After taking a year (or two?) off, I'll be back this year, presenting a screencasting workshop on Sunday morning. Dates of the conference (held in Monterey, CA) are October 26-28, with two days of workshops available on the 24th and 25th. Following my prediction about this being the year of the mobile library, there's a whole track on Tuesday dedicated to Mobile Trends and Practices.
Library Journal is hosting a series of free webcasts on Returning the Researcher to the Library. The first runs this Thursday from Noon - 1PM EDT - you can register online.
Title: Returning the Researcher to the Library: A Series in Four Parts
Part 1 – Understanding the Next-Gen User
Sponsored by Serials Solutions
Live event: Thursday, June 4, 2009 – 12:00 pm (noon) Eastern Daylight Time – 60 minutes
Users' expectations of information search changed dramatically in the wake of Google and continue to evolve. Some studies point to a slow, but steady disintermediation of the library from the research process. Yet, libraries have a powerful competitive advantage in the quality, breadth and authority of their content – an advantage recognized and valued by users, especially in the academic library. This four-part series explores how libraries are taking back their role as the starting point for research by focusing on the user experience and supporting it with innovative technology. The opening learning session in the series – Understanding the Next-Gen User – brings together Joan Lippincott and Alison Head, leaders in research on next-gen research habits, for an insightful exploration into the needs and expectations of students and how libraries can respond in ways they respect and understand.
Joan Lippincott, Associate Executive Director of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) and an authority on learning, engagement and technology
Alison Head, acclaimed researcher on user experience, currently leading Project Information Literacy
Moderator: John Law, Vice President, Discovery Services, Serials Solutions
Register now for the inaugural Understanding the Next-Gen Webcast, sponsored by Serials Solutions, Thursday, June 4, 12:00 PM (noon) Eastern Daylight Time. If you can't join us on June 4, register now and we'll send you an email when the archive is ready to be viewed, at your convenience.
SickCity uses mentions of terms such as "flu" "sore throat" and "feeling ill" on Twitter to track outbreaks of illness in a given city. Similar to Google Flu Trends, yet different in that GFT tracks only the US at the State level, while SickCity shoots for a more local level, and worldwide. Right now they've only got cities hard coded, but it looks like in the future you'll be able to add your location to track.
The front page of SickCity shows the "ten sickest cities" but that obviously would match up with cities with high populations of twitter users; it'd be nice to be able to filter by population or # of registered twitter users in a given city to do a true comparison. Looks like Calgary's feeling pretty good these days though. Probably not hugely accurate, but a pretty interesting project. Oh, and they say that soon Facebook will be added into the mix.
I've heard of other libraries "circulating" people as living books, but now it's here in Calgary, at least as a one-day gig. This group of "books" is sponsored by Diversity Services, and includes titles such as Person in a Wheelchair, Sikh, Hajab Wearing Muslim Woman, Animal Rights Activist, French Canadian, and many more. Neat.
I've only just started to play with it myself, but early today, Shortcovers.com opened for business. Run by Canada's Chapters/Indigo book chain (though oddly not mentioned on their homepage), Shortcovers is the first solution for buying e-books on the go outside of the Kindle platform. They have apps for the iPhone and BlackBerry, with Android in the works, and you can also read on their website.
The idea is to be able to buy either entire books to download to your mobile device, or in some cases a chapter at a time. The first chapter is always free.
You can upload content as well, though I haven't explored how that all works, or whether you can set the content to be free or charge whatever you want.
I'm puzzled as to why books seem more expensive through Shortcovers than through traditional channels. Outliers, for example, costs $17.04 on the Chapters/Indigo website, but $19.09 on Shortcovers (though only $15.50 on Amazon.ca, sigh). I guess I'm paying for the convenience of getting it right now (though I don't know how long the book would take to download, or if I'd want to pay for it to arrive over the air as opposed to wifi). I dunno, I think I would've launched with some sort of deep discount, or subscription plan maybe.
They have options for subscribing to all content by a certain author, and lots of social networking sharing options, so it seems as though they're trying hard to build community around the product. They've got a blog, and they tweet; doing all the Web 2.0 stuff right, but I don't like that overpricing...
My virtual buddy MCM has just posted his thoughts from the small author's point of view.
So I'll keep playing with it and let you know if it really grabs me. I sure like the idea though! If you're in the States, and if they're charging Cdn dollars, as it appears, it's gonna be a great deal for you folks in the US, so try it out from there, eh!
Not sure yet what, if any, implications there are for libraries yet, but if the booksellers can adapt to the mobile platform, surely we can too! Maybe offer a digitization program where the content is optimized for mobile devices on the fly?
Anyhoo, check it out.
Lee Rainie of the Pew Internet & American Life Project has posted a Powerpoint presentation entitled How libraries can survive in the new media ecosystem. Lots of interesting thoughts and trends, as always. I found the Action Points starting on slide 28 particularly thought-provoking. Is your library findable?
This speech pulls together Pew Internet Project data about how people's use of the internet and cell phones has fundamentally changed the "information ecosystem" in 10 ways. Lee discusses how this has changed the role of libraries in the digital age and he points out ways that libraries can adapt to meet the expectations and demands of patrons.
From boingboing comes word that Nature has launched a collaborative learning space for science Undergraduates called Scitable. "Scitable brings together a library of scientific overviews with a worldwide community of scientists, researchers, teachers, and students. Use Scitable to:
Well I guess I can't actually recommend them since I haven't read them yet, but the latest issue of portal: Libraries and the Academy just came out and here are the articles I plan to read (almost the whole issue!):
Google Scholar Search Performance: Comparative Recall and Precision
William H. Walters
- Libraries and the Internet -- United States.
- User interfaces (Computer systems) -- United States -- Use studies.
This paper presents a comparative evaluation of Google Scholar and 11 other bibliographic databases (Academic Search Elite, AgeLine, ArticleFirst, EconLit, GEOBASE, MEDLINE, PAIS International, POPLINE, Social Sciences Abstracts, Social Sciences Citation Index, and SocINDEX), focusing on search performance within the multidisciplinary field of later-life migration. The results of simple keyword searches are evaluated with reference to a set of 155 relevant articles identified in advance. In terms of both recall and precision, Google Scholar performs better than most of the subscription databases. This finding, based on a rigorous evaluation procedure, is contrary to the impressions of many early reviewers. The paper concludes with a discussion of a new approach to document relevance in educational settings—an approach that accounts for the instructors' goals as well as the students' assessments of relevance.
Academic Libraries, Facebook and MySpace, and Student Outreach: A Survey of Student Opinion
Ruth Sara Connell
- College students -- Indiana -- Valparaiso -- Attitudes.
- Electronic reference services (Libraries) -- Indiana -- Valparaiso.
This study surveyed 366 Valparaiso University freshmen to discover their feelings about librarians using Facebook and MySpace as outreach tools. The vast majority of respondents had online social network profiles. Most indicated that they would be accepting of library contact through those Web sites, but a sizable minority reacted negatively to the concept. Because of the potential to infringe on students' sense of personal privacy, it is recommended that librarians proceed with caution when implementing online social network profiles.
The Future of Information Literacy in Academic Libraries: A Delphi Study
- Electronic information resource literacy -- Study and teaching.
- Academic librarians -- United States.
- Academic libraries -- United States -- Use studies.
Information literacy is a central tenet of academic librarianship. However, technological advancements coupled with drastic changes in users' information needs and expectations are having a great impact on this service, leading practitioners to wonder how programs may evolve. Based on a Delphi study, this article surveyed 13 information literacy experts about proposed futures that explore the possible evolution of information literacy over the next decade. Although generally optimistic in their assessment of the continued importance of information literacy and the role librarians will play in its future, these experts acknowledged a number of obstacles academic librarians will face in fully realizing these possibilities.
- Information behavior -- United States.
- Computer network resources -- United States -- Use studies.
- Academic writing -- Study and teaching -- United States.
This study investigates the types of sources that English composition students use in their research essays. Unlike previous studies, this project pairs an examination of source citations with deeper analysis of source use, and both are discussed in relation to responses gathered in focus groups with participating students and teachers. The researchers examine how students negotiate locating and using source material, particularly online sources, in terms of timeliness, authority, and bias. The researchers report on how teachers struggle to introduce these concepts and how students fail to perceive authority and bias in their sources.
- Electronic reference services (Libraries) -- Economic aspects -- United States.
- Academic libraries -- Reference services -- Economic aspects -- United States.
Libraries nationwide are in yet another phase of belt tightening. Without an understanding of the economic factors that influence library operations, however, controlling costs and performing cost-benefit analyses on services is difficult. This paper describes a project to develop a cost model for collaborative virtual reference services. This cost model is a systematic description of all expenses incurred by a library in providing virtual reference service as part of a collaborative.
Scott Leslie has thrown up a framework wiki intended to help Canada's post-secondary institutions draft a collective or concerted response to Bill C-61. Initial topics of suggested discussion include:
Please join in!
Educause has published the latest results of their survey of Undergraduate students and IT. The main report is 124 pages long, but the Key Findings is only 11. Libraries and the use of library websites are mentioned several times, but I don't think there's anything earth shattering along those lines. A couple of the things I found interesting include:
"Perhaps most interesting... is the finding that half of SNS users... have integrated SNSs into their academic life as a mechanism for communicating with classmates about course-related topics. Only 5.5%, however, extend their use of SNSs to communication with instructors about course-related matters. Students in focus groups and in the survey comments expressed both pros and cons about the involvement of instructors in their SNS lives - many being adamant that social networking sites should be the exlusive realm of students, but others liking the idea of interacting with instructors and using the same SNS mechanism they already use to communicate with friends and classmates."
Timothy Peters writes to the OFFCAMP mailing list:
I have an RSS feed to monitor delicious for new tags on the term "screencasting", and of course I often find interesting nuggets as a result. Never, though, have I seen this many people tagging the same page:
They're all saving Screencasting: How To Start, Tools and Guidelines, from Smashing Magazine. It's a nice overview, and I notice the post has been updated to include suggestions left by commentors.
The Krafty Librarian blogs that PBwiki is having a Back to School Challenge which will give you, librarian or educator, a free one-year premium PBwiki account ($250 value). What's that premium account get you over the free free account? I'm not sure since I couldn't find a page discussing premium accounts for educators, but here's the page for premium accounts for business (same thing?)
Sign up for the Back to School Challenge here (it doesn't start until mid-August)