Part A: An Evaluative Statement
Based on OLJ Entry (1), which critically evaluates ASU Libraries’ use of various Web 2.0 tools, I was able to understand social networking technologies, their application in a library context and appreciate the concepts, theory and practice of Library 2.0 and participatory library service. ASU’s short Library Minute video clips provide a multi-media experience to promote the libraries’ collections, services and to broadcast events to the community. “The short video duration, coupled with the creative use of text, visuals and appropriate choice of music made the video clips appealing and engaging to the extent of them being addictive” (OLJ Entry 1). The use of YouTube video hosting platform enables the community to provide feedback and comments, allowing opportunities for users to have conversations and engage in participatory library service with the library staff in ASU.
Besides the use of The Library Minute video clips, the ASU libraries also use FaceBook, Twitter, RSS, Flickr, Vimeo and iTunes to engage in conversations, collaboration and content creation with members of its community. The ASU libraries typify many Library 2.0 qualities in that they are user-centered, socially rich, communally innovative and provide a multi-media experience (Maness, 2006). Input from end-users in the Facebook and Flickr ‘comments’ field allows for user-participation and contribution of ideas thereby encouraging co-creation of content. The libraries also actively use RSS feeds to harvest relevant information from journal databases to provide targeted information to their patrons. Furthermore, ASU has also created RSS feed for user subscription such that users can receive alerts on new items in the collection, new programmes and services. Besides ASU libraries, Creekview High School Media Centre and the Brooklyn Museum are two other organizations that have actively and successfully harnessed Web 2.0 technologies and software tools to market and promote their services, resources and programmes. A critical examination of the three organisations’ active use of social networking tools in OLJ Entry 3 demonstrates immense effort in connecting and meeting the information needs of their respective end-users.
To critically examine the features and functionality of various social networking tools to meet the information needs of users and as part of the INF 506 Social Networking Project Assignment 1, I embarked on using LibGuides to design a school Library 2.0 website as well as craft a Research Education subject guide. The impetus for the project arose after completing OLJ Entry (2), where an evaluation of Meredith Farkas sharing on tips to consider when “Building an Academic Library 2.0”. The choice of LibGuides was based primarily on the ease which it could incorporate multimedia and multi-format elements such as photos, videos, RSS feeds, social bookmarks and widgets which make them particularly 2.0. The dynamic and interactive dimensions make it an ideal platform to support the informational and collaborative needs of the students and school community.
To evaluate social networking technologies and software to support informational and collaborative needs of students using LibGuides, a survey feedback was undertaken. In general, “students have responded favorably to the inclusion of YouTube videos and Slideshare presentations (82%) and also the integration of Search Boxes (81%) but found RSS (61%) and social marking tool (Diigo) less useful. According to O’Connell (2010), RSS and Diigo have tremendous potential to hone students’ digital literacy and research skills such as skills to discern, categorise, evaluate and manage good quality, authoritative and relevant information. According to O’Connell and Groom (2010, p. 46), “Social bookmarking is ‘folksonomy’ in action” where users can store, sort and share websites by using software such as Diigo and Delicious. Both the use of RSS and social bookmarking tools need to be further explored and their use to be taught in information literacy curriculum. LibGuides makes it easy for libraries to reach new users, better serve current one through a more customer-driven, media rich, interactive and collaborative environment that promotes the Library 2.0 model of service and content delivery (Casey & Savastinuk, 2006). It is a good tool to push valuable library content, services and expertise to potential users where they happen to be in the social network (Miller, 2005). However, in their attempt to achieve Library 2.0 status, librarians should not be overly-enthusiastic with the use of Web 2.0 tools as the main focus is still first and foremost about meeting student needs (Farkas, 2008).
With the pervasive use of Web 2.0 tools for personal, work as well as teaching and learning purposes, it is imperative that organizations establish a set of clear guidelines for both staff and students to adhere to when using social media tools such as Facebook, blogs, wikis and Twitter so as to avoid any potential hazards (Kroski, 2009). Due to the ease in which people can search for content and publish online at will, the opportunities for plagiarism, infringement of privacy, security, copyright and ethical issues are high. Social media policy, when properly drafted and adhered to, will serve to protect an organization’s and individual’s privacy and interest. Libraries too should create policies and guidelines, which could include informing users that their comments will be reviewed before being made public, and that by posting to the site, the user agrees to exclude the library against all liabilities that may arise from user-created content (Kroski, 2009). The recent SOPA and PIPA debacle in December 2011 (Blog entry, 1 Jan2012 ) has resulted in a heightened awareness of potential privacy, security and copyrights issues related to the use of Web 2.0 content.
Assignment 2 (Part B) -A Reflective Statement
1) My development as a social networker
As a teacher-librarian to be, I opted for INF 506 with the aim of acquiring new knowledge and skills in harnessing Web 2.0 technologies further engage library users, and also to transform the current traditional middle school library to that of a Library 2.0 status. The INF 506 course content and hands-on pedagogical approach to learning where we are required to document our learning in an online learning journal (OLJ) using a social networking site as well as participate in Facebook discussion provided excellent authentic hands-on learning opportunities. Being a newbie, who is a slow starter to the world of social networking, the learning curve was a steep one for me and if not for the course requirements, I would not have overcome the technological block. Through the INF 506 module, I see myself developing from a reluctant user of social sites to one who is now fairly confident and excited about the potential of new media technologies. Regular updates on my online learning journal cum participation (albeit a passive contributor) in the INF 506 Facebook, Flickr, Delicious sites have been a good learning experience for me, although I still have much to learn about Second Life.
I found myself registering and spending time exploring Web 2.0 tools such as Twitter, Delicious, Diigo, Weebly, LinkedIn, Prezi, Slideshare, Teacher-tube and LibGuides. The journey of discovery through a real and authentic immersion has been most effective and fruitful although it is time consuming. Through embarking on a social networking project in the form of a library webpage design using LibGuides, I gained a deeper understanding of the theory and practice of Library 2.0, where attempts have been made to provide participatory library service to better support the information, learning and social needs of my students and school community.
With my newfound knowledge and skills in understanding and applying Web 2.0 socially-driven tools like blogs, wikis, social networking, podcasting, I am now more aware and ready to harness them in learning and teaching contexts, both in the classroom and in the library.
O’Connell and Groom (2010) wrote that
Interactive new media technologies create learning opportunities that are flexible, responsive and adaptive to personal or group interests, providing interaction and information on demand quickly and easily in multimodal formats. The interactivity of Web 2.0 and its tools of participation allow users not only to search and read information online, but to use it and create new information together. (p. 1)
2) Implications of my development as an information professional
To be an effective information professional (teacher cum Librarian 2.0), I must firstly, be aware and knowledgeable of various Web 2.0 tools and technologies and, secondly, to be able to discern those that are useful to the library such as to better reach users and provide value added services. Use of RSS feeds, for instance, would be a useful Web 2.0 tool to alert users of relevant and up-to-date information effectively. It is also essential that information professionals learn the skills needed to apply Web 2.0 tools and to role model the way to other library staff and colleagues. Being positive and excited with harnessing Web 2.0 technologies to enhance the library collection and services is critical in determining the success rate of any venture to embrace new technologies. “I am a librarian who thrives on change and enjoys experimenting with new resources and tools”, a statement by Harvey (2009) is an exemplary disposition and attitude for any would be Librarian 2.0. The Librarian’s 2.0 Manifesto by Linda Cohen (2006), succinctly sums up the essential attributes, a librarian 2.0 should have. In my capacity as a teacher librarian, I will also need to engage and guide students in matters related to “digital citizenship, ethical use of online resources, aspects of copyright and an understanding of open-source tools and creative commons approaches to sharing” (O’Connell & Groom, 2010, p. 27).
Farkas, M. (2008). The essence of Library 2.0? Retrieved 8Jan, from http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/