"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thing 29: Google Tools

For this Thing, I chose:

Search Tools: Alerts & SearchWiki
Productivity: Calendar


I have never used Google Alerts or any alert service before. Yesterday, I tried to find a narrow enough topic to request alerts on and I came up with Steampunk. I am interested in reading more steampunk books to recommend to teens and I love the costumes and steampunk items people put together, so I'm happy to see more. Look at an amazing laptop here .

It was very easy to set up the alert, so no problem there. As of yet, I haven't received any alerts ( I set it to once a week), so I'll have to report back later.


I'm pretty impressed with this and I've already used it in a day to day search as a librarian. Yesterday, I played around with it, tailoring searches for Helen Humphreys (my favorite author), Edwardian gowns, and broadly, teen books. It was super helpful in getting just the results that I want when looking at topics that I Google often. With Helen Humphreys, I was able to eliminate another author with the same name. When looking at antique and reproduction gowns, I got rid of any made for fashion dolls. And with teen books, I could weed out commercial sites advertising certain books, and stick to lists from libraries and those in the know.

Tonight I'm doing a Family Storytime about food, and I looked for a song or action rhyme to use and I narrowed my search accordingly. I think that this is great!

I set up 2 Google calendars, a public one that has the Wentworth Public Library's teen summer programs on it (June-August) and a private one that has my workout schedule. I embedded that one in my IGoogle page so I can see which days I'm supposed to go to the gym and cycle or lift weights and which ones I can sit around and be a glorious slug.
I liked all these tools, but I think that they'd be most helpful to us personally or as individual librarians, rather than as general tools for the library. The calendars would be good to share if needed, but our Outlook calendars probably fill that function professionally. Of course, we could explain some of them to patrons who come to use the Internet. I bet many of them would love to hear about the SearchWiki.

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