Expanding Library Services

This morning was spent in a very interesting meeting with the Dean. I didn’t know how well the NIU Libraries were preparing to adopt for the changing environment and expectations of academic libraries. And trust me the main library needs some major renovation and opening up of its resources. Just this past semester we added a small cafe (Founders Café) to the basement and wifi has been slightly upgraded in parts of the library. Necessary steps I think.

But a list of things that may be in the near future for Founders Memorial Library (main NIU Library) is:

the expansion of projects for the digitization lab, Open Access of Scholarly material (produced at NIU I believe) to the world, updating/improving study rooms, having media centered rooms, enhancing wifi access, working with diverse programs university wide aka getting involved, and e-learning.

I liked that the theme was “making the library a place to come.” I think these are all steps in a forward looking direction, especially with e-learning. Instead of considering the library as a bank of knowledge and written word, it needs to become a place where people can learn to participate in the growing and socializing world of technology and the need to expand information literary. As technology puts us in a position to become more social, the library can accommodate patrons desire to communicate with one another and the library itself. The library also needs to take advantage of inside and outside sources that already have a deep understanding and connection with this new information soaked era.

In fact I believe most if not all institutions need to be aware that they would actually function better and protect their interests more closely if they would consider opening up the way they operate to the social forum. The more you give the more you receive. The masse need not take over or replace the functions of institutions, but the institution should end up providing a purposeful and workable non-restricting service for the masse instead of trying to control and direct it and its own development into the future.

Catch the proverbial social bug.

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Wiki-tized

So today I suggested to my boss that we wiki-tize some of the information we use on a daily basis (I work in the Information Delivery Service department),

“>>> Micah Jefferson 5/13/2008 2:39 PM >>>
Sarah,

Building off something I think you suggested, putting the training manuals or something on the wiki, I think it would allow for a bit for ease and maybe efficiency if we put all the documents we use to order/borrow online too along with the paper print outs. Like which libraries we need to do x2 or x5, branch patrons, school codes…etc. Personally I’d rather check online for something instead of looking at 5 different sheets of paper. Since wiki’s are easily editable we wouldn’t have to reprint something every time we had to add or subtract data. Just musing…lemme know if this is feasible.

Micah  ”

She responded with “Brilliant. This was exactly along the lines of what I was thinking of!”

At least all the stuff I use is typed up and each print out has its special place on my bulliten board, or clipboard, etc., I kind of like condensing things since i’m so absent minded sometimes. I forget to check this paper, or that so I have to go back and do look at them find where I laid it down last…but it think we could still use the print outs since some might prefer it that way.

The wiki is perfect for a quick, easy, editable reference page that has unlimited usage/application. I think more and more people, businesses and institutions will come to realize how applicable it is and that making something more public, or at least more interactive will bring some benefit. A thing that would need to be considered is how public/open or private should the wiki be. The reason Wikipedia is so well applied is because there are so many users to provide an enhanced error correction service. Unless a wiki like I am suggesting in made institution wide there may need to be certain restrictions that would subject revisions to review before being published.

That is all…

Social Software

So I have to say I am a bit frustrated with the throwing around of terms like social software and Web 2.0. Right now I think people should not be so quick to categorize a tool or idea under one or the other moniker unless I’m totally not grasping each concept, which may be the problem. Is social software just Web 2.0 apps? Or are they each heading a different front? I know I could go to Wikipedia and probably come away with some better understanding, but may that be ironic since the wiki is a social software app that operates on the platform that is the basis of Web 2.0?

Anyways, that might have been a complete waste of time, but I am musing on many ways to use social software constantly. But, I immediately run into problems upon considering implementation. Most of the tools I see available are useful and provide a good service, but its hard to consider which tools to use, how to use them, if they will be reliable or just create more of a confusing or convoluted way of interacting or operating in everyday life or professional. I know it will probably take time for the right people to realize how these tools should be used, or there are better suited tools on the horizon. I just believe that no one should, shun to quickly the new evolution of how we communicate with each other.

Because that’s all we ever wanted to do in the first place, understand one another. So far we can say the blog is here to stay, microblogging/status updates are useful but don’t approach necessary, tagging makes things incredibly easy and efficient, and wikis one of the most important ways to allow people to constructively collaborate, so we’ll see were things go from here. There are many more new ideas waiting to be actualized.

Info experts?

THE EXAMPLE

http://www.askusnow.org/

THE STORY

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/25/AR2008042500922_2.html?referrer=emailarticle\

“Information specialists call it the death of information literacy.

Felipe Fernández-Armesto, a Tufts University historian and author of “Truth: A History and a Guide for the Perplexed,” has recently noticed something very odd: “Information has replaced knowledge,” he says, “and the truth of that information no longer seems to matter as much.” ”

THE RESPONSE

Really?

Libraries are in charge of propagating information…not specifically disseminating knowledge and truth.

Clay Shirky (Here comes everybody: the power of organizing without organizations) talks about how the few dominate the actual addition of articles in Wikipedia…

Information online…(wikipedia)…is constantly updated, but printed material has an extended period as to when it is edited and updated…years, maybe never…online the correction is quick/instant.

Truth isn’t possible to any one knower, but group knowledge may come with this mass organization of information…its what people have chosen or accepted as a belief. Knowledge will always exist with inaccuracies, but it always carries the potential to be true.

The process of finding out whether something is true (accurate) and can be added to knowledge shouldn’t be ignored now that we have so much information avaialbe immediately thanks to the internet…but we cannot ignore the power of collected group knowledge.

Transcend our “need” for Google?

I think Google needs us more than we need it. Our traffic draws in their revenue from advertisers. Seems to me the only reason we rely so heavily on the use of Google, is because it has become so integrated into everything that we use. Google has learned how to permeate ever aspect of our online and sometimes offline lives. So I don’t see an inherent or acquired need for google, its just one of the simplest and smartest search engines being used right now. What we have come to rely on is the services these information trafficking companies provide…and I expect an increase in the quantity of services provided balanced with a small decrease on how well they work, or if certain services are necessary at all and not just bloatware.

Primary Post

Taking my first steps into publishing a blog, or at least putting my professional opinion into a more public domain. With this I’m hoping to log my journey through my masters in library science program at UIUC. The coolest thing is that its all online so I’ll be totally enmeshed in the new social aspects of learning, communicating and constructing online. I look forward to connecting with more people in the librarian profession and others inetersted in anything creative.