Lesson 11: The Mobile Web

        The topic this week is on the mobile Web or accessing the internet via a mobile device such as a Smartphone, an iPad, or an E-reader. In my personal experience, I consistently use my Smartphone to access the internet on the go. I use it to check when my bus is coming, to find directions, log workouts, go on Facebook and to access school related materials such as Edmodo, reading articles, and reading online postings for other courses. With all of the time that I spend on the go traveling to and from school and to and from my hometown (a ten hour bus ride (!!!)) having this mobile access to the Web has been a great timesaver and an invaluable device to help me live my life. Sometimes I wonder how I survived without it!

Putting the mobile Web into perspective for libraries, this is a medium that can really benefit libraries. As mentioned in the lesson, Western has a mobile library app where you can access your library account, browse the catalogue, etc. I have used this app a couple of times and find it extremely useful when I do not have access to a computer to check when my books are due or where a certain book is available. The article by Thomas (2011) on “Libraries, Librarians and Mobile Services” discusses how this form of mobile computing is transforming how people interact and that libraries are trying to find solutions to give their patrons access to this type of technology to access their resources and services. Furthermore, for these mobile projects to be successful they have to be innovative, collaborative and be experimented with. One of the greatest benefits of the mobile Web is the ability to access it in a convenient and mobile manner so libraries should focus on developing mobile technologies that keep this in mind. For example, using QR codes for resources, podcasts for broadcasting many interesting topics (as mentioned in the lesson), mobile OPACs, mobile websites, SMS notification and reference services, mobile tours of the library, etc.

This is a very important field of librarianship and development in today’s day and age that should be taken seriously. These types of mobile applications and resources are important to help the library keep up with their fast moving clientele/patrons.

Thomas, Lisa C. (2011). In Libraries, Librarians and Mobile Services. Bulletin, 38(1), 8-9.

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Lesson 10: Cloud Computing

Hi Everyone,

The topic of this week was on cloud computing, a topic area that I have only briefly heard about before and did not know what it entailed or meant. From reading some of the articles this week I eventually gained a basic understanding of what it is. The article by Michael Stephens had an interesting quote that described what cloud computing could be visualized as: “the Internet has already become “one machine” and our devices are windows into it.” This is a good introduction to explain how cloud computing is the act of using a “window” or a device to access our information almost anywhere that is located on the internet or in a “cloud”. This is not like having access to a file on just a USB or a file on our desktop but having access to it on our phone, a specific website, a tablet, etc. The previous fact could be considered an advantage of using the cloud. Other advantages could be: it would be harder to lose information if it can be accessed from any internet connection; can use this to store any type of information whether it be for personal use, work, or other; and the future possibilities of this are very exciting of what other types of data or information that we could add to a cloud. However, with anything there are disadvantages; one of the biggest disadvantages would be how we would ensure that our information is kept private. How do we really know if anyone else or other companies don’t have access to our information and could use it for their benefit. Does this mean that we have to be careful just what we post in these mediums? Furthermore, another disadvantage could be if the internet crashes then we cannot access our information. A fix for this would maybe be developing a backup way to access our information to whatever device that we use to get the information.

The cloud can very easily be utilized in libraries as well. We could use social media communications such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate with patrons and for the patrons to communicate their information. It seems that library catalogues are becoming more accessible; before they were just available in the library itself but nowadays they are online and I can even access some via apps on my Iphone. Finally, patrons can use their mobile devices to access the library “cloud” and this would make it easier and more convenient for them to access information that they need.

That’s all for my thoughts for this weeks topic!

Stephens, Michael. (2008). How can libraries use the cloud? Accessed March 20th, 2013, from http://tametheweb.com/2008/08/04/how-can-libraries-use-the-cloud/.

Lesson 9: Bookmarking and Tagging

         This weeks lesson was on the topic of bookmarking and tagging. I have a little bit of knowledge of the use of “tags” or assigning subject headings for resources but not a lot of knowledge of tagging online materials or websites. I have experience with using some very brief tags to tag some of my Instagram posts and I am currently working on a project in my work study position at the D.B. Weldon Library at UWO with assigning “tags” to a special collection. With tagging the special collection, this is a very lengthy process as I am having to read a book that is about 150-200 pages long and assign tags that could allow the reader to find a book on that topic online. I can see how this can relate to tagging websites and the like so that web users can find websites or other information on a particular subject. To try and expand my knowledge in this area I signed up for an account on the social tagging website Delicious. I played around with it a bit and tried to see what I could tag and what other users were doing on the site. What I found was that I could easily add a link to the page that I frequently use and assign tags to this link. This is useful because I can go back to my assigned tags and use them to find links that I find are important quickly. What was also useful is that for the links that I tagged, I could see what other users had tagged them as and what their comments were. Furthermore, I could also see what the most popular tags of the day were, what links these tags were being related to, and what stories/links were the most popular. Overall, I find that this site would be useful if I wanted to access my bookmarks/tags from any online connection or even my Smartphone.

        I can see how pages like Delicious and LibraryThing (a webpage to tag books) would be useful in libraries where the user and/or librarian could access their account from anywhere and build up/list their collections. These could also be used for libraries to see what users are viewing as most popular (by tagging their favorite books or most wanted books) and for libraries to use a more flexible form of assigning subjects in a more casual setting. However, the difficulty with assigning tags to books instead of the Library of Congress Subject Headings would be the lack of consistency. Therefore, I would use the tagging method with caution and only use it as a side manner to list a collection or as a form of building a collection based on the users tags. 

Lesson 8: Microblogging

        This weeks lesson was on the topic of Microblogging or using Facebook, Twitter, etc. to make “status updates” or short posts on our daily lives/occurrences/etc. This was another interesting topic for me as I consistently make Facebook updates on various topics to do with my life, opinions, etc. I feel that it is a good way to communicate easily/fast with family and friends. I do have a Twitter account and I have a number of friends on there but I mostly only use it to keep up to date with the many celebrities or well-known people that use their Twitter to communicate. I very rarely make a “tweet” as I mostly do that type of updating on Facebook. Furthermore, I have always found Twitter a bit more complicated than Facebook and have only just starting learning how to hashtag and use the “@” feature. Strangely enough though I learned about the “@” feature from Facebook and hash-tagging from tagging posts in Instagram.

Because I am somewhat experienced in Twitter, I chose to look at what HootSuite has to offer. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked it. It is very useful that it melts together on one website your Facebook account, Twitter account, LinkedIn, etc. However, the only thing is, if you have multiple social media pages (more than five) you will need to pay to put all of these on HootSuite. Either way, I liked that I could checked the Twitter updates and Facebook updates all on one page. I could see myself utilizing this in the future if I have the need to have all of my social media pages open at once.

         The article by David Allen Kelly (2009) on “How your library may not be using Twitter but should” discussed the multiple ways that libraries could use Twitter. These included tweeting about current library events, being creative in tweets to gain more attention, promote materials, promote events as they happen, posting quirky or odd links, and interact with patrons. All of these methods seem very useful to me and a very efficient way to communicate with patrons who use Twitter and microblogging methods. What I find useful with twitter as well is that you can connect it to your Facebook so that it posts on both Facebook and Twitter. In a library setting this would be very productive because then the library would be posting in both areas at once and communicated with a broader audience.

Kelly, David Ann. (2009). How your library may not be using Twitter but should. Retrieved March 6, 2013, From http://kellyd.com/2009/07/29/how-your-library-may-not-be-using-twitter-but-should/

Lesson 7: Social Networking

        This weeks lesson was on Social Networking. It discussed how the use of pages like Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Myspace, LinkedIn, etc. are prominently used in today’s socially adept age. The discussing about all of these social media communication medias in the lesson made me realize just how connected I am in this area. The only social media page that was mentioned that I haven’t tried was Flikr. I use Facebook daily (checking it multiple times a day, which is a pretty bad habit!), check Twitter every once in awhile on my phone, browse Pintrest, connect with some colleagues and friends on LinkedIn, utilize YouTube daily to view various types of videos, use GoodReads to track what I read, Skype to communicate with family (and this class!), and have used MySpace in the past (even though I do not currently use it anymore). Therefore, from the wide use of these mediums it wasn’t easy for me to decide which other one I wanted to try that I hadn’t already! I have viewed some pictures on Flikr before but have never signed up. This week I signed in with my Facebook ID and browsed around the site. I personalized my profile, found some friends that were already on the site and took the tour. Overall, I found the site would be a useful way to document the pictures that I take (as I take a lot!). However, I am an avid user of Instagram and would find it hard to switch from this to another type of communication for my photos. But if I had not already been partial to another site then I would definitely look into wanting to use this as a way to share my pictures with my family and friends. Other parts of Flikr that I enjoyed included the groups section, the galleries, and the blog.

        In relation to how libraries could connect with their communities with Flikr would be to use this to keep galleries of current events in the library. This would be a better medium for a library that is not wanting to utilize Facebook and if they just want to share their photos.