Category Archives: Tech

Finding Creative Commons Works to Suit Your Needs

CC: Public Domain

I’ve seen this topic come up in a few situations in the past couple of weeks, including a G+ post by Mike Allton about using Flickr to search for CC images, so I thought I’d share some quick tips.

You can do searches at http://search.creativecommons.org/ and specify your use-case, e.g. that you want to use them for commercial purposes.  FYI when you enter your search query you will not be searching all of the sources, but just one at a time.  So, the easiest way to do it is to enter your query in the box, make sure to check the correct use-case, and then click the box of the source you’d like to search.  There are a variety of options, including Google, Google Images, YouTube, SoundCloud, Flickr and others.

Another option is to use Google’s Advanced Search and Advanced Image Search.  There you get many options for advanced search, including filtering by usage rights at the bottom of the list.

One last tip… At the bottom of http://search.creativecommons.org/ you can see a yellow box that allows you to add CC search to your browser.  If you’re using Chrome you can make it your default search (by right-clicking the address bar and choosing “edit search engines”) when you type in the unified search/address bar (and switch it back if you don’t need it) and if you use Firefox it can be one of the options in the search box at the top right of the page.  IE doesn’t seem to support it and I don’t know about Safari.

Hope this was helpful!

**Disclaimer:  I am not an IP lawyer and this is not legal advice, so don’t blame me if you don’t cite something correctly or have any issues using CC licensed content.**
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Participation, NOT Representation

Defining our future is a task of participation, NOT representation

This is applicable on many levels in our society, but is from a post by Carl Grant summarizing his recent keynote at ALA Annual 2012.  Carl asks librarians to take charge of our future and help develop the very tools we use to serve our communities.

This is something I have been trying to do for just about a year now and have found it quite intimidating.  How do you become involved with something so large as a profession when just starting out?  I’ve tried to focus my interests in hopes of finding smaller niches in the industry where I can be of service.  I am following the dealings of LITA and have volunteered for my local SLA chapter.  I’m very interested in standards and have been researching participation in NISO working groups, which is something that would have more of an impact.

I’m starting small, but once I become more comfortable within my own professional skin hopefully I can help to make a difference and shape the future of librarianship.

Can Apple’s new podcast app compete?

**UPDATED info below**

I’m not so sure… I’m a podcast junkie — I listen to hours upon hours of podcasts per week, I might even consider it an addiction.  I’ve tried a few different apps for management and playback, and my favorite overall is BeyondPod on Android.  When I decided to purchase a podcatcher for my iPad, I decided to go with Downcast and am generally satisfied with a few exceptions, but I have no major complaints.  Once I saw that Apple had released the recently rumored Podcasts app, I had to give it a try.  I’m not sold on it just yet, but it’s a good start.

Here’s what I was looking for:

  • Subscriptions & single episode downloads
  • Automatic downloads
  • Library management
  • Playlist functionality
Here’s what we got:
  • Subscriptions – This was something major that was missing when using iTunes on the iPad previously.  You were able to download single episodes, but all subscribing had to be done on a desktop version of iTunes.  Finding podcasts from the catalog and subscribing, downloading or streaming episodes is quick and easy.
  • Automatic downloads – As with desktop iTunes, you can now set automatic downloads.  There doesn’t appear to be a way to schedule these for a certain time, nor does it indicate when the app will next check for new episodes, but better than manual downloads.
  • Library management – HUGE disappointment here, you can add and delete podcasts from the catalog, but there is no way to view by category or even sync previously subscribed feeds from an Apple ID, which is particularly frustrating. **
  • Playlists – As of right now there are no playlist options available.  I would like to see Apple add this functionality later, sometimes I know I’m going to have a long travel day and it would be nice to just create a playlist that will just keep on going. **
  • Top stations – This is a nice discovery feature where you can browse “top” podcasts by category, but there is nothing telling why feeds are included here (Are they top rated? Most downloaded/subscribed? Paid advertisements?).  Also, those that do not have specialized album art do not have any information, even a title, available without going into the information screen, which is not a great from a UX/usability point of view.
  • Playback management – Speed control, sleep timer, and sharing via email, Twitter and iMessage are available.
The discovery feature is something I may use, but in general I think I’ll stick with Downcast.  We’ll have to wait and see if Apple adds more features or just keeps it basic, but I hope they beef the app up a bit.  In the meantime, at least they gave some thought to the reel-to-reel aesthetic of the “Now Playing” screen, I guess?
**UPDATE 6/29/12**
You can import your podcasts via Apple ID, but everything needs to be synced via iTunes and a computer.  Playlists are also able to be imported via iTunes, but there is no playlist management in the Podcasts app.