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Transforming to a Library 2.0 ~ Part 7… finale?

Work with schools, Library for the Blind : visit of blind Bo...

cc lincensed and shared by New York Public Library

It is nearly the end of the school year and I am still going in and checking the Oliver program transition. We can safely say that is is now live and Athena is no longer needed. When I went in last week I spoke with the IT technician about where the link to Oliver is on the system and how visible it is to the school community. Currently, you can access the library beyond the walls of the physical library. Great as this was one of the aims. However, the process is not too straightforward as you need to bring up ‘programs’ and find the link to the OPAC to go into the library management system. Too cumbersome for our current ‘information now’ clientele!

I suggested placing a library icon as the link on the front page of the school website. This will increase accessibility and enable students, parents and teachers to be able to logon from their homes. Being able to ‘see’ the library link on the front page is what we all want after all. This is now on the list and I was informed it is not difficult to achieve. Fantastic!

Through this journey, I have mentioned often that there is no dedicated teacher/librarian at the school and it is an area I have been advocating for incessantly during my time there. The new system has a fantastic and simple newsletter template that only needs an update monthly. It provides links to new items in the library, information about the library, links to websites and featured authors for the month. With the featured author, it provides a wonderful avenue where students can email suggestions for authors thereby increasing student participation. Hopefully this can open up more avenues for student contributions including student publications online. However, unless there is a dedicated teacher that will focus on the library much of this wonderful potential will be difficult to realise. I continued with my constant advocacy in this area and yesterday, Mary informed me that Bec may be provided some allocated time next year to focus on the library. She will be responsible for updating the newsletter and will run PD with the staff about the new system and the importance of the library. Fantastic! Bec has come on board this term and spent a great deal of time familiarising herself with the new system, looking into electronic resources and reading up on all things library. There is still a long way to travel but every step counts in cementing the importance of the library and extending this beyond the library walls and into the school community.

As for the new library management system, Oliver, the interface is fantastic and a perfect choice for a primary school, especially when you click on Olly and access the visual search. Even searching a subject, the box where you type your word is quite large making it easy for little kids to read. None of the other programs researched had such a fantastic interface with this level of accessibility for very young children.

Currently, the library is shut down for lending and only open for returns. This has been instigated to enable the smooth transition and ensure any difficulties are fixed before the next academic year. It will further enable training in the new system for staff. Only last week I was working through part of the training module with Mary and we identified that a key component linking to Word has not been downloaded and set up yet. This enables the printing of labels, letters and reports. Very vital!… This has been forwarded to the IT department and hopefully the situation has been sorted. I am going back in later this week for a final check and hopefully this is the finale in transforming to a Library 2.0.

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Internet Rising

Currently I am studying The Information Society and our first task is focussed on defining the key elements of what an information society is. So what is the information age, network society, the digital age, knowldedge society or any other terms that we often use interchangeably to define this period?

I came across the following documentary that is a digital mashup courtesy of amipress. I highly recommend viewing this… It is a pretty good start in considering many of the concepts before us.

 

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Content Curation by people not Ai

Currently, I am exploring digital content curation and have been searching out visually interesting curation tools.

I initially started with Vodpod as a way of curating all the audio-visual material I stumbled upon. Vodpod is very effective for collecting videos and following the video collection streams of other collectors. You can collect videos from others that are of interest and others can collect from you. It is also a great place to store the gems you find. I have embedded a link to my vodpod account on my blog as a way of sharing further.

Another curation tool I started with last month is Scoop.it. Via Scoop.it, my curation efforts are focused on the topic of Poetry, just one of the plethora of interests I have. When I first started with my curation, I would initially trawl through web search and scoop what I found interesting, I would even share some of my scoops via Twitter. However, it wasn’t long as a scooper that I discovered you could set up a search via the curate button. You effectively set up  a trawl through the web sources via keyword suggestions, and specify what sources to accept ie blogs, twitter, google etc. Content suggestions are gathered based on this and you decide whether or not to collect suggested content to your topic.

Scoop.it provides opportunities to follow other Scoopers and to even offer suggestions for their Scoop.it topics. Potentially you can have an endless number of topics that are being curated concurrently.

What I have learnt from my Scoop.it adventure is

  • Even with my keywords, I still manage to come to content that has no relevance to my topic.
  • I still need to trawl the web to find interesting sources that have been missed. With the add-on button to my web browser scooping a page or video is very easy as it is just a click away similar to other bookmarking tools.
  • Many suggestions that have come my way have been great and I could easily have missed them if I had not set up the search and suggestion keywords via Scoop.it.
  • I love the visual quality of Scoop.it as it looks like a scrapbook collection of clippings. These clippings are the links to the actual webpage, video or information source. This visual element is very effective when I look though my scoops as it jogs my memory immediately as to what the source is. Thereby, making access to the information quick.
  • Sometimes, I come to the suggestions page and there are about hundred waiting for evaluation. I sigh when I think of the work ahead of me in evaluating each suggestion and whether it is suitable to my topic. This could happen daily for avid scoopers… and if you are curating numerous topics, it could be a fulltime vocation!
  • I love the ability to curate something I love and feel passionate about. Combined with sharing via Twitter. hopefully, others can stumble upon the found items and enjoy them too.
Another curation tool I have stumbled upon is Pearltrees and I have started experimenting with collaborative curation in Pearltrees only a couple of days ago. What is interesting about Pearltrees is that visually it is similar to a concept map that can keep growing and expanding. You can as a result have a variety of interests branching off your initial pearl and further branches can keep travelling from joined Pearls thereby, creating a tree visually or an ever-expanding concept map. You can collect other curated pearls you find interesting or that relate to your Pearl topics; adding them to your chosen Pearl. This results in following the curation of that particular Pearl as it expands. You can request to team up and curate a topic/Pearl and more than one person can add content and potentially change the direction of the Pearl with sub pearls added that can then become sub teams.
I have only just started on Pearltrees and have a great deal to learn still but the following are initial learning points
  • It provides the ability to participate and curate on very diverse topic areas. For instance I have an Everything Library Pearl, a Literature Pearl, a Music Pearl, Visual Art Pearl and so forth. Within these Pearls I have sub topics and have joined teams. Potentially the branching out can continue forever.
  • Sometimes I have chosen not to join a Pearl but collect it and add it to my Pearl topic like I would add a webpage. However, this collected Pearl is a curated topic and not just one source of information. Thereby I follow it like I would follow a blog.
  • I have realised efficiency can be improved by working collaboratively on topic curation. Therefore, instead of everyone having a topic on ebooks for instance, you can have an aggregate of collectors/curators contributing to the same Pearl.
  • In a work context, I can see Pearltrees as an effective curation tool where teams can focus on specific topic areas in planning and then come back to a central point to put the ideas together.
  • There are forums within curating teams where you can post.
  • There is a search facility where you can search the whole Pearltrees based on keywords or just search within your own Pearltree to locate content.
  • I need to definitely work out effective categories or it can become unwieldy.
  • Just like Scoop.it you can share via social media. However, to be able to view a Pearltree a person would have to join Pearltrees.
  • I have had some technical difficulties with Pearls dropping into my dropzone, disappearing and not behaving as the videos suggest.
  • I have had difficulty joining my Pearls to topics. You are meant to be able to pick them up and move them to a chosen Pearl and they connect. A few times this has not occurred.
  • My brand new iMac doesn’t allow the program to work effectively and I am unable to utilise the trackpad to move the Pearls around.
  • Sometimes the add-on for my web browser has failed to work.
  • Even though you can embed your Pearltree on your blog, I have had great difficulty trying to embed it here as it would not work.
I can certainly see the benefits of Pearltrees and its potential for curation on an expansive level. Collaborative content curation is potentially very efficient.

Following are some videos specific to the areas discussed.

The Need for Online Curation
– Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

 

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in a Haiku state… completion approaches ~

Student at microfilm reader, c1970s

Student at microfilm reader, c1970s ~ cc shared by LSE Library

 
 
Reading continues-
time to write now, as the end
is fast approaching.
 

The end of another semester is fast approaching and I am feeling pensive as the deadline for my last assignment is one week away. For this task I have been investigating two (future) trends that will impact on libraries in the next five years. For my focus I have chosen digital content creation and mobile technologies. The readings appear insurmountable and, the more I work through the pile the more I feel I need to read/climb to reach the top.

As part of my research, I decided to interview a handful of librarians from different library services. I have recorded the audio of the interviews and my intention is to create a short documentary after I submit my final assignment. At present, I would love to upload all the audio and start the editing process… however, I know this will just prove a diversionary tactic (something I am very good at!). I need to exercise my skill in discipline and focus on writing this final report for completion of my Digital Environments subject.

… then I can enter my creative play-space and continue to learn through play… whilst anticipating the next session…

 

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Open Access Journals

I came across the following article by David Rapp titled jSTOR Announces Free Access to 500k Public Domain Journal Articles in the Library Journal today and felt excited. However, if a work is in the public domain, it usually means that it is not covered by intellectual property rights for a number of reasons including the owner having forfeited the rights or the rights having expired. In that context the concept of ‘free’ seems to be cancelled out. The works being made available by jSTOR fall into the category ‘Early journal content’ and include works published before 1923 in the US and 1870 worldwide. Clearly, they fall in the category of copyright having expired.

You may recall the article ‘Free Culture’ Advocate may pay a high price  about Aaron Swartz, mentioned in my blogpost Who owns culture, the question who owns culture can be asked of jSTOR in consideration of their announcement of ‘free access’. In that light, I may stick with DOAJ ~ Directory of Open Access Journals.

The following clip provides more related detail.

 

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See Sally Research ~ Joyce Valenza

 

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Do you like Opera?

As a devoted Mac user, I just accepted the Safari web browser that is standard and happily browsed the internet with this.

Safari

Safari cc licensed and shared by aditza 121

There was much I loved about the user interface, including the graphic interface where sites can be bookmarked in topsites and you can click on them to be taken to the website. I loved the visual history you can flick through. However, I was stuck in Mac-land with my rosy Mac glasses and didn’t venture beyond this space. I even secretly enjoyed the Mac vs PC ads and couldn’t help but share 15 of them in the clip that follows.

I relished the Mac comeback since the introduction of the  iMac G3 so many years ago (1998). I loved calling them the jellymacs at the time because of the translucent look and the many bright colours you can choose from…

iMac G3

iMac G3 cc licensed and shared by Tiziano Gaviglia

Here is the video clip when the iMac was first introduced by Steve Jobs

Yes! I definitely recall the excitement back then and have never looked back.

Back to browsers. As I said I didn’t question the use of Safari. That is until this year…

Once I started my studies this year, I realised Safari had limitations so I downloaded and installed Firefox. I was pleasantly surprised that it appeared faster and more stable. I appreciate the tabs across the top and find navigation easy with add-ons enhancing Firefox. For instance Zotero is a great enhancement and time saver with citations and reference lists. Again I was sold.

Firefox 3

Fifefox 3 cc licensed and shared by Hooverdust

But then I found out about Google Chrome…. so the urge for experimentation began yet again. This time the visual appeal was instant. I was excited about the address bar doubling up as a search bar. More time saving features to love (although, this is possible with Firefox I have since discovered). As another member in our household has an iPad, chrome as a browser seemed to imitate the iPad app features and initially this seemed exciting. Although, I do concede now that maybe it is a bit too gimicky for me….

Logo Google Chrome

Logo Google Chrome cc licensed and shared by Dekuwa

Google Chrome has proven a very effective web browser for my parents who have a limited background in computer use. Setting it up for them with their favourite sites bookmarked has enabled them to participate very easily. I definitely see this as an advantage for them.

After my initial experimentation with Google Chrome, I started wanting to add more search engines as I wanted choice and found Google chrome restrictive in this way. Maybe the link to Google as a corporate entity contributes to this restriction due to the desire to dominate the market. I went back to Firefox add-ons and tested the ability to add extra search engines and realised it was a great deal easier than chrome. Hence my choice in searching is enhanced… back to Firefox I went!

That is until I started hearing Opera. Opera here, a little bit of ‘Cosi fan Tutti’, ‘Madama Butterfly’ and maybe a little ‘Bliss’ by Brett Dean… but wait there is another browser…

Where the magic happens... ;-)

Where the magic happens...;-) cc licensed and shared by andyket

Voila Opera is installed.

I couldn’t help but spend some some time this weekend playing around with the Opera web browser and setting it up. This is definitely the browser for me providing the greatest flexibility in browsing not to mention speed (we all love our information to arrive as quick as possible after all). I am still experimenting with the various Opera add-ons  and the extensions including the various widgets I have already installed. Already, I found many features I love. As a browser web accessibility has been paid the best attention to, of all the browsers I have experimented with and this is part of the reason I love it so much. I also love the Opera Portal and how easy it is to place my RSS feeds in one spot where I can visit with a click from my Speed dial which is similar to topsites from Safari but better. I really need to have a good look at the browser tips to really get a feel for the capabilities when time permits.

It is worth having a test of the different browsers and finding what works for you. It can be a very individual preference after all.

Following is a video about Opera Software the history. The final video is the browser showdown. Who wins?

Even though, I am meant to be focused on my next assignment, writing three critical reviews, there is nothing like a little diversion to clear the mind. Now to put on some Opera and back to my study…

 

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