Thing #78: Quote better with kwout

In the past we’ve looked at various services on which you can share what you find on the web such as Facebook, Twitter, and even your blog. This month we’re going to take a look at a service that hopes to “improve” how you share content from the Web.

Kwout “is a way you quote a part of a web page as an image with an image map. To use this service, all you need is to add our bookmarklet to your favorite browser.”

You can think of kwout as a sort of screen-clipping and sharing service for things you find on the web. The easiest way to use it is to first head on over to the kwout site and install one of the bookmarklets you can find at the bottom of the page. (I’ve chose the “kwout (kwout in the same window)” one.) To install it, drag the link up to your bookmarks toolbar or right-click on it and select your browsers “bookmark this link” option. (In my browser I’ve added it to my bookmarks toolbar just to the right of my EBSCOhost bookmark show in the screenshot below.)

kwout 01

Once installed, go find a site that you’d like to share. Once you’re on that page, click on your kwout bookmarklet.

kwout 02

Give the service a few seconds (depending on the complexity of the page) and when it’s done you’ll see a screenshot of the page with a black background. At this point, use your mouse to highlight the section of the page you’d like to share by click&holding in the upper-left and dragging your mouse pointer to the lower right of the area you wish to share. (Note: If you get a report that your area is too big, try using the zoom slider in the upper-right corner of the page to shrink your screenshot and then redrawing your select area.)

Click the Cut Our button once you’ve successfully selected your area.

kwout 03

Kwout will clip your selected area and then prevent you with your sharing options. On this screen you can choose various features such as which service to share to, the size of your image, borders, shadow, background color and more.

In this example, I’ve chosen to share this image to Facebook by selection “Post to your Facebook” and clicking “Open your Facebook to post this.”

kwout 04

The next screen will provide me with the Facebook sharing screen with the ability to add some text and decide wo to share it with.

kwout 05

In this example, I’ve chosen “Post to your web site” which then allows me to copy some HTML code.

kwout 06

Once I’ve copied the code I need to go to my blog’s create a new post screen and past in the code. (This will vary slightly depending on the blogging platform you’re using. In this example, I’m using WordPress.)

kwout 07

Once I’ve published the post this is what it looks like:

kwout 09

And here is the same post embedded into this blog post.

What makes kwout a little different is two-fold:

First, you could use separate software to capture and edit your screenshot, upload the image to your blog or social network, and then share it, but this makes it a bit more of a straight-forward process using just your browser.

Second, by default kwout preserves any hyperlinks that you may have captured in your image. To see this, in the example above, try clicking on either of the episode titles in the white section on the right. This isn’t something that can easily be done with most screen capturing software. (It also explains why the code for blog posts is so long.)

As always, I didn’t cover every option kwout has to offer but that’s to give you some room to play.


  1. Install the kwout bookmarklet in your browser.
  2. Find a Web page or two you’d like to share.
  3. Create some shares with kwout. Try on whatever social networks you use.
  4. Write a blog post about your experience. Include at lease one kwout share in your review. What to you think of the service? Might this make your shares any more interesting or attractive to your readers? Are there any shortcomings to this service? Do you think you’ll continue to use it in the future?
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Book Thing #27: It’s Complicated

This Month’s BookThing is It’s Complicated: The Social Life of Networked Teens by danah boyd. (Available in print or as a free PDF eBook via either her Web site or our catalog.)


itscomplicatedWhat is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens’ lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology expert danah boyd uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens’ use of social media. She explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying. Ultimately, boyd argues that society fails young people when paternalism and protectionism hinder teenagers’ ability to become informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens through their online interactions. Yet despite an environment of rampant fear-mongering, boyd finds that teens often find ways to engage and to develop a sense of identity.

Boyd’s conclusions are essential reading not only for parents, teachers, and others who work with teens but also for anyone interested in the impact of emerging technologies on society, culture, and commerce in years to come. Offering insights gleaned from more than a decade of original fieldwork interviewing teenagers across the United States, boyd concludes reassuringly that the kids are all right. At the same time, she acknowledges that coming to terms with life in a networked era is not easy or obvious. In a technologically mediated world, life is bound to be complicated.

About danah boyd:

danah boydMy name is danah boyd and I’m a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, a Research Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, and a Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center. I am an academic and a scholar and my research examines social media, youth practices, tensions between public and private, social network sites, and other intersections between technology and society.

My research focuses on how young people use social media aspart of their everyday practices. In recent years, I have studied Twitter, blogging, social network sites (e.g. Friendster, MySpace, Facebook…), tagging, and other forms of social media. I have written papers on a variety of different topics, from digital backchannels to social visualization design, privacy to teen drama. I also blog and tweet frequently on a wide variety of topics. Along with other members of the MacArthur Foundation-funded project on digital media and learning, I helped co-author a newly published book: Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. My new book: It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens will be released on February 25, 2014.

In 2008, I completed my PhD at the School of Information (iSchool) at the University of California-Berkeley. My dissertation research was funded as a part of the MacArthur Foundation’s Initiative on New Media and Learning. My research was supervised by a most astonishing committee: Mimi Ito, Annalee Saxenian, Cori Hayden, and Jenna Burrell. My beloved PhD advisor – Peter Lyman – lost his battle with brain cancer in July 2007. I miss him dreadfully.

I did my Master’s Degree at the MIT Media Lab’s Sociable Media Group with Judith Donath (supervised also by Henry Jenkins and Genevieve Bell). My master’s thesis focused on how people manage their presentation of self in relation to social contextual information in online environments. As an undergraduate, I studied computer science at Brown University, advised by Andy van Dam. My undergrad thesis focused on how prioritization of depth cues is dependent on levels of sex hormones in the body and how this affects engagement with virtual reality.

Outside of academia, I have worked at various non-profits and corporations. For five years, I worked at V-Day, an organization working to end violence against women and girls worldwide. I helped build an online community to support activists around the world and I continue to do volunteer work for them. For a complete bio, click here.

On the web, I’m known for two things: maintaining an Ani DiFranco lyrics site and blogging prolifically. Personally, I love music, dancing, politics, reading, and all things fuzzy. At my core, I’m both an activist and a scholar.

For a bit of a preview check out this interview with danah:

To earn 2 CE credits answer the following three questions in a 300 word blog post or a three minute video posted to your blog:

  1. What did you / what can librarians learn from this book?
  2. How might the focus of this book impact library service?
  3. How might the focus of this book impact library users?

If you would like to plan ahead, next month’s book will be Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink.

Please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles from the Commission. Thanks.

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Thing #77: Create Your Own Online Games with Purpose Games

For this month’s Thing, we’re going to really get into the PLAY aspect of Nebraska Learns 2.0. You’re going to create PurposeGamesyour own online game using Purpose Games, a free website where you can create and share your games, and play games created by other members.

To get started, you will need to create an account. All you need to do is create a User Name and Password, and provide your email address to activate your account. Once that’s done, you’re ready to play!

There are multiple ways to learn about what’s available on the Purpose Games website. From the menu at the top of the page, the Play link will bring up a list of all the games available. They are arranged in categories, so you can find games on whatever topic you may be interested in.

Try the search box to narrow down the listing. For example, searching for ‘library’ finds games with the word library in the title. Play a couple of them to see how others have created their games.

Now, let’s make our own game!

Click on the Create link at the top of the page and agree to the terms of the website.

There are three types of games you can create – two Quiz Games, one using dots and one using shapes; and a Multiple-Choice game.

Here are some examples, first ‘Planets of the solar system’, a dots quiz game:


The States of the USA‘, a shapes quiz game:


And, ‘In the Library’, a multiple-choice game:


Pick whichever type of game you like, and create your game. The FAQ  has all the information and instructions you should need to create the game of your choice.

You can’t embed a game into your own website or blog post. But you can share the unique URL for the game you create, sending people to the Purpose Games website for your game.

It’s important to note that users are not required to create an account just to play a game on the site. You only need an account if you want to create your own games, track the games you play, or participate in tournaments or challenges on the site.

So, if you are looking for a fun way to introduce people to your library and what it has to offer, creating your own online game could be the way to go!


  1. Sign up for an account on Purpose Games.
  2. Play a few games of your choice.
  3. Create your own game.
  4. Write a blog post about your experience. Include the link to a game you’ve created on Purpose Games. Some things to think about:
    1. What did you think of the games that other members have created? Were they fun? Educational? Did you learn something?
    2. What did you think of the game creation process? Was it difficult or easy to create your own game?
    3. How could you use a game at your library? Can you think of ways a game could be used to promote a library program or service? Is there a library program that could use Purpose Games as an activity, where your participants create their own games?
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Book Thing #26: Little Brother

For this Month’s BookThing we’re trying something different: YA Fiction — Little Brother by Cory Doctorow.


Little BrotherMarcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

About Cory Doctorow:

Cory DoctorowCanadian-born Cory Doctorow has held policy positions with Creative Commons and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and been a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Southern California. He is a co-editor of the popular weblog BoingBoing (, which receives over three million visitors a month. His science fiction has won numerous awards, and his YA novel LITTLE BROTHER spent seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.


To earn 2 CE credits answer the following three questions in a 300 word blog post or a three minute video posted to your blog:

  1. What did you / what can librarians learn from this book?
  2. How might the focus of this book impact library service?
  3. How might the focus of this book impact library users?

If you would like to plan ahead, next month’s book will be It’s Complicated: The Social Life of Networked Teens by danah boyd. (Which is available as a free PDF eBook via either her Web site or our catalog.)

Please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles from the Commission. Thanks.

Posted in BookThing | 2 Comments

Thing #76: Photosynths

This month we’re going to take another look at photography but with a bit of a twist: Photosynths.

Photosynths are a technology from Microsoft that takes a collection of photos and combines them into a pseudo-3D experience. There are four types you can create: Spin, Walk, Wall & Panorama.

The best way to understand the difference between the types is to watch this short video:

Be sure to follow the directions on how to best take the photos to make it work. Trust me on this. If you don’t you may have to start all over and that can be very frustrating. There’s also additional text-based help @ if you have specific questions the video didn’t answer.

Getting started

First you’re going to need to decide which type of photosynth you’d like to create and take the photos. To stress an important point from the video, the more photos you take, the better your results will be. In other words: you can not take too many photos.

Once you’ve got your photos transfer them from your camera to your computer.

Creating a photosynth

Next, you’ll need to go to and sign in with a Microsoft account. (If you don’t have one already, you’ll need to create one.)

NOTE: There is an earlier version of Microsoft Photosynth that was based on downloadable software. While that version is still available it is no longer supported and doesn’t work all that well. So please be sure you’re using the online “preview” version shown throughout this lesson.

Once logged in, click “create” in the upper-right corner. On the next screen, drag your photos into the box with the + in the middle of the screen.

Step 1a

You’ll then get a preview of your images. Depending on the number of images, the size of your files, and your upload speed, this may take anywhere from a few seconds to a minute.

Step 1b

Click next–> and you’ll then be asked to choose the type of photosynth you’re creating. Click the appropriate one then click next–> again.

Step 2

Now you need to provide some information about your photosynth. Enter a title, description, visibility, and rights. Be sure to check the notification option as that’ll let you know when your photosynth is ready to view. Click finish–> when you’re done.

Step 3

Your photos have been uploading in the background this whole time. However, as before, depending on the number of photos, file sizes, and upload speed, you may see a status screen at this point with percent complete. Once all the photos have been uploaded you’ll see “upload completed”. At this point you start creating another or go to your library. Let’s go to the library.

Upload Complete

Creating the photosynth will now take some time. In my experience give it at least 15 minutes. If you don’t want to wait on this screen, feel free to go off and do other things. If you previously checked the notification option, you’ll receive an e-mail once the creation is complete.


Once complete, your library will update with a preview of your creation.


Click on the preview and your full photosynth will be displayed. On the play screen you can play, pause, and control your photosynth. Additionally, in the lower-left are buttons for information, sharing (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and embedding into a Web site), and a heart/like. In the lower-right are buttons for play/pause and full-screen. To return to your library, click the photosynth icon in the upper-left.

Photosynth Play

Here’s a few of my first attempts. As you’ll see doing these well can take a little practice, especially spins.

Party food by msauers on Photosynth

My office by msauers on Photosynth

Stacks by msauers on Photosynth

Home Office Wall by msauers on Photosynth


  1. Create a Photosynth or two.
  2. Embed it in your blog.
  3. Write about your experience.
  4. How might the library use this technology?


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