acrl northwest 2006 – day one

“The Emerging Youth Literacy Landscape of Joy” -Dr. Anthony Bernier (San Jose State University)

New Youth Literacies

  • state of current research
    • research shifted from what young people knew to how they knew it
    • young people learn bibliographic skills differently from adults
    • as a result, pedagogy itself must become more flexible
    • ethnographic research can help us
  • gaps in research
    • students are reduced to one-dimensional themes
    • information seeking is individual
    • games structure and play can inform us about youth information seeking
    • young people are viewed only as information consumers
  • libraries need to be asking why questions about young people information seeking choices
  • new paths for research
    • consider the daily life of young people
    • email is now just a quaint way to communicate with old people
    • New Youth Literacy – young people as literacy producers
      • fugitive literacy produced in small lots, non-sequential, and non-serial; using all forms of media – ephemera
      • Berkeley High School Slang Dictionary, 2002
    • Information futures and young people
      • emerging technologies for education – The Horizon Report 2006 Edition – collaboration and social computing needs to be embraced by university libraries – IM reference, Flickr, Skype, pod/webcasting, etc.
      • future challenges
        • intellectual property
        • continuing information literacy skills
        • technical support

“A Sensible Approach to New Technologies in Libraries: How do you work Library 2.0 into your 1.5 library with your 1.23 staff and your .98 patrons?” – Jessamyn West
http://librarian.net/talks/acrl-or

  • It isn’t about being expert on the latest and greatest, it’s about being flexible enough to learn the technologies you and your patrons use.
  • Smart people read the manual – knowing how to use tools to solve your problems is almost the same as solving them on your own.
  • In the end, it’s what you want out of your computer.
  • Web 2.0: “Your cats have profiles on Catster.”
  • Library 2.0 is a service philosophy: being willing to try new things and constantly evaluating your services – look outside the library world to find solutions to internal problems – the Read/Write Web
  • Librarian 2.0: not being the bottleneck between patrons and the information they want
  • Email is for talking to your colleagues.
  • Technocracy lives in chat.
  • “Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” — so do our users
  • “Blogs are like courseware, only easy to use.”
  • “Pew reports are like crack to librarians.”
  • It doesn’t matter if you think Wikipedia is good or bad. The reality is that’s where the eyeballs are.
  • Open APIs allow people to do nerdy type of stuff – mashups turn nifty things into tools you use for work.
  • People who have broadband connections are the ones interacting with the internet, and web-based tools are being created for them, not for dialup people.

I really liked this talk. Jessamyn is an engaging speaker.


“Web 2.0 Is the Web” or “We’re All Millenials Now” – Rachel Bridgewater
del.icio.us tag “menucha06

  • “born digital people”
  • Match the tool to the job – you can learn how to use them, so the question is do you need it?
  • How does Web 2.0 effect scholarship? Sort of is the original vision of what the web would be – everyone is a publisher and information is shared freely.
  • What is 2.0 for librarians?
    • web as platform
    • radical openness: open source, open standards (API, etc.)
    • flattened hierarchy
    • user focused
    • micro-content: blog post as unit of content; atomization of content
  • Web 1.0 is a framework based on the print world – the NetGens don’t need them

Web 2.0 that enhances library stuff

  • Social bookmarks can be constantly evolving bibliographies.
  • Blogs are a platform for sharing scholarly ideas that are not developed as a part of complex papers or monographs, and they allow for more immediate discourse.
  • Networked books (Library Journal article about the social book) – how do they effect our ideas of authorship when they can be created and contributed to by anonymous writers via wikis and other similar tools? See Lawrence Lessig’s book Code. Does canon mean anything anymore?
  • Peer review – can it be replaced by real-time peer review through comments and/or wiki edits? “open peer review”
  • Open data – using distributed computing networks to crunch numbers – more than just searching for aliens. Link to the raw data from the online journal article. Libraries could/should be the server repositories.

Maybe we should be listening to our patrons to find out where information is going. Maybe Wikipedia is the future. Instead of saying that our databases are like the Reader’s Guide, we should be saying they’re like Wikipedia, only created by known scholars and proven to be authoritative.

updated to fix the tweaky code — didn’t have time to do it until now — sorry!

about

It has come to my attention that I don’t have an About page for this blog. I never really thought that I needed one, but perhaps I do.

I first learned of blogs and blogging when I read about Jessamyn West in Library Journal. I started reading librarian.net on a regular basis, and I was inspired to try this blogging thing myself. The first incarnation of my blog was called “because everyone else is doing it” and was powered by Blogger. Wanting to get away from free webhosts and BlogSpot, I took the plunge and purchased my own domain name and hosting through Powweb. Thus, the eclectic librarian was born.

I have worked in libraries since I was an undergraduate student in 1994. By the time I left to begin the master’s program at the University of Kentucky, I had experience in almost every department of a library. At first I thought I wanted to be a cataloger, but the technology classes interested me more, and I began to explore that aspect of librarianship.

My first post-graduate job was as a serials and database cataloger at a medium-sized comprehensive university in Kentucky. It was mainly a paycheck and a foot in the door of academic librarianship, but after I attended a NASIG conference, I gained a better appreciation of the serials and related electronic resources specialty. My responsibilities shifted more towards electronic resources, mirroring the serials industry’s shift to online access and the issues surrounding that.

Now I am the serials department head and electronic resources librarian for another medium-sized comprehensive university, but this one is in Washington. I work closely with the systems librarian to improve service for our electronic resources. I am still quite interested in the technology aspects of the profession and issues related to them, which is evident in the contents of this blog. I don’t write much about serials in particular, and that’s mainly because most of the innovative work is being done on the electronic side of serials publishing, and there are other blogs that specialize in those issues.

I have a wide variety of other interests, including music, internetbased hobbies, and outdoor activities. I am also occasionally politically minded with a left-of-center flavor and a bit cynical.

Lately I have been writing reviews for Blogcritics.org, so you’ll see a few of these pop up occasionally.

what’s wrong with a little enthusiasm?

Rory Litwin thinks blogs are over-rated.

Rory Litwin has some pretty harsh words about librarians who are still excited about the web and new web-related technologies in the latest issue of Library Juice. I’m beginning to suspect that he likes picking virtual fights.

“As an example I would like to cite the blogging craze – and it is a craze in its current form – because so many people, librarians included, have started their own blogs for no discernible reason and through blogs have renewed their irrational excitement about the Web in general.”

This statement might very well apply to my blog, since I don’t have any particular focus other than my own interests. Possibly, my comments would be better served in the form of a private off-line journal, or as email messages sent to certain friends. However, in the past year I have approached my blog with the mentality of being a part of a wider community of my peers, much like the way other scholarly communication has been done for centuries. I don’t think I’ve gotten to the point where my little essays and opinions will be quoted and passed around, but I’m working my way there. I see this as a tool to contribute to the wider conversation in the profession.

There are other blogs that are more focused and in many ways are the best supplements to officially recognized professional literature that I have found. Jessamyn West and the LISNews collaborative blog are my two main sources of recent news about library-related issues. I’m finding out about things well before they show up in any of the traditionally recognized mediums. Jenny Levine and Sarah Houghton keep me up to speed on the latest technology that may impact my work. Half the stuff they write about will likely never show up in the professional literature, even if it should.

There are other blogs out there that are less insightful or informative than those I mentioned above. In fact, as was the case when personal web pages were the new fad, there are quite a few blogs out there that are little more than public diaries. However, I think that Litwin is throwing the baby out with the bath water when he chastises librarians for their excitement about the blog medium.

“Many people are now using the blog format where a chronological organization is not appropriate to the content they are putting up, for no other reason than that blogs are hot and there are services supporting them. This is irrational. I feel that librarians should be a little more mature and less inclined to fall for Internet crazes like this. That is not to say that a blog is never a useful thing, only that blogs – as everything on the web – should be seen for what they are and not in terms of a pre-existing enthusiasm.”

As with any new toy, eventually the shine will wear off and those folks will realize that the blog medium, regardless of its simplicity or fashion, does not fit their needs. Since Litwin does not provide specific examples of these inappropriate uses of blogs, I cannot address them. My experience with librarian blogs has been such that the chronological format works well. There is only one instance that I know of in which the blog format may not fit. The reference team at my library has replaced their frequently asked questions notebook and miscellaneous announcements notes with a Blogger weblog. The advantage of this format is that the contents are easily searchable. The disadvantage is that several workarounds have been used to organize the entries. I suspect that what they really need is a blog for the announcement bits and a separate wiki for the “this is a good resource for (fill in the blank)” type entries. I am confident that eventually they will move on to some other format that better serves their needs, and in the meantime, they will have become familiar with yet another piece of modern technology.

Quite a few of the new blogs that are created daily by librarians never make it out of their infancy. For the most part, they’re too busy or uninterested or have nothing to write about. Still, I think it’s important for librarians to try new things, and if blogs are the latest internet fad, then at least librarians should play with them long enough to evaluate them. My first blog was called “because everyone else is doing it” and was basically a public forum for occasional rants, links, commentary, and some library-related information. It was a good experiment, and as I became more familiar with the tools, I began to see other uses for blogs. The chronological format works well for my radio playlists.

Blogs introduced me to RSS feeds, and from there I have been thinking of several different ways librarians could use RSS. It even instilled a desire to learn Perl and PHP so that I could know enough coding to hack a feed of our new acquisitions as they are added to the collection. If we’re going to put up new book lists, then why not also make a feed for them? The University of Louisville Library not only provides RSS feeds for their new books, they also have subject-specific feeds. Soon it may be possible to create feeds from saved searches in the catalog, much like what some online news sources provide. Those feeds would be even more specific and would alert faculty, graduate students, or anyone else interested, when new items are cataloged that fit the search terms. I digress.

All this is to say that weblogs are useful, and that librarians should be savvy enough to know when and where to make use of them. We all aren’t permanently dazzled by new shiny toys.

I look forward to reading responses to Litwin’s essay in the librarian blogosphere.

West v. Ranganathan

Jessamyn West has more links in her Google/dmoz directory than Ranganathan himself. Is this sick and wrong?

Jessamyn West pointed out today that she has her own Google/dmoz category. Not only that, but she has more links in her category than Ranganathan. There’s something seriously wrong with the world when one innovative, blogging, rarin’ librarian can have more links in a web directory than one of the most important theorists on classification and indexing.

Incidentally, two of the Ranganathan links are duplicates and at least one is a 404. I think I might volunteer to edit that category just to clean up the mess that is in there at the moment.

rebecca blood

I read her book We’ve Got Blog last fall, and it inspired me to keep on with my blog and give it more solid content. I’m not sure of where I first heard of this weblog thing. Maybe it was a story on NPR. Actually, it probably was. But what got me really interested in it was reading a profile of Jessamyn West in a library journal (possibly even Library Journal). In any case, I finally decided to check it out and started my own on Blogger.

Somewhere not too long after that, I read a review of this book that Rebecca Blood edited, and I thought, “That’s something we need in our Staff Picks/Popular Collection.” So, I ordered it. Over lunch for several days, I read the history of weblogs, and it made me very appreciative of tools like Blogger and Moveable Type. The odd thing is, I never went an read her blog. That is, until today. I’ll be adding it to my RSS feed reader.