Saturday, March 29, 2008

Blue 2.0: Podcasting

In my last Blue 2.0 post, located here, I blogged about photo sites and video sites. I skipped talking about podcasting at that time. So, that's what I'm doing now.

I have never made a podcast and have no plans on ever doing one. I don't like my recorded voice, plus I don't know that I have much I would want to say that I couldn't just write about. I have heard of podcasting for a long time, but my experience is actually kind of limited.

For those who don't know what podcasting is it is very much like radio. However, instead of being on the radio you are broadcasting over the Internet. You can listen to podcasts over the Internet, or download them to an iPod so you can listen to them whenever you want.

The first time I heard the word "podcast" it was from some of my blog reading and it was from the Catholic blogs that I first heard the term. I saw mention of a podcast from Cardinal Arinze. I'm not sure who Cardinal Arinze is exactly but several people were talking about how wonderful his podcasts were. So for this assignment I decided to try and go find them. Unfortunately I couldn't get them to play. I don't have an iPod or an iTunes subscription, so I have to listen to them through the Internet. However, I wasn't able to get the files to work. But I saw the list of recent podcasts (and video-casts) that he's done. He's spoken about JPII's Theology of the Body, Pope Benedict's encyclical Deus Caritas est (which I'm currently reading), and many other topics, from Catholic apologetics to faith questions and answers. I wish I could listen to them! I've heard that they are wonderful!

It's not exactly a podcast, but I listen to the radio itself frequently through the Internet. I especially enjoy Relevant Radio. I listen to it locally in my car on AM1380 or online when I'm at work. Up until now, this is probably the closest I have come to listening to a podcast. And actually, the local station has to power down some between sunset and sunrise, so the station is difficult to hear at night. Thus, if I want to hear something and the station has powered down, I can still pull it up online and listen to it clearly there. That's definitely a nice benefit of the Internet and radio, especially when you want to listen to a station that has FCC limitations put on it.

Today, once my searching for the Cardinal Arinze podcasts failed, I decided to just do a search for Catholic Podcasts. I ran into one called I found the archive of podcasts here. It didn't look like I could listen to many of the older broadcasts, but the 3-4 more recent ones were available. I'm listening to one now in which the priest doing the podcast is in Winnipeg and he's taking a tour of an old cathedral in that area. He's obviously used to doing podcasts, because he's being careful to describe what he sees and where they are and everything. So it's easy to listen and not be able to see where he is and see what he sees. I don't really care for the website itself. It isn't very intuitive (at least not for me) and I don't like that I can't listen to previous podcasts without subscribing through iTunes, which I don't plan on doing. Actually, many of the sites I visited were confusing. I either couldn't listen to the downloads because I didn't have iTunes or the file was not recognized on my machine or the links just weren't there. I found this exercise a little frustrating.

Podcasts are interesting, but I'm not sure I could get into listening to them on a regular basis. I'm also not sure what the benefits would be to libraries. I still think video tutorials would be much better for students. Personally, I don't think I'll become I regular user of podcasts. At least not while I'm in the dark ages of preferring live radio.

But before I write it off entirely, I will say one positive thing I discovered recently about podcasts. My husband and I support an organization called the Couple to Couple League. This organization teaches and promotes Natural Family Planning. Recently they have gone through a major overhaul of all their teaching materials, methods, charting materials, and website. Everything was in dire need of updating and the new stuff looks great (we especially love the new charts they made, much easier to use!!). They are also moving to more online stuff than they have had in the past. And one of their online things to be coming soon (according to the recent magazine we got) is podcasts about NFP. I don't think anything is up yet, but I do think this is a good idea. It's a great way for NFP to be promoted and to provide discussions on different aspects of this method. Now that I've experimented some with using podcasts, I am curious to see how easy or difficult CCLI's podcasts will be once they put them online.

Easter Season

The blog has been a bit neglected lately. I've been posting occasionally for the Blue 2.0 stuff at work, but I'm getting behind on that too. Things here have been pretty busy lately: work is crazy, I'm trying to tie up loose ends from a responsibility that I just handed over, and I hired two new people at the same time so I'm occupied with lots of training.

Anyway, just wanted to take a moment to talk about our Easter. For the first time I attended an Easter vigil service. Usually I attend Easter Mass on Easter morning. That mass is a typical mass, just more celebratory because it's Easter. The gospel reading on Sunday morning is usually one of the stories of Peter and the beloved disciple running to find the empty tomb. But the Easter vigil is very different.

Easter vigil mass must start after sunset and it must be over before sunrise on Easter Sunday. I heard someone standing near me right before the vigil started tell someone else that in her parish in Missouri they start the vigil at 4:00am on Sunday morning! Ours started at 8:40pm Saturday night. This Mass begins outside where they light a liturgical fire and the Bishop blesses the Easter candle. It was very cold, but a very neat way to begin. Once the Easter candle was blessed and we started processing behind it into the church we started lighting the candles we all had from the Easter candle. All the lights in the church had been turned off, so our only light was from the candles, it was very cool.

Once everyone was inside and back in their seats the service started. The lights were finally put on again and the readings started. Unlike a typical mass which consists of an Old Testament reading, a Psalm, a New Testament Reading, and a Gospel reading, during the vigil mass we hear seven Old Testament readings! They started in Genesis and moved through Exodus, Isaiah, and Baruch (and something else too, probably). In between each Old Testament reading there was either a sung Psalm or a moment of quiet reflection. After either the Psalm or the reflection there was a prayer and then they went to the next reading. The neat thing was that we read through a huge chunk of salvation history by reading so much of the Old Testament. You really can't fully understand the New Testament and the Gospels without reading the Old Testament.

Once the Old Testament readings were done the Bishop stood and we sang the Gloria. This was a little different. At most masses the Gloria is done at the beginning of Mass (for those who remember this from music history class: it followed the Kyrie in the Ordinary). The weird placement of it in this Mass was because we don't do the Gloria during Lent. Because the Gloria is the praising of the risen Lord, it is skipped during that period of 40 days of solemnity of Lent and brought back joyfully when we celebrate the risen Lord. So, it makes sense at the Vigil Mass to read through the Old Testament and Psalms, and then sing the Gloria before we read from the New Testament. Following the singing of the Gloria we had a reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans and finally the Gospel reading, from Luke I believe, though I can't remember exactly at the moment.

The Gospel reading was interesting to me. After years of only attending Easter Mass on Sunday I hadn't realized that there was a different Gospel reading at the Vigil. We read in the Gospel of the two women going to the tomb, finding it open and the angel tells them to go tell the disciples and tell them that the Risen Christ will see them in Galilee. Then as they are going back to the disciples, they run into Jesus on the road and he speaks to them. I guess I had never read this part of the Gospel before! I didn't think that anyone saw Jesus after he had risen until later. The reading just really struck me a lot more than it usually does.

The Bishop's homily was great too! I don't remember all the details but I do remember this one thing clearly. He spoke about how Easter is the beginning of the 50days of the Easter season leading to Pentecost. Pentecost is considered the birthday of the church. Thus, said the Bishop, if Pentecost is the birthday of the church, then Easter can be considered the conception and the 50 days leading to Pentecost is the gestation! Such a powerful imagine!!

Once the Liturgy of the Word was over we moved into the baptism of new members into the church. It was so cool to be there to see 7 new people enter into the church. The Bishop baptised all of them and then he administered the Sacrament of Confirmation as well. The entire congregation renewed our baptismal vows also. Again we passed around the flame from the Easter candle and renewed our vows holding the light of Christ. This Vigil mass is so beautiful and wonderful in so many ways. The entire life of the church is on display in so many ways!

After that ceremony we moved into the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The seven people who were just received into the church were now able to also receive the Eucharist for the first time! I can't even imagine how powerful and amazing it was for these people to be baptised into the Church, receive the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation, and receive Christ himself in their first Eucharist all in one day!! How incredible!

The Vigil Mass ended about 10 after midnight. Chris and I went home but weren't ready for bed right away. So we had some ice cream together and finally got to bed around 1 or 1:30am. Sunday we slept in and then went to Bardstown for Easter dinner. That was our whole Easter Sunday.

I hope everyone had a blessed Easter!

Monday, March 17, 2008

More Blue 2.0: Week 7 & 8

This next session of Blue 2.0 involves three activities. There are only two I will address in this particular post. The third is something I'm not really looking forward to doing and really have no idea if I can do it. But I'll save that for another time.

Today, I'm addressing Activity 1 and 3 of the Week 7 & 8 activites. Activity 1 is to create a photo page. Chris and I already have one of these. We use Picassa, mostly because I already have a google account and it's just easier to keep everything under one account rather than creating more accounts on more websites. I've used flickr to look at other people's photos and I personally find it very unfriendly, from at least the standpoint of looking at photos, not necessarily downloading, etc. When we started with Picassa we just had to download something to our computer, which we did at home. Chris actually handled it and he said it was very cool. Once the program was loaded it found all the pictures already on the computer and moved them into files. From there we just had to arrange everything how we wanted it and choose what to actually show to the public and what to keep private. Currently we have pictures from the wedding, our honeymoon, Halloween, my niece's 2nd birthday, and our first Chirstmas together. I also like that I can link to other people's Picassa accounts, have a map indicating locations of my pictures, and I can get alerts when someone I know adds or changes pictures on their Picassa account. It's also very easy to navigate using the links at the top. You can get in and out of albums easily and back to your own album quickly from anyone else's album. This is the complaints I have about Flickr, no easy navigation functions that I can tell.

Check out our Picassa site here. As for uses in the library, I guess I can see this as a way to display pictures of the various libraries or areas of the libraries. I'm not sure I see too many uses for it that would help patrons, except maybe as a visual aid. I can see someone checking out what the library looks like when they aren't here. But if they are in the library and looking for a particular area, aren't most people going to be looking at signage, not sitting down at a computer to find pictures? It may be a way to store pictures for use in tutorials. Otherwise it seems like more of a fun thing rather than a practical application.

The third activity is to look at YouTube and search the terms "libraries." Once we do this and find a video we like we are to comment about it. So I did the search and ran into some music library videos. I found one really cute one called DePauw Music Library: Move in a Minute. They apparently had to move their library collection (looks like within the same building) and they filmed the process. The cute part is that they did it with cute music in the style of the silent movie days with everything kind of fast-forwarded and the black screens occasionally with text to let you know what's happening. Also, the black screens even have the wavy, old look to them. Even though the film itself is in color, it still has that "older," less-refined, early movie days look. It's very cute! Check out the link to view the short film.

You Tube is great for a lot of things. I was pointed to a series of You Tube videos yesterday created by some seminarians for use in marriage-prep courses in Catholic Churches. They were all very cute and humorous, 6 short spots in all. They are done in the style of the PC vs. Mac commercials that I'm sure we've all seen on TV. Only the topic this time was Contraception vs. NFP. Chris and I watched them last night and had a great laugh.

I can see a lot of good uses for You Tube or other video sites (another one I know of is I can see using video to record BI sessions and have them available for students who are working independently. You could have a whole series on searching various databases, basic and advanced videos, what librarians do (ALL librarians), and more. This would be a great medium for promoting librarianship!

Next is podcasting, which I have absolutely no desire to do! I'll see about posting something about this later, if at all.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Catholics Come Home!!

There is a wonderful campaign starting and it looks awesome!! I have seen so much recently about evangelization and it just keeps growing!!

First: my church started a program several years ago called Catholics Returning Home. In the program they take six weeks and discuss various aspects of the church. Unlike RCIA (Rite of Christian Initation for Adults), which is a program for people interested in Catholicism and guides them toward baptism and/or confirmation in the Church, Catholics Returning Home (CRH) is for former Catholics who are interested in taking a second look at the church. Over the six weeks they discuss: stories of faith, Vatican II changes, the Mass and Eucharist, Reconciliation and Sin, and finally, beliefs and "now what?". I have not been involved at all and have no idea what the success rate of the program is. But I would think it would be a success just to get one person back to the Church. It's a great step in the right direction.

Second: a new national campaign!! This is Catholics Come Home. I have seen it mentioned in my church bulletin and monthly newsletter and I recently saw it come up in discussion on a Catholic wedding site I still participate in. Check out the website, it is very cool!! Also, there is a TV campaign. They are piloting the TV commercials in Phoenix, AZ and Lexington, KY. I caught one of the commercials tonight for the first time and it was a great TV spot. Really emphasized the good that the church has done throughout the world for centuries: largest social programs in the world, creation of the written Bible, hospitals, education, the college system. The list goes on and on. The program looks great and I highly encourage everyone to go check it out. If you're a proud Catholic, there is a way to donate to the program, if you have any interest in the Church at all, check out the various stories and information on this site.

I have more on this topic, but I'm going to wait and do a new post. I think my further thoughts warrant a post all their own.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Play Week with Blue 2.0, Part 2

I kind of ran out of time during this last 2-week session to complete two activities. Part of that was that the week started just as I returned from a conference and I'm still trying to wrap things up from that. Anyway, I scanned through the remaining optional activities just now and noticed that one was on Advanced Blogging (or "bling" your blog).

I did add something new to my blog last week. I finally played around with LibraryThing and made a widget to put on my blog. So now instead of juts a list of some of the books I'm currently reading, I have a list of some of the books in my personal library with pictures of the book covers! Very cool. Other things I have done in the past to add some spunk to my blog include:

  1. A ticker at the top (currently a count down to my first wedding anniversary, but previously it was a ticker to the wedding day). You can get your own ticker for all sorts of things (birthdays, baby due dates, how long you've been married, etc. at Daisy Path.
  2. On the side bar, I have a picture of my patron saint of the year. For more information on the Patron Saint of the Year Ministry check out this link.
  3. I also have a little box to the daily readings for each day of the Catholic Church calendar. It's very cool for those days when I may be going to a daily mass, I can read the readings ahead of time through that link and get more out of the mass when I attend. And If I'm not attending I can still read the readings that I know will be used in every Catholic Church around the world that day. I got the widget for the readings from a website called which provides all sorts of widgets for your blogs.
  4. I also joined a webring several months ago. It's called St. Blog's Parish and under the Daily Mass readings you can see a link to the Webring. You'll notice that each word or character is an individual link. Some will take you to another random blog in the ring and others take you to more information about the webring itself. Webrings link together blogs that all have a common theme of some kind. The St. Blog's Parish Webring is currently closed (I believe). It seems that it can be time consuming to try and maintain.
  5. Lastly is the LibraryThing widget I added. And I already talked about that.

That's most of the "bling" I've added to my blog over time. Besides the things mentioned above, I've added other lists to blogs I like, websites of the various groups I'm involved in, and there are links to all my posts through the archive.

One last thing, I noticed that Encore was on the list of Blue 2.0 things to explore. I just wanted to comment that I have tried using Encore and I don't find it very easy. I don't like that it takes a very broad approach to everything. There are a few nice features, but the things I like are the things that will be incorporated into the next release of the Voyager software we use. If we can get all the same functionality in Voyager, why do we have Encore?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Play Week with Blue 2.0, Part 1

This two week session in Blue 2.0 is called "Play week." We were given a number of different activities we could participate in and we have to blog about our experiences.

So one of the activities is to set up a personal portal. The recommended place to do this is Pageflakes. However, I didn't use this one. They also recommended using iGoogle. I already have an iGoogle page and I use it as my homepage on my home computer. I love having a personalized homepage that I've designed.

On my iGoogle page I have a cute scene on the top half that I chose. It has a little pond in the middle, a small Japanese-style hut on the right with a little dock into the water, and some orange trees on the right side of the pond. There is a little fox who occupies the house and te surrounding areas. When I chose the scene I put in my time zone and the scene changes with the time of day in my time zone. Right now the fox is sitting on the dock playing a ukelele for the ducks in the pond. At other times he's having lunch, picking oranges, looking at the stars, or other things.

Under my cute little scene, I have several little gadgets. I have a Saint of the Day (today is St. Colette), the How to of the Day, a date and time clock, Quotes of the Day, Lexington weather, and my Google calendar. And because I'm a librarian I also have a search box for

Like I said above, I love having my own personalized homepage. It's very cool. Okay, now on to part two of Play Week.