Evaluative Report

This evaluative report consists of two parts – part A and part B.

Part A is an evaluative statement using three experiences from my online learning journal (OLJ) to demonstrate fulfilling the five learning objectives for INF506 as published in the subject outline.

PART A

The three experiences chosen from my OLJ are:-

  • Delicious - a social bookmarking service
  • Building An Academic Library
  • ASU Libraries

Delicious – Social Bookmarking Service

I was aware of Delicious prior to commencing INF506, but I had no substantial knowledge of the purpose nor the functions of an online social bookmarking technology. This learning experience was invaluable in developing my skills as a social networker, and to gain a solid understanding of a social networking technology.

The functions of Delicious were relatively easy to understand. Close examination of, and experimenting with the varied functions led me to understand that Delicious allows for – the sharing, the following and networking with tagging/stacks for online resources. It has the ability to instantly search a subject and see which online resources are most popular (that is which are most frequently book marked). However, the disadvantage of this is that popularity does not always equal quality. I believe, that I (and others) would benefit from more visual cues as prompts when navigating Delicious.

Further research into Delicious gave me an understanding that this tool could be used by information professionals, for example it acts as a large database where information professionals can find web links required to many and varied subjects areas. Furthermore, a filter option can deliver only the most interesting links to you direct. Delicious, like all Web 2.0 technologies, must be evaluated based on the appropriateness and relevance to the information needs of the client group

In the time period between last using Delicious (prior to commencing INF506), and engaging in Delicious for INF506, I discovered that the interface had changed. Therefore, I had to relearn how to perform all of the functions. This was a reminder that Web 2.0 technologies are evolving and changing, and I as a user must be fluid in my technology transition. My mindset must be open to learning and change in the digital environment to fullfil my role as a TL.

Building An Academic Library

In order to demonstrate an understanding of the term Library 2.0 I have selected the OLJ (Module 3) – ‘Building an Academic Library 2.0′. This OLJ task involved recording and reflecting on five pieces of advice from the YouTube video ‘Building Academic Library 2.0’ (UC Berkeley, 2007). The advice I considered most appropriate to my workplace was:

  • Understand what your constituents need.
  • Plan projects carefully: do not be foolish and use technology   unnecessarily.
  • Library 2.0 is a partnership.
  • If clients are not coming to the library- go to where they are gathering.
  • Be aware of privacy issues.

The ideas and advice presented were valuable. I also found the video and the keynote speaker Meredith Farkas (UC Berkeley, 2007) knowledgable, sensible in her advice and inspiring. Importantly, Farkas (UC Berkeley, 2007) does not dismiss where libraries have come from, but rather believes that learning from the past to develop a better library future is important. I found the presentation by Farkas (UC Berkeley, 2007) extremely helpful in developing my understanding of the term Library 2.0.

However, Farkas (UC Berkeley, 2007) admits the exact definition of the term Library 2.0 is difficult, and that she herself struggles with it. However, Farkas (UC Berkeley, 2007), prefers to view Library 2.0 more as a state of mind. Whilst Library 2.0 is interconnected to Web 2.0 and its associated technologies, it is not solely about the technology. Farkas (2008) advises  libraries against implementing technology without assessing if the new technology is in the best interest of the library, or what constituents require.

Farkas (2008) further includes that Library 2.0 means ‘working to meet changing user needs’. Therefore, librarians must trust and listen to our users and ‘being aware of emerging technologies and opportunities’ (Farkas, 2008). It’s also about continually reevaluating our library services and seeing members as partners in developing the future of the library (UC Berkeley, 2007).

Library 2.0 is a difficult concept to clearly define, but to me it now means connecting and communicating with my learning community in different modes to meet their needs. Furthermore, it is educating my learning community in how to use the Web 2.0 technologies to become information creators, and not only information takers. 

ASU Libraries

This OLJ task (Module 3) involved an investigation and evaluation of the Arizona State University Libraries (ASU) use of social media to connect with library users and provide a participatory library service.

Social media’s principle foundations of conversation, collaboration, community and content creation form the basis of not only Web 2.0 but also Library 2.0. Therefore, applying the Web 2.0 technologies to libraries to fulfill the 4Cs allows ‘the end users to thrive and survive (and libraries along with them)’ (Abram, 2007).

The ASU libraries make a tremendous effort to connect with their community using a variety of tools and media. The use of these tools and media leads to conversation about what their users needs are, and then the ASU Libraries respond appropriately. For example, the students voiced through an online survey the need for longer library hours during examination periods, the response from the AUS Libraries was all night opening hours during exam periods. This demonstrates participatory library service in action.

Participatory library service is dependant on getting to know your community (both users and non users) and their needs through assessment, both formal such as surveys and informal such as conversation, or observations and then responding, allowing the community to shape future services (Farkas, 2007).

ASU’s librarian Anali Perry featured in ’The Library Minute’ videos. This added a human face to the library, and personalises the new Library 2.0.  Bennett (as cited in Brookover, 2007) suggests that ‘the more human we look, the more we personalize our services, the more connected we will be to our patrons’.

The ASU Library website has made me critically evaluate my role as a TL at Gordon West Primary, and how far I am prepared to go as an information professional to connect with and serve my learning community. I believe, I will endeavour to meet the learning communities needs to the best of my ability– the library, nor the role of a TL is static – we are continually evolving and redefining our position and purpose. ASU Library has given me ideas of how to get to know my learning community, and also how to connect and communicate with them in a Library 2.0 – many tools and ideas to experiment with!

 PART B

Part B is a reflective statement on how INF506 has effected my development as a social networker, and the implications for my development as an information professional.

In March 2011, at the commencement of this course, I had a very basic understanding of social networking sites and social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. Prior to the commencement of the course I did have an account to Facebook, which I occasionally tinkered with to see what friends and family were up to, but I never contributed any comments.

March 2013 began my mind set transformation, and revelation into the world of social networking and social media! I slowly began exploring, investigating and reflecting on the module readings, module tasks and additional research. The world of Web 2.0 technologies, social media and social networking were revealed to me – wow! It has been a journey of personal and professional digital discovery.

As directed, I created accounts to – Delicious, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and Second Life. It is only Second Life that caused technical grief, so unfortunately I eventually had to stop trying to access Second Life due to time constraints. My blog was created with excitement, and each entry I was very proud of – I was finally a creator and contributor to the information world, and not just an information consumer!

I joined the INF506 group on Facebook and Flickr. I was surprised by the sense of community, the sharing of information and open dialogue that was encouraged and very present in this virtual world. And so began my exponential learning curve into blogs, microblogs, wikis, QR codes, tagging, mash ups, RSS feeds, podcasts, web conferencing, … and the list goes on. I was like a child in a sweet shop – I wanted a taste of all the sweet technology at once. I had to take it slowly and remind myself that I was a novice to the Web 2.0 world. My experimenting was slow and steady (very slow and steady at times), because technology does not come naturally to me. I had to experiment, ask questions and absorb what I was experiencing to build my knowledge and develop my skills.

I am now aware of Web 2.0, social media and social networking – the possibilities for my library are endless and will only be limited by my imagination, and possibly my technology skills (working hard on further developing my technology skills).

It was not always smooth sailing in INF506 for me! There were many struggles, challenges and moments of frustration in the social networking world, as I;

  • uploaded my library photos to Flickr,
  • contributed to Delicious
  • tweeted – random personalities, and I even tweeted to QA (ABC program)
  • posted comments to the INF506 group on Facebook
  • connected with friends on Linkedin

My new smart phone became my best friend this semester. My Facebook app alerted me of new posts – it added to the excitement – I was being a part of my peers social networking learning journey, I felt it a privilege. This method of communication and learning made it current, connective and immediate for me. The generosity of my INF506 peers and lecturers were evident as they continually shared links to interesting and relevant sites, and responded promptly to my queries and concerns. It all made my learning experience in INF506 less daunting and so much more rewarding. Facebook communication I found more worthwhile than the subject forums as the comments and posts are categorised under headings, much easier to track comments and information.

I feel limited by not having experienced the virtual world of Second Life. However, my module readings, independent research and reading the posts of peers on Facebook allowed me to gain an understanding of the endless wealth of experiences and opportunities for learning that are possible in virtual worlds (Bell, Lindbloom, Peters, Bell & Popel, 2008). Being able to take students to visit and experience such things as – cities set in different times or libraries in different settings will be a profitable tool in my library and research lessons.

My growth as an information professional in the world of social networking and the world of Web 2.0 is just beginning. As a student of INF506 I have not been the quickest learner, but on a personal and professional level I have gained an enormous amount of knowledge in a very short time period. That I am proud of! I now need to slow down to process and consolidate this knowledge and information and determine plans for its application into my library. I believe I am a better TL for having studied INF506.

Where To From Here…

As my career as an informational professional develops I will continue to use my Blog to record my experiences and developing knowledge, and critically reflect on my professional learning. It will be an avenue for me to record new resources encountered and emerging technologies that I want to experiment with. It will be the tool that allows me to evaluate my continuing growth and development as a TL.

I can see the benefits for students of all ages in having their own online journal- I can only lead through example and possibly share my Blog with my students to guide and inspire them. Students will be able to share their creative writing efforts and projects with their fellow students and gain a sense of pride and satisfaction in seeing their work published (Brookover, 2007)- just like me!

I will keep my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I am receiving regular updates and posts from libraries around Australia, this will keep me informed about the latest library and social networking trends. The difference is now that I know how to contribute information to them as well, and I understand the terminology being used! Being able to interact with people in the same profession has a two-way benefit as we can stay connected and communicate globally (De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk & Jenkins, 2007).

As I work in primary education, there are age restrictions to the use of Facebook and Twitter, this may prevent the use of these social networking sites in the school environment. Therefore, I will need to be creative in how I use my new ‘Library Lovers Blog’ because I now understand the benefits and importance of connecting with my learning community through social media and social networking (Burkhardt, 2009). I will be mindful of my blog not becoming a substitute for a ‘Library Newsletter’, but rather it is platform for my learning community to engage and communicate together.

My Delicious account is a terrific source of information that I will inevitably use on a regular basis, and I will inform my colleagues of its worth. Flickr, I will use from Kindergarten to Year 6 as stimulus material to my library lessons and research lessons.

The endless learning opportunities for students to immerse them in virtual worlds is an exciting proposition. Even though Second Life was unsuccessful for me, there are other virtual worlds dedicated to primary age students, for example Club Penguin and Pora Ora. I will explore these options. I anticipate that in these virtual worlds students will be able to develop knowledge, skills and values in a safe virtual world. It is an engaging method of learning, a more active involvement for students than usually found in traditional classroom learning (Helmer, 2007; Dede, 2009).

My journey into the digital world has been exciting. There is no turning back! I know the benefit personally and professionally will be rewarding as I further develop knowledge, and importantly skills. Implementing my new knowledge and skills into my library is exciting as I aim to provide a richer information experience for my learning community.

In the past I would allow technology to drift by me, but now I am not intimidated or fearful of what Library 2.0, Web 2.0, social networking or social media means! I am ready to ride into Web 3.0 – bring it on!

References

Bell, L., Lindbloom, M., Peters, T., Pope, K. (2008). Virtual Libraries and Education in Virtual Worlds: Twenty-first century library services. Policy Futures in Education 6 (1) 49-58pages 49-58. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/pfie.2008.6.1.49

UC Berkley. (2007). Building academic library 2.0 . Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_uOKFhoznl

Brookover, S. (2007). Why we blog. Library Journal. Retrieved from http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6497263.html

Burkhardt, A. (2009). Four reasons libraries should be on social media. Information Tyrannosaur – Top of the Information Food Chain. Retrieved from http://andyburkhardt.com/2009/08/25/four-reasons-libraries-should-be-on-social-media/

Dede, C. (2009). Immersive interfaces for engagement and learning,
Science, 323(5910), 66-69. Retrieved from http://www.sciencemag.org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/cgi/reprint/sci;323/5910/66.pdf

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L. (2007). 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.pdf

Farkas, M. G. (2007). Social Software in Libraries. Medford, New Jersey: Information Today, Inc.

Farkas, M. (2008). The essence of library 2.0, Information wants to be free [web log post]. Retrieved from http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/

Helmer, J., & Learning Light (2007). Second Life and virtual worlds Available from http://www.norfolkelearningforum.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/virtual-worlds_ll_oct_2007.pdf

Further Suggested Reading:

Dadwal, R. (2011). An ever-changing field: developments in mobile marketing. MarketingMag.com. Retrieved from http://www.marketingmag.com.au/blogs/an-ever-changing-field-developments-in-mobile-marketing-9419/

Digital World (2012). In Technology Explained (2012). Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/technology/techexplained/

Hricko, M. (2010). Using Microblogging Tools for Library Services. Journal of Library Administration, 50, 684-692. doi: 10.1080/01930826.2010.488951

Kroski, E. (2009).  Should Your Library Have a Social Media Policy? School Library Journal.  Retrieved from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6699104.html

Nelson, M. R. (2009). Building an open cloud [Cloud computing as platform]. Science, 324(5935), 1656-1657. Retrieved from http://www.sciencemag.org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/cgi/reprint/324/5935/1656.pdf

Reed, M., & Evely, A. ( 2011). Top Twitter Tips for Academics. Living With Environmental Change. Retrieved from http://www.lwec.org.uk/sites/default/files/TwitterTips.pdf

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