Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thank you for participating!

Thank you to everyone who participated, and to all persons who helped put on this program.

Congratulations to the 121 persons who completed all 23 Things! It is very exciting to see so many people complete the program. Congratulations also to those 25 people who completed at between 12 and 22 Things.

You should have received your certificate and continuing education credits by now if you completed the program. If not, please contact Dona Weisman at NTLP and she will assist.

Many people have asked about the future of this blog. I am planning to keep it up for the forseeable future.

Be on the lookout for other Web 2.0 learning programs for librarians here in Texas. The "A Dozen Ways to Two-Step" program is well underway, and is coordinated by the Texas State Library & Archives Commission. I am also aware of another Web 2.0 program being planned in conjunction with the Texas Library Association Annual Conference in San Antonio.

It has been a real joy to be involved with this program!

Thanks again,

Jeff Bond
Science Librarian
Texas Christian University

Friday, August 21, 2009

Prize Winners!

Congratulations to all participants who have completed so far. Even if you have not completed yet, remember that if you complete by September 1, you can still get 9 or 18 continuing education credits and a certificate of completion! Almost 100 participants have completed thus far.

Here are the winners of the random prize drawing!

iPod Shuffle
Sarah Gerber (retired)

Motorola Universal Bluetooth Headset
Amanda Pape (Tarlton State University Library)

2GB Flashdrive
Lisa Cartwright (Irving ISD--Crockett Middle School Library)

Sudoku CD-ROM Game
Alexis Ackel (Texas Wesleyan University Library)

Crosswords CD-ROM Game
Joseph Martinez (Little Elm Public Library)

Jeopardy CD-ROM Game
Jennifer Mize (Birdville ISD--Richland High School Library)

Congratulations to everyone! All certificates, credits, and prizes will be sent to the library where you work in mid-September. If you are not currently employed, please send your current address to us at

Drawing to be held today!; September 1 deadline approaches

The random prize drawing for North Texas 23 will be held later today. There were 93 persons who completed by the August 15 deadline, and are entered into the drawing. Look for an announcement later today of the prize winners!

There is still plenty of time to complete this program for the September 1 deadline. Those who complete the entire program will earn a certificate and earn 18 continuing education credits. All those who complete their choice of 12 of the Things will earn 9 continuing education credits.

All prizes and certificates, along with the continuing education credits, will be sent to the library where you work. These will be sent in mid-September.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thing 23: Reflection

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of North Texas 23: A roundup of Web 2.0 technology! You’ve worked hard to complete each of the 23 Things. For this final Thing, take a moment to think about what you’ve done. What was your favorite or least favorite Thing? What was challenging for you? What did you learn? What new technologies will you use in your library? Write a paragraph or more, reflecting upon your experiences.

Please remember that to have a chance in the random prize drawing, each of the 23 Things must be completed by August 15. To be eligible for the certificate of completion or the continuing education credits, you must finish the appropriate number of Things by September 1. The information about continuing education credits is here.

If you are unsure if you’ve completed all the requirements for a Thing, please contact a member of the administrative team, or email

During the month of August, you will receive an email with a link to a survey about North Texas 23. Your feedback is appreciated.

Thanks for your participation in this program! Congratulations on finishing!

Thing 22: Developing your own 23 Things for your library

Almost finished!

North Texas Library Partners has been proud to bring this program to you. Why is a program like this important? If offers an opportunity for librarians to learn a variety of new technologies that they may have not experienced otherwise. It stretches the comfort zone a little (Ok, for some persons, it stretches the comfort zone a lot!).

Patrons in our libraries are using the technologies presented in these Things. It is important to develop a fluency of these technologies in order to best understand our patrons and their needs. Because these Things are also communication methods, these Things also offer new ways to interact with our patrons. It is amazing to see libraries across the country and right here in Texas using such things as Flickr and Facebook to promote programs and services.

Think about your own library for a moment. Perhaps everyone from your library participated in this program. Perhaps you are the only one. Regardless, write a paragraph about how you could adapt this program to increase the technology skill level among the staff at your library. Even if all staff at your library has gone through this program, there is so much more to be learned.

It is not necessary to limit this to just library staff, however. For example, perhaps you are a librarian at a school. This type of program could be adapted for all the staff at your school.

Just one more Thing remains!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thing 21: Podcasts

Podcasts are audio files that are distributed using some form of web feed such as RSS, like blogs. Though the word "podcast" is a combination of the terms "iPod" and "broadcast," it does not refer solely to feeds that are used by iPod owners. You can listen to podcasts on your computer, mp3 player, or other audio devices.

Most podcasts are distributed as MP3 files. Programs that are designed to receive podcasts are known as "podcatchers." They are similar to the "aggregators" used with blog posts. You can find a list of common podcatchers at:

Libraries use podcasts in a variety of ways. Some put out weekly news segments on new events and materials. Others use them to record booktalks, presentations, or storytimes. Some even create virtual tours of the library, so a patron can literally walk through the library while listening to descriptions of services or materials on his or her mp3 player.

The Library Success Wiki provides a good list of library podcasts on its podcasting page at

Other lists of podcasts can be found at:

Podcast Alley


The Education Podcast Network

For Thing 21, listen to a few library podcasts, and write about them in your blog. How was the audio quality? Were they interesting enough to make you want to subscribe to them? What sorts of topics did they cover

If you decide to create a podcast for your library, all you need is a microphone, a computer, and basic audio editing software. Audacity is a free, easy to use editor that works on Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X, Linux, and other operating systems. You can read more about it and download it at

The optional LAME plugin for Audacity allows you to save your recordings to the MP3 format. You can find more information on LAME in the Audacity FAQ at

The Library Success Wiki page (listed above) lists some great tools for "publishing" podcasts under its "How to Podcast" section.

Do you think that podcasts be useful to your patrons? If so, what types of podcasts do you think would interest them? Post your thoughts to your blog.

Thing 20: YouTube

YouTube is the first and largest of the “tube” sites, all of which revolve around the idea of the general public uploading and sharing videos. It was created in 2005, and later purchased by Google. Users have watched videos on the site more than 6 BILLION times since it started. It is in the top 5 most visited websites, and shows no sign of slowing down.

Anything that can be put on video is likely to show up on YouTube – family videos, political statements, instructional videos, amateur news reports, music, film clips, animation, etc. Frequent uploaders can even establish their own “channels.” Some movie and television production companies have started uploading selections of their work, as well.

User-submitted videos must be no longer than 10 minutes in length and 2 GB in size. YouTube uses Adobe Flash to display the videos, which can be played directly from a web browser.

Libraries are using YouTube in unique ways. Some create their own book trailers, while others use the website to promote their upcoming events. Some sponsor teen video-making contests. There are library videos centered around training, library use, storytimes, performances, and much more.

For Thing 20, spend some time watching library-produced videos on YouTube. Some good search terms to get you started are:

Texas library
public library
school library
academic library
library event

In your blog, talk about the videos you saw. What were they trying to accomplish? How effective were they? Can you think of other uses of videos to help promote libraries or serve the public?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

North Texas 23 special announcement: Continuing education credit available!

North Texas Library Partners is proud to announce that participants in North Texas 23 Things will be eligible for up to 18 hours of CE/CPE credit!

All participants completing the full program of 23 Things will earn 18 CE/CPE credit hours. All participants completing any combination of at least 12 Things (but not more than 22 Things) will earn 9 CE/CPE credit hours. The choice of the 12 Things is up to the participant.

For either accomplishment level, each participant may receive a certificate indicating the accomplishment level and credit hours earned. The deadline for either accomplishment level is September 1, 2009.

For participants interested in and eligible for the random prize drawing, the deadline remains August 15. All 23 Things must be completed by the August 15 deadline to be entered in the prize drawing.

Remember that to complete a particular Thing, you must follow all the instructions as listed on the blog post for that Thing, and you also must write a paragraph about your experiences. As a participant, if you are unsure if you have fully completed the Things for an accomplishment level, please contact a member of the leadership team or email

I am excited to see the learning that is going on by librarians across North Texas. Keep up the good work!


Monday, July 13, 2009

Thing 19: Google Docs

Note: Things 20 and 21 will be revealed Monday, July 20.

Google Docs resembles Microsoft Office in many ways. It allows users to create documents, spreadsheets, slideshow presentations, and data entry forms. These applications are similar to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but offer some unique features. They are designed to make full use of online collaboration and storage, bypassing the need to purchase software and load it on your computer.

Best of all, all the Google Docs applications are free. They are a good example of "cloud computing," and are being used by more and more people and businesses every day.

Start out by going to Watch the short video on the main page for a brief introduction to the Google Docs applications.

To get started with Google Docs, you will need to set up a personal Google account. If you already have one, you can log in using your regular username and password. If you do not have one, it is free and easy to set one up. Simply click the Get started button on the right-hand side of the page and follow the instructions.

Once your account is set up, go to and log in (if you haven't already). On the left hand side of the screen you should see a list of your current files and folders, if you have any. If you click on the New tab right above that, you will be offered the chance to create a new document, presentation, spreadsheet, form, or folder.

Let's start by creating a basic document, like you would in Word or other word processing programs.

Click on the New tab, and select Document.

When your new document pops up, there will be a toolbar at the top, and a large blank area underneath that.

Put something in the blank area. It could be a statement about yourself, your shopping list, information from a website that you have cut and pasted, or anything else that strikes your fancy. Play around with the fonts and other items on the toolbar so that you can see the features it offers.

When you are done, click the Save button in the upper right-hand corner of the page. Then click on the Share button. You will be presented with several options, including the ability to send the page as an email attachment or publish it as a web page. The real power of Google Docs comes into play when you share them with other people, so go ahead and select Share with others from the dropdown menu.

When you share your document with other people, you can set them up as collaborators (co-editors) or viewers. You do so by sending them an invitation to the document via email. Go ahead and send yourself an invitation as a collaborator, using one of your other email addresses. If you don't have another email address, try sending it to a friend. You will be able to attach a message to the invitation. If you send it to a friend, that person will need to set up a Google account to be able to edit the document.

Now click on the File button. You have several options under there, including the ability to rename the document, see the history of revisions, and save the document as a web page. Select Download file as and look at the different file formats you can use. Did you notice that you can save in Word format, or as a PDF file?

Now try doing the same with a presentation, spreadsheet, and form. How do they differ from the programs you generally use?

When you are done, read some entries in the official google Docs blog at . It is an excellent resource for keeping up with changes to the Google Docs software, new and interesting ways to use Google Docs, and more.

That's it! Can you believe that you have already done 19 of the 23 things?

Thing 18: Wikis

Wikis are websites that use special software to enable users to create or edit linked hierarchical pages. They often take the form of a table of contents, with higher-level pages that lead to specific subpages. Wikipedia is the largest one, but there are thousands of them in existence, with new ones popping up every day. They have been around since 1995, and are still growing in popularity.

Wikipedia models itself after an encyclopedia, but that is not the only way that wikis can be used. Some libraries use internal wikis to manage their policies and procedures. Many companies are replacing their old Intranets with wikis. Some individuals use them as personal knowledge management software. Since most wikis allow discussion and comments on page changes, they can lead to dynamic, vibrant communities of users.

For Thing 18, we are going to take a look at wikis, and create some pages of our own.

Start out by going to Wikipedia at

Wikipedia is a giant encyclopedia that anyone can add to or edit. It handles multiple languages, and is the largest wiki in existence.

In the search box, enter a subject of your choice. It can be anything that interests you.

You should get an article on that subject. Read through it, paying attention to how the information is organized. Do you agree with everything that is said there? Are there any warnings on the page relating to the quality of the information?

At the top of the article will be a tab called Discussion. Go to it to see comment people have left about various changes they (or others) have made to this page.

Now go to the History tab to see how the page has changed over time.

Let's try out hand at creating some wiki pages! First go to

This site has been set up for us to practice making pages. You do not need an account to make changes or additions to this particular website. You can add or edit pages, but can not delete any, even if you created them (an unfortunate side-effect of setting it up to be easily editable to everyone). If you create a page and then decide you want it to be deleted, please just let us know through the comments on this post.

Read the introduction on the main page, and then browse through the other pages on the site. They should be listed hierarchically in the box on the left of your screen.

When you are done, click on the Home link on the left side of the screen. That will take you back to the main page.

Now you are ready to create your first wiki page, as a subpage under the main page. Don't worry - it's easy. I promise!

On the left side of the screen, click on the Add a New Page link.

Use your first name as the page title. You may notice that I have already set up my page, titled Jesse.

Enter some basic information about yourself. Treat it as a special introduction page where you can let your fellow students know a little bit more about you.

Under that page, create sub-pages on your hobbies, interests, career, or anything else you would like to share with others. Create at least 3 sub-pages so you can see how Wiki hierarchies work. Make sure you are on the "parent" page (the one that you want to add sub-pages to), and then click the Add a New Page link on the left hand side of your screen.

To save your work after editing a page, use the Save button in the EasyEdit Toolbar.

See, I promised you it would be easy!

Have fun, and feel free to add pictures, if you would like to do so.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Thing 17: LibWorm

LibWorm is a search engine for library-related RSS feeds. It tracks over 1,400 feeds a day, and provides methods for searching by keyword or phrase. It also allows browsing by subject, category, or tags. The creators describe it as:

...a search engine, a professional development tool, and a current awareness tool for people who work in libraries or care about libraries.

RSS feeds are used to distribute links containing headlines and summaries of new blog posts, web pages, and other online information sources. They are typically read using an RSS reader/aggregator, and provide a quick means of keeping up with new information from many sources, including professional publications. LibWorm acts as a reader/aggregator, so you don't need to use another program or service to visit the links it finds.

It is free and does not require registration to use, unless you are listing a new feed.

LibWorm only returns results that come from select RSS feeds that focus on libraries, librarians, and related topics. It makes it easy to stay up to date with the latest news and events from the library world, all from one easy interface.

For Thing 17, go to Pick a few library-related topics that interest you, like OPACs or book challenges. Search for new postings and articles related to them using the Keyword and Phrase options. Try to locate similar information by browsing Categories, Subjects, and Tags.

Try doing a Phrase search using the name of your library. What did you find?

After you have tried LibWorm, post your thoughts and experiences to your blog. Did you find anything interesting? How would you rate the quality of the results LibWorm gives you?

Thing 16: LibraryThing

Put simply, LibraryThing is a social networking site for book lovers, with a membership of over 700,000. It has 40 million books cataloged in its system, using data from the Library of Congress, 680 world libraries, Amazon, original cataloging by users, and more. Some small organizations are even using it as a simple library catalog and OPAC.

LibraryThing has numerous features, and adds more on a regular basis. Among other things, it allows users to:

· catalog their home libraries

· find other people with similar reading interests

· receive suggestions on books that they may enjoy, based on their home library and those of other users with similar tastes

· talk about books on discussion forums

· tag books

· submit and read book reviews

· keep track of local bookstores, libraries, book festivals, and author visits

· optionally use inexpensive ClueCat scanners when entering books

For Thing 16, go to and sign up for a free account. Add a few books from your home library, and tag them with appropriate keywords.

Read the sections on ThingLang, ISBN Check, and MARCThing to see how they intersect with the tools used by regular libraries.

Take a little time to browse through the website. You may want to look at some of the user postings, including ones from the groups Librarians who LibraryThing and I See Dead People’s Books. Take a look at the Thingology blog to get a better idea of upcoming features and new ideas.

Remember to post your thoughts and experiences to your blog!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Thing 15: Digg

Digg is a social news site. The content, from news items to podcasts to blogs to images and beyond, is submitted and voted on by Digg readers. The items with more votes get ranked higher, and the items with the most votes are visible on the front page of the site. If you create a Digg account, you can customize which types of items you see.

Digg describes itself :

Digg is a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. From the biggest online destinations to the most obscure blog, Digg surfaces the best stuff as voted on by our users. You won’t find editors at Digg — we’re here to provide a place where people can collectively determine the value of content and we’re changing the way people consume information online.

How do we do this? Everything on Digg — from news to videos to images to Podcasts — is submitted by our community (that would be you). Once something is submitted, other people see it and Digg what they like best. If your submission rocks and receives enough Diggs, it is promoted to the front page for the millions of our visitors to see.

And it doesn’t stop there. Because Digg is all about sharing and discovery, there’s a conversation that happens around the content. We’re here to promote that conversation and provide tools for our community to discuss the topics that they’re passionate about. By looking at information through the lens of the collective community on Digg, you’ll always find something interesting and unique. We’re committed to giving every piece of content on the web an equal shot at being the next big thing.

Watch this video for a detailed overview of Digg:

For Thing 15, go to There, you can see some of the most highly recommended stories. Take some time to play around on Digg, viewing the most popular sites by subject or within a given timeframe. Write a blog post on your experiences with Digg.

Optional: Create an account on Digg. Then find websites or news stories and recommend some of them using Digg. The tutorial at will show you how. Be sure to include these experiences in your blog post about Digg.

Thing 14: Delicious

Delicious is a social bookmarking site that allows you bookmark websites, retrieve those websites from any computer, and share your bookmarked sites with others. In addition, you can organize the sites that you bookmark by tagging them.

Let’s let Common Craft explain social bookmarking:

For Thing 14, go to the Delicious website at, and set up your own Delicious account. Performing registration steps 2 (Add Buttons) and 3 (importing bookmarks) are not required, but are strongly recommended for this Thing--you may skip over these steps if you like. When you are finished registering, please add at least three bookmarks to your Delicious by clicking on "Save a new bookmark."

Please make a post on your blog about your experiences with Delicious. Post a link to your Delicious page within your blog post.

Thing 13: Tagging

Tagging is an open and informal method of categorizing that allows users to associate keywords with online content (web pages, pictures & posts). Tagging is completely unstructured and freeform, allowing users to create connections between data anyway they want.

Tags are like subject headings; however, there is no thesaurus or authority control. Users assign the tags that are meaningful to them. This sounds like chaos to most librarians; however, it actually works well in the web environment.

You can use tags in Flickr, Delicious, Library Thing, and a number of Web 2.0 applications. Some OPACs have started supporting user tagging.

You can read more about tagging in Wikipedia:

You don’t have to sign up or explore any application for Thing 13. Instead, write a blog post on tagging. Does tagging belong in the library? Does it replace or complement subject headings? Should we encourage or discourage the practice?

Enquiring minds want to know...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thing 12: Twitter

He rocks in the treetops all day long
Hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and a-singing his song
All the little birds on Jaybird Street
Love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet.
--Rockin’ Robin (Jimmie Thomas and Leon Rene, songwriters)

Twitter. It’s a pretty simple concept. Keep your social circle updated on what you’re doing in under 140 characters, using your mobile device (phone, PDA, etc.), instant messenger, or the Twitter website.

It’s a lot like Facebook’s “What’s on your mind?” feature, only Twitter asks “What are you doing?”

For this Thing, you will need to create a Twitter account at Twitter, like other services, will ask you to submit the password to your email account so it can find out if your friends are already on Twitter. Again…not advisable. You can find your friends on Twitter later without giving Twitter access to your e-mail account. There's a "Skip this step" link at the bottom of the page to bypass giving your e-mail account password.

If you receive Twitter messages (“tweets”) from someone, you are “following” them. If they read your tweets, they’re your follower. We all need someone to listen to our song, right?

Once you get your account set up, find some Twitter users to follow. I highly recommend reading the Twitter help page to get acquainted with some of the hidden Twitter features.

One technique that is quite valuable in sorting through the array of information available on Twitter is using hashtags to follow discussions. Hashtags are the number sign (#) followed by a word or phrase. These are not standardized and are assigned by Twitter users. So you may hear that tweets related to ALA’s annual conference next year are being “hashtagged” with #ALA2009. That just means that somewhere in the tweet, the tweeter has inserted “#ALA2009” so that all of the tweets about that particular subject can be found by searching for that phrase. Try it and see.

Write a blog post with your thoughts about Twitter and, if you want to, give your Twitter account name so other NT23 participants can follow you. Also in your blog post, try to remember the last time you heard about Twitter (it’s everywhere) before reading this Thing and tell everyone where that was.

Thing 11: Instant Messaging

Rattlin_blogger: There’s this thing
n00b123: Oh yeah?
Rattlin_blogger: called instant messaging.
Rattlin_blogger: It’s a way to communicate
n00b123: Neato!
Rattlin_blogger: in real time
Rattlin_blogger: with anyone in the world.
n00b123: Like texting on the phone?
Rattlin_blogger: Exactly like that. Only usually on the computer.
Rattlin_blogger: but sometimes on the phone
Rattlin_blogger: Really, the best way to learn
Rattlin_blogger: is
Rattlin_blogger: to
Rattlin_blogger: TRY IT!

You may have heard of instant messaging (IM) referred to as “chat” before. Here are some sites that offer instant messaging software to download:

If you don’t want to download the software, but instead sign in from your web browser, try one of these links:

Once you start IMing frequently and develop more IM contacts, you’ll probably find that your online friends prefer different messenger software. You can either log into several different IM platforms to chat with everyone, or you can download IM aggregator software. Here are links to some free IM aggregator software packages:

And, of course, the browser-based IM aggregators:

Once you download the software, or if you use the browser-based IM clients, you will need to create an account with your preferred service. To complete this Thing, choose at least one IM client to download or use in your web browser. Post your username and choice of service on your blog so other 23 Things participants can log in and message you. When you send add requests to other NT23 members, be sure to mention that you’re part of the 23 Things group.

Abbreviations make IMing a lot quicker. If you want to get “up” on the latest IM lingo, or perhaps make sense of some of the messages you get, here’s a nice list:

Blog away with your IM experiences, thoughts on using IM in a library setting, etc., and TTFN my NT23 BFFs, TTYL.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Thing 10: Ning is a platform site that lets you build interactive networks quickly and easily. If you’ve already completed the Facebook Things or if you’ve ever used MySpace, Ning’s functionality will seem very familiar.

All the hallmarks of interactive online activity (aka Web 2.0) are here: once you’ve joined a network, you can post pictures & videos, have discussions on the network’s forum page, write to the network’s blog, post events, and even form your own interest groups within the network. From your personal page, you can add friends and keep folks informed of your whereabouts and activities via a short status message.

One nice thing about is that you can explore Ning networks without creating your own network page, or without even creating a Ning account.

Because there has been some controversy surrounding the way uses the data submitted by members its hosted networks (see this ChartingStocks blog post for more information), this Thing won’t require you to create a Ning account. If you want to, there will be an optional section for doing so at the end of this Thing.

Go to the main page at, and you will see a search box at the bottom of the page. Enter keywords for activities of interest to you. If you enter the search term “library,” for example, you’ll see the ALA network about halfway down the results page. Some networks require you to sign in to view content. ALA’s doesn’t. Ideally, on whatever network you choose, you’ll at least be able to view a list of members, see photos and videos, and read forum and blog posts.

For a quick (6:49) tutorial on using, check out this video. When I viewed it, the audio was somewhat problematic but it was a solid overview and most of the audio was intelligible.

Flip through a few networks and record your thoughts and observations in your blog. You don’t have to limit yourself to library-related sites. In fact, this Thing will be a lot more interesting if you go find some off-the-wall content and post your thoughts on it to your blog. A good example of the kind of off-the-beaten-path content you can find is the "open source ILS song" on the ALA network video page.

Here is where the optional activities begin. To get more fully immersed in, your first task is to sign up for a Ning account.

Once you have your Ning account, you will be able to search for networks to join in the same way you would search as a non-member.

Networks are searchable if the owner has made them public. Some networks are joinable by invitation only. Some groups require a moderator’s approval of your membership, and some require you to answer survey-type questions (ALA asks, among other things, how many ALA conferences you’ve attended) before submitting a membership request. For the purposes of this Thing, you will search for networks to join. ALA is a good place to start.

Once you’ve found some likely candidates, choose at least one network to join. Participate in the online forums and post your thoughts and observations on your blog.

Thing 9: More Facebook

Facebook is really not much fun without friends.

So go find some friends.

You can only see your friends’ profiles, and they’re the only people who can see yours. You can share as much or as little information about yourself as you want. When someone performs a search, only your name, photo (if you upload one) and the networks you belong to will appear in the search results.

The more information you enter about yourself in your profile, the more options Facebook gives you for finding friends. You can automatically find high school or college classmates, former co-workers, etc., if you’ve entered your education and work history into your profile. Even if you don’t enter that information into your profile, you can still perform searches based on that information—the only difference is that you have to enter that information manually every time you search.

You can also search for people directly by their names. If you’re at a loss as to who to add, type “North Texas Regional Library System” into the search box. Those folks should be happy to be your friends.

Add some content for your friends to see on your Facebook Wall. Create one “What’s on your mind” statement without a link. Create one with a link to your favorite library website.

In addition to searching for people, you can search for organizations. If you simply type an organization name, like “Dallas Cowboys,” into the search box, and choose to search Facebook, you will get a list of all the different entities with that name in the title. You will find some people named “Dallas Cowboys,” even though this is technically a Facebook no-no. If you limit the search to “Pages,” you’ll find only organizations. Once you track down the organization you had in mind, you can become a fan of that organization. Find at least one organization and become a fan. Hey, we’re all fans of ALA, right? Right?

The line between Facebook pages and Facebook groups is sometimes a little blurry. If you want a detailed examination of the differences, you can read this article. Otherwise, you can think of a group as a more loosely organized organization than, say, a big corporation like the Dallas Cowboys who would have a page. Some groups are “official,” and some are just people who share a common interest. You can form a group yourself, should you feel the need.

To get to the Groups application, go here. You’ll see a list of groups that were recently joined by your friends. You’ll also have the opportunity to search or browse for groups, or create your own group. For this Thing, find three groups to join.

What groups (if you don't mind sharing) did you join? Have you been surprised by anyone contacting you out of the blue? Tell us all about your experience hunting down family members, old friends, or co-workers on your blog.

Thing 8: Facebook

Facebook, according to founder Mark Zuckerberg, was created to map out—online-- people’s existing real-life relationships. Although this article is ancient given the speed at which the Web evolves, it’s good background information on this social force du jour.

But you’re eager to get your hands on this phenomenon you’ve heard so much about, right? Since the whole premise (or marketing angle depending on how cynical you are) of Facebook is that it’s about mapping out your existing social networks, you’re going to have to take the plunge now. Yes, that’s right, the first task in this Thing is to…

Create a Facebook account at

If you try to do this at work, you may notice that your IT department has blocked Facebook from your staff network. Mine had. Try a little gentle persuasion, mentioning the way Facebook allows you to stay in touch with professional colleagues, maximize business network effectiveness, and collate voluminous information from disparate sources with minimal effort…etc, etc…and hope that they can see reason. Or bribe them. Whatever it takes.

If you need help with any aspects of Facebook, try the Facebook tutorials at Expert Village.

Once you have your Facebook account, you’ll need to…

Create a Facebook profile

Facebook profiles are for individuals. Facebook pages are for organizations. We’ll talk more about Facebook pages in the next Thing.

One aspect of Facebook you should notice right away is that Facebook discourages anonymity. Scary? Maybe. You can blog the pros and cons of that later, but if you want the full Facebook experience, surrender to transparency. Or make up a name. Some of you may have full-fledged alter egos already—feel free to use those as well.

As you create your profile, Facebook will ask you if you want to find friends by using your email account. Facebook will ask you to provide your email account password. I strongly advise against this. There are other ways to add friends later. As a matter of fact, you can skip all of the steps in the profile setup if you want, as long as you enter your name and secret question. You can always go back and edit your profile information later.

Blog your thoughts and observations regarding setting up your Facebook account, and ways you think you might use the service in the future. Also, please feel free to blog any feelings regarding the balance of privacy and transparency, the marketing potential of social connections, conspiracy theories about all the personal information Facebook collects, or anything else that may have popped into your head throughout this experience.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thing 7: RSS Feeds

RSS, or Real Simple Syndication, is the magic that allows a reader (such as the one you created in Thing 6) to work. It is a metadata scheme, similar to a MARC record, and it allows websites to publish new information.

Once again we’ll start with a Common Craft video:

You know that using RSS you can read updates from a variety of blogs. You can also read updates from wikis, library databases (i.e., resources from EBSCO, Gale, etc.), and other web 2.0 sites like Flickr and LibraryThing. You even create a feed when you click the share link (in Google Reader) on posts that you like. The bottom line: you don’t have to know how RSS feeds are formatted, or how they are transmitted—you just have to know how to find them and add them to your reader.

Here are some feeds that I like to keep up with—-add them to your Google Reader if you think they might be interesting:


Cataloging Futures :

Unshelved (Library Humor):

Library of Congress:

Library & Information Science News:

Library Bytes (Helene Bowers):

Tame the Web (Michael Stephens):

Star Telegram:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thing 6: Blog Readers

A reader, also known as an aggregator, is a tool that allows you to interact with blogs and other Internet sites. Instead of visiting each site individually, you create subscriptions for the sites you follow and then visit the reader to view new content. We’ll be using Google Reader in North Texas 23. To get started, let’s first view this video from Common Craft:

You don’t need a new user name and password to open a Google Reader account—-you can use your Blogger account credentials. You can use your Google Reader account on any computer or mobile device with Internet access. Let’s start by opening

Enter the email address you use with Blogger and your password, and then click Sign in. The layout of Reader is similar to the program you use to read email: folders on the left and an item list in the middle.

The Getting Started guide ( is a great overview of Reader’s features. You’ll be ready to start adding subscriptions after you’ve read it.

The first subscription we need to add to your account is one for the North Texas 23 blog:

1. Copy the address (highlight it with your mouse, right click and select Copy)
2. Click on the + Add a subscription button in the upper-left corner of your screen
3. Right-click on the box that opens and select Paste
4. Click the Add button

Now, most librarians like to keep things organized—and you’ll need some organization to keep up with your feeds. You should see the North Texas 23 Blog in the middle pane of your window. Click on the Feed settings button, and then the New folder link:

Enter North Texas 23 as the name for the folder, and click OK.
Now we’re ready to repeat the process. Add subscription for your blog (use the URL for your blog), and add it to the North Texas 23 folder.

So, you’re ready to go exploring on your own. You’ve created your Reader account, and added two subscriptions. Play with this … and write about it in your blog.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Writing about your experiences

It has been so great to see the posts people are making so far about their experiences with the Things! Please read below for some more information about posting.

What kinds of things should I post?

Here are some possible ideas: your initial reactions to the Thing, how difficult or easy you thought it was, applications to your library, how much you might use it in your personal life, how much fun it was, whether you liked or disliked it, suggestions of similar tools or websites. The possibilities are endless!

How much should I post?

It is necessary to post to your blog about your experiences for each of the 23 Things (except Thing #1). Write a paragraph, showing your participation and reflection. Really think and reflect about the Thing you are trying! Short or cursory posts will not be counted towards completion of the program. Some "Things" also require you to complete other tasks, such as posting an image.

We look forward to reading about your experiences!

Thing 5: Image Generators

Have you ever seen those fake church signs? With image generators, you can make images that say whatever you want, like this: - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

or this: - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

This week, you will use image generators to put your own text into images. There are several websites where you can accomplish this. Some of them are listed below:

FD Toys
Image Chef
Comic Strip Generator
Big Huge Labs

There are a bunch more listed here.

To complete Thing 5, create an image using an image generator. Post the image on your blog. Write a post about your experiences and reflect on what you did.

Thing 4: More Flickr

This week you will use a tool called a mashup, and post an image on your blog. A mashup can do many things, but on Flickr it allows you to manipulate, organize, or otherwise have fun with photos in new and different ways.

Choose one of the Flickr mashups below, and then post an image you’ve created with it on your blog this week. With many of these mashups you'll be trying, there is a button on the mashup page that allows you to embed an image into your blog very easily.

Here is another way to post an image. Start by saving it to your computer. Next, while you are writing your post, look above the box you are writing in, at the toolbar. Click the button that looks like a little photograph; this is how you add an image to a post. An image of the toolbar is below. The button is third from the right.

Spend time this week playing with several of the mashups below. They’re a lot of fun!

Be sure to write a post about your experiences this week with Flickr mashups and post at least one image you’ve created (No reason you can't post more than one, though!!). Spell with Flickr, Captioner, Big Huge Labs are some easy ones where you can create your own images.

Flickr Mashups where you can create your own image (or choose your own!)
Spell with Flickr -- Spell your name using Flickr images
Captioner--Add funny captions to a picture
Big Huge Labs--A wide variety of Flickr tools

Other Flickr Mashups to try (or search for your own!)
Flappr--Search for images
Colr Pickr--Search images by color
FlickrFling--See images related to RSS feeds
Flickr Sudoku--Play Sudoku with Flickr images
Retrievr--A sketchpad that shows related Flickr images

An example from Spell with Flickr:
T e52mex Pastry Cutter X a45mex s41mex

Thing 3: Flickr

Flickr is a photo (and video) sharing site. With Flickr, you could spend hours and hours looking at photos of every possible person, place, and thing you could imagine. Many libraries have Flickr accounts and regularly upload photos of events held at their libraries. Here is a link to several libraries that are using Flickr.

To complete this Thing, you have a couple of options.

Choice 1: Go to Flickr and explore. One way to explore is to choose something to search about, such as Texas, libraries, longhorns, puppies, flowers, etc. After you’ve searched and looked around for a bit, go to your blog and write about your experiences using Flickr. In your blog entry, provide a link to Flickr page that shows a favorite image.


Choice 2: (More challenging, but more fun!) Create a Flickr account. If you have a Yahoo account, then you already have a Flickr account. Sign in to Flickr and upload some images to your Flickr account. How do you do this? You’ll want to take some pictures with a digital camera and put them on your computer. Then once you sign in to Flickr, click on the link to “Upload photos” and Flickr will guide you through. After you’ve uploaded some photos, go back to your blog and write about your experience. Provide a link to your Flickr photostream.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Thing 2: Learning about Learning 2.0

John Blyberg describes Library 2.0 like this: “Library 2.0 simply means making your library’s space (virtual and physical) more interactive, collaborative, and driven by community needs.” For Thing 2, please complete Part 1 and Part 2.

Part 1: Learning
Start out by choosing at least two of the four activities below, to help you learn more about Web 2.0 and Library 2.0.

1) Watch this video about Library 2.0. The speaker is Stephen Abram, who is Vice-President of Innovation at Sirsi-Dynix.
2) Read this blog post: by John Blyberg Assistant Director for Innovation and User Experience at the Darien Library in Connecticut.
3) Read this webpage about Web 2.0
4) Watch the video on this page

Part 2: Sharing
Write a post on your own blog about your thoughts about Library 2.0 or Web 2.0 and how they apply to you and your library.

It would also be a good time to click here and look at your fellow participants’ blogs.

Thing 1: Setting up your blog


It’s finally time to get started! This Thing is really important—you will be using your blog throughout the 23 Things experience.

Set up up your blog
To set up your blog, choose a blog hosting service. There are many you could pick, but we strongly suggest Blogger, which is owned by Google. Other possibilities include Wordpress and Typepad. Here are the instructions for Blogger:

Go to, and click on the button that says “Create a blog.”
The next page will ask if you already have a Google account. If you don’t have one, create one.

Name your blog!
It’s time to choose a name for your blog. Click on the links below for some ideas of blog names from other 23 Things programs around the country.

Once you name your blog, choose a URL. Be sure to click on “Check Availability” in case someone already has already used the URL. If so, just choose a different URL. When you’re all done with this page, choose “Continue.”

Choose a template!
A template is the colors and style of how your blog will look on the screen. Choose your favorite one and click “Continue.”

You’ve created your blog! Now click on “Start Blogging.” You will see a screen where you can type your very first blog post. Take this opportunity to say hello to your fellow 23 Things participants. Be sure to give your post a title. When you’re finished with your first post, click on “Publish.” Congratulations on writing your first blog post! Now, you can see what your blog looks like to visitors. Just click on “View Blog.” You should see your blog.

Register your blog!
Send the following information in an email to

1) Your real name
2) The name of the library where you work
3) Your blog URL

You will not receive an email confirmation. After about a week, your blog will appear on this page. Your real name and library affiliation will NOT be included. If you don’t see your blog’s name after about a week, please send another email.

A note about privacy and responsibility
Because your blog is public, anyone might be reading it. For this reason, we recommend you use caution in what you post on your blog. Don't post anything you wouldn't want to be revealed to the world. If fact, this same caution holds as we start to explore other Web 2.0 tools. Additionally, you may also want to avoid using your name or library affiliation on your blog, and in fact, we recommend it.

Congratulations! You've completed Thing 1. On to Thing 2!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Welcome to North Texas 23, a Web 2.0 learning experience for librarians in North Texas!


Tell me about North Texas 23
North Texas 23 is all about trying out or “playing” with new Web 2.0 technology. This is a great opportunity for both personal and professional development, as you learn new technology tools. You will learn by “doing,” and by getting help from peers at your library and from other library staff around north Texas.

How it works
One exciting aspect of North Texas 23 is that you will guide your own learning. You get to decide when and for how long you will play with each new technology. Maybe you will do this while at work, maybe at home, or a combination of each! Each week, on this blog, a few new “Things” will be announced, with an activity for you to do, but you can choose to do the Things in any order you choose, any time (except Thing #1).

You will want to read this blog each week to find out about each new Thing. 2 or 3 new Things will be announced each week. Some tips will be included to help you get started, and many Things will be easy to complete without help. For others, you are encouraged to ask friends, co-workers, or your 14-year old nephew for help! Find a “buddy” or team up with participants to support each other. You can also, of course, email the leaders of the program for help.

Who can participate?
--All library staff and library staff retirees, from all libraries of all types (academic, public, school, special) in the 20-county area served by the North Texas Regional Library System, also known as Texas Library Association District 7

--Members of advisory boards, governing boards, foundation boards, and Friends boards, from libraries in District 7

--Library school students and faculty from Texas Woman's University and the University of North Texas

--All persons in attendance at the TechNet Conference in May, or the Children's and Youth Librarians Conference (CYC Conference) in August. CYC attendees outside of District 7 must be registered for CYC and fully paid by June 1 to be eligible for North Texas 23.

All persons who register by June 1, and complete this program by August 15 will be eligible for a random drawing for the prizes. Every person who completes all of the 23 Things by September 1 will get a certificate of accomplishment.

The prizes are (and will be drawn for in this order):

--iPod Shuffle, provided by North Texas Library Partners;
--Motorola Hands-free headset (for a mobile phone), provided by North Texas Library Partners;
--3 software games, provided by

How do I register?
You will register as part of Thing 1. Thing 1 will be revealed on May 4. To register, send your name, the name of the library where you work, and the URL of the blog you create in Thing 1, to the North Texas 23 Leadership Team. Our email address is You will not get an email confirmation, but do check this list. Please allow one week for your blog URL to be posted to the list. Your name will not be posted; only the blog URL. If your blog does not appear in the list after one week, please email again.

How will you know that I have completed all 23 Things?
After you complete each Thing, you will post your thoughts and experiences to your blog. The leadership team will be periodically looking at your blog to see which items you have completed.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

North Texas 23 Leadership Team

The persons administering North Texas 23 are:

-Jeff Bond, Texas Christian University Library
-Dona Weisman, North Texas Library Partners
-Jesse Ephraim, Southlake Public Library
-Walter Betts, Texas Christian University Library
-Chris Accardo, Weatherford Public Library
-Todd Humble, North Richland Hills Public Library
-Vidya Krishnaswamy, Fort Worth Public Library
-Shaun Seibel, University of North Texas Libraries
-Lilly Ramin, University of North Texas Libraries
-Greg Hardin, Texas Woman's University Libraries
-Melissa Jeffrey, Arlington Public Library
-Betsy Ruffin, Cleburne ISD
-Geoff Sams, Roanoke Public Library
-Lisa Erickson, Fort Worth Public Library
-Amy Bledsoe, Fort Worth Public Library
-Joanie Ramos, Fort Worth Public Library
-Shelley Almgren, Texas Wesleyan University
-Ryan Samuelson, Midwestern State University
-Donna Kearley, Denton ISD
-Patty Windsor, Denton ISD
-Lea Bailey, Irving ISD
-Cary Cox, The Colony Public Library