Sunday, 26 October 2008

History - coming to a phone near you!

Michael Arrington writes about a new interface for delivering history information through World History. I am going to enjoy the reaction of history teachers to this product! if only because they will have to fast-track their 21st century understanding of how students 'source' their history information :-)

Even if it is drawing content from Wikipedia, as Michael suggests, the fact that the company is also developing an iPhone application highlights the fact that change it taking place under our very noses in a pretty significant way! The critical point is the way that information literacy needs to be tackled is becoming more and more urgent with the immersiveness of digital sources of information.

It seams the product is still in private beta, but the idea is that you will use the map to find a location you are interested in and see historical events that occurred there visually. Even set a date range and see just the events during those years. For more information, check out the demo videos here.

Friday, 24 October 2008


Those of you who contributed to the book will know that whilst Peter and I were writing and editing, I was working on another major project, namely "Baby 2.0"!

Sam arrived in June, and he, along with his big sister, have been keeping me very busy ever since. I can see that I have a lot of blog reading to catch up on.

What I have been musing on of late is the potential of information literacy on the move e.g. via mobile devices. Being particularly time poor, and having to snatch a moment online, wherever and whenever - usually on an iPhone, usually for no more than 6 minutes at a time - is a pretty regular pattern for me at the moment. I'm sure many others must be in a similar position. There was a conference last year at The Open University on mobile libraries (library services via mobile technology, rather than libraries on wheels...) at which Peter and I ran a workshop on information literacy via mobiles - details of the conference proceedings here.

Attached is a picture of baby 2.0, who shows no signs as yet of being information literate, but it's early days!

Monday, 20 October 2008

WILU 2009 Conference | Montreal, Canada | Call for Papers

Several months ago, Peter was gracious to post a first call for papers for the WILU 2009 conference to be held May 25-27, 2009 at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. I'd like to post a second call for papers for this conference.

The conference theme of "Reflections" may resonate with many of you who are using social media to deepen the reflective work of your pedagogical practice.

WILU 2009
38th Annual Workshop on Instruction in Library Use
38e Atelier annuel sur la formation documentaire

Université Concordia University
Montréal, Québec, Canada
May 25-27, 2009 / 25-27 mai 2009

Submission deadline: Monday, December 8, 2008
Date limite pour soumettre une proposition : le lundi 8 décembre 2008

Conference theme: Reflections

We welcome papers that present variations on reflections, a word that signifies different aspects of our information literacy work and experience.

More at:

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Information Literacy in Second Life

As well as continuing the discussion series in Second Life, the virtual world, I have had two sessions (last week and the week before) starting to develop a 3D build of information literacy, using the SCONUL 7 Pillars framework.

People came up with some good ideas, and there is something there already. It is a very busy time at the moment, so there probably won't be much change over the next couple of weeks. There is information on the ideas behind it, and some thoughts so far, at

If you visit Second Life, then do drop by Infolit iSchool (our island) and take a look.
Judy O'Connell dropped in and blogged about it here too.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Tapping into media at Denver Public Library

This article features experiences of public librarians At Denver PL taking their online presence to the next level with audio and video. I have to blog about this because of all the public libraries I have ever seen, this was the most memorable.It's not just the fabulous building and the go-ahead services : it's the heavenly (to me) special collection of Western Americana.
Back to Web 2.0 : they are adding cutting edge and popular video and audio to their physical collections. THe article draws attention to the fact that on the web the lines of media are merging. Journals, newspapers are using audio and video on their web sites. Boulder PL has podcasts created by teenagers. Denver plan a YouTube channel for all their video content.

Podcasting in New Zealand

Angela Jowitt has written an informative article about use and devlopment of podcasts for instruction in academic libraries in New Zealand. (Jowitt, J.(2008) Perceptions and usage of library instructional podcasts by staff and students at New Zealnd's Universal College of Learning(UCOL). Reference Services Review 36(3) 312-336 Available via Emerald. Concludes podcasts do provide benefits for library instruction. This is reached via a rigourous survey at UCOL featuring 6 podcasts including accessing the Library catalogue; searching the library catalogue; My Account on library catalogue; and orientation tours.

Just trying out my new blogger status, so I 'll try to look sensible....for a bit.
Was trying to enclose a River Thames shot..

this could be it.. this is Wallingford.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Guides to Screencasting

For those who haven't seen it already, Elyssa Kroski has come up with a great set of links to introduce screencasting. This is likely to be the future : technology which we can employ to show a process to our users. As it gets easier, we shall use it more, and by its visual character, it should better engage our users.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Web Search Strategies in Plain English

This latest video from Common Craft "Web Search Strategies in Plain English" is just great! Librarians may even think it will do them out of a job!! It gives tips on ways to conduct effective search engine queries including phrase searching, keyword searching, and implied Boolean operators. I shall certainly use it. Maybe won't work so well if you don't like it and see what I mean!

Is Hakia the answer?

The search engine Hakia has been around a few years but only now has it become developed enough for serious consideration. It claims to be the Semantic search engine dedicated to quality.
"Today's search engines bring popular results via statistical ranking methods. Popular results are not always quality results, and the searchers suffer in many ways ranging from wasted search time to using misleading information."
Results on Hakia are based on sentence analysis rather than keywords (e.g. Google). You can enter a question, phrase or keywords.
On Sept.22, 2008 – Hakia put out "an open call to librarians and information professionals to participate in a new program to unlock credible and free Web resources to Web searchers.
Librarians and information professionals can suggest URLs leading to the most credible Websites on a given topic. Hakia will process the sites with its proprietary QDEX (Query Detection and Extraction) technology and make them available to Web searchers in credibility-stamped search results. Each month hakia will give away thank-you prizes, ranging from a book donation to two conference grants, to participants. "

Haven't had time to try it out much, but initial impression is that it's an interesting alternative to Google, especially as accoona has just folded. Could it be used with students on topics getting them to search Google and hakia and comparing their results? Maybe I'll try that.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Information Literacy and Schools

Take a look at "Educational practices and information literacy : where's the synergy?" in the latest Library & Information Update (Oct.2008). Are teaching practices which filter out flawed material on the web overprotecting children and preventing them from developing the skills they need to develop if they are to become information literate? What can be done about the low profile of IL in teacher training?
Remember the CIBER report said that HE students got into bad searching habits in schools and, by implication, this ought to be addressed.