Assignment 2: Evaluative Report

Part 1: Online Learning Journal (OLJ)

Blog postings from the initial INF506 post 20 Nov, 2011 to 2nd Feb, 2012 shows evidence that I have:

(a) engaged in the self-paced modules, online readings and online class discussions.

(b) completed a number of immersive learning activities, used a range of social networking tools and documented reflections and evaluations of these learning experiences.

Part 2: (a) Evaluative statement

The following three OLJ tasks will be used as evidence to demonstrate that the learning objectives of the course has been met.

  1.    Building the Academic Library 2.0
  2.    Critical evaluation of Delicious
  3.    Five key points for a Social Media Policy

As the digital environment continues to become more pervasive in our daily lives libraries have to adapt to these changes and ensure that their services remain relevant to users’ needs. Many libraries are now embracing the Library 2.0 ethos into their services to meet changing needs of 21st century learners. The underlying message of Library 2.0 is participatory information service (Farkas, 2009) and reaching new users through the “long tail” (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007). Social networking enables libraries to build collaboration, have conversations, and create content with their user communities in the social space. It is a proactive library service aimed at improving communications and engaging with your user communities via social media and social networking tools.

In the blog post Building the Academic Library 2.0 Farkas points out that a library service must know its users and non users. It should evaluate existing services and find out if that is meeting the specific needs before implementing any new service. In the connected world of Web 2.0 your users can be  active participants in the creation of your library service so include them through customer feedback and review processes. If a library wants to introduce mobile devices find out which ones are most popular with your users and use social networking tools to find what other are libraries are using. Given this information critically examine the features and functionality to find out if it will meet information needs of users and support their learning. Embedding your library services in social sites where your users spend a lot of time (De Rosa et al., 2007)  and by creating portals or links from your library website or catalogue will enable the library to reach its user through the ‘long tail’ (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007). It has been confirmed in this subject that users start their search on social sites, Google or Wikipedia and not the library catalogues so find ways of pushing your content out to your users in places they do their research. The other point that was stressed was building a learning culture in your organisation by starting in-house programs that focus on different aspects of Web 2.0 technologies and social software that will help libraries to enhance services and improve contact with their user communities. For this to happen staff need to devote time to “play” and evaluate the software as part of professional workplace learning. Individual immersive learning activities with technology may not support all staff so library management must cater for the different learning styles and recognise the value of emerging technologies and how library services can leverage these to support information and collaborative needs of their users. (This post meets learning objectives  1& 2).

The blog post Critical evaluation of Delicious provides a critical examination of the features and functions of social bookmarking tool, Delicious, to meet the information needs and support collaborative activities of users thereby meeting learning objectives 3 and 4. The revamped site is easy to use and offers much enhanced features including stacks, multi-word tags, media previews, category browsing and the ability to collaborate on stacks make it highly appealing to individuals and organisations to network and share web content. The power of Delicious lies in the social networking aspects that enable users to see what other users with similar interest are discovering and to follow other users’ stacks and catch up with updates through email, feeds, RSS and social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter. Collaborative tagging, a distinct feature social bookmarking application Delicious, facilitates information sharing of user tagged content. Discovering web content through Delicious has been  greatly enhanced through the stacks feature and makes it more like a content curation site. With the graphically visual stacks users can discover than search for information which is what Delicious is aiming to achieve. With the vast amount of digital content including the availability of Creative Commons  and Open Education Resources, libraries can use Delicious as a tool for collection development. Delicious offers educational institutions a great platform for resource sharing and collaboration in teaching and learning.

The blog post Five key points for a Social Media Policy demonstrates learning objective objectives 5 by discussing the social, cultural, educational, ethical and technical management issues that exist in a socially networked world and how information policy supports such issues. Social media are a powerful new form of communication and the number of users on sites such as Facebook and Twitter is growing at an exponential rate ((Burkhardt, 2010; De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk and Jenkins, 2007 ) so a social media policy must address all the above issues. The main points stressed in the post is that all contributors should take responsibility for what they write, exercise common sense, sound judgement (Lauby, 2009) and be guided by their institution’s code of conduct. For example the User Online Comments policy from State Library of Queensland states that the policy  encourages contributions from all users but their comments must be ‘appropriate and respect the needs and sensitivities of others’.

In addition the policy should consider protecting the privacy of staff and customers, managing reputational risks, and risks relating to infrastructure and protection against data loss. media. It is the responsibility of information professionals to exercise professional ethics and encourage all users engaging in social media to contribute materials that are authentic, appropriate and of value to the users who will be accessing that information. Users must understand the concept of community and post information that is positive and respect people’s privacy. Address compliments to your library services graciously and reply to negative feedback by addressing the problem. It is important to maintain confidentiality and to respect copyright and fair use thus highlighting ethical and educational issues that exist in a socially networked world. The policy must provide clear guidelines for content publishing, appropriate online interactions and time management for all users of social media thus highlighting technical management issues.

By progressing through INF506 subject modules, experimenting with various social networking tools and participating in Facebook discussion groups, contributing to Flickr and Delicious accounts I believe I have been able to achieve the subject’s learning objectives. These experiences have contributed to my professional development in social networking.

Part 2 (b) Reflective statement on you development as a social worker as a result of studying INF506 and the implications for your development as an information professional.

My development as a social worker has been greatly expanded by studying INF506 and it will advance my professional learning and progress my career as an information professional. Studying INF506 enabled me to explore, experiment and, engage with social media tools, social networking sites and social software which I didn’t have the opportunity to do in my workplace. As a result I expanded my professional learning networks to include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Delicious, Slideshare, Second Life, Dropbox and subscribed to a number of useful feeds for blogs and wikis. Now I feel more confident to join networks and contribute. I was overwhelmed by the enormous amount of information on these networks and had to carefully judge what is best for my library service and for myself and subscribed to RSS. I think it is important to have a healthy balance between your professional learning and personal life.

I have used Twitter and realise the value in following relevant tweets and expanding my networks. It offers libraries new ways to connect with clients but is that what my library and my users want? I explored Second Life for the first time and found it very challenging to navigate in a 3D space but after gaining some experience it was fascinating to discover the possibilities it offered for supporting library services such as virtual reference and a place to host information literacy programs for the net savvy generation. INF506 has been an enriching experience for me as it It has added a wealth of knowledge and new skills to progress my career. Learning new social software by immersing in different activities is a powerful way to gain first hand understanding of how a tool works and engaging with the social networks deepens your knowledge and application of Web 2.0 tools and the underlying principles. The 4Cs of social media –  collaboration, conversation, community, and creation as shown by ASU Libraries’ use of The Library Minute videos has provided a wealth of information to incorporate Web 2.0 tools into various library services and programs.

In reflecting upon my journey I have gained more insight and understanding of the power of social networks in my personal and professional life. Looking back at the first post  I wanted to understand the socially connected world and find out how I can leverage social media tools and technology to enhance my library services. I have a gained a new understanding of how libraries are using social media to reach out to new users through the concept of ‘long tail’ (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007). Library 2.0 service offers great potential for libraries as explained by Farkas in  Building the Academic Library 2.0 and working towards this approach does not require a major funding boost but requires management support for individuals or teams to invest some of their time into exploring the potential applications of Web 2.0 tools. The research patterns of users have changed  and library catalogue is no longer the first point of search for students (Calhoun, Cantrell, Gallagher & Hawk, 2009). According to Burkhart (2009) the email is dead as IM is the main form of communication for the net generation. This an important message for libraries to consider because the use of social media will continue to rise. It is very important to develop a social media policy (Burkhardt, 2009; Lauby, 2009) with clear guidelines for internal and external staff  and students for online communication. A lot of libraries blog and it is important to have well planned guidelines for different groups of clients.  The ethical and legal issues regarding information use such as copyright, fair use and plagiarism are major concerns for libraries and Valenza (2009) provides wonderful ways of incorporating social media in library classes.  Her blog has been a great source of inspiration and ideas for me. The high use of video and photo-sharing websites, YouTube and Flickr and other social media tools shows that informational professional have a duty to teach users the responsible use of social media and contribute towards digital citizenship. I think issues such as copyright and ethical use of information will continue to be a challenge library professionals as social networks grow.

My knowledge of social networking tools useful for my library services has been greatly enriched through my social bookmarking project using Delicious, that has enabled me to create a digital collection of web resources to support library instruction, teaching and learning at the institute. I was working on the libguides project for my library while doing INF506 and decided to explore social bookmarking as a collection development tool for harvesting web resources and explore the option to embed Delicious stacks in the libguides. As a result of INF506 I have become more comfortable in using the various widgets in libguides such as RSS, and embedding online video, images and photographs. I have a great collection of web resources on my personal Delicious account and have created a few subject specific ones to support my faculty. I have been sharing this experience with my colleagues and some faculty staff and now include social bookmarking into my library instruction. My project was highly successful as it was able to demonstrate that Delicious is an effective tool for collection development, resource collaboration, and supporting teaching and learning at my institute.

This subject has helped me understand the quantum shift that has happened in formation seeking behaviours of users and the power of social networks in information retrieval. Social networks and blogs are  now the fourth most popular kinds of online activities (Chapman, 2009) and these are visited more often than emails. The insights gained from INF506 has made me realise the direction my library service needs to head in order to offer a viable, relevant Library 2.0 service that meets changing users needs and incorporates user input in the review processes. And to borrow from Farkas, I will ‘get rid of the culture of perfect’ and experiment with services with user input, evaluate and review so it is of benefit to my user community. This shift is important for libraries to grow and continue to meet the needs of our digital citizens.

As an information professional in a Web 2.0 world, professional learning and engagement are essential  components in maintaining the health and status of my profession. Through this subject I have been able to expand my professional toolkit  and I think  I have developed the skills to change and adapt to the ever-changing information landscape. What is more important I think is that continuing professional development is an essential criteria for my growth and development of an information professional. And my journey continue…

References

Arapahoe High School. (2007). AHS Blogging policy. Retrieved http://arapahoe.littletonpublicschools.net/forStudents/AHSBloggingPolicy/tabid/1486/Default.aspx

Brown, A.L. (2011, December 29 ). Top ten social media and libraries prediction for 2012. Retrieved http://socialnetworkinglibrarian.com/2011/12/29/top-10-social-media-and-libraries-predictions-for-2012/

Burkhardt, A. ( 2010, January ). Social media: a guide for college and university libraries.  Retrieved http://crln.acrl.org/content/71/1/10.long

Casey, M.E., & Savastinuk, L.C.( 2007 ). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Medford, N.: Information Today.

Calhoun,K., Cantrell., Gallagher, P & Hawk, J. ( 2009 ). Online catalogs: What users and librarians want: An OCLC report. Retrieved http://www.oclc.org/reports/onlinecatalogs/default.htm

Chapman, C. ( 2009, July 13 ). Network design: Examples and best practice. Retrieved http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/07/13/social-network-design-examples-and-best-practices/

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L. ( 2007 ). Sharing, privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC.  Retrieved from http://www.oclc.org/reports/pdfs/sharing.pdf

Farkas, M. ( 2007, November 2 ). Building the academic library. [Video file]. Retrieved from   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_uOKFhoznI.

Lauby, S. ( 2009, 6 February ) . 10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy. [Web log]. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2009/06/02/social-media-policy-musts/

Valenza, J. ( 2009, 27 September ). 14 Ways K-12 librarians can teach social media. Retrieved http://www.techlearning.com/article/14-ways-k%E2%80%9312-librarians-can-teach-social-media-by-joyce-valenza/46329

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OLJ Activity RSS

How can RSS  enhance a library or information service’s ability to meet the information needs of its users

Some libraries are using RSS in databases, libguides/subject guides, and library catalogues to meet the information needs of their users.

RSS is about sharing and delivering up–to-date information to clients. RSS is a way of getting information and updates from a library web site. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) technology allows library and information services to meet the information needs of their users by delivering content to their patron’s desktop computer or other Internet device. By subscribing to RSS feeds, users can easily stay up-to-date with areas of the library’s services that are of interest. Apart from the general news and information services a number of libraries have RSS feeds available in databases, libguides/subject guides and library catalogues to meet the information needs of their users. As with other Web 2.0 technologies RSS allows for dissemination of information in ways that was not possible before. The advantage of RSS is that is that information is distributed to the user, there is no need to visit the website for updates so it is an efficient use of time and aids in keeping users informed with current information (Murley, 2009).

The Library of Congress offers several RSS feeds for use in an RSS reader or RSS-enabled Web browser. The feeds consist of headline, brief summary, and a link that leads back to the Library’s Web site for more information. Given the size and range of its services the Library uses several RSS feeds for users to connect to its services and collections. Using the feeds users can subscribe to many of its services and collections to keep up to date with content in various collections. Using RSS service users can just select the topic of interest and subscribe to the feeds which is great services for researchers and teachers as these patrons are be looking for highly focused information to meet their needs.

RSS is a great way of making available new content in library databases, subject guides and catalogues. A number of library database providers such as INFORMIT use RSS title feeds in their full-text and media databases to inform new content such as new journal titles, ebooks and reports that are added to specific databases. By checking the table of content feeds patrons can use with RSS and email alerts to keep up with latest content in their areas of interest. They can also drill down to specific titles of journals to get updates.

A number of libraries have created subject guides or research guides. These guides use RSS technology to make available updated content as shown by MIT Libraries. Patrons can select their subject guides and subscribe to the respective feeds to benefit from this service. A number of libraries meeting their user needs through libguides use RSS to get updated information in their subject guides so clients can be informed of new content.

The new generation library catalogues have inbuilt RSS feeds for users to keep track of new titles and updates from their library catalogues.

References

INFORMIT 2011, Setting up RSS feeds

Library of Congress (2011), RSS feeds and email subscriptions

MIT Libraries (2011), MIT Libraries – RSS

Murley, D. (2009). The Power of RSS Feeds. Law Library Journal, 101(1),127-135