Friday, March 16, 2007

Designing Better Libraries

Steven Bell and John Shanks new blog Designing Better Libraries

Librarians have been discussing what Web 2.0 means for libraries. Have Web 2.0 concepts had an impact on how reference librarians operate and do their work on behalf of users? I don't know... It all seems a bit much and overblown to me. Putting up a web page, putting up a blog... Of course it helps, but does having information online solve all user problems? It doesn't seem so to me. My sense is that we're answering a lot fewer factual questions than we might have in the past, but at our busy academic library, we are still doing a lot of one-on-one instruction. We still have a lot of the "How do I find peer-reviewed journal articles on (fill in the subject)?" kind of question. Do we have information about that online? Sure! Could we present that information in a better way? Probably. (It's the old problem: What do we call an "online indexes that contain at least some online full text articles with our SFX linking tool helping ferret out additional items that might not be available in the database you decided to search but at least you can limit to peer-reviewed journals with are journals where the articles are read by a panel of experts before publication and aren't the same kind of periodicals you find in your dentist's office?") I don't think it matters how "in your face" we get with our online "how to's", there are still going to be users who need contact with a human.

New things

Ok - I'm just plain stealing here - Who knows what languages on Second Life? From Yohan Althouse (SL name) . I'm interested in tracking info about Portuguese because I might get to go to Brazil in November and I know nothing.

Here are some links that may help...

Portuguese Forum
Brasil Sim

In world helpers

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I am not a blogger

Well, I guess we get the idea: I'm not a blogger. I can't seem to get here every day or so and post the things I'm working on... But...our library has made a decision not to support web pages for librarians - and I've been tussling with myself about moving all my stuff and getting something set up on my university's student/faculty web space... not sure I'm up to that though I did save myself some space there...! (Also too lazy to rummage around and find a good non-university web space to use..) .So I'm going to try using this as a way to stash links to interesting things... Not perfect, but let's see what happens. I'm going through my email and saving things... (I listened to McPhail's post about - Went to look.. .That's a possibility... Doesn't quite seem like it'll do it either... Maybe... Oh well - Here's some interesting things:

Open Learning Resources:

The ability to create free customizable textbooks? Now there's an idea!

OER Commons
I like idea of this... but I've noticed in the past that at repositories like Merlot the creators don't keep their modules updated. Buyer beware!

Blogging IT and EDucation (List of 3D worlds)
Emma Duke-Williams

Another IM tool.. We're looking at various chat software at the library. Our web person is pushing Meebo which looks soooooo... incredibly basic... that we'll be giving up some capabilities we have right now with our RNT software. (I'd try adding it to a personal web page if I had one.) The main "pro" seems to be that users would not even need an account on another IM service - They can just start typing. And we'll have NO information about the chatter - No option for them to put in their email address unless we ask and save the transcript - no automatic statistics gathering. No easy way to save and search transcripts that I can see. Why not try something like Trillian that might make chat easier on many many of our users and allow us to try some additional functionality for at least SOME users? One of these days users will stop being shy about using VoIP, etc...

7 things you should know about virtual worlds
I like the non-hysterical approach in this short piece. Virtual worlds - interesting - might do some things well - might not always be the answer - keep an eye on them - sort of tone.