Friday, December 14, 2007

New Google Apps - Knol and Image Labeler

Google has announced an alternative to Wikipedia, called Google Knol. Authors (with their real names) will be featured prominently on the articles they wrote, and can optionally receive ad revenue. Articles (or "knols" as Google calls them) with high ranks will appear in regular Google web search results. For now, the site is in testing and contributors are by invite-only.

Also, I've discovered Google has an interesting image labeling game. This has been out for awhile, but I thought it was experimental, developed by some researchers at Carnegie Mellon. Perhaps Google hired them. Basically, you and another random person type in keywords for images that are displayed on your screen. For every word that you and your random partner match, you get points. It's perhaps a new way for the masses to add metadata to content.

Steve DiDomenico
Northwestern University Library -- Digital Library Systems Development
steve at 847-491-4230 Evanston, IL

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thing 10: Chat: Meebo, Pidgin, Skype

A colleague from CARL SEAL-South Andrew Klein (California State University, Northridge) is the incoming chair (2008) for SEAL-South. He has a webpage detailing how to setup Meebo on library subject guides at CSU-N ( ). Andrew will be presenting this topic in a poster presentation at the 12th Biennial CARL Conference, 2-5 April 2008, Hyatt Regency, Irvine CA.

What is Meebo?

Meebo is a web-based instant messaging (IM) aggregator. With a simple registration, you can easily log in to any of the major IM services (AOL, Yahoo, MSN, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber) with one screen and one buddy list. Meebo is entirely web based, so there is no installation of software needed other than your web browser.

Sample of Meebo Me widgetMeebo offers a product called Meebo Me. Meebo Me is a Flash "widget" that can be embedded in any web page and act as an IM window for anyone visiting the web page (see screen captured example to the right). The widget acts as a relay between the web page it is embedded in and your Meebo buddy list. All the visitor needs to talk to you is a web browser that supports Flash.

The widget will tell the website visitor whether or not you're logged in, so they know whether to expect an immediate response or not. (The image to the right is how the widget will appear if you are logged in.) If you aren't logged in, Meebo will save and send you any IMs typed into the widget the next time you log in. It can also be personalized to almost any size and with a variety of color schemes.

Why should I use Meebo for IM reference?

Here's some reasons why you should:

  • It's ridiculously easy to get up and running and to use
  • You can put it on any web page to offer help exactly at the point of need
  • Simple, clean interface

Here's some reasons why you might not want to:

  • No frills like cobrowsing
  • Doesn't gather any information (visitor contact info, statistics)
  • Might be kind of creepy?
What is Pidgin?

Pidgin is a multi-protocol Instant Messaging client that allows you to use all of your IM accounts at once.

Pidgin can work with:
  • AIM
  • Bonjour
  • Gadu-Gadu
  • Google Talk
  • Groupwise
  • ICQ
  • IRC
  • MSN
  • MySpaceIM
  • QQ
  • SILC
  • Sametime
  • XMPP
  • Yahoo!
  • Zephyr

Pidgin is free software.

Pidgin is free software. It is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2. This means you are free to use it and to modify it, but if you distribute your modifications you must distribute the modified source code as well.


Make calls from your computer — free to other people on Skype and cheap to landlines and cell phones around the world.

Free calls within the US and Canada and great low rates on international calling. Plus other exclusive features and discounts.

So, what else can you do?

Skype is jam-packed with great features to help you stay in touch with friends, family and co-workers, share your thoughts and views and find the information you need. You can use it on your computer and on both WiFi and cordless phones.

Just for starters you can instant message with anyone on your contact list or even use group chat to chat with up to a hundred people. You could hold a conference call with up to nine other people to organise a get-together and then use SkypeFind™ to search for the perfect venue to hold it.

There are also really cool video features. All you need is a webcam to make free video calls or even take photos of yourself to personalise Skype.


Acronym legend: ACRL CARL SEAL-S (American Association of Research Libraries, California Association of Research Libraries, Science and Engineering Librarians)

Going Global: Academic Libraries in the Age of Globalization, 12th Biennial CARL Conference, 2-5 April 2008, Hyatt Regency, Irvine CA.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Thing 9: Wikis

Wiki for practical uses.
Collection Development Wiki
ILL Dissertation Express 2006-2007 (restricted to UCI-requires login)

Robert Johnson, Research Librarian for Nursing (University of California Irvine)
Nursing Science Wiki -
UCI EEE Wiki Pilot Project

Practical Reference Sources:

Encyclopedia of Earth
An electronic reference about the Earth, its natural environments, and their interaction with society. The scope of the Encyclopedia of Earth is the environment of the Earth broadly defined, with particular emphasis on the interaction between society and the natural spheres of the Earth.

Qwiki is a quantum physics wiki devoted to the collective creation of technical content for practicing scientists. Please sign up, browse around the site, click on the edit links, and contribute something! The site is nominally centered around quantum physics including -- but not limited to -- quantum optics, quantum metrology, quantum control, quantum information, and quantum computation. Essentially, Qwiki is designed for people who post content to the Arxiv and quant-ph. If you are new to the increasingly popular wiki way, you may want to visit Wikipedia to see a more general effort in action.

Thing 8: Folksonomies: LibraryThing

What is LibraryThing?

Enter what you're reading or your whole library—it's an easy, library-quality catalog. LibraryThing also connects you with people who read the same things.

Go ahead and take the tour.

What's good?

  • Meet the world's largest book club. Find people with eerily similar tastes.
  • Catalog with Amazon, the Library of Congress or 132 other world libraries. Import from anywhere.
  • Get recommendations. Tag your books and explore others' tags.
  • Put your books on your blog.
  • Enter 200 books for free, as many as you like for $10 (year) or $25 (life).

Check it out


Thing 7: Social bookmarking:

Interesting uses of websites.
My links: mcbrown1

University of Florida Marston Library
"Chemical and Physical Properties" link: ufchemistrylibrarian

Popular pages in:
UCI Educational Applets
Global Climate Change

Avartar as identity on the Internet-"The Golden Compass" daemon generator

Exploring Avatars in marketing projects. You can generate a daemon persona from "The Golden Compass" website.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Or so: Firefox add-ons and extensions

I have an article in Library Hi-Tech News on library toolbars.

Title: Library Toolbars for Use and Development
Author(s): Mitchell Brown
Journal: Library Hi Tech News
ISSN: 0741-9058
Year: 2007 Volume: 24 Issue: 8 Page: 33 - 35
DOI: 10.1108/07419050710836027
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract: Abstract – Purpose – Aims to review some new developments in browser toolbars to enhance information searching activities.
Design/methodology/approach – A review with descriptions of new options for developing library-specific internet browser toolbars to enhance user search options.
Findings – Several software development coding platforms are available to create toolbars, bookmarklets, browser extensions, and search tools for library applications.
Originality/value – This article provides descriptions of software development for internet browser toolbars and web gadgets.
Keywords: Computer applications, Computer software, Internet
Article Type: Technical paper
Article URL:

Thing 6: Social Networks: Facebook and other networks

Entry for Facebook account.

Thing 5: RSS Feeds & Readers

This exercise is to work with RSS feeds from Bloglines or specific blogs and newsreaders.

Entries added for: The Shifted Librarian
UC/OCLC Next Generation Melvyl Pilot -- website
10 Things or So Exercises

RSS feed for Science Publishers
Drug Discovery books added to UC Irvine catalog ANTPAC

Thing 4: Tagging Using Technorati

This exercise involved manually notify Technorati of a blog entry and use of multi-engine notifier Ping-o-Matic. I then checked a few of the blog search engines to see how soon the entries are pinged.

I manually pinged Technorati. Then in Ping-o-Matic manually pinged several search engines. Waiting several hours I returned to Ping-o-Matic page and click ‘link’ next to a few of the search engines to test the entry pinging. I entered search keywords "Mashup" and "Irvine" from recent blog posts and noted which engines had logged an entry. Link for Ping-O-Matic blog ping results.

Entries for : Technorati,,