Friday, 27 March 2009

What is the Library of the Future?

This debate is being held in real life in Oxford, but people with Second Life avatars can participate virtually - and all delegates, real or virtual, have to suggest question-time type questions. The event will take place on Thursday 2 April 2009 in the Martin Wood Lecture Theatre, Department of Physics, University of Oxford from 2.00pm until 5.30pm.

"JISC and Oxford University Library Services are jointly hosting a public question and answer debate in order to discuss what information and library provision mean in these changing times; technology has had a huge effect on the behaviour of both information consumers and service providers. What is the library and what do libraries need to do in order to support knowledge, innovation and society?"
JISC libraries of the future blog:

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Pupils to study Twitter and blogs in primary schools shake-up

In yesterday's Guardian there was a leaked report on what may be in Sir Jim Rose's proposals for the revised primary curriculum in our schools. The draft plans suggest that children should master Twitter and Wikipedia and teachers will have more freedom to decide what pupils should concentrate on in class.
Children should leave primary school familiar with blogging, podcasts, Wikipedia and Twitter as sources of information and forms of communication. They must gain "fluency" in handwriting and keyboard skills, and learn how to use a spellchecker alongside how to spell.
Looks like there may be some interesting discussions yet to come.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

In sunny Glasgow having fun

I'm up in sunny Glasgow today preparing for a session tomorrow for Scottish librarians about Skills for the Future. Sitting in the magnificent Mitchell Library I am writing this post. Can't get into Facebook or Tritter : they are barred!!!
Nor will be able to watch the Baroque series on BBC4 tonight : my hotel does not do BBC4. Seeing the word WiFi I thought I'd use the new iPhone to access BBC i-Player, but I have to buy a BT Access card to use it! Wait a minute I'll try and watch it on this machine -boom boom -Excelsior! it works, but I need cans ........ they've run out of them. Anyone fancy a pint?

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Why 2.0 tech fails

There is an excellent blog post today from Meredith Farkas, on the presentation she did to the virtual conference that is part of the ACRL conference. The post is called It’s not all about the tech - why 2.0 tech fails and it outlines some of the reasons why Web 2.0 initiatives might stop or fail. An obvious point which she makes is that Web 2.0 initiatives need planning and scheduling into people's workload like anything else. The blog post is at
and the presentation slides are at

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Web Tech Guy and Angry Staff Person

Having trouble changing attitudes to Web 2.0? Watch this short little animation made by Michael Edson of the Smithsonian Institution for the 2009 Institute of Museum and Library Services. Thanks to Stephen Abram's blog for drawing this to my attention.Love the voices...

Creative Commons for Teachers

Here, thanks to Judy O'Connoll, one of our contributors, is a slideshow about Creative Commons providing a framework for a discussion about how educators can model ‘creative integrity’ and how they can assist students to leverage the Creative Commons as content creators. Warns against just using pictures found from the Web using Google, how Creative Commons has allowed creators make their material more easily usable and what we can do. Useful resource. Did you know that the White House site is now covered by a CC licence?

New Pew Generations Report

Pew Generations online 2009 report
"Over half of the adult internet population is between 18 and 44 years old. But larger percentages of older generations are online now than in the past, and they are doing more activities online, according to surveys taken from 2006-2008.
Contrary to the image of Generation Y as the "Net Generation," internet users in their 20s do not dominate every aspect of online life. Generation X is the most likely group to bank, shop, and look for health information online. Boomers are just as likely as Generation Y to make travel reservations online. And even Silent Generation internet users are competitive when it comes to email (although teens might point out that this is proof that email is for old people)."

Information literacy and the public library

I have long believed that Public Libraries have a key role to play in Information Literacy. Recommending key reliable web sites, like the one (Medpedia) I have just blogged about , for example.

Michelle wrote about public libraries and their take up of Web 2.0 in our book, describing her study tour in the United States.

Here is an edited version of an important article about Public Libraries and IL by Jane Harding, which first appeared in Australian Library Journal in August 2008. She spends some time on investigating what IL might be.

She says

"While there are many perspectives on whether information literacy is a skills set, an attribute, a capability, or a process, there is agreement that it is a problem solving activity that involves critical thinking and the ability to apply information to an individual's life. It is this constructivist emphasis that is seen as differentiating information literacy from bibliographic instruction. Its focus is on developing a person's ability to 'learn how to learn' and therefore provide a foundation for lifelong learning. Information literacy is clearly more holistic and far more complex than user education.The questions are how can these concepts be taught in the public library environment and are public libraries actively engaged in doing so?"

She regrets the lack of coverage on PLs and IL in articles and books worldwide.This is a useful article which should be read by all public librarians, as she documents the kinds of IL activity she has discovered. Also the restraints documented in 1990 are still around :
- librarians' reluctance to assume a non traditional role ; poor public perception of the function of the library ; lack of resources ; absence of underlying philosopohy to serve as a basis for coherent planning.
She thinks these are being addressed (Hooray).
She concludes
"Public libraries, with their very large and diverse client base and lifelong contact with users, are ideally positioned to lead in developing information literate communities. Little guidance and literature has been available to public libraries on how they should go about this. Despite this, there is sufficient published material providing evidence that public libraries are actively and creatively meeting the information literacy development challenge. They have had to find a balance between professional ideals, public demand, and available resources. They are capitalizing on their strengths and opportunities within the boundaries of existing limitations. The challenge now is to determine if current approaches and programs meet community information literacy needs and if not how to remove the obstacles and pave the way for public libraries to increase their contribution to the development of information literacy in their communities."


E-Health Insider reports that since July 2008 110 organisations have contributed some 7000 pages of data to make up Medpedia, which aims to be the world's largest medical encyclopedia. Only physicians and people with doctorates in a biomedical or health field will be able to edit the Medipedia knowledge base and use the network tools, but members of the public will be able to suggest articles and edits and join the communities of interest.