Thursday, December 11, 2008

Share the message

In my first free moments I have pursued my newfound interest in shared creativity allowed through Creative Commons licensing of copyrighted works. According to current US law, as soon as we create it in a tangible form, it is © copyrighted. I don't "own" my ideas, but I do "own" the text on this page. As of today, however, I am sharing this text with you, any of you who read it and may find use for it (sorry it is not more useful ☺ )

Through Creative Commons, by answering four or five multiple choice questions and copying and pasting a small bit of HTML code, created specifically for me, what's mine is yours. You may use it as long as -- you give me credit for it, -- you do not use it to make a profit, and -- you share alike with others. Check out my new CC License:
Creative Commons License
This work by Greg Lloyd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License

"Why can't we all just get along," (Rodney King) comes to mind. I fully support Ralph Clevenger's right to earn a living from his beautiful portrayal of the underwater portion of an iceberg. I support musicians and writers and perhaps even someday myself in pursuit of profit from publication. But for those of us who are not making a living from our work, why not allow others to enjoy the use of your efforts in exchange for the right to enjoy theirs when you need to?

It is simple and painless! You can go directly to the licensing page or check out the whole Website at Licensing is free and easy. Embedding license code into your website is as easy as embedding a video. Join the movement!!!!

This clip, also from Creative Commons, called "A Shared Culture," is very well produced and worth watching!

(And finally, where did I get copyright symbol and smiley face from? Two ways to get there! (1) Start Menu, (2) All Programs, (3) Accessories, (4) System Tools, (5) Character Map -- a chart of over 1200 characters that can be copied and pasted into any document pops up! Letters with accents, foreign language characters, fractions, arrows, hearts, and unimaginable creations - a very useful tool!! -- Much easier than searching throught all the different Webdings fonts). An alternate path for the geekier set is (1) Start menu, (2) Run, (3) type 'charmap'. Enjoy!)

New opportunities

Hooray!! And yet, I am very sad. I finished up the work for the class that required that I create this blog. Wow, what a class! It challenged us in every way to inhabit the digital community and become natives. I will never be a teen-texter, but I have developed a strong understanding of how information is communicated in the Internet age.

We have communicated and shared in more ways than I can list, and we have learned along the way. Videos, podcasts, and high quality PowerPoints were fun; tedious classes about Internet safety and copyright were less so, but together, they have broadened my knowledge foundation and my ability to continue learning and teaching in the 21st century.

As for the blog, it is a tool for my continued learning. My goal is to allow this blog to challenge and showcase my learning and my life as an MLS student, library tech guy, and, hopefully soon, as a librarian / educator. Rather than consistent, and lengthy, weekly posts, I will attempt to post more frequently, with more readable posts. The actual outcome can be judged at a later date. My wife will almost certainly have other ideas - She's not too happy with some of the things I've done recently . . . . . . The Christmas lights are only the beginning . . . . . . .

(Picture borrowed from unsigned, viral e-mail - searched several sources to find original author with no success.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Perspective on my preparation: My "lightbulb" class

I am very excited to be nearing the beginning of my career as a librarian! I am equally saddened that I am nearing the end of the formal education process.

I have learned a tremendous amount in the last couple years in the program and am well prepared to continue learning on my own in the future. I have made great contacts and found (and learned how to find) great resources for continuing my education and research in the years to come.

The teacher who led me to start this blog for the class, Computer Applications in the School Library Media Center, has been the highlight of this education process! I’ve not asked her permission so I will not mention her name, but will complement her for teaching real world topics at the appropriate level for professionals entering a career defined by these topics.

Though incredibly satisfied with the totality of my education, I have, occasionally, suffered with ill prepared, unfocused, and antiquated adjunct professors and theory-heavy, practical-application-lacking tenured professors. Sadly I would estimate that half of my classes were not preparatory for the real world experience of school librarianship in the 21st century.

This class has force fed us many tools we will use in our libraries and will hopefully use to communicate with one-another and stay in touch with the library community. We have learned how to integrate technology into the curriculum, how to facilitate professional development, and how to teach Internet safety. We have debated real world copyright issues and, most recently, been shamed into updating our resumes.

The workload has been heavy; ridiculously so for those of us who strove to overachieve! Yet the takeaway has exceeded the effort!

I still have many weaknesses; some in areas that I feel should have been addressed in this program. To achieve my goals, I will need to continue the informal aspects of my education for years to come – as, I have learned, all high performing librarians do as a matter of habit and conscience. As we conclude this class, for the first time, I feel prepared to take on the role and responsibility of school library media specialist.

Readers please note that I am not bitter about any failings of this program but am in fact jubilant over its successes. If half of my classes were inadequate, then the other half, by definition, have been very good. I have long believed that the primary goal of the collegiate experience is to teach students how to learn and adapt so that they may succeed in their chosen profession. I know in my heart that this program has succeeded, because I now know how to learn and adapt in the arena of school librarianship in the 21st century.

I am prepared and excited and looking forward to the future!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Linking is legal !

Researching and writing about e-books, haunted by the Clevenger iceberg (another story for another day), my mind is still on the topic of embedded video in blogs. While it appears from my research that this is still an easy debate to argue from both sides, legal precedent seems to allow for this “linking” of video to private blogs and other Websites including MySpace and Facebook pages. Given the research I have done, which I will share below, I feel comfortable, at least for now, “linking” (read: embedding) videos, slideshows, and podcasts into this blog. I admit, my sources are primarily other blogs, but they appear knowledgeable and certainly involved in the debate. I welcome any comments or thoughts in agreement or disagreement regarding the legal or ethical considerations of embedded content in our blogs.

The Citizen Law Media Project explains that “linking to another website does not infringe the copyrights of that site, nor does it give rise to a likelihood of confusion necessary for a federal trademark infringement claim” ("Linking to Copyrighted," 2008). The article continues to describe that “deep linking,” linking to “a particular page within another site (i.e., other than its homepage)” has never been identified by a court as either copyright or trademark infringement. (“Linking”) While off topic, this is comforting information as I create my own directories of favorite links.

Though admitting “there is some uncertainty on this point” the article describes that inline linking or embedding, “placing a line of HTML on your site that so that your webpage displays content directly from another site,” when tried in a recent case in “the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that inline linking does not directly infringe copyright because no copy is made on the site providing the link; the link is just HTML code pointing to the image or other material. See Perfect 10, Inc. v. Google, Inc. , 508 F.3d 1146 (2007). Other courts may or may not follow this reasoning. However, the Ninth Circuit's decision is consistent with the majority of copyright linking cases which have found that linking, whether simple, deep, or inline, does not give rise to liability for copyright infringement. For discussion of these cases, see The Internet Law Treatise” (“Linking”).

“The situation changes when you knowingly link to works that clearly infringe somebody's copyright, like pirated music files or video clips of commercially distributed movies and music videos. In this situation, you might be liable for what is known as "contributory copyright infringement." Contributory copyright infringement occurs by "intentionally inducing or encouraging direct infringement" of a copyrighted work” (“Linking”). Fred vonLohman from the Electronic Frontier Foundation agrees that common sense to avoid commercially distributed media and to respect any rights published or indicated should protect bloggers from potential copyright violation when embedding content (“Linking,” 2008; vonLohman, 2007). On his Website, Christopher Heng points out that YouTube and most media hosting services offer users posting content the choice whether to “enable or disable the EMBED code for their videos. . . In theory, if the owner enables the EMBED code for others to use, it means that they” are willing and even pleased to have others embed their video (2008).


Bailey, J. (2007, December 20). Why I embed my images. In Plagiarism Today [PT blog]. Retrieved November 21, 2008, from‌2007/‌12/‌20/‌why-i-embed-my-images/

Heng, C. (2008). Is it okay to post YouTube videos on my website? (copyright question). In The site wizard. Retrieved November 21, 2008, from‌general/‌embed-youtube-video-copyright-matters.shtml

Howell, D. (2007, July 9). Embedding a headache. In Lawgarithms [blog]. Retrieved November 21, 2008, from‌Howell/‌?p=146

Linking to copyrighted materials. (2008, June 3). Citizen Law Media Project. Retrieved November 21, 2008, from‌legal-guide/‌linking-copyrighted-materials

Ross, P. (2008, November 12). Copyright in a free market. In Copyright Alliance [blog]. Retrieved November 21, 2008, from‌2008/‌11/‌copyright-in-a-free-market/

VonLohman, F. (2007, July 9). YouTube embedding and copyright. In Electronic Frontier Foundation [EFF DeepLinks Blog]. Retrieved November 21, 2008, from‌deeplinks/‌2007/‌07/‌youtube-embedding-and-copyright

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Where the rubber meets the road

In addition to, or partially in correlation with, my courseload, I am attempting to keep up with current library literature, including blogs of librarians in the trenches. In her blog, Wanderings, Jacquie Henry recently discussed difficulties with Website evaluation in cases when decisions are not clear-cut. She commented, "I am not working in a theoretical world. I am living right here in high school - where the rubber meets the road."

Her quote has stuck with me as I have dealt with issues in our library and as I discuss theoretical issues with other students and professors in my coursework. Our theories and ideals are great and worthy but is it fair to judge them without the temperance of real world application? More importantly, and with stronger motivation, how can we adapt our real world situations to meet the goals described by our theories and ideals?

This week we have discussed "Creativity - Copyright & Web 2.0" in class. Two particular issues come to mind from our discussions. In both, the theory makes complete and total sense and seems as though no other possible alternative could exist and yet, the reality is that students and teachers are not always receptive to our suggestions and teaching. It is this challenge that we must work to overcome.

Discussing creative uses and applications available on the Web including podcasting with Audacity, ability to create historic narrative videos through Primary Access, create photo or video, audio logs on VoiceThread, and more, the educational theories are easy to grasp. The reality, though, is the need to sell these technologies to our teachers in order for our students to realize the benefits. Much like a sporting event or theater ticket, the enjoyment is not accessed until the ticket is spent, or in this case, until the technology is used! To be successful we have to learn to market these technologies to teachers who may be receptive.

Coupled with our discussion about creativity was a discussion about copyright law and digital images. The legal alternative when creating content to be published is to use images in the public domain and to give credit to the creative individual or organization. We discussed the many ways to acquire images from government websites and through Creative Commons. In theory, this is a wonderful solution. In reality, the frustration is the difficulty of using multiple search databases to find government and Creative Commons images compared to the relative ease of image availability on the Web as a whole. To be successful, we have to teach students about the hazards of copyright law violation, how to use the tools available to find copyright free images, and how to avoid plagiarism through proper image citation.

It is important that we do our best, "where the rubber meets the road," to stay true to our ideals. It is just as important that we stay flexible and stay real regarding situations and the world around us. But, within that "real" framework, we must constantly strive to find ways to bridge the gap back to the theories and principles that guide us. These theories and principles tend to be not only legal and ethical, but also a solid foundation for the argument in favor of librarians in our schools - a critical issue as our governor threatens to cut school and library budgets yet again - a topic for another post . . .

Sunday, November 9, 2008

To embed or not to embed . . .

Last week I posted a video on this blog. I did so after reviewing many other blog sites, created by librarians and tech specialists, and seeing what I perceived to be many similar posts. Yet as I did so, involved in deep discussions and reflection about copyright law in my classes, I felt suddenly uncomfortable. Is posting media from other sources on your blog a violation of copyright (with or without appropriate source citation)?

A description of blogging in the book, Blogs Wikis, & Podcasts by Will Richardson suggests a distinct difference between blogging and journaling (simply creating a record of one's own experiences). Though he admits that blogs can be whatever you want them to be, he describes the best blogs as a conversation, a synthesis of information cultivated from many sources, yet only an ingredient in the larger scope. He strongly urges linking and reference to other blogs and websites in the development of a good blog. He does not discuss the posting of material from other blogs and websites in a blog but the inference seems to be that a blog should be a stepping-stone to other Web locations.

Looking at some of the media websites including YouTube, TeacherTube, SlideShare, and others, however, I discover that they all offer the address and coding information to embed specific media in other locations. Checking these sites and many of the other blogs I review, I note that almost all have links for RSS feed that can be displayed anywhere, on other websites or blogs. Embedding or feeding from these sites includes source information, giving appropriate credit but does not, of course, encourage the media to be viewed from its original source.

Continuing to review other blogs, I see lots of media referenced and displayed from one blog to another, borrowed from many different sources. I must admit, seeing media borrowed and displayed on blogs across the Web, and seeing blogs and various media feeds spread via RSS, I am somewhat desensitized to the issue of copyright on the Internet. It appears that media hosting sites encourage the spread of content into blogs and across the Web. I am concerned though, that "just because everyone else is doing it, doesn't make it right." Though I believe I am safe in sharing content on my blog, I am still not sure I know what the actual law is regarding this issue.

Questioned in class about school Acceptable Use Policies and copyright law this week, I am reminded that websites and blogs maintained by teachers (or even students) must obey copyright law. The statement within the AUP regarding this situation often is as simple as, users must obey all laws in use of school websites and technology or suffer the appropriate consequences.

At heart, a defender of copyright law, I understand the importance of respecting other's creations and property. Still confused about the law regarding media that seems to be available for public use, I do get frustrated by the masses of users who freely plagiarize and borrow media and other content with no effort to cite the original author. I find it mildly amusing that those of us who would be most likely to give others credit for the work they have done, are also the ones who will follow the law and not display the work out of context. Others, who often fail to give creative credit, will continue to cut and paste and use others work without remorse.

As an example, I encourage readers to check out the beautifully created representation of an iceberg on photographic artist Ralph A. Clevenger's site. The site has a copyright statement and may even be legally registered with the copyright office. The photo cannot be easily cut-&-pasted from this site. Confusingly, Brooks Institute, a photography school that Clevenger is affiliated with, displays the photo with a noticeable copyright by Clevenger printed right on the photo but also a claimed copyright by the institute on a mouseover.

Regardless of who owns the actual copyright or if, somehow, it has a dual copyright; this image is not in the public domain. Yet it very much is! Use your favorite image search engine to look for "iceberg" and page after page you will see his work displayed across the Web on blogs and Websites of all shapes and sizes. It is a beautiful and unique representation of the much larger, underwater mass, below the unassuming and picturesque, visible iceberg -- perhaps symbolic of the quantity of copyright violation hidden beneath the smaller body of properly authorized use of digital media.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Better powerpoints = Better presentations

Juggling many classes and assignments, I have been bouncing between the K12 Online Conference 2008, with presentations on the uses of and thoughts about media in the classroom, and my own need to create a professional development piece for teachers using a "high quality" Powerpoint presentation. All this plus two other classes, a sick family, and a job that occasionally requires my attention . . .

The K12 Conference is fantastic, blending the thoughts and experiences of librarians and educators around the world through the use of many different media tools. It has been amazing to me to see all the different ways that librarians and other presenters have packaged their information. Presentations typically only last 20 minutes so it is not too large a commitment at one time. The sessions are all independent of each other and will be available online "forever".

Beginning with these k12 presentations, though, which I will not link to individually here, I serendipitously found myself on Slideshare and TeacherTube -- two more great resources. I discovered several insightful presentations discussing .ppt techniques that I found helpful in developing my own presentation.

This self-directed slide show discusses the failure of traditional "template design" .ppt presentations and offers simple creative suggestions for improvement.

Rowan Manahan from Dublin, Ireland is a talented speaker, consultant, and trainer. He offers more info and suggestions in other slideshare presentations he has developed and on his blog.

After too long, trying to re-create my search, I am posting only one .ppt hints presentation here because I seem to be unable to locate others that I used. I did just discover a presentation that I have not viewed yet (45 minutes) on How to create a great PowerPoint without breaking the law. Ok, as a new blogger this brings up a great question. What can I post to this site?

For my presentation, I found a great photo of an iceberg all over the internet, including on a number of different blogs. It even popped up a couple times in a creative commons search but something didn't feel right. I finally traced it back to a photographer named Ralph Clevenger who had his site locked to cut & paste and displayed a very clear copyright warning. The many reproductions I saw on blogs and websites were all copyright violations. Is it a violation to post someone elses video on my blog? I should probably already know this but alas, I'll have to get back to you on that . . .

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tech toys or tools (?) and their uses is described on its home page as a "toy". Using it to create a tag cloud of this blog, though, it is a tool to summarize and discover the primary informational focus or keywords being discussed. Is this cheating? Is using a calculator to do math cheating? The answer is a resounding "no". The answer is that we need to embrace technology and the new tools and methods available to us as a society and as teachers and learners.

A school librarian I met recently boasted how much fun she had doing her job - playing with kids and technology every day. Past generations maintained a strict division between technology toys and technology tools but the more I learn about the technology available and the pedagogy of learning, the more difficult it becomes to label tech toys as valueless. Tool or toy, matching the application to the curriculum, the need, and particular learning style is far more important than the preconceived perception of the application's value.

Presenters at the K-12 Online Conference (live this month and archived for perpetuity) with the theme “Amplifying Possibilities” are using many different communication technologies to share and teach us some of the Web 2.0 possibilities and challenge us to reach for the next level. In their presentation "How Can I Become Part of this ReadWriteWeb Revolution?" Alice Barr, Bob Sprankle, and Cheryl Oakes remind us that once we immerse ourselves and accept our roles as learners along with our students, they will develop and show us ways to use technology that we cannot even imagine.
Keynote speaker Stephen Heppell (designer of physical and virtual learning environments of the future) started the conference (link to his presentation moved. will add when I find.) by describing the crossroads in our educational environment today from the old "factory style" classrooms to the new community classrooms defined by "us-ness". He spoke of teachers provoking learning instead of providing learning and pushing students to take ownership of their learning. While I don't see the majority of our students accepting that role, I think he hit the nail on the head regarding the social nature of learning today and the value of "audience" as a tool in the equation. Perhaps the failure of students to take more ownership or at least be more interested and engaged may be a result of our failure to trust them with the tools of their generation.

Instead of prohibiting headphones, for instance, we should be providing them to all students along with books on tape, podcasts, vodcasts, and text message reminders of class assignments. Instead of disjointed and meaningless deliverable assignments during the course of a semester, perhaps each assignment should add toward a greater, high quality, publishable whole to be displayed on the web. Examples could include articles, tables, photos and even video or podcasts blended into a student created website, or perhaps a professionally designed magazine, well maintained blog, or carefully edited video news program. The key factor may not be the format, but the freedom to choose the format and the reality that, upon completion, it will be available for the full world to see (including important peers and family members).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blogging & other 2.0 apps in the classroom

I'm hooked! Serendipitous research this week has led me into the websites and blogs of school libraries, librarians, and teachers who are actively using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom. These teachers are not using technology just for the sake of technology, but as an integral tool in curriculum development.

I've heard podcasts of poetry, political ads, personal experiences, book talks and more. I have seen student created websites about history, health, and science. Blogs have been adopted by teachers in virtually every subject area and, amazingly, in almost every grade level.

Included below are a couple videos borrowed from TeacherTube. The first describes blogs, bloggers, and our relationship to the world around us.

The second gives ten reasons students should be blogging.

I apologize for not including links of all the Web 2.0 applications referenced above. Will begin to share these details in future posts . . . )

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My 'exemplary' school library website

Library school is great! We have no concerns regarding a budget, technology integration issues, district standards, or administrators with differing viewpoints. All we have to do is describe a piece of our “imaginary” library and it becomes real – just as we described it! The pay is lousy though!!! If we could only improve that, I’d “work” here forever.

This week we designed an “exemplary” school library website. Sadly, in all of our research, we never found a school website that embodied all of our suggestions. Some have moved forward with inclusion of things like blogs, RSS feeds, attractive designs, recommended book suggestions and other Web 2.0 features. Very few have adopted search bars on the front page or any type of federated search functions.

In the real world, outside of library school, we still have a long way to go. Highlights of my exemplary library website include:

  • an easily memorable web address and links from all other school webpages with links back to all needed resources including classroom pages, schedule, and school e-mail
  • a prominently featured federated search bar on the front page that will simultaneously search the OPAC, databases and the web through Google
  • search guidance in the form of subject expansion or narrowing, through system generated keyword or subject heading suggestions
  • the use of color and white space to enhance site organization and scannability
  • links, tabs, databases, and other content organized according to typical user needs and designed to open appropriately in a new or existing window
  • easily discovered and readable descriptions and search instructions
  • search guidance in the form of subject expansion or narrowing, through system generated keyword or subject heading suggestions
  • literature appreciation promotion through book summaries, reviews and recommendations, weblinks, and a blog for discussion
  • online tips for research, planning, writing, and citing academic work
  • information on internet safety, plagiarism, and copyright law
  • library and computer lab schedules and librarian contact information
  • a clear summary of the purpose of the website, the library mission statement, and links to library policies and procedures
  • a non-academic, relevant reason for visiting the site regularly, perhaps a daily blog about events in the library and the school or RSS feed of school announcements

The final bullet may be the most important. We need to stimulate users to begin with the library instead of the commercial alternatives (Google).

I hope to get a website up soon where I will post academic responses and assignments that define my views and talents. I will post a more detailed description of my “exemplary school website” there when I do.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Better Pedagogy

Did I mention that I am taking three classes this semester? Met my family a few days ago and needed introductions. Talked to my Dad on the phone and commented on the amount of content output we had to create in this program as compared to the graduate programs he used to take. Not sure if it is the fact that our focus is information literacy or if this is how graduate school is taught today.

Focus this week in another class was how to teach an information literacy lesson that connects with the students, fostering “creative, reflective, and critical habits.” After reading Heidi Jacobs article, “Information and Reflective Pedagogical Praxis” (2008), it is apparent that many of us revert to a forced or “banking model” of education instead of striving for a more constructionist or conversational method.

To interest students in information literacy, we must first forget the theoretical. Many students tend to be disinterested outside of preferred topics (e.g. sports) or ones they see as threats against their personal interests or liberties (e.g. dress code). To implement an effective lesson, we must first engage students. Perhaps a conversation about past searches for information would work as an icebreaker for a lesson on search strategies. This conversation would also act as an assessment tool regarding current levels of expertise and a starting point for the lesson.

Instead of preaching the benefits of database research, perhaps the lesson should begin with discussion about acceptable and unacceptable sources for various types of information from an assortment of print sources displayed in the class – various magazines, journals, newspapers, phone books, encyclopedias, non-fiction and fiction books, student term papers, yearbooks, etc. As the group analyzes these sources in the real world, they may develop a greater understanding of sources in the virtual world.

The lesson could continue with group development of search strategies to find information students had struggled with in the past. By involving the group, discovery of alternate keywords might grow almost like a game instead of an individual drudgery. Discussing and having students demonstrate databases that they use regularly may eliminate some of the confusion and frustration regarding leased databases. Students seem to be well aware of TVGuide, imdb, Amazon, imeem,,, WhitePages, and others.

So many librarians focus on the mechanics – how to use a database. The majority of students will figure the mechanics out very quickly if we can convince them that the answers to the question can be found more easily here than on the web. This lesson needs to be the focus of our “instruction”.

Concluding with a game of stump-the-librarian may be helpful in reinforcing successful strategies. Rules could allow group or individual work by students, students and librarian choosing topics alternately, and winners based upon group evaluation of source quality.

Jacobs, H.L.M. (2008, May). Information and Reflective Pedagogical Praxis. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34, 256-262.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The "Ideal" OPAC (Today's version)

This week we collaborated to design the perfect OPAC, read articles about the Google Game (Watkins & Elder, 2006. SLJ.; Watkins, 2008. SLJ.), and researched use of databaes in some of our local schools. While it is obvious that the currently available OPAC's do not meet current user expectations or needs, it is similarly obvious that the "perfect" search engine may never exist any mre than the perfect house or automobile. Personal preference, user ability, information needs and other factors will lead designers and users in, similar perhaps, but different directions.

With an ever changing landscape, one can not predict the far future. The ideal library search engine today, in my opinion can be defined through four components: the appearance of search page, appearance of output pages, search characteristics and / or tools, and the scope of search output. The ideal search engine for high school and public libraries could be very similar.

The search page should be sparse and clean. Links should be limited; advanced search, FAQ answers, clear and concise Boolean search instructions, an explanation of keyword and tag searching and how the search process works, live reference and homework help, and a link to a more informational and colorful library splash page.

Output pages should also have clean lines and be easy to read. At top should be a synopsis of results from all available sources and links to these results. Results should also be available simply by scrolling. Results should be accompanied by image of book cover, journal article or Web page. Every result should include a brief summary, list of subject headings and tag cloud, and links to reviews if available from reputable sources. Multiple sort and limiting options should be available to refine search.

User tagging and tag searching should be employed by a "smart" system that suggests spelling, more popular tag choices, title and author names, and subject headings as user is entering search. Initial tagging may be suggested by publishers and librarians but users must be the focal point adding tags and building the system. In addition to this suggestion or funneling system, a list of expanded, related, and narrowed searches should be displayed as a sidebar on results page.

Most importantly to the success of the library search engine or OPAC and of literacy education will be the scope of the search. Searches should include the library book collection, WorldCat, or if preferred by schools, SchoolCat, archived journals or magazines, all leased or publicly available preferred databases, library selected websites, and Google. These returns with summaries should be displayed to any user on any computer anywhere. If certain database articles are available only with a password or from computers inside the library, this note should be made. The available summary, cover image, and tags will assist user in assessing value of the source.

By including Google results along with database and book results, users will have the opportunity to choose the level of information needed and may potentially access a wide variety of sources. If the Wikipedia article can be compared directly to Britannica and to the latest literature or government reports, users will begin to make informed decisions regarding quality of sources. If by narrowing and refining search (The Google Game) to get best possible results, they learn that databases often win, the users themselves will win.

At the public library users looking for a great fiction book will be delighted by the included summaries, subject headings, tag clouds, and reviews. They will be further delighted upon choosing a book that is not on the shelf that they can quickly identify if it is available at another nearby library (WorldCat) or if a used copy can be purchased inexpensively (Amazon) all in the same search.

(Note: Search libraries around the world by location or by OPAC platform used - )

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Information Literacy Education

Week 4: I have read to the end of the Web! As a serendipitous librarian, I am used to scanning and surfing the Web in search of both topical information and serendipity. Following links from the Information Literacy Webquest this week and following links from those links and following links from those, etc. opened my eyes to the expanse of literature on the topics of IL and collaboration.

Someone in our discussion group noted that IL is “education for life!” Wow! Well put! Certainly much of the subject area content is valuable but if the sign of an educated person is one who is capable of learning, then IL is arguably one of the most important lessons a student can learn!

I see a teacher population divided: some, who want the librarian to give students basic database instruction, a very few who want information on source evaluation, and many who are willing to accept poor quality sources and citations. Very few are interested in true collaboration to teach information literacy.

The causes of this disconnect appear to be many, from the lack of a research or information literacy requirement for teacher certification to the lack of state mandated IL requirements for students and many, many more. This array of barriers needs to be the targets for our attacks.

Many of us have suggested that we need to win over teachers “one at a time” to teach IL. The problem with this is that only subsets of students have opportunities to learn strategies. Even within these subsets, it often appears that some students receive duplicated segments of instruction but never receive other valuable tools & instruction. Too often even teachers who appear cooperative do not want real collaboration to teach information literacy.

The question I posed to our discussion group was regarding the possibility of developing a curriculum, at the school or district level and hopefully one day at the state or even national level, whereby information literacy strategies would be taught in chewable chunks through the years and across the curricula. The strategies taught each year would build upon those already learned and would be tied directly to subject area instruction.

Things like this don’t just happen. They will not happen if motivated parties do not act. The lobby groups that will make this happen some day will involve librarians as leaders, motivated teachers who have seen the value of IL education, parents and students who have seen the benefits, and even business leaders defining the competencies required for employment.

While we may have to win teachers over one at a time, I believe it is imperative to set goals and make plans toward this greater goal. If we do not keep our sights on the goal of true information literacy education as described by the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner and do not focus our efforts toward reaching every student with progressive instruction toward IL competency, we will never achieve this goal.

By no means an exhaustive list, but listed below are a few starting points I discovered from the Webquest. -- Great tutorial on information literacy -- a great list of links to sites discussing information literacy -- one of many starting places for website evaluation. -- Fantastic tools / information for & about collaboration. Also check out sections on the “The Ethical Researcher” and “21st Century Literacies”.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Assistive Technologies for all

I failed to post an entry last week on assistive technology (AT) and accessibility. Crisis of family and friends diverted my attention and time. Here are a few thoughts on the subject.

The lesson opened my eyes to two items that I would not have identified on my own. I am well aware of text reading, magnification, speech-to-text, and keyboard accessibility technologies. I have worked with many of them and have found varying degrees of quality and ease of use with these technologies.

One attribute identified throughout the lesson, and the topic of the newsletter that I created, was the usefulness of these assistive technologies to the general population as well as to the disabled. Discussion about uses of text reading technology to assist ESL students, slow readers, aural learners, and others beyond the visually handicapped opened my eyes to benefits I had not previously considered. The added benefit of using these technologies across the population and curriculum is the reduction and elimination of stigma attached to these technologies.

My other takeaway had nothing to do with AT but with the tool we used. So often, we provide communication about services available at the library in the form of an e-mail to teachers or a poster or bulletin board for students. Building a newsletter was a little time consuming, and perhaps my effortwas too wordy (who me?) but with a little effort and creativity could be a great medium for communication with faculty and even parents and students.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Role of the SLMC in response to Web 2.0

Reviewing the syllabus for the class this blog was originated, I learn that the reflections included are often to be in response to certain questions. Thus, a reflection on the changes in the role of the SLMC in response to Web 2.0 innovations such as RSS, podcasting, Wikipedia, and Google's book scanning plans . . . .

While Web 2.0 offers information in many different forms over the Internet, it has not eliminated the need for libraries in or out of school. Certainly the advent of Web 2.0 and all of the tools associated with it has altered the role of the school library media specialist and, in many cases, the appearance of the library. There has been an obvious alteration in the number of computers available, the addition of high speed Internet service, and in some cases a shrinking of the reference section. The "role" of the Library Media Center itself, though, has changed only slightly.

Traditionally, the LMC has been the location where students are introduced to and encouraged to read for pleasure, relax outside the hustle of the rest of the school, and to learn and practice the using research tools available. In vibrant, successful SLMC's today the same things are happening.

Students, who learn how to access and use many of the Web 2.0 tools on their own, may believe that the library serves no useful purpose as a center for research. Though great skills, ability to access and use tools like the Google toolbar, Wikipedia, RSS feeds of favorite blogs, and to create one's own blog, wiki, or website are not proof of information literacy. Arguably the on-line aspects of information literacy could be taught outside the library though I would rebut that information literacy is not taught solely online and is best taught by the one-two combination of a good teacher and a qualified librarian.

The role of the SLMS and SLMC are evolving and, undoubtedly, will continue to evolve but, at the core, remain very much the same as they ever were.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hard habit to start

Ok, first post. . . . After spending several (more than I care to admit) hours viewing random blogs created by others, I am confident that the first post is far easier than the fifth or the tenth or the twentieth. I've been told that it takes thirty days to make a habit. There seem to be way more dead blogs out their than living ones. This must be a hard habit to develop.

I am working through first assignments for LIS 568 -- Computer Applications in School Library Media Centers. Creating a blog doesn't seem that difficult. I checked out several providers before choosing Blogger. While I recognized differences in some (and cost of others) I succumbed to the pull of the Google Force that is taking over the digital world. It appeared that this service had all I need for now (& probably more).

I am having trouble with Created account without difficulty but cannot seem to save bookmarks into my account. Will keep working on this. Opened a Google Reader page without difficulty. First blog I uploaded was "The Official Google Blog" -- Read about a map-maker application that is available through Google. This is Way Cool!!! (My age doesn't show does it?) I can think of applications for this map-making program in school without even engaging brain!

More to do -- more thoughts later . . .

Comic by Drew, (2007, Mar 20). computer demands a blog in toothpaste for dinner. Retrieved Aug 28, 2008, from