jump to navigation

What Digital Natives Really Want March 2, 2010

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

Libraries are always trying to meet the needs of their patrons, but sometimes we just don’t quite get it. Sometimes we try surveys, or comment cards, but these measures can’t quite capture what it is our patrons want now. Luckily, digital native Abby breaks in down in this adorable video from Australia.

Dictionary 2.0: Wordnik February 24, 2010

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,
2 comments

Recently I read a good review by Choice, recommending the free website Wordnik.com as a new type of dictionary. Their goal? “Our goal is to show you as much information as possible, as fast as we can find it, for every word in English, and to give you a place where you can make your own opinions about words known.” As a word lover, I found myself browsing this site for some time. Each entry compiles definitions from American Heritage Dictionary, Century Dictionary, GNU Webster’s 1913, Wordnet, and “elsewhere on the web”. The entries also include examples from online articles, print articles, books, etc. There is a place to tag the entries, a live Twitter feed, Flickr photos which have been tagged with the word, statistics about the popularity of the word, etymology from a number of different sites, and a chart graphing usage. While many of the links depend on public contribution like Wikipedia, there still is a wealth of good information on here.  As of today, Wordnik boasted that it is comprised of, “billions of words, 423 million example sentences, 4.7 million unique words, and over 185,000 comments, 95,000 tags, 74,000 pronunciations, 24,518 favorites and 728,464 words in 23,583 lists created by 39,849 Wordniks.” While this might not be the most authoritative source on the web for definitions, it is certainly the most current, and in times like these, that is certainly something to be taken into consideration.

Chatroulette- Another great concept to be abused. February 16, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in Technology can do anything.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

I recently discovered that one of my favorite bands from college has a Twitter feed.  Oddly, not many of their tweets are music related, including one this morning about a new obsession. It was a link to an article from last week’s New York Times BITS column about a relatively new web service called Chatroulette.

Chatroulette is a web-based video-chat site that once you log in, matches you randomly with another user to video-chat with. Perhaps I’m a little paranoid or cynical because my first thought was “but you never know who you’ll be matched with, it might be a crazy pervert,” instead of the intended “this is so cool, I might make contact with someone from another country and learn about their culture”. However, some of the comments to this NYTimes article by people who tried the service suggest that my first instinct is not too far off base.

I make absolutely NO COMMENT on what you might encounter if you check this out, and in fact, doubt that I will try it myself. But, the NY Times article is worth a read because it features an interview with the creator of the site, allegedly a 17-year old Russian teenager, who thought teens might like to “party with” other teens. There have been a few discrepancies pointed out that make the validity of the teen’s claim of creation questionable, but if he DID, I’m impressed, despite the creeps!

Death to the Listserv! January 25, 2010

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Every day, all day, I am bombarded with listserv emails – 90% of which I am completely uninterested in. Many of these listservs are ones that my supervisors have suggested I join as a source of information and guidance. Once in a while I see a topic that looks interesting and read a few of the emails, but these discussions often devolve into barely veiled insults and vitriolic comments, or pleasant but unhelpful reiterations of the same idea. The only listserv I have enjoyed with relative consistency is the one from my graduate school which often has job listings. This too is most often irrelevant to me, as students use it to sell textbooks and even list apartments, but the repetition of deleting mass emails is worth the occasional local job listing.

So why use listservs at all? While it is helpful to post a question on a subject you are unfamiliar with, the same information can usually be gleaned from blogs or library web sites. Perhaps the listserv is, as Greg Lambert calls them in his June 2009 article in the AALL Spectrum, “lazy research.” Since joining Twitter, I have found the social media sites a wonderful source of information for libraries and librarians. But, like many other Twitter users, it took me months of forced engagement and exploration to truly understand the nuances (and language) of Twitter. I am nearly a “born digital”, and if it was difficult and time consuming for me to grasp the multitude of ways to harness Twitter’s plethora of information, than I can only guess how difficult and frustrating it would be for librarians who have been in the profession for a much longer time.

Lambert’s article provides a good list of the of pros and cons of listservs and in the end agrees with me, that a new model needs to be embraced. While we both mention Twitter, its defining characteristic is that posts can be no longer than 140 characters. Most librarians, news sites, blogs, etc. bypass this stipulation by posting a shortened URL to their Twitter post. But most librarians do not have their own site, so I don’t know if using Twitter can exactly replicate the quantity of information shared in a listserv. Twitter could possibly link to a wiki, a web site that any librarian could alter and share information on; but would the confluence of two Web 2.0 technologies make the process of sharing information unnecessarily difficult? Probably. Lambert’s most enthusiastic suggestion is Nings – social networks that allow user created communities to be as wide or as narrow as they choose and to share media in a number of different formats. Nings, like any technology, have a learning curve, which may be a detriment to some. I believe it is just for this reason that listservs have persisted for so long.

Listservs are simple, requiring only the use of email, a skill even the most seasoned librarian has mastered. So why is it that librarians haven’t adopted social media for professional development and collaboration even though most libraries boast their own Facebook page, and many have blogs and Twitter feeds? I think the answer is that librarians are often [1] too busy and [2] overwhelmed at the idea of learning another new technology. (And let’s be honest: a class on a new technology is always unhelpful to those digitally struggling and superfluous to those already embracing Web 2.0 technologies.) What is the solution? How do we smoothly transition as a profession from the outdated model of the listserv to the collaborative, nourishing environment of Web 2.0 community sites? I haven’t a clue! What’s your thoughts?

Please read the entirety of Greg Lambert’s article from June 2009′s AALL Spectrum here.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.