Friday, September 14, 2007

September 17 - 23, week 2: Online email and Blogs

This week you set up the tools you need to reflect and record your progress in the 23 Things. Remember that there is a two week break coming up, so you can take 4 weeks to do Week2 and Week 3's tasks.

There are screencasts - small movies with voiceover showing someone using the website - to show you how to do each step for these Things. There will not be screencasts for all Things, as with exposure to these types of sites, you will get better at working it out for yourself.

This week you will complete:
Thing 3 - Setting up a gmail account
Thing 4 - Setting up a blog using blogger
Thing 5 - Tracking your progress on a wiki

BLOG POST: List goals, obstacles and things you'll need for your Learning toolkit, as shown in the 7 1/2 habits of highly successful lifelong learners. .

Online email

Online email allows you to use your email from any PC connected to the internet. You usually need to give another email address in case you lose your password, but most hosts like yahoo, hotmail and gmail let you set up as many accounts as you'd like. Often signing to an online email service allows you to access a host of other tools - more discussion about this in Week 6.

We are using gmail (google email) for the 23 Things because:

1. You need a gmail account to access blogger to set up your blog
2. It comes with a suite of wordprocessing, chat, image sharing, communication and mapping tools that many of our students are probably using.
3. Over the next 11 weeks, you will be joining several online sites to try out their web tools, and will need to give an email address. You may want to use your gmail account as a "throwaway" email account only for the 23 Things.


Websites with journal like entries arranged chronologically. Often with informal language and facility for others to comment on entries. The word comes from "web-log" or "weblog".

  • A type of web page.
  • Usually by just one author.
  • Are usually arranged by date, most recent entry first.
  • Have a home page containing the most recent entries, but often many archived pages that can be accessed from the home page.
  • Usually written in informal, casual language.
  • Contain entries like a journal or diary.
  • Usually are not written directly in HTML, but online into web pages that create format easily. There is no standard "blogging language".
  • Often categoried by subject headings and fully searchable via keyword.
  • Often about one subject.
  • Usually have a "comments" facility that is used extensively by readers.
  • Not necessarily just self indulgent blather, but increasingly used by corporations and companies as communication tools.
  • Individual entries can be sent via RSS feed.


  • They bypass the traditional sources of information for which libraries are gatekeepers.
  • They are a way of keeping up with our professional issues.
  • The casual language provides an "official" but less formal way of communicating with our users.
  • They can be biased, inaccurate and misleading. Libraries may have a part to play in evaluating blogs as information sources.
  • Even if a blog is created by one person, they provide a hub for other people with the same interests to gather and discuss.
  • They are probably the swiftest channel for information dissemination.
  • They are easy to make, fun and provide a great creative outlet.
If you’d like to have a look at what Australian librarians and libraries are blogging about, check out a few of the blogs on this list of Australian library blogs at

Blogs are as much about the comments and conversations that occur on them, as the posts by the author. Many blogs become "salons" for entire communities who use the comments as mini foums for discussion.

Further Reading

Fun site for the week

Why the fun sites? Wait for week 5.

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