Geek Stuff

I’ve been thinking a lot about geeky stuff lately. Well, I guess that isn’t surprising, considering I write this blog. I think about gadgets, Web 2.0 stuff, science fiction and science fact all the time. But this week it has seemed like geeks are taking over the world–and I think that is a good thing. So here are some fun sites that allow you to embrace your inner geek.

This is a great post on the Ten Annoying Habits of a Geeky Spouse. I love this post. It is funny and so true. So have a chuckle and then look around the GeekDad blog and Wired’s website in general for more fun.

So many of you probably already know about ThinkGeek. But if you don’t, go take a look and find “stuff for smart masses.” From wacky t-shirts to awesome office supplies, you will find something for everyone who is a little or a lot on the geeky side of life. And just remember, as the Vlogbrothers say, there is nothing wrong with being a nerd–or a geek for that matter.

And finally, here is the link to Academic Earth. This is an amazing collection of video lectures and courses from some of the great professors from universities such as Yale, Stanford and MIT. So check out some videos and be prepared to learn. I think this is a great addition to the online video world of education and innovation–nice complement to TED talks if you are already using them.

Have a great day and have some fun. The Waki Librarian will be back with more later.

Online Northwest: 2, 4, 6, Great: Handouts They'll Appreciate

by: Anna Johnson

Used to be a document designer, now an Instruction Librarian from Mt. Hood Community College

Crash course in document design, then differences between web and paper as delivery platforms, walk through of making handouts that are useful to users.

Goal: To have people want your handouts.

Edward Tufte (
document design, design display
famous about attacking PowerPoint
Designers know less about the content than the average user of the content
But in libraries, librarians are content experts
Just need to learn basics of document design
Give handouts before hand so people can get the information and then you can discuss the points

Just referring to handout instead of going over the handout
Make handouts more content rich
More time for active learning

Johnson argues that more information is better, make longer handouts, mostly 4 pages long (11×14 paper with 4 faces)

Webpages should be interactive, paper doesn’t have to be
Paper handouts should stand alone
Need handouts to work longer, even with changes on the library website
Therefore paper handouts need be relevant longer if people keep them
Different reading styles online versus print

Presentation is a summary of your handout instead of your handout being a summary of your presentation. Give more information to take home with the handout.

90% of effort in making a Word document handout
Using Word because everyone has Word
Need to be sharable resources

Construction of Handout:
Design in tables to align text and graphics
Create hyperlinks from words, useful when turn Word document into a pdf for the web
Need colors that print correctly in black and white for photocopies
Page length: should be even number of pages so you don’t waste any paper

PDF is very important, locks in style, (but problem of accessibility)

Use color paper instead of color ink, more cost effective way of getting color into your handouts

Can adapt handout style to class syllabi too

Summary: This presentation was an ode to Edward Tufte and his design principles. I’m not buying all of this; but this is definitely food for thought.

Take home message: You want users to have content to use when you are not there. Design is important, as are handouts.

Online Northwest 2009 Keynote

Keynote by Dr. BJ Fogg, from Stanford

Title: The New World of Persuasive Technology

Talking about technology and behavior change, especially online video
Computers and persuasion (captology, coined the term)

We can create machines that influence how people behave, changing human behavior

Europe and the US academics are working on persuasive technology

The web is a platform for persuasion:
Every website has a persuasive intent (key to teach our students)
All have a persuasive goal
You wouldn’t create a website unless you had a goal

Social networks are platforms for persuasion

Mobile phones will be platforms for persuasion

All about videos now. Bringing video into the context of your life.

Technology changes, but human psychology doesn’t change as quickly; it is stable.

How do you think clearly about behavior change?
Think about persuasion targets in professional life.
What behavior do you want people to do?

Fogg likes to do beneficial things with technology (therefore not in the school of business 🙂
Change the world in great ways.

3 core things that change human behavior: motivators, simplicity, and triggers

Target Behavior: Parting with your money (pledge money)
Question: When it comes to soliciting money, is personal video message better than generic email?
Email: 0% of people pledged
Video: 58% watched video, 82% of those pledged, overall 47% pledged

Why does this work? It is the experience that is persuasive–video.

Persuasion goes back a long way. (Fogg uses Wordle a lot 🙂
Goes back to Adam and Eve–what if there was facebook?

Facebook is #1 persuasive technology right now.
Did a class on Facebook
Student projects–making applications for Facebook
projects got 16 million users in 10 weeks
Secret: Think clearly & run many trials

Human Psychology:
What motivates people?
Humans are fairly predictable.
Pleasure and pain
Hope and fear
acceptance and rejection

Driver behind Facebook–social interaction, want social acceptance and avoid rejection

Mega-motivation: no, doesn’t get behavior change
Need more than just motivation to change behaviors

Other factors:
People need to be able to do what you ask them to do.
Easy to accomplish goals
Need motivation and ability
Simplicity is good. People don’t want to learn mostly.
People: Just give me a pill.
Make it simple and easy for people, if you want behavior change
Don’t require training

Simplicity has 6 elements:
Brain cycles
social deviance

People are fine watching video; rather watch a video than read. Therefore instructional videos are great.

Humans are mostly lazy

Keypoint: reduce behavior to one choice, one step, one click.

People who like to think hard and challenge themselves are the outliers.

Add video to increase motivation for behavior change.

Either simplify or motivate in order to change the behavior if what you want to happen is not happening.

Must know which path when persuading people using technology. Code doesn’t adjust unlike people. Must think clearly about context when making videos and application.

6 Different flavors of web video (can find on the web)

Even when people have motivation and ability, you need to trigger the behavior.
Facebook has notifications, which is one reason why it is so successful

All 3 must be present at the same moment to have behavior happen (motivation, ability and trigger).

Focus on trigger and simplicity, usually have enough motivation.

Thoughts: Absolutely great speaker.

Take home message: Use more videos to trigger behaviors that you want.

Why I Teach

Hi. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I feel rested and ready to take on the rest of the quarter.

Okay, so while I don’t have any great technology sites to share today. I thought I would just continue on the optimism theme and explain why I teach. Now the obvious answer is I teach because it is part of my job description and I have to. Well, yes, but that doesn’t really answer why I teach. I teach information literacy to freshmen which can sometimes be trying at best and life-draining at worst.

Today reaffirmed for me why I teach. I just had my focus group for my class. I am trying to figure out ways to improve the class and how the students see the class. The data is completely worthless for extrapolation, but still interesting. My best students came–thus I cannot extrapolate out even to the rest of my class. But they did reaffirm why I teach. I teach to try to reach the students, help them, inform them, give them the ability to have power over the flow of information in their lives, but really, I teach because of my engaged top-tier students. I teach for the students that take what they’ve learned to the next level, who take pride in their work, who truly learn to learn and really want more.

These students want more knowledge, they want more power and they want more out of life. These are the students that give me the energy to slog through the papers that are turned in late, that are turned in by students who obviously ignored the directions and who could care less about the class and who have a glazed over look no matter what we do in class.

I try to lift up all my students. I teach so that they can improve and learn and grow. I pull them kicking and screaming into active learning, into collaboration with others in the class, and into participating online. But that can be draining. My students that actually see that one can have fun and learn from anything are the ones who I teach for.

My students today ended with the suggestion that we have another library class. They actually wanted another class in their college career–later when they were in upper division classes in their disciplines. Really! They thought the class was helpful. They loved the YouTube videos, they liked the quotes used in class, they enjoyed helping others with their new knowledge and even saw the use of learning citations! How can one not feel blessed to have students like this in class? And I have more than one!

This, friends, is why I teach. Because these are the students that are going to change the world, one little step at a time. These are the students that make the time, the energy, the blood and the tears worth it. They are why I teach.

Tangentially, can I just say I am super-proud of my students? I am. Check out their online presentations here Library 1210 Presentations. These are presentations of the most interesting parts of their research projects. My students have made me proud.

Like the bumper sticker I picked up in Monterey says: “Those who can, do. Those who can do more, teach.”

Friday Stuff and Such

I’m terrible with titles–doesn’t matter what kind–blog post titles, subject lines of emails, titles for term papers, theses–I just wasn’t made to name things. Luckily, or hopefully, my writing makes up a little for the lack of skill with titling things.

Well, it is Friday and yes, it means some random thoughts about trying to help and improve the library, yourself, the world even maybe. When I was teaching on Tuesday, I used a quote by Ghandi, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” So yeah, I believe that by changing yourself and actions you can change the world. Where am I going with this?

Well, I read this great post by the Free Range Librarian, K.G. Schneider. Whose blog you should really subscribe to if you don’t already. It is insightful, funny and all the things that a blog should be. I love this post because peer-review might be broken, but publishing anonymous bloggers is not helping things, and I am sick of all the talk about the Annoyed Librarian too. It is way too easy to be pessimistic; it takes a lot more work to be optimistic and try to improve things when the economy is tanking and libraries are feeling the hit. But I would way rather be spending time improving things, be it trying to improve peer-review process or helping my students finally get how to apply information literacy concepts to their lives outside the university, than spend time complaining about it.

Here is a report from Pew Internet that talks about users having trouble with technology. This is nothing new, but I wanted to point it out so the next time you feel bad for not knowing the latest online game, just remember it only feels like everyone else knows about it. Most don’t and most people are still having trouble with basic technology stuff. Librarians are cutting edge–just remember that and remember it’s okay to still be learning. Just remember to take a deep breath when explaining something new to a patron. Not everyone is a techie, and that is okay.

And, it is a beautiful, sunny Friday morning. Enjoy your day, enjoy working with people and have a great Friday and weekend.

Oh and has anyone tried SlideRocket? It looks really cool and I need to play around with it. It’s an online presentation application. Anyway, just thought I’d check.

Streaming Media & Re-Tooling Library Services for Online Learners: IL2008

by Dale David, Anthony Bernier, Barbara Stillwell and Robin Lockerby

First part of the presentation: Barbara Stillwell and Robin Lockerby from National University Library

Because of increase in online education they created:
Centralized services
Added Multimedia Department

New Collaborative Spaces:
Email, IM service didn’t work for them, also VoIP

Library Instruction to Multimedia
Already had in-class instruction, added VoIP, recorded VoIP sessions so students could use them as National University has 1 month intensive classes

What’s next: want to increase quality of audio/video, increase production quality
What’s it great for: outreach, reaching more students

National University’s Multimedia Department
has graphic designer, multimedia designer and one librarian (QA librarian)
learned that it takes much longer to create products than most think, because of learning curve
Uses Adobe flash–takes a long time
Always see something more that could be done after you create a new module
Sometimes, it is better to have smaller videos, serialize information so the videos aren’t super-long

Be choosy about what format you use, not one format is the best for all uses (I would add, also always ask about accessibility before starting to use a new product. There is no point making something that isn’t accessible, IMHO)

Strength: professional design team (who can actually afford this, though?)
Weakness: professional design team has limited library exposure, different jargon
Opportunities: refining production workflows–have a sytle guide
Threats: conflicting goals and objectives

Take Home Message:
Online instruction through tutorials/modules are great, especially if you have a dedicated design team. But definitely remember that simpler is better if you are like most who don’t have a design team.

Streaming Media nad Distance Education: The SJSU SLIS Model
by: Dale David and Anthony Bernier from SJSU’s SLIS

Colloquial Series (extra-curricular) aka CS
Produced through a team
began in fall 2006
between 40-60minutes
available in many different accessible formats

Vision of CS
Broaden exposure to LIS world and community, outreach and marketing
Expose others to the cutting edge technology
Offers opportunity for continuing education

Filmed on-campus at SJ and at Fullerton
Include: faculty presenting research, part-time faculty, librarians, etc.

All is online, including listserv
Also through SJSU website

Can come in if you are in the area
Get undergrads come to the presentation
Usually between 12-25 people in physical audience
Online audience is quite large: around 275 unique hits on presentations

Technology used:
Digital Camera and mic set-up
Record in classroom on campus

Video editing
Incorporate any PowerPoint slides used, screencaps of websites go to during the presentation

Disseminate in different formats on the web
Including closed captioning (using SMILE)
Using RealPlayer because it was the legacy format
Offered in podcast, RSS feed, iTunes, (no time limits unlike YouTube)

Have an archive–everything is indexed, it is searchable, very nice

Take Home Message:
Great idea to have a colloquial series and even better idea to encode into many different formats. Many props for also making these accessible. I am so checking these out.

Packing, Goal Setting and YouTube

Okay, so it is Friday and we all need a little something fun and some tips to help us through the day as the weekend is fast approaching.

First the really awesome YouTube video from CSU Long Beach. CSULB had students give a tour of the reference services at the library–it is a great video. Again, marketing is so much better if students get in on it. I think my library should start a YouTube station. It definitely solves the problem with hosting streaming videos and with Overstream, we can even close caption the videos. Just a thought. Enjoy this video, I did!

Now from one of my favorite technology blogs, Lifehacker, here is an article on “Goal Setting for Skeptics”. I think goal setting is important, whether you write down your goals or not. I fine setting goals helps me from becoming bogged down in the day-to-day chores that have to get done and allow me to focus on longer-term projects, both at work and at home. But then, I’m the kind of person who also keeps journals to track project progress, keeps books of inspiring quotations and am always looking to learn. I know people that hate writing down goals and they get things accomplished just fine. I’m just saying, give the article a chance and see if it works for you. Who knows, maybe you could make one of your goals to adapt a Web 2.0 application to use in your library!

And last tip for the day, check out Wired’s article, Pack Light for Geek Travel. Great article to read for those of us who travel with a lot of tech gear and are getting ready to head out to conferences.

Speaking of conferences, I’ll be at the Internet Librarian Conference this coming week. So if you are going to be there, say hi.

Podcasts and Zombies

Happy Friday!

So the big news today is that the podcast of the first Technology Brown Bag is now available. Just check out the Tech Brown Bags page of this blog for the podcast. Its runtime is just under 40minutes. And I am sorry in advance for the poor quality. My only excuse is that it is my first podcast and I am still learning Audacity. I promise the next one will be better, but at least you will be able to get the information, along with the handouts, now.

For fun, check out this article on the Zombie Tag craze that is sweeping colleges and universities. I love the fact that both classrooms and libraries are safe spaces! This is a good example of having fun without any technology. I wonder if it will come to CSUEB.

Have a great weekend!

A Whole Lot of Fun

Okay, so I’m sorry there haven’t been more posts this week. But, in my defense, I’ve been “oriented” at New Faculty Orientation and now am going to be at an on-campus conference (Back to the Bay) for 2 days. So I’ve not been truly slacking, only out of the office. So for those in my library, I’ve not forgotten about the tech brown bags, just waiting for some schedules to come out before we set the dates and start playing with cool new tools! 

As I was getting up this morning, I thought about what would be a couple of good resources for this Thursday. And I thought, why not have some fun? So I give you two sources, Unshelved and a talk from the SirsiDynixInstitute. 

If you are not familiar with the web comic strip, Unshelved, get ready for a laugh. This is a comic strip that is set in a public library and if you’ve ever worked in a public library you can completely relate. This is just fun and their store is great. I want the shirt that says “Library Schooled.” They are also the people behind Pimp my Bookcart! How can you not like that? So if you are new to the Unshelved universe, read their primer first. Enjoy! Oh, and did I mention you can get the comic strip and news via RSS? Just a thought…

For the second resource today, I give you Stephen Abram’s talk, Twenty five technologies to Watch and How. This is one of the great events that is archived from the SirsiDynix Institute. They are free to watch and listen to. This talk is from January of this year, but is great and I finally got around to listening to it the other day. I listened to the mp3 file, so if someone watches the video, I’d love to hear how it turned out. There is another webinar coming up on September 24th, “Welcome to the profession: Where will you be in 25 years? Is that where you want to be?” which I am totally looking forward to. So pop on by the website, you might just find something useful. Like a webinar a lot, find it fun and useful? Comment to this post to share with everyone else.

Happy Thursday!