Assignment 3 Part 2 Evaluative Report

Part A

(a) an evaluative statement using three (3) experiences documented in your OLJ as evidence of meeting the learning objectives of the subject.

Through this semester I have been keeping an online learning journal as part of my INF206 Social Networking for Information Professionals class.  I have chosen three blog posts that I wish to explore and evaluate further as part of the learning process.

Post 1 – The continuing adventures of second life…

I was apprehensive about the whole second life experience so knew that participating in and writing about any Second Life (SL) adventures I would have to make sure my professional hat was on tightly.  However my blog post about this reflected on the humorous, professional and personal side of my thoughts. Although I would not actively use this technology outside of the workplace, I was able to recognise that participating in this virtual world revolves around being a community member of a gaming environment (O’Connell, 2010).

I concluded that SL is indeed a useful tool for the Information Industry, and could be used for staff for training and various other opportunities.  In my blog post I overlooked mentioning the benefit SL would have for clients, particularly for people who are virtually minded, with the potential for reaching teens due to the social appeal that SL has for this age group (Czarnecki & Gullett, 2007, para. 3).  This demonstrated to me my lack of knowledge on the subject and it was not until I went to listen to Ellen Forsyth talk about gaming in libraries that I truly understood how gaming environments could be used for services within the Information Industry.

Overall my blog post on SL demonstrated an understanding that there are many ways to provide information services to different types of users, therefore exploring an unfamiliar technology has the potential to be beneficial to your workplace and is worth evaluating and reflecting on.

Post 2 – Bottle Up The Inspiration

The ‘Building Academic Library 2.0” video that featured Meredith Farkas was a turning point for me professionally because of her drive, passion and knowledge of Social networks; and the blog post I wrote on this took key points from Merediths talk and related these back to the library environment.

The point that stood out to me most was getting to know your clients which involves going where your users are going to further understand what their information needs are (Farkas, 2007).  My biggest reflection was on keeping current with Web 2.0 technologies and I proceeded to explain how beneficial it is to keep current so that as Information Professionals we are maintaining knowledge and understanding of Social media.  This engagement helps with the understanding the fundamentals of a networked society and encourages awareness of the issues that exist in the networked world.  While the sheer volume and ways in which we can connect and keep current with clients can be overwhelming, Cavazza (2008, para. 10) reminds us not to panic because there is still a lot of growth to be had in social media, and the journey will continue.

In this blog post I was able to discuss and recognise where my workplace is in its early stages of implementing Social Networking and understand further what can be considered to make the journey smoother and how policies aid in the communication, currency and limitations that clients and staff have.  Overall, in Google generation where information and networks are easily accessible, understanding where clients are going, knowing current technologies and finding ways to communicate better with clients is the key to being inclusive and reaching clients in a non-obtrusive way (Luther, 2003, para. 3).

Part 3 – Deliciously Unsatisfying…Perhaps not!

I had great expectations of what Delicious could bring to the Information Industry and how having portable bookmarks meant accessing links anywhere.  While Delicious does create opportunities to share online resources such as articles, videos and pictures, collaborating with peers this does not always indicate a value-added service and I believe and expressed in my blog post that am not totally convinced of its usability (O’Connell, 2011).

The main area that deterred me was the abilities of searching for users, this was an area I had great expectations for as a social networker so felt like my social networking needs were not being met in this area.  Chapman (2009, para. 9) suggests making it easy for friends to find you on Social Networks and so not being able to find my peers easily did not improve my experience on Delicious.  I also did not find the colour of the interface appealing, and while I recognised that this could be considered fussy I am also aware that the interface is an important component to the user experience and can determine whether a user explores further (Hearst, 2009, para. 66).

Regardless of my personal Social Networking opinion I recognised that as a tool for the workplace it was worth exploring so created an account and explored further.  From my exploration I acknowledged how sharing links between peers and the rest of the world is a great way to work collaboratively with others, helps free up the bookmarks on work computers and keeps track of links for staff that use multiple computers in the workplace.

Since writing the blog post there have been changes to Delicious that make it even less appealing to use as a Social Networker and Information Professional, hence my change over to Diigo.  Deliciously satisfying….definitely not.

Part B

(b) a reflective statement on your development as a social networker as a result of studying INF206, and the implications for your development as an information professional.

Social media enables people to establish connections with networks of communities on mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, Diigo, SecondLife, blogs and are only just a few of the networks available to users (Dickson & Holley, 2010, p. 468).  When I initially started this subject I stated in my first post that I had considered myself a big user of social media such as those listed above, that is until my first week when I learnt I was not as knowledgeable on the subject as I had initially thought.

Throughout this semester I have learnt how social media technologies are not just about recreation but offer a realm of opportunities to outreach beyond the typical library building and are effective marketing and communication tools (Dickson & Holley, 2010, p. 477).  Simple techniques such as Tweets and Facebook messages about events, highlighting new items and asking for client input into services;  Meebo chatting for reference librarian help, and YouTube videos promoting ideas and entertainment.  This excites me, knowing that connections are being made to clients beyond the library building.

I have also experienced new social media throughout this semester which are now a daily part of my life that I would like to extend into the workplace.  I tried Delicious and it failed to entice me, but Diigo is more user friendly because of ease of use, an appealing interface and the availability of a host of other options.  Scoopit has become my favourite way to curate information and I have found many networks that not only give me access to information professionally but personally also.

I have also participated in Second Life which was not something I would have participated outside of this subject and consequently gave me insight into other approaches for connecting with clients.  As an extension to this I attended a talk on how gaming can be used in libraries which also provided me with further knowledge on how a non-traditional library resource can be used to share information and connect with clients.  It is experiences such as these that have encouraged me to approach social media open minded, however I am also able to look at such tools more critically as I have been evaluating them throughout this subject.

There were two defining moments for me as information professional during this learning process, discovering the existence of Merideth Farkas – such an inspiring, driven professional and reading a blog post by Andy Burkhardt about why libraries should be on Social Media.  Andy’s blog post (2009, para. 6) defining statement was the very last line ”[why] shouldn’t libraries be on social media?”  This has stayed with me and has challenged me to share my new found knowledge with other professionals, particularly within my own workplace where there is little interaction with social media.  The Statement also challenges me to consider the possible social media tools for use in my workplace and for me as a professional.

The course work for INF206 was engaging.  I constantly wanted to delve into the information but found I needed to pause and reflect on learning.  I particularly enjoyed using Facebook and Twitter as forms of communication with my peers rather than the traditional forum.  Using these mediums certainly helped me delve into using Social Media and encouraged me to be more active in information sharing by consistently sharing links and information via twitter and Facebook with my peers and other information specialists from around the world.  Writing the blog however was more of a challenge, it did not come naturally to me and I gained more out of sharing information through Scoopit, Twitter, Facebook and Diigo than trying to write in a way that was engaging to people into my blog post.

From my understanding of Social Media in that first week until now I feel that I have been stretched as an information professional and have gained a greater understanding and awareness of social media as a tool for connecting with clients within the information industry.  These experiences and interactions and new found knowledge only set to push me further as an Information Professional.  It is with confidence that I can go into my workplace and effectively share with other staff just how connected we can become with clients in a way that best suits their needs.  I also recognise that living in a connected society and with the fast pace of technology and networks that keeping informed and current with be part of the continual learning process.

References

Burkhardt, A. (2009). Four reasons libraries should be on social media. Retrieved October 8, 2011 from http://andyburkhardt.com/2009/08/25/four-reasons-libraries-should-be-on-social-media/

Cavazza, F. (2008). Social Media Landscapes. Retrieved October 9, 2011, from http://www.fredcavazza.net/2008/06/09/social-media-landscape/

Czarnecki, K. & Gullett, M. (2007). In teen Second Life, Librarians can leap tall buildings in a single bound and save kids from boring assignments all before lunch. In Meet the New You. Retrieved October 9, 2011, from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6403251.html

Chapman, C. (2009). Social Network Design: Examples and Best Practices. In Smashing Magazine. Retrieved October 9, 2011 from http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/07/13/social-network-design-examples-and-best-practices/

Dickson, A. & Holley, R.P. (2010). Social networking in academic libraries: the possibilities and the concerns. New World Library, 111(11/12), 468-479. doi: 10.1108/03074801011094840

Farkas, M. (2007), Building an Academic Library 2.0, Viewed 28 August, 2011, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_uOKFhoznI

Hearst, M. A. (2009). The Design of search user interfaces. In Search User Interfaces. Retrieved October 1, 2010 from http://searchuserinterfaces.com/book/sui_ch1_design.html#section_1.11

Luther, J. (2003), Metasearch promises to give patrons one-stop access to the many and various resources at the heart of the library digital collection, In Library Journal. Retrieved October 8, 2011, from http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA322627.html

O’Connell, J. (2011). Social Networking for Information Professionals [INF206 Module 2.0]. Retrieved October 9, 2011, from Charles Sturt University Website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF206_201160_W_D/page/dfa15b00-4c74-4f2f-00c3-9babed9a140a

Gaming in Libraries with Ellen Forsyth

A couple of months ago Tasmanian was fortunate to have Ellen Forsyth talk to us about Twitter reading groups and gaming in libraries.  I have wanted to blog about this ever since but with time constraints I am only just getting here.  Ellen opened my eyes even further about gaming in libraries and she slowly chipped away at the shell that I had put up when using Second Life.

I never knew that virtual realities could actually be so popular in a library setting.  In these realities people are learning about content discovery, how to discover resources in libraries, are attending seminars within the virtual reality and attending book groups.  Seems rather appealing going to book group in the form of a hairy monster or a Elizabethan princess.

So the take home message I got from Ellen was to think broadly, there are no age limits so embrace it and that gaming is a great way for families to interact together.

Looking forward to what the future of Social Media brings…It can only keep getting better and possibly more bizzare.

Workplace Social Media Policies

Workplaces are having more of a presence in social media than ever before and for protection of the company, clients and staff policies need to be identified to provide clear guidelines.  5 key points for advisement to the Social Media Policy Working Party would be:

1. Implement a policy now – changes can be made as social networking grows and changes but having something in place now is protection for the company.

2. Train employees in use of social media networks that the staff use and what the expectations are of them.

3. Employees need to be aware that the employers have the right to monitor social media usage.

4. Have clear guidelines in place for company loyalty including when using social media.

5. Make sure all employees are aware of the social media policies and the consequences if these are not adhered to.

Essentially all these guidelines are straight forward, however they are all points that need to be considered to ensure that everyone in the company from top management to cleaning staff is aware of what is expected of them and how they can best meet these guidelines.

An Authentic You?

Authenticity….a timeless concern in a connected society.  It is not a new problem, in fact it has been attacking us from all sides particularly in the form of spam….not the spam in the can type,  but the strain that invades our online spaces…..email, facebook, on our blogs and wesites and of course the one I am plauged with repeatedly TWITTER.  

From the  article by Yardi, Romero, Schoenebeck and Boyd (2010),  on ‘Detecting Spam in a Twitter Network’  the discussion showed just how easily one # used to indicate a topic of interest can become so popular that the spammers see the chance to cause havoc.  After some research it was concluded that while more work is needed to explore the behaviour of spammers however perhaps a behavioural and structural network approach may be an avenue that can be used to detect and have some control over spam.

Take-Home Message One – Protect yourself.

The message most relevant to me as an information professional is to be AWARE of the challenges faced with spamming don’t just ignore it because we will always be faced with the challenge.

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Credibility of content is quite an involved topic, it requires the professionals understand how their clients evaluates information and in what environments.  An article by Wittenberg (2007) ‘Credibility of Content and the Future of Research, Learning, and Publishing in the Digital Environment, confronted the issue of whether information professionals should be teaching the current generation how to use more traditional methods for evaluating or replicate the environments in which they are most comfortable.  With the vast amount of information readily available today being able to evaluate information for authenticity is more important as ever and Wittenberg suggests that new models need to be developed for credibility assessment.

Take Home Message Two – Quality Assured?

The message I feel strongly about here is that as information professionals we need to know how the current generation are accessing  information and what they are basing their evaluations on which means KEEPING UP TO DATE.

Protect yourself!

If I were a teenager in 2011 would I be one of the minority that cares about privacy and the impact my behaviours has on my future, leaving virtual footprints that will remain with me?  As an adult in 2011 sometimes it is a task just to know how to protect myself and exactly what to share because at the time the web does not seem as big or as lasting as it really is.

One thing I do know is that it is important regardless of who you are to think about your online identities, not to be ignorant of where our information goes and to be armed with knowledge so that we can make choices in our virtual life,  which is after all an extension of real life.

Personal Protection

Ultimately I believe just as Raynes-Goldie  (2010) does in her Aliases, creeping and wall cleaning article,  that  we need to care about protecting and controlling information.  How much information we share on the Web is all about the choices that we make,  we decide what we want to share and in what depth.   From the study that Raynes-Goldie conducted it was evident that while most people cared about privacy many did not have the knowledge or skills to adequately protect themselves or violated others privacy by sharing information.  Users of the Web and in particular social networking need to arm themselves with knowledge and to stay informed so that people can make choices based on the best knowledge they can get.

For protection, all that any user of the Web can do is CHOOSE how much you want to share, STICK to this  and if you are unsure ASK.

Worplace Privacy

Within the workplace there are standards and guidelines that the company would expect the employees to follow.  In respect to an account for business purposes it would not be appropriate to share personal information or company information that is not relevant to the purpose the company has set out for the networking medium.  As an example it would not be appropriate to use a workplaces twitter account to send personal messages to friends.

Additionally, when using private accounts on social networking sites such as Facebook, it is important to consider what impact you are having on your workplace.  That is, are you talking about your colleagues in an unprofessional manner, have you disclosed private workplace information or did you identify your workplace and talk about it inappropriately.  These are important points to consider for the protection of your self as a professional and for your workplace.

Overall, although I make privacy sound like it is a worrisome issue there is no need to be panicking about privacy.  However it sensible to be INFORMED and MINDFUL privacy and to be considerate to the regulations of the workplace.

It’s all about access…exploring the digital divide.

As both an information professional and a user of technology I have a strong beliefs on access for all and the ‘digital divide’.  It is ingrained in me as a person who works in the information industry to provide access to all, I am after all studying to be a Librarian I want to share information and resources with others and I want this to happen without any barriers.

Unfortunately in a digital society there are gaps in access to information for individuals, households, geographic area, and by socio-economic levels.  However not all restrictions are due to inequality in accessing information, there are valuable and protective measures that sometimes do limit connectivity for users.

In her article, Valenza  acknowledges that  while YouTube has been stereotyped as being linked with inappropriate  materials that it is also denying students with the opportunity to learn through this rapidly growing social media tool.  Students should be provided with varying mediums to learn from.

On the other spectrum Valenza also acknowledges that she understands why YouTube is blocked in schools.  Without being overcome by the restriction alternatives are sought and access is possible while still maintaining a safe searching environment.

As a professional Valenza’s example gives me tools to consider using in the future because she suggests developing strategies for treating the condition.  That is using other video portals or tools that will allow a user to still access the information they need while still adhering to the policies of the work place.

What I am sharing is that  YES there is a ‘digital divide’ and restrictions to access of information.  No it is NOT alright but SOMETIMES there is a place for restrictions on access to information.

A video on it being a time for a change for the ‘digital divide’

 

 

References

Valenza, J. (2008). When YouTube is blocked: more than eight ways around it. Retrieved from http://web.archive.org/web/20100106154611/http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/
blog/1340000334
/post/1410038141.html?

Image – CC licensed by Jarek Tuszynski  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Desert_Queen_Ranch_-_Closed_Area_sign.jpg

Video courtesy of YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBiDSdN_DmY

 

 

 

 

 

 

Digital Trends

Watching the videos such as the ‘Did you know 4.0′ always extend my awareness of just how much digital trends are presenting themselves across the world.  As I have likely mentioned many times in my posts that I think I am fairly socially and digitally active but when presented with more videos and information I suddenly realise that I am just a small speck in the spectrum and that really there is always so much to learn.

Five trends that I recognised that impact how individuals behave as digital citizens are:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How people live and work in a society with rapidly increasing digital trends and users wanting instant access to information and resources have fundamentally changed (Dearnley & Feather, 2001, p. 60).  In the information industry, policies help with the functionality and accessibility of library resources, and recognise that the library environment either in the traditional sense or digitally is made up of individuals whose values differ.

Policies are needed so the public are aware of the library support of current trends in digital media.  Additionally awareness about the libraries policies on illegal practices such as piracy need to be evident to users of the library and all staff to maintain safe practices.

Maintaining policies that relate to the current and forthcoming trends are creating awareness to patrons that the library wants to provide access for EBooks, and social networking sites.  That they are going to reach out to them in environments more familiar to them but also that they have guidelines that  need to be maintained for protection of all involved.

References

Dearnley, J. & Feather, J. (2001). Information policy. The wired world: An introduction to the theory and practice of the information society (pp. 60-93). London: Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/dearnley-j.pdf

Images : CC license

Pirate –  by Oren Neu dag http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pirate_Flag.svg

Smart Phone – by DanielZanetti http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iphone_2.jpg

New York Digital Advertising – by storylanding
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Times_Square_at_dusk.jpg

eReader – by netalloy http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ebook_reader_icon.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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