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.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Consumer's How To #44: How To & Make

Garage Sale In Monroe
Day 53: Ms. Fix It,
originally uploaded by jk5854.

Have you ever been stuck in the middle of a project without a single solution in sight? Or have you ever wondered how to start a task, but have no idea how or where to begin? Well, help has arrived in the form of “How To” sites that will guide you through just about every problem-solving dilemma you can think of.
Many of the How To sites found on the Web contain different types of formatting, making it easy to locate a format that is compatible with your style of learning.
Sites such as eHow, WikkiHow, HowStuffWorks, and Instructables provide visitors with written articles that guide the user through the selected process step-by-step. The eHow site contains over 250,000 articles many of them are professionally written. With over 17 million visitors to this site per month, articles and videos are constantly being added to their online community.

WikkiHow credits itself as a “high quality How To manual”. This site allows users to receive RSS feeds along with access to wikki manuals in several languages. All of the text shared on the WikkiHow site is under a “Creative Commons License” and the site is going green by operating as a “Carbon Neutral” website.

The HowStuffWorkssite was developed in 1998 by a professor at North Carolina State University. This site is owned by the Discovery Communication, which also owns many of the popular Discovery Channels. The site divides each manual into subjects that allow users to quickly gain access through homepage tabs. The HowStuffWorks site has been recognized with several Webby awards, along with Time magazine, and PC Magazine.

The Instructables site was developed in the MIT Media Lab. This site also allows users to access subjects through tabbing and is the most vibrant of the listed How To sites. Before you exit this site, check out the Instructables online store that sells t-shirts, totes, aprons, caps, shoes and more.

The site Quamut is published by Barnes & Noble. Users have two choices for viewing guides on this site. Users are able to view all Quamut guides free of charge on their computer screen. However, the site charges a small fee for users needing to download and print guides. Guides printed on laminated charts are also available for a fee that can be purchased at local Barnes & noble stores. It is worth noting that there is one free Quamut (How To) guide of the week available for downloading and printing.
If a visual option is your preferred choice Expert Village and Video Jug provide users with video instructions. The Expert Village site states that the information provided can be trusted by users based on the fact that that the acquired information is both “professionally created and researched”. What makes this site unique is that each video guide has a photo and profile of the “Expert” that created that particular instructional video.

Video Jug is described as an online “encyclopedia of life”. The site contains features that allow users to download videos directly onto a Mobile, iPod, and/or MP3 player. This site also allows users to download a Video Jug widget directly to a blog.

1. Look at the different types of How To sites listed above, of the choices provided which sites appeal to you? Did any of the sites listed not appeal to you?

2. Select one How To site from the list above and pick a topic to you would like to learn about. Once you have gone through the selected video or article, post about it or link it to your blog and write about what you learned.

HCPL Staff: Have you completed the two posts in this module? Then Submit your Registration of Completion

This post is brought to you by Daisy Camarillo (FM), Michele McKian (FB), Melanie Metzger (CYF), Rhiannon Perry (LAP), & Sandra Silvey (BC).

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