Wednesday, February 2, 2011

INF506 Assignment 2 - OLJ/Evaluative Statement

Part A

Evaluative Statement using 3 experiences documented in my OLJ

Selecting appropriate technology to meet learning objectives or to solve organisational problems is a challenging task. There are a vast number of Web 2.0 technologies available today that require substantial learning curves. Being part of a scholarly group with a learned and supportive facilitator has assisted me in my usage and evaluation of social networking tools. Tools such as Blogs/RSS, social bookmarking, Flickr and Second Life have all been invaluable to my social networking journey.

I started writing blogs as a means of documenting my learning experiences for my Masters degree. Undertaking INF506 has given me further valuable insight on their many uses, especially within the library profession. For example, although most of my postings are study related by nature, they are nevertheless the “seedlings” to possible articles that would further assist my professional development (Sauers, 2006, p. 57). It is a way of sharing my thoughts, ideas and work activities and attracting feedback from like-minded individuals. Blogs could also be used as a mechanism to entice clients back to the library website. An accompaniment tool to the blog is Real Simple Syndication or commonly known as RSS. It is mainly used to track online news, blog posts and trends on a particular subject matter. On my blog post about RSS, I mentioned that MerchantCircle has bought Bloglines and that the future of the service is undermined. It is now back in operation with an added blog platform capability. User-authored content can now be amalgamated with the newsreader site. I still like the tool because I see its potential to stay current and push content to a targeted audience on one single page (Farkas, 2007, p. 74). I am guilty however of not utilising it to my advantage. It is a matter of providing appropriate content to the right audience at the right time. Without this background knowledge, I am merely thrusting gibberish to an invisible market.

Delicious is another tool that I like. But news has it that it was closing its service so I panicked, bailed out and joined its competitor, Diigo. What I find fascinating about social bookmarking tools are their ability to organise links for easy retrieval and share these resources with others using a new trend called tagging. I wasn’t keen on tagging at first but the more I apply it to web resources, the more I realise its flexibility and adaptability in an ever-changing Web. In comparison to Delicious, Diigo is cleaner, more user friendly and more intuitive. For example, Diigo lets me create lists to store like-bookmarks together. It has features like sticky notes and commentary highlighter tools for drawing attention to important text in the web page. It is a great tool for individuals working collaboratively on a project. However, individual users in a group setting may find others have different ways of describing the same resource. One way to combat this ambiguity is to use clustering (Farkas, 2007, p. 138). Lack of long-term availability with popular social bookmarking sites is another issue that needs to be addressed. Therefore, prior to committing to a particular service, it is important to ensure that the tool meets the needs of the user population to avoid future migration difficulties. For example, CiteULike is a service for scholarly references, which may assist university libraries to bookmark academic papers.

I admire libraries that use social media. They are in the best position to meet their clients. Although Facebook is ranked ninth as an online learning tool, it seems to be the winning platform for enticing library patrons. Twitter and YouTube rank first and second consecutively in the list but are only utilised by larger libraries. It is interesting to note that the State Library of Victoria’s Flickr public images are only of its building’s exterior and interior views. Images of the library’s events or its many patrons are absent in the photostream. This may be due to the Victoria Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities stating protection of privacy and reputation under the freedom of expression. It is not however illegal to photograph people without their consent in Australia unless they are at work, under protection laws or if the images are of sexual and voyeuristic in nature (Nemeth, 2011).

Furthermore, I am surprised that the libraries I looked at paid no attention to virtual worlds to market their services. A recent study has shown that the number of virtual worlds has risen and will continue to do so until 2012 (KZero, n.d.a, p. 3). I have only recently been lured by Second Life, which I find fascinating, rewarding yet frustrating at times, due to the amount of bandwidth required to run the program. Nevertheless, well-funded libraries and organizations will combat this problem, as virtual worlds will evidently provide learning tools to individuals, and especially to technology-embracing youths (Kzero, n.d.b).

Part B

A reflective statement on my development as a social networker as a result of studying INF506

Implication for my development as an information professional

Prior to studying INF506, my idea of social networking was handing out business cards at conferences, workshops and dinner parties. It was not until I familiarised myself with the subject module that I became aware of my ignorance and naivety (Tumon, 2010). A social networker is an individual who uses the online environment to connect with like-minded people, share information and create and maintain relationships for personal, business and educational purposes. As a result of undertaking INF506, I have progressed from a social software virgin to a virtual sophisticated butterfly with a touch of infatuation.

I have a mild form of Facebook addiction – I admit it. Although I am not one of the many who writes willy nilly on everything that happens to their lives or uses their mobile phones or devices to check their friends’ status. I am nevertheless hooked. By logging into Facebook when I’m at work, at the library or in between preparing dinner constitutes a person substituting real-life experience for a virtual existence (Courtney, 2007, p. 81). Furthermore, Soutphommasane suggests that my Facebook friends are mere acquaintances, superficial and passive members of my narcissist audience (Soutphommasane, 2010). True or not, I value my friendship with these ‘acquaintances’ in that my feelings were hurt when one of my friends deleted my comment on her wall. The comment was not degrading or insulting – just a contradiction to what she was planning. I have learnt that to be a good friend online I need to support and alleviate my friends’ effort in gaining their self-worth.

An upbeat side to being a social networker is my ability to connect to as many people and organizations as I can handle. In order to increase my channels to social discovery, I need to spend time learning, assessing and immersing myself in a variety of social networking environments and tools. Twitter is a good example of a tool that could potentially improve people’s lives personally, professionally and economically. By participating in Twitterville (as a follower or by being followed), I could instantly access expert opinion on a variety of subjects and topics. For example, as a follower of 936 ABC Hobart on Twitter I was able to inform my Facebook network that the Tasmanian Fire Service will be doing aerial fire shows above one of the suburbs in Hobart.

As an Information Professional, I am in the business of finding out what my clients want in terms of accessing the right information at the right time, so that they are able to participate and contribute successfully in their own community, both locally and globally. According to a recent survey, Internet users are moving from being passive viewers to content creators and online community developers (De Rosa et al, 2007). This is due to Web 2.0 technologies. These tools enable users to create their own websites, share photos and videos, chat in real time, voice opinions through blogs and wikis and enter virtual worlds. Undertaking INF506 has led me to discover Web 2.0’s extension to the library scene, which has been coined by Michael Casey as Library 2.0. Fellow librarian blogger Sarah Houghton summed up the concept as the main force that would make libraries regain their importance to people’s lives by meeting them wherever they are.

Indeed a great concept, especially applied to an underutilised resource centre. I am currently managing a library within a small non-profit organisation where the project officers use the Internet rather than the library’s physical collection for research. The implementation of one or two Web 2.0 tools would not only make the library more significant but would also attract more users. For example, the social bookmarking tool Diigo could be deployed as a starting point, as many Internet users already know the concept of bookmarking websites. However, it is more than a tool for remembering and collecting links of specifically targeted subjects. It can be used to share resources among members of a particular community. Communities built upon the Web 2.0 revolution help acquire more clients to the library by collaborating, sharing and creating online content (Shuen, 2008, p. 34).

My challenge is to implement a deployment strategy within the organisation so that the technology chosen meets the needs and acceptance of users and staff. By being involved in the planning and implementation, staff become key stakeholders at an early stage. This ensures that staff invest time and effort in making the new technology work, with training as a crucial component in creating enthusiasm amongst staff (Farkas, 2007, pp. 251-254). As Farkas concludes in this podcast, Library 2.0’s success lies in the library’s ability to provide the technological needs of its user population (Wallis, 2009).


Courtney, N. (2007). Library 2.0 and beyond: Innovative technologies and tomorrow’s user. Westport, conn.: Libraries Unlimited.

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L. (2007). Section 3: Privacy, Security and Trust. In Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. [ebook] Available

Farkas, M.G. (2007). Social software in libraries: Building collaboration, communication, and community online. Medford, N.J.: Information Today, Inc.

Kzero. (n.d.a). Virtual worlds: 2010 and beyond [INF506 Resources]. Retrieved 30 January 2011, from Charles Sturt University website:

Kzero. (n.d.b). Kids, tweens and teens in virtual worlds [INF506 Resources]. Retrieved 30 January 2011, from Charles Sturt University website:

Nemeth, A. (2011). NSW Photography rights and legal issues summary. Retrieved from

Sauers, M.P. (2006). Blogging and RSS: A librarian’s guide. Medford, N.J.: Information Today.

Shuen, A. (2008). Web 2.0: A strategy guide. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly.

Soutphommasane, T. (2010, November 13). True friends lost in the social whirlwind. The Australian. Retrieved from

Tumon, K. (2010, November 17). A journey of a thousand steps. Message posted at: Retrieved from

Wallis, R. (Host). (2009, December 9). Social software in libraries. Library 2.0 Gang. Retrieved from

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reasons why libraries should be on social media (OLJ Activity Module 4)

Comparable Table







RSS Feed




Virtual World

National Library of Australia (NLA)







The Benjamin Andrew Footpath Library (BAFL)


State Library of Victoria (SLV)







The table illustrates big libraries are embracing social media and networking sites than the small non-profit organization of BAFL. There are many reasons for this:

  • The big libraries are well funded and have resources to carry out such social networking initiatives

  • To connect and reach the large amount of the libraries’ users

  • To promote library activities to users

  • Brand management

  • User research/Environmental Scan to fit the right tools with the right type of library users

  • Opportunity to re-engage with library users

  • Draw library users into the library services

  • Collaboration/partnership with other libraries

  • Giving users some ownership to their own online content

  • To give a ‘human’ face to the library

This is not to say that the BAFL is not doing all of the above because they are only using one social networking technology. As Meredith Farkas mentioned in the Library Gang 2.0 Podcast, social networking software is not a magic wand that will transform libraries to great collaborators or user connectors. Social networking tools are only effective if they are meeting the needs of the library’s user population.

Planning and assessment are needed for libraries to determine whether the tools they have implemented are effective and successful. The NLA’s Blog, Twitter and Facebook presence seem to be a hit with its users because of their currency of content and enthusiastic user participation. Similarly with the SLV’s and BAFL’s Facebook presence are also popular with their users. Perhaps this is due to effective planning and thorough evaluation of the social networking tools. So in order for libraries to effectively connect to their users, they must first find out the types of technology their users are confident in before implementing them.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Twitter Session 21 December 2010

I enjoyed the Twitter session that my CSU lecturer Lyn organised for the 21st December 2010. I particularly like the fact that we set aside time for learning a particular topic and/or technology. I tend to study haphazardly – I look at Facebook then get bored so I look at Twitter then on to Second Life and so on. I must concentrate on one and focus on just that. I’m getting the hang of Twitter. The only way to learn is to actually immerse myself into it, make mistakes and learn from it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Website Design (OLJ Activity Module 3)

I love great design especially the ones that communicate sophistication, elegance, and forward-thinking with “I know what I’m talking about and no-one else knows about it” attitude. Take for example this before and after look of a website for a stone product company called Luck Stone. What an amazing transformation! (By the way, I pinched these links from Chuck Green’s PagePlane Blog – Thanks Chuck!).

For this OLJ activity, I’ve chosen the University of Tasmania Library website to evaluate against my own set of criteria for an effective library website design: In terms of Web 2.0 technologies, the library offers RSS feeds and a Library News Blog.

1. Objective

The UTAS Library aims to enhance the teaching, learning and research of its library users. One way to meet the needs of researchers is to use wiki as a research guide (Courtney, 2007, p. 28) where librarians can create dynamic content when needed, thus creating new and updated information consistently.

2. Target Audience

The library needs to understand its target audience and changing user population (George, 2008, p. 7). For example, using Facebook to create a discussion platform where users (young and techno-savvy) to discuss issues relating to academic resources or information seeking.

3. Feedback

All stakeholders (librarians, web developers, representative users) must have a voice on the design or re-design of the website in order for it to be usable.

4. A Marketing Tool

The library’s website could be used to promote new resources, services and social networking platforms that the library offers. A news blog is provided but this could be utilised so that users also have an input in what goes on at the library.

5. User-centred

KISS. Library users want to search for information in the most easiest and simplest way (look at the Google search box).

6. Usability Testing

One way for the library to gain information about how their users interact with the website is to simply ask. SurveyMonkey could be used to find out problems and opportunities that are obvious to the user but not to the web master.

7. Differentiate

Libraries must differentiate itself from its competitors. This can be done by building a unique online identity using social networking tools (McBurnie 2007).

8. Image

The library’s website is the library’s shopfront to the world, therefore it must convey a successful, progressive and credible organization in order for it to attract potential users as well as adequate resources from funding bodies.

9. Creativity

Think outside the mortar and bricks; why not build a library presence in virtual world such as Second Life.

10. Progressive Content

Content is king. Visitors of the website want to see new and updated information so it’s important that the website gets pumped up with lots and lots of content on a regular basis.


Courtney, N. (2007). Library 2.0 and beyond: Innovative technologies and tomorrow’s user. Westport, conn.: Libraries Unlimited.

George, C.A. (2008). User-centered library websites: Usability evaluation methods. Oxford: Chandos.

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

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Evaluation of Delicious so far...(OLJ Activity Module 2)

My use of Delicious as a social bookmarking tool

As a born organiser, Delicious is heaven sent. Not only does it help me make my references easy to access but I can also share these resources with others and theirs with me. It’s a great collaborative tool. I have heard of people who have created websites where they organised all their favourite sites on one page but I’m not a techno head so Delicious and other social bookmarking tools (Ma.gnolia (open by invitation only), BlinkList (looks similar to Delicious), Furl (now bought by Diigo – bookmarks everything!), Conotea (looks easy to use but mainly for scientists, researchers and clinicians), CiteULike (for scholarly reference) are the best things since card catalogues.

Effectiveness of features and functions

The features and functions aren’t that intuitive. It took me a while to figure out that the ‘tag symbol’ is when you save a web site whilst you’re on the site. I am now trying to learn how I can bundle bookmarks in different subjects. Click on ‘tag bundles’ – name the bundle and list the tags you want in it. It will then save all the bookmarked websites that have those tags you specified.

I’m not sure if I like using the tagging system to create my folders to store my bookmarks in. I don’t mind the idea of tagging in a non-hierarchical way and using words used by everyday people to describe objects also known as folksonomy (Farkas, 2007, pp. 134-135), but my bookmark tags are my own interpretations and others may not view them the same way. However, Delicious has cleverly solved this problem by allowing the user to use recommended tags, which others have already assigned to their websites/resources.

Your Network is a great feature for checking other accounts but its only drawback is you must know the user name.

Different ways an Information Organisation may be able to utilise Delicious to support information service, learning and collaboration of users and employees

For users:

  • Library catalogue could be tagged so patrons know what the resource is about
  • Assist users in their search of web sites in their subject of interest
  • Incorporate RSS feeds for patrons about useful links that the librarians have bookmarked (Farkas, 2007, pp. 139-145)

For employees:

  • Keep up to date in their chosen field
  • For internal projects
  • Manage website links (Wood, 2007, p.135)


Farkas, M.G. (2007). Social software in libraries: Building collaboration, communication, and community online. Medford, N.J.: Information Today, Inc.

Wood, M.S. (Eds.). (2007). Medical librarian 2.0: Use of Web 2.0 technologies in reference services. New York: Hawthorn Information Press.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

RSS in Action (OLJ Activity Module 2)

I really like this symbol and the tool it represents. After a whole day searching, reading and trying it out, I’ve fallen in love with it. Well, maybe that’s a very strong word…I’ve fallen in like with it.

I’ve registered with Bloglines (a web-based RSS reader) but apparently has gone bust and Merchant Circle has bought Bloglines. So the service is up in the air. I’m on a learning curve here and Bloglines is an easy aggregator (RSS reader) to use so it doesn’t really matter if I lose what I’ve saved (there’s not much on my list really). Other web-based aggregators are: News is Free (looks good), Netvibes and Pageflakes (currently upgrading service 22/11/10).

Some examples of RSS in action:

· University of Oklahoma Libraries RSS

· Australian Library and Information Association

· University of Tasmania Libraries RSS

· Wired

· The Motley Fool - a multimedia financial-services company that provides financial solutions for investors through various stock, investing, and personal finance products

What I like about this tool is that I don’t have to go the website every time I want to see what the latest news, trend or blog posts in the subject area I’m interested in. I just set it all up in my aggregator and voila news get updated automatically. This supports many informational needs that an individual or a group may have. The only problem I have with this is the lack of longevity with some of the web-based aggregators. Certainly, I could set it up on my desktop but that lacks portability.

The following are some ways RSS can be incorporated into the library’s service to meet the information needs of its users:

· To provide lists of new books/resources to the public
· To assist in catalogue searches
· To maintain a patron’s library account
· To help researchers keep up with newly published information
· To inform patrons of journal availability in their databases (Sauers, 2006, pp. 54-62)


Sauers, M.P. (2006). Blogging and RSS: A librarian’s guide. Medford, N.J.: Information Today.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Module 1 (A)musing

I found Kevin Kelly’s ideas about technology very interesting. I think technology including the use of the Web is an extension of our already existing knowledge and capabilities. I’m probably going off tangent here and I may sound New Agey but I think we invented technologies because we have forgotten how to do things with our own mind and bodies. For example, we invented the telephone so we could communicate instantly to people….then we wanted something faster and visual so the Internet came about. We are all ‘connected’ now. But why is there a need for a telephone or a computer when we can connect just by using our mind – something called ‘telepathy’. I think I read somewhere that we only use 12% of our brain capacity. What about the rest of it? Is it lying dormant ready to be unleashed by some cosmic dragon? Anyways, my point is we are on an evolution and technologies will keep emerging and re-emerging until we reach a point when we don’t need them anymore and we’ll be communicating via our own brain waves. Faaaar out man…