Novel Gardener

Monday, January 15, 2007

Harvest Time

Last week #23

We have come full rotation and it is time to gather the fruits of our labours & reflect upon the success of the short season.

Successfully Harvested - would plant again:


Mixed success - may replant if conditions improve:

Image generators

Failed to thrive - will not replant:


Not sure I can push the garden barrow any further, so just as well I'm finished.

General problems I found with the program conerned the very part-time nature of my position which meant I had to do all of it outside work hours, thereby grappling with very slow interent access from home. At times this made the whole procedure very frustrating.
I'm not into blogging - reading or writing - so that wasn't something I enjoyed & I'm particularly not interested in the social side of many of the sites we looked at.
I would assume that patrons who were into that type of thing would already be on that path & wouldn't need help from us.

I have used the Rollyo a couple of times & that is probably the single most useful item for me. I would also like to RSS to genealogy blogs (yes I know I don't like them but I'll make an exception here!) as an easy way to keep up with new resources etc.

Overall I have enjoyed being able to recognise jargon that others use & I feel more aware of a little of what is offerred online but I do feel that much of it is timewasting for me. I would consider doing another program but would prefer it to be shorter to cater for part-time staff.

Now, let's down our virtual tools and ....
rollyo barrow, dodge the webs, pot a few tubes, generate & tag some cuttings and search this garden of life for real ...

Garden Views or Tubes

Week 9 #20-22

Would I like to watch someone garden or garden myself? Silly question. I don't like to watch unless it's a view of falling rain or a nice TV gardening show (I'm also partial to a few other shows ...Landline comes to mind).
So.. I'm NOT a YouTube fan & could not be bothered waiting ages for the time it takes to open footage on my laptop - I'd rather watch grass grow - well maybe that is excessive given the drought - I do need to finish before the end of January! I picked this 'tube' because it reminded me of something ...something green that I haven't seen for some time ... but the quality is poor & there is no audio. No doubt there are many other good views but they are too slow & I don't see much value to library patrons unless they are more than merely 'live scrapbooks'.
I could see an advantage for local historians in having footage available via our website for remote users.

Yahoo Podcasts

This is another slow process & frankly I can read quicker than they can speak, so I'm too impatient to listen. If I had an MP3 player (hint, hint) I would probably download relevant & useful stuff to listen to when out ...oh, I don't know .... in the GARDEN! That would be agreeable.
I've reluctantly broken away from my theme for this task & searched for book review podcasts. I found several & picked one that seemed popular. Unfortunately it was even slower to download than Youtube, so I gave up. I also had trouble subscribing via Bloglines but eventually I was able to subscribe to an RSS of Nancy Pearl's book reviews - i just won't be able to listen to them.


Another wait for the tutorial to download & the PLCMC site was closed for Martin Luther Day!! But I see from the YPRL Blog that we are to use another site. A pity as I have been trying to have a look at a commercial audiobook site for some time & keep missing out. This is one area I was really keen to explore.

Tried to download 'Little Match Girl' to listen to via Media Player. The first mirror site I tried was a bad link but the second worked - just slow. The story seemed to be only 50 secs long but no indication of this seemed to be given on the screen. Did I miss something?Where is the info re what size MP3 player you need? How many books can fit on, say, a 1GB memory? Would also like to know how international the downloadable collections would be. Listened to a section of "The Happy Prince" & found the American narrator to be very irritating.


Week 8 #18 #19

  • If the only tool you have is a pick, all problems begin to look like rocks.
  • A bad gardener always blames his tools.
  • Gardeners have many tools, but hard work is the handle which fits them all.

I created this document with Zoho & found it all reasonably easy to identify icons etc. When it came to publishing I couldn't work out how the publish icon worked. In the end I simply toggled the html button & copied/pasted the result into the "edit html" version of this blog. Worked well but found the formatting from Zoho has continued in this blog without my wishing it to.... but would I blame my tools??? You bet!

I have just found that by using space bar in "edit html" I have been able to revert to normal font.

ZohoWordGoogle Docs
Internet access anywhereConfined to original site unless copiedInternet access anywhere
Uniform version on InternetMany versions operateUniform version on Internet
Collaborative access possibleSingle user access at one timeCollaborative access possible
Can publish various waysMore limited publishing versionsCan publish various ways

I can see how Zoho or Google Docs would be really helpful to those without access to expensive commercial tools or for those who wanted to temporarily share/save/publish documents online. I don't think the value of being able to use it for blogs alone would be enough to make me use it.

Web 2.0 tools

There are not really any I would use regularly here. I already have a calendar/to do software that I like otherwise I would have considered one of these. The only area I would have been interested in is a property tool that included Australia in the same way that PropSmart covers USA. I like the blog aspect here & the ability to search so many properties on a single site. Maybe they could also add a wiki as Zillow has.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Wikis or Community Plots

Week 7 #16 #17

Wikis are like community gardens - a shared area with minimal formality to which anybody can contribute but which overtime may develop an agreed form. As such they are also subject to some of the same bugs & production issues.

I can see the benefit of a Wiki for:
  • search guides: SJCPL Subject Guides &
  • recommending books Library Success: A best practices wiki
  • staff contributing to internal wikis to build guides to good work practices, ideas etc that may be informally known, only stored in a physical format or disseminated in an ad hoc fashion. This would be similar to a good intranet page with the benefit that anyone could contribute.
  • students to share work (maybe within a limited access environment) in preparation for its presentation to class/teacher, esp if students are regularly separated by distance, illness, time etc.
  • reader wikis linked to catalogue
  • Wikipedia is great. The inherent danger of biased, incorrect or dated info etc is a concern but who would knock back a free share from the community plot just because of one bad apple! (pun intended). From what I have read Wikipedia does use experts & pest control to keep such problems under control & afterall, all information is suspect until facts are cross-checked with several other sources. I like that Wikipedia has entries on diverse subjects which encyclopedia don't normally cover. I also like its clear & consistent presentation, hyperlinks etc.

ButI doubt the use of wikis for events management because of the fixed nature of most of the information given. Wikis are more useful "on a subject that changes or needs updating frequently." ( wiki, wiki, wiki)


Every good garden needs a recreational area & I've dug into this one to add my blog, a favorite book: White man's Garden, & I've created the beginnings of a pbwki for private use.

Tagging or Taxonomy

Week 6 #13-15

I don't know about you but I like formal classification systems & try to work them into conversation whenever possible ("Say, look over there, are they Pelargoniums or Geranimums?"). I guess that might classify me as OCD (ha ha)... or maybe I'm just an old Librarian ... same thing really... but back to tagging & allows us to access combined 'bookmarks' from unconnected terminals. This is good.
It also allows us to use fluid, flexible and descriptive subject headings to organise our 'bookmarks'. This can be useful when content matter is constantly evolving and where access is made equal to all by the simplicity of the language. However, a tag by any name is not the same; 'spider' and 'web' have internet connotations that the humble gardener, hoping to eradicate a poisonous pest, will not find helpful. Not so good.
This brings me to the social feature of whereby we can search the bookmarks of others via their tags & hopefully discover sites useful for our own research. Sounds good but I was disappointed in the lack of Australian content in the searches I trialled.

Overall, I judge 'share websites tagging' (aka to be 643.728 (aka waste product)!


Blog posts, in tags and in the Blog Directory - the blog post search allowed most freedom with choice of tags.
popular blog, searches and tags - nothing of interest.

Overall - see above. I don't have time to read blogs and I find them too chaotic.

On Library 2.0 & Web 2.0

Away from the “icebergs” -
To better bibliographic services -
To more powerful ways to cooperate -

I realise there is a need to evaluate how Libraries can remain relevant in a time when information is so freely available everywhere & more up-to-date than print material can provide. I also realise that we need to examine how we can tap into this in a meaningful manner. What concerns me is that I don't find much of what we have looked at so far to be meaningful. Nor do I think that patrons we seek us out to reveal such 'wonders' to them. Certainly we should look at ebooks etc & I can see some value in patrons contributing tags, wikis etc. I also think the ideas presented in 'To better bibliographic services' were mostly worthwhile (eg locating a map with geographic subject headings). Overall, however, I don't feel that the type of information/services patrons need will be found in blogs, image generators etc

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Generate or Propagate

Week 5 #10, #11, #12

Now is a good time to take cuttings from others to add to your collection. This is a cheap & effective way to create something new from the work of others.
With the FD Toys site I was able to quickly and easily propagate this enticing magazine cover .
Less successful has been my propagation of Basil. The Internet might have viruses but at least it doesn't have snails!

As if my current obsession has not been given enough exposure already, I can now catalogue my reading on the subject! Oh joy - 2 obsessional behaviours accommodated in one activity. Apparently my reading choices are obscure (I don't know why...) as virtually no-one has read 50% of the items I listed. Not sure this is a comforting way to spend my time afterall! Are there any stamp cataloguing sites instead?

With Rollyo I have created a search roll on the topic of cars ... no, just kidding. Of course it's on gardening. This was easy to do & I can see a benefit with this if you commonly like to search a certain bundle of websites for particular information. Even better, I have successfully added my Rollyo as a link to this blog, along with my Bloglines account. Now I can access these from 1 point. YAH! But it was a bit complicated. However, no such luck (at this stage) with creating a search box. GROAN!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Feeding & watering

Week 4 #9

From a central place in my garden I can send water out to selected points in a very controlled manner via the use of pipes. In much the same way (but in reverse) RSS enables you to gather select blogs or feeds from around the virtual world and direct them to a central point of your choosing. (and you don't have to wait until 8 pm to do it!)

I have created my bloglines account and added the required number of blog links from YPRL participants, news sites, genealogy feeds, school library sites etc. This was very easy to do much to my relief. One thing I couldn't work out was how to display my Bloglines account. I tried to follow the instructions but they didn't work.

Realistically I have little interest in reading these feeds/blogs at this stage. I'm inclined to find them a time-waster but am prepared to be converted. Perhaps when I find more blogs that I want to revisit regularly I will sing RSS praises.

However it is possible that senior students who need to keep tabs on issues for English etc, may find this a convenient way to at least keep up with the current headlines. I could also see that if you wished to keep up with shared ideas in a particular area that a feed would save you the time of checking each newsletter etc individually. Perhaps YPRL could have a feed containing latest activities/news for subscribers.

Here ends my reflective piece on feeding ... and not a pat of manure to be seen!!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sowing seeds

Week 3 #7

Well I've turned my first sod of earth (both real & virtual). It was daunting, difficult and dirty & that was just the virtual garden ... the real thing was much easier. A fledging hedge (or is that a hedging fledge) has been planted on the west boundary and mulched heavily to counterbalance the complete lack of aerial sustenance this month.
Meanwhile in the virtual world there is no hedging getting down & dirty. The blog is growing slowly and may benefit from a companion planting of Flickr to speed it along. Flickr appeals to me more than blogs in terms of immediate practicalities. I've looked at photo sets of locations I visit, considered the likelihood of creating a Trip Planner & appreciated the ease with which I can privately share photos with family or friends. However, i have just tried to upload an image from my computer to this blog & it didn't work!
The seed has been sown but vitality of species unknown....


Today I successfully transplanted image from Flickr by simply copying the URL into the link provided by Not sure why I chose this photo... maybe it reminded me of something? No luck with other method.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Lie of the land

Week 2 #4

When beginning any new project it is usually wise to begin at the (ha ha) grassroots and this is often where I "get blogged down" so to speak. I think about starting, do initial research, plan too big and then either move on to the next new thing or become overwhelmed by it all.
Sometimes I find the best way for me is to simply dive in (sorry no gardening metphor here) and start playing, solve problems on the way & reflect later.

However, this layout will suit me as it is structured, self-paced and allows for playing. The goals are easily achieved which maintains interest, and it is not overly ambitious so I won't feel swamped.

I generally don't have much problems with learning about topics if I'm motivated; the easiest part for me is playing. However I don't always follow through & I do get impatient if tools (read new technology) don't live up to expectations or aren't reliable OR aren't better than those they are replacing!

Novel Gardener

Week 1

Planting seeds.... of thought or of the botanical type ....both can be challenging, exhausting and satisfying. So this is the rather flimsy link between the 2 topics on which I shall blog at indiscriminate times.
Never a green thumb, I am attempting to bring change to a native (read ivy-clad) garden ca 1987 at the same time as I am hesitantly grappling (kid gloves at the ready) with the thorny issues of such species as the Common Wiki (latin name: resourcious anonymous), Podcasting (audious visualous) and the unattractively named Blog (verbalous diahorrea), amongst other trendy offerrings.

How each will seed, grow, bear fruit or wither on the vine, we (or rather I) will see.....