All entries for May 2007

May 31, 2007

Cool table/touch screen

Writing about web page

I wonder whether anyone has used one of these for collaborative learning? It sounds like it could be good if more than one person can touch it at the same time, to support group working… please can we have one for the library?!

May 29, 2007

An interesting academic tool

Follow-up to RSS feeds in academia from Innovating Research!

This kind of RSS feed might indeed be of interest to researchers and academics. Basically academics rate journal articles and post their thoughts onto this website. You can get an RSS feed of a particular contributor’s postings, or on your own search terms, for example. So it is a source of lots of RSS feeds.

It is a bit american biased again, but it does have potential.

I found out about this site through the Internet Resources Newsletter, so I suppose that is a source of RSS feeds. (

I suppose that RSS feeds are not something that you find by doing a search for RSS feeds, rather they are things that you pick up as you go along (& presumably delete as you go along, too). So that would be a reason why there isn’t a directory of them.

I’m still thinking in Web 1.0 mode, presumably!

May 25, 2007

Social networking, what's it all about?

Writing about web page

I’ve been investigating the likes of Facebook, Ning, Bebo and Second Life recently. Fascinating stuff, but time consuming, too.

Should the library be using social networking software?

It depends on what we’re trying to do there. Students make comments about the library on Facebook, so should we be responding on there, rather like we do with the You Say, We Say board?

No: Facebook is a space that the students seem to own, and if students make negative comments about the library on Facebook then at least we can see them. If we intervene, they may just go elsewhere for privacy, so I am inclined not to try to get involved.

Would having a Facebook profile improve the library’s image, showing that we are up to date with technology and social trends?

Probably not: we might just look like we were trying too hard and didn’t really get the point of Facebook. The way students use Facebook is very much about informal connections with their friends: they often make throw-away comments and affiliations with groups that are ironic and flippant on Facebook, rather than seeing it as a way to make useful connections for their studies or career.

By having a Facebook profile we might look like we’re trying too hard and we don’t really belong, so it wouldn’t improve our image, but there are so many students on Facebook, and we could use a profile as a way to get a message out, even if many students choose to ignore it. As long as we’re not interfering with the way that students use Facebook, I don’t think that it would do any harm. Facebook might change in the way that it is used by students, too, especially in the light of recent media articles about permanant records of flippant remarks that might affect career prospects in the future, and I think that there is much to keep an eye on. Certainly we should not ignore a space where so many of our students can be reached, and where three is so much potentially useful functionality, eg inviting people to events, sending messages to members of groups, etc

What about staff having profiles on Facebook? There is a powerful potential for Facebook as a tool for colleagues to network with each other, across departments. I’m not sure that Facebook itself is the right social networking tool to use in a work setting, but it would not hurt to experiment on there a bit. I think that the problem is how informal it all feels, so it doesn’t present the most professional image. This could impact on the way students see us as well as the way colleagues perceive us.

So Facebook could replicate actual networks between colleagues, but is that really what Social Networking software is all about? I hope not! It has the potential for us to make new connections and expand our networks.

I am enjoying Ning’s Library 2.0 community at the moment, where I am meeting other librarians who are investigating Web 2.0 technologies in the library, from accross the World. So librarians can use social networking software for professional development.

What about Second life? Well, it’s early days in my investigation. Certainly I can create a profile on there and make “friends” who I exchange discussions with, etc, but if that’s all you want, then Second life would be overkill. I’m exploring Info Island at the moment, but I hope to find more, and perhaps to attend a lecture or seminar on there, to see how it feels.

Can we engage students who don’t come into the library on Second Life? I suppose it depends on why they don’t come into the library – if they don’t want to in real life, then they are not likely to in Second life, surely! But there may be barriers in real life that prevent them from using the library, that are not present in Second Life. What is Second Life good at, in an educational setting? I aim to find out…

May 23, 2007

RSS feeds in academia

Writing about web page

It would be good to know other sources of academic RSS feeds, particularly directories, so that we know where to direct people to when we tell them how to use RSS feed readers!

May 21, 2007

Confused about copyright?

Writing about web page

Check out this handy JISC tutorial. The scenarios are quite good because they describe exactly the sort of thing that tutors seem to want to do. You can test yourself, although I found the questions were a bit too taxing so gave up after a while, and just went forward for the answer!

But if you want to really save time, just skip straight to the summary which is very succinct.

May 17, 2007

Busy on web 2.0

Having been asked to write a report on social networking technologies and their use in libraries, I’ve been very busy networking the last few days! I’ve just taken the plunge with Second Life, after having begun to investigate lots of social networking sites. The trouble is that it takes a while to built up a network and to get a feel for how the site is meant to work. So I’ve had no time to blog anything!

May 10, 2007

Maintaining links to external sites – a possible solution

Writing about web page

I’ve linked to the MyIntute registration page. With a MyIntute account you can save Intute records and create a personal collection of links to websites that have been catalogued by Intute. You can tag each of the records in your collection however you like, and then you can export those tagged records as html or javascript that you can insert into your own web page.

The advantage of doing this is that as Intute maintian their own records, the ones you have embedded on your page are automatically updated. Or so I am told… I am investigating!

May 09, 2007

Warwick e–learning Showcase

Writing about web page

I’ve been involved in the planning and organisation of the first ever Warwick e-learning Showcase day to be held in the Learning Grid on 19th June. It promises to be a busy day: we’re starting at 10.30am and there will be presentations, discussions and demonstrations happening in up to 15 different areas of the Learning Grid until 3.30pm, along with a lunch time address and refreshments being served in the atrium.

Rachel Edwards (Learning Grid Manager) and I have been doing the forward planning, under the direction of a panel including Michael Whitby, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, and staff from elab, the Library, CAPD and Teaching Quality.

Many thanks go to Rob O’Toole who worked relentlessly on the interactive programme, and Hannah Vickery who did the design work, as well as other staff at elab who have helped with my enquiries. I’ve found the planning so far to be rewarding as I’ve made contact with so many interesting people accross campus who will be contributing on the day. The programme is very full and varied and it promises to be a very interesting day.

May 01, 2007

Reasons to use the library

Writing about web page

33 Reasons Why Libraries and Librarians are Still Extremely Important!

An enjoyable article that gives you plenty to think about. To my mind it illustrates how the library profession appears to be on the cusp of embracing information workers of all types or else falling backwards and becoming the dusty, tweedy custodians of paper that the media so often portray them as.

May 2007

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