Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Podcamp Toronto Press Release - January 31, 2007

Free Podcasting "Unconference" Aims to Teach Newbies How to Podcast

(Toronto, ON) – Podcamp Toronto (, a 2-day unconference which will be held at Ryerson University on February 24-25, 2007, will teach people how to plan, produce and publish a podcast. Attendance is free.

A podcast is a multimedia file that’s syndicated over the Internet. Similar to an Internet radio program, podcasting allows people to download audio or video content when they want to view or listen to it.

“Both hobbyist and companies are using podcasts to communicate with fans or clients,” says Leesa Barnes, one of the organizers behind Podcamp Toronto. “There’s a guy who uses his podcast to teach people how to knit and there’s a large corporation that uses their podcast to give end users tips on how to maintain their computers.”

The very first Podcamp was held in Boston in September 2006. It was born out of the desire to share information about audio and video podcasting and related subjects. Podcamp Toronto is a 100% free, volunteer-driven, sponsor-supported event. Otherwise known as an unconference, Podcamp Toronto focuses primarily on allowing people to share ideas, interact with each other and learn in an open environment.

“Using the unconference method means that attendees will learn from those in the trenches, the very people who are producing podcasts on a day to day basis,” says Barnes. “Whether you’re a seasoned podcaster or someone who’s just curious about this new medium, Podcamp Toronto will allow you to learn at your own pace.”

Sessions includes Interviewing Techniques, Video Podcasting for the Average Joe, Podcasting 101, 7 Ways to Monetize Your Podcast, How to Create Hollywood Effects from Your Living Room and Podcasting in Public Interest. There are a number of panel discussions, including Will Podcasting Kill Radio, Using Podcasting in Secondary Schools and What’s Hot in Marketing Your Podcast. The hosts of 2 of Canada's most listened to podcasts - In Over Your Head and Galacticast - will be on hand to answer questions about replicating their success. These are just a sample of the 25+ sessions and panels being offered.

A blog is updated almost daily with news about Podcamp Toronto. Sponsors include Scotiabank, the first Canadian bank to produce a podcast called The Money Clip and BabyTel, a voice-over IP company.

Visit for more information or to register for free for Podcamp Toronto.

Media Contacts

Leesa Barnes

(647) 225-3792

Jay Moonah

(416) 885-5341

Flickr Members Conflicted

Lots of angry people venting over at Thomas Hawk's Digital Connection: There's Some Mighty Pissed Off Flickr Members Right Now. Seems like there are many people angry about the change to a Yahoo ID.

Or ARE there?! Thomas Hawk discloses himself as the CEO of an up-and-coming potential competitor to Flickr, Zooomr. He has definitely picked up the negative arguments, but if you scroll down in the comments, there are people like me saying this is all much ado about nothing, that it is to be expected since Yahoo! owns Flickr.

One fantastic change I discovered today with using the new ID: I can now actually log onto my Flickr account from the office computer, which means I can start loading up personal photos at home and using them in the office for some of my professional projects. Previously certain network security settings prevented me from signing onto Flickr (I think they were cookie settings). Well that just gives me a reason to say "yahoo!!!"


Information Overlord Covers Wikinomics

Information Overlord Scott Vine gives his evaluation of the book Wikinomics in his recent blog post Wikinomics.

He says:

I have just finished reading Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams' - Wikinomics. It is set to become the must read in the blogging community this year, and it is well worth several hours of anyone's time.

The book which takes off where Thomas Friedman's - The World is Flat left off last year paints a picture of the changing face of the internet and connectivity, and how the businesses that succeed in the future will be the ones that adopt and change and ride of the crest of the - dare we say it, web 2.0/social media, wave.

He goes on to give some key quotes and discuss them. Well worth a visit!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Flickr Moves Old Skool Members to Yahoo! Sign on

Tonight I received the message below from Flickr asking me to switch over to a Yahoo! sign on:

From: FlickrHQ
Subject: Update for Old Skool members

Dear Old Skool Account-Holding Flickr Member,

On March 15th we'll be discontinuing the old email-based Flickr sign in system. From that point on, everyone will have to use a Yahoo! ID to sign in to Flickr.

We're making this change now to simplify the sign in process in advance of several large projects launching this year, but some Flickr features and tools already require Yahoo! IDs for sign in -- like the mobile site at or the new Yahoo! Go program for mobiles, available at Yahoo! Go.

95% of your fellow Flickrites already use this system and their experience is just the same as yours is now, except they sign in on a different page. It's easy to switch: it takes about a minute if you already have a Yahoo! ID and about five minutes if you don't.

You can make the switch at any time in the next few months, from today till the 15th. (After that day, you'll be required to merge before you continue using your account.) To switch, go to Merge a Flickr and Yahoo! account.

Nothing else on your account or experience of Flickr changes: you can continue to have your FlickrMail and notifications sent to any email address at any domain and your screenname will remain the same.

Complete details and answers to most common questions are in our FAQ: Yahoo! IDs, signing in and screen names.

Thanks for your patience and understanding - and even bigger thanks for your continued support of Flickr: if you're reading this, you've been around for a while and that means a lot to us!

Warmest regards,

- The Flickreenos
So, to prove that just because I am dragging my feet on switching this blog over to the new Blogger does not mean I have issues with change, I pulled out my little-used existing Yahoo! login ID, signed onto my "old skool" Flickr account, and merged the two. No problemos, and it took me all of about 30 seconds. Woo hoo! And poking around my Flickr account with new sign on shows nothing has changed.

Thought I would post this here for nervous nellies worried about switching. It seems to go as smoothly as they claim.

What does this mean? That I trust Yahoo! more than Google (Blogger owner)? Hmmm.....

By the way, I notice that Flickr is not beta, but "gamma". Not sure what that means--they are ready to take their service out of beta, but not confident enough to call it final? And how long before it is in "omega"??

Friday, January 26, 2007

Welcome Carnival Goers!

Michael Habib has now posted Carnival of the Infosciences #53 and he has kindly written about the two posts I submitted last week.

Welcome to everyone who is linking back here from that post!

The Carnival is now running every two weeks, which is a lot more manageable for everyone involved--readers, writers, and people submitting. I have signed up to host on March 19th, so stay tuned. I guess the big question will be whether I do a belated St. Paddy's Day theme, or come up with something else.

In the meantime, please please submit your favourite library-related blog post from this week and next week, either your own or someone else's, to the Carnival. Check out the wiki page for details.

The Ultimate Teachable Moment

I'm wondering how many of these perfect teachable moments we are missing out on?--

a lawyer or student comes to us and says: "I have spent 15 min/30 min/4 hours on this and can't find this document. Can you find it?"

Well, our favourite thing in the world as reference librarians is to run around, quickly find it, pull a rabbit out of the hat and say: TA-DA!

But wait....

...we may look like a star for 15 seconds, but have we really taken advantage of this opportunity??

The person is ripe for learning how to find this document. Ideally, we should be taking him or her by the hand and walking through the steps to finding the solution. Worst case scenario, if the task has just been hoisted on us and the person has disappeared, we should provide a rationale (email, voicemail) as to how it was found.

How many of these moments have we missed? It's that whole "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime" concept.

Especially if the person is already hungry for the knowledge, that is the perfect time to feed it to him or her. It really is the ultimate teachable moment.

Top photo of fisherman is by UpNorth Memories.
Bottom photo of man eating fish is by spiderwegian.
Both with some rights reserved under Creative Commons. Both located through the Flickr advanced search screen.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Jakob Nielsen's 10 Best Intranets of 2007

Jan. 25/07 - Jakob Nielson recently released his "10 Best Intranets of 2007" list.  In his summary, he discusses these newer trends that he sees as favourable:

  • increase of multimedia including regularly changing photos, increase in video, and more precise news feeds or edited news;

  • ability for internal staff to rate items or add comments; he feels these features are even more useful on an intranet than out in the real world since you are more likely to receive constructive comments;

  • users in multinational (or multilingual) firms to have choice of language interface; he also comments on how some multinational companies are using their intranets for people to work more cohesively;

  • more standardization; firmer standards;

  • conservative use of trendy web applications such as blogs, wikis and other social tools.  He notes a successful employee search tool which shows the searcher how many degrees of separation he/she has from the other person, to help find someone the most closely related;

  • web usability statistics on intranets should be interpreted differently than statistics for websites because the contexts are different;

  • intranets are becoming more established in the organization's infrastructure with proper budgets and staffing;

Full 360 page report with screen shots is available here for $174 for single report or $378 for site licence with ability to post to your intranet (prices are U.S.).   If anyone purchases it, could you let me know if it is worthwhile?? 

Link to this report was courtesy of today's beSpacific.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

CALL/ACBD 2005 Private Law Library/Corporate Law Library SIG Operational Survey Released - Comments requested

Today the PLL/CLL Committee of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries released its 2005 Operations survey, available from the PLL/CLL webpage.

This survey was a lot of work and covers subjects such as:

  • Library clients

  • Library staffing

  • Physical library space

  • Library products and services

  • Billing

  • Budget and financial planning - including costs per lawyer

  • Online services - use and spending

  • Firm intranet and website - involvement by library staff

  • Library catalogue

  • Multi-office firms/National firms

The committee who put this together request feedback about the usefulness of this survey:

"Given the effort exerted and expense incurred in conducting CALL surveys it is time to seriously question whether we should continue to do so -- given that members often conduct their own small surveys via the CALL-L listserv as questions arise. This committee is interested in your thoughts on this."

For my own part I find it an immensely enlightening read, but then I wonder if I put what I learn into practical use? I am hoping to look more closely at the results and see what conclusions I can draw. If I find anything of particular interest, I will share it here.


Monday, January 22, 2007

This Blog & Comments Function

I think the comments function on this blog are not working at the moment. I recently switched it so that I would be moderating comments because of a large increase in comment spam. It worked for a day or so, but since then I have had reports that it is not working. I have tried resetting it and republishing the blog, but as far as I can tell you will probably still get errors if you try posting a comment. Feel free to give it a try and prove me wrong!

At this point, I'm not going to put more time into correcting it as I still have to upgrade to the new Blogger platform. I am hoping that the move over will correct things. It is going to take a lot of work since I have to figure out how to back up this blog first, and then I have a number of blogs which need to make the move all at once. I'm also bouncing around the idea of getting a separate domain since Blogger is now offering to host blogs on private domains. Cool idea and I'm thinking of taking them up on it if I am going to switch things around anyway. But I need to think this through. So, it may take a few weeks.

In the meantime, my apologies if you are unable to post comments. Like I say, it may work but I am doubtful. You are welcome to send comments to my email address in the meantime.

Thanks for your patience, and happy reading!


OLA Super Conference 2007 - Blog!

The Ontario Library Association has created the OLA Super Conference 2007 blog for the upcoming conference, January 31 - February 3, 2007. For those of us not attending, it will be a treat to read along with attendees. A call went out this morning for bloggers, so not a lot has been posted yet. Let's keep an eye on it!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ruminating on keitai and RFID

I was just reading a comment about the new iPhone, how it brings little new to the Japanese mobile phone culture since keitai (Japanese mobile phones) are so much further ahead than the North American version. I was reading about all the things that keitai can do.

It brought me back to a discussion I had with Anh last week about RFID tags and what they will eventually do for our library. We don't have a barcode system to sign out books, and I have always preferred to wait for the cost of RFID tags to drop so we could use those instead since they have a lot more functionality. I have an idea about the basic uses for RFID tags, but I figured there are uses we haven't even thought of yet.

Now, what about somehow having the cell phones or blackberries reading the RFID tags? Is that possible (or, should I say, how could we make that possible?). What about someone in a small office pulling up a catalogue record on the cell phone and having that cell phone help them figure out which shelf in the library or which office in their building has the book? What about, if they walk through the shelves in the library, tag clouds from the books pop up as they walk around so they can locate the books that best cover their subjects? (I heard of this idea somewhere else, but using the RFID reader, not a cell phone).

Is anyone thinking about using RFID and cell phones together? Well, keitai apparently have RFID in them. I can't imagine I'm the first to think of this....

And then, someone could use the cell phone to automatically sign the book out in his/her name. And to add additional information to the RFID tag, such as additional folksonomy-type tags and user notes for others to view. How cool would that be?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Wikinomics: Mass Collaboration Coming Your Way

Last week Michel-Adrien Sheppard pointed out the new book Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. I was so impressed with some of the Globe and Mail columns that Michel-Adrien pointed to in his post that I ran out, bought the book, and started reading it immediately. Then I heard about the book launch taking place at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto last night, and invited myself along. Well, I didn't exactly crash the party, but let's just say I didn't have an invitation to the invitation-only event.

Wikinomics book cover The book itself is not just about wikis, but about how mass collaboration is making great changes to organizations and, as a result, society and the economy. So-called Web 2.0 is one catalyst for the change. We're really at the cusp of the enterprise changing, and authors Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams have some solid real-world examples of how this is happening. The first example they give is how Goldcorp, Inc., a Canadian gold mining company, opened up its private, proprietary data (something definitely unheard of in the mining industry) and asked people around the world for help finding gold on their own land. Anyone giving them the most successful information would get a cut of the profit. The experiment was hugely successful, with expertise coming from around the world and unexpected places. Much more gold was found from a number of different locations in what was previously thought to be a "finished" mine. The first chapter of the book is available from the website if you want to read the full story.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Toronto Wiki Tuesdays

Last night I attended my first Toronto Wiki Tuesdays meeting. Organizer Martin Cleaver was welcoming, and there were a number of other newbies there. There were about 12 of us total and it sounds like that was probably the best meeting they've had thus far. It turned out to be one of the most interesting meetings I've attended in a long while.

We started with Martin giving a synopsis of the first 70 pages of the new Wikinomics book, how collaboration is growing and affecting enterprises and society, and the concept of "peer production". At some point we interrupted him with so many questions and comments that the "lecture" got off track and we ended up sharing our various questions and ideas. It was clear everyone there was from a very different background, each of us had an agenda of something to discuss, and we all are interested in the "high level" picture of society and organizations rather than just talking about comparing which software works best.

I liken it to a kitchen party where you are meeting all these cool new people but you know you have at least one interest in common and you have to figure out what else you have in common or can learn from each other. There was someone talking about business communications, someone talking about monetary systems, and someone else talking about mathematical theory. There was another special librarian there (a systems librarian in the healthcare industry) so we compared some notes on a few library-related things.

Then, someone (Paul, I think it was) pulled out his newly acquired Wii and plugged it in to the bar's big screen TV projector. That shifted the dynamic and, as people took turns trying out playing with the Wii, the rest of us broke into groups of 2 or 3 and started comparing notes on a number of issues. As people cycled through the Wii game, the little groups reconfigured.

The meeting was supposed to end about 9:30. It was a Tuesday night, and I left at 11:00 pm and things were continuing with a few people still there talking!

Some of the things I learned from our discussions:
  • You can use a wiki as a metaphor for a lot of different things.
  • Wikis are most useful when coming to a definitive answer, and not so useful for open-ended questions that cannot be resolved.
  • Wikis act as a "negotiation" tool allowing people to work together until they come to an agreed document or vision.
  • Flickr might conceptually be considered a type of wiki. If that is the case, I would suggest that Second Life is a form of a wiki as well (albeit a graphical one).
  • Wikis are good for converging ideas; blogs are good for diverging ideas.
  • All forms of electronic communications have served to flatten organizations.
  • The larger, more established the organization, the longer it is going to take to "turn the boat around" and have it change to a collaborative model rather than the command and control model.
  • The type of editing interface an application has can influence the writing style of a person. If you don't want to encourage a long list of bullet points, don't include a bullet point option.

I recommend, if you are interested in looking at the big picture of collaboration in enterprises or in society, this group might be of interest to you. I hope to see these people again at the next meeting.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Book launch - Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything at Rotman School of Management (U of T) (Thursday, January 11, 2007)

The Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto is hosting a launch party for Don Tapscott, co-author of Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. The book launch takes place this Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 5:00 p.m. Details on You need to email them an RSVP to attend.

I picked up the book on the weekend and started reading it. I have a feeling it is going to be one of those must-read books, following up where The World is Flat left off. Despite the title, it is not just about wikis! It is about how businesses and the economy are going through fundamental changes thanks to the new collaborative mindset we are seeing thanks to developments such as those in Web 2.0.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

5 Things

I don't know where this meme originated, but Jim Milles tagged me for the list of "5 Little-Known Things About Me". The most difficult thing about this is to limit myself to only five! Here goes, 5 things you probably don't know about me:

1. I was in French immersion from grades 7 to 9 and can still understand most everyday conversation in French.

2. I started my undergraduate degree in computer science. Once upon a time I could program in Fortran and Pascal.

3. I met my husband on-line in 1986, before most people had ever heard of email and long before the World Wide Web!

4. I was once an overnight DJ on campus radio.

5. Despite appearances to the contrary, I am a "gym bunny" and can be found at the gym or Pilates studio at least six days a week.

I am tagging Carolyne, Dave, Daniel, Michel-Adrien and Gary.

Happy New Year!

Things are starting to get back to normal after a very busy holiday break. Things didn't really go as planned over the holidays, so I didn't quite get all the things done that I wanted to do. Such as move this blog over to the new Blogger, get my vacation photos (from September!) loaded onto Flickr, and get my next article written. As my mother would say, "such is life." Instead I did some equally (or more) valuable things: spent more quality time with family than expected, got lots of much-needed sleep, and used my French language skills I thought forever buried in my subconscious while visiting my in-laws' relatives in Quebec.

Anyway, now I am slowly trying to get back on track and thinking in English again. Heh. And I've got a few things to catch everyone up on this blog. I should get back in the swing of things again soon.