Monday, 31 March 2008

What are widgets?

Widgets are small programs that run on your desktop, or within your website or blog. They constantly pull content from a third party, so that you don’t need to regularly visit that website. For libraries they are a great way of introducing library content, such as a catalogue search box, into our users’ web space.

Some examples of widgets on my blog are the Flickr badge of photos and LibraryThing random books from my library down the side bar.

New library search widgets are being written for social sites such as Facebook.

There’s a podcast of “widget fanatic” Niall Kennedy talking about how widgets are revolutionising the web on the Media Report ABC Radio National website

Monday, 17 March 2008

A glimpse of the mobile learning future?

Picture this, on day one at Orientation each university student is handed an Apple Iphone which contains all their course ware, contacts, and everything they need to progress through their studies.

Trevor Bennett, ECU Instructional Designer, and resident “podcast guru” alerted me to this report on the future of MLearning from Abilene Christian University (ACU), Texas

Follow the link to the YouTube videos, which give a glimpse of the mobile learning future when “every student, faculty, and staff member is connected"

The videos track their progress over 2 days.

I noted that no mention is made of accessing the online library on the iphone, but maybe these students leave that to week 3 when the panic of first assignments sets in… ;)

Monday, 10 March 2008

Michael Stephens on the Hyperlinked Library

Last week I attended Michael Stephens’ Perth session of Hyperlinked Library, brought by CAVAL. He is the well know “web tamer” and Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois.

Michael’s a dynamic presenter and packaged new and older ideas in a way that engaged the audience. I left with some practical tips and some inspiration to further implement Web 2.0 and really leverage the "library brand". Michael’s PowerPoint slides are on his "Tame the Web" blog

Michael’s key message was:

  • Evolve
  • Let go control
  • Be visible

Michael’s news on some US developments included:

  • Library brand is still “books” in our users’ eyes
  • Citizen journalism is growing. The public can easily pick up and distribute bad news about the library, eg photos of your awful library signs could appear on Flickr
  • Library jobs are being re-defined, requiring new Web 2.0 skills, so that some employers want to see your online presence.
  • Emerging technology groups being formed in libraries
  • We need a balance between innovation and ROI (return on investment)
  • Users are setting up RSS feeds of favourite reads from their public libraries, using catalogue RSS capabilities
  • Social networking is now a given and expected by users

5 things Michael says we should do now:

1. Be a trend spotter

2. Form an emerging technology group

3. Get library staff to do a Library 2.0 program

4. Start a “what’s new” blog

5. Explore “presence” and your library brand

Friday, 7 March 2008

Getting dumped on Facebook

The very public nature of social networking still bothers me . It's fine when things are going well, but when things fall apart...

Imagine this, being dumped via Facebook and all your "friends" get to read the wall posts and blog comments. In Samuel Pinney tells his story of How I was dumped on Facebook

How many of us think about this when we share our lives on social network sites

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

We have lift-off ... Facebook at ECU Library

Today we managed a successful "soft launch" of our new ECU Library Facebook page.

Thanks to Lutie Sheridan, who did most of the work and me, who kept asking her to change things around. We've decided to "suck it and see". This is all so new, we really don't know how and if these social network sites can be used to connect with out student users. How will they find us? What will they expect?

If you have any thoughts, advice, feedback on library Facebook pages, then please post me a message.

Monday, 3 March 2008

ECU Library blog goes live

Finally, after much effort behind the scenes, the new ECU Library blog will go live next week.

The blog's tag line is "Keeping you up-to-date with information about the library, resources and happenings..."