December 2005


As a marker to myself and for future thinking about the library instruction program, the ACRL blog's round up post (http://acrlblog.org/2005/12/05/what-do-you-know-about-weblib-20/) on Library 2.0 discussions is one I'll be coming back to. From into-the-future, new tech evangelism and hype to cynicism and reservation, all of these responses to the future are interesting barometers of changing times. I'm extremely excited about the potential for blogs, RSS, wikis, social bookmarking and the like to open up how we communicate with our user communities. The trick is in figuring how to implement them, which tools are best for what purposes, and how to work them into a changing but still traditional library structure.

You ever read so much cool new stuff you think your head will explode? My library will be discussing the possiblities of podcasting and text messaging so I went out to see what I had in my del.icio.us bookmarks to get some ideas. Hours later, I added a whole bunch of new ‘marks, listened to an interesting interview from Jon Udell on podcasting and screencasting (which of course, I failed to note the URL for), and while checking the always on-point Jenny Levine over at The Shifted Librarian found her notes on the Gaming, Learning and Libraries conference that just ended, as well as her notes from the Gaming, Learning and Society conference back in June (see the end of the post). What’s so exciting about all of this is the ability to participate, to create community, to gather information from multiple sources, evaluate and repackage it and then to get feedback. With podcasting, there’s an opportunity reach out, to speak to our users in real human voices in places we can’t go in person. They could take our in-house talks, readings from open sources, music that we create, tips on how to do better research, audio tours–all of this content with them on their music players while we’re not there. As for gaming, the whole paradigm of instruction is vastly more exciting then the typical BI. Instead of talking at them about various search functions, if I could bring that same spirit of collaboration and participatory problem-solving to a session, I’d be ecstatic. It’s these hints I sense in social software–the ability to collaboratively add bookmarks or information to a wiki so that all users can benefit from each others’ intelligence on a problem, the ability to speak to our users (and have them comment back in text at least) through podcasting, the ability to add some kind of collaborative problem-solving to information problems both formally through directed questioning or case studies or informally through games, trivia or, even at the limit, some kind of library alternate reality game–these are the things that make me excited about what the library and education could be. Must think on this more to be coherent . . .but then that’s what this blog is for.

OK so it’s clear that not much posting has been going on. I’m trying something new for the upcoming year though. I got a WordPress hosted blog (because categories make me happy) and I’ll try posting all of the more work-related stuff there and this space can be for the random and not yet ready for prime time musings. We’ll see if posting picks up any on either:)

From INFOCOMMONS-L on Tue, 6 Dec 2005:

Michelle Dubaj posted the results of her Faculty Development – Summary

“I had asked the listserv: Has anyone done a targeted effort for Faculty Development in conjunction with their Information Commons? I am looking for institutions that have
some type of program/workshop/institute that helps faculty create
lessons/curriculum that support the type of learning and atmosphere
found in a successful information commons.

Summary of Responses:

Multi-day workshops seemed to be the most popular choices, but
suggestions varied as to who hosted & ran the event. It varied from
collaboration with a Center for Teaching and Learning to a triumvirate
of Library, Center for Teaching, and IT.

-Hold general faculty meetings and faculty development meetings in the
space. – Todd Quinn, Dakota State University

-Brown Bag sessions to generate discussion, tailored workshops to
specific lower level courses. – Phil Warsaba, Carleton University
Learning Commons

-3 day workshop in collaboration with campus Instructional Designer. –
Scott Walter, University of Kansas,=20

http://hdl.handle.net/1808/612 http://hdl.handle.net/1808/612>

-3 day workshop hosted by the Library & IT “Faculty Technology Days.”
– Susan Beatty, University of Calgary Library,
http://fp.ucalgary.ca/ftd/ http://fp.ucalgary.ca/ftd/>

-4 day workshop hosted by Library, IT and Center for Teaching. – Lisa
Martincik, University of Iowa, http://www.uiowa.edu/~ntitle/index.shtml

I don’t know if my institution has done anything in conjunction with academic technology or the faculty development/learning & teaching center but it would be interesting to talk about. There’s a gap between all of these function not only for faculty but for students as well. Several times on the reference desk I’ve had people come up needing some combination of research, writing and technology help that we don’t have the time or expertise to provide. Brown bags in the departments during the semester, short workshops in the academic technology center’s biannual series, and longer workshops during the summer or the break would help address this.

On that note, I’m making a note to attend the following free online event from the Blended Librarians community on Learning Times:

“Please join Steven Bell and John Shank, co-founders of the Blended Librarian Online Learning Community and their guest William Miller for the next community event, “Shifting The Balance: Faculty-Led Information Literacy Instruction”, on Thursday, December 8, 2005 at 3:00 pm Eastern (New York).” http://home.learningtimes.net/library?go=1043236  (NOTE: registration on Learning Times required to access site)

WordPress has made my dreams come true and started its own free blog hosting service, allowing me to have a blog with categories without me having to get off my lazy keester and get a domain and install WordPress. I knew the procrastination would pay off:)

I can now happily masticate on my own random thoughts on libraries, social software, teaching and learning, technology and the like in public. And the Web being the lovely social medium that it is, I also get to consume and regurgitate all the lovely brains of everyone out there in the biblioblogosphere. Hmmm. . .this metaphor sounded so much better in my head. But you know what they say, everything’s better with zombies!