Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Best Free Web Services & Software for Broke Libraries

Track C, Cool Tools
Sarah Houghton-Jan,

eBooks: Project Gutenberg, AudioBooksForFree, Escholarship, Google Books, Oxford Text Archive

Databases:,, free language learning sites, free practice test sites, free sites in all disciplines, magazine and newspaper websites

Reference tools: ask a librarian and contact us tools should be a single thing, patrons don't make the distinction and neither should we, put chat windows and help links where customers are angry

Social networking: to find out what's available, Open ID to claim log-in names; update through a single tool and push to several others; manage multiple account using tools like Seesmic or HootSuite; Metrics can be found through several services - views/follows/etc.

Public and staff computer software: if you can convince IT to not be afraid of open source there are lots of free options

Team meeting tools: for online vs. face-to-face meetings
- Sightspeed or Tokbox for webcasts
- Meeting Space: Today's Meet, DimDim, Wiggio

Tech support tools: Jing for screencasts on the fly, remote support/computer sharing via LogMeIn/Yuuguu/TightVNC

Audio and Video tools: audio recording/editing via Audacity, video editing via Avidemux/Lumiera/Kino, video hosting via YouTube/, audio hosting via OurMedia/PodBean/LibSyn (very cheap but not free)

eLearning tools: screencast-o-matic, Jing, Wink, Camstudio, all do screen casting personal interface preference the only difference
- Image Mark-up via DabbleBoard
- for webcasts

Website management: Flickr slideshow w/o code via Pictobrowser; TagCrowd or Wordle for tag clouds; website hosting from WordPress, Bravenet,, Weebly, SquareSpace (not free but very cheap, will give you template to modify via wysiwyg)

Online book clubs: Google groups or LibraryThing

Blogs for book suggestions: use tags in Blogger/WordPress to create links to types of suggestions

Event calendars: Eventful,, Craigslist (because they don't come to us we need to go to them)

Online book displays: photos + Flickr notes function for visual bookshelves with links to catalog

Misc. favorites: Book City Jackets,

Try not to reinvent the wheel every time, there are lots of things out there. Also, don't forget the Google world with all its options.

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