All 8 entries tagged Web 2-0

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July 12, 2007

Second Life thoughts

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I really like the idea of the Twitterbot on Eduserv island that Andy Powel (Art Fosset) describes in his blog. It could work as a way of embedding a library enquiry service into SL educational environments. I’ve not tried it out though, so perhaps I should…

July 11, 2007

Good RSS feed users

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By using my Bloglines account to read RSS feeds of interest to me, I found this blog posting about a report on the impact of RSS feeds on visits to websites. I find it interesting that someone thought this worth measuring. When I read RSS feeds in Bloglines, I’m not actually visiting the site from which they came. Most of the time I just read the entry in Bloglines itself without ever visiting the site itself. So, presumably RSS feeds ought really to be reducing the number of visits to a web page even whilst the content reaches a desired audience? Or does my access through Blogline get counted? I don’t really understand how RSS works nor, how the statistics of web page accesses are counted. The report itself discusses the results, but not the methods used.

July 10, 2007

Transliteracies, online reading and Wikipedia reliability

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Last week I had a few days off, but I also attended a talk on “Transliteracies” at De Montfort’s Institute of Creative Technologies, by Professor Alan Liu from the University of California. I thought it sounded relevant to my investigations into the potential of Web 2.0 in the academic library setting.

It was a fairly highbrow talk, and I confess to feeling a little bit lost as I had never heard the term “transliteracy” before, and I still can’t be sure what it means after the lecture! Professor Liu did not attempt to explain it, so no doubt it is a term well understood by others, that I should look up. A quick Google indicates many results from the US, so perhaps it is a term more commonly used over there. In any case my lack of understanding didn’t impinge on the content of the lecture.

Professor Liu’s perspective is that online reading is really networked reading. It is non-linear reading, involving browsing, scanning and cursory reading. With Web 2.0 technologies collective and social reading practices are encouraged. Such practices have existed for a very long time before the advent of the Web or Web 2.0, eg with reading groups and reading aloud, etc. This long term view of reading and of published information was a theme throughout Professor Liu’s lecture.

The Web has need of information quality assurance, and the wider community of users of that information can “police” the content to ensure some kind of quality. Under 5% of visitors to wikipedia have contributed content to it, apparently. The community of users should police the quality of web content, and be separate from the community of authors, according to Professor Liu. Really what we need is for all users of web information to be aware of the provenance and reliability of the information they are reading.

The next part of the lecture got a bit more technical, talking about mark-up languages and ontologies to help computers to understand the text that we can read on a web page, and to follow who is reading what, who those people are linked to and so on. Such “social mark-up” can show what underlies authority and currency and help us in our evaluation of the quality of web resources. Professor Liu mentioned various projects relating to such developments.

One very interesting piece of work that Professor Liu highlighted was some research being done to graphically illustrate how Wikipedia entries are edited over time. I’ve linked to a pdf article describing this. The graphs created by researchers at MIT show patterns that indicate edit wars (eg for the “chocolate” page) and instances when a page had to be taken down. Such patterns indicate that the content of a particular page is controversial and therefore should be considered in a wider context. Professor Liu advocated highly visible flags on Wikipedia entries to indicate such usage patterns, or filters for searching based on the patterns. (Contentious pages on Wikipedia that are locked to prevent edit wars have a small padlock on the top right. This is a very discrete symbol and is easily missed.)

“Social mark-up” could be added to web pages off the back of Web 2.0 technologies, to help us to evaluate what we find… it sounds to me a bit like the complicated ways in which Google calculates which search results to present first. No doubt there will be new methods of assessing information quality and new ways of circumventing or taking advantage of those methods that will lead to more invention and so on… Information begets information (about the information) and all of it should be made available on the Web. It looks like the role of the information professional should be secure as the Web becomes ever more complicated to navigate, evaluate and understand.

June 25, 2007

Second Life info island

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An interesting clip showing the scenery on Info island, but it doesn’t really give you a feel for what Info island is for, what you can do there, how libraries can use Second Life, which is a shame.

June 18, 2007

Useful links if starting in Second Life

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As I posted to the Second Life educators list to recommend the Youtube tutorials, I was sent a link to this page, which looks very promising…

I have lots to do with planning for the e-learning Showcase day tomorrow, though, so will have to check out some of these links further later in the week!

June 13, 2007

Second Life campus – Ohio University promo video

Interesting introduction clip to what Second Life looks like… in an educational setting.

June 11, 2007

Library 2.0 discussion

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Another social networking software I’ve been checking out… Ning. It’s pretty good as a way of discussing with other librarians what they’re doing with Web 2.0 and social networking stuff in a professional capacity. Using the very software I’ve been asked to investigate to find out what it does feel pretty satisfying!

February 12, 2007

Have you heard of Library 2.0?

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I’ve heard of Web 2.0 and am still trying to understand exactly what it is. I think it’s a convenient phrase to describe the next generation of web technology, although at what point Web 2.0 is achieved and we all start talking about Web 3.0 I’m not sure. The general theme for Web 2.0 seems to be collaboration.

Piggybacking onto this trendy phrase, the library sector has invented “Library 2.0”, which is understood to mean different things by library practitioners. There are some practical ideas to do with user feedback and participation in libraries associated with this concept, and although different libraries will have already been doing this kind of activity for decades, the implication with “Library 2.0” is that they will now be done through the web (using Web 2.0 technologies). Other people insist that “Library 2.0” is not something that is just based on technology but is about engaging users through whatever means, especially the non-traditional users.

Here are some practical ideas that I have distilled from reading about Library 2.0 online (not all suited to the academic library!):

users writing reviews
users adding tags in the catalogue
users contributing to blogs and wikis
gaming nights for teens
collaborative photo sites
RFID: tags in books that help us to locate them

But if, when, how these kinds of things are introduced will depend very much on what you think your library is for. The phrase “Library 2.0” opens up a debate on the very purpose of libraries, as discussed by Walt Crawford in the Cites and Insights article I’m linking to. “Library 2.0” seems to mean just what the person who uses it wants it to mean.

Perhaps the very fact that we have a new moniker for innovative library practices that raises the debate about what libraries are for is what gives our users the chance to contribute their thoughts and opinions about what they want their library to be. Or at least it might make library professionals listen to their users!

It seems to me that if Web 2.0 is all about collaboration and involvement, then libraries ought to be encouraging library users to contribute to the development of their services and space.

Does the planned re-modelling of our own library make us a Library 2.0 service? Yes because we planned it based on feedback from students, but it will only continue to count if we continue to evaluate our provision. In my opinion, what makes it Library 2.0 is not the comfy chairs and planned additional technology provision, but the continued striving towards improved services for our users, based on what they tell us they want.

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