INF506 Farkas and Web 2.0

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As a budding teacher librarian I have always struggled with Web 2.0 tools in terms of where to start. there are simply so many great things now online that could be used in an educational context and I have struggled to filter which tools that will be of most value to my students.

In my struggle, I have found Meredith Farkas’ blog to be very useful and enlightening on such topics. (http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/)

Farkas makes the following points:

‘It’s valuable to know how to use this stuff, but the focus should never be on the tools. Never. I know they’re fun to play with and it’s exciting to see the cool things other libraries have done with them, but that shouldn’t impact whether you use the technology or not. We should always be focused on our patrons’ needs.’

‘What I always hoped to see come out of the Library 2.0 movement is exactly what never did. I wanted to see a greater culture of assessment in libraries. How can we know what our patrons need and want if we’re not doing assessment?’

I found the above two points to be excellent as a way of better understanding which Web 2.0 tools that I should be using in both a library and classroom environment. It also seems an incredibly logical and simple way to approach tasks.

Reference:

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/

INF506 – Criteria for Library Websites Task

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Activity:

1. Develop your own set of criteria with regard to effective library website design.

The criteria that I have developed are designed for secondary schools as that is the area in which I currently work.

Library websites should have the following features:

1. A modern design – they should not look old and outdated as students will be less inclined to use the site.

2. Regular updates – The library webpage should be updated regularly so students who visit it are met with something new and interesting when they visit (e.g. photos, events, new book releases, podcasts etc.)

3. Different links/pages for parents, teachers and students (Matthews, 2009) as the interests and vernacular of each group is different.

4. Search boxes (Matthews, 2009) – Important for users to be able to find the information they need quickly, otherwise students may turn to sites like Google for more efficient searching.

5. Mobile Friendly (Matthews, 2009) – As many users now access the internet via their phones/iPads etc. the site must be accessible using these devices.

6. Help – the library should have many ways of providing assistance to its users.

7. Clear instructions – At the school that I work at many students struggle to access the library services (e.g. encyclopaedia links, OPAC, logging in at home etc.) Therefore, clear instructions need to be provided stating how to access all the library has to offer – perhaps even a podcast/YouTube video to aid students who struggle to comprehend written instructions.

8. Social networking – the library needs to have a presence on social media to engage with its users. As McBurnie states ‘more than 70% of 16-24 year olds visited social networking sites’ (2007).

9. Student creation – As Web 2.0 is focused on user creation, perhaps having some student input would be an interesting way to engage users.

10. A sense of humour – Most students I speak to find the library a serious place. Showing an age-appropriate sense of humour may be another way to change attitudes and put a human face on the library.

Part two –

Evaluate the effectiveness of the selected library website based on your set of criteria, and identify aspects of the website that could be improved using Web 2.0 technologies.

My chosen website:

http://www.mariancollege.nsw.edu.au/new/library/

The website has a design that is beginning to look outdated (old graphics and fonts etc.) It is hard to tell when the page was last updated but it does not seem to have any ‘what’s new’ links. It does have a link to the student portal, which is excellent, however, an improvement may be adding teacher and parent links too. It does not contain a search box, contact information or a help function which does make it difficult for students should they need assistance. It does have some presence on social media with links to a Del.icio.us account.

While the library website has some good features, it needs to adopt a more interactive approach, it needs to be made more user-friendly and it needs to have many more ways of seeking assistance. 

References:

Matthews, B. (2009). Web design matters: Ten essentials for any library site. Library Journal, (15 February).

McBurnie, J. (2007). Your online identity: Key to marketing and being found. FUMSI, (October.)

 

INF506 Social Networking and the Social Life of Information

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The question for consideration for this week: try to summarise in your own words what you think Web 2.0 is.

I had some initial ideas about Web 2.0 was prior to reading – to me it basically meant that the internet had become easier to use, that average people (as in people without high levels of technical training) could now create their own websites and blogs etc.

While the above is certainly part of the concept of Web 2.0 completing the readings has given me a more comprehensive view of what it entails. My definition – Web 2.0 is a new or rather newly evolving way of being able to participate (share, collaborate, create, view etc.) online. No longer does the internet consist of static pages largely used for viewing, the rise of Web 2.0 technologies means that the internet is now an interactive space for connecting, discussing, creating and sharing new media etc.

When completing the readings I also found some other points very interesting about Web 2.0: The O-Reilly reading made the point that ‘Web 2.0 doesn’t have a hard boundary, but rather, a gravitational core’ (2005). I found this  to be interesting as I had not thought of it in this way prior to researching the topic. Viewing the Youtube video ‘What is Web 2.0’ also helped to better define Web 2.0 technologies for me when Barnatt states (when speaking about interpersonal computing) that it is about ‘using online technology to connect people to each other’ (2008). To me this is a clear and simple way of helping to define Web 2.0 – no longer are users the passive receivers of information downloaded from websites, rather users have become part of a staggeringly large global network and are able to not only receive information but actively share it as well.

References:

Barnatt, C. (2008). Explaining web 2.0. Explaining Computers.com. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BAXvFdMBWw&feature=related

O’Reilly, T. (2005). What is web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software. O’Reilly Media. Retrieved from http://oreilly.com.