February 2008 Archives
Howdy folks. I’m Bob Schulz and I’m the product manager for WorldCat.org. I also like to pretend that I’m a superb Guitar Hero shredder.
I am not.
So it’s science fair project preparation season and as I avoided blogging about it I ran across this little item:
The Independent Games Festival celebrates achievements by, well, independent game developers. Small game shops, or people sitting in their basements, are creating some of the most innovative, exciting, and, frankly, addictive games available today. I urge you to check out the winners and nominees.
But I digress. The concept of Crayon Physics is simple: draw objects on the screen that will move the circle so that it touches all the stars. The objects the player creates move realistically, have weight, turn on axes, etc. The increasing difficulty of the levels forces the player to experiment with more complex objects, and sets of objects, to achieve the goal. Behold this lovely video:
What an elegant, intuitive, and fun tool to introduce kids to the fundamentals of Newton’s laws of motion and theory of universal gravitation. The game also provides a level editor so players, students, teachers could create new challenges. Wouldn’t this be a great addition to the computers in schools and libraries? Say “yes, Bob, it would.”
Unfortunately, the Deluxe version is not yet available, but the original prototype, which the developer wrote in less than 7 days, can be snagged freely from Kloonigames’ site. Download it and have at it.
Back in the day I thought Amazon’s Wish List feature was a killer app, but I reconsidered after trying to get relatives to find my list and return to it months later when my birthday came around. I didn't like having my list tucked away in some corner of the Web. Why not scatter my reading, viewing and listening habits to the four corners of the Web? (No one bought gifts from my list anyway.)
And We'll Have RSS Wherever We Go
RSS Readers are great for getting content updates, but the real value of RSS comes in displaying your own content on other pages like your blog or a personal portal page like PageFlakes, NetVibes or iGoogle:
I'm waiting for my library to pull their lists into their Web page with an RSS-to-HTML converter. If you see anyone doing that, please leave a comment or trackback if you blog it.
Like many book enthusiasts (or information junkies), once I learn a new tool, I like to play with it. That's what I've been doing with the list function on WorldCat.org. Not really looking for anything, just trying to get a feel for the current zeitgeist of the features. One of the first things I noticed was the (seemingly, to me) high incidence of non-English lists. Now, WorldCat (the database) has all kinds of non-English materials, but since I don't often go searching, myself, for stuff I can't read, the volume wasn't ever apparent. While searching for lists, it is.
I found -- again, just by accident -- a list of "Haggard Chinese Books" that is, according to its creator, "not a complete list of every title in the library," but still... one would think that 227 items (as of my last visit) is a good start. The list's creator, dongxiao, also has lists of Haggard Chinese DVD's, Haggard Chinese CD's, and Haggard Chinese children's collection. Since every list in WorldCat.org has a separate RSS feed, it would be very easy for a Haggard user interested in new Chinese materials available at the library to keep updated on dongxiao's additions, or for a blogger to post them on a Web page. We can see from his list that he's been adding items since June of 2007, and as recently as January 18, 2008.
Getting library materials out into "the world" is one of the big ideas behind WorldCat.org. For a user (or librarian) anywhere (in this case, I believe, based on a quick Google search, Plano, Texas) to be able to easily create a list of materials based on any criteria, and share it in a way that allows it to be monitored by interested searchers... that's world-y.
Hello WorldCat Users! My name is Jasmine and I’m working on our Social Networking Initiatives at OCLC (yes, it’s a very cool job).
I found this video the other day that was just so great that I have to share it here:
It’s a Sesame Street classic – Cookie Monster in search of (what else?) cookies, and an earnest librarian trying desperately to explain that libraries only provide books. Oh, my dear Cookie Monster! If you could only see what you can find in a library today!
While most of us still can’t help but think of books when we think of libraries, the breadth of content available now is truly amazing: music, movies, toys, artwork, podcasts, MP3 players, video games and much more. (Explore WorldCat.org and see what interesting non-book items you can find.) And some libraries even have drive-thru windows and cafes these days (so even Cookie Monster could have gotten his fix). What innovative services does your library offer? What would you like to see? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I seem to have a sudden craving for cookies myself.
Welcome to the WorldCat Blog! – a fun spot to read about what’s happening on WorldCat.org and to share cool ways that people are using the site and their libraries.
What exactly is WorldCat you ask?
It is the world’s largest network of library items. WorldCat lets you search many libraries at once to find books, articles, music, videos and more. And helps you locate items in a library near you.
The team here at WorldCat.org is working on new tools and new ways to allow you to make the most of all the resources WorldCat has to offer - to aid your interests, work, and library selections – and to collaborate and share with other WorldCat users. We will be sharing these things with you in this blog and hope that you will share your thoughts and ideas with us as well.
The WorldCat blog is currently under construction - please check back soon.