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Week 13: Information Programs unit reflection

27 Oct

My blog post

I’ve been learning Information Programs for more than 12 weeks now. I completed the play and the reflect activities in week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10 and 11. The list of all the activities which are required to post in my blog is: week 2 reflect,  week 3 reflect, week 4 play and reflect, week 5 play and reflect, week 7 play and reflect, week 10 play and reflect, week 11 play and reflect.

My thinking of the unit

This unit has introduced me to a variety of different softwares. I began to set up my personal learning networks (PLN) from week 1. I’ve learned a lot from Blackboard unit site and PLN. But the more I have learned, the more I want to learn. They are really interesting. If the time is enough, I would investigate them further. Because I have learned the basic knowledge and skills here, I think it is better to learn more when I need them in the future. I won’t worry the new technologies too much since I’ve got my PLN to support me! Thank you for all the helpful people.

I decide to continue using social media for my personal learning network. So far, I’ve been enjoying reading some interesting tweets, Facebook contents and blogs. They are inspiring, insightful and educational. One tweet that has inspired me is about a photo. In that photo, a library book has been put on a chair in the park by a librarian. I think it is a creative way to serve the community. But I forgot to retweet the tweet. I’ll try to remember to retweet such a good tweet next time. I have also found that the changing in information and library service study is fast. It will keep changing in the coming years. Many libraries management teams are trying to adjust the current services to suit this change (Hallam, McLeod, & Booth, as cited in Ponting, 2013a).  So, I need to learn the changing through PLN in the future.

In week 1, I’ve got a very brief overview of this unit. I just felt very curious about what all the contents would be. I thought it would teach me about how to design information programs. But the unit schedule (Ponting, 2013b) shows me some ‘strange’ terms which I had no ideas of their meanings. After this 12 weeklong busy study, I can see some reasons why we are studying them. The main reason is that Web 2.0 has ‘enforced’ us to learn them. Web 2.0 is about harnessing collective intelligence. Without learning them, I could not understand some technologies which are/will be used in information programs. The proposal assignment is an example. We have used web 2.0 to cater all kinds of demands in our proposed information program.

The weekly activities

The weekly activities are not easy for me as they are nearly brand new knowledge and skills for me. Some of them are very interesting. I like gamification learning activities. Gamification is a future-proof way to design many programs. People like to be motivated where they can enjoy their involvement in the interactive activities. The thinking of using gamification with good content is a really useful way to make people enjoy the information programs. I have enjoyed image sharing and creative commons learning as well. It is also useful to learn for it can be curated and/or mashed up.

One thing I feel annoying is that I have to use many accounts with different passwords. I need to read through the boring agreements of use. All the settings should be set properly for privacy reason. And I will probably need to adjust the setting in the future when the software changes.  In addition to this, some passwords have to be changed regularly to keep the accounts safe. Because I have met a problem with my old email account once, so I am very cautious now.

Future

From this unit, I’ve learned a lot through the interactive activities. I think Information Programs will be improved more when the new trend emerges. I, lifelong learner, will continuously improve my information programs learning from my PLN! Thank you for all the essential unit learning materials and your support, Deb!

 References

Ponting, D. (2013a). INN333 Information Programs: Workshop 4. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from http://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_4_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2FcourseMain%3Fcourse_id%3D_103802_1

Ponting, D. (2013b). INN333 Information Programs: Study guide 2013 [Supplemental material]. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from http://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_4_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2FcourseMain%3Fcourse_id%3D_103802_1

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Week 11: The commentary on Newserve

5 Oct

Newserve is a data mashup entry of LibraryHack. A mashup is “a web page, or web application, that uses and combines data, presentation or functionality from two or more sources to create new services”. The goal of Newserve is to make the related data visible to search and to use. It is a good product but it needs to be developed further. You can see the following video (from 3colors) which shows several steps of the search process.

The search interface is easy to understand for finding relevant information. It includes the map with relevant timeline glider on the top. It makes the search visible by using selected Google map data, State Library of NSW‘s newspaper catalogue data and Trove digitized newspaper metadata and relevant content. On the map-based interface, the user can see the available newspapers with their metadata from State Library of NSW and/or Trove during every specific time period. The time can be changed by simply moving the timeline glider on the top. This data mashup is created by Shahid (the web and data miner), Iqbal (the  web and solution implementor) and Asif (the designer). The designing team analyses the information first. Then the selected information fields are used. The datasets are indexed and arranged on the map with the related timeline. As a result, all the metadata about the newspapers in State Library of NSW collection and all the digitized newspapers’ contents with their metadata are combined together. It is interesting that when a user presses the play icon on the top, the timeline is gliding automatically and the map is showing the information about the newspapers at the same time.

The usability of the mashup seems to need some improvements. Basically, it is usable and useful. The search field is limited in two sections: catalogue data and Trove data. The search is available by inputting a title, and/or a location, and/or time for the catalogue information in State Library of NSW collection. For the newspaper collection in Trove, a user even can type a keyword for the search, in addition to typing a title, and/or a location, and/or time. Then the content of the newspaper will appear. Of course, a user can search the metadata information in Trove section too. But, the keyword search was confusing at some points when I conducted some search. This aspect is essential for user experience. Thus, the usability needs to be improved.

According to its goal, this mashup need develop further. The mashup is not as simple as it seems. The goal for this design is “to provide a single point of access to all newspaper resources in libraries of Australia – whether it be just catalogue information of the newspapers stored in the libraries of Australia or be the digitized newspaper collections”. But the available datasets are not sufficient for this good intention. Furthermore, experimental Trove API is used to access Trove data. The official Trove API is developing now. So, if the official API is launched in the future, this mashup might be not useful anymore. This aspect is connected with the current situation of the datasets. Stephens states that the “creative thinking, professional knowledge and technical skills” are crucial along with the understanding of the available data and the potential services to successfully mash up the data. (Stephen, 2011, p. 245). Hence, the data are important for the success.

In conclusion, this mashup has bridged some gaps between the content of the newspapers, the metadata of the newspaper, the location, and the timeline visually. It is a good try. The visibility of the data of this creation looks amazing. The design team has creative ideas, good expertise. However, to manipulate the raw data to create a popular web design product, the user experience needs to be investigated further. This includes more skills in the interaction design. And the datasets also need to be sufficient to enhance the search. The format of the mashup can be designed further too, such as adding audio datasets, if it is possible. The creation process seems endless!

Reference

Stephens, Owen. (2011). Mashups and open data in libraries. Serials: The Journal for the Serials Community, 24(3), 245-250. doi: 10.1629/24245

Week 10: The important role of gaming in libraries

1 Oct

Gaming is the act of playing a game”. In libraries, the role of gaming is getting noticed more and more, especially in public libraries. The role of gaming, including gamification, will be important in libraries’ development in the coming years. There are many reasons for this trend. However, this role also can’t be overestimated.

The reasons for the importance of gaming in libraries are:

(1)  Game has the nature for fun and engaging people in library service. This nature will change the serious and/or boring activities into an interesting experience. In reality, many people might think a library is a boring place. They come to a library just for looking some information. When the games being used in the library, some people began to change their thinking. The good games would attract more patrons to the library for sure. Games and library activities can be combined together. In fact, “many games help develop practical skills, serve as a form of exercise, or otherwise perform an educational, simulational, or psychological role”. This is the games’ role in libraries.

(2)  Gamification trend will enhance gaming in a modern way in libraries, because of the functions of gamification. Gamification is a kind of gaming and it will develop rapidly. The role of gamification will be crucial for attracting the clients. According to Gartner Gamificaton Report 2011, gamification is a global trend, and it has created great opportunities for businesses. the same principle is applied to libraries’ development. Involvement, interaction, intimacy and influence form four functions of gamification in the libraries. For example, reward systems and word-of-mouth efforts are parts of involvement.

(3)  Gamification will encourage collaborations among the community of the library. For instance, the gamification software maybe enable users trace other patrons’ reading history and find the people with a similar reading pattern. In the library catalogue, users might use rating, review or recommendation to inform other patrons to use certain service.

(4)  Early starters of libraries have shown that gamification would be an essential element for a library. There are successful gamification activities appeared in both public and academic libraries, such as “Orangetree” for public libraries and “Lemontree” for academic. Crowdsourcing is another function for gamification used in libraries, and it helps the libraries complete their massive work which would be impossible if only using the current staff in the libraries.  For example, hall of fame  has ranked the people who did their correcting job in Trove website to show their credit and to encourage people do more contributions.

Despite of the above factors, the limitation of game is also needed to consider. According to Kim (2012): (1) Poor gamification design will give negative effect to the users. If the design is too simple or too hard for the user group, then it will not be suitable. (2) “If a library offers many different games or a variety of gamified experiences all at once, users may become overwhelmed and tired.” (3) The design focusing on education rather than the fun element of the gaming is a failure, so is the organisation-centred design.

To conclude, if gaming is used properly, the library services would be improved in the future.

Last update: Thursday, 3 October 2013, at 10:10 AEST

Why do I license my content by using Creative Commons?

8 Sep

This week, I have studied further on the topic of Creative Commons license. Creative Commons license can be applied to images, audio, video, text content. It allows other people use it by attributing the work properly, but it is still based on copyright. I joined Flickr group of my class this week. I have licensed 1 photo by using a Creative Commons license which is suitable in Australia. I think I would apply it again to some of my work in the future. If I think carefully, I would feel comfortable with reserving only some of my rights of my content that I have produced in some situation. There are strong points and weak points by using the license.

The good points to apply the license are: making my work being effectively used, allowing other people build on my work by adding more values, saving the working time for the relevant people who continue to use the work. If I think something that it is valuable to be shared with others and it would do nothing harmful to me and the world, so why I am not sharing? How can I share? One way is that I can share it by applying Creative Commons license. In this way, the others could use it as they need. Because the facts and ideas that I expressed are freely available, the others could stand on my shoulder and develop my content further without paying me.

But there are some weaknesses to use the license as well. Such as I can’t stop people from using it after I have applied Creative Commons license to the work, even I stop the license later and changed the content back to the normal copyrighted material. Another aspect is that not all the works suitable to apply Creative Commons license. For example, All the software programs are not recommended to apply it too. Thus, thinking carefully before using it is important to avoid disappointment. Thirdly, a copyright is applied to everyone’s work automatically; but I need apply Creative Commons license for the work which I wanted by doing some actions, and I even need to pay for applying some types of Creative Commons license. In addition to it, to prevent people from doing harmful actions is another concern of using Creative Commons license, because I have no control on other people’s behaviour.

Last update: Monday, 9 September 2013, at 21:55 AEST

Week 5: Instant messaging and VoIP reference services

25 Aug

In this digital era, virtual reference services become an indispensable part of reference services in almost all the libraries. The main media for these services are emails, instant messaging (IM) and VoIP. The following table is the picture of the current reference services types in my mind:

 reference types-week5

Instant messaging and VoIP are normally considered as synchronous tools using by librarians (Ponting, 2013, para. 5). They are similar to face-to-face reference service. The users are expecting to get the answers at once. If they use email, they usually could not get the answers as fast as in the synchronous communications.

According to the nature of the question, the patron, the librarian and the situation, a question might be best to be asked online by using IM or/and VoIP. For simple, direct questions, people may prefer using online services. Comparing to the face to face reference, the virtual service is external service, because there is certain distance between the patron and the librarian. So, people may think virtual reference service lacks real person contact. It seems hard to get a satisfied result through online communication channel for a complex query. Without seeing/feeling the body language clearly, the barriers of the communication are more in online consultations. However, sometime people prefer to ask librarian through the internet, because they could not arrive in the physical place. In addition to it, the evolving technologies keep enriching the ways that the online services can do. For example, people can use attachment (for audio/video, images and other kinds of documents) when they chat (or use Skype) with the librarians now. Through video calling, the difference between the two becomes smaller.

The preference between IM and VoIP varies among different people. Most people are used to only use IM in the library, even VoIP are prepared for them. For example, the usage rate of Skype a Librarian services was much lower than the usage rate of IM reference services in Ohio University (Booth, 2010). But, the development of the technologies and the changing of the experience might push people to use VoIP more. Booth (2010) states that the students might find Skype to be the most convenient tools in library reference service in the future. Thus, some libraries have already integrated VoIP into online chat interface.

References

Ponting, D. (2013). INN333 Information Organisation: Learning resources: Week 5: Synchronous and asynchronous communication tools: Instant messaging. Retrieved 25 August, 2013 from http://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_4_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2FcourseMain%3Fcourse_id%3D_103802_1

Booth, C. (2010). Chapter 4: VoIP in Reference, User Services, and Instruction. Library Technology Reports, 46(5), 25-31. Retrieved 25 August, 2013 from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/ehost/detail?sid=b6779767-0e39-47a7-93e6-0a90efa66e5c%40sessionmgr4&vid=1&hid=25&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=afh&jid=LTR

Week 4: The role of curation tools in libraries

18 Aug

This week, I’ve learned about how to use some curation tools for organize certain information. I think these tools are useful for librarians, because they can be used to form items in the library website or in other channels for certain patrons to look up on some specific topics.

The role of a curator is to

“Collect, filter, analyze and pass on or deliver select items from the wealth of electronic content that is produced every day”.

People can get high quality and proper chunks of information through these materials. Information overload is already the information which is overloaded in this era. People need to get only the right information for their lives. The Curation tools are just like filters when using by an experienced person. For example, the Storify content shown in the unit site in QUT Blackboard site, is the relevant information displayed in a single place for specific readers. So the readers only explore all the essential information organized by the professionals. In this way, good effects for education which is stated by Sykes can be achieved. Same as the talk by the journalist, Scoble, in YouTube, online curation is important to let people get proper information which is more valuable than the rest of the information.

In a library, the needs for patrons can be met by supply them these certain curated items. It will save them huge amount of time which would otherwise be wasted on the web for nothing. As an information professional, the ability to be a curator is a basic skill. For a librarian, to organize online information is one of the normal daily tasks.  If librarians can use the curation tools to enhance services, it will create meaningful user experience for the relevant clients.

The tool, Storify seems to be an easy tool to curate information on the web by librarians. When I tried to organize the information by using it for the first time yesterday, I found it’s easy than I thought. But I still have to figure out some functions. I also like the tool, Pinterest, used by Yarra Plenty Regional Library. It is a nice curation tool as well.

In conclusion, I think the role of curation tools could be regarded as important service tools for library. Library online service items can be delivered to patrons by using the curation tools, such as Storify.

Week 3: The role of blogging and tweeting for my study

11 Aug

The role I think blogging and tweeting will have in my learning is essential in this unit. I am now learning information programs. Blogs and tweets are just part of the learning contents. To be good at this unit, I have to learn how to be good at blogging and tweeting.

Blogs and tweets will form good learning networks for me from now on. I have just created another new network, on Twitter, for my personal learning today. To be a professional, especially in information study domain, I should keep renewing my knowledge.  Having many essential timely learning channels would keep me being well-informed. Blogs (including microblogs) are some timely learning channels which will prevent me from staying behind.

Blogs’ functions:

  • Blogging and tweeting are activities that I can give out my personal opinions and questions. In return, I could get help and some comments which are very valuable. It will also encourage me to learn more.
  • Even if I just look through some of the tweets or blogs, I will get some new information about what’s going on recently.

Learning opportunities are immense on the internet. More than 2000 years ago, it was said by a famous educator, Confucius, that,

“In a group of three people, there is always something I can learn from.”

But, in this information overload era, most people would intend to refuse to get too much information to some extent.

Beyond this unit, I think microblogs (Twitter) would be more efficient for me in my studying progress. Because I think if I can filter the information properly, like using #, I would not get too much information that is irrelevant for me. As Davis’ talking in her video from learning resources in week 1 on QUT Blackboard, I think I can understand what # means on Twitter. In this way, if I find that the person gives me interesting information on twitter, I will go to the relevant blogs or other sites to explore more.

I will use Twitter after this semester, not for killing time! I might continue to use a blog, if I have time to manage it on time after this semester, to enhance my online identity and PLN!