Category Archives: Web 2.0

Word Statistics Links

For my What’s New with What’s New presentation for the Boston Regional Library System:

Book Information

  • Amazon: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down — The Amazon page for this book is an example of some of the ways that Amazon is playing around with text analysis
  • 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

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Add Polls to Library Websites and Blogs

Wish you had time to make your website more interactive? Try adding simple, fun polls! It only takes a few minutes to create your own polls using one of the free polling services.

The sample on this post was created using a free PollDaddy account — feel free to make a selection and click on Vote to try this out. You’ll be shown the results by percentage. In this case, I allow the user to choose “Other” and input their own answer. The names they add this way aren’t seen online, but I can see the full results on the PollDaddy website.

You can set options to try to limit users to a single vote by cookie or IP address, but either method might be problematic on library workstations. But there’s no statistical validity to this kind of polling anyway, so use it just for fun. These are especially popular on blogs and pages for kids and teens.

If your blog or website is running on WordPress, checkout PollDaddy’s WordPress plugin to make it even easier to add these to your site. But on any site, it’s pretty much just a matter of filling out a form and then copying and pasting a snippet of code to your post or page.

I like Polldaddy, but other sites are similar. If you pay for an account, you get more options, but you may find you can do everything you want with a free account.

Have fun!


  • PollDaddy — Sign up for a free account and try this out
  • Read This! — This excellent book blog from the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers, Massachusetts, uses polls as an interactive feature in the sidebar.

Building Community Through Photography

I did a presentation on this topic at the Massachusetts Library Association conference in Falmouth this morning, and posted the PowerPoint on Slideshare:

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Hulu : Television and Movies Online, Free and Legal

Hulu is a site designed to bring professional TV and movie content to the web in a legal, ad-supported format. It’s a joint venture of NBC and the News Corporation, with partnerships with many content providers and web services for syndication.

They’ve been in private Beta for months and just officially launched a few weeks ago, and they’ve been getting a lot of attention. The content is still limited (we’re not talking NetFlix here) but there’s an interesting assortment full-length content here, old and new — the entire run of “Arrested Development,” 48 episodes of the old Bob Newhart show, 78 episodes of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” and other old shows like “Barney Miller,” “Hill Street Blues” and “The Practice.” There are lots of
current shows here, too, with several full episodes and lots of clips.
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Digital Commonwealth Conference

Yesterday I participated in the Digital Library Conference & Vendor Fair at Holy Cross, an event that celebrated the official launch of the Digital Commonwealth. The Digital Commonwealth is a portal providing access to the digital repositories of libraries and other cultural institutions around the state, soon to include NOBLE. The conference was a great success, with a diverse and enthusiastic group of participants.

Digital Library Conference and Vendor FairThe program featured keynote presentations by Mary Minow on copyright and Marshall Keys on the Digital Commonwealth and Library 2.0, and eleven break-out sessions on a various aspects of digital libraries.
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