Monthly Archives: August 2012

What is a Librarian in a web 2.0 world?

Librarian 2.0 – I fully embrace this term. I believe it is the way of the future and I think all Libraries need to get on the 2.0 train.

In the past libraries didn’t market themselves, then with all the alternative avenues for obtaining information opening up they had to. Then came web 2.0 and they began using web 2.0 technologies to connect with their clients. However, in some cases (such as the Library I work for) the Librarians do not do the work with the web 2.0 technologies. A marketing or liaison officer is behind the curtain rather than a Librarian. To me this is NOT Librarian 2.0, clients are expecting to connect and interact with Librarians on the Facebook or Twitter feed not a promotions person. This is also not encouraging Librarians to go inside a technological cocoon and emerge a Librarian 2.0 butterfly.

Librarians need to immerse themselves in this ever expanding web 2.0 world and be a part of it, there should not be a middle man between Librarian’s and their patrons.

What I believe Librarian 2.0 should have – the basics:

  • A working knowledge of a significant range of social networking tools
  • A passion to investigate how different social networking tools could be effectively harnessed by the library (Harvey, 2009).
  • The ability to accept change whether small, big or ongoing as this is the future environment of Libraries, forever evolving.
  • Passion, dedication and interest in continuing professional development.
  • A “guru of the information age” (Abram, 2012).

I believe we are the gatekeepers of information. There is scope in the future for Librarian’s to aid clients to develop their RSS feeds to locate information surrounding their topics of interest rather than aid them finding online journal articles or physical items. I believe information literacy classes will soon include social networking technologies and personal learning networks. I feel that a Librarian’s function or role will have to be much more flexible, Librarian’s will need to be more multi-skilled than ever before.

References

Abram, S. (2012). Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and Librarian 2.0: Preparing for the 2.0 World. Retrieved from http://www.imakenews.com/sirsi/e_article000505688.cfm/ on 8 August, 2012.

Harvey, M. (2009). What does it mean to be a Science Librarian 2.0? Retrieved from http://www.istl.org/09-summer/article2.html on 8 August, 2012.

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Personal Learning Network (PLN)

What is a ‘Personal Learning Network’ (PLN)? Klingensmith (2009) has a definition on her blog which I quite like, “the entire collection of people with whom you engage and exchange information, usually online” to me this is a simple, straightforward and accurate definition.

Utech (2008) has proposed 5 stages of personal learning networks adoption on his blog The thinking stick, these are; Immersion, evaluation, know it all, perspective & balance. He created the below diagram to display the stages effectively along with a short description of each stage.

Stages of PLN adoption

Looking at Utech’s stages I realise I remember stages one and two fondly, but I have well and truly rounded the corner into stage three. Particularly with the addition of Uni work and some projects I am involved with at work currently. I believe at times I have gone into stage four and even paddled in stage five, but I seem to have back peddled recently. Currently my PLN looks something like this…

My current PLN

… rather messy and out of control. Definitely a stage 3 in serious need of reviewing to gather some perspective. Utech (2008) suggests cutting oneself off from technology for a week; this is not an option currently (particularly as one of my subjects at Uni is ‘Social networking for information professionals’) so perspective must come with continuing use of the technology. Smith’s (2008) presentation provides information on how to build a PLN, it shows effective use of RSS feeds to keep yourself connected. Using my RSS reader more effectively and having more of my information come through this feed would be a good way to feel more in control of my PLN. I could also set up different feeds for university work/work learning and general interest so that my feeds are more concentrated to what I require. During this process it would also be valuable to evaluate what I am subscribed to in order to lose anything that doesn’t provide me with value. Hopefully this will go some way to providing me with balance.

References

Klingensmith, K. (2009). PLN: Your personal learning network made easy. Retrieved from http://onceateacher.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/pln-your-personal-learning-network-made-easy/ on 7 August, 2012.

Smith, B. (2008). Creating an online personal learning network. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/bethanyvsmith/creating-an-online-personal-learning-network-presentation on 7 August, 2012.

Utech, J. (2008). Stages of PLN adoption. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingstick.com/stages-of-pln-adoption on 7 August, 2012.


Creating Library websites – some criteria

After reviewing literature by Mathews (2009), Lazaris (2009), McBurnie (2007) and Governor et al (2009) which discuss criteria for the creation of websites I have devised some of my own for creating effective library websites. I have then evaluated a library website against this criteria.

  1. If the library is part of a bigger organisation such as a University, the website design should not be divorced from the style of the other websites of that organisation. It should be recognisable as part of that organisation and not sit apart from it.
  2. Content should not be overcomplicated, out-dated or over-crowded. This could confuse users and give them a frustrating or negative experience (Mathews, 2009).
  3. Navigation and call-to-action areas should be clear, concise and easily recognisable (Lazaris, 2009) if a website is hard or confusing to navigate clients may abandon their efforts.
  4. Searching the catalogue should be accessible from any page on the Library’s website, clients should not be required to stumble around attempting to search the Library’s catalogue (Mathews, 2009).
  5. “Clearly define the audience” (Governor et al, 2009) there is no point proceeding with development of a website if you do not know the wants and needs of your clients and build your site as a response to that.
  6. Carefully consider scripting. CSS offers the ability to change templates across the entire site simultaneously rather than the tedious exercise of editing each page. When building consider sustainability and staff time for upkeep/editing (Governor et al, 2009).
  7. Incorporate web 2.0 technologies: there is no shortage in options so look at your needs vs. what the platform is capable of vs. how popular it is. For example if you need video sharing and vimeo offers more editing options than YouTube you would be inclined to use vimeo. However, YouTube might be more popular which increases the discoverability of the Library’s videos and therefore helps build the Library’s online identity (McBurnie, 2007; Cowling, 2012).
  8. Clients should have positive experiences using the website. Use bright colours effectively to highlight areas of your page and positive focal points such as pictures of people enjoying themselves in the Library space (Lazaris, 2009).

 

The University of Wollongong Library page does embrace some of the above criteria. The website has similar branding to that of other UOW sites, colours are bright and cheerful without overwhelming the page and the focal points include drop down menus, a cheerful photo of a student in the stacks and the navigation buttons. It does embrace Web 2.0 technology and it’s Facebook and Ask-a-Librarian pages are easy to locate from the homepage. They do use CSS scripting to style their page and it is obvious they have considered their target audience whilst building the page from the options available e.g. support for researchers.

One big negative for this website is the fact that there is not a catalogue search bar on every page. There are search bars for other purposes which could be confusing as they are sometimes in the same spot as other search bars have been.

UOWL homepage

UOWL homepage

References

Cowling, D. (2012). Social media statistics – July 2012. Retrieved from http://www.socialmedianews.com.au/social-media-statistics-australia-july-2012/ on 2 August, 2012.

Governor, J., Hinchcliffe, D, & Nickull, D. (2009). Web 2.0 architectures (1st ed.). Sebastopol, Calif.: O’Reilly Media. [ebook] Available http://proquest.safaribooksonline.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/9780596514433

Lazaris, L. (2009). Designing websites for kids: Trends and best practices, Smashing Magazine, (27 November). Retrieved from http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/11/27/designing-websites-for-kids-trends-and-best-practices/ on 2 August, 2012.

Mathews, B. (2009). Web design matters: Ten essentials for any library site. Library Journal, (15 February). Retrieved from http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6634712.html?industryid=47126 on 2 August, 2012.

McBurnie, J. (2007). Your online identity: Key to marketing and being found. FUMSI, (October). Retrieved from http://web.fumsi.com/go/article/share/2510 on 2 August, 2012.

University of Wollongong (2011). University of Wollongong Library Homepage. Retrieved from http://www.library.uow.edu.au/index.html on 2 August, 2012.

Vimeo(2012). Vimeo homepage. Retrieved from http://vimeo.com/ on 2 August, 2012.

YouTube (2012). YouTube homepage. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/ on 2 August, 2012.


Brown’s A-Z List of web 2.0 technology for Libraries

AnnaLaura Brown (2010) wrote an article on her blog listing ways in which libraries can utilise social networking technologies to benefit their clients. Below is just a couple of her points and how I feel they could be applied to a University library, this library has begun use of some social networking technologies, but does not appear to be using them to their full potential.

F-Facebook, having a presence on facebook with a fan page or a group is a must. Facebook is so popular now that it is expected” (Brown, 2010).

The library posts once a week or so, mostly concerning services. These posts are just general informative posts with a stock picture. Comments on the Library’s posts are few and far between and the ‘likes’ have sat at 621 for months. This page needs a total refresh, include content that students are interested in, engage using information and questions that are interesting, e.g. today is Charles Dickens 200th birthday, what is your favourite tale?

“H-Help- relying on only one or two people to build your library’s social networking presence will not work. It needs to be a whole team effort on behalf of your entire library staff.

Z-zeal, is your library staff exciting about the possibilities that social networking can offer your library? If not, you will struggle to make it work for you” (Brown, 2010).

In a lot of ways H & Z go hand in hand, if staff aren’t excited about it, they will not help whole-heartedly. Getting staff familiar with these technologies will go a long way to getting them excited about it. Perhaps at an all staff meeting encourage your staff to tweet and have a screen up displaying the live twitter feed. Create a storify later on so staff can come back and revisit the events of the day.

“M- Mobile, more and more your library’s social networking needs to be able to be accessed via mobile devices. There are also more options than ever for making this a reality” (Brown, 2010).

Almost everywhere has a mobile version of their website now, to not be well and truly in this sphere is a bad place to be. Currently the library has released a mobile site only last year and it is still working out bugs. Their needs to be a concerted effort to have this website running flawlessly by the end of 2012. Right now not only is the library far behind its competitors, but also behind it’s vendors.

yourlibrary.edinburgh.gov.uk

yourlibrary.edinburgh.gov.uk

“V-Video whether on youtube or elsewhere, use video to enhance and engage with your users via social networking” (Brown, 2010).

Video sharing sites like YouTube can be embedded in most other social networking platforms. If the library were to create its own youtube channel it could promote it via the libraries facebook or twitter page. It can be used to connect with students, for example rather than book suggestions from Goodreads, you could tape interviews with library staff about books they recommend.

References

Brown, A. (2010). A to Z of social networking for libraries. Retrieved from http://socialnetworkinglibrarian.com/2010/01/22/a-to-z-of-social-networking-for-libraries/ on 30 July, 2012.

OnceUponaTingle2. (2012). Library role play #1: YA Recommendations (ASMR). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eCwdhpyqYQ on 30 June, 2012.