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From WLA To You

November 27, 2009

One of the most popular sessions at the annual Wisconsin Library Association conference is a panel presentation on new technologies or applications for use in the library. That is partly due to the playful, humorous presentation of the librarians but also because they share their experiences with some useful and fun products. This week one of my tasks was to get the photos from the Lorine Niedecker Wisconsin Poetry Festival onto the Niedecker Web site. I sat down to work on it but I just wasn’t in the mood to have to format lots of pictures and code them into the Web page, etc. etc. First I thought I would use the library’s Flickr account, but being unable to quickly remember the login, I recalled a description of a photo management/sharing Web site from the conference. I went back to look at my notes and there it was “Picasa.”

Picasa is free photo editing software from google. Rather than simply working with an online application, with Picasa you need to download the software to your computer. The download went smoothly so I started working with my collection of 44 photos. I had to mess with the program a little to be able to find the photos that were stored on the library’s server, not on my computer. Once I was able to access the server and obtain the photo collection I was given the ability to do a variety of edits.  I was able to view and discard the blurry photos, rotate the ones that were sideways, correct a variety of photo attributes and add captions. I could also save the photos in a variety of sizes for different uses. Picasa also has the capability of making a movie from your photographs.

Once I had the photos the way I wanted them I selected the ones to display and dragged them to a collection. From there I simply hit the upload button. I was able to label these photos as “public” so that I could make them easily available. Take a look at the results.  The photos can be viewed individually or seen as a slide show. It is also possible to keep your photo albums private. Once the photos were uploaded, Picasa gave me the code to embed on the Niedecker Web page, greatly simplifying that job. All in all, Picasa is a useful photo editing site with enough features to keep most photographers happy.

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