Assignment 9 NL

The three things I liked best? That's difficult but as a disorganized librarian I have to go with del.icio.us. I am trying to do a history of my brother's house and have spent a lot of time web surfing for Toronto history.

I have found many things on-line that I didn't know about including

I am amassing (I don't use that term lightly) a lot of information. Del.icio.us lets me find it, tag it and then retrieve it in an instant. I was hoping Google Docs would help me organize it but am having trouble logging on from my work computer and my home computer. It has fallen in my estimation.

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My second favorite is podcasts and podcasting. I've listened to podcasts for a long while and find it a wonderful way to keep up, be amused and fill time usefully. I think long transit rides in the City have made me a convert.

Thirdly is the photo sharing and toys. I've used flickr before but enjoyed all the photo manipulation through Big Huge Labs. The problem with Big Huge Labs is transferring the photographs to hard copy. This has made me start reading up on how to use Photoshop, which I bought for my Kids last Christmas, and then forgot.

Wikis

When I first saw this I thought, "Yuck". All the sites I found were for gamers and the IT guys. Del.icio.us saved me! I searched other peoples tags for Wiki's and came up with Wiki Index and Top 57 wikis by rank. One of my favorites is Wikimapia. This is a mash-up of a wiki and Google Maps. It has to be played with to be appreciated. People have left labels on areas in their neighbourhoods. Someone has labled a peninsula up around James Bay as Bush Camp - good in an emergency (no one has disagreed yet) or a polite suggestion in Arabic and English that this island in the Sudan is not labeled correctly. Star Trek has a wiki with 25000 entries. WikiHow gives instructions on how to make a duct tape turtle or catch a snake.

An interesting blogger wrote"10 things I hate about wikis". He is concerned about the amount of bad documentation on wikis. Without a team of concerted editors a wiki may lose its usefulness. Some wikis rise and fall very quickly and the dated information is a problem. He suggests that lowering the barrier to entry for editing should be called "lowering the barrier to stupidity". One of his responders suggested that wikis are "probably best as *ad hoc* documentation for a project-in-progress". I also noted many wikis had been closed down due to spamming attacks.

I like wikis but find the process of putting them together too complicated for me. I hate the little editing window (although at home on Firefox the window is bigger) and find the process not as intuitive as the blogs. At home I can get a spell check that I can't find at work and it is a lot easier to navigate the cut and paste needed to insert links and pictures. I'm always at risk of leaving the page and have lost stuff several times. I'm going to add to the Wikimapia just to see if adding to that is simpler than this.

All told this is a potentially useful tool but wouldn't it be easier to just set up a web page and invite people to join? Perhaps fooling around with Facebook would be easier? After all if my son can amass 1200 "friends" I'm sure TPL could.

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