2.0 Learning & 1.8 Users: Bridging the Gap: IL2008

2.0 Learning and 1.8 Users

by Rudy Leon, and Colleen Harris

Google generation aka Digital Generation

Myths about the Google Generation:
Skilled online searchers
Ease with new gadgets
Always connected
Effective multi-taskers
Require constant stimulation
Must be entertained
Learn by doing

The do use the stuff, but not generating content, don’t understand the backend of the technology
Don’t have a mental map of the technology, little transferable skills, ramifications for new services, they don’t fit into student’s understandings of what they already know
We need to build the map that allows the students to transfer skills
We can’t build services and resources built on the myths

Digital Divide
Still very real
only about 62% of US homes have a computer in the home
99% of US schools have computers and Internet, but it varies widely in hardware and access
Differential training and use of the technology, very different skill sets

Fault lines:
Number 1 line is still race: 65% white, 45% African American, 30% Latino households have computers
Also fault line via class

Persistent effects:
Students get their information and do groupwork online, students do not get training in universities and therefore self-select out of certain majors that use a lot of technology, creates a divide in education

Students put a lot of weight on what their faculty say

Challenges: Faculty
What Faculty Know or Don’t: learn how to do research from their instructors through Ph.d, have informal networks
Expect students to figure it out on their own, but students need context and help
Equipment: need to think of technology as part of a skill set
Faculty not highly trained in teaching: learn to teach through sitting through classes, how can we help professors with their teaching?

Think of technology as Education Technology and do training to show how to use technology to make the teaching better. How do you integrate technology into teaching? Have library step in and help with the training.

Getting faculty on Board:
Owning our own expertise–help faculty use the content effectively, because hey, librarians rock! We need to own our librarianship.
Competitive processes for course development–give faculty stipends and workshops
Make connections–get out there and network and make connections, “let’s have coffee,” need to have relationships in order to then get people to use the library
Classroom instruction–have faculty attend the session with their students, the faculty will learn stuff too
Leveraging reaccreditation process–include technology outcomes as part of this process

Campus IT
Scarce resources–go if something is not working
IT can’t implement everything–librarians have to do it
Lots of open source software–free, but requires a lot of time to implement and maintain, so consider what you do
What is the model for teaching and training–librarians are great and are a link among students, faculty and technology

Learning Spaces
Library is a safe learning space–students can fail without consequence of grades
How to strategies for engaging students/faculty
Workshops–great to have face to face contact
Making equipment available–can check out laptops, cameras, etc. from the library
Actionable assignments–use technology in an assignment, eg. make a documentary, photojournalism, etc.
Partnerships–again, network!

Moving Forward–Learning Spaces
Libraries are a unique spaces on campus, safe learning spaces
Technology is fun and libraries are for learning, technology should help or enable learning
Critical thinking and metal maps–learning should be fun and technology should support learning

Building the Bridge
Build the workshops that help build skills
Gadgets support learning
We are the adults and students need to have a voice, but what they want is not always what they need, we don’t need to entertain the students 24/7
Have space and structure to play
Be skeptical about what the media says about the Digital Generation

Great presentation, love the LOL cats photos, wonderful energy!

Take Home Message: It’s all about community. Technology supports learning and is the means to the end, which is having faculty and students understand how technology helps.

Mashing Up and Remixing the Library Website

Mashing up and Remixing the Library Website

Karen Coombs

Theory and demo system from University of Houston

Problems with traditional content management systems:
Different skill levels which leads to problems
Many different systems
Problems of repetition of information
Patrons just want to get into information quickly
Need to integrate into classroom CMS/curriculum

Traditional Solutions:
Used database system
Install CMS (proprietary or open source)
Distribute content creation throughout the library= shared responsibility

New Solution:
Build your own system or use mash-ups
Need easy to use system
Have remixable site
Incorporate other systems

Drupal: can be complicated with tons of modules
iGoogle: customize with gadgets, widgets
Wordpress: blogging software

Web 2.0 Pillars
Radical decentralized control of information
Perpetual beta: some people have a problem with this, but I love it!
User as Contributer
Rich user experience (interactivity)

Systems that University of Houston is using:
All systems working together

Microformat: way to encode part of a webpage as an event
Make content portable
Embedable code to put on different sites

API: interface that is programmable, use object metadata into other places, using OpenSearch, outputs different formats

Take Home Message:
You want to give power to more than a small group of people for creating content and editing the website. It is important to have remixable content and modules. Web 2.0 rocks!

Cool Tools for Library Webmasters: IL2008

Cool Tools for Library Webmasters

Frank Cervone and Darlene Fichter

Tools for everyone: free tools

VisCheck: simulation of human vision, shows what things look like to someone who is color blind, online services and downloadable version (very similar to Vizu)

Links to presentation up on ITI website, on slideshare.net too

Thumbalizer: takes an image and makes a thumbnail for you

ImageFlow: can imbed in website, very like Cooliris, same look, but one stream and not a moving wall of images

DeGraeve.com: color palette generator, takes an image and suggests colors to use for design

Widgenie: creates widgets, connect to data, charts created, creates online charts

Call graph: records skype calls

Freemind: mind-mapping software, export in a number of formats

Firefox tools:
SafeCache– defends cache-based techniques, protects your privacy, safe browsing
SafeHistory– protects your browsing history, can’t have different sites looking at each other’s data
FoxMarks–automatically synchronizes bookmarks, access my.foxmarks.com (use this if you still insist on using Firefox’s bookmark function instead of just bookmarking everything to del.icio.us)
FEBE– Firefox Environment Backup Extension, backups your Firefox extension, synchs your office and home browsers, may specify user defined items, can backup other parts of your browser and browser history

LinkBunch: put multiple links into one small link, good for Twitter, Firefox extension creates a bunch from your open tabs

DocSyncer (don’t need if Google docs) automatically finds and syncs your documents to Google Docs, automatically backup everything

TrueCrypt– can encrypt your flash drive, part of your hard drive

File Hamster: real-time backup and archiving of your files while you work, monitors files or directories

Synchback Freeware: backup all files, good for server-level, open source product

FreeUndelete: puts directory entry back in so you can recover the file you deleted

Browsershots: creates screenshots in different browsers, sends requests to machine running that browser, online tool, lots of browser platforms

Feng GUI: automatic alternative to eye-tracking, creates heat maps based on an algorithm that predicts what a real human would be most likely to look at

FavIcon from Pics: icon for the URL box, creates it from your logo, picture, etc.

SuggestionBox: link to your site, manage your suggestions

DamnIT: JavaScript, put on your webpage, captures errors and sends you an email about what happened

.htaccess password generator: cut and paste code

Cropper in C#: crops images, screenshots and captures screenshots

Steal from the best:
For best web design: web design, free layouts, open source web design, open web design, themesbase (all free sources of layouts, CSS, templates)

ZUG: missing page fun/404 error page, create funny error pages

Take Home Message: Tons of great open source stuff that you can use in the library and for your own personal use.

Search Widgets adn Gadgets for Libraries: IL 2008

Search Widgets and Gadgets for Libraries

Jason Clark and Tim Donahue

Wiki.sla.org= able to do 23 things learn web 2.0 technologies in 15 minutes a day

Networked research environment and search-push technologies

New technologies, widget, gadget, and Flash animated finding tools

Where are Users are: personal-learning environment (PLE), users in all types of areas on the web, work in flickr, facebook, blogs

How to do research through: iGoogle, and other portals

Want users to use our resources, stuff moves quickly, technology moves quickly

What do we do/play?
“broadcast our signals” more widely, need to work in distributed environments

OpenSearch browser plugins–widgets
Google Gadgets–JavaScript applications, can link into library resources/catalog
Hook people and bring back to library resources

Montana State University: has page that has widget page to promote them to users

Widget to enter library catalog through the browser, very cool application, don’t have to come into the library catalog, can do it for databases too, very easy to set up, very small XML file to create this widget

Google Gadgets: can build, quick search functionality, allow people to search in their own environment, users can drop this gadget into iGoogle page, Google has text editors (Google Gadget Editor) and can copy and paste code so not difficult to do, gives you the embed code after you make the gadget

Google Gadgets: there is the ability to have tabbed widgets–how cool is that?

All is done to allow users access to library resources through the environment they are comfortable with

Multiple Endpoints:
Facebook, MySpace, web portals, etc.
Can have library widgets that work in many different environments

What’s  next?
Promotion of the widgets and gadgets through education, videos, marketing
Figure out more opportunities–go where the users are instead of forcing one size fits all way of searching the library

Interplay between physical and digital resources/services in libraries

Apply new technology to books

Flash–animate the web! J
Example: library map, animate a map, mouse over the stacks to see what subjects/call number ranges in the stacks

Simplicity is key in visual design

Flash works through frames: drawing, animating through time and space, way to get around doing coding (ex. Took about 200 hours to create the example map)

Trying to integrate the map into the catalog, nice idea ex. Search catalog, find record, click link to see where it is in the library through the map

Flash is scalable so it is possible to work it into a widget, you don’t use resolution and can maximize widget/gadget to see larger version of the map

Arizona State University and Montana State University moving towards Google Application platform, have students use iGoogle pages as home portal and access resources through there

Take home message:
Widgets and Gadgets have the ability to bring the library to the users’ environment and push people to the library’s online resources/services, great ideas!

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.

Reference Desk and Basic Tech

I just got my Fall issue of Reference & User Services Quarterly and there is an article that I think everyone should check out. Written by LIS student, Marcella Knibbe-Haanstra, the article is titled “Reference Desk Dilemmas: The Impact of New Demands on Librarianship.” The article reiterates literature on stereotypes of librarians and stress caused by technology and it is a very nice synthesis of the literature on stress management, user expectations, changing technology and shifting roles of the reference librarian. I think it is a great starting point for a conversation on how we can handle our increased workloads and technical competencies that we need in our jobs today. Way to go to publish while in library school too, Marcella!

Now, something practical to help with the technology stress. Here is a great post from Pogue’s Posts hosted by The New York Times. Listed are tech tips and tricks for basic computer use. The comments expand on this post and there are some great tips. I even discovered some shortcuts I didn’t know about, which is super cool. Share the tips with your friends and patrons so we all can use the computer a little more efficiently.

Enjoy the rest of the day and remember–computers are stupid, it is the person who uses the computer that makes them perform great feats!

Digital Libraries

What is better on a Monday than talking about the latest paper to be causing a stir in the library world?

By now, you’ve probably heard about the “Free Our Libraries!” white paper by Richard K. Johnson commissioned by the Boston Library Consortium. Lots of valid points are raised in the paper, but if ideas had been presented more clearly we probably could have avoided some of the confusion the paper has created. So I’ll put in my 2 cents on this Monday morning.

First, no, it’s not the libraries fault that everything is not available online and I do not think that Johnson is blaming the libraries for upholding copyright. Many people agree that copyright is broken. It takes so long for anything to come into the public domain that creativity is hindered instead of expanded and inspired as was one of the original goals of copyright. And yes, in this litigious society, there are many threats to the public domain and fair use. Simply check out Chilling Effects to learn more about challenges to fair use in the online environment.

Second, Johnson’s paper would have been much stronger had it compared anything to the Google Book Project. The Open Content Alliance is the most well-known competitor with the Google Book Project. Google is not the first and last word on digitization, yet.

Third, and this is the omission that always annoys me, there was no mention of archives and archivists. Honestly, do librarians think they are the only ones grappling with these issues? Really, we cannot afford to be that insular. Archivists are creating digital archives and digital libraries as well, and archives know all about preservation and preservation metadata. Do you know what a PDF/A is? Do you know why it is important? An archivist can tell you. We can do so much more if we collaborate and share our knowledge instead of reinventing the wheel in our own small part of the world. It annoys me to no end that archivists and librarians do not collaborate more often and there seems to be little understanding on either side of how the other could help.

Finally, to end on an upbeat note: check out Brewster Kahle’s talk on TED about digital libraries. It is possible to have digital libraries, respect copyright, and still have access. Let’s start working on it.

What about Optimism?

So from the title of today’s post, you can probably tell that I’m getting a little frustrated by only hearing about doom and gloom all the time on every issue. It is easy to slip into pessimism about the state of the libraries, the state of the nation and the state of the world. But to me, that is way too much like giving up or giving in. Instead, let’s be optimistic–at least where libraries and librarians are concerned. There are a lot of great things that are happening out there and a lot of ways to turn a lot of glass half-empty scenarios into glass half-full scenarios. And no, I’m not saying to ignore reality, rather I’m saying let’s bend reality into what works for us.

Case 1: Jeff Jarvis’ amazing article Let’s Junk the Myths and Celebrate what We’ve Got.
I love this article. Jarvis could be describing how many librarians feel about the Internet and new technologies, couldn’t he? He completely underscores what I try to get across in this blog: yes there is junk on the Internet, but there is so much potential too.

Case 2: Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere
Everyone just has to get on board with the fact that blogs are not going away anytime soon. In fact, more are coming online every day. So libraries and librarians need to continue to get out in the blogosphere and engage others. It’s not enough to have a website and think that we have a web presence to the extent we need. Nor should marketing only occur through the library’s website–we need to be more than a website to our patrons in order to stay relevant.

Case 3: Library Quote #1 & Library Quote #2
There are two great photographs of pillars inside a library with library quotes on them. How cool an idea is that? The photographer, unfortunately, kept all rights reserved instead of using a Creative Commons License so I did not directly paste them in this blog. I encourage you to check them out though. But if you don’t want to click through, the quotes are as follows:
“A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library” Shelby foote
“I don’t believe that libraries should be drab places where people sit in silence, and that’s been the main reason for our policy of employing wild animals as librarians” Gorilla librarian sketch-Monty Python

Always remember, never take yourself or your job too seriously. If we can still have fun, we can stay relevant and be optimistic about our place and task in the grand scheme of society.

As I always leave my students with a final thought for the day, I’ll leave you with one too that will help you keep your optimism. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” ~Mark Twain

Comments welcome. Stay optimistic and curious and you will be able to find creative ways of doing the work of the library.

The Library in a Social World

Today’s topic is broadly about changes in how we interact with information and more narrowly about three interrelated (at least in my mind) topics: social learning, popularity versus authority online, and changing library spaces.

But before we get into that, I got a great comment from Luna Yang of Cooliris, Inc. who alerted me that the Lewis and Clark Library is already using Cooliris to show off their new books. It looks fabulous. Just thought I would share that in case you didn’t see the comment on the last post.

Beginning with popularity versus authority of online resources, we have Seth Finkelstein’s chapter “Google, Links, and Popularity versus Authority” from the book The Hyperlinked Society: Questioning Connections in the Digital Age. The entire book, along with New Media World’s other books are available for free online. This is a very relevant issue, especially as we try to teach our students evaluation skills in information literacy courses. I am going to have my students read this chapter. I think it could stimulate great discussion about search engines and democracy online.

The Engaged Learning Blog has 15 Objections to Social Learning post. It makes for interesting reading, especially in the context of the library, because so many of these objections we often here more generally as objections to change and using Web2.0 technologies in the library. So what do you think about this issue? Let’s start a discussion about this topic. Because social learning and social networking isn’t going away, so we need to figure out where we fit in this new landscape.

Finally, just another article about changing library spaces. But check out the comments, they are really interesting. As we re-imagine the library, what do we want to see the physical space become? How can we brand the library and stay relevant through all of the coming changes?

As always, I welcome your opinions and thoughts about anything related to libraries and learning.

Reimagining the Library Visually

Okay, so I’m not good with coming up with post titles, but this is a seriously important post and a seriously fun post. Because, as Niels Bohr supposedly said, “there are some things so serious you have to laugh at them.” I think we have to be able to laugh at ourselves and go out on a limb as we reimagine what the library can become. So I have just two resources today to share that I think are just so fabulously cool and really useful too.

The Conversation Prism is without a doubt one of the coolest graphics I’ve seen. I love the fact that it is on Flickr, is freely available for use under the Creative Commons Attribute License and that people have already commented on it in Flickr. So what is The Conversation Prism? It is a color wheel that breaks up different online social networking and collaboration tools into groups. It is a handy way to see all the ways that we could be communicating, sharing and collaborating with each other online. So how many of these web 2.0 tools are we using in the library? What could we add that would benefit our users? How can we harness the living social network online to keep the library relevant and in the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to searching and using information? What studies have been done on using these different technologies? And, by the way, the graphic prints out fabulously well. You can see it on my office wall if you drop by. Let’s get the library into the center of this conversation–right where we belong!

Since this is about reimagining the library visually, I couldn’t help but put in a plug for Cooliris, Inc. formerly known as PicLens. I love this add-on to my web browser. It works in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari, but alas not for Google Chrome, yet. This add-on allows you to display images as a moving image wall, select an image and blow it up to full screen. It only works on certain sites (like Flickr, deviantART, Amazon, etc.), but when it is enabled-wow! Its interface is reminiscent of the iPhone. It is absolutely beautiful.

So other than it being beautiful, why do I mention Cooliris? Think of the library catalog applications! If your catalog had book covers that displayed along with the books’ records and the website was enabled for Cooliris, your patrons could have a moving wall of book covers that they could quickly scan visually. This would make going through search results very easy, especially if you are more of a visual person and remember book covers better than author names. Not only would it look beautiful, it would be a great browsing technique too, as we are all visual creatures and can form a search image very readily. I used this feature when searching Amazon and it was fantastic. What other ways could we use Cooliris? Is it feasible to use it in the catalog? Well, anything is feasible if we put our minds to it.

So I leave you with the following question: how would you use some of these tools to make your work easier or make the library more central to this new digital world? Don’t be too serious, playing and daydreaming contribute to the great epiphanies and ideas of the world just as much as more serious endeavors. So let’s all figure out together. I’m sure that together, through lots of collaboration, we can harness this cool technology and go from reimagining the library into actually changing the library for the better.