Still in school…New course filled with intrigue #al590cyber

IMG_6298I’m taking a summer school course entitled “Human-Computer Interaction in Cyber Espionage and Terrorism. Our first task was to view the movie “War Games” from 1983. I saw “Wars Games” many years ago but I had forgotten an important message. In rewatching the movie I found the premise to be that humans play the most important role in making good or bad decisions using technology.

Certainly, the movie contains unrealistic elements and tense drama that is far-fetched but the need for our government to make responsible, well-informed decisions is highlighted by the events therein. In the movie, our government relies on a system which lacks cyber-security and is inadvertently hacked by a teenager. The main character, the teenager, is thought to be committing acts of cyber-espionage. In the end the main character and the designer of the computer system save the world. No punishment is evident. Are you surprised?

The crime of cyber-espionage is very serious. Cyber-terrorism, espionage, and hacking occur daily. Here is a map showing cyber-espionage attacks called the Norse Attack Map. Cyber-terrorism and hacking can result in fear and false news that can alter people’s beliefs and that is scary. As an information professional it is important to stay informed of current events and to assist in evaluating for the credibility of sources. We are a part of the team of humans in which the great responsibility of informed decisions lies.


Final Project in Social Media Informatics #SocMedInfo

I am so EXCITED because I am done with my #FinalProject for my Social Media Informatics course.  We had many options for our topic but the focus was to be on the use of social media in our area of interest.  Many areas of librarianship appeal to me, with my only library experience thus far in the outreach department of a public library.

I chose to focus on the application of the tool salesforce for municipal libraries.  I found out about salesforce through my husband, a city employee.  The city where he works began using it within the last two years and he talks about it all of the time.  Describing salesforce as “the facebook of city government,” I was intrigued to find out more.

I do not know of any libraries currently using salesforce.  The OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) and facebook have some of the capabilities that salesforce has but not as many and not in one tool.  That, paired with the high degree of customization available, makes salesforce worth looking at for use in libraries.

Please take a look at my project and let me know if you have any questions.

What’s new in my view of social media? #SocMedInfo

Through my course in Social Media Informatics what I view as social media has changed and I increased my awareness of possible social media to use. There are a few tools I had not thought of as social media but now it is obvious that these things are, in fact, social.  This includes wikis and certain games (like Farmville, Candy Crush, and Scrabble).  Also, there are a TON more tools out there I have never even heard of.  I explored pearltrees in an earlier post and also found a great summary of useful projected social media innovations for this year.

I really only want to be mildly more social in the online realm.  I will always guard my privacy.  In the world of the Internet, cell phones, and social media there is no true privacy but I will protect my personal information as best I can. If bestowed the trust and honor of being in charge of the social media presence for an organization I will post, tweet, and share like crazy acting as a representative of the entity. But as myself, there will be a limited audience and careful sharing.

Of course I realize I will be using social media in some form as a librarian.  I believe that successful librarians help each other and there already are many helpful librarians on twitter, in facebook groups, and more that I will seek out when I reenter the library world.

So, I cannot say that my view of social media has changed. I can say that I learned more about social media- many of its forms and options.  Most importantly, I will need to keep up with developments in social media continually because it is here to stay.






What are folksonomies and are they useful? #SocMedInfo

A folksonomy is a user-created method of classifying or organizing information applying metadata (data about data) like digital tags.  Folksonomy is a combination of the terms “folks” and “taxonomy”.  Thomas Vander Wal, the man credited with coining the term folksonomy, provides a detailed description on the creation of the term on his website,

Now, are folksonomies useful? ABSOLUTELY.  Hashtags in social media are quiteIHeartHashtags useful. My current class, Social Media Informatics, designates the hashtag #SocMedInfo to use when posting on twitter for the course.  By searching #SocMedInfo on twitter, or even google, all of the posts labeled with the hashtag are immediately brought up.  Fellow classmates and the instructor can then view and interact with the material they find.  There are many neat ways to use a hashtag. An illustration of a cool way to use a hashtag is for wedding photos. Wedding guests could upload pictures they take to instagram with a specific hashtag.  Then the happy couple would have a bunch of free candids including many pictures of guests they normally may not have gotten.

In a previous blog post, “How can bookmarking and tagging in social media benefit my schoolwork or career?,” I explained that tags are useful in finding information.  In an example I said that I could learn about a topic like library patron privacy by searching the hashtag #chooseprivacy.  Professional organizations will often designate hashtags for discussion and information sharing of particular topics.  These hashtags are the most valuable for searches where a user wants to find quality information.

However, when someone uses a label or tag that makes sense only to them yet it is a hashtag used for valid searches by others it creates extra, invaluable results for searches. An example of this is possibly a student heading off to college could tweet with the hashtags #freeatlast or #tuition and there may be other valid uses of the hashtags.  Perhaps someone searching #freeatlast is looking for news about a detainee released from a foreign country and maybe parents are looking at tuition trends for their future college student(s) under #tuition.

Also, hashtags are created every day by people that only have value to them or their circle and don’t really serve a purpose- maybe something like #RosesSmellBetterThanPetunias or #YouKnowWhoYouAreExcessiveHashtagger?  I think some people just use tags for entertainment and emphasis like- #BestRoastChickenEverTonight.  Though sometimes a hashtag created this way will gain popularity.  The tag  #IShouldHaveMyOwnCookingShow has been used for several years after all.

Overall, I find folksonomies useful.  There is such a vast sea of information on the Internet and they are really helpful in getting to the information I desire.  Thank you hastag or should I say #ThankYouHashtag!





To Wiki or not to Wiki? #SocMedInfo

Who hasn’t ever read a wiki?  It is difficult to search for something without getting a wiki as one of the results.  But should we be using wikis as reliable information sources? Yes and no.

When I was a kid and had to do research I remember using volumes from a set of Encyclopedia Britannica to look for information.  Now, when I need to find something I scour the Internet and look in electronic databases.  I use wikis on occasion as a way to get background information or resources.  Yes, I still use books but, depending upon the topic, I tend to find more current information electronically.

Here are some strengths and weakness of wikis as information resources:


  • easily accessible
  • free to use
  • great way to allow for collaboration- if an author in a wiki maybe another contributor has more knowledge or additional resources
  • can be a way to find sources- a good starting point


  • ANYONE can author or edit a wiki- information found can be completely false
  • wikis cannot be used as a reference for scholarly work
  • wikis are not static, they are dynamic- this means that what you read today can be different tomorrow
  • when using a wiki, the sources and author should be evaluated to determine validity- this means extra time if you want to be sure the information is correct

Wikis are are form of social media according to the definition of social media found in multiple sources such as Merriam Webster.  Would you use facebook to acquire all of your information?  Sure, there are valid news stories posted on facebook but if you believe all of the things you find therein…well…I am sorry to say it but you are WRONG.


Pearltrees. What’s that? Could be something valuable. #SocMedInfo

I finally had some time to check out  My first impression was that it is similar to evernote.  Both tools are really neat in that you can clip and organize things from the web including images and webpages. It is like your browser’s bookmarks grouped together but in a more visually pleasing manner.  Furthermore both pearltrees and evernote can be used to add other files, such as documents, giving it structure by way of a label or folder.

The big difference between pearltrees and evernote is that your collections or saved items are public unless you pay to be a premium membership.  Evernote also has a paid premium level but user content is not public.  Though you can collaborate in evernote, pearltrees is more of a social sharing platform.  You can import and organize your twitter and facebook posts and images.  More on that in THIS article.

I started using evernote a year and a half ago, for a group project in my Information Technology class (click HERE to view). For my needs, and because of my desire for privacy, I prefer evernote.  For business users, it can be a powerful tool to manage marketing content.

I am glad I took the time to look at pearltrees.  It could be a great space to collaborate and share with other librarians or market a library in the future.  Please comment if you have any experience with pearltrees.  My look at it was brief and there is always more to learn.



Newsvine, the social space to share news & me #SocMedInfo

For a little over a week I have been trying to learn about and use a social news sharing site, Newsvine.  TRYING.  I signed up, looked around a bit and seeded my first article. (Meaning: I shared a link, provided a short synopsis, and added identifying tags).  The article was about different summer reading programs in libraries across the country, published by the Library Journal.

Shortly after I had posted, my account was DISABLED.  I actually did not realize this immediately. Another classmate had posted a similar experience to our discussion board. It prompted me to go to my Newsvine account where I found that I too was SUSPENDED. Support staff at the site had sent me a notification but it had gone to my gmail promotions folder.


My first thought was, maybe the Newsvine powers thought I had posted something not newsworthy or factual.  I think I am pretty good at assessing written material for legitimacy. I’ve been to college a few times.  I hold two bachelor degrees and I’m almost halfway through my masters degree. Heck, I even gave a presentation to colleagues about identifying reputable sources on the internet.


Apparently I was banned for another reason.  Newsvine has a code of honor that prohibits self-promotion.  My link, or seed, must have been viewed as self-promoting even though it had nothing to do with me.  I can agree that it could have been construed as promoting
summer reading programs. Perhaps because I said “I” wanted to participate in an aspect of one of the summer reading programs described in the article the post was viewed as self-centered?  It was a scavenger hunt…and I still think it would be SUPER  fun to do one that relates to a good book.


So, I tried to explain that I did not realize what I had posted was promotional and asked to be reinstated.  No response.  Was I snarky? I don’t think so. Can I be snarky? Maybe?? I  tried again.  I asked nicely to be reinstated and apologized if I violated the terms for posting.  It’s been three days without response or reinstatement.


When I joined Newsvine I became a member of two open groups, for which their term is nations. I tried applying for a couple of other “gated” nations as well.  I never gained entry to them.  Because I do not have a history of posting on Newsvine, I infer the gate keepers want to only admit established, legitimate users.  It is frustrating to just speculate though. It would be nice to have some detailed admission criteria besides needing to be invited by an existing member.  I also wish there a had been a warning prior to my dismissal.  If I was trolling, making inappropriate comments, or posting offensive material I would have earned the boot. That being said, I appreciate that users in nations drive the content. Within a nation information pertinent to the members is centrally located, saving time and avoiding a great deal of spam.


Because I value accurate information, I get it.  Not that there might not be some fluffy stuff on Newsvine but if you are in a gated nation the content can be more controlled.  If you were to search twitter for info, perhaps by way of a hastag, you would have to sift through all of the results to ascertain whether it was from reputable sources or not.


I am not going to attempt to gain access to Newsvine again.  If I get reinstated I will poke around again, gingerly.  In the meantime I am still planning on exploring another social media tool I have never used before, pearltrees.  Leave a comment if you’ve ever used it!  Until then…





How can bookmarking and tagging in social media benefit my schoolwork or career? #SocMedInfo

Up to this point I have almost exclusively used social media for entertainment.  I also discern which outlet to use by the purpose of my post or search.  I use facebook to find or keep up with family, friends, classmates, and colleagues.  I am careful to keep my photos and posts to my friend list.  I will occasionally post pictures of family there and places I visit.  Most of my posts are just for fun.  I review my privacy settings from time to time to be certain that I am keeping my information as private as possible.  I think about inactivating my account all of the time but the reason I have not yet is because of my distant family, as I mentioned in my last post.

I have been using twitter sporadically since 2009. The reason I began using twitter was that I thought it was really neat to interact with people from all over the world that I may not have “met” otherwise.  Also, though I am not a big celebrity follower, I have tweeted to and received replies from an actor, a local newsman, and a rock star librarian.  It was pretty cool to see that they had read what I wrote to them and received a response.

One thing I use twitter for regularly is to find out about traffic news and local crime.  I do not have live TV.  I can watch a live feed of my local news on my computer but when a traffic incident happens I am able to find it quickly on twitter vs waiting for the report from the newscast or in the paper online.  I do not post pictures of my family on twitter or any specifics about where I live and work.  I know I can have a private account on twitter but I want to interact with the world in that forum.

I use pinterest for dreaming……

photo by me from an airplane
My head is in the clouds quite often, figuratively speaking. 

I think of pinterest as a place to group my wants.
♥ Oooh, this is my dream house.
♥ Love that dress.
♥ I’m gonna make that craft…and totally cook up that Chicken Tikka Masala.

So, now that I have explained my use of social media, I need to address the title of this post. How can bookmarking and tagging benefit my schoolwork or career?

I could use both facebook and twitter to search for information by tags.  As a student, I can look for information for an assignment.  For example, if I am looking at library patron privacy issues I can search the hashtag #chooseprivacy or even combine hashtags to find more specific information about a particular group, such as students, by adding #SchoolLibraries.  If I was working in the field I could search the same term or terms to find information to aid in advocacy.  Maybe I will need ideas for the summer reading program? There’s a hastag for that too- #summereading.  Hashtags are a convenient way to search for specific information.

Since I maintain my privacy as best I can on facebook I do not apply hashtags in any of my posts.  I have used hashtags in twitter but not extensively.  I will try to use hashtags more in the future to share any information I feel would educate or benefit others.

Pinterest is the only social media tool in which I have used bookmarking in social media.  I could have used pinterest in the past for school projects like when I needed to gather information for many different cases and milestones in intellectual freedom.  Then, I would have had everything organized in a central location.  It just never occurred to me because, at least for now, my pinterest is for fun. As a librarian, I could use pinterest to make several different boards dedicated to different tasks.  If working in the public library this could include storytime, bulletin board, or craft plans and other programming ideas.

I am intrigued by some social media bookmarking tools such as pearltrees where I could clip multiple things of interest like web pages, documents, photos, and more and organize them centrally.  I have signed up for an account and will be exploring there shortly. Perhaps a future blog post?

I have more to learn about tagging and bookmarking and how it can help me in my schoolwork and career.  I am off to listen to some modules for class to do just that!



Forcing myself to be more social #SocMedInfo

Get ready for more blogging, tagging, tweeting, retweeting, shares, likes, & more.  I’m in a new class – Social Media Informatics!  This is my sixth class toward my Masters in Library and Information Science and, upon completion, I will be halfway through the degree requirements.

I have a love/hate of social media. I’m active on facebook, twitter, and pinterest.  I do not have a linkedin, instagram, snapchat, or any other social media account.

My chief reason for not wanting to expand my social media use is privacy.  I have read some of the fine print about the information that can be collected by the social networking sites and it is SCARY.

Now, why do I like social media?  The main reason is that it allows me to keep in touch with friends and family.  Both of my parents emigrated from Germany.  Both of them were one of six children.  So, I have many aunts, uncles, and cousins that live in Germany.  Prior to facebook I only communicated with family in Europe once a year.  Now, I can see photos and receive updates from my distant family weekly.  Also, though I have emailed sporadically with friends and family over the years I always receive a reply more quickly when I send a message through facebook.

I hope to learn more about social media tools I am not familiar with through this course.  I also want to learn how to search for information more effectively on social media…perhaps even a job in the future.

What social media tools do you currently use?


2016 Around the corner

As 2015 comes to a close I have many things to be thankful for.  This year has flown by as it was busy, busy, busy.  Besides having generally good health, I feel lucky to have my family.  Everything isn’t always perfect or easy but life is GOOD.

In the coming year I will be halfway done with my MLIS.  I will struggle to finish all of my homework by the due date but somehow I will get it done.

There will be a presidential election.  It will be interesting, not only to see all the political mud-slinging and who ultimately wins, but also to discover who family and friends are rooting for.


I’ve learned to expect the unexpected in many things.  People- their opinions, actions, abilities, and more.  Humans are complicated and intriguing.  That’s why I enjoy making new friends and gravitate toward public service work.

Here’s to a great 2016 and all of the craziness ahead!