Sunday, May 11, 2008

I Can Mashed Potato

Actually, I can't. I have no idea what the Mashed Potato looks like. I bet I could find a YouTube video of it!---but I digress.

So, having finished school, I come back at last to complete the final week's mashup assignment for this interesting little course. On Programmable Web I found this nifty map of the Boston subway system overlaid over a street map of Boston, which, seriously, someone should have made about 100 years ago because I have often wished for such a thing and been unable to find it. The fact that it's searchable (for addresses, sites, stores, etc.) is just icing on the cake! Mmm, cake.

There are also equivalent maps here for DC, Philadelphia and Chicago, and I will totally keep the Chicago one in mind for MLA. People keep telling me there's this and that that I have to visit while there, and to be honest I doubt I'll have the time, but if it gets really slow one day, being able to locate things on a map that shows where the train runs will be handy.

You might ask, "no New York?" No, no New York. I don't know why. Maybe they're working on that next. Maybe someone else already did it. I don't care, I'm happy just to see Boston.

For the second part of the assignment, I was disconcerted to find no results on Rollyo matching the assigned search term, until I realized I'd entered 'librarianbolgs.' Yeah, I'm really into bolgs these days. Very Web 2.0. The moral is, always double-check your spelling.

Anyway, I checked out the search rolled by Gabe, which was nice, I guess, but didn't include this blog, so clearly it's imperfect. Ha. I narrowly avoided making a search for 'privacay' (my spelling is amazing this morning!), and enjoyed several blog posts on privacy instead. I was interested in a couple of posts from the Shifted Librarian about how privacy and modern technology interact today in a way that means we have less privacy than we might imagine.

Credit card transactions, web browsing habits, security cameras in public places, etc., mean that we can be tracked in a lot of ways as we go about our daily lives. Is privacy an illusion? Good question! I'm not tackling it right now, but this is certainly a big issue and it's good to have so many smart librarian bloggers covering it.

Then I tried a search for mustard (mmm, mustard). A few people mentioned that, too, although I didn't find any discussion of whether our mustard-using habits are being tracked and how that intersects with larger privacy issues. But watch the blogs, it's bound to be out there!

Then: My, but it's quick and easy to sign up for Rollyo! You don't even have to confirm your password! It's also super-easy to create a search. I set one up using a few sites I used to visit often for roleplaying game info, news and chit-chat. I called it, creatively, Roleplaying Sites. Not a lot there about privacy, though. I could definitely see this being a useful tool for reference: federated search on a selected set of websites you trust (or distrust but want to keep an eye on, I guess). I think 25 sites might not really be enough for big subjects, but I guess you could set up several sub-sets of a large topic and work with it that way.

In closing, certainly some fun stuff here!

Friday, May 9, 2008

I'm Still Here, Honest

I swear I will get to the final assignment---I've just been distracted with the end of the semester. But any day now. Like possibly Sunday. It'll happen.