Friday, September 30, 2011

Privatizing public libraries - this time the discussion moves Osceola County with county administrators in discussion with LSSI: Library Systems & Services of Maryland - sigh. The recent article in the Orlando Sentinel notes that the county will save money by eliminating the need to fund pensions. Does LSSI offer employees a retirement plan of any kind? I sent some email to LSSI and will update this if I get a response. The article notes that eliminating library hours is also under discussion either way I guess. Reduced hours is always a problem for users who have non-traditional work hours. One thing I don't see discussed: One of the roles for public libraries these days is providing computer services for users applying for jobs, applying for government benefits, etc. Should public libraries be getting some funds for other government agencies to support this need? Would that provide some assistance to public libraries? Jeannette Rivera-Lyles Osceola County may cut library hours to save money: Company negotiating to manage libraries proposes cuts of 30 hours a week at some branches. Orlando Sentinel September 29, 2011,0,2285773.story

Kindles and Public Libraries

Public library ebooks on the Amazon Kindle. Can libraries' guarantee readers' privacy? Overdrive as the middleman for the public library Kindle ebooks promises that it does not save user information. What about Amazon? Can they make the same guarantees? Librarians have long held that patrons are entitled to privacy of circulation records. This is supported by case law and reinforced by state laws such as California's This may continue to protect readers. I just finished the loan period after checking out my first Kindle ebook. I got this message: "Your public library loan has ended. If you purchase ---[name of book]---- from the Kindle Store or borrow it again from your local library, all of your notes and highlights will be preserved." This is a wonderful service. Amazon keeps tabs on what books I've accessed. I can access them again. Need to read up on a controversial matter or health concern? Perhaps we can trust Overdrive to protect patron records. Perhaps we cannot trust Amazon. What to read up on a controversial matter and don't want others to know? Perhaps accessing that book via your Kindle is not the way to go. Have any libraries put up notices about concern for patron privacy in the Amazon environment? Customization, personalization! Can we enjoy these kinds of services without risking out privacy? What about users chosing to make their reading lists public? Some readers are happily engaged in sharing their book lists via GoodReads, Facebook - gosh knows what other social networking sites - and not doing this anonymously - so we're already got a pretty messy situation. We librarians have been touting the joys of sharing information about ourselves - lists of our friends, books, music, places we frequent, etc. - in the name of... what? Are we being sold "sense of community" all the while providing free information to marketers and advertisers everywhere? (Speaking of music... I've been trying out Spotify and I'm getting the hang of it. I was appalled to find that Spotify has hooked up with Facebook and is set to let people know what music I'm listening too. I was then relieved to find there was some way to get it to refrain from sharing. I'm not a radio station. I tend to get on jags of listening to certain types of music for days on end and sometimes the same album (oops - I mean "carefully curated playlist") over and over. I know it's neurotic and don't need feel the need to make that patently obvious to my colleagues. ) Back to Kindle and public libraries: On a somewhat different note, Bobbi Newman seems aggravated that Amazon will have more information about library users than we librarians will have. She also wonders why libraries didn't set up affiliate status and get some of the proceeds if a public library user goes ahead and purchases a book after having checked the book out via their Kindle. I guess she is saying that as long as Amazon has all that information about who checked out what from which venue, then libraries ought to get some advantage out of it(?) I gather that privacy is not her main concern. See Mike Kelley Kindle Library Lending: A Triumph of Practicality Over Principles Library Journal September 28th, 2011 Gary Price. eBooks, privacy, and the library. INFOdocket. September 27, 2011. Bobbi Newman. Public Library eBooks on the Amazon Kindle – We Got Screwed Librarian by Day September 28, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Steve Wheeler says he'll publish open access only

Steve Wheeler takes a stand on publishing in open access journals only in his Learning with 'e's blog. Very admirable! I have not held myself to that standard. I guess my excuse is that I don't publish enough and feel obligated to take opportunities as they come up. Example: I wrote a chapter for a text book which was originally supposed to be published open access - but ended up with McGraw-Hill. The textbook is due out at the beginning of 2012. I guess I could have withdrawn my chapter, but not sure that anyone would have noticed. I would have simply disappointed a colleague. Another colleague and I are slated to write another couple of articles. I don't think that either journal allows authors to keep any rights. I could refuse to participate, but but my colleague still has a stake in the game. I've compromised some principles, haven't I. Added note: I'm going to add the hash tag that Martin Weller suggested we use for posts about digital scholarship for Change MOOC #change11digschol

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Print books are bulky

I had lunch with a friend yesterday. We hadn't seen each other in quite a while and C. brought me two books as a present: Two physical print books. I'm always delighted to have something new to read - but I had a visceral reaction: The books looked remarkably bulky to me(!) Don't get me wrong: I still own books; I check print books out of the libraries I use. Print books - love them.. but it was like a warped body image thing: The books seemed occupied a lot of three dimensional space.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Coherence; Online identities

George Siemens discusses coherence as a component of a learning environment. If we offer a "cohesive look at a discipline" in a course, do students get it - or do students have to create their own sense of coherence? Students can create a sense of coherence out of their social networks. Siemens describes information foraging among learners with faculty and core content in the middle of a diagram which also contains co-created content on the part of peripheral learners and external experts and learners themselves with OER hanging off to one side - the arrow pointing to "core content". ( Slide 39. ) Nice environment though I don't know why OER is off over on the side by itself as it is were supplemental to the core content rather than possibly the core content itself. The lines in the diagram.. Is Siemens suggesting that faculty are responsible for turning up some external experts and some peripheral learners for courses? I have a feeling that learners are themselves responsible for looking beyond the boundaries set by a coherent course. Are faculty totally wierded out by the idea that they don't teach "everything" in school? Are students angered that they didn't learn everything they need to know in school? Siemens will post the talk when it is available. Helen Keegan on The paradox of openness: The high costs of giving online. on actively developing our online identity. The "me" to the "professional me." Is it authentic to behave professionally in an online environment? Does this detract from the Web as a place of experimentation and fun? (Uh oh! Is experimentation and fun the opposite of "professional"?) Are we doing students a disservice if we ask them to post under their real names? (Can we have an "authentic self" that uses a pseudonym? Err... wait: what's an authentic self? The self that acts like a two-year old? OMG I hope not even though I do have a hypothesis that there is no such thing as an adult. ). There seems to be a couple of things going on: Should we moderate ourselves and behave professionally online? Should we practice doing this in a safe space? Pat Parslow in Comments says "I moderate what I say online – but then I moderate what I say “in real life...I think most people are engaging in identity performances most of the time. We do not, I would argue, tend to say or do the same things in front of our parents, as in front of our friends, or kids, or bosses (etc, etc). The walled garden is helpful in this regard... ” I'd say that we should ask students to think about their online presentation of self - and just in general... their presentation of self in everyday life. (Everyone run out an get Erving Goffman's book!) I'm thinking about Second Life: My avatar behaves in a professional manner. She identifies herself as a librarian. Like many others I have another avatar with a different name who could act up - but I have to say that she hasn't been activated in ages and never did get around to acting up. I suppose we could say that my inner two-year old has been thoroughly repressed. One thing comes to mind regarding management of self: Trey Pennington, social media guru, committed suicide over the weekend. ( His online follows who felt that they "knew" him and were connected in some way had to acknowledge that they did not know him. Should Pennington have revealed to all of his audiences that he was struggling with thoughts of suicide? Do we consider Pennington "inauthentic" since he didn't reveal to his suicidal thoughts to his Twitter followers? As usual these were items suggested by Stephen Downes OLDaily September 6, 2011 Yesterday (September 6) Bright House - my cable service - had significant periods of outage that included both TV and Internet. My land line from Verizon was not working. My cell phone was working, but I'm on an austerity budget - no backup mobile broadband access. Fairly boring! However I'm reading "23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism" ( and I wish I knew someone who'd read Chang's chapter on education and could let me know what they think about . Thing 17: More education in itself is not going to make a country richer. He says that getting everyone a college education is not necessarily going to improve the economy, but he does appreciate education for other reasons - improving one's quality of life for one thing. I'd love to know what others make of Thing 17.

Friday, September 2, 2011

OERu, open courses, credentials

Designing OERu Credentials: Aug 29-Sept 13, 2011 - A SCoPE seminar on "defining the variety of academic models by which an institution, or consortia of institutions, can use OER to create credentials." Interesting discussions! I'm wondering since PLAR (prior learning and assessment recognition) already exists and some academic institutions already accept all manner of prior learning that can include assessment of courses, life experiences, etc. what would be different about accepting learning pursued using open education resources? Why does the vehicle of learning - OER - matter? However I do understand that setting up the means to evaluate work done via OER is one way to encourage the growth and acceptance of open courses, etc. One issue that has surfaced is the price that institutions charge for assessing prior learning. A learner could be self-taught using open education resources - (even books from their local public library) - , only to find a cost barrier at the point of asking an institution to provide credentials. There was some discussion of freeing granting of credentials from traditional academic institutions. Some mentioned that associations provide credentials in some countries. There are also companies that offer evaluation services. Would these groups would be any less bound by standards of some sort? Once we've got standards, some learners are not granted credentials. Would these new credentialing groups be less "traditional"? About standards: Shouldn't we have some? Aren't there in fact some students who haven't learned?