continuing ed class: web 2.0 search tools

I’ve been MIA the past few days because I’ve been preparing and presenting a Continuing Ed class called Beyond Google: Using Web 2.0 Search Tools. I gave this class at the NAHSL conference in Lowell, Massachusetts yesterday. It was a long class, four hours, and while I was putting it together I was a little concerned that it might be too short, but it wound up maybe being a little too long (I breezed through some stuff at the end that I would have lingered on, but did end everything on time).

While the documentation for creating the class required me to prepare a “handout” I mostly made a slide show and then a corresponding page of every link I’d mentioned during the talk. It was time-consuming work, but ultimately more useful to participants than a printed page full of URLs. I gave out handouts that were mainly for note-taking in addition to some short lists that I thought would be good takeaway points. I’ve said it before but I really think empasizing handouts over web resources when we’re talking about the web is a smart way to move forward. That said, my handouts are downloadable in PDF format in case anyone wants to repurpose them.

The class itself was a mixture of some talk about Google and what sort of things they do besides their basic search portal, looking at what I think of as “2.0 search” and why I think some sites fit the description and a discussion of collaborative information tools like wikis, question and answer sites and “ask an expert” sites. I finished up with a talk about Firefox and why I think librarians should be using it. At least a few class members were unable to use any other browser in their workplace so I put in a plug for Portable Firefox as well as listing my favorite add-ons, themes and plug-ins. We even installed a script just to show how terrifically easy it was.

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