Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Does your Library Twitter?

There's been an exchange of views on lis-bloogers this week and thanks to Roddy MacLeod a wiki came to my attention too. It's called Twittering Libraries, by Lindy Brown, an MLIS student at Florida State University. She contact 90 libraries with a questionnaire. the wiki is interesting and has sections like What's init for Libraries? Prominent uses in Libraries ; mini case studies of libraries ;Pros and cons of using it ; tools that can extend Twitter ; list of Libraries using Twitter plus a bibliography.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Time for the HORIZON REPORT 2009

This important annual report is here again! Each edition brings out 6 emerging technologies or practices likely to be mainstream in learing focused organisations within the next 3-5 years.
Ths year we have mobiles ; cloud computing ; geo everything ; the personal Web ; semantic aware applications ; smart objects.

In the key trends they note that "visual literacy will become an increasingly important skill in decoding, encoding, and determining credibility and authenticity of data. Visual literacy should be formally taught...". In the critical challenges they note "there is a growing need for formal instruction in key new skills, including information literacy, visual literacy, and technological literacy".
All useful ammunition for IL supporters!

Finally, they say in the Executive summary :

"As in past editions of the Horizon Report, we have again found that some topics have carried forward in one form or another from one edition of the Report to the next. Mobiles, a family of devices characterized by unprecedented advancement, have appeared in both of the past two editions, and appear in this edition yet again. This year’s analysis finds mobiles firmly in the near-term horizon as the capabilities of phones have continued to develop rapidly. Innovations over the last year have brought third-party applications, easy GPS, and intuitive interfaces to mobile devices, blurring the boundary between phone and computer.
Cloud computing, placed on the near-term horizon this year, has emerged as the unifying technology supporting grassroots video, collaboration webs, and social operating systems, all described in the 2008 edition. It has become obvious that cloud computing has the potential to change the way we think about computing, and even as we come to recognize how profoundly different it is, new applications that take advantage of cloud computing as an infrastructure are continuously arising. Its clear disruptive potential led to cloud computing’s selection this year as a technology to watch on its own merits."

Thursday, 22 January 2009

More historical photos on flickr and Wikipedia

An article in New York Times "Historical photos in Web archives gain vivid new lives" by Noam Cohen 18/1/2009 tells of the Commons facility on flickr and most recently the huge donation of about 100,000 photos from the German archive to Wikimedias Commons the vitual archive for images on Wikipedia. In both cases the sharing of these resources is leading to improved cataloguing information about the images, as members of the public assist in recognising the content of the images.

LUTube at University of Leeds

LUTube is a new project to enable staff and students at the University of Leeds to show and share video securely online. They can just use their ISS username to log in and upload videos with a couple of clicks. Videos can be uploaded from various formats and converted to Flash format for easy display. There will be customer groups, browsing by schools and faculties, tagging : in short a powerful archived learning device.

What about the library using it? I found a neat little film called "Good advice for using the Library" which was 2.0 in that it was users telling us why they should use the Library! Beats all those films showing students round empty library buildings.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Information Literacy and Web 2.0 seminar

Sarah Whittaker and Alan Cann have undertaken a project at University of Leicester "Using Web 2.0 to Cultivate Information Literacy via Construction of Personal Learning Environments".
This was done with first year medical students learning about medical ethics, and third year students on medical ethics, law and human rights. On Wednesday 14 Jan. they ran a live TAN session to outline and promote the outcomes.

"The aim is to explore information literacy that incorporates Wikipedia, YouTube and ‘Beyond Google’ for all undergraduate students. We hope to be able to gauge opinions and expectations from other staff.
Library staff should continue to develop their understanding of web 2.0 tools and how they can utilize them to promote information literacy across the University.
The library will continue to develop librarians’ roles as their future depends on the ability to build relationships, and add value to external tools such as Google Scholar. Web 2.0 can facilitate this, but this requires a change of culture for librarians and academics.
Students are generally reluctant to change their habits unless there is a clear tangible benefit to them. If we believe information literacy skills are worth developing, we must make them a requirement not an added extra."
Alan Cann posts about the TAN session on his blog "Science of the Invisible". Around 40 people attended the face to face session with a number of people contributing online via Twitter.
A very interesting project which is likely to present at LILAC 2009.

When YouTube is blocked (eight ways round)

In a most useful post on School Library Journal blog, Joyce Valenza goes into the frustrations that many libarians have felt about not being able to get into YouTube, because schools are blocking access.
As she says:
"The fact is, every single day many of us spend a good deal of time trying to figure out how to get the videos we need to use in our classrooms and libraries. The fact is, students who really do need to use YouTube videos in their presentations, face great frustration. Pretty much everyday, in schools everywhere, and at homes at night, students and teachers are trying to figure out how to best capture video that is blocked to them during the school day.
I myself am a long-time sufferer of YouTube-block (despite my understanding of my District's motivations) and I have developed a variety of strategies for treating the condition."
She has 8 suggestions. Hope one of them helps you.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Alternate Reality Games

Alternate reality games (ARGs) weave together real-world artifacts with clues and puzzles hidden virtually any place, such as websites, libraries, museums, stores, signs, recorded telephone messages, movies, television programs, or printed materials. ARGs are not computer or video games, but electronic devices are frequently used to access clues. Players can meet and talk with characters in the narrative and use resources like postal mail, e-mail, the web, or the public library to find hints, clues, and various pieces of the puzzle.

ARGs open doors into the future of students’ professional lives, where they will be expected to solve complex problems by taking necessary raw materials from multiple resources, thinking critically and analytically, and putting their individual skills, interests, and abilities at the disposal of a group dedicated to a common goal.

Grab yourself a copy of the The "7 Things You Should Know About Alternatie Reality Games" - one of the excellent series from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) which aims to provide concise information on emerging learning technologies.
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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Plagiarism, a cut and paste generation

This new video on Teacher TV looks at how staff can combat plagiarism in schools, colleges and universities, following the rise of the internet and the cut and paste generation.

A schools plagiarism workshop shows the difficulty in defining and responding to plagiarism in schools, and students at the University of Leeds attend a compulsory study skills module to help boost their understanding of plagiarism.
At Ripon Grammar School, North Yorkshire, staff help students develop independent research skills using the internet in unexpected subjects such as PE and biology.
Hemsworth Arts and Community College, Pontefract, teaches a Harvard style referencing system and uses a plagiarism policy to demonstrate the small steps that can provide pupils with the awareness they need in internet research.

Lasts 27 minutes but segments could be shown and may be of use to HE as well as schools.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Googling not green?

The Sunday Times January 11, 2009

Revealed: the environmental impact of Google searches
Physicist Alex Wissner-Gross says that performing two Google searches uses up as much energy as boiling the kettle for a cup of tea

"John Buckley, managing director of carbonfootprint.com, a British environmental consultancy, puts the CO2 emissions of a Google search at between 1g and 10g, depending on whether you have to start your PC or not. Simply running a PC generates between 40g and 80g per hour, he says. of CO2 Chris Goodall, author of Ten Technologies to Save the Planet, estimates the carbon emissions of a Google search at 7g to 10g (assuming 15 minutes’ computer use).

Nicholas Carr, author of The Big Switch, Rewiring the World, has calculated that maintaining a character (known as an avatar) in the Second Life virtual reality game, requires 1,752 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. That is almost as much used by the average Brazilian.



Thursday, 8 January 2009

More myths about the digital native

Chris Betcher from Sydney, Australia has put an interesting critique of Marc Prensky's Digital Native and Immigrant idea on his blog Betchablog. He says :
"The Natives vs Immigrants concept serves as a neat, tidy metaphor that is useful on a basic level to help understand some of the differences between Gen-Y and those who grew up in the primitive pre-Google world. However, the problem with the metaphor is that while it’s neat and tidy, it is demonstrably wrong on so many levels."
He cites a class of 16-17 year olds "They know how to search Google … badly. They mostly use single words for searches and click on the first or second result on the first page of results, assuming that the top result must be what they were looking for. They are mostly unaware of any other search tool besides Google." He sees them having a functional literacy in a small set of popular online tools rather than being digital natives.
Of course, after using other examples, he suggests it is far more complex than just age.Maybe the really techie ones are the freaks!

He concludes "Perhaps we need a greater meeting of the minds. Instead of thinking in terms of us and them - natives and immigrants - maybe we need to value the qualities that both parties bring to the table - combining the fearless sense of exploration of our natives with the wisdom and experience of our immigrants - and work harder on teaching and learning from each other, regardless of age, so that we all live happily ever after in this shared digital land of ours."

A really thoughtful post.

Rise of Online Video

New data from comScore released this week shows a 34% increase of online video consumption by U.S. Internet users over the past year. During November 2008 a total of 12.7 billion online videos were viewed in the US. From this we can observe an accelerating trend of large numbers watching streamed video on the web and on handheld devices like iPhones and iPods. This is apparently across the age groups. How will this affect libraries? Surely it creates an opening for us to use these devices for IL delivery?

How to 2008 : how to do almost anything with social media

Peter Cashmore on Mashable gives us a terrific compilation of how to do just about anything using social media tools. Wish I had the time to try more of them.

He says :
"During 2008, we’ve tried to bring you the best how-tos for achieving more with social media tools: everything from Google products to blogging to online video to productivity and beyond. Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Friendfeed, and Delicious all got the How-To treatment... we bring you a hand-picked selection of Mashable’s social media How-To articles in 2008."

Here are a few examples :
How to get the most out of Google Maps
How to live blog at a conference
How to master screencasts in seven steps

Information Cycle

Just came across this video produced by Penn State University Libraries (2001-4)which demonstrates how an event is reported and discussed over time. Although I've seen this done diagramatically this video works much better. It uses the Coumbine High School, Littleton Colorado shootings as an example - a huge story at the time. I like the way it moves from news reports to papers, magazines and more academic treatment. Now comes the rub : it could be used to ask viewers what other media might be involved today - wikis, bogs, YouTube etc. and into a discussion about the merits of each.