Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Reflections on the ICT Applications in LIS course

I've come to realize that before taking the course I was aware of quite a few library 2.0 tools, including how the publishing arena has changed, challenges around E-books and OA, and have been in the fortunate position to gain experience in some of these technological developments, such as  RSS , wiki, widgets and QR Codes; so not totally a new area, but this is not to say I did not advance my knowledge, skills and attitude in this course.  

My knowledge was a bit fragmented and the course helped to bring it all together. It was an enriching, enjoyable (creative!) experience which by its nature (theory & practical) brought depth to my skills and knowledge; I now have a more positive attitude towards some of these technologies, especially blogs and twitter for instance.  

I  realize the extent to which we implement some of these can be developed even more and others need to be started; if we'd like to market our services and resources through social media. Not all users will embrace these technologies and not every web 2.0 possibility will necessarily fit all libraries, but we need to carefully think about how best to apply what, in order to cater for various learning styles and needs of our clients.

Libraries need to strategically think about and apply social media technologies to reach users and non-users alike.  A social media strategic plan with specific goals might be helpful to implement decisions and keep on track. Let’s face it, to apply and sustain library 2.0 user-centered services needs the right attitude, it also takes time and continuous learning of new skills. The richness of what can be achieved by library 2.0 tools, make it important to  invest time and skills; and keep on developing our skills in this area.

There will continuously be another target to reach as opportunities for ICT Applicatios in LIS keeps evolving with technology, so lifelong learners we'll (have to) be! Even more important, we have to keep up so our users will not regard us as archaic and not regarding libraries as a usable resource!

The course content was delivered in a very clear manner. I always knew exactly what was expected of me. Other than the normal challenges that come with part-time studies, like time management, I had to keep at it and work steadily to help me cope with the assignments and deliver on time. I found the essay writing and 5-minute presentation and to blog most challenging, but I’m grateful for every experience in this well developed and excellent delivered course.

Although we’re not quite at the end of the road with ICT applications in LIS  as we still need to blog and attend to twitter and our wiki assignments, I’d like to say a warm thank you  to Sandy; thank you, dr Zinn it was great learning from you! 

Last, but not least, thank you to my classmates – although we didn't have  time to get to know one another as well as I would have liked to on a personal level, it sure was an enjoyable experience and I've gained by learning together with you. 


Friday, 19 April 2013

Wiki project

Wikimania ;) if not Wikimedia is on our doorstep as our own online collaborative wiki project has started in class this week. We’d do good to keep our “ICT Applications in LIS” caps firmly in place for the next few weeks at least.

As Wikipedia is the pioneer of wikis, I chose their definition: "A wiki (i/ˈwɪkiː/ wik-ee) is a website which allows its users to add, modify, or delete its content via a web browser usually using a simplified markup language or a rich-text editor". Libraries are using wikis (the word comes from Hawaii and means fast or quick) for all kinds of reasons: for knowledge management community websites and intranets, which may permit control over different levels of access.

As Nambitha and myself work in academic libraries it makes sense that Sandy wants us working together on a wiki appropriate for our library environment – we’ve heard it should be at least 10 pages which amount to 3 pages each, so we'll have to decide which are pertinent topics we'd like to cover in the wiki, but social colloboration tools should definitely feature to my mind.

Francoise may join any one of the groups and has chosen our group, so all three of us have our work cut out this week as the wiki content planning process – as with any website planning - needs thinking to get us to an outline of topics first before hitting any ‘edit’ button on

I've implemented a wiki on SharePoint for our library staff who can all access, modify and update to allow for creating, sharing, keeping and updating various snippets of information that we need to refer back to when performing our duties, but this is a very simple style in-house wiki which do not really compare with the project ahead. 

It was interesting to read in Wikipedia that Ward Cunningham (see photo on LH), the developer of the first wiki software, WikiWikiWeb, originally described a wiki as "the simplest online database that could possibly work." That is exactly how I will describe our library's wiki for the staff. Nothing fancy, but it works!

Back to our assignment... can one call this work? Apart from the time we have to set aside for ICT Applications assignments, I find it enriching to read, explore and have a web presence in the field of ICT with our blogs and the Twitter account. The short, but rich tweets reaching me on various ICT issues and how “technological librarianship” is crystallising out in today’s world, have exceeded my expectations. But enough of Twitter for now….

We decided the aim of our wiki will be the support and (information literacy) training of postgraduate students –to support their information needs and to push tips and appropriate resources to them via the wiki. We had a look at the literature as well to help us focus the wiki topics to that which postgraduates students struggle with most.

Looking forward to this online collaborative wiki project!

More on wikis

Saturday, 13 April 2013

clog: Powerpoint presentations

Some powerful tips and tools on presenting, too much to name these individually, but this is one page to bookmark. Be sure to scroll down to the botton of the page for more that I'm sure we can all benefit from. 

Sharpening of skills: Powerpoint slides & Presentation design

Delivering a speech in public needs more skills and I have yet to come across a person who prefer to deliver the presentation in stead of listening, but I've always taken heart that the more one practice the better it gets.

If you would like to sharpen your skills in designing powerful PowerPoint presentations, check out Training with Duarte and tools and resources, which list a few videos, including Five Rules for Creating Great Presentations

 Three rules to remember according to Duarte are:

The client is king

Let them see the message
Spread the message

I'd like to try out using Twitter comment on powerpoint next time I'm having a class for a training session.... never heard of this till now... use Twitter in PowerPoint with Poll Everywhere, you can invite people to tweet a short comment directly to your slide in real-time, ... it will be pick it up as fast as Twitter allows.

The online Stand Up, Speak Out book with its 18 chapters on public speaking has been a great help to me when I had to prepare for a presentation last year. A true lifeline this one! but it seems one now has to buy it?! Would have loved to hear what you think.

The following was shared during a workshop that I attended >

 When delivering a presentation:
7% of meaning is in the words that are spoken
38% of meaning is paralinguistic (the way that the words are said).
55% of meaning is in the visual

In the end it needs practice as well, so as to eliminate that which doesn't work.

Source: Haroun, Faika. 2012. Powerpoint: Managing the content for effective presentation. Stellenbosch: Stellenbosch University Language Centre.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

D-Day for presenting

Tonight some of us were up for delivering our topic presentations in class and I was glad to be part of the group that could present, so now I can focus on my next presentation; other subject, other topic, but just as interesting :)

It seems we all found it challenging to present our topics in only 5 minutes, but it was a very good exercise to make sure only the pertinent is included.

Beforehand I wished for my presentation, which I had a lot of fun with putting together, to be well received and clearly understood.   The remarks afterwards seem to indicate that I reached my goal. Good luck to those of you who will present next week!

I'm including my short presentation as promised, and hope you'll find time to read the "Making a difference" document or even just scan through it as it gives a good idea of the wonderful work that Research4Life does with their four programmes. There's also a librarian reporting how the open access information is helping him when asked for information.

 Here is the video link to Prof Mary Abukutsa-Oyango from Kenya's report on how both approaches to OA have benefited her research and community. The direct link from within the PowerPoint don't  open in the file format I had to change it to before I could upload.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Internet filtering: what I've learnt and ideas for librarians

Opportunity for educating the public, families and teens

Internet Filtering is a euphemism for censorship with people being the censors who deem something censorial for various reasons.

I think it is especially the school and public librarians among us that  have a huge opportunity and can play an important role in educating their communities about online safety and safe internet surfing.  Maybe you are already doing this? If not, I'm including a few ideas. One could share internet safety tips as a screen saver on the open floor computers.  Consider making and including a few slides on the topic on your plasma screen (if you have one available), or otherwise compile a list of websites (make a wiki in future!) and create a QR code for the created list to hand out to library users. Make a printout of the code and distribute it by putting it in the books issued, for instance. Simultaneously educate users about QR codes?

Maybe explore opportunities such as designing a pamphlet on the topic which include links on various aspects of Internet Safety.

Arrange a book display where you include a list of useful online safety  tips and websites.

Make it one of your first entries if you develop a blog for the library!

Liaise with your municipality staff and get their buy-in.  Compile a short annotated list of important websites for inclusion  with the municipal newsletter /  bill or other communication method they use.

Arrange a Fun Quizz to test the users' Internet Safety Knowledge like Oshkosh Public Library are doing!

Think of appropriate ways to educate your community on this (and of course other ITC) topics, I tell myself as well.  As librarians we are embedded in your communities, and therefor must not underestimate the role we can play in educating and empowering our users.

 I've learnt there are various reasons for censoring, including
  • Morality; which uses a moral argument why something is not good.
  • Political: for instance the banning of certain books as was found under the SA apartheid regime.
  • Religious: as abound in the Middle East today.
  • Military: protection of information Bill.... Sandy mentioned the WikiLeaks example.
  • Other: such as porn. Adults have a way to avoid it, but children are at risk.

 Filters need to be fitted, but there are ways around these as well. This is a door left wide open if one doesn't beware and put in place multiple barriers to safeguard especially our young children and teens  to keep them from "inappropriate for their age" Internet content. With all the available technology and many demands on parents' time, it becomes harder and harder to 'stay with' what your kids are watching and seeing. 

Librarians need to decide whether they are gatekeepers or not and what role they should play with regards to censorship.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Learning curve: on our way to becoming social media socialites and 21st century librarians?

Quite a few of you guys have mentioned that you experience the course as a learning curve. If I must emphasize one thing that I've learned so far, it is that more and more time will have to be found and spent one way or the other to apply and keep up with social media and its tools and to a greater extent, to the benefit of our growing number of digital natives users and also our profession. Librarians need to evaluate which social media would be applicable in their community and use it to connect with and build relationships with their members where they are.

As dr Steve Matthews says in his blog post, "Nowhere is change as evident as in libraries!" It is a question of swim or sink. According to dr Matthews "there are at least five major challenges that every librarian will face, sooner or later. Whether you overcome these challenges will determine whether you become a 21st Century librarian, and ultimately whether you, your library and your profession survive".

I don't agree with his statement that librarians/libraries are not about the building, but only in cyberspace...the library as place is becoming more and more crucial for communities in need of a space away from home, the so called "third space" or "third place".

Librarias will also need to think about how we use our existing library space ... and school libraries are also thinking of their design so as to make/keep libraries an inviting place where communities would be able to grow, connect, learn, share and also socialize.