Playing with Dragon Express

dragon expressI recently loaded Dragon Express on my laptop, with plans for my son to use it as a tool for his writing-based school work. What’s Dragon Express? Here’s the blurb about it from the App Store:

“Dragon Express is an easy and fun speech recognition utility that introduces … customers to voice-recognition for the Mac. Put your words to work without the hassle of typing. Just speak and amazingly accurate results instantly appear in the Dragon Express window. You can dictate anything – even words that wouldn’t be found in any dictionary – since Dragon Express is customized to recognize your voice and the words you use.

Simply open the Dragon Express utility and start talking. Your words will automatically begin to appear the Dragon Express window. When you’re done, Dragon Express will place the transcribed text into the application of your choice and refresh itself for the next time you’re ready to speak.”

That description is a pretty good one! Here’s a transcription of my first test (corrections noted in [brackets]):

Okay, this is a test. I would like to test out Dragon Express. It’s a pretty cool program that is taking my words that I’m saying that I’m speaking out loud, and transforming them into text. For example, this post is being written as I speak in Dragon Express.

Once I am done speaking, I will copy and paste this text and post it into WordPress as as my post, [I started saying comma – Dragon Express inserts punctuation when you speak the word. So my fault here!]. Looks like I’ll have to do some cleanup work first because of my arms and on those [Ha! I actually said “because of my ums and ahs … I said nothing about my arms. Really.] and saying things and then rethinking what I’m saying.

Cool, huh? There are a couple of interesting options, too. Through voice commands, I can copy/paste, do a Spotlight search (searching my computer), I can search Google or open up email (using Mac’s email program … which I don’t use). I can also configure Twitter and Facebook, and then post to those using my voice rather than typing.

I can use the internal microphone on my laptop, or I can plug in an external microphone and use that. The app shows which microphone I’m using, and displays my audio level.

Cool tool!

People are Human, Brands (and Organizations) not so much

I recently read this post, Why your nonprofit needs a personality and NOT a brand, on John Haydon’s blog. Here’s a snippet:

“Most of the people you connect with on Facebook and Twitter are your friends. They’re people. They have personality.

And I bet that you spend 95% of your time connecting with people – not companies. And even when you do connect with a company, your best experiences are defined by the people who work at that company (think Zappos).”

Reading that made me think – how does my library work on giving our organization “personality?” How are we, as a system, acting more like people rather than an organization?

Hard question, huh?

Here’s what we’re doing (off the top of my head). What can you add to this list?

  • Blog-based content focused on our collection and events. Our content creators’ personalities shine through in their writing.
  • we include pictures and full names for every blog post. Same with our public-facing staff directory. This allows our customers to connect with actual people. And it works – I get emails and phone calls from customers wanting to talk to the “techie dude” every week.
  • We send staff out in the community. We do this through our bookmobiles and other vehicle-based delivery, through offsite programs and events, and through our speakers’ bureau. Again, this gives a face to the library.
  • We have an Ask Now button pretty much everywhere on our website and catalog that connects to IM chat reference.
  • We use multimedia – pictures of events, videos, etc. Visual ways to introduce staff to customers, and to make our library more personal to customers.
  • We share what us librarians are reading, using Goodreads and LibraryThing widgets (think staff picks – see examples here and here).
  • And of course, we’re using social media – Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc.

So – that’s some of the things we’re doing to create a Face2Face connection with our customers.

What would you add? What’s your library doing? Please share!

photo of smiling people by Bigstock

Turn Your Blog Readers into Die-Hard Fans

Great post by Jonathan Cooper over on the Thesis Statement blog7 Critical Ways to Turn Readers Into Die-Hard Fans.

We’re library workers – we get that to succeed, we need to connect with our readers, and we know how to do that in the print world pretty well. How about connecting with your library blog readers?

Here’s Jonathan’s 7 ideas:

  1. Respond to every comment.
  2. Comment on your readers blogs
  3. Find influential readers
  4. Send your readers a quick “thank you” email
  5. Reader Hall of Fame (or a “reader of the month” mention. Cool thought!)
  6. Surprise your readers
  7. Give away free stuff (ok, we sorta kinda already do that, don’t we?)

Go read the rest of Jonathan’s blog post to get the details. While you’re reading it, think about this – these ideas work for your Twitter and Facebook accounts, too. Give them a try!

image by Bigstock

Vote for Gina Millsap for ALA President

vote for Gina

Gina Millsap is my library’s Executive Director. She’s also running for ALA President!

Interested in finding out more about Gina and what she’ll do as ALA president? Read about that here and here.

You can also connect with her in these places:

You can also show support for Gina and her ALA campaign by displaying this image on your website or blog and link to her website (I’m using it on my blog!):

vote for Gina

So – are you an ALA member? Voting is a little over a month away. Vote for Gina!