Thursday, June 12, 2008

google-medlineplus challenge

The health topic I picked was longevity. When I googled it I got 25,300,000 hits, with the search taking 5 min. I came up with in the top hits: longevity, longevity/diet, a wikkopedia entry, and Northwestern Mutual insurance site ( Hits were dot.coms. No patient or self-help support groups. None of the top hits provided helpful information.
Medlineplus, on the other hand, provided useful information quickly. My question was probably a bit too broad for getting an overview, however, at least Medlineplus did provide that kind of information in the form of published articles. Thus, in future, I would start with Medlineplus!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dan Pink thoughts

I was asked to comment here on Dan Pink's book, "A Whole New Mind."

If someone asked me for a synopsis of this book, I would tell them it is a fascinating, very readable nonfiction commentary about how the world, in the future, will be ruled by right-brained artsy, literary types. This book gave me a lot of food for thought, and after reading the required first three chapters, I was hooked, and had to finish it. I lent it to a friend, who I know will enjoy it. I think I will probably read it again. It is the kind of book that generates stimulating conversations. So the next time you are sitting around with nothing to talk about, just bring up some of the topics in this book, and you will have a great discussion.

However, this is not to say that I agree with everything Pink says. He seems to put too much emphasis on the idea that Baby Boomers rule the world. It seems to me that much of boomers' shift in consciousness is just due to old age! (Hey, I am a boomer, so I can say this!)

Pink's clever little soundbytes throughout remind me of an earlier book that supposedly was revolutionary: "The Medium is the Message."

Also, doesn't Pink oversimplify things a bit by attributing Asia's success to cheaper labor? Why doesn't he take into account the value Asians put on education? It seems to me that success in education has taken them further than their willingness to work for less than Westerners. If American students performed as well or better than Asian students, couldn't they have outsmarted them with better ideas, and have foreseen this current outsourcing trend? American ingenuity just isn't what it used to be.

Although the core of Pink's thesis is in the first three chapters, it was fascinating to read specifics about all the elements of his argument. I was skeptical of how, for instance, design could play a significant role till I was confronted with the photo of the Florida presidential election ballot, in all its confusing glory. And also, I got some great ideas on how to implement these elements, like design, story, etc. I plan to introduce some of these things to my staff--everything from trying out playing video games to having a laugh session. Should be fun, if nothing else!

Anyway, I have to thank Honore for giving us this book, as I found it a creativity goldmine.

Monday, February 18, 2008

more new things

Now I am enrolled in LATI and I wanted to jot down a few thoughts about it so far. I really found the VARK learning style questionnaire results helpful. I suppose it confirmed what I already know, but I did appreciate the learning strategies that accompany my style. It made me realize that even though my learning preference is very strong read/write, (the antithesis of computer learning!) I can still apply these strategies to the online learning experience.

The Newsweek article on the Internet was fascinating although it is not current. It gave an excellent explanation of webby things as one of my chief complaints about computers is how inarticulate instructions are. These are not English majors writing these computer directives.

I also enjoyed the overview of the Internet--Newsweek encapsuled some of the essence of its impact on society which I find fascinating. I think we are only beginning to comprehend the ramifications for everyone.

Friday, October 12, 2007

thing # 17

I think now the sandbox thing is done, so I posting this as a double verification.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

thing # 23

This experience was valuable in that it forced me to confront some technology I have been avoiding. It's out there, it's here, and this has helped me overcome a lot of blocks I put up. I plan on reviewing a lot of the material later in depth. Thanks for this!

thing # 22

I looked at Project Gutenberg and I am amazed at how many people use downloadable books. In one sense, I decry their loss of the experience of holding a big, fat book full of promise and things to come, to paraphrase a well-known novel, "How Green Was My Valley." On the other hand, I see that need seems to surpass the esthetic, as so many of the authors tapped are classic authors, so obviously, students must be using this to get reading list books. The whole downloadable thing is still a bit of a mystery to me and I will explore this further, as many of our patrons ask about this.

thing # 21

Podcasts seem pretty hit and miss. I did find this teen book review podcast that looks pretty helpful in a library setting and could serve as a model for teens.