Lesson 13: Reflections and Wrap-Up

        Wow, can’t believe that it has been 13 weeks already! I always get so happy but so nostalgic at the end of a semester/term and in this case it is no different! This course itself has taught me a lot about social media and various topics that I did not have a lot of knowledge about previously. I have to say that even if a topic was difficult to grasp that it was always useful and always something that I will take into the working world. Specifically, blogging has been a very interesting skill that I have learned that I really like! I have always liked sharing my thoughts and have never considered this as such a productive medium. I will definitely take this skill and consider applying it to my life. Other topics that I have learned to love include RSS feeds and RSS readers, tagging, and social gaming! 

I know that all of the topics will be useful in the library setting. Some are already being used but others (like social gaming) can definitely prosper from more attention and development. I am excited to have this knowledge so that, if I ever have the opportunity, I can apply it.

So, I guess this leaves me with a “see you later” as I move onto my third and LAST term in my Masters! 

I hope that for anyone reading my blog that maybe I have taught you at least a little bit too!

Rebekah

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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.

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. 

Lesson 6: Social media policies

The lesson for this week was on the topic of social media policies in the workplace. With the clear advancement and new developments of many social media means of communication companies, workplaces, and libraries are having to start considering how to deal with the use of them for personal use and for company use. If companies, or in my case, libraries, want to take advantage of some of the many social media avenues out there then they have to develop policies to make sure that they are used properly in the workplace. This lesson covered many examples of what other companies have done and I did some research on my own to see if I could find further advice. One list of policy advice that I found was a list of 11 tips for the public sector that included some tips such as: social media should support the organizational mission and overall communication strategy; make decisions on what would be appropriate content; assign workload and decision responsibilities and distribute them equally among a social media ringmaster, content creators, curators, account administrators, and content providers with knowledge about the issues; understand your audience; make access to social media content available through alternative mechanisms; make clear what appropriate “netiquette” is;  decide on what social media avenue to use (Facebook, Twitter, Newsletter, etc.) and who will set it up and administer it; set up daily routines; measure and interpret how successful the use of the social media is; and provide training so other co-workers can understand the social media being used (Mergel, 2012).  

An  article by Ogneva outlined 9 Best Practices for Social Networking in the Workplace. Nine key rules that Ogneva lists includes: 1. Understand company policy, best practices and culture (be professional and know the do’s and don’ts); 2. Company communities evolve best practices and policies (cultures are constantly changing so must the policies as well); 3. Mixing personal and professional (remain professional in your social media communication but add your own “personality” to it while keeping it respectful); 4. Public vs. private spaces (if you have a message to communicate, decide if it needs to go to a specific group or if it can be sent to a general group); 5. Be mindful in private (keep “trash” talk out of company emails, even if it is in a private email); 6. The New York Times test (would you be comfortable if what you are posting would appear on the front page of the New York Times? Think of this before posting); 7. Become an expert (if you know an answer to a question, answer it!); 8. Respect privacy (do not repost threads without permission of the author and respect the privacy of others in email groups or in private threads); and 9. Remember the golden rule (Treat your co-workers how you would want to be treated at work). (Ogneva, 2012). 

From these two articles above I think that if these policies or rules are carried out then social media can be used and be very helpful in the workplace and libraries. However, with the constantly evolving state of social media, attention would have to be paid to keep these policies current and relevant. 

Mergel, Ines. (2012). 11 Social Media Tips for the Public Sector. Retrieved Feb. 18th, 2012, from http://mashable.com/2012/07/30/public-sector-social-media/. 

Ogneva, Maria (2012). 9 Best Practices for Social Networking in the Workplace. Retrieved Feb. 18th, 2012, from http://mashable.com/2012/01/23/social-media-workplace/. 

Lesson 5: Response to mashups and “non-text” user-generated content

This weeks lesson was on the topics of “non-text” user-generated content and Mashups. The first concept of “non-text” user generated content was one that I understood a little better then Mashups. “Non-text” user generated content is basically YouTube videos, photos, Pintrest pins, etc. I can relate to this type of content as I am an avid user of creating Instagram photos, posting photos on Facebook, repinning “Pins” on Pintrest, and watching YouTube videos. This concept of this kind of content being “information” or portraying a message is correct as this “non-text” content holds true to the fact that “a picture is worth 1000 words”. I enjoy using pictures to show what is going on in my life as they are a simple (visual) way of showing the world what can sometimes be complex things or something that I do not feel like writing about. I think that this kind of information would be something interesting for a library to try and catalogue as it would be a very interesting process of what a picture or a video means to one person (when the interpretation of it could be different to another). 

The second concept covered this week was Mashups. I found the idea of it to be quite simple but when I read more in-depth about what it was I realized just how complicated or “layered” a topic it can be. I found playing around with the “Google Map Builder” in Google Maps to be a fun and interesting task and reading about all of the available map Mashups for libraries was interesting as well. However, as I mentioned before, it seems like this area could get very complicated as you would have to know how to combine or to edit these websites and I am not very knowledgeable in the technical areas that would be required to really play around and edit these programs. I would have to spend a lot of time learning about how to do it or play it safe and learn how to use the “Mashed-up” website that has already been created. Either way, this is a very useful topic to know about to better serve library patrons as you can use so many programs that they can utilize.

Lesson 4 Response: Wikis and other collaboration tools

This is my response to this week’s lesson on Wikis and other collaboration tools. As in the past couple weeks, I again find this topic to be interesting and I can relate to the topic of Wikis and using other such tools to collaborate with other users.

My personal experience with Wikis themselves in the past has only been with Wikipedia. Before this lesson, I did not know that there were other “Wikis” out there and had not even considered that there was anything similar to Wikipedia out there. I have only used Wikipedia as a means to find information quickly and easily. What I normally do, if I have a question in mind, is go into Google, type in my inquiry and choose the Wikipedia article as it is most commonly in the first couple results and it is the source that I trust the most when I am not looking at databases. However, this being said, I only use Wikipedia as a starting source and if I want to be sure that the information is credible I then go and find peer-reviewed articles on the topic. All throughout my undergrad, my professors have warned me and my classmates to never use Wikipedia in our papers as main sources. I never really questioned this “rule” of theirs but just went with it and trusted their advice.

My incomplete trust of Wikipedia was supported by this week’s reading, “How and why do college students use Wikipedia” by Soom Lim. Lim did a study of undergraduate students on why, how and what motivated them to use Wikipedia. The results found that most of these students used Wikipedia to find quick information but they did not have a large amount of trust in the credibility (as is the same for myself) of the information in the articles. Furthermore, this study found that these students used Wikipedia more than they used their own libraries database. This and the lack of trust in the information were addressed as problems and possible solutions included having more credible sources included in the articles and to include library information in the articles to promote the use of the library.

The second article called “A Wiki Way of Communication” by Carol McGeehon discussed how the Douglas County Library system used wiki software for their employees to “disseminate information, create and store electronic documents, track problem tickets for technology and cataloging questions, host staff discussions around various topics, summarize conferences and workshops and track usage of equipment, vehicles, and meeting rooms” (2010). This sounds like a very good method to run a library and I like this idea in working together with co-workers. I have a little bit of similar experience with working together, not with co-workers, but with other students in using Google Drive to create papers and handouts for specific classes. These are extremely useful and I wish I had discovered them earlier as they allow me to work from home or even on my Smartphone. This way I am much more productive and it cuts down on meeting time.

Overall, my experience with reading about Wiki’s and editing Wiki’s online was very informative and I look forward to hopefully using these skills in the workplace in the future.

Those are my thoughts for the week! Thanks for taking the time to read!

Rebekah

McGeehon, Carol. (2010). A Wiki way of communication. OLA Quarterly, 16(3), 7-10.

Sook, L. (2009). How and why do college students use Wikipedia? Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60(11), 2189-2202.

Lesson 3: Blogs and RSS Feeds

After reading the article, “Why and how to use blogs to promote your library’s services” by Darlene Fitcher from 2003, I realized just how long blogs have been around and what useful tools they can be. Darlene discusses just how easy and productive having a blog in the library can be. How it can promote library events, support the users who want updates on current material, engage the community with new book reviews and book activities, support their community with various value-added services as needed, and build new relationships by promoting the library to new users. I found this a very important topic to learn about as I can see myself (as I am doing for this course) using this method in the workplace. I think it would be very exciting to see a blog progress and see how the community and target population would respond to it and contribute. A blog does not have to just be by one librarian or a couple librarians contributing; however, the patrons can also comment and leave their opinions on whatever topic is brought up. This article is ten years old but even ten years ago libraries saw the importance of using the Web as a medium to reach out and communicate in a different way than before.

The second topic of the week was RSS feeds or “Rich Site Summary”. I learned about this tool and how I can use this very useful technology to subscribe to feeds and information from news sites, weather sites, databases, blogs, etc. Previously to this lesson I had heard of the term RSS but did not really know what it was. After reading about it and experimenting with it this week (and adding an RSS feed to my blog (subscribe to my blog! Hint, hint!)) with Google Reader, I have discovered what a genuinely ingenuous and easy tool that this is! I actually had a lot of fun finding pages with RSS feeds and subscribing to them. I subscribed to RSS feeds for theweathernetwork.com in London, Ontario and in Sudbury, Ontario and I subscribed to RSS feeds for various libraries, webpage’s and blogs. I am very excited to keep using this tool as I find it so useful that I can subscribe to feeds all over the Web and access them all in just one area. I will definitely be recommending this tool to my friends and anyone interested as it is not only useful but a timesaver.

Those are my thoughts on Lesson 3! Sorry for the late post, it has been a busy past week as I have been getting back into the heavy workload of a Master’s student and am (hopefully!) finally getting into a good groove with balancing work and life in London!

Best,

Rebekah Harrison

Fitcher, Darlene. (2003). Why and how to use blogs to promote your library’s services. Marketing Library Services, 17(6)