Thursday, August 31, 2006

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Blogs in the College or University Setting

Blogging Goes to College: Part 3

At this brainstorming session, we also thought of ways to use blogs on the rest of the campus. Here's what we came up with:
  • A used book exchange for students - this is my favorite example, since students are forever complaining about the high cost of textbooks (who can blame them?!). This actually might work better in a wiki format...
  • Electronic soapbox for students
  • Speaker’s bureau
  • Humanizing college administration – students leave comments on administrative blogs, administrators respond
  • Virtual focus group
  • Research sharing among faculty
  • Lists of special events/campus activities/alumni events
  • Lists of off-campus events/socializing opportunities
  • Marketing for potential students
  • Neighborhood & campus construction updates (process, pictures)
  • Job/volunteer/service opportunities
  • Student groups
  • Combination with courseware
  • Alumni blog
  • Want list for donations (create a list so that people can donate items you need)
  • Campus news
  • Student international experience – post pictures, keep a journal
  • Comments on classes, rating classes (rate your prof-type thing)
  • Collaborative work – faculty, student, committee, alumni
  • Diary of a first year student
  • Information about recruiters coming to campus
  • A blog about research activities in a specific area – areas where research is needed and students should think about doing a paper on that topic, etc.
  • Faculty members blogging about more than just their particular discipline – diversifies their interests
  • Human subjects blog to discuss the grey area issues with doing research using human subjects
  • University town hall: President, deans, etc write on it. parking, policies, etc

Monday, August 28, 2006

Uses for Blogs in the Library

Blogging Goes to College: Part 2

To continue what I learned from the Blogging Goes to College brainstorming session, here are some possible uses for blogs within the library:

  • Marketing – library updates, highlight resources, tips and tricks, database changes
  • Reference – as a place to keep answers of difficult questions
  • Archive of common assignments
  • Internal uses – staff updates, announcements, procedural manuals, podcast of professional development, to communicate common questions, committees soliciting comments from non-committee members
  • Using a blog in place of a comment box
  • Tips & tricks – searchable for when students actually need to do the research (“point of need”) – use stats to figure out which posts get more hits and continue to post those kinds of tips
  • Have a guest blog on the library blog
  • Have the author of the book used for the common book program blog on the library’s blog
  • Librarians should have access to class blogs to make helpful comments for research help
  • Post archival photographs asking “who are these people,” etc, for identification purposes
  • Liaison blogs with feedback
  • Hot topic ideas and pointers to resources for students having to write papers/give speeches about hot topics
  • Solicit comments – do we have enough computers? Etc
  • Tutorials

The Students are Back!

Hooray! The students are back!

Classes start today. I'm sure they are mourning the end of summer, as am I (but since I didn't have it off, I can't mourn it too much until the weather gets crappy). It's exciting to have them return. A few of them started trickling in last week as certain groups moved in early, and it was so nice to see them.

Yay! :)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Closing the Library

This is what we need instead of the loud, startling bell that currently warns students that the library will be closing shortly. Or something similar anyway.

As a student (I work at my alma mater), I purposely used to leave the library 20 minutes before closing so as to avoid being scared half out of my mind when that irritating bell rang. The one or two times I stayed too late were enough. I'd be studying furiously and all of a sudden, the bell would sound, and I'd jump half out of my chair. Yech!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Book Reviews

I am now posting on another blog as well. A friend of a friend decided to start a blog of book reviews. He then shared his idea with our mutual friend, who shared it with me and another friend. Anyway, to make a confusing story less confusing, there are now 5 of us who post reviews on Rage in the Page. The selection is really quite diverse - from romance to sci fi to children's books to nonfiction. Something for practically everyone.

Check it out! :)

Using Blogs in Instruction

Blogging Goes to College: Part 1

About a month ago on July 27th, I attended a brainstorming session at OhioLINK called "Blogging Goes to College: Weblog Uses in Higher Education." I have been meaning to write about it for some time, and am finally getting around to doing so.

Because it was more or less a day-long event, I'm going to break it down into topics. Today's topic is a list of ways to use blogs in instruction/teaching:

  • Have students blog annotations of librarian-selected websites (evaluating websites)
  • Use blogs for group work, especially in distance learning
  • Use blogs to augment assignments
  • Have a class blog for all students to post on, as an alternative to a message board, etc
  • Use an outside expert on a topic to facilitate discussion within a blog (since few are probably willing to come to campus...)
  • Students post drafts of work for peer review
  • Students maintain one blog during their college career as a portfolio of all their college work
As should be expected, this brainstorming session does have a blog located here, which probably already contains what I'm going to be posting. Oh well. :)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bugs in Buildings

Old buildings have bugs. Usually several varieties.

My library is an old building. Thus, it has bugs. There's George, our very large spider. I have not yet met George, and I think I'd like to keep it that way. George has lots of little friends because I see their webs all over the place. George and his friends really need to find a new place of residence. However, lately, I've been noticing more and more crickets. I hear them chirping in the stairwell. I see them hopping around the bathroom. They are friendly little buggars and it always makes me think of The Cricket in Times Square.

My current apartment has spiders, ants, and house centipedes. Ants are okay. I don't mind ants. House centipedes, however, are one of the creepiest bugs I have ever encountered. They still give me the willies and it's been over a year of living with them. Thankfully, I have a cat who likes to play with them... until they are dead. I love her. :)

So, the conclusion I have reached is: if a building has to have bugs, I vote for ants and crickets.

And those are my very deep thoughts for the morning.

Friday, August 18, 2006

A New Library Building

Oh, for a new library building. This Chronicle of Higher Education article tells why we should all get one (wouldn't that be nice?). Plus, a thread on one of the listservs I am on has been discussing the increase in visitors with a new library building. It often doubles and at least one library saw it quintuple.

How wonderful would that be? It's all about library as place - comfy furniture, quiet areas, group work areas, nice large computer labs, beautiful yet not overpowering natural lighting, anything to make the library more inviting.

One interesting finding of a survey reported in the Chronicle article was that "the location of a library on a campus made little difference in its popularity among students. "

So our location on the opposite end of campus from the dorms doesn't matter? Even when it involves walking uphill both ways in the snow? :)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Google: "Google" is NOT a verb!

Hahahaha, no offense, Google, but yeah right. It's a wee bit too late for you to be asking users not to use the word "Google" as a verb. It's already an entry in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Based on the above article, however, I'm not 100% clear if they just want people to stop using it to refer to any kind of internet searching and only for actually using Google, or if they want its use to stop altogether.

Addendum: After quickly publishing this, I decided to do some blogosphere research and found this defense of Google from the Scobleizer blog. Yay, more patent and trademark stuff. :)

Also, perhaps this battle isn't new, just now more public. Check it out here and here. [Links found on Yummy Yummy]

New Verison of Blogger - Woo hoo!

Blogger is releasing a new version in beta, and I have to wait around until it becomes available for me. But they've added TAGS! FINALLY! I've been thinking about how great it would be to tag my posts.

Also new are: privacy options as to who can read your blog, ability to alter the template without having to know HTML, a comment feed (another yay!), and say goodbye to the need to publish and republish - changes will be instantaneous.

Check out the official news here.

To Blogger: Pick me, pick me! I want to use the new beta asap! :)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Comedy Central on Social Networking

I love YouTube. People put some great stuff there, like this Daily Show clip from Comedy Central on social networking sites. Funny stuff. :)

WorldCat Search Toolbars

WorldCat is now open for all to use at So if you need/want to find out if any libraries near you have a certain book, check it out!

And if you plan to use this a lot, you can install a WorldCat search toolbar. There are ones for the Google and Yahoo! toolbars as well as for Firefox. I installed the Firefox one, but we'll see if I use it. Since I do interlibrary loan, I'm always in the FirstSearch part of WorldCat, so the public version may not be as useful for me. :)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Press Release Tips

In libraries, marketing is a big thing - how do we get that user to come in the door, use our online database, check out a book, etc? But they don't necessarily teach us that in grad school.

So I've subscribed to a daily email of press release tips (89 tips in total). So far, I've only read one tip, so we'll see how useful it is. The tips are nice and short (I'm a Millennial, my attention wanders after about 3 minutes...).

Check out the Publicity Hound's 89 Press Release Tips if you are interested. It's not geared towards libraries, but rather towards anyone writing press releases.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Evil AOL

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch has an interesting post on AOL. I never really much liked AOL except in the early days when it was the only thing I knew. Now they have apparently released private user data which was tied to an ID number, instead of the user's AOL screenname. Which is, of course, still frightening given that you can probably figure out who someone is by some of their searches. As Arrington pointed out, we all Google ourselves these days.

AOL has since withdrawn the data, but it's too late, it's already out there.

Also in the blog post are some links to a YouTube video which contains an AOL user's conversation with a a particularly irritating individual from AOL's customer service and a newspaper article about a woman who tried for a very long time to cancel her deceased father's AOL account. AOL tries to deny that it is hard to cancel their service but considering that AOL was well-known for this problem at least 7 years ago, I'm not really inclined to believe them. Looks like some things never change.

All-Encompassing Patents

What is it with these blanket patents that seem to be making the rounds? Blackboard just got one (read a writeup here) and is already suing another company because of it (another writeup here). And the one obtained by Friendster was pretty broad as well (read a Wall Street Journal article on it here).

Perhaps I'm a bit dense (or maybe I can just blame this awful head cold) but doesn't this type of patent just enable a monopoly? I'll admit, I didn't read the legal text (I tried to but it's just too jargon-y for me) but based on what everyone else is saying, it sure seems that way to me.