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Transforming to a Library 2.0 ~ Part 3

catalog

catalog cc licensed and shared by Justin Henry

As I mentioned in the last related post Transforming to a Library 2.0 ~ part 2, the response to the request for information and help with the Destiny Library Management System was fantastic. I keyed up a visit to a local Girls High School in Fitzroy that implemented Destiny at the beginning of this year. Heather, the Librarian responded to my OZTLnet request and said we were more than welcome to visit her school and have a run through of the system in use. The High School is not large with a student population of just over six hundred students. This is a good comparison to the Primary school as the student numbers are just over five hundred.

Mary from our Primary school, the TL from the neighbouring primary school and myself visited Heather at the High School Library on June 3rd. It is a beautifully set up library with zones spanning over two rooms. The larger room is the information and research library with computer pods and information related books and the second smaller room is the literature room. In the literature room there are some group tables and comfortable bean bags promoting reading as a leisurely experience. Heather informed us that wide reading classes are held in this room and one was in progress when we arrived.

Whilst here, Heather showed us the set up of Destiny including the different screens that can be navigated. She explained that Destiny Quest is the visual search face of Destiny and this the screen that students see as it is more visually appealing. Here is an example of the appearance of Destiny Quest of the Harpeth Hall School Library. She demonstrated various searches and was able to answer our plethora of questions.

The Library technician went through Destiny with us and displayed the various interfaces related to cataloguing, borrowing, user information and reporting functions. Similar to Access-it, Destiny can be manipulated and added to as a process of personalisation for a school setting. At this school everything has been catalogued via Destiny including musical instruments, iPads and other equipment in the school. This centralised approach is great. Destiny has the ability for interactivity with blogs and links that can be set up to enhance this. The school utilises a provided link for students to post reviews of books they have read and recommend them to others with ratings. Heather pointed out that they are still finding their way around the program and have not utilised Destiny to its full potential yet.

The positives of Destiny after this visit are that it is more cost-effective than Oliver and may be similarly priced to Access-it. It is a program that is utilised across the world with many examples available of its use. There have been the least negative responses to this program of all three programs from the various schools that have responded with evaluations that are using the programs. The support for Destiny is Melbourne based and Heather stressed how responsive and supportive they have been including through the training sessions provided. Access-it is New Zealand based and Oliver is based in QLD.

The overall appraisal of Destiny was very positive. We now have one more system to evaluate and that is Oliver. If you recall from my first post on this Journey, Transforming to a Library 2.0 ~ Part 1, the first High School I contacted was undergoing the same transformation and the Librarian there had visited a trade show of Library Management Systems at the end of last year and seemed most impressed with Oliver.

Oliver is the next system to evaluate and from my initial OZTLnet response, there are a few schools in Melbourne that have implemented Oliver and were happy for us to visit. This visit may have to take place early next term as we have reached the end of this term already.

Before we conclude the Destiny appraisal, here is a Destiny Training wiki I discovered with many useful resources for further evaluation and answers to questions I may not have thought of. It includes many links to PDF documents as training resources as well as orientation videos and a section on ebooks. Ebooks are another area of exploration for the library transformation… more on that next time.

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Transforming to a Library 2.0 ~ part 2

Last week on the university forum postings another person, studying our course while working as a TL, posted a request about information on Library Management systems as her school is embarking on an upgrade from Athena.  This is the  same system that is currently in operation at the school where I am helping out. From this request, a few more evaluations were posted regarding Oliver and Access-it. Interestingly, most limitations for both systems seem to keep coming back to reporting functions and formats. This was the same limitation that was presented from the High School we visited regarding Access-it.

One person posted a recommendation for Destiny. This was initially on our list as Mary, pointed to this system being the one that supersedes Athena. As a result, I looked into Destiny at their website and was able to find some clips from youtube as posted below. It happens to be a system that has been rolled out across 350 plus schools in New York.

As a result, I have forwarded this additional information to the IT coordinator including the youtube clips for both Access-it and Destiny. We looked at this information with Mary and she also shared an email she had received from the TL at her other school, sharing his notes from the Access-it evaluation after visiting the school. This too has been forwarded to the IT coordinator.

Mary has been signed up to OZTLnet and now she can post questions for help and suggestions.

At this stage, part of the criteria for the system that will be chosen relates to schools around us also utilising the same system as this will enable a local support network for troubleshooting and sharing ideas.

I posted another call for help on OZTLnet towards the end of last week regarding Destiny. I was interested in finding schools in Melbourne that had this system and organising a time to visit for evaluation purposes. The response I received was great. A few schools locally responded and we are attending a school tomorrow for a visit. Mary, myself and the TL from the other local school will be attending. The TL from the other local school has had all the information forwarded to him and I have forwarded the link to OZTLnet explaining how useful it is for TL’s to be part of this listserv.

Furthermore, I received evaluations from schools in other states and discovered you could visit their library website and navigate. The support for Destiny is Melbourne based and I have been in touch with them this week. They forwarded fantastic information regarding sites that have Destiny around the world and many have links to the site where you can visit. I had a browse around some sites and found Destiny very user friendly and easy to manipulate. It also has many of the functions and features our school is interested in.

I have included the following two links. The first link is to the New York city schools. It includes an integrated list of school libraries. If you click on any of the schools it takes you to that specific school library search facility. The second link is for Harpeth Hall School with an interesting visual  search facility that has links to podcasts and blogs.

Below are videos about Destiny. The videos are designed for students of New Canaan High School and it is the TL demonstrating how to search with Destiny and how to find ebooks with the Destiny Library Management System. The videos would be embedded in the library management system as tutorials for patrons.

 

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What do TL’s teach

What do TLs teach? by Joyce Valenza

 

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ebooks? I’m undecided…

Animal Farm by George Orwell available as a $17 eBook

Animal Farm by George Orwell available as a $17 eBook~cc licensed and shared by Wesley Fryer

At present, I am still undecided about the absolute benefits of ebooks and ereaders. Having been a traditional book reader for the majority of my life, I have a nostalgia associated with printed books. I love bookshops as I love the smell of new books. I love second hand bookshops for the same reason except this time the smell is aged books. I love the way the pages develop a sepia tone with time indicating they are grown old and I love to flick pages, look at contents and travel in a chronological order. This for me is the experience of the fiction book. It enables an ability to get lost in pages. In solitude I transport myself to different times, places and experiences through the lives of characters within the pages of a book. I associate books with any weather from rainy, cold days; hearing the patter of rain on my window while I am snug in my comfy chair, a blanket over my legs to keep me warm with a book for company to warm sunny days sitting on the grass under a tree in a park. The novel has been there for me. It has definitely been a trusty friend and it even affects my choice in bags. Any bag has to enable space for a book to travel with me at all times.

How is the ebook or ereader different? In some ways access is everywhere and expansive, it is portable and able to be carried anywhere. Quite remarkably, you can actually carry a whole library (not that you could possible read a whole library in one sitting under a tree!). I still do not own an ereader and am definitely reluctant to travel down this road for my fiction preferences. I don’t mind reading information text on screen but to be emersed in a work of fiction via a screen somehow doesn’t feel quite right (yet!) Maybe time will tell. I struggle with the idea of beautiful picture books being on a screen and a Sabuda and/or Reinhart pop-up book will definitely lose the magnificence via a screen interface.

I feel concerned about some conflicting reports regarding access and limits imposed on borrowing an ebook as outlined by Brad Moon in the article ‘Publishers move to limit library e-book lending‘ and by Simon Baron in his article ‘Borrowing ebooks beyond a library’s walls‘. Beyond this there is the controversy that occurred in 2009 with Amazon removing George Orwell’s, ‘1984‘ and ‘Animal Farm‘ from Kindles as outlined in the article ‘Amazon erases Orwell books from Kindle‘ by Brad Stone.

Clearly there appear to be many issues that still need to be worked through. However,  the benefits of ebooks are captured in the following videos.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13267347

As for my position, I still love the feel of printed books and I can’t see myself moving to an ereader for my fiction reading any time in the near future.

 

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Transforming to a library 2.0 ~ A Journey Part 1

A Librarian's 2.0 Manifesto - Wordle.net

A Librarian's 2.0 Manifesto - Wordle.net~cc licensed and shared by Anna Stina

While completing my studies, I am helping out a local primary school in the library. The library as I mentioned in my post Where is the teacher librarian?, is without a teacher librarian. They do have Mary, who works there 3 days a week ,carrying out the administrative tasks of cataloguing, shelving and arranging the library, ordering new books. The weeding of the library is carried out in cooperation with a teacher who is a trained teacher librarian but does not work in the library at the school.

This term, we have two points of focus. The first is weeding the teacher resource area, as it seems quite cluttered and not effectively utilised. Mary has asked for my help in this area as I do have a teaching background. This area seems full with resources that appear incredibly old and hardly touched. It will be interesting to make an assessment of how often certain resources have been used over recent years and whether they are effective for the purpose of being a useful resource for the teachers now at the school.

The other point of focus is quite a large task as it involves a major transformation of the library systems with a view to moving towards 21 century library 2.0. The IT coordinator at the school asked for my assistance in this area and I have been glad to assist with my resources and learning.

The timeframe for researching the new system to implementation is terms 2, 3 and 4 of this year. They would like to purchase the new system and set it up in time for 2011. As I view this to be an important process in my learning, I will be charting the progress and steps to this transformation beginning with this first post.

Step 1 ~ initiation via informal discussion in Term 1

Informal discussions with the IT coordinator of the school, about libraries in the 21 century learning environment, capabilities and trends led to realising there is a shared understanding and desire to travel down this path. He spoke about wanting the library to be the centre of all learning at the school, wanting it not only as the hub but having an ability to extend beyond the walls into classrooms and beyond. We assessed the current library management system at the school and it is definitely dated, with many outmoded practices and steps. Not efficient and incapable of being networked to accommodate the changes the school would like to see. The IT coordinator mentions they want to upgrade the system in time for 2011 and asks whether I would be interested in helping with this process.

(Even though, I am not able to transfer this process into direct learning outcomes related to my course, I can see the journey will be beneficial. I can help the school with my learning and at the same time, I am undertaking a project that will enable me to learn steps in how to transform a library)

Step 2 ~ Assess the context

The school has a website and has undergone a great deal of transformation in the past 10 years regarding technology and effective use of technology in teaching and learning. There are links to learning levels and to classes including class blogs, student blogs, podcasts, videos and curriculum. There is a MAC lab both in the library and a portable MAClab on a trolley. They are utilised for creative and Web 2.0 tools in curriculum outcomes. The school operates across two platforms; PC and MAC. The library system is not able to be integrated across the platforms and is too dated to be capable of library 2.0 capabilities. Currently, the library is an under-utilsed resource. Classes have a lesson 1 hour per week and it is a very simple read a book and borrow session run by their classroom teacher. They also have a 1 hour a week MAC lab session run by the IT coordinator. The library is open most lunchtimes and staffed by teachers. There is a room dedicated to teacher resources that appears overflowing and in need of a tidy up and assessment.

Step 3 ~ Networks of information.

After conducting an initial research process both on the net (pretty futile with the lists of management systems I found) and speaking to a couple of high schools, I managed to limit the focus to about three different library management systems. I knew of Biblioteque as Mary at the primary school  had a real opposition to it. I spoke to a couple of high schools, who were utilising Biblioteque, and I discovered they too were in a process of upgrading and suggested Oliver as one they were interested in. It was pointed out that there is Oliver Jnr as a primary school interface. Contact details of the company in QLD that distributes Oliver were shared. I looked up the website and forwarded the details to the IT coordinator and the Principal at the primary school. Subsequently a CD rom as an evaluative tool has been sent to the primary school from the company softlink.

A local High school implemented Access-it recently. Mary organised a time for her and I to visit the library at this school and have a run through of how it is being utilised.

I had heard of OZTLnet through my course, but did not fully understand the benefits. I subscribed and silently read the correspondence for a while before I realised, it was a useful network resource where information can be sought or given. Armed with the information I had gathered, I needed further information. I needed evaluation of these systems and further advice. As a result, I posted an email on OZTLnet requesting help and advice on Oliver from schools who have implemented this system. I outlined the manner within which the primary school was interested in utilising the system and would love some information about it in practice. Within a day, I received a few responses, some critical and some positive. I even received a response from the person that coordinates this system for an educational region near us. This information was discussed and shared with the IT coordinator at the primary school. We determined that a visit to one of these schools would prove beneficial for further evaluation.

Interestingly, my OZTLnet email resulted in an email from the distributor of ‘Access-it‘ who identified two local schools that were currently utilising the system. One is the High school, which we had planned to visit and the other is a local primary school. It was also mentioned that they can visit the primary school and provide a demonstration. Again, all information has been shared with the IT coordinator as well as the Principal.

As part of this process I need to point out that Mary also works as a library technician at another local primary school and they have a TL working in the library two days a week. This school is embarking on a transformation being driven by a teacher that trained as a TL many years ago. Mary in working with him and attending the meetings at his school has been sharing the information of our journey. As a result, this teacher is keen to link up and share the information journey towards transformation.

Step 3~ School Visits.

We attended our first evaluative school visit at the local high school that implemented ‘Access it‘ only last Friday. In attendance was Mary, the TL from the other primary school and myself. What did we learn? At this high school they too did not have a TL employed. They have a Librarian that works 4 days a week. She was very helpful and was able to walk through the system and demonstrate capabilities. Even though the system was not being utilised to its full potential (limited time and resources), It clearly has capabilities of being implemented in the manner required. It has an interface that can be highly personalised and in terms of content management, it is very user-friendly (almost like a blog). I asked a great deal of questions and again shared them with the IT coordinator. The next step is to visit the local primary school that is operating this system and evaluate the application to a younger audience. Some questions that need answering revolve around visual search and curriculum links, intuitive language as a search strategy (ie tags),  pathfinders, integration of the web. Interactivity of the library Management system/Library with the students and teachers. We worked out you can add blogs, link it to the school website, there was an online ‘ask a librarian’ capability and permissions could be set for different purposes. Mary also found the system seemed so much easier than what she is currently using and felt enthusiastic.

This week I am hoping to sign Mary up to OZTLnet. I demonstrated this to her a couple of weeks ago by logging in and showing her the nature of the listserv and how helpful it is but also how helpful she could be with information she has. She read through some of the digests and realised, there was plenty she could share with other librarians and Teacher Librarians as she had certain resources or ideas that others were seeking.

Where to now?

We are organising the visits to the schools that have Access-it at a primary school level and ‘Oliver‘. At this stage we have narrowed the focus to these two systems. Once the school visits are complete, we will be calling the distributors and coordinators for a site visit where they can demonstrate the programs to the school and be able to provide a specific focus to the needs and questions of the application required within this school context.

I will keep you posted…

… in the meantime here are some related videos for Access-it. Unfortunately, I have not found any similar clips for Oliver

 

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Library and information week~23rd to 29th May

Library and Information week~click for more information

Thanks to heyjude I have been alerted to this week. I attended an information session on Library careers at the State library of Victoria on Tuesday 24th, (Tonight)and interestingly there was no mention of this celebratory week. I was astounded at the scope of careers for information specialists after attending this information session and I certainly felt a renewed positivity! The Library that evening was abuzz with energy. I walked around different areas prior to attending and the sounds of people working together, chatting and enjoying the library was wonderful~definitely no silence here. The patronage of the State Library of Victoria is a great indication of how many people love libraries and see the importance of their continual existence. I love libraries I declare it out LOUD and PROUD!

 

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Word Clouds ~ Wordle vs Worditout

Wordle: learning with information

Learning with information created at http://www.wordle.net

This is an example of a word cloud created utilising the Wordle tool. It is pretty straight forward. You go to Wordle click on create and paste in a group of words. The words I pasted were a combination of my tags from my blog and the addition of other words based on learning this semester. You can manipulate the look of your wordle by changing fonts, colour palettes, and text direction.

Another, word cloud web program is worditout, I discovered this after reading the blog http://priscillaslibraryreflections.blogspot.com/, (Thank you Priscilla!). Similar to wordle you click on create then you can paste in you’re selected text, add text and so forth. You can manipulate text size, word cloud size and colours.

21 Century Learning crated with WordItOut

21 Century learning created with wordItout.com

Word clouds are useful in enhancing presentations visually. They appeal to visual learners and can aid understanding. You can manipulate the word weighting to provide emphasis to some words over others and you can manipulate the shapes of your clouds, ie whether you want words to spill out the sides or be contained within border parameters.

The benefits of wordle appear in the ability to manipulate text direction whereas with worditout, the words appear as above, no vertical~horizontal mix up. However, in trying to embed both word clouds in this blog, I had difficulty manipulating the overall size of the wordle cloud, hence it remains small here. While I could paste the html code into this post with wordle and then view it visually, this did not occur with my worditout cloud. With worditout I had to download the word cloud to my desktop and then upload the image file into the post. More experimentation needed as I have seen word clouds created with wordle that appear larger on other blogs. Another benefit of both is that you can share them by making them public and others can use them in their presentations. Fantastic!

Who wins, they both do!

 

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