The Web 2.0 award winners are an impressive bunch: so much to choose from, so little time!
Sites I had already experienced in my 2.0 quest: Flickr (Photos and Digital Images), Technorati and Bloglines* (Blog Guides)
Others I've used in my 'real' life: Craigslist (Classifieds and Directories), Google Maps (Mapping), Kayak (Travel), Video (You Tube)
And still more that are on the 'upcoming assignments' list: Ning (Mashups), Rollyo (Search), Del.icio.us (Social Tagging)
I decided to explore Lulu (books) in further detail. Who among us does not love a good book? And, as someone with a book in mind (just beginning to find it's way onto paper), I had a practical interest as well. Lulu is a self-publishing tool for both print and download books, music, videos, calendars, yearbooks, etc. Their demo was clear and easy to follow. When I finished viewing it, I felt that I could come back to this site with a variety of self-publishing projects. A majority of the titles available appear to be self-help "how-tos" and course materials, with an additional sprinkling of memoirs, anthologies, compilations of art and photos, exhibition catalogs and fiction.
The immediate application that came to mind was CSLA presentation handouts. Last year, as a presenter, I assembled a workbook for my session participants that involved my home PC and printer, and the local copy center (when the copy machine at school went out and remained out for almost an entire week). I could have sent my text from my home PC to Lulu and either ordered print copies (for a reasonable price) or made it available online as a download to either the general public or a limited group . I could even, if I was a little more mercenary, have offered a sampler at my session and had the full workbook available for sale online (Lulu will even calculate your royalties).
Another obvious application would be class or school-wide writing anthologies. This year, our school printed a monthly anthology of student writing. Lulu could have allowed us a year-end compilation which could be read online or ordered printed and bound. The site would have handled the production and distribution: no volunteer needed (in this case, the volunteer was our principal!), no tie-ups at the copier.
After my visit to Lulu, I zipped on over to Ning to learn how to become a social butterfly online. A few groups that caught my eye were "Library Technicians United: Because We All Have Good Ideas" (I'm one and I do too), "American Library Association" (you have to be a member) and "Library Selection and Evaluation" which identifies itself as a private network. The link said they were accepting new members by request, so I sent a request and will see what happens. I think that nings could be a real lifeline for those who are isolated by geography or practical constraints from interaction with their peers. Our own CSLA listserv seems to fill the same need on a professional level. I'm not sure I need one more source of connection in my life right now; sometimes, what I long for is to simply disconnect!
* and, in one last footnote to a very long entry, I finally heard back from Bloglines, five days after my initial pleas for help. I am now a registered user with feeds from "Planet Esme", "NPR Topics: Children's books" and "Publisher's Weekly Books News". Will it all be too much connection? Tune in next week for another installment in the 2.0 tale...