Andrew Eynon’s Library Blog

A blog about librarianship in Further Education

Archive for July, 2008

Library Web Quest week 7 YouTube

Posted by andrewey on July 30, 2008

This is the penultimate week of the Web Quest.

We are looking at producing a library induction video (which can go on YouTube) to support learners who are not able to attend a face-to-face induction. We have been using the Cephalonian method of face-to-face inductions for the last couple of years successfully – in the form of an interactive tour.

I have found a couple of FE library inductions on YouTube:

Stratford upon Avon College uses LRC staff and students to successfully promote the service.

Norwich College has a general college induction on YouTube, which includes a segment on the LRC. The video uses prompt cards rather than dialogue.

There are a couple of good examples from HE as well. The Library induction video from UWIC uses a member of library staff to talk through the facilities available.

There is also a very professional looking video from De Montfort University which uses students to promote the library service.

The other main potential use of YouTube (or other video clips) would be to teach information skills/literacy. At present there appear to be relatively few examples of this on YouTube and there seem to be none from FE. In terms of style there is a ‘talking head’ series from Bob Baker in the States on information literacy, much of which would be relevant to FE in the UK.

Or if puppets! are more your style try the humorous approach of Gareth Johnson. Gareth covers library staff training as well as information skills training for academic staff and students.

There are plenty of YouTube clips suitable for (library or academic) staff training. A good series on Web 2.0 which could be used by staff or students are available from Commoncraft.

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How FE libraries can support the use of Web 2.0 technologies in teaching

Posted by andrewey on July 25, 2008

As a consequence of our Web 2.0 in FE project, the college’s ILT Champion surveyed college (teaching) staff about which Web 2.0 technologies they were using, why and how. The survey was conducted via e-mail over three days at the end of April this year. The number of responses (28) was high given the short turn around and is a higher response than usual to ILT surveys of this kind. The responses were mainly in relation to the use of such technologies in teaching, but also included mention of personal use by staff.

The main reason cited for using Web 2.0 technologies was that they provided functionality not available on college networked software. Staff also cited the freedom from ‘network control’ as being another motivator for using these technologies. Only a couple of staff cited their use for collaborative creation/user feedback – which are of course the defining features of Web 2.0 technologies.

The main purposes of using Web 2.0 technologies were:

  • Lesson content
  • Galleries of student work
  • Communication
  • Learning activities
  • File sharing
  • Virtual meetings

A small number of ILT Champions in other Welsh colleges were also surveyed. Web 2.0 applications, although outside college control, are increasingly seen as having a positive impact in terms of developing generic IT/Web based skills which benefit learning in general and, in particular, enhance the use of college Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs).  Until recently many colleges have been blocking access to many Web 2.0 sites because their use was seen as social/recreational rather than educational. Colleges are, however, encouraging the use of Web 2.0 technologies (such as blogs, chat rooms and instant messaging) within existing VLEs. This ensures an element of control and enables teaching staff to be better supported in the use of such technologies (rather than using unsupported third party software).

The Web 2.0 technologies used (and their purpose) were as follows:

YouTube

Distributing student work

Obtaining feedback – which was seen as a positive functionality, in a commercial/marketing sense, for students studying media, design etc

Demonstration – eg engineering activities, dance/drama techniques, biomechanics in sport, learning languages etc

Information  - eg on tourism, sport, history, psychologists etc

Social networking sites (mainly Facebook)

Graphic design – creating skins on Bebo

Improve ICT skills/knowledge – a couple of staff made the point that it is the mature students who want to know more about Web 2.0 technologies (presumably the younger students already know). Whereas some (college) library services have dismissed Web 2.0 technologies as being the preserve of young students who are only interested in their social uses. 

Keep in contact with alumni

Communication – within a student group and between former and current learners

Second Life

For E-commerce

As an example of emerging technologies

As a virtual classroom

However, Second Life was the Web 2.0 resource that staff were most concerned about, with regard to the presence of ‘inappropriate material’

Podcasting

For information/course content

For teaching audio production

Social bookmarking (Del.icio.us)

To access bookmarks across PCs

Wikis

Collaborative creation by a group of students

Blogs

To produce assignments

Opportunities for the library service

The responses lend themselves to library involvement in supporting the use of Web 2.0 technologies by teaching staff in a variety of ways:

Supporting the use of Web 2.0 technologies as information sources

The library staff can provide Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) services to alert staff to new resources to support their vocational/subject area. We are using the library blog and subject specific Del.icio.us accounts to this end. Alternatively library staff can support teaching staff in setting up their own SDI/alerting services using RSS feeds/newsreaders (it was noticeable that only one respondent said they used RSS feeds in teaching).

Promoting emerging technologies 

It would appear that the use of Web 2.0 technologies in teaching is still limited to a relatively small number of applications. By experimenting with Web 2.0 technologies, in a library context, then library staff are ideally suited to raise awareness of those technologies (and their potential use for collaborative creation and obtaining user feedback) amongst teaching staff.

Staff training

A number of respondents specifically asked whether the college would be providing staff training on the use of these technologies. In response, the library staff have run staff development sessions on Web 2.0 technologies raising awareness of the technologies and promoting the library’s own Web 2.0 developments. Consequently, for September, we are already being asked to provide similar training to students.

Posted in Inspiring Learning, Library 2.0, Using Web 2.0 in teaching | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Library Web Quest week 6 RSS Feeds

Posted by andrewey on July 24, 2008

This week we are looking at RSS Feeds and RSS aggregators/news readers. The library staff are evaluating Pageflakes, although I opted for Google Reader simply because I use iGoogle (so one less username/password to remember) and there is a widget for my iGoogle homepage.

There certainly seem to be a number of uses for newsreaders in a college setting. Having recently looked at what scholarly activity encompasses in a HE in FE context (see John Widdowson for a good overview), one aspect is current awareness through professional reading. In conjunction with a more academic alerting service (like ZETOC) this would be a good acedemic use of a newsreader. Similarly, for CILIP Chartership/ACLIP candidates, setting up a newsreader for library sites/blogs would be good evidence of professional awareness/CPD.

From a tutor’s perspective it is a useful tool for monitoring class blogs. Using the same principle we have a Pageflakes page showing all the library staff blogs (in relation to their reflective accounts on the Library Web Quest).

As regards RSS feeds – newsreader services seem to be a better way of keeping upto date with regularly consulted websites/blogs, but an RSS feed is a good way of promoting the library service (and the library blog in particular). Currently we have an RSS feed to our library blog on the college’s Moodle (VLE) homepage and we will add one to the MyAthens homepage (which students use to access online resources remotely).

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Making the transition to Librarian 2.0 continued

Posted by andrewey on July 23, 2008

A fourth driver for the transition to Librarian 2.0, that I should have included, is peer pressure. This need not be a negative factor (ie feeling obliged to adopt new technologies simply because others are) but instead it is more often the case that we benefit from the experience of colleagues in other institutions in their experimentation with new technology.

For example, it is noticeable that four Welsh colleges library services (out of 25) have blogs and that three of these were set up within a short space of time of each other this academic year. Although this is a small number it would appear to be (at least in percentage terms) much higher than the adoption of blogs in English colleges. Also in Wales, the JISC RSC also has a blog – primarily as a source of information for FE colleges and again this was seen as a model of good practice for college library services to follow.

The main constraint on the adoption of Web 2.0 technologies (and staff transition to Librarian 2.0) is not, unlike most new technology, cost as most Web 2.0 applications are free. The main barrier is perceived to be the impact on staff time (see the debate on David Lee King’s blog). I would agree that in reality this is something of a misnomer as most of the uses of web 2.0 technologies do replace existing activities eg marketing, creating subject guides, selective dissemination of information (SDI) services etc.

Furthermore, other trends in the library sector will, or have, reduced the time spent on traditional activities eg cataloguing replaced by downloading records, counter duties replaced by RFID or other self-circulation technology, EDI reducing the time spent ordering material and shelf ready stock reducing processing time.

The first step is therefore to integrate the use of web 2.0 technologies into existing duties (where appropriate) to replace/complement existing activities. This could entail minor activities such as encouraging all staff to add useful websites they come across to the relevant Del.icio.us account.

Secondly, develop new ways of supporting our users using web 2.0 technologies (utilising the time savings inherent in other new library developments, highlighted above). This second step may take some time to reach, particularly for FE library services where staffing levels tend to be much lower than in HE. A third step would be the creation of a developmental (or explicit Librarian 2.0) role to fully utilise the benefits of web 2.0 technolgies. I think we can assume that the third step is highly unlikely in an FE library service, however, there is no reason why any library service should not be looking at the possible benefits to the service of engaging in step one. By (all) staff engaging in this first step the transition to Library 2.0 (and Librarian 2.0) will be well under way.

Posted in FE Libraries, Library 2.0 | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Inspiring Learning Web 2.0/Library 2.0 project

Posted by andrewey on July 22, 2008

The CyMAL Web 2.0 project I am currently engaged in uses the Museums Libraries & Archives (MLA) Inspiring Learning For All Framework (ILFA). This framework enables library and museums services to evaluate their service (or aspects of it) against a series of criteria. There is an institutional set of criteria but the criteria that I will be using are the Generic Learning Outcomes (GLO) and Generic Social Outcomes (GSO) parts of the framework.

The ILFA framework is common to England and Wales (although in Wales it is simply known as Inspiring Learning). The GLO framework offers a way of recording the generic (or soft) learning outcomes that users get through their interaction with a library/museum service. The GSO framework extends this to social outcomes – particularly user/community engagement.

Project aims

Appoint a Web 2.0 Librarian on secondment (part-time 0.5 post) to develop and promote the use of Web 2.0 technologies in the library and to support academic staff and learners in the use of these technologies

To examine the issues affecting FE library services in the adoption of Web 2.0 technologies and the transition to Library 2.0

To train all Coleg Llandrillo library staff in the use of Web 2.0 technologies. The online Library Web Quest we are piloting can be rolled out to library staff across Wales (in any sector)

To undertake a study of the current use of Web 2.0 technologies by teaching staff and to identify roles for library staff in supporting this usage

To run training sessions for college staff and learners in the use of Web 2.0 technologies

To experiment with Web 2.0 technologies to identify their potential use by (FE) libraries or their use in teaching and learning

To undertake focus groups with selected groups of teaching staff and learners to evaluate the success of these initiatives (which will be mapped to the ILFA GLO and GSO framework)

To disseminate our findings to the FE library sector - using this blog, by holding dissemination events and feedback via the fforwm LRM network and other professional networks (eg CoFHE)

Posted in FE Libraries, Inspiring Learning | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Making the transition to Librarian 2.0

Posted by andrewey on July 18, 2008

Having looked in my last but one posting at a few simple steps for FE libraries to become Library 2.0 – how do library staff make the transition to Librarian 2.0?

I’ll use David Lee King’s Library 2.0 spectrum as a starting point:

Library 2.0 Spectrum

Library 2.0 Spectrum

This diagram does offer a useful description of the different stages of library work in the transition from a ‘traditional’ librarian to Librarian 2.0. There are of course problems with the diagram (aside from the use of the term ‘Luddite’):

The use of electronic resources, e-mail reference and Google seems to happen before the librarian realises people use libraries in non-traditional ways (surely these developments go hand in hand?).

The light bulb moment may be more gradual than implied – again this recognising of the potential of Web 2.0 technologies probably goes hand in hand with using/experimenting with them. 

Even the implementation phase is somewhat misleading as one of the defining features of Web 2.0/Library 2.0 is the continual experimentation with new technology ie we may never arrive at the finished article.

The final phase, which David says we have probably not reached yet, will be a seamless use of Web 2.0 at work and in our personal lives. I suspect there are people entering the profession where this is already the case.

However, the model has only a very limited lifespan as anyone entering the profession (or already in it one hopes) is already comfortable using online resources. Also, one presumes, in the near future new staff entering the profession will already be familiar with, and regular users of, Web 2.0 technologies.

Therefore, I think the diagram is best viewed as a whole – as integral aspects of a librarian’s role. I don’t think anyone is suggesting we ditch traditional resources let alone online databases or e-mail so we can assume for the foreseeable future that Librarian 2.0 will be doing all of the above.

The crucial issue therefore is who (or what) is the driver in this transition from librarian 1.0 to librarian 2.0?

There are probably three determining factors:

  • An enlightened service keen to experiment with new technology and to upskill its staff

  • Librarians using or promoting Web 2.0 technologies in the service

  • As a direct response to library users

In practice it is probably a combination of these factors but certainly library services can be more proactive by encouraging staff to become more familiar with Web 2.0 technologies without waiting for staff to come to that decision themselves – as indicated in David’s diagram.

We have introduced our Library Webquest specifically for that purpose ie to raise awareness amongst library staff as to the possible uses of Web 2.0 technologies in a library context and to give them practical experience of using those technologies.

For a more philosophical take on making the transition to Librarian 2.0 try Laura Cohen’s A Librarian’s 2.0 Manifesto. If your approach to librarianship agrees with most of Laura’s manifesto you are probably already a Librarian 2.0 irrespective of your knowledge of web 2.0 technologies.

Posted in FE Libraries, Library 2.0 | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Library Web Quest week 5 Wikis

Posted by andrewey on July 17, 2008

This week we are looking at Wikis. Wikis are already being used by tutors in the college for collaborative exercises with students.

Again wikis are free tools which allow you to create content quickly and simply. In contrast to blogs they are more useful for creating information sources, particularly as they are more structured. Like other web 2.0 tools they enable collaborative creation and can be accessed anywhere.

I have used PBwiki to create a site containing examples of good practice in the use of Web 2.0 technologies by FE libraries. If you know of any good examples from FE that I can add then please leave a comment here.

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How to make the transition to Library 2.0

Posted by andrewey on July 14, 2008

Of course this presuposes that the service and staff adopt the Library 2.0 ‘state of mind’ described in Academic Library 2.0.

Michael Stephens has identified 5 initial steps to becoming library 2.0:

Start a library blog
Create an Emerging Technology Committee
Train staff to use an RSS aggregator
Experiment and use 2.0 Tools
Implement IM reference

These are certainly very achievable aims even for a modest sized FE college – we will have achieved all of the above well inside 12 months.

Our library blog LibeRaCe has been running for almost 12 months and has generated far more interest and usage than hoped for – we are currently at over 12,000 visits in approximately 10 months of operation. Blogs can be set up quickly – the real work involved is maintaining it by adding a regular stream of posts (we aim to add a post every working day).

We have not set up an Emerging Technology Committee – because a formal library committee of this nature is unnecessary, and probably impractical, in FE. However, we do have informal meetings of the library staff interested in Web 2.0 – often with our ILT Champion. We also have a Library Committee where Web 2.0 developments can be discussed with teaching staff. Web 2.0 will be a standing item at library team meetings from September.

Setting up RSS agregators is part of our current Web Quest programme so that by September all library staff will be trained to do this – some are already using them (we have one using Pageflakes for all the library staff blogs so that staff can see at a glance if there are any new posts).

We are experimenting with a number of Web 2.0 tools – the most successful so far has been del.icio.us which we are using to create virtual reading lists for individual subject areas. Currently we have a general one for all subject areas and my library specific one. Other tools we are experimenting with include Flickr, Facebook, blogs, wikis and Youtube.

Finally, with regard to Instant Messaging, we will be using the Pronto tool which will be available within our Moodle VLE. We aim to use this as a general helpdesk facility – mainly for IT support rather than for reference enquiries (although that will be included too). The plan is to have this service in place for September.

Posted in FE Libraries, Library 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Academic Library 2.0

Posted by andrewey on July 11, 2008

Of course when people talk of Academic Library 2.0 they are really talking about HE libraries – so to what extent are the features of Academic Library 2.0 common to FE?

I’m going to use the features of Academic Library 2.0 as defined in Building Academic Library 2.0  – a presentation by Meredith Farkas to a gathering of university librarians in the States (Meredith’s presentation starts 13 mins into the clip if you want to skip the intros) – to discuss its relevance to FE.

Meredith defines the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 as being the switch from accessing/consuming information on the internet to creating it. What, however, defines the transition from Library 1.0 to Library 2.0?

Meredith disputes the view that this is a switch from a traditional print bound service to a more technologically literate one as she also sees Library 2.0 as being more a philosophy or ‘state of mind’ rather than a technological change (see David Lee King’s website for the opposing print bound to technologically ‘savvy’ library service debate).

I would argue that the difference between Library 1.0 and Library 2.0 is the transition from the ‘librarian knows best’ (or to put it more kindly providing what we think the user wants) to a more participatory service  which is user led. There is nothing preventing a ‘traditional’ library service making this transition (and many probably have) but it would appear that Web 2.0 technologies offer far more scope for (immediate) user engagement with and particpation in service delivery than ‘traditional’ methods.

Meredith describes some of the trends which have led to the rise of Library 2.0 as follows:

Technology is easier to use – I would add that coupled with this that many of the Web 2.0 tools are free which is a crucial factor in their adoption by resource poor library services as typified by FE.

Library faces more competition eg from Google – which is simple to use and for many people more convenient

Traditional library facilities/services are on the wane – Meredith even points out that OPAC use is declining whilst most other online resources are showing big increases. I’m not sure how true this is in FE where web OPACS are still very new. Although I have no hard data I’m sure our new web OPAC is far more heavily used than the old one particularly as it allows you to search the holdings of partner institutions.

Meredith quite rightly stresses the ‘state of mind’ aspects of the transition to Library 2.0:

Willingness to meet changing user needs

‘Radical trust’ ie being more open to criticism from our users

Getting rid of the culture perfect ie being more prepared to try out new technologies or initiatives rather than wasting time in the planning stage or waiting for solutions to be perfected.

Willingness to look for best practice in other library sectors and other service industries. In FE I think we do tend to only look to HE libraries for inspiration whereas much of what we do, in terms of widening participation, is more akin to the Reader Development work done in public libraries.

I will return to ‘Building Academic Library 2.0′ in later posts when I will look at practical ways of implementing Library 2.0 and when looking at those issues we need to take into account when planning/delivering Library 2.0.

Posted in FE Libraries, Library 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Library Web Quest week 4 flickr

Posted by andrewey on July 10, 2008

I can certainly see the use flickr as a way of promoting special collections. As a practical example storing photos from our recent Library awards event would be a good use of this tool.

The transfer of files to/from Flickr (and directly into a blog) is straightforward and it is useful to have the option to download photos in different sizes.

I’m still building up my collection of bookmarks on Del.icio.us and have now created a virtual reading list for every unit on the Applications of ICT in Libraries course that I deliver/co-ordinate. This will hopefully save myself and the students much time in the future in terms of finding and sharing good online resources.

As regards blogging, in addition to my weekly Web Quest blogs, I’m going to add regular posts on Library 2.0 issues and the use of Web 2.0 technologies relating to FE libraries.

Posted in Library Web Quest, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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