Assignment Three: Evaluative and Reflective Statements

January 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm (Libraries, Library 2.0, Social Media, Social Network, Web 2.0 Tools and Apps) (, , , , , , , , )

Part One: Evaluative Statement

Learning Objectives:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of social networking technologies.
  2. Demonstrate and understanding of concepts, theory and practice of Library 2.0 and participatory library service.
  3. Be able to critically examine the features and functionality of various social networking tools to meet the information needs of users.
  4. Be able to evaluate social networking technologies to support informational and collaborative needs of workgroups, communities and organisations.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the social, cultural, educational, ethical, and technical management issues that exist in a socially networked world, and how information policy is developed and implemented to support such issues.

The three posts chosen reflect the learning objectives above by demonstrating my understanding of how Web 2.0 tools, applications and technologies can be used within the library environment to promote and develop library services to the community within the online world. The posts also document my current understanding towards the successful implementation of concepts such as Web 2.0, Library or Librarian 2.0 into the work environment and how these concepts – and subsequent online activities once implemented – can how this action can provide the basis for developing effective social media policies towards issues such as social, cultural, educational, ethical and technical management and the uptake of Web 2.0 technologies by enthusiastic staff members.

Post One: Five things needed to be ‘Library 2.0’ savvy

http://www.theinformationsocialite.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/five-things-needed-to-be-library-2-0-savvy/

This post meets learning objectives one and two as it highlights the qualities needed by both the individual and the organisation to become ‘Library 2.0’ and gain an effective and trusted online identity. The post discusses several basic concepts behind building confidence in the organisation’s online activities (and the confidence of the individual staff members whom are behind those activities) gradually by starting small with the use of applications such as facebook, a blog and/or a twitter feed. It also discusses the development of an organisation’s online presence and relationship with the end user (library patron) through regular posting of user relevant (and interesting) content.

Post Two: Web 2.0 and my local library…

http://www.theinformationsocialite.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/web-2-0-and-my-local-library/

This post meets learning objectives three and four by concentrating specifically on the City of Onkaparinga library website by critiquing their current use of Web 2.0 technologies, tools and applications. It also outlines which Web 2.0 technologies can be implemented and used (via mostly free to use applications) for promoting and enhancing existing services to the local City of Onkaparinga community through the online environment.

The applications suggested for initial use are blogs, RSS feeds, the social networks facebook, MySpace and Twitter, and the display of several widgets designed to connect end users from the City of Onkaparinga library website with the previously mentioned applications.

Post Three: What are some issues surrounding online privacy and use of personal information?

http://www.theinformationsocialite.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/what-are-some-issues-surrounding-online-privacy-and-use-of-personal-information/

This post meets learning objective five as it outlines, on both an individual and national scale, some of the potential issues and threats surrounding online privacy and the use of personal information through social media and social networking sites and what issues today’s information professionals should be aware of when offering library services through the internet. The issues of malicious software download by unsuspecting users, out-dated security systems, personal email, instant messaging (James, 2010, p.3), and user contributed postings to SNS’s which may facilitate criminal activities such as robbery, home invasions and identity theft (Hobson, 2006) are all highlighted areas of concern for the information professional when managing user access within an information agency (such as a library) and so effective policies and procedures should be developed, clearly outlined, understood by staff members, regularly updated and distributed to reflect the information agency’s position and procedure in both preventing and resolving them.

Part Two: Reflective Statement

Overall, I believe the INF206 subject did not largely impact on my development as a social networker due to my previous experience and familiarity with most of the technologies and applications discussed and explored. As I moved through the module work I felt the subject content (from modules one and two in particular) was directed more at the individual student learning how to use social media applications and platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr rather than what I had hoped – the use of these technologies within a working library environment. This, perhaps, was an inevitable problem that I had to face with the realisation that other students may not be as familiar or comfortable with the discussed applications as I was before the study session began.

Another issue that I must highlight was a number of the tasks I noticed which required the student to rely on personal knowledge of a library workplace. Unfortunately as I have encountered this in other subjects also, I have come to believe it is a university-wide assumption that every information studies student currently works – or has worked – within a library. However in my case it is untrue and so I find it extremely hard to complete these tasks effectively due to this assumed status and my lack of personal workplace knowledge and experience.

Module three enhanced my understanding of Library 2.0, but only to the point of what Web 2.0 means for a library. However, I felt the direct application of tools such as facebook, twitter, and flickr into a library was slightly off kilter with a lot of the resources focusing solely on the academic environment. There seemed to be little contributed from other types of libraries. This I do recognise could be a result of other types of libraries (particularly within Australia) not yet participating in social networks. However, it could have been resolved with the use of libraries effort s and examples from other countries such as the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK).  Both these countries could be considered the leaders within the social media field for information agencies and libraries and both boast excellent social networking examples from highly regarded institutions such as the New York Public library and the British Library through to smaller public, regional, academic and other types of libraries which could have been promoted as solid social networking examples within this subject.

The only area which I had little experience or knowledge was online gaming, Second Life and the exploration of established virtual worlds. However, I discovered this section was – almost by default in my opinion – fraught with a number of initial difficulties that were not clearly outlined to students as potential problems. The first is the requirement for suitable hardware and equipment to run and explore Second Life properly. As I use a small netbook to connect to the internet, I quickly discovered that I did not possess the level of hardware needed to enable even a moderate level of use and participation. I also quickly realised my netbook did not obtain a strong enough internet signal to ensure the loading and refreshing of Second Life regularly. This, along with some schedule conflicts, resulted in my inability to attend any of the Second Life sessions set up by the subject coordinator and as a result I felt quite hampered towards my personal learning, understanding and exploration of this particular section’s content.

Modules four and five provided a solid insight and understanding into how libraries of all types are succeeding in their development of effective social media policies and the implementation of these policies into the work environment. These two modules were also more in line with the outcome I wanted to achieve for myself; the increasing of my understanding in how to effectively apply and implement Web 2.0 and social networking applications into the library environment. However, I did find the examples and readings provided where very geographically based in their focus and some seemingly contained underlying assumptions by the author(s) as to the level of access and communication available to staff towards the use of social networking applications. This, once again, is not the fault of the subject or the coordinator providing the resources, but has more to do with the slow uptake of social media usage by Australian information agencies and libraries and the current lack of published Australian academic articles and resources relating to social media applications and implementation strategies. This is perhaps unavoidable at this stage. However, I feel that it must be clearly highlighted from a student’s point of view that very few of the resources provided specifically identified and addressed potential issues which are prominent within Australia such as the current state of country and rural internet connection speeds, substandard equipment usage in libraries and other information agencies (especially for online gaming and virtual world software applications), inadequate funding and management attitudes towards library staff time/task allowances for exploring, implementing and maintaining social networks for the organisation.

I’m unsure how this lack of Australian published and relevant resources and examples has affected my learning and development as an information professional personally as yet, but I strongly feel the provision of a higher level of accessible and current social media and networking usage examples and hopefully in the near future, the availability of relevant published articles which can be directly associated and applied to the Australian library and information environment would be an advantage for future students completing this subject.

References

Hodson, S.S. (2006). Archives on the Web: Unlocking collections while safeguarding privacy, First Monday, 11 (8), August. Available http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue11_8/hodson/index.html

James, M.L. Cyber Crime versus the Twittering classes. Parliament of Australia, Department of Parliamentary Services, Parliamentary Library Information, analysis and advice for the Parliament. Science, Technology, Environment and Resources Section, 24 February 2010 (2009-10). Retrieved from http://www.aph.gov.au/Library/pubs/bn/sci/Cybercrime.pdf

Readings

A to Z of Social Networking for Libraries (2010). Social Networking Librarian. Retrieved January 31, 2011, from http://socialnetworkinglibrarian.com/2010/01/22/a-to-z-of-social-networking-for-libraries/

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Haven, A., Hawk, J., & Jenkins, L. (2007). Section 3: Privacy, Security and Trust. In Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. [ebook] Available http://www.oclc.org/reports/pdfs/sharing_part3.pdf

Mallan, K. & Giardina, N. (2009). Wikidentities: Young people collaborating on virtual identities in social network sites, First Monday, 14 (6), 1 June. Available http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/article/viewArticle/2445/2213

Rayne-Goldie, K. (2010). Aliases, creeping, and wall cleaning: Understanding privacy in the age of Facebook, First Monday, 15 (1), 4 January. Available http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/article/view/2775/2432

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What are some issues surrounding online privacy and use of personal information?

January 26, 2011 at 2:04 pm (Libraries, Online Communication, Privacy) (, , , , , )

Task

Based on your interests and/or workplace context, read two of the above readings to form your understanding of one or more of the following areas of policy concern and reflect on your new learning about these issues in a 350 word post.

  1. Intellectual property, copyright and emergence of the Creative Commons
  2. Privacy, disclosure of personal information and online safety using SNSs
  3. Information access for all, adequate bandwidth/wireless/mobile connectivity and the ‘digital divide’
  4. Regulating the Internet in libraries, organisations and in the home
  5. Information and digital literacies, and recent emergence of transliteracy
  6. Acceptable use/online behaviour/social networking policies

Readings:

Hodson, S.S. (2006). Archives on the Web: Unlocking collections while safeguarding privacy, First Monday, 11 (8), August. Avaliable http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue11_8/hodson/index.html

James, M.L. Cyber crime 2.0 versus the Twittering classes. Parliament of Australia, Department of Parliamentary Services, Parliamentary Library Information, analysis and advice for the Parliament. Science, Technology, Environment and Resources Section, 24 February 2010 (2009-10). Retrieved from http://www.aph.gov.au/Library/pubs/bn/sci/Cybercrime.pdf

Area of policy concern highlighted in readings:

Privacy, disclosure of personal information and online safety using SNSs

Response:

James (2010) highlights the broader national issues online users collectively face in protecting themselves against a range of wide spread issues. The downloading of sophisticated malicious software onto their computers or other devices, using out-dated security systems which have only received developer patches and minor updates and the overall increasing use of social based online technologies are all largely unseen factors by the individual user within the expanding cyber based crime industry. James goes further to discuss the use of popular social networks such as Twitter, and the contribution of personal information for display through the Twitter website and ‘tweets’ (posts to twitter) is adding to the growth of pre-existing criminal activities such as identity theft, home invasions and robbery.

Hodson delves more into the control of online information of a personal, private, sensitive or proprietary nature which has been archived and how this information can be made available for use by others online. She discusses the established and accepted meaning of privacy and what is being done to uphold that meaning within the global virtual environment. Hobson also highlights the ability for large corporations – which manage huge amounts of personal information about their clients – to ‘make mistakes’ by allowing access to this information to others. This opens all named clients to the potential of online identity theft and fraud.

So what do these two discussions mean for the information professional? Both James and Hobson highlight issues that are relevant for all online users regardless of the location of their online connection point (the user’s physical point of access to the internet). So these issues can – and most likely do – affect library users and library owned computer equipment which connects to the internet. Awareness of the overarching issues, as discussed by James, should be acknowledged and understood by library staff. However, the issues surrounding personal privacy and the use of personal information online as discussed by Hobson are, most likely, of higher immediate importance and relevance to library staff for serving and advising their online user community and the ensuring safety within the online activities they undertake. Another factor in the awareness of these issues is the ability to quickly identify, acknowledge and resolve any potential threats from malicious software or online criminals to the library’s users, computer network and technology by library staff and to have effective and clearly understood internet and social media policies in place which outline the actions to be taken by staff members.

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Web 2.0 and my local library…

January 8, 2011 at 11:04 am (Libraries, Library 2.0, Online Communication, RSS Feeds, Social Media, Social Network, Web 2.0 Tools and Apps)

This post is intended as a quick review of my local library’s website (City of Onkaparinga libraries: http://www.onkaparingacity.com/onka/living_here/libraries) and their use of Web 2.0 technologies, tools and applications.

To put it plainly the City of Onkaparinga does not make any use of Web 2.0, or any online social media tools, communication avenues or interactivity that I can see. But instead offering criticism I will discuss what they could easily use for free to promote their services and collections through social media.

1.  Blogs

There are a number of free blog applications such as Blogspot (http://www.blogspot.com/) or WordPress (http://www.wordpress.com/) that could be used to promote the library’s collections, new additions, staff recommendations, or even just news and events. A blog can be easily set up and maintained and offers the blogger informal feedback from users through increased interactivity and user generated (and easily moderated) comments.

2. RSS Feeds

RSS feeds, in my eyes, are a must have feature for any website – library or other. If there is important information that being pushing out to your users, it is now almost expected that you supply this information in a format that the user can pull into their own online space, through their own aggregator (RSS feed reader). Online users now share the expectation that you will come to them. They do not expect to have to come to you and seek out the information they are looking for.

Free applications such as Google’s feedburner (http://www.feedburner.com/) allow the creation RSS feeds for any website.

3. Social Networks

I understand the issues of privacy, etc that centre around the use of online social networks and also the variety of reasons used by libraries choosing not to use them. But take this piece of advice from someone who works largely with the Web 2.0 environment, is a self confessed social media addict as well as a distance education student, mum-to-be, wife, friend and someone who has family and friends interstate and overseas…

Social networks are where a large – and growing – number of  your library patrons communicate, share, search for and locate information.

Do you really want to miss out on being a part of all that? No? I didn’t think so.

You might not feel comfortable with setting up a public facebook page for the library or a MySpace page for youth. That’s okay. But there are other social networks that can be just as effective as facebook and MySpace when used creatively. Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/) is a prime example of this.

Twitter offers the opportunity to push short informative posts which promote what is happening within the library walls in real time. The use of additional applications such as TwitVid (http://www.twitvid.com/) and TwitPic (http://www.twitpic.com/) allow the inclusion of videos and photographs within a tweet so people can seeshare and interact with the information being pushed, not just read it.

4. Widgets

Widgets are small Web 2.0 applications that you can plug into the template of most blogs and websites to display your posts from other applications. For example, you can use a Twitter widget to stream (display) your tweets automatically on your blog homepage. This not only gives access from your blog to your twitter account, but also allows for cross promotion of both applications’ use through the posted content.

By using a combination of all these free and easy to use Web 2.0 technologies, tools and applications, and promoting them through their official website, the City of Onkaparinga has the potential to reach a considerably larger online audience – within a ‘real time’ time frame – than what they are currently achieving with their online media efforts.

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Building an effective library website: Some things you need to consider…

December 27, 2010 at 3:37 pm (Libraries, Library 2.0, Web Design) (, , , )

Here are several things that you need to consider when planning a new – or updating a old – library website.

1. Have easy to use navigation panels and links displayed throughout the website for the user’s convenience.  This includes horizontal navigation bars, sidebar navigation panels and breadcrumb links.

2. Place a keyword search feature into the template design so that it shows on every page displayed. This will assist users in locating the resources and collections available to them with minimum effort on their part.

The final application and use of criterion 1 and 2 within the web design and template should be determined by the age and mental ability of the intended audience. See criteria 5 for more information.

3. Make sure every page is clear and uncluttered to promote the easy location of user relevant and sought materials.

4. Use dynamic content to draw the user’s eye and attention to current or new items of interest.

5. Use different template designs for different audience types or age groups. For example; the children web pages should be brightly coloured with large, easy to use icons and limited text. Whereas the design for adults should display less images and colour but use more dynamically driven content – promoting new collection additions or library services and information.

6. Ensure the design is suitable for display on multiple devices such as a desktop PC, laptops and netbooks and mobile devices.

7. Always include usability testing in the design process. Usability testing is essential for identifying and resolving any user issues and negative experiences with the website design or navigation before full public access is made available.

8. Incorporate several ways for users to contact library staff.  Use free or low costing applications, tools and widgets to provide online reference services, contact us and web/video conferencing communication avenues which allow and promote open communication channels.

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Five things needed to be ‘Library 2.0’ savvy

December 27, 2010 at 1:20 pm (Communication, Libraries, Library 2.0, Social Media, Social Network, Web 2.0 Tools and Apps) (, , , , )

Ok, so here are five things libraries need to know and become to consider themselves ‘Library 2.0’ savvy;

1. Be active.

If the library is not constantly active within the social networks chosen interest will fade from those that are following them. Users have little or no hesitation in going elsewhere to find the information they seek. So using all chosen social networks on a regular basis is a must do to keep users interested in the library’s posts.

2. Provide valuable and user relevant content.

Libraries need to contribute relevant and/or valuable content. For example, establishing a series of topic, genre or age relevant blogs such as ‘Good Reads’, ‘Crime @ the library’ or ‘Kid’s Corner’ which offer reviews of current materials is a solid attempt at achieving this. However, libraries must enforce a regular posting schedule, say two posts per week, to keep content fresh.

Also, the creation of a Facebook fan page and/or a twitter feed to promote events, activities and new books is a good avenue for instigating two way communication channel between the library and the online community.

3. Define a social network future direction.

Don’t just jump in with two feet and see where you land. Take the time to sit back and plan the direction the library wants to take and what it wants to achieve with its social networking activities. This planning stage will give the library a good basis for choosing the best social networking tools and applications which best suit their needs and also the needs of their online community.

4. Get staff involved.

Don’t think that this is a one person operation because it’s not. Involvement and understanding towards the use of social networks through to the appropriate language and online social mannerisms used by all staff members involved is another must do. Online users expect to interact in real time, and in a friendly, personalised and informal manner so ensure all staff members are ready and confident to do this.

5. Be interesting.

This is possibly one of the most important factors to remember when using social networks. All content – no matter the method of communication or online tool used – should be of interest to the audience. Keep in mind that social networks are built primarily on user- shared and generated information. Without users willing sharing the information posted by the library, the library’s social networking presence will not be as effective or even seen by the masses.

The information provided by the letters A, C, D, H and I within the following blog post was used as the basis of this post:

Social Networking Librarian: A to Z of Social Networking for Libraries

http://socialnetworkinglibrarian.com/2010/01/22/a-to-z-of-social-networking-for-libraries/

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Quick review of Web 2.0 tools @ ASU

December 27, 2010 at 11:13 am (Communication, Libraries, Online Communication, Social Media, Web 2.0 Tools and Apps) (, , , , , )

Arizona State University (ASU) library uses a range of Web 2.0 tools to both promote and advertise their services through the online environment. The most prominent is their use of YouTube and the creation of The Library Minute video series, but they also include the use of a blog as their Library Channel home page as well as Twitter (@LibraryChannel) as a joint announcement and student interaction channel, along with a few others of note such as Flickr, Vimeo and iTunes.

The Library Minute videos offer a series of one minute insights into what services are available both online and within the ASU library and how users can access these services. While most videos stuck to a similar strategy of quickly demonstrating the use of available online services. Some focused on what the topic of the video – or rather the concept highlighted – meant to the individual and not how the library had integrated this concept into its services. This seems to suggest the tailoring of these videos to what questions the library users frequently ask rather than just the offering of what services are available and how to use them online.

The other web 2.0 applications that showed the most promise for uptake by users was the use of a blog format for the ASU’s Library Channel home page. I felt that this feature was demonstrated well as a communication tool to broadcast – and allow comment and discussion – about library exhibits and events, new or updated resources added to the library collections, changes in the services provided amongst a range of other library orientated notifications. It also demonstrated good understand and control by the blogger as most of the posts published where kept to a short length (meaning they are quick and easy for most people to scan rather than read in full).

The ASU’s use of Twitter seems to also follow the ‘short and shiny’ guideline of their home page blog posts. The posts – or tweets – are mostly notifications of changes, events and exhibits that are happening within the library. However, ASU also use their Twitter feed as a personal communication tool with students for fast, effective direct @ replies and retweeting of posts that advertise the library, its services and events.

On the negative side I felt that more information would have been useful in the videos. Some seemed incomplete and lacking for the user to gain full understanding of how the service worked – or they seemed to miss small details such as where to locate the access point/link for the service. These missing details could result in the user experiencing  frustration and choosing not to use the service.

Overall, the ASU library offer an excellent example of how predominantly free Web 2.0 applications and tools can be utilised to promote a library and connect with existing and new users online.

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RSS… How can it be used in a library?

December 19, 2010 at 2:02 pm (Communication, Libraries, Online Communication, RSS Feeds, Social Media) (, , , , , , )

RSS icon The point of this post is to briefly discuss how RSS feeds can be used effectively to deliver relevant information to a library community and enhance information services for users.

The reason behind RSS is to allow for the streaming of information from the source (in this case the library) to the user’s online feed aggregator of choice. This type of information delivery gives the user an hub of multiple online resources which interests them. The end result is information which interests the user arrives through a singular online interface of their choice.

Firstly, the type of information that form the basis – or reason – for an RSS feed’s creation need to be established. Ask yourself and your colleagues questions such as; ‘What do we want to acheive through RSS?’, ‘Do we want to advertise new books, CDs, DVDs, etc?’, ‘Do we want to promote library events and activities?’, ‘Are we seeking to achieve more transparency towards library policies and procedures?’. The answers should give you a good outline and idea as to what content the library wants to provide.

Secondly, there are a number of reasons which could be used to form the content direction for an RSS feed. However whatever the reason is, it should always reflect the information requirements and interests of the library user.  Ask additional questions like; ‘Would the library users be interested in receiving updates about XXX topic?’ or ‘Could this type of content be shared under another RSS feed such as ‘General Updates’?’ and most importantly; ‘What type of information would the user want to receive from the library?’.

In planning this type of service, you may want to ‘start small’ by providing just one or two RSS feeds at first. ‘General Updates’, ‘News and Events’ and ‘What’s new’ are good suggestions for this as they provide user relevant content – or rather information users would be interested in taking the time to read. This point is perhaps one of the most important to keep in mind when providing information via a RSS feed service. If the users are not interested in receiving the type of content you are providing, they simply will not use your RSS feed.

Examples of effective RSS feeds:

The Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/syndication

Library of Congress: RSS Feeds and E-mail Subscriptions

http://www.loc.gov/rss/

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