Volume 1 No.8
March 26, 2008
In This Issue
Q & A
Thing 14.
Thing 18.
Quick Links

Previous Newsletters

This newsletter is for participants in 23 Things On a Stick. It offers hints and tips, as well as news to encourage participants as they continue to learn.

Share any hints you have by sending them our way at
flash driveMore than 25 people have finished all 23 Things On a Stick. You can see the list of their blogs here. We will keep adding to the list as more of you finish. If you think you should be on the list, let us know at

This is the completion incentive--cool!

Keep working so we can add your blog to the list of finishers! Remember, the deadline is April 16.
 Questions & Answers

These questions have arrived via blog postings & email. The answers may help others navigate the 23 Things On a Stick.

Q. How can I set up my own feed so people can subscribe to it?
A. You can enable or disable site feed in Blogger by going to Settings tab and clicking the Site Feed link. The first section is Allow Blog Feed. You can select how much of your content you want to syndicate. "Full" will put the entire content of each post in your site feed, while "Short" only includes an excerpt from the beginning of each post. The "None" option turns your site feed off entirely. See Blogger help on this here.

Q. Can I embed chat or IM into my Web site?
Yes, you can easily embed IM/chat into your Web site or blog. ReadWriteWeb has a summary of 10 chat widgets you can add to your blog--and commenters added more. NLLN has embedded the Meebome chat into its NLLN 23 Things On a Stick blog.

Q. How can I find other blogs that I'm interested in, especially for adding RSS feeds?
A. With an estimated 70+ million blogs out there, finding ones you want to read is a challenge. The more esoteric or narrow your interest, the harder it may be to find blogs, but birds of a feather and all that. The best way is to find more blogs is to click on the links in a blog you like. If you can find even one blog on your topic, chances are, the writer has added a blog roll or links to other blogs in the text of posts.

Blog directories can help. Some are suggested in Thing 3., but here are a few more.
Blog Directories organize blogs by category and offer search capability.
If you find a Blogger blog you like, try a Blogger profile search. Click on the links in the profile to find similar blogs. Depending on your interests, Technorati's Top 100 Blogs is a good start--at least you will know what "everyone" is talking about. Or do a blog search on Technorati.

Once you find a blog, you can add the RSS feed of any site with a feed by clicking on the RSS icon, copying and pasting the URL into the subscription box on your RSS reader, or by clicking the Subscribe or Add button on your browser toolbar. (You added those buttons when you set it up, right?)

Q. I can't edit the Zoho or Google Docs practice documents.
  • You need an invitation to each document. Send an email to and you will receive a reply within a day.
  • To edit either doc, you must have an account. Your Blogger account (which is the same as your Google Account) will work for GoogleDocs. You need to register with Zoho and then you can edit.
  • You may have received a "read only" invitation--that would be our mistake. Request another invitation and we will fix it.
  Thing 17. ELM Productivity Tools

There were many questions in the comments of Thing 17, so we went to the MINITEX experts. Here is the reply.

After much testing and consultation with one of our IT staff here at MINITEX, here's the scoop on EBSCO's and Gale's RSS feature. The information we provided in the blog was correct. Those are the correct steps to take to establish RSS feeds. However, there are two major, unavoidable issues that most everyone who accesses the ELM databases and attempts to set up RSS feeds will face. These issues force us to have to modify the way we set up RSS feeds.
Issue #1
When accessing the ELM databases via the ELM portal - - there is a proxy server in place. Most likely, when accessing the ELM databases from any institutional website (i.e., public library, school library media center), there will also be a proxy server in place.
So, when creating a Search Alert via RSS from one of the ELM databases, you will need to make a small change to the feed's URL in order for it to work in your preferred RSS reader application. When you have created your Search Alert feed and copied the feed URL, you will need to remove "" from it before it will work with web-based RSS readers such as Bloglines, Google Reader, or My Yahoo!.
For example, if your feed URL starts
" " you would change it to " "
This example is only an excerpt of a much longer URL, so be sure to include the Search Alert feed's complete URL.
Another example:
ion.asmx/GetFeed?guid=1234567" would be changed to "
Issue #2
Using web-based readers with EBSCO's and Gale's RSS feeds is problematic.
We have had mixed results subscribing to Search Alert feeds in web-based RSS readers such as My Yahoo!, and Google Reader. When you add a feed subscription to these services, they will attempt to identify it as a valid RSS feed. We have found that this validation process may fail when the database resources are experiencing heavy web traffic during peak hours.
Under these circumstances, your web-based RSS reader won't be able to detect a valid feed from your Search Alert, and will show an error. In many cases, a subscription attempt which failed initially would succeed after a few more tries. This issue is limited to web-based RSS readers and does not occur with RSS applications installed on your computer or integrated into your web browser.
Attached I have included directions on creating RSS feeds from EBSCO's and Gale's databases using both Mozilla-Firefox and Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browsers. Once these steps are understood, it shouldn't take but more than a minute or two for someone to set up a feed.
There are also a number of desktop RSS applications that are free, open-source, and reliable such as RSSOwl at:
Using either a desktop RSS application or web browser to set up and read feeds, is the most reliable option.
These issues will be communicated to EBSCO and Gale and hopefully they will be able to improve their RSS feature. However, it is not only a vendor problem. The other half of the problem resides with web-based reader providers such as Google, Bloglines, and Yahoo and how their technology functions as well.
Thanks to Jennifer Hootman, MINITEX Reference, for  getting  the answer.

Posted by Ann WS

Thing 18. YouTube

YouTube just posted its Award Winners for 2007. Nominees in 12 categories were open for voting by the world. Take a look at some of the winners, but be warned. Just like YouTube (or Google Video,, or other video-hosting sites) not all are appropriate for everyone or for watching at work. A Vision of Students (highlighted in the last News), nominated in the Inspriational category, is worth watching, not only for media specialists and teachers, but for parents, librarians, and anyone else who works with students in this Web 2.0 world. If you need to laugh, and you might if you watch the Short Film winner my name is lisa, Laughing Baby, the first place winner in the Adorable category, is hard to resist.

Watching YouTube of Google Video is a great way to while a way some time. Do the sites also have an educational use? This professor seems to think so and the education think tank EduCause offers 7 Things You Should Know About YouTube from a teaching and learning viewpoint. All of the "7 Things..." summaries are useful, particularly when you introduce these tools to colleagues.

Still wary of YouTube in school? offers a list of the best places on the Web to watch documentaries. While you're there, check out what else offers. There are lots of lists and recommendations as well as tips for productivity. Browse around and see if it would be worthwhile for you to add it to your RSS reader or subscribe by email.

If you have watched any of the videos in Thing 17. you saw how public libraries are using YouTube. They do library tours, promote library capital campaigns, re-cast library programs, and more. A consortium of libraries in public libraries in northeast Wisconsin sponsored a YouTube Video contest through its InfoSoup service. Participants 13 and over entered their takes on "Why I Love Infosoup or My InfoSoup Library." Watch the winners here.

Posted by Ann WS

Reminders& Hints 
With the flurry of posts as the end nears, it is more important than ever that you:
  • Label each post with the Thing number.
  • Check your blog on the mother blog. You don't want to do all this work and not get credit for it!
Having trouble getting the Ning badge to show up on your blog? Paula of Paula's 23 Tech Things has instructions in her post on Thing 21 on how to fix the code so it shows up. Take a look if yo need help. Thanks, Paula.
Keep working on the 23!
End your newsletter with a kick -- consider a postscript to reinforce one of the key product or service benefits.
The 23 Things On a Stick Team
Patricia (CMLE), Ann WS (Metronet), Linda (NCLC), Ruth (NLLN), Robin (SAMMIE), Ann H (SELS), & Nancy (SMILE)
The Minnesota Multicounty Multitype Library Systems