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.  

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Twitter experience so far. Account done & dusted and managed to import my tweets here so even if you're not (yet) on Twitter you can follow if you'd like. I suppose I'll learn if there's a neater way of doing this...

Microblogging in libraries from the Library Success Wiki  contains useful links on how various libraries use this tool for publicity.

News items used as tweets

I incorporated a News widget into my blog and specified the news topics I wanted to be displayed here, according to the ICT Applications in LIS topics covered in class. 

It was handy in the sense that I could then easily use some of these news items that was pushed to me - the ones I found most appropriate - as tweets on Twitter.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Open Access

By the look of things the implementation and development of a successful Institutional Repository (IR) to Open Access (OA) research output at a university or research institution needs understanding of a lot of issues and concepts, technical knowledge of software; processes needed, for instance open source software (OSS) such as D-Space.
Added to these are knowledge of copyright issues, OA publishing models, collaboration and from practice comes the knowledge that it takes hard work, dedication, perseverance & good organising to name just a few…Would like to see a lot more hands and buy-in from stakeholders to help build and fast track development of OA in Africa!

As a faculty librarian, I play a role in raising awareness and broadening knowledge of OA in general and more specific among our campus community. In the beginning years I gave assistance to postgraduate students when preparing& and uploading their documents, as it has been compulsory from 2007onwards for our students to submit their thesis online for inclusion in the IRs. As the detail is now explained on our website, I rarely need to help with this these days. I nowadays answer questions and liaise with faculty members re. Open Access, giving advice and sharing criteria for OA journal publishing for instance.

In the few and far between spare moments when other pressing work are done, librarians and staff do their bit to help populate the repository. For instance, a few years ago I had a few days on hands before the Christmas holidays and worked flat out to upload some of our researchers' articles from a journal that has green OA clearance. This year will see another project to help populate the repository more quickly. The work is cut out for us, and it is exciting to be part of the OA development at our university, which uses open source software for two platforms that support both approaches (green and gold) to share scholarly literature: Ubuntu is used as the operating system and DSpace is used for the repository and Open Journal Systems as the publication platform. 

Sneak preview of Open Access presentation

 Background slides on Open Access 
for class presentation later this month. 

OA links

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Reflections on starting a blog

I’m thinking and rethinking the merit of starting a blog for our library. 
especially as we already have other marketing tools in place. A blog could be an efficient way to deliver a web 2.0 service for news and features, and widgets can be uploaded easily as well. A link to the blog could be facilitated from our web page and the campus wide newsletter.

There is a need to reach the campus community members who do not regularly come through the library doors, for instance module postgraduate students. A blog should help to reach prospective clients, so I’m starting to think about best practices to manage such a blog.  

Blogging - another service or rather a better integrated service?

A blog will be another service to be squeezed into already fully packed working days.  As academic branch librarians, the days are filled with a variety of many services, and don't get me wrong, it's not the idea of “extra work", but knowing  it'll need nifty footwork and be dependent on other more important services being attended to first. Inter library loans, collection development, client training to support learning and research, other existing marketing tools, information services and more will need attention first.  The blogging will necessarily have to move way down the list when one starts prioritizing

A better communication tool?

I believe one needs to be available to attend to possible bloggers, because people who blog, would expect a fairly quick return comment/answer to their question/remark. I mean, what is the use of blogging if one turns off the comments feature? It would still be a nice tool for communication though, but a one-way one, so perhaps the bloggers could be referred to the e-reference service when they have a question? A link to the reference service question form should be available on the blog then.  
There is a web part for news on our library web page, so maybe starting a blog in stead of the news web part, with librarians taking turns to attend to the blog, could work?!  Almost in the same way as we take turns to answer Ask A Librarian questions that come in. If teamwork comes into play, there might just be light in the tunnel for a library blog which take over the news web part.

This course is great so far as it enables me to think about what I heard in class, how our current practices at work could be adapted to ensure even more efficient applications of web 2.0 technologies.

Wiki on Using blogs for marketing

The Library success wiki on using blogs for marketing seems to be worth exploring.

More links on Social Media

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Podcast follower

Previously, when missing a good radio talk show, I took it in my stride with a 'don't worry, maybe again next week ",  but I'm excited that from now on, no more missing out...I'll just tune in to the podcasts. Best of all, this can happen in one's own time.  Many resources exist on how podcasting works.

 I've now joined PodOmatic, and although I don't know how soon I'll  need to create a podcast, at least I know where to turn to, should I need a free resource.   I have worked with and have access to
 Captivate, which is an electronic learning tool that can be used to create podcasts as well. I also follow a listserv where Camtasia was discussed as another such tool, which is highly recommended by the users thereof, as they feel it is more user friendly than Captivate. If small changes need to be made every so often to the podcast, Captivate is better than Camtasia apparently.

Right now I'm catching up and listening on my computer via the web page to an interesting podcast about positive thinking, while I'm visiting some of the web pages mentioned in class and also searching for a podcast I'd like to follow and maybe share with you. There is just so much out there!

If you are in need of a few more examples and tips, you might find Podcasting from the Library Success Best Practices Wiki useful. It Includes a list of libraries creating podcasts and tips for creating effective podcasts.

A few more resources

Listen to podcasts and vodcasts of the Berlin 10 OA content.
Podcasting for researchers
First Monday podcast 

Friday, 1 March 2013

QR Codes

Since tapping in on the subject of QR codes during class, I've created a QR codes for our video database collection as well as expanding the use of an already existing QR Code I had created before starting classes with Sandy.  This is such an easy way to promote your library resources and services, especially with smart phones being all the more available to library clients.

 My colleagues have been quite impressed with the new ways I made use of the OR code technology, although I've previously created one for our library website which we put up at the library's entrance door.  

These new ideas were brought about by the examples Sandy shared with us the class so I could happily create some more as can be seen in the photographs below. We also included the QR code for our library website on our new batch of printed bookmarks for the library. 

It is quite rewarding seeing the enthusiasm of our users when they use this "fairly new to some of the students as well" technology, which enables them to easily and quickly get to the video streaming content to their phones. Another idea that I would like to follow up is to develop QR codes for our E-books on specific sub-topics. These codes should help to bring together the paper and E-collections when the codes are displayed near the hard copy books on the topic.

 I've now also  created this QR code for my blog   
Maybe the following will sound a bit technical, but believe me, it is quite easy and if I could manage, of course so can you! So if you have bbm, click on BB icon on your phone, scroll right down and you'll find "Scan a group barcode". Next time you want to save info from a QR code on your phone, just click "scan a group barcode" and hold it in front of the QR code you want to capture, and your phone will find it automatically. The link to the information should then be available in your browser on your phone.

More reading

This article written by members of the e-learning community at the University of Bath covers what QR codes are to the potential uses of QR codes annd where on the web you might find up to date info about QR codes being used in education.

QR codes and academic libraries reaching mobile users 

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