Cool Tools

There’s a great online social bookmarking service that recently came to my attention ( that the CLENE community (and all interested in staff development and training) can use to share bookmarks of interest with each other

diigo logo

diigo logo

Playing around today, I set up a CLENERT group at: and added a few of my own bookmarks.

Diigo has many nice features including:

  • RSS feed for new content (
  • Ability to comment on and discuss bookmarks
  • Automatic caching of bookmarked pages!
  • Ability to view new bookmarks as a slideshow (great for those of us who are visual)
  • Browser based bookmarklet (which allows highlighting, commenting AND virtual sticky notes–so you can annotate those bookmarks!!)

If you want to try it, simply go to, click join and add a few bookmarks.  I highly recommend adding the “diigolet” bookmarklet to your browser toolbar–it makes bookmarking and annotating a snap!!  If fact, Pandia Search Engine News just listed it as #1 among the top 5 bookmarking tools.

There are many more possibilities here… I think Diigo lends itself beautifully to collaborative working/learning projects.   So, whaddya all think?

Here’s a 4 minute intro video:

(If video doesn’t play, go to:


The new WebJunction is coming… and it looks hot! Check out this sneak preview guided tour led by Michael Porter and Dale Musselman. It’s very social networky, and I mean that in the best sense. Librarians familiar with Facebook will probably feel right at home.

If player isn’t working, go directly to:

Thank you to Pete for tagging me on this Passion Quilt meme…
(Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids (for me: Library School Students) to learn about…and give your picture a short title.)

original image, Hexagram Three from the I Ching, located:

From the Wilhelm-Baynes translation of “the I Ching or the Book of Changes”:
(text from

“The name of the hexagram, Chun, really connotes a blade of grass pushing against an obstacle as it sprouts out of the earth – hence the meaning, “difficulty at the beginning.” The hexagram indicates the way in which heaven and earth bring forth individual beings. It is their first meeting, which is beset with difficulties. The lower trigram Chen is the Arousing; its motion is upward and its image is thunder. the upper trigram K’an stands for the Abysmal , the dangerous. its motion is downward and its image is rain. The situation points to teeming, chaotic profusion; thunder and rain fill the air. but the chaos clears up. While the Abysmal sinks, the upward movement clears up. While the Abysmal sinks, the upward movement eventually passes beyond the danger. A thunderstorm brings release from tension, and all things breathe freely again.”

Chaos is a scary thing, beginning something new is a scary thing. Challenging ourselves with new opportunities, new technologies, new knowledge is scary but rewarding, often leading us to new ways of thinking, new approaches to problems, and new strength.

To me this hexagram from the I Ching means lots of things and holds lots of good lessons for those heading out into the Library world:

Perseverance – Don’t be discouraged. Success doesn’t always come quickly, in this rapidly paced world we have to remember that time and fortitude can work in our favor.

Frustration and failure are teaching tools – Not all things can or will work out, but we can take knowledge from everything.

Input/Advising – Too often we can be tempted to work/be alone, especially when our work puts us alone in front of a keyboard. Seeking wisdom and guidance can turn a chaotic path into a clear one.

YOU pick the path – Seek advice and guidance from others but remember it’s your responsibility to chart your path.

Seek Chaos – Consistency and comfort for the sake of consistency and comfort will yield little gain.

So as not to be the cause of chaos (or add chaos and confusion for myself)…I’m going to break the rules and not tag anyone. If however, you feel “inspired” please feel free to self tag.

p.s. I also picked this image as it’s my one and only tatoo :-)

All of us CEBuzzers got tagged for the Passion Quilt meme by Pete, so I’ll take the plunge. (Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.)

Woodworking Tools

Original photo:

Don’t let the tools determine what you build. Tools are wonderful but they are only tools. What you build should spring from your interests and enthusiasms, from the needs of your family, friends, or community. Once your imagination has conceived a project, then decide which tools will help you accomplish it best.

Tools won’t build for you. There isn’t a tool invented yet that will substitute for determination and good planning. You’re the driver. You’re the one who has to exercise quality control and see the process through to completion.

Enjoy the process. The final product may be the goal but don’t forget to immerse in the journey. Feel the satisfaction in the smooth operation of a good tool. Absorb the sensation of forward motion, of working with a good team. Laugh at your mistakes, learn from them and move on.

Keep your tools sharp. There’s nothing so counter-productive as a dull edge. Just make the time to sharpen your chisels, sharpen your mind, sharpen your awareness. Keep your eyes open to new tools that may help you be a better builder, but (cycling back to the first point), don’t let the new tools control your direction.

I tag:

Janie Herman
Marianne Lenox
Rochelle Hartman
Andrea Mercado
Marilyn Mason

There is clapping, cheering, and laughter from the audience for this TED talk, in which innovator Johnny Lee demonstrates how to turn a Wii game remote into a trendy teaching tool. Lee is highly motivated to bridge the divide between those organizations that can afford to experiment with the cutting edge of technology and those who can only sit back and watch.

In this video, Lee demos how to create an affordable interactive whiteboard by taking advantage of the “high-performing infrared camera” that is in the tip of a Wii controller. He combines the motion-sensing camera of the Wii with a $50 infrared pen (available from Radio Shack)—you just have to see the video to appreciate it.

Since posting this idea on his website, there have been over half a million downloads.

“Teachers and students around the world are already using this.”

Check out Lee’s website for other “little great ideas.”


My learning style is about as visual as they come. Which means I like to load up my PowerPoint presentations and online instruction modules with images. Just yesterday, I spent a lot of time in Google Images and Flickr searching for the just right photo or graphic to illustrate an upcoming presentation. I’m sure you know how tedious it is to scroll down each page of results, click to the next page, scroll down, click, …until eye and mouse fatigue set in.

Now there’s PicLens! It wasn’t until this morning that I found Jenny Levine’s recommendation for this very cool tool. Tedium transforms to levitation. There is a sense of flying past the 3D image wall, hovering over sections, zooming in and out for near and far perspectives—a dragonfly view of the online image world. Using the same Google Image search that I had performed yesterday sans PicLens, pictures that I hadn’t noticed before jumped out at me. I could scroll the length of the few hundred results with fluid ease instead of giving up after 3 or 4 pages. You’ve just got to try it to appreciate the experience.

Downloads are available for Firefox, IE, and Safari. It only works on certain sites like Google Images, Flickr, Facebook. I found it pretty intuitive to use, but tutorials are available just in case.

If you haven’t ever tried mind mapping tools, you may be surprised at how valuable they are in helping people learn.

My first introduction to the technique was over 20 years ago at a presentation by David Thornburg, author of Unlocking Personal Creativity: A Course in Idea Mapping. In those days we used paper and color pencils to be creative.

One of the exercises I currently use in teaching Effective Time Management for Library Staff online for Infopeople involves mind mapping. The goal of the exercise is to create a life map, i.e. a visual recap of the roles one plays in life. Below is my most recent life map. I designed it using Inspiration software. There is a free 30 day trial download available for both Macintosh and Window users.


Here’s another mind map I also did using Inspiration for one of my courses; I loved having such a wide variety of shapes, colors and graphics. This map recaps a concept from Many Moons by James Thurber—that each of us has a unique perception of what exists. If you missed the book when you were young, be sure to look for it at your local library.


If this quick look didn’t give you enough of a flavor of the technique, I suggest you look at the Mindmapping in 8 Easy Steps tutorial by Joyce Wycoff, author of Mindmapping: Your Personal Guide to Exploring Creativity and Problem-Solving.

And for those of you willing to try a free web 2.o mind mapping tool, there is Bubbl. Below is a simple example I did as a very simple introduction to Bubbl for my time management course participants.


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