Welcome to iHCPL: The Next Generation. This site was created as the next step in Harris County Public Library's iHCPL Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies. The original iHCPL program was adapted from The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's Learning 2.0 Program.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

iStar Tip: Password Management

One of the concerns we heard about iHCPL was how many logins and passwords they had to create and how hard it was to keep track of them all. While it's not possible to explore some of these sites without registering, there are tools and tips to aid you in remembering those logins and passwords.

  • Try to use the same - or similar - logins and passwords when registering for sites. However, for safety reasons, you should have different standard passwords for registering for online sites and for your secure online banking and bill paying.
  • Create a password that is difficult to guess. Microsoft has an excellent article on Password Strength and Password Security. Use their Password Checker to assist you in creating a password that is easy to remember, but difficult to crack - it well tell you if you password is weak, medium, strong, or best.
  • If you need help creating a password, try SafePasswd.com, which will generate a password for you based on the length and type.
  • If you don't want to register for a site, try Bugmenot, a service that helps you bypass compulsory registration for popular sites such as The New York Times, YouTube, and IMDB by providing existing logins and passwords.
  • Finally, since there's no getting around creating some logins and passwords, try PassPack: Online Password Management to help you keep track of them.
    • Sign up for an account - you will need a login of your choosing and two passwords. Because you will use this to store other passwords, make sure it's secure and different from what you normally use. They suggest phrases.
    • Once your account is created, you can add your logins and passwords for any site - you only have to remember your Passpack login to access your logins and passwords. Note: Don't use this to keep track of your financial passwords.
    • As you add accounts, don't forget to Save Your Pack.
    • If you want to use PassPack to automatically log in to sites for you:
      • Click the AutoLogin tab
      • Click Activate
      • Add the PassPack It button to your favorites
      • When you click the Go button on your list, click the PassPack It button to automatically enter your login information.

iStar Tip: Email

As we begin the next generation of iHCPL, iStar thought it would be good to talk a little bit about email. Many of the sites we looked at during iHCPL require some sort of sign- up. Unfortunately, there aren't too many ways around this. So, rather than using your HCPL account - or perhaps even your regular personal email - please use one of the free online email services that are available. There are a number of free email services out there to choose from:

Yahoo Mail
Gmail (Google)
Hotmail (Microsoft)
AOL Mail

Another option is to use a service like Spamhole or 10 Minute Mail. Spamhole lets you get a temporary email address, that redirects to your regular account for a couple hours - so you can get the confirmation email, for example, and then disappears. 10 Minute Mail gives you an email address that lasts for 10 minutes, with replies appearing on the website.

List of Participants

Listed below are participants in the iHCPL: The Next Generation program. For the purposes of this program, only the blog's names will be listed here. Staff may choose to reveal or conceal their identity themselves as they wish through their blogs.


Listed below are Modules that you can do on the web to explore and expand your knowledge of the Internet and Web 2.0. If you have ideas for a module, send an email to ipac @ hcpl.net (minus the spaces).

iStar Tip: Email
iStar Tip: Password Management

February 2008: Sound (2 hours)
24. The Sound of Music
25. Am I a Music Pirate?
26. Making (or Listening) to Music Together
27. Creating Your Own Podcast (Challenge)

March 2008: Spring Cleaning (1 hour)
28. Don't Clutter Up Expensive Cyberspace
29. Email
30. Take a Load Off Our Drives

April 2008: Maps (2 hours)31. Have Map, Will Travel
32. Current Events
33. Relocating with Online Maps
34. Geocoding and Geocaching

May, June, & July 2008: Games & Gaming (2 hours)
35. Games? In the Library?
36. The Wide World of Online Role Playing Games
37. Get Your Game On @ The Library
38. Console Gaming

August 2008: Wellness (2 hours)
39. Nutrition
40. Fitness
41. Going Green - Part 1 | Going Green - Part 2
42. Staying Well

September 2008: Consumer/How To (1 hour)
43. Buying & Selling Online
44. How To & Make

October 2008: Video (2 hours)
45. Making a Video: An Overview
iStar's Filming Tips
46. Movie Maker Basics: You Ought to Be in Pictures or Making Them
47. Video Challenge: Post Your Video to YouTube (Optional: 1 hour extra-credit)
48. Check It Out

November 2008: Potluck
49. L'amore di lingue - Love of Languages (.5 hours)
50.Global Nation (.5 hours)
51. Holidays and Cooking and Recipes - Oh My! (.5 hours)

February 2009: Books, Readers and Beyond (3 hours) - Available for credit through 3/31/09
52. What to Read
53. Finding Books Online54. Social Networking Through Books

March 2009: Potluck - Available for credit through 4/30/09
55. Getting the Most Out of Facebook (1 hour)
56. To Tweet or Not to Tweet...Twitter (1 hour)

57. TXT U L8R - Texting (.5 hour) - Available through 5/31/09)

April 2009: Money & Finance (2 hours) - Available for credit through 5/30/09
58. Banking, Budgeting, & Spending
59. Credit, Money Management, and Saving

May 2009: Recession Busters (.5 hour) - Available for credit through 6/30/09
60. Food, Fun, and Frugality

June - August 2009: Crafts & Hobbies - Available for credit through 8/31/09
61. Craftspiration! (.5 hour)
62. Decoupage (.5 hour)
63. Digital Scrapbooking (.5 hour)
64. Zines (.5 hour)
65. Coin Collecting (.5 hour)
66. Knitting & Crocheting (.5 hour)

September 2009: Genealogy (3 hours) - Available for credit through 10/31/09
67. Genealogy Genesis
68. Detective Work
69. Database Researching
70. Genealogy 2.0

October 2009: Pets (2 hours) - Available for credit through 11/30/09
We'll Make Your Pet a Star
71. Finding a Pet
72. Pet Health Online
73. Losing a Friend
74. Social Petworking
Parade of Pets

January 2010: Searching (2 hours) - Available for credit through 2/28/10
75. Google & Beyond
76. Sound Effects
77. Images
78. Video

February 2010: The Future of Media (2 hours) - Available for credit through 3/31/10
79. Television
80. Movies
81. Get Out Your Crystal Ball

March 2010: Publishing Evolution (2 hours) - Available for credit through 4/30/10
82. Print on Demand
83. Paper to Pixels (or e-ink)
84. Writer Communities & Author Websites

April 2010: The Web According to Google (2 hours) - Available for credit through 6/30/10
85. Resistance is Futile
86. Calendar and Documents
87. Google Reader
88. Wave, Buzz and Mobile

May 2010: You Oughta Be in Pictures (2 hours)
89. Basic Photo Editing
90. Sharing
91. Fun with Photos

Training Hours

The iHCPL: The Next Generation program is divided into 8 thematic modules for 2008. Staff will be able to earn training hours for each module that they complete. All but one of the modules are voluntary and can be completed at any time for training credit. Each module will run for one month and will have 3-4 posts/exercises. Training hours will vary based on the module and will be announced for that module. To get training credit:

  • Complete all activities in the module using the blog you created in iHCPL, or a new blog if you prefer.
  • Let your supervisor know that you have completed the activities
  • Your supervisor will submit your training information on the monthly training report to HR.
All modules for 2008 training hours must be completed by November 30.

About The Next Generation

This blog has been set up to continue Harris County Public Library's iHCPL project to encourage staff and customers to experiment and learn about the new and emerging technologies that are reshaping the context of information on the Internet today. The objectives of this program are to:

  • Encourage continued exploration of Web 2.0 and new technologies by HCPL staff.
  • Provide staff and customers with new tools (that are freely available on the Internet) to better support HCPL's mission of providing "information and resources to enrich lives and strengthen communities through innovative services within and beyond our walls."
  • Help demystify new technologies and assist customers in their use.
The original iHCPL program was adapted by a committee from the Learning 2.0 program, designed the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County. The program is loosely based upon Stephen Abram's article, 43 Things I (or You) Might Want to Do this Year (Information Outlook - Feb 2006) and the website 43Things.

The design of this online program was completely built on Web 2.0 technologies that are freely available on the Internet. These sites include: Blogger, Flickr, YouTube, PBWiki & Bloglines.

If you have questions during the program, please email ipac @ hcpl.net (minus the spaces.