Final post: Evaluation and reflection

Evaluative statement (Using three examples from my Online Learning Journal)

 

Library 2.0 and participatory library services

Librarian 2.0

https://libinfostudies.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/library-2-0-and-participatory-library-services/

 

This blog entry contains a description of the skills needed for an information professional to become successful in a Web 2.0 environment. In my opinion, this entry about Librarian 2.o is one of the strongest entries in my Online Learning Journal (OLJ). I was able to synthesise my readings to form what I believe to be a clear, succinct description of these desirable skills and attributes.

Although this entry became my favourite, I would make changes if I were to write it again. The first point and the last, The flexibility to keep up with emerging technology” and “The confidence to try new things” are very similar and could, I think, be merged in to one point. As this would leave me with four points, I would have the opportunity to add another skill: The ability to learn collaboratively. In order for a library to successfully adopt Web 2.0 technology, staff must be willing and able to pool their knowledge. In order for the information professional to meet the needs of users they must learn the ways in which users are seeking out information, and how users feel the library can support them. This “give and take” approach to learning is essential for Library 2.0 to be successful.

In my opinion, this OLJ entry best demonstrates the understanding I have gained about the theory and successful practice of Library 2.0 principles.

Making Web 2.0 work for your organisation

Examples of Web 2.0 working for libraries & info agencies

https://libinfostudies.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/making-web-2-0-work-for-your-organisation-2/

 

In this blog entry, I compared the practices of three libraries that are using social media. I then used this comparison to compile a list of the positive ways in which social media can impact on a library’s ability to provide quality service. In choosing three very large libraries – Ones which I presumed would have greater staff time and resources to commit to social media strategies – I ensured that there were many tools to examine and compare. However, I believe that due to the similarities between the three libraries, their social media presence was somewhat homogeneous.

My OLJ entry would have benefitted from the comparison of libraries that served a broader range of user groups: For example, a comparison between State, academic and school libraries. This would have allowed me to show that libraries are using the same social networking tools in different ways according to the age, academic level and interests of their user groups.

In this entry, I demonstrated my knowledge of the different social networking technologies used by libraries, and the ways in which information professions are able to employ these tools to meet the needs of their users. In addition to identifying different social media tools (Such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest), I was able to identify the ways in which they are being used to support essential library services.

Social networking and information policy

Social media/networking policies for organisations

https://libinfostudies.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/social-networking-and-information-policy-2/

 

In this OLJ entry, I developed a list of five key points which I would use to advise a Social Media Working Party. When writing this list, I wanted to cover Fair Use and Copyright; ethical concerns such as organisational and user privacy; and the protection of the organisation’s reputation. I also made sure to address the need for a flexible policy that is able to reflect new trends in technology, and one that allows employees to be responsible for their decisions when using social media.

I chose to consider this question from the point of view of a Social Media Working Party that is drafting a policy for employee’s use of social media. Through my work as a Library Technician, I feel that I have become familiar with guidelines around patron codes of conduct when using library computers, and so I felt that this option would present me with a greater challenge.

Covering each point that I wanted to make within the word limit was quite difficult; I feel that my explanations suffered as I tried to make them as succinct as possible. Other concerns I would have liked to have addressed include inappropriate language and content, and the use of work social media profiles to express personal opinions.

However, I believe that in the OLJ entry, I was able to demonstrate my understanding of and commitment to relevant values in the information profession.

Reflection: My development as a social networker, and implications for my future as an information professional

Before participating in this unit, I had very limited knowledge of social media, the many ways in which it is used, and the impact it has upon our society. Prior to this study, I had a personal Facebook account and had used Twitter for a short time. Because of the frequency with which I check my Facebook, I believed that I already had a very thorough understanding of social networking sites, and was overwhelmed to discover how much I had to learn.

One of the biggest changes that I have noticed in myself is an enthusiasm for exploring new tools. Whereas before I was not aware how much was available, I am now aware of so many different ways in which social media can be used in libraries. This awareness has caused me to become more curious: To be always looking for new tools, apps and widgets that I can explore and use in my library. Additionally, I have begun to explore social networking sites that I can use in my personal time, recently signing up to Instagram and Tumblr. I believe this change in attitude will have professional benefits as I become a more innovative and dynamic staff member.

In addition to discovering new types of social media, this unit caused me to view it in different ways. Previously, I saw social networking as a ‘toy’: A way in which to fill time and see what was happening in the lives of my friends. While undertaking this unit, however, I discovered that social media and Web 2.0 technologies have come to play a vital role in our lives. It was surprising to find that social media and Web 2.0 play a role in politics (xplanevisualthinking, 2009); activism (Kagan, 2010); identity formation (Mallan & Giardina, 2009) and  in learning (Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robison & Weigel, 2006). This discovery has led me to think of social media not as a toy or game, but as a valuable new part of the way our society functions.

Participation in this unit has made me look critically at the way in which social media is handled in the library I work for. Our current method of implementing new social media is very haphazard; as a result, our attempts to engage with our users in this has had very limited success. As I learned about social media strategy, I was able to recognise the errors in our library’s approach to social media: For example, our tendency to try new tools in the hope that users will respond, as opposed to identifying an actual user need and then using these tools to meet that need, as is recommended by Farkas (2008). Now that I am familiar with the steps and considerations involved in drafting a social media strategy, I hope to use this knowledge to ensure that our future attempts are more successful.

Learning about Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 has challenged my overall idea of what is involved in being a part of the information profession. Prior to beginning this unit, my understanding of my role as an information professional was one of the ‘gatekeeper’ of knowledge, who collected and vetted information (Jenkins et al., 2006, p. 44). However, I am now beginning to see my role as that of a participant in a two-way conversation: Libraries must listen to their users to find out what they truly need. Based on my readings, I have come to see value in tools such as Wikipedia – And to understand that instead of simply telling library patrons that they should use other, more reliable sources, I should be looking at their use of these tools to see how I might help them learn in a way that they are comfortable with (Garfinkel, 2008; Wittenberg, 2007). By becoming less rigid in my view of “correct” methods of finding information, I hope to better relate to patrons and to provide them with a service that suits their information needs.

This unit has, on the whole, been very eye-opening for me both professionally and personally. I now feel confident to submit a social media proposal to the library where I am employed, and hope to use my new-found knowledge to make this plan more successful than previous attempts. I also hope to use this blog as I continue my studies, as a way of collecting resources and organising my thoughts. The future of libraries in general looks very bright provided that librarians keep up with new technologies, and I look forward to seeing the ways in which they are used to provide greater library service.

References:

Farkas, M. (2008). The essence of Library 2.0? in Information wants to be free. Retrieved from http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/

Garfinkel, S. (2008). Wikipedia and the meaning of truth. Technology Review, 111(6), 84-86. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=35342513&site=ehost-live

Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Retrieved from
http://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF

Kagan, M. (2010). What is social media NOW? Retrieved from
http://www.slideshare.net/mzkagan/what-is-social-media-now-4747765

Mallan, K. & Giardina, N. (2009). Wikidentities: Young people collaborating on virtual identities in social network sites. First Monday, 14(6), 1 June. Retrieved from
http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/viewArticle/2445/2213

Wittenberg, K. (2007). Credibility of content and the future of research, learning, and publishing in the digital environment. The Journal of Electornic Publishing, 10(1). Retrieved from
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=jep;cc=jep;rgn=main;view=text;idno=3336451.0010.101 

Xplanevisualthinking. (2009). Did you know 4.0. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ILQrUrEWe8

Library 2.0 and participatory library services

Library 2.0 and participatory library services

Librarian 2.0

Based on your reading in Modules 1, 2 and 3 so far, and your examiniation of the definitions of Librarian 2.0 and the views presented in the above YouTube clips, define what you believe to be the essential knowledge, skills and attributes of an information professional in a Web 2.0 world.

Write up your definition as a post (of no more than 350 words) in your OLJ.

 An information professional must be flexible, receptive to feedback, able to judge and change according to the success of their projects and must have the confidence to try new things.

The flexibility to keep up with emerging technology:

The information professional of today must be able to keep pace with the rapidly changing nature of Web 2.0 technologies. A person working in the information environment of today will not flourish if they are resistant to change.

The ability to listen to feedback from users:

Information professionals in  Web 2.0 world need to listen to the needs and wants of their users. Web 2.0 technologies provide us with a unique opportunity to interact with our users and to observe what they are saying about the services we provide. A successful information professional will listen to this feedback and use it to help improve their services.

The ability to measure (and act upon) what does and does not work:

An information professional must be able to look, critically and subjectively, at the success of their Web 2.0 projects. If the organization’s social media strategy is not working, the information professional must be able to act upon this despite their personal feelings about – or their attachment to – the project.

The confidence to try new things:

 Information professionals in the time of Web 2.0 must be confident to try new technologies. New ways of connecting with and providing service to our users are constantly emerging, so we must be confident in our ability to experiment with these tools. To be a successful information professional, one must not lose confidence if one Web 2.0 does not work for our organization; Instead, this should be seen as an opportunity to learn and to try other tools.

Making Web 2.0 work for your organisation

Making Web 2.0 work for your organisation

Examples of Web 2.0 working for libraries & info agencies

Select three (3) libraries of your choice that use social networking to meet their goals.

Develop a comparative table which documents how each of the libraries use social networking tools to support information service provision, educational programs, conduct business etc.

Based on this comparison (and in no more than 350 words) develop your own list of “Reasons why libraries should be on social media”, and draw upon aspects of these three libraries to illustrate each point. 

I chose to compare the social media tools used by the State Library of Victoria, the State Library of New South Wales, and the National Library of Australia, in order to better understand the ways in which we can use social media to improve our service.

Reasons why libraries should be on social media

Improve our customer service:

Social networking sites – Such as Facebook and Twitter – can be used to connect with users in a way not previously possible. As well as receiving direct feedback from users, libraries can search for mentions of themselves elsewhere on the sites, allowing them to see what users think of their services. All three libraries have both Twitter and Facebook as part of their social media strategies.

Extend our technical services:

Social media allows us to improve and expand upon the services we provide in the library. “Ask-a-librarian” chats, used by all three libraries, means that users can find help with reference queries without needing to come into the library.

Catalogue apps, such as the one developed by the National Library of Australia (NLA), can be used to let users search the catalogue from their mobile devices and Catalogue Update RSS feeds (Used by the NLA and the State Library of Victoria) keep users aware of new items added to the catalogue.

Show that we are more than books and journals:

Social media provides an excellent way to promote events and exhibitions. Social networking sites such as Facebook, and library blogs (Used by all three libraries) provide platforms for libraries to share news.

Share our collections:

Using social media, we can share special features of our collections with users. The two State Libraries that I compared were particularly impressive with their use of Web 2.0 tools.

The State Library of Victoria provides their own “Discover Ned Kelly” app to allow users to fully explore their Ned Kelly Exhibition. I was particularly impressed with this use of Web 2.0 technology to engage users with the collection.

The State Library of New South Wales uses Historypin, a collaborating pinning site, to share their collection of historical photographs. On Historypin, users pin photos to locations using Google Maps. The State Library is contributing to this by pinning photographs of historical NSW, allowing users to engage with history as they compare the State Library’s photographs with those taken today.

State Library of Victoria State Library of NSW National Library of Australia
Facebook Y Y Y
Twitter Y Y Y
Flickr Y Y Y
Instagram N Y N
Youtube Y N Y
Vimeo N Y N
Podcasts N Y Y
RSS Y Y N
Search alerts Y N N
Blog Y Y Y
Ask-a-Librarian Chat Y Y Y
Specialty Apps Y Y Y
Pinterest N Y N
Historypin N Y N

Making Web 2.0 work for your organisation

Making Web 2.0 work for your organisation

Developing a social networking marketing strategy

Based on your understanding of your library or
information agency’s, and your exposure to concepts and stargeies presented in
this section of Module 4, outline (in 400 words) how you can apply these ideas
to develop a draft marketing strategy for your organisation.

By looking at trends in social media, we are able to see how we are able to use these technologies to the organisation’s advantage – and, more importantly, decide whether we need to use social media at all. Data such as seen in Bernoff’s 2010 blog post, Social Technographics: Conversationalists get onto the ladder should be a powerful motivation for any organisation to form a social networking strategy.

Bernoff’s 2012 update, The Global Social Takeover, shows that this trend is only growing with time. The amount of people creating social networking profiles (Called “Joiners”) is rapidly growing. At the same time, 73% of social networking site users now pay attention to content created by others (“Spectators”). This data can be used to demonstrate to management the importance of having a social networking strategy.

The change noted in 2010 – The addition of the “Conversationalist” category of social networking site users – shows the fluid nature of social technologies. When drafting a social media strategy, the organisation needs to ensure that it is made flexible enough to adapt to these changes.

Listen. Engage. Be Real. Be Respectful. Have Fun.

This Slideshare created by Marta Kagan (2010) shows the importance and prevalence of social media in a way that engages the viewer. The above quote struck me as very important when drafting a social media marketing strategy: Social media is not like traditional media, and has it’s own rules of conduct and etiquette. A Social Media Working Party will not be able to use policies previously produced for other modes of communication. Before launching any successful social media strategy, the organisation must discover the ways in which it is being used.

Once a social media strategy has been formed and put into action, it can not be considered finished. Unlike other projects, it does not have a determined end. As seen in the Feedback Loop posted on the INF206 learning module, the process is cyclical.

I found a similar infographic by Robin Effing (2013), which also demonstrates the way our engagement with users on social media informs our future use:

Image

Source: www.socialpower.nl, 2013

The organization’s social media strategy, if successful, will allow the organisation to engage with it’s users. This engagement, however, should not be seen as an end in itself. By collecting the information received from interacting with users, the organisation can adjust their services and their social media strategy based on the user’s identified needs.

 

 

 

 

Web 2.0 technologies and social software

Web 2.0 technologies and social software

 RSS

Now that you have explored some examples of how libraries and the media make use of RSS to deliver updated information and the applications that can tailor and aggregate feeds for specific users, find two (2) additional examples of ‘RSS in action’, and develop a 350 word post to your OLJ on how RSS can enhance a library or information service’s ability to meet the information needs of its users.

RSS in action:

State Record Authority of NSW RSS Feeds

The NSW State Records Authority uses multiple RSS feeds to support its users. In addition to the News and Events RSS feeds – which seem to be quite common – State Records has a feed for their eNewsletter. The newsletter, called Now&Then, gives updates on items that have been digitized to Flickr, hints on how to search for the resources user need, and updates users about current exhibitions.

The State Records authority also has RSS feeds for their multiple blogs, allowing users to keep up with new posts. By using separate feeds for each blog, users are able to receive updates on posts that most suit their interests, or are able to subscribe to updates on all three of them. Archives Outside is aimed at users who are interested in history and nostalgia; Future Proof discusses conservation and records management; Opening the Catalogue discusses the State Record’s Open Data project.

British Museum Blog RSS Feed

The British Museum has an RSS feed for it’s official blog. One of the features of this feed that I found most use was the ability to search through older post. The search function allows users to search by keyword; to sort by Author, Date and Title, and to select from a list of tags. This extra functionality makes it easy for users to discover RSS feed posts that interest them.

RSS Feeds provide a unique opportunity for information organisations to reach users in a way that is convenient. I believe that it fits in with the needs of our “instant gratification” society: Instead of clicking through multiple links, going to particular web sites to check for updates, or scrolling through their social networking news feeds, people can receive regular digests of new information.

 

Library 2.0 and participatory library services

Library 2.0 and participatory library services

Librarian 2.0

Using a concept mapping or graphic organising tool, develop a meme map of your own PLN which involves social networking sites, people and organizations.

Based on Utecht’s 5 stages of PLN adoption, identify which stage you currently see yourself experiencing and how this impacts on your personal and working lives. Also identify any ‘gaps’ in your existing PLN (ie. areas which you feel you would like to develop further/in the future).

Write up your findings as a post (of no more than 400 words in your OLJ).

Image

As I created my mind map, I was amazed by how many steps were involved in my own learning journey.

Based on Utecht’s five stages, I believe that I am still between Stages 2 and 3: “Evaluation” and “Know it all”.

I believe that this is having a positive impact on my working life – Prior to this unit, my interest in professional development did not extend past my readings for my university studies. By following blogs that engage me, I have been motivated to do extra reading. As well as helping me with my studies, this has helped me at work: The environment that I work in is very focused on self-directed professional development, and my extra reading is improving my ability to keep up with my peers.

So far, this has not had a great impact on my personal life any more than my usual university workload. It is taking away some extra time that I would otherwise have spent on non-work-related social networking sites, but not to an extent that my personal social networks have suffered. I expect that, if I move further into Utecht’s “Know it all” stage, I may have far less time to spend on these personal sites.

Although I have not yet found that my extra learning has created an imbalance in my life, I still believe that I could benefit from focusing on Step 4 – Perspective. Utecht discusses this in terms of reflecting on whether your learning leaves time for your personal life; Perhaps I would benefit from doing the opposite and honestly asking myself whether my personal pursuits leave enough time for me to focus on my reading professional networks.

I look forward to reaching Step 5 – Balance. Reaching this stage will allow me to keep up with my personal learning networks, while still maintaining a healthy personal life.

References:

Utecht (2008) Stages of PLN adoption. Available at http://www.thethinkingstick.com/stages-of-pln-adoption/