Let’s Hyve!

I started a hyves on the 17th of January at the ‘Meet the Expert — and make your own Hyves profile’ workshop organised by the NVB HB/WB. The expert in this case was Martijn Hulst (adviseur zorgmarketing bij Twynstra Gudde). You can read what he talked about that day in his blog. Martijn uses Slideshare to share the presentations he’s made. Here’s the presentation he gave us at the workshop.

Martijn Hulst gave us a very enthousiatic account of all the software he uses in his job encouraging health care workers to network and exchange information. He gave us a mind boggling list of web 2.0 applications, examples of use in practice and statistics on the groups that use them.

He’d been talking for one and a half hours before we broke for coffee, and had spoken for another three quarters of an hour after the break…Just as I was thinking – ‘gee I’ll never find the time to try this stuff out’ he announced that he was at the end of his presentation and that we could all start practicing by starting up our own Hyves.

I’d come prepared with a bit of text about me for the profile, a photo taken by holding the camera at arms length (and a little too low according to Bonny because you can see up my nostrils) and the only film I have – taken by Bonny with my camera at the Natural History Museum in London and featuring me and a T-rex.

I had my Hyves up within a half an hour which I was pretty proud of until I came home and showed it to Bonny. “You’ve got a Hyves but zero friends” was her comment”, followed by “Change that photo, I can see up your nostrils”. So of course I spent the next week asking people to join my Hyves, changing my colour scheme, adding stuff to my profile, and browsing YouTube for movies to link to my Hyves, oh and I added ‘Pac-man’. I’ve kept the photo because I quite like the way it looks down into the page, anyway everyone has nostrils.

The whole exercise has been fun and I have a deeper understanding of why every second computer screen in the library shows Hyves. Unfortunately I’m supposed to be thinking of ways to use social software ‘seriously’ to link into the communication channels of the younger generation, maybe I will, but for now it’s a playground. If you’d like to play too, just click on the ‘add to friends’ link underneath my photo.

LinkedIn is another type of social network, one in which you can keep track of professional contacts. I was invited to join a little while back by a SPOETNIK contact. I haven’t done much with LinkedIn, except to provide a short profile to get started. I can see how it could be handy for advertising your expertise, searching for new staff, targeting people for invitations to seminars etc etc. You can invite people to join your network by uploading contacts from your e-mail accounts. To invite other SPOETNIKers, the easiest way is to upload your gmail contacts using the accounts on the deelnemers page.

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Wiki voor Informatievaardigheden

Followers of the SPOETNIK program at the University Library of the Universiteit van Amsterdam are using a wiki to build a guide for new staff members. They are pooling their experiences to create an information resource for new and future users. They are also learning how to use a web tool (a wiki) by doing what they do best, providing information about information resources.

The LOOWI (Landelijk Overleg Onderwijs Wetenschappelijke Informatie) started using a wiki to exchange information about the information literacy activities of the participating libraries about a year ago. This not only eased the task of the note taker at the LOOWI meeting, it also made it easier for the participants to share their news and keep the information on their activities up to date. It’s a great time saver too during the meeting, leaving more time for questions about each others activities. The wiki, LOOWI-OUI, complements the LOOWI website which is a showcase for information literacy resources developed by libraries in the Netherlands and overseas. A wiki is a collaborative tool that fits perfectly with the aims of the LOOWI to work together to build and share resources.

SPOETNIK review

Today is the 31st of march. I started SPOETNIK on the 4th of March and have enjoyed every minute of the course. I’ve learned a lot in a few short weeks and am looking forward to the next exercise appearing on April 7. This seems to me a good time to look back on what I’ve learned and see where this new knowledge had brought me. Which are the applications I’m using and finding useful, which have I tried and put aside?

Gmail is a winner, not only do I have lots of room for messages and photos, my Gmail log-in is also my Google Account for YouTube and lots of other Google goodies, such as Google Talk and Google Docs.

Blogging with WordPress. WordPress have made it really easy for me to write and present a blog. Even the spam filter is built in. WordPress is easy to use and the instructions are very clear. As you can see I’m still using it! The encouragement and inspiration from other SPOETNIK bloggers was a major factor too. I was a little late starting the program but I felt welcome from the start. I also learned from the comments made by others following SPOETNIK. Thanks also to Brughagedis who thought up a why to show us a diverse selection of SPOETNIK blogs in I-frames.

RSS feeds in combination with Netvibes. This is a winner too. I’ve made the upgrade from Netvibes Coriander to Ginger and am currently thinking about how to furnish my public universe. I’ve experimented with the country settings to take advantage of the preselected information resources available in the Netherlands and in Australia. A page of my netvibes is devoted to SPOETNIK feeds. I’ve got RSS for Ubaspoetnik posts and comments, for my own blog, and for the feedjumbler mix made by Klijt Berroo. I’ve been dropping hints about how I like Netvibes to my colleagues at the EUR, trying to get a few people interested for a Netvibes Universe for Economics and Business Administration and Management. Here’s one of the netvibes universes I’ve found that I’m using as an example to get the subject specialists on board. It’s written by Jason Welker, “a 21st century teacher using the collaborative tools of Web 2.0 to teach Economics to international students.”
http://www.netvibes.com/welkerswikinomics#Welcome Jason Welker also has a blog, welkerswikinomics

Chat using Google Talk and Meebo. Google Talk was really easy, at least once I’d invited all you SPOETNIKers to chat with me, before that I was feeling pretty shy and lonely. Do teenagers feel like that too, if they have no ‘contacts’ to chat with? Meebo was more difficult to get the hang of. I put a meebome widget on my blog, expecting to be replying to visitors directly on the blog page, and was confused when this didn’t work as I’d expected. It was good to have help on this matter from ubaspoetnik via Google Talk.

LibraryThing. I can see how people can like LibraryThing. My daughter, Bonny, loved it for tracing Manga series but I’m a little to set in my ways to use it much myself. By the way, Bonny also loved what AmazType did with the title word ‘Manga’. Thanks to Schwitter for this tip.

Flickr is great. Playing with Flickr was a lot of fun too. I’ll continue to use Flickr and Picasa for sharing photos on the web.

Del.icio.us. I was luke warm about del.icio.us at first, but since I added del.icio.us to my FireFox browser, I’m finding it quite easy to tag and add new favorites to my collection. It sure beats sending e-mails to myself when I want to remember a link that I want to add to my personal favorites on another computer. I’ve also started searching del.ious.us for links to interesting sites. I can see myself making collections of links and sharing them with others.

Google Docs is perfect for working collaboratively because it’s simple to use. So what if it doesn’t have all the features of Office? If you really want these features you can do a final edit in a word processor later on. Anyway, the simple version works better with blog software. I can see myself using Google Docs in the future too. I like how it’s possible to see the versions between revisions.

Blog bling

I’ve blinged (blung?) this blog with a blogroll of some of the blogs I like a lot. This is a short list since I’ve been spending my time finding out how to add widgets to a WordPress blog without throwing out the stuff I like in the default theme by mistake. This involved adding available WordPress widgets to a column, saving, then viewing the page to see what had happend. Trial and error, always works for me. For those who don’t want to take a lot of time experimenting, there is a handy list of the standard WordPress widgets on this help page.

Lesson learned
To add a blogroll in a WordPress blog, use the ‘Blogroll’ module in the ‘Dashboard’, to open a page where you can fill in the URL’s of the blog’s you want to link to. You can also add a short description which will be shown if a reader moves their mouse over the link. The links that you type in this ‘Blogroll’ page are automatically assigned the category ‘blogroll’. The next step is to get your links visible on the page. You do this in the ‘Presentation’ module by selecting and pulling the widget named ‘Links’ to a sidebar in your page.

Netvibes

Yep, Netvibes. After a night’s sleep, the decision to use Pageflakes or Netvibes wasn’t an issue any more. I just decided to start with one of the two. If I don’t like the one I’m using I’ll switch to the other. Such luxury!

Starting my own Netvibes page was really easy. You simply go to http://www.netvibes.com in your browser (it works with a range of browsers). I didn’t pick a great time to start with Netvibes though. At Netvibes they’re busy with a migration of their current users to a new version called ‘Ginger’. This means that first time users get a rather confusing message asking if you’d like to transfer to Ginger. You can get past this dialog box by clicking the ‘close’ button. Now you’ll see a basic netvibes page that you can personalize with your favorite feeds, search widgets, mail-boxes etc. Right up top is a message warning you to register your page with Netvibes to save any changes you’ve made to the original basic netvibes page. After making some changes to the layout and choosing a language area for gathering information resources I registered the page using a gmail account and a password for netvibes that I chose myself.

This is where it started to get confusing. The netvibes server was busy with processing all the existing users that were migrating, so I got an error message saying that the server was busy. After a few tries the page was registered and a confirmation arrived in my gmail account. Signing in remained a problem though. Funnily enough I was able to access my netvibes page and continued to make changes. The best thing about Netvibes is that you can access your personal netvibes page from other internet connected computers. When I tried this from my PC at work I was very disappointed – only the first changes I’d made had been saved! All my hours of perfecting my page were for nothing! At home I checked my netvibes page again. There every change had been saved. Duh? After careful reading of the netvibes help pages and the netvibes blog I came up with a solution to this puzzle. To test my theory I visited the netvibes homepage again but now from another PC in my home network. This is what I discoved:

  • In the older version of Netvibes, Coriander, you don’t actually need to register with Netvibes to make a personal netvibes page. The changes you make are saved in your local cache.
  • If using your ‘registered’ version of your personal netvibes page you need to keep an eye on the ‘Sign in’ and ‘Sign off’ buttons on the top right of the page. If, after signing in, you still see the option to ‘Sign in’ you need to refresh the page in the browser. If this doesn’t work, try signing in again. If these steps don’t work for you there are more steps described in netvibes help pages.
  • If using a browser with tabs and adding content to your personal netvibes page don’t loose the thread – keep in mind that only the changes you make to the ‘signed in’ page will be saved on the netvibes server. You’ll see the other changes too, but these are saved in real-time to your local cache.
  • Only the changes made while ‘Signed in’ will remain on the Netvibes server and be visible to you if you visit your personal netvibes page from another internet PC.

Flying start

SPOETNIK is a great way to make a flying start with interacting with the Internet. It’s been set up by people who work at the Library of the Universiteit van Amsterdam. SPOETNIK is based on the Learning 2.0 program developed by Helene Blowers at the Public Library of Charlotte Mecklenburg County, USA.

The SPOETNIK program consists of a series of hands-on practical exercises that can be completed in 12 weeks.

My life motto is “better late than never”, so even though the course started at the end of January 2008, I decided to join the people at the Library of the Universiteit van Amsterdam in their quest.

The exercise in week 1 was to set up a Gmail account. The instructions given by the UBA Sputnik crew are plainly written and easy to follow. Thanks guys.

The next step, sending the details of the Gmail account to the UBA Sputnik moderator, was quickly accomplished. I had a reply within an hour! My Gmail account is listed on the UBA Sputnik blog under the tab ‘Deelnemers’. You have to let your eyes drop to near the bottom of the page to the list of ‘Niet UBA-deelnemers’ (non UBA participants). I’m there listed as ‘hoigagarin’

I must admit I’ve had a little practice recently. The ‘Meet the expert – and make your own Hyves profile’ workshop organised by the NVB-WB at the University Library in Leiden got me started on the 17th of January. I set up a Google account with Gmail for use with Hyves – to keep track of my scraps and social messages. The Google account allows me to upload videos to YouTube, which I can then show as ‘Gadgets’ in my Hyves.

Picking up speed

SPOETNIK’s exercise for week 2 is to make a blog. I like blogs, but I’ve never written one. So this a totally new experience for me.

I’ve discovered that it’s quite easy to set up a blog at WordPress as recommended by the SPOETNIK crew.

I’ve also discovered that I’m pretty fussy. Choosing a template took me at least an hour. I checked out all the examples, then checked the categories they were divided into; colors, number of columns, navigation etc, went back and forwards a few times and eventually choose this template. Why this one? – Because of the flexible width, 3 columns, navigation and last but not least color and overal layout. It’s called Neo Sapian.