new things for ’08… crystal ball gazing with opensource, social networking, digital identity, and more.

December 31, 2007

I was poking around trying to find a better video editor, when I stumbled across an opensource project called, Jahshaka. Jahshaka is positioning itself as being a fullbodied product that can compete with such software as finalcut pro (wow!). Not sure about that, because I could never (ever, ever) get the windows installer to work properly. Maybe if I had already switched to ubuntu ALREADY…

Anyhow, I started thinking about all of the new things out there that I probably don’t know about (and some that I do) and somehow I ended up crystal ball gazing (a very dangerous occupation).

It is really amazing how fullbodied some of the opensource products are (openoffice, wordpress, drupal, anyone?)  and perhaps, even more amazing, all of the online tools now available (thinkfree, etc.)

As for my thoughts on the near future on the ‘net: niche social networking, user centered aggregated content (perhaps, even some consolidation?), and digital identity.  Web3.0 and semantic web? Maybe.

I think niche social networking will become even more popular (social networking sites tailored to the needs of visual artists have popped up recently). Considering how easy it is to get lost in the crowd at facebook or myspace, I can see how appealing a specialized site is. Plus, the one size fits all just does not really… well, fit. Visual artists have been advocating/begging/petitioning myspace for years to create a visual arts portal, as myspace has for musicians. Why bother with that, when there are several sites specifically for visual artists?

However, having a specialized site means another profile and spot on the web to maintain. Social networking and content aggregators are surely to be even stronger in ’08. How else to manage all of the personal content bits floating out on the web? All of the stuff you want to read? Google reader can help, Pageflakes might be even be more useful (a variety of content, not just feeds or clipped websites), but then there is the other stuff: all of the various profiles, with logins and passwords. Social networking aggregators such as spokeo, profilactic and others, can be handy. Digital identity tools are certainly helpful, for logging in OpenID (one login for multiple sites) and in distinguishing what is yours and perhaps, more importantly, what is NOT yours (and is in no way affiliated.) Consolidation is bound to happen and a little is a good thing — unless google ends up owning EVERYTHING….

Among sites being touted as ‘hot’ for ’08: PowerSearch (a semantic search engine) , Pownce (social networking & more), etsy (an online store similar to ebay focused on handmade and originally produced products… most of the art community that I know, do not seem overly enamored with etsy, thus far), (a travel & meetup site), twitter (really? I thought we were all tired of twitter by now), children’s social networking such as moshimonsters and webkinz (if you know a tween or preteen, just ask them about webkinz), seesmic (video diaries)…

..and of course, Google opensocial, if it ever makes headway. I also like some of the projects which allow users to make a positive contribution to a body of knowledge in some way, like the steve museum project, where users assign keywords/tag artwork,  identifying artists’ work, and more) and also recaptcha, which uses scanned images from books as captchas (a phrase or word typed in some sort of form, that the user must enter in a text box, which prevent spambots from automatically using the form).

..and then there is always wikipedia, citizendium, the new Google Knol, and those sorts of sites.

Other trends & technologies that have popped up in the onslaught of 2008 predictions posts/articles include:

Location based services (niche marketing of a sort), Mobile Social Networking (I don’t really see so much as a trend, just a means of access whether a pda,  iphone laptop, or psp or whatever… but freely available WIFI at most public buildings, that could definitely continue to change things), lots of chatter about Google taking on the cellphone/mobile industry with Android, Gaming, SecondLife/Virtual Worlds (OpenSL?), internet habits changing as the mobile industry & high demand downloads continue to increase, increase in usage of Linux and other opensource projects (evergreen, the opensource ILS?), and an increase in distrust in google (I love google products, but they are a corporation after all.)

Creating widgets and apps to work with much of this technology is usually (but not always, of course) fairly easy to do and can easily be done by someone with minimal coding experience. I see lots of places where libraries can be, if they want to be. I guess that is the question.

Facebook is so last year

2008 Predictions

2008 Technology predictions     

The Economists Prediction for 2008                  

Top 10 Startups Worth Watching in 2008

30 Library Technology Predictions

..and of course, a generous sprinkling of my thoughts.

Students’ use of technology

September 19, 2007

An interesting article on how college students use technology (alot but using specific tools for specific tasks; with 98.4 % of surveyed students owning some type of computer…)

Instead, students appear to segment different modes of communication for different purposes. E-mail, Web sites, message boards and Blackboard? Viable ways of connecting with professors and peers. Same for chat, instant messaging, Facebook and text messages? Not necessarily, the authors write, because students may “want to protect these tools’ personal nature.”

…but is it because students do not expect their instructors to be in those social spaces, or do they truly feel that those spaces should belong to them?

opensource alternatives to common commercial products

September 13, 2007

Although the introduction of this article is overly simplified in terms of the changes in library technology (I couldn’t help but laugh a little in a couple of places) , once you’re past that, the rest is a good little overview of some of the more popular opensource products. I’ve hotlinked and listed the products below, the article gives a more indepth overview.

The products are:
ubuntu (ms windows alternative based on linux)
firefox (web browser; ms internet explorer alternative)
openoffice (productivity suite with wordprocessing, presentation, and spreadsheets; ms office alternative)
thunderbird (e-mail + rss reader; ms outlook express alternative)
songbird ( media player; windows media player alternative?)
gimpshop (image editing; adobe photoshop alternative)
pdfcreator (pdf creator; adobe acrobat alternative)
Audacity (audio burning software)
avidemux (video creation)

Other stuff (web publishing, etc.):
mediawiki and also twiki.

As far as libraries go, there is

I’ve talked a little about evergreen and vufind here. At home, I still run MS for the operating system and commercial stuff for my server; but then everything else is opensource or web based services (Firefox, gimp, ghostwriter+pdf, openoffice, etc.) Setting up these products on a small personal computer is fairly easy (really!). I’m not sure how that would translate to a large network, which could possibly be a hidden cost factor: installing these, configuring them as needed, and upgrading. Of course, admins already have to do that for any programs that they support. Training issues (oh the fun of trying to teach a group of web editors to use Drupal…) as well as potential security risks given the opensource nature would be other potential costs.

Opensource ILS projects and how I learned to love the library catalog

September 11, 2007

okay, pardon the bad pun on dr. strangelove…

I’ve been following some of the opensource ils projects with interest. evergreen (launched by the Georgia Public Lib System), is still in heavy development. From my understanding it originally launched without acquisitions or serials checkin (eeks!) ; however from an upcoming presentation flyer it appears that acquisitions will launch or has launched very soon.
Anyhow, it’s an interesting project and I finally got around to checking out their wiki.

At one conference I attended, the evergreen presenters (truly it is trotted out at every possible opportunity) was demonstrating its ability to save searches as RSS feeds, which would then be updated.

Another project is scriblio, which is a wordpress installation that works in conjunction with a library catalog. Plymouth State Library is now using scriblio. You can read an article about here and see it in action here.

I couldn’t find an example of a Voyager library using scriblio, but I’m sure someone out there somewhere is using it.

Another interesting project is VUFind, which I’ve read will work with a Voyager library catalog. VUFind is touting itself as having the ability to search (and display) seamless results between the library catalog, digital collections, and institutional repositories. I like a lot about VUFind — very easy to read. I love the ability to pull out citation info (wonder if this works with EndNote?). Other features include faceted search results, citations in MLA or APA (not sure if other choices), tagging, commenting, reviewing, and oia syndication.

I couldn’t find RSS feed/search, but it would seem like that would be a feature (?)

Give the demo a whirl yourself. OR better yet… go see it used with a Voyager catalog.

George Mason University (a Voyager library) has a test installation up at

Update: 9/12: test installation is not working. ;-(

For those who are interested, the MARC view/technical view is under the tab “Staff View”

To read more about the features of VuFind, check out VuFind’s website:

more on myspace

May 23, 2006

myspace and other online social networking things are kind of interesting, ya know? Although blogs/journals have an aspect of social networking, especially with the use of feeds, comments, and blogrolling/links tools, social networking online really started to take off with six degrees. The Six degrees community was loosely based on the kevin bacon game which is loosely based on the play six degrees of separation which is loosely based upon the theory of Small World Phenomon which was developed by Stanley Milgram. Basically, the everybody is related theory. 😉 Six degrees the community was online from ’97 to 2001 and sold for 120$ million US. Yes, million. Following the success of six degrees, Friendster (2002), LinkedIn, and finally myspace (2003). After what sounds like a falling out at Friendster over people posting pet info, and started as offshoot of friendster.

Developing sort of at the same time but with a slightly different scope (online publishing vs. social networking) was the blog: xanga (1996), LiveJournal (1998), blogger(1999), Diaryland(1999).

I’m not sure I really like myspace, mostly because it seems so juvenile in a lot of ways. I was part of six degrees and friendster and I even participated in a six degrees study a few years ago which was very interesting. Basically, you were given the name of someone else in the study, and you had to try to find a way to send a message (predetermined from the researcher so that we all had the same message) without direct contact. You could only use friends, aquaintances, etc. and it all had to be done via email. I do not know if my message every made it to my intended target, I know that whoever had my name never got their message to me. Of course, when you take into account how many people actually vote, or do community service, or anything to better the world in anyway, well… the fact that the messages ended up in limbo, is probably to be expected.

Anyhow, a few interesting/odd things about myspace:
Teen posts suicide note on myspace

MySpace Celebrities
more about myspace as a culture

the myspace generation

social networking blog
wikipedia: six degrees
wikipedia: six degrees of separation