideas on where to find the time for 23 Things. Where will you find the time?
  • Why are you participating in 23 Things On a Stick? What do you hope to learn?
  • How has the Internet and the vast resource it can be affected your use of time at work and/or at home?
  • Where are you in your knowledge and use of Web 2.0 tools? How about your library?
  • What are you looking forward to in 23 Things On a Stick?
We hope you will enjoy this program. Have fun exploring and thinking about Web 2.0/Library 2.0/School Library 2.0!


Thing 3. Set Up an RSS Account & Add Feeds

So everyone participating in 23 Things on a Stick now has a blog and we told you to read your fellow learners’ blogs. Are you thinking, “What, I have to click on 100+ bookmarks to see if anyone has updated?!? Forget it; waaaay too much time.”

But what if you could visit all those blogs and more information sources in just one place and all at the same time? Would that be valuable to you? Well, you can! A lot smart people out there who like to keep up-to-date and save time have created services to make it easy to follow your favorite blogs and other information sources. It’s called RSS.

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” It is a file format for delivering regularly updated information over the web.

In the information world, RSS has changed the way news, media, and content creators share information, and it is changing the way everyday users are consuming information. Join the revolution by setting up a RSS account.

1. Read more about RSS and/or watch this Common Craft video.
2. Set up an aggregator account using either Bloglines or Google Reader. It’s free. Follow the directions at these sites:

3. You will want to add some of your fellow participants’ blogs to your Bloglines or Google Reader account. This will help you keep up-to-date on what they have to say about the Things, their discoveries, and comments. You can add additional feeds for Web sites, news sites, podcasts, and more, too.

It is easy to add the feeds. In either account, you copy and paste the URL into the Subscribe or Add box then click the button. You can add a Bloglines button to your toolbar, too, which makes it easy to subscribe. Follow the instructions at the site.

4. Add at least three other news feeds, blogs, or Web page updates to your account. There are several ways you can locate RSS feeds:
  • When visiting your favorite websites -- look for that indicate the website provides it. Often a feed icon will be displayed somewhere in the navigation of the site. The orange square above is one type of RSS feed icon. Here are some other RSS feed icons.
  • Use Blogline's Search tool - Bloglines recently expanded search tool lets you search for news feeds in addition to posts, citations, and the web. Use the Search for Feeds option to locate RSS feeds you might be interested in.
  • Do a blog search in Google. This search limits results only to blog postings. This can lead you to bloggers talking about what you are interested in.
  • Look at this site for library blogs worldwide.
Find some library or technology, blogs, school library blogs, headlines, or other resources. Share those you find useful via a blog post.

Some interesting feeds:

Some MINITEX Blogs
Digital Reference
ELM blog
Blog About Technical Services
Reference Services

Blog Prompts
Think about these things as you blog:
  • What do you like about RSS and newsreaders?
  • How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your school or personal life?
  • How can teachers or media specialists libraries use RSS or take advantage of this new technology?
  • Which tool for finding feeds was easiest to use?
  • What other tools or ways did you find to locate newsfeeds?
  • Find any great sources we should all add to our feed reader?
These resources will give you more information on the hows and whys of RSS.
Have fun finding and reading blogs. But beware; it can be addicting!


Thing 4. Photosharing with Flickr

Photo-sharing Web sites have been around for quite awhile, in Internet terms. Flickr (now owned by Yahoo) took the idea of photo sharing and turned it into an online community. Flickr allows users to upload their photos and then share them with family, friends, or the world. Users can “tag” photos with descriptive words and phrases--what librarians would call keywords—to help users identify and search for photos.

In this Thing, you are asked to take a good look at Flickr and discover what this site has to offer. Find out how tags work, what groups are, and all the neat things that people and other libraries (a list here, too) are creating thanks to Flickr. Here is a link to the 23 Things On a Stick Flickr account. The Library of Congress has a Flickr account--with more than 3,000 photos that you are invited to tag.

Take a look at how the Clemens and Alcuin libraries of the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University are using a Flickr feature called "add a note" to highlight books in their collections. Mouse over any of the books in the bookcase to get the details and a link to the catalog record. Very cool use of Flickr in a library. (Here is more fun at the Clemens and Alcuin libraries!)

You have two options in this Thing…

First watch the Common Craft video "Online Photosharing in Plain English." Click arrow to start the video.

Then choose

1. Take a good look around Flickr and find an interesting image that you want to blog about. You can explore Flickr photos, search the tags, view various groups, and more without a Flickr account.

2. Use any keyword(s) (baseball, cats, library cats, library signs, Minnesota library, whatever…) to find photos with those tags.When you find an interesting image or group, comment on your experience finding images, using Flickr, and anything else related to the exercise. Upload the image to your blog (be sure to credit the photographer). Don't forget to include a link to the image in the post.

--OR-- the more fun option

1. Create a Free Account in Flickr (note that Flickr is now part of Yahoo! If you have a Yahoo! account for email or MyYahoo!, log in with that.).
2. Then use a digital camera to capture a few pictures of something in your library.
3. Upload these to your new Flickr account and tag at least one of the images with 23 Things On a Stick. Be sure to mark the photo public.
4. Add one or more of your images to your blog. You can add the image in one of two ways:
  • Flickr's blogging tool (need a Flickr account to see the button) lets you click the Blog This button (right above the picture) and add any public photo on Flickr to your blog. Be sure to give credit to the photographer, if it is not your photo.
  • Blogger's photo upload feature lets you add photos from your computer or from the Web and choose the placement in the blog post. Click the little photo icon in the toolbar on the New Post page—it is in the row of tools above the post box. Follow the instructions in the pop up box.
5. Once you have the photo uploaded and tagged, create a post in your blog about your photo and Flickr experience. Will you use Flickr for the library or media center, for your personal photos, or in another way?

Spend some time exploring the site and have some Flickr photo fun.If you're interested in looking at some other photo hosting and sharing sites, check out Picasa Web Albums from Google or another service called Smugmug.

Keep in mind that when posting identifiable photos of other people (especially minors) get the person's permission before posting their photo in a publicly accessible place like Flickr. Never upload pictures to your Flickr account 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.

More ways to explore:
Blog Prompts
Share your Flickr-ing thoughts:
  • How might you use Flickr in your library or media center?
  • Do you use Flickr or another photo hosting service? Which one? How does it compare to Flickr?
  • How do you feel about having your photos public (note that you can mark your Flickr photos private, too)--any concerns?

Challenge (optional)
1. Explore the new Picnik/Flickr partnership. Edit and post some of your edited photos on your blog. Note that you can use Picnik independently of Flickr--it also has a premium service that offers a lot of other editing options.
2. Be sure to blog about the pros and cons of this third party application.
3. Compare & contrast other photo sites like Picasa or Smugmug or one you use. Which has great features to recommend to the rest of us?
4. Try more of Flickr's or another site's tools to manipulate or organize photos and then tell us about it.
5. Post anything you've done/learned about photo-editing or photo sites on your blog.

Photos ad personality and interest to blogs and Web pages. Photo hosting sites like Flickr make sharing photos easy.


Thing 5. More Flickr Fun

Like many Web 2.0 sites, Flickr encourages other people to build their own online applications that use images found on the site. Through the use of APIs (application programming interfaces), many people have created third party tools and mashups that use Flickr images. The tools help you find, organize, and use photos in various ways. You can create mosaics of photos, use photos in games, and find apps that make using Flickr easier or more efficient. Look here for mashups, web apps, and Flickr tools. Webmonkey thinks these are the 10 Best Flickr mash-ups.

For this Thing, explore some of the fun Flickr mashups and 3rd party tools that are out there. Note that many of these require the Flash plug-in.

1. Check out one or more of these and create something from Flickr photos to add to your blog:
  • Clockr uses random photos to display the time.
  • Flickr Color Pickr - lets you find public photos in Flickr that match a specific color.
  • Big Huge Labs offers a round-up of Flickr tools.
  • Spell with Flickr spells out your word or phrase with Flickr photos.
  • splashr lets you present your Flickr photos in different view.
  • Create puzzles from your Flickr photos.
2. Upload one or more of these mash-ups to your blog (most will give easy-to-follow instructions somewhere on the site about how to copy the code needed and where to place it on your blog.)

Blog Prompts

  • How can you use any of these tools in your library and media center? Reading programs, posters promoting library events, librarian trading cards all come to mind as possibilities.
  • What do you think of sharing photos online?
T H coloured card disc letter i P1000644 Bead Letter G Pewter Number 6

Spell with Flickr

These tools are fun but a warning--it is very easy to spend a lot of time playing with these tools! It could become your latest hobby!


Thing 6. Online Image Generators - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
Image Chef

Most of us don’t have the time or the artistic talent to create specialized graphics or logos for projects. Enter the Online Image Generator! These handy-dandy tools let you create many types of images – framed pictures, slide shows, comic-style captions, trading cards, calendars, and much more.

Why use this tool?
Create trading cards of authors, scientists, historical figures, or even concepts you’re trying to teach or promote. Media specialists can support teachers by helping students create images around astronomy, algebraic equations, historical figures (“I’ll trade you two Ben Franklins for an Eleanor Roosevelt!”). Students and staff can create trading cards of themselves to help them get to know each other. Other possibilities include creating a calendar with an image related to what you’re promoting that month, or a mosaic with multiple images related to your books, videos, or other resources.

Use the images generators in summer reading programs, book clubs, training, and more. Librarians at Carleton College are using trading cards as a way to reach their students. The possibilities are endless! As is the time you can spend playing around with these sites—beware!

1. Go to Big Huge Labs.
2. Choose Trading Card from drop down list.
2. Create a trading card and save it to your computer.
3. Create another image or two to illustrate your 23 Things On a Stick activities.
4. Upload the your trading card and images to your blog to share with others.

Big Huge Labs
Image Chef
Toon Doo

Graphics are a great way to convey information and can add some fun and creativity to your Web sites. Create customized images for your PowerPoint presentations, Web pages, and other projects. This is also an opportunity to think about copyright and licensing issues–some image generators use characters from popular TV shows (The Simpsons, South Park, etc.)–is this legal or part of the Internet free-for-all?

Blog Prompts
  • Consider how you can use these tools in your library or media center. How about a license plate with the name of your program? (Created using Image Chef.) - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more