Saturday, August 22, 2009

Library resources online - and a Twitter book - Update2

UPDATE 8/22/09 1:33 PM - Original posting 8/20/09 - 6:37 PM - Fixed links and added Safari Online info.

I had wondered for some time why people enjoy Twitter.  Looking at it, with my new personal account, I was perplexed.   It just looked like a wasteland to me, and it was slow too.   In December I typed to the void that maybe I should be doing something with it.  And then forgot about it until late March when I wrote an apology to the few there for not being active and then decided to start a Kindleworld Twitter acct.

  Even then, it wasn't until late June that I decided to produce one mild 'tweet' from Kindleworld and discovered at the same time that there were some news people, on Twitter, whom I'd always liked reading or hearing.  Now I was able to get their updates from whatever assignment they're on.
  WeFollow is a directory of interesting people active on Twitter and you can search by category or name.

  My Twitter Home page became a mild stream of really interesting short thoughts (sometimes alerts) that come in more spontaneous, informal style, before they hit the broadcast news, dressed up and more cautiously phrased.  I appreciate the more human sounds of these newsprint and tv news beings when they're sleepy or less guarded without scripts or bosses approving every word.
  I also like getting their immediate reactions to reports by other news organizations too.  So I decided to keep the Kindleworld account for digital and int'l news and use my personal account for local friends (though most of them don't use Twitter yet) and online ones.

  In other words, I came to like using Twitter, probably too much.  Still, I do want to know more about it -- the social rules (not that much maybe, except to credit others for info we're passing on and not to deluge others with every passing thought), what certain symbols and abbreviations mean, what level of activity is considered okay, or annoying.

  I decided to get a book about the culture,  so I went through about 15 product pages of books on Twitter and the associated customer reviews.

  Then I remembered the treasure that many of us have at our fingertips without realizing it -- none of my friends knew we had the access I'm about to describe though we are all somewhat heavy readers.

One day, while looking for information on something, I wanted to access Infotrac which has articles going back to 1970s or so, in full text, for participant institutions like my city library.  I live in California, and the requirement for accessing my library's special online resources is California residence. The Berkeley and San Francisco libraries both give its members access to databases that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive for most of us.  And as a California resident, I am able to access both.  (I didn't bother to look for others.)

 Infotrac is one of the offerings and a more common one.  I saw, on a web search, that many remote county libraries have the same access, so it's not just where a university might be.

  Besides Infotrac, I clicked on one of the zillion links that came up on my screen, this time:
  This link will work only for people with a Berkeley Public Library card, even if California residence is all that's needed.  A similar link should work with your own public library's link, which you can google.  That'll depend on the state you're in.

UPDATE 8/22/09: To see, otherwise, what Safari Books Online is like, here's their own site.  They have a 10-day free trial, but one can take a month at a time, at $23/mo. for access to 10 books per month (the Safari "Bookshelf" option rather than "Library" option.  I have no affiliation with Safari Books Online.  But at $23 for one month, access to 10 books (no limit on time spent online) is worth a look.

  The (free) library access, if your library has it, is to almost all the current major computer/technical books that I've browsed at Barnes & Noble while lamenting I couldn't justify spending that much money, since I wanted to read so many of them.

 Included in Safari Books Online are O'Reilly Media, Prentice Hall, Addison-Wesley, PeachPit Press, New Riders, Sams, que, Adobe Press, and many others.

 It's all current -- books on items like Photoshop CS4, some on using Facebook :-) --  and so, today I tried it to see what the various Twitter books are like.

 These offerings are FULL TEXT and in speedy online reading if you have fast Internet access.  Every now and then a graphic image doesn't show up where it should but all the text is there.

 I was able to go through The Twitter Book at length.  The Amazon customer feedback reviews are positive and well-written.  I wound up buying this one because although I can get read it free online, I like having it as a reference on my Kindle, which I can read anywhere without looking at the LCD screen.  I use the online resource for learning (Photoshop) a chapter at a time.

I hope that most reading this will be able to find similar resources at their regional or state libraries.

ADDED ITEM 8/20/09, 11:25 pm - Original posting at 6:37 pm same day
  Twitter rage affects airlines, with complaints tweeted from airplane seats.
' ...airlines are discovering that fuming passengers who have been stranded, delayed or just plain piqued are increasingly letting their undiluted rage fly around the Internet, often from the confines of their cramped airplane seat...

 Billy Sanez, who manages social media for AMR (American), said social media enable better dialogue with customers... '
Don't miss the youtube video & song "United Breaks Guitars" which was a big Internet hit and brought an apology and contribution from United.

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most of the alerts not posted on this blog.
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