Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thing 6. Online Image Generators

From a graphical design perspective, the use of online image generators to easily create multimedia images is a tool that enables librarians to effectively capture and bring to the attention of students the availability of library services and resources and to do so in a variety of electronic venues.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thing 5. More Flickr Fun

The tutorial indicated instructions for uploading mash-ups to a blog would be provided somewhere on the site. No indication was given as to which site--the mash-up site or the blogger editing site. After loading the Flash plug-in I explored Clockr, but as previously indicated I could not locate any instructions for uploading the mash-up. Furthermore, I too share the sentiments of the participant expressing frustration and concern regarding the necessity of opening yet another account requiring a username and password.

From the examples provided in the tutorial, there appears to be few pedagogical benefits to be accrued in the implementation of these mash-ups. Mash-up designed to assist students in achieving a specific instructional outcomes could be potentially useful.

Thing 4. Photosharing with Flickr

This photograph of the New York Public Library grand staircase is a visual reminder of days gone by. The notion of a library as an august physical place designed to provide access to information has evolved in the last fifty years to embrace and exploit the innovative applications of technology. Its conceptualization has expanded to include a virtual space where information can be created, collected, distributed and/or shared. Having acknowledged this evolutionary transformation, it is nevertheless still satisfying to admire and appreciate the tangible and intangible aesthetics of architectural edifices built in preceding eras that delineated and defined the notion of libraries as physical spaces.

Sometimes a photograph is an effective means of subtly reinforcing talking points as is in the case of this photograph. The use of photographs to convey not only thoughts but also feelings, such as nostalgia, is also an efficient method of communication. Flickr provides the general public with the ability to easily capitalize on the use of this medium to convey thoughts, ideas, feelings, and facts. It also is a tool librarians/educators can put to good use when addressing the many learning styles of students.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thing 3. Set Up an RSS Account & Add Feeds

For anyone who may have previously visited my blog, I have made a few changes. Perhaps the most noticeable change being the absence of the avatar. Not particularly enthralled or impressed with this piece of technology, I have elected to remove the avatar from my blog in favor of creating a singular focus on the photograph of the Mississippi River. To me this photograph is much more reflective of the intended purpose and tone of my blog. Other changes to the site encompassed minor editorial revisions to the blog header and my profile. Disclosing these revisions to readers of my blog represents a feeble attempt to adhere to the "truth in disclosure" dictum, a sentiment currently in vogue given the current bombardment of political ads.

Editorial self-disclosure comments aside, the topic of really simple syndication (RSS) does present dwellers in the Internet world with a number of good options for compiling and organizing news feeds. The ability to consult a single web site to access and peruse sources for current information in a timely and efficient manner while not contributing to the creation of "junk" email is an extremely welcomed technological innovation. RSS is not unlike the selective dissemination of information (SDI) service commonly available as one of the functionalities incorporated into search engines developed to query electronic index/abstract databases. The only distinctions between RSS and SDI are the technological applications being used to identify and alert potential users to the existence of information and research on specific topics. I suspect both RSS and SDI will continue to evolve and remain useful services for busy professionals attempting to budget their time wisely.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thing 2. What is Library 2.0?

Reading about the various concepts related to developing and delivering library services within the Web 2.0 environment--constant change and the notion of "beta is forever"--quickly brought to mind the notion of future shock as defined by Alvin Toffler. His supposition that accelerated rates of technological and social change create a "shattering stress and disorientation" within society somewhat aptly describes what the library community may be experiencing. The Web 2.0 principles--simiplicity, interactivity, participatory, collective knowledge cumulation, and self-service--profoundly impact the processes for creating, distributing, and using information. As stated in a number of the blogs, the web is currently no longer perceived as being a collection of web sites and search engines, a model familiar to most traditional libraries and librarians, but that of a alternative social community where people work, learn, and play. I freely admit I am a librarian grappling with identifying the appropriate means by which to achieve a level of comfort and integration into this alternative social community/social communication model.

After some reflection, I have concluded one cannot proceed without examining the past and building a bridge to traverse the chasm created by this societal paradigm shift delineating the parameters of the future. The problem lying before me is how to build the bridge. I would like to believe as Stephen Abram does that by becoming familiar with the Web 2.0 tools and reflecting on the potential usefulness of such tools I will be able to take the first steps in building a bridge to the future. However, I am somewhat concerned with the unintended consequences, both positive and negative, inevitably to emerge with the evolution of the Web. It is neither acceptable to stick one's head in the sand and ignore the consequences, nor is it acceptable to cease implementation of technological innovations because not all is known. Unfortunately the speed at which technological innovations are emerging oftentimes precludes thoughtful examination resulting in the necessity to enter into uncharted waters in order to proceed forward and not be left behind. It is this vortex of change and innovation that presents me with challenges I personally feel ill-equipped or more accurately ill-prepared to mediate. Twenty-three things on a stick may be a good start, but it is just that--a start.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thing 1. Set Up Your Blog

After completing the exercise of creating and customizing a blog, I am at a loss as to the value of incorporating an avatar as part of a site developed to establish a forum for discussing the creation, organization, distribution, retrieval, and use of information. From what I have been able to ascertain from recent studies and comments regarding such sites as Second Life, virtual alternative worlds appear to be a passing fad. The emergence of technology fads begs the question of how does one evaluate emerging technologies. Aaron Swartz, co-creator of the Open Library project, co-founder of Reddit, former adviser to Creative Commons, and co-developer of RSS, identified three key questions to ask regarding the implementation of new technologies during a current topics discussion group presentation at ALA Mid-Winter. His approach to the question was not to provide criteria for selecting winners, but to identify characteristics commonly associated with losers. Referring to the axiom "rules substitute for thought," he encouraged individuals to think for themselves by posing and answering the following three questions before implementing new technologies: (1) Does the technology fill a unique niche in that it is something people want? (2) Is the technology easily accessible in that it is something people can easily find? (3) Does the technology fit into reality in that it is something people can do?

Considering the incorporation of avatars as an integral part of a blog from my perspective and limited knowledge of the technology adds little if any value to electronic discussion forums designed to explore the delivery of information resources and services. However, having answered all three of the questions in the negative does not marginalize the entertainment factor or the acknowledgement of alternative realities as a new model for social communication. Succinctly stated, creating an avatar is fun but may not be particularly useful in achieving the desired goals and objectives of blogging.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

23 Things On A Stick

The impetus behind the creation of this blog was to participate in an interactive instructional module to become familiar with some of the Web 2.0 tools. An additional benefit to the blog will be to converse with others in the field of librianship to learn of their opinions and aspirations for the new technologies. As a baby boomer, I am well aware of the disparities in mindsets between my generation and the generations that follow regarding technology and the ubiquiously impact of technology on day-to-day activities. Understanding how communication has evolved with the Internet to change the landscape of how information is gathered, categorized, archived, and used will hopefully provide me with some insights into future applications of technology to the research process.