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My adventures in graduate school for library science

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Job of Organizing

Organizing books and materials used to be in the domain of professionally trained catalogers and indexers. Now, through Web 2.0, it is in the hands of everyday "folk." What are the implications of this trend for librarians? Also, for additional food for thought, go to your Delicious site and examine your list of tags. In your opinion, are these tags more or less helpful than traditional subject headings?

There are several implications of the trend of everyday people being able to organize books and materials. The first that comes to mind is the user-based tag systems of websites. People can wrongfully tag or organize a topic. This would cause a bug in the system of tagging and cause the retrieval of unwanted items. People have to be cautious of how they organize their books and materials and also be aware of how patrons typically retrieve information. If someone were to organize information using plurals or slang, it may cause difficulty for others to discover their desired information.

Some people have their own system to organizing their books and materials, and sometimes will over categorize topics. These types of systems are often inconsistent, and cause difficulties for patrons unfamiliar with the system. This would force the patron to search with specific terms to get the desired information. People also use various terms when organizing, from the basic to more narrow. These terms can cause a vague output of information for the patron. There is also the implication of dishonest people corrupting the system by disorganizing user-based tag systems.

When viewing my del.icio.us site and taking a closer look at my tags, I think that they are more helpful than traditional subject headings. It takes more time to sort through various subject headings rather than clicking on a tag. If searching for information using the tag feature I have many resources to choose from. Although I may have to sift through many resources, I believe the benefits of having these resources readily available outweighs the disadvantages. The user-based tagging system enables the user to get more detailed or vague in their search.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Machine is Us/ing Us

The title of the video that you were asked to view this week is "Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/Using Us." Referencing what you have learned about Web 2.0 through the readings in the Courtney text and through watching the video, why do you think that Professor Wesch gave this title to the video?

I believe Professor Wesch titled the video “The Machine Is Us/ing Us” because he believes the machine is using us at the same time we are using the machine. Technology is being used today in a way that we would not have foreseen 10 years ago. With the swell in the use of Web 2.0 tools, there has been an increase of demand to enhance Web 2.0 tools and features. This “increased participation”, as Elizabeth Black has described proves that the average user is becoming more comfortable in their abilities to use various programs and tools. As a result of the increased knowledge and use of technology, there is a need for software to be more user friendly.

I think of myself when describing people becoming more comfortable with the computer and software. While in college I would use a computer for word processing. I never thought of using my computer for leisure or networking. I, the basic user, have learned to do a variety of things on the computer for personal use, from blogging to organizing digital pictures to social networking, all through exploration. I am not alone with my use of the computer for personal needs. Our generation is learning more everyday on how to explore with the various Web 2.0 tools, this is especially true when applications are user friendly.

Technology and Web 2.0 tools are being used by people to collaborate information also described by Black as “collective intelligence”. This is a perfect example as to why Professor Wesch describes the machine as “using us”. When people take the short amount of time required to tag topics in their blogs or social networking sites specific program collects the information and uses it to allow other users to see the compiled topics with all the tags. This was reinforced through the video when Professor Wesch stated, “we are teaching the computer” or “teaching it an idea”. The machine would not be able to compile those tags without the assistance of the user. People are creating content collaboratively and publishing the information on all different types of Web 2.0 tools.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Handheld Devices

Your technology director has given you a budget of $10,000 for the purchase of handheld devices in your library. Using the prices in Chapter 5 of Courtney as a general guideline, what would you purchase and why?

Many options come to mind when making a $10,000 purchase for handheld instructional devices. My assumption when making this purchase is that the campus already have some technology resources such as computers, wireless Internet, and typical software. Below I will describe the usage of these item choices and the reasons why.

Smart Phones
In making this choice I took into consideration its many features and how to utilize them in the school library setting. The smart phone enables the librarian and/or librarian assistant to communicate with students and other faculty by using text, email, simple web access, and other media. In communicating with others, the librarian could offer help in troubleshooting with any technology equipment or with research. The ratio to teachers and students to librarians is low. This handheld device allows the librarian to be available to others throughout the school day and can better utilize their time by allowing help at the patrons' fingertips. I would purchase 3 smart phones at approximately $300.

Portable Media Players
I can just imagine the many interesting projects a student can create using the portable media player. It has great features similar to a media player but with video recording capabilities. Its larger screen, some have a touch screen, is great for displaying pictures, reading text, and viewing videos. One awesome benefit is the large storage capacity that can range up to 60 GB. I would purchase 4 portable media players at approximately $450.

Ebook Readers

A plus to this handheld device is that it can read ebooks, which are downloadable books. I envision this feature being used with special needs students or students that are in need of reinforcement. You can imagine viewing a child's face while they are listening to the story come alive with animation in the reader's voice. It can also be used to view pictures and play audio files. I predict this type of handheld device will have other features added on like 3-D ebooks. I would purchase 8 ebooks at approximately $400.

Internet Tablets
These are perfect to have available in a teacher's hand while they are browsing around the classroom full of students working on research projects. It can connect to wireless Internet and are conveniently portable. You can provide support to your class by showing a teacher tube video, a pdf file, or let them hear audio files. Another great options for student use is when a class may be completing a group project. The students wouldn't need to be at the computer station or lab, but rather be in their comfortable cooperative learning group and the Internet tablet be stationed within their group. I would purchase 3 of these at approximately $550.

Portable Gaming Device
When I think of portable gaming devices I think of the PSP or Nintendo DSI and children spending too much time on the most popular games that are all the trend at the moment. This device and it's popularity with student could be used as a venue with instructional games. The makers of portable gaming devices provide a wide variety of games including educational games such as Spelling Challenges and Hot Brain. I would purchase 4 portable gaming devices at approximately $200.

Ultra Mobile PCs
Can you imagine walking around with a desktop computer? I can't, but the Ultra Mobile PC functions as a desktop computer in the size of a handheld device. It has a full-sized keyboard, medium sized screen, wireless Internet capabilities and can include Windows software. A great feature is that it has a good amount of storage and memory. It's small size benefits when traveling. Students and teachers can use this device to complete a variety of functions such as viewing video, hearing audio and reading various files. Due to this device being fairly new and it's high price, I would purchase 1 at approximately $1,500.