More Photo Madness

January 29, 2008

Here’s another site that lets you to get creative and have fun with all those photos you have. Big Huge Labs allows you to make movie posters,




photo collages,


fake badges,



or even real badges,


You can have some of the images printed professionally for a fee.


Some Final Comments

January 24, 2008

For some more tips, read Michael Stephens’ Tech Tips for Every Librarian. They are blog posts of columns he wrote for Information Today.

Also, some great advice – originally intended to help declutter and simplify their lives, but could be used in libraries just as easily – comes from the Zen Habits and their post on the Four Laws of Simplicity.

It’s a Google World

January 22, 2008

Google offers more than just a search engine. It has tons of features that are useful.

Google Book Search 
Google Maps
Google Image Search 
Google News Search
Google Blog Search 
Google Calendar
Google Scholar 
Google Custom Search

You Get What You Pay For

January 21, 2008

Our library system uses two excellent resources that cost money. One is a resource for newsletters; the other is a reader’s advisory database for children.

The newsletters resource comes with more than 20 ready-made newsletters featuring four titles each. These can be changed and/or added to each month. Also, you can create additional custom newsletters and webpages.

Read the Books is a reader’s advisory database for children that features three-dimensional character that tells the children about the title they’ve selected. Children can also vote on the books. Your school district’s Accelerated Reader or Reading Counts lists can be added to the database as well.

A Useful Book

January 16, 2008

Generally, to establish your presence on any of these social sites, you don’t need to know html, xhtml or css code. However to make some changes, a small amount of code knowledge is useful. I recommend the HTML, XHTML, and CSS, Sixth Edition Visual Quickstart guide by Elizabeth Castro and published by Peachpit Press. It explains with clear examples in text and images what code you need to make specific changes. And the index is useful, too.


There are millions of websites out there. Here are some others that are useful, interesting or just plain fun.

Businesscardland – Make and print your own business cards using templates available on this site.
Jott – No time to write a note? Don’t have any paper? Call a phone number and have a message emailed or texted to you or your friends.
PriceProtectr – See whether or not that pricey item you just bought is on sale cheaper somewhere else.
TinyURL – Take a long website such as

and turn it into a small one like
LingoZ – A website that’s trying to be the Wikipedia of definitions.
The Sims On Stage – Formerly SingShot, this site is a online social karaoke site without the drunks and smoke.
Splice – Mix your own music from tracks available on the site.
Recipe Matcher – Find recipes for food or mixed drinks based upon ingredients you already have on hand.
Contactify – Don’t want your personal email address on your website? This site allows you to create a contact me box that doesn’t give away anything personal.
Browsing LCSH – Browse through all those strangely-phrased Library of Congress Subject Headings.
I Can Has Cheezburger? – Pictures, mainly of cats, with humorous captions. You could get lost on this site for days.
I Has a Hot Dog! – Don’t like cats? Well, then try this site with lots of pictures of dogs.
A Big List of Sites That Teach You How to Do Stuff – Exactly what it sounds like. Links to sites that teach how to do things that are useful or just plain weird.

Podcasting … sounds silly

January 16, 2008

Podcasts, a combination of the words iPod and broadcast, are audio programs that can be downloaded to your computer or mp3 player and listened to anytime. Or you can listen to them online.

Creating podcasts is fairly simply. You need a microphone, internal or external, on your computer and an audio recording program. The easiest program to use is Audacity. It’s a free download. Record your program – be careful of copyright restrictions! – and export it as an mp3.

Once you’ve created your mp3 recording, you can upload it to your blog or you can upload it to a podcast server such as Podcast Spot. Here’s a sample at Podcast Spot. Our library uses Blogger to host its podcasts.

RSS means Really Simple Syndication and is a way to have information from various blogs, podcasts, and other websites sent to you. If a site has an RSS feed, you may see a symbol like one of these.




All of these different symbols mean you can subscribe to the that site in an RSS aggregator. The aggregator collects the information from those sites and stores it in your account until you read it.

Some aggregators are web-based and some must be downloaded to your computer. Here’s a list of various aggregators. Two of the more popular RSS aggregators are Bloglines and Google Reader. Both are web-based.

What? Social Bookmarks?

January 16, 2008

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you can now store bookmarks to your favorite websites on another site. And other people can see your bookmarks as well.

That’s social bookmarking in a nutshell. Some sites are Delicious and StumpleUpon.

I’m sure you’ve all heard about MySpace and Facebook. These are some of the most popular web sites available. Why would anyone use a social networking site?

And we’ve all heard the horror stories associated with these sites. But what about the positive uses of social networking sites? College searches, communication, plus lots more [opens in PDF].

Our library has a MySpace page or you can see mine. On my page, I’ve found friends of mine I haven’t spoken to since high school.

And then there are the memorials.
Amanda Pinson
Carlos Sousa, Jr.

And the pleas for help.
Kyle Fleischmann
Pray for Violet

What the heck is a wiki? A wiki allows users to read, post and change web pages.

The best explanation is this video.

The most famous wiki is probably Wikipedia, which is now the largest encyclopedia, with pages on many different subjects. Some pages include: Onalaska, Nederland, Texas City and Wharton.

You can create your own wiki.  Some simple, free sites to establish your own wikis include PBWiki, Wikispaces and Wetpaint.

What about my videos?

January 10, 2008

So, you’ve got some videos you want to share with the world? The best-known site is YouTube where you can set up your own channel. Our library has a channel. The English royal family even has a channel.

You can embed videos on other sites, like this

Now that you’ve gotten your pictures looking their best, you need to post them on the web. One of the most popular sites is Flickr, which is where you can see some of my pictures. Another site is Shutterfly which allows you to have your photos printed on various items for purchase. Yet another photo sharing site is Photobucket, which is where you can see this sample slide show.

And then there are the fun sites. Dumpr can turn your pictures into works of art


Photos within photos




And even a Rubik’s cube


The Generator Blog and Sign Generators lists all kind of photo sites and text generators to make interesting signs. Here’s are some examples.




Another, very powerful, photo editor is FotoFlexer. It has lots of fun features and is similar to Picnik. This editor can help you fix blemishes and remove wrinkles as well as morph photos. Using that same picture of myself


I turned it into this


and then went even further with this


FotoFlexer allows you to paste your head on another body – although your choice of bodies is slim.

Another free online photo editor is Pixenate. It’s not quite as powerful as Picnik, but it has many of the same features. I took this photo of myself.


And turned it into this one.


I look like I’m on a television set using Pixenate.

There are lots and lots of online photo editors. Some are quite powerful. Some require registration. Some cost to use any of the features; others cost to use some of the advanced features.

Unless you want to shell out hundreds of dollars for Adobe PhotoShop, online photo editors generally provide you with everything you need to do to improve your existing pictures.

One such editor is Picnik. The site is free, and you can register to use it. But you can also just “try it” and use it without registering. I turned this picture of the Rock of Cashel in Ireland


into this


All using Picnik.

There are lots of social networking sites on the Internet – MySpace, Facebook, etc. Some social networking sites rely on a common interest to generate users. Of those, a few are perfect for expanding your library’s presence on the Internet. Shelfari allows users to create bookshelves and add friends through a shared interest in specific books (see the BCLS list). LibraryThing is another site that does the same thing (see another list). 

 Others include
Google’s MyLibrary

Blogging Sites

October 30, 2007

There are lots of blogging sites available.  I use Blogger at work for our BCLS Podcasts and BCLS Teens blogs.  Obviously, I’ve used WordPress for this workshop.

Others include

If you know of some more, post them in the comments.

Welcome to this blog

October 22, 2007

This is a sample blog entry. It’s not hard. Just use Word Press!