LibraryThing — This social cataloging site is doing some very interesting work analyzing and comparing its members’ collection data, and collecting and organizing data through their Common Knowledge fielded wiki [Example: John Steinbeck]
Tagging is the primary method of organization for many social media sites, including Flickr, LibraryThing, Delicious, and many others. Tags are keywords users assign to their own items, which can also be used to search across the whole system. Because of the lack of a controlled vocabulary or standard cataloging rules, tagging is an imperfect system by design, but the use of natural vocabulary is quick, flexible and powerful.
Collections of tags can be presented in any format, but are often presented as tag clouds. Here are a couple of typical examples: Flickr | LibraryThing | Delicious
Similar clouds can be made by analyzing the frequency of words used in any piece of text, like the example below.
This is a tag cloud made by uploading the text of the Declaration of Independence to the TagCrowd website
There are many sites that are providing people with access to huge sets of data, and to new and interesting ways to visualize and interact with that data.
Here are a few links that show data in action:
Google Flu Trends — Search engines like Google perform millions of transaction every day. Those search terms are stamped with their date and time and geolocation, providing a rich source of information about what’s happening in the world. Google Flu Trends is an example of how tracking trends from search terms rather than through traditional polling and reporting methods.
NameVoyager — Explore trends in baby names in an interactive, graphical format. Be sure to scroll around the graph, use the limiters, and enter a name to search!
GovTrack.US — Compare versions of the Stimulus bill with changes highlighted, wiki-style
LibraryFlickrFaves — A collection of some of my favorite library photographs saved as bookmarks on Delicious.com.
Advice for Libraries on Flickr
Read the Flickr Terms of Service, take the Tour, read the FAQ
Make sure you understand privacy and copyright settings
Be creative and have fun
Capture everyday life at the library as well as the special events
Step outside for some exterior shots of the building and grounds
Include weather and seasonal pictures
Add historic images to Flickr, even if they are also in another system
Highlight every library service
Include the whole staff, volunteers, trustees, etc. (but respect the camera-shy!)
Have a plan and a policy for photo permissions, and respect the right to privacy
Add information and links to your image descriptions, and use the map and tags to help make your pictures findable
Add your images to Flickr groups, especially the local and regional groups
Consider starting groups for the library and/or the community
Use online toys and tools to enhance and transform your images (add frames, make posters, use special effects, etc.)
Use Flickr badges to add rotating content to your library sites
Link from your Flickr pages to your website, and from your library site to Flickr badges
Keep an eye on your Flickr stats, and report them with other library statistics
Flickr as a Resource
The Flickr Commons — The Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, and several other museums and archives around the world are adding collections of images with no known copyright restrictions to Flickr, where members not only enjoy the images but help catalog them.
Camera Information on Flickr — Flickr can be an interesting consumer resource. See what cameras Flickr members and using, and see examples of different kinds of pictures taken with each camera.
Here’s the presentation I did at the New England Library Instruction Group (NELIG) and Information Technology Interest Group’s Get to Know Library 2.0 session this morning at Mount Wachusett Community College.
During my presentation, I demonstrated the song-clapping exercise as an example of the “Curse of Knowledge.” A basic problem in communication is that when you know something, it’s difficult to imagine what it’s like to not know it. In this exercise, one person taps or claps out the rhythm of a song to a partner who tries to identify it. It’s very difficult for most people to guess the song based on just the rhythm, but the surprising part is that if you’re the person doing the tapping, it seems so easy! You can hear the song in your head, and it’s hard to remember that the other person can’t hear it, too, or how useless the series of taps are when separated from the tune.