…demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies
“Librarianship is an applied discipline – a service industry constantly adapting to the needs of users.” (Main, 2008, p. 148)
Technology’s impact on libraries can be immediately sensed upon entering a library after a short absence. Public libraries have become noisier places where patrons can access video games; serendipitous discoveries in the academic library stacks are submitting to the robotic arm of retrieval, and in some libraries, makerspaces have replaced study spaces. For the book-devotees among us, some of these changes have been challenging to endure.
As rapidly as technology appears to advance, it can seem like a perpetually unknowable behemoth, ubiquitous yet untenable for library and information professionals to grasp, employ or practice either personally or professionally. As such, library and information professionals may feel daunted by the idea of implementing new technologies in the home or workplace, especially if LIS professionals have a long history of working in traditional libraries. However, it is our responsibility as LIS professionals to develop our understanding for current and emerging information technology tools to both develop as professionals and provide quality service to our users, many of who utilize various emerging technologies for both information and communication means on a daily basis. While reasons for Internet use are myriad, users share a common goal: the pursuit of information. Whether seeking employment and company information through LinkedIn, or wanting to stay connected with childhood friends on Facebook; researching a new prescription, or designing a website, people need immediate information access to serve their various needs.
According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project (2012), “85% of all adults…[and] 95% of teens use the Internet”(http://www.pewinternet.org/Static-Pages/Trend-Data-%28Adults%29/Internet-Adoption.aspx) for diverse reasons including social, political, and cultural engagement as well as educational growth. While Internet use varies greatly, we also know from Pew (2012) that “65% of online adults and 80% of teens use SNS [social networking sites]” (Purcell, 2012, http://www.slideshare.net/PewInternet/teens-2012-truth-trends-and-myths-about-teen-online-behavior). When compared to statistical data from 2000 – “46% of adults used the Internet and 0% of adults used social networking sites” – these numbers indicate an enormous growth and seeming digital shift.
Libraries are currently in a unique position to serve users 24-7, wherever they are around the globe, without boundaries. With the advent of social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, Question Point: a 24-7 IM and chat reference service, and online remote database access, libraries are primed to serve researchers, scholars, students, and other users whenever and wherever they are.
My relationship to technology has expanded from a twelve-year old in the early 80’s playing “Math Mansion” and “Trials and Tribulations” on my just-released Commodore 64 to designing and implementing course modules for a Learning 2.0/23 Things instructional program for my Transformative Learning and Technology Literacies course with Michael Stephens in the distance learning program at SLIS.
Other current explorations in technology-based discovery and learning tools include devising web-based instructional strategies to effectively engage students as well as considering variegated methods of incorporating social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to promote reading and reader’s advisory. As a future teen services librarian, I am especially driven to create safer virtual spaces for teens where they will feel free to share ideas, collaborate with peers, and create their own content. By implementing various learning and discovery tech tools, libraries can earn teens’ trust and foster lifelong learning.
In my LIBR 259:Preservation Management course, I became hyper-aware of the vulnerable state of digital content when performing checksums to validate the stability of a select group of personal files. I also researched various digital repositories (DuraSpace, LoC, Center for Research Libraries) and digital preservation methods including LOCKSS and PREMIS.
I understand this competency to signify many new opportunities libraries can sustain to engage learners and patrons through emerging technologies while promoting pleasure reading and lifelong learning. In this current digital age, libraries continually prove their vitality and relevance to patrons by testing and implementing new technologies to best serve our patrons as well as by maintaining communal, personable spaces for users to convene and connect.
My first piece of evidence to demonstrate my mastery of competency H is a screencast tutorial I created for my LIBR 287: Information Literacy class which guides users through the process of finding a book recommendation from NoveList K-8 based on interest by genre, as well as how to check for availability in the library catalog. My goal was to familiarize patrons with NoveList K-8 as a way to aid their search as well as provide them with a starting point for accessing children’s library resources remotely.
I created my screencast using the free version of Jing, which involved a few technical limitations including a 5-minute time limit. I was challenged by these technical limitations to find ways to use the set boundaries to create a useful and effective research tool. This screencast demonstrates my competency in navigating new software to produce a useful research tool to best serve library users. I also gained competency with multitasking and toggling between other applications (like PowerPoint and Firefox), while maintaining a pleasant voice narration during the screencast recording.
My second piece of evidence to demonstrate my mastery of competency H is a pathfinder (research guide) I created for my LIBR 210: Reference and Information Services class using the LibGuides platform. It is a beginner’s guide to women poets of the Bay Area, designed to serve researchers, scholars, students, and any other individuals seeking information about instrumental women figures involved in the Bay Area poetry communities as well as their respective artworks and affinities. This research guide demonstrates my competency in creating cloud-based research tools designed to assist users with finding, navigating, and comprehending scholarly and informational poetry resources. To my knowledge, it is also the first libguide explicitly designed to highlight Bay Area women poets’ works and affiliations. As such, it aims to give visibility to these highly influential women figures.
With my research guide, I also demonstrate my competency in learning new Web-based tools to connect users with information. The guide comprises and incorporates links from diversified sources to compile a centrally located and accessible resource. Some of these resources include audio recordings, online databases, both public and academic online access catalogs, LibraryThing, online poetry journals, and small presses. At the time of creation, I included a Meebo widget that offered users 24-7 chat and IM reference access. Unfortunately, this widget is no longer active due to the discontinuation of Meebo chat services. However, I plan to activate an alternate chat reference service in the future and will promote the service on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Internship_DiPrima for XML
My third piece of evidence to demonstrate my mastery of competency H are three XML documents I created while completing my internship at the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University. These hand-coded documents are conversions of cataloging notes I created to identify running times and setlists as well as the listening content for desired Poetry Center recordings from the 1960’s. After coding the cataloging notes for the three poets presented in the documents, I imported the XML to DIVA: SF State’s digital repository where it currently awaits the site launch.
These pages of code demonstrate my competency in writing, reading, and understanding XML as well as highlight my ability to navigate the back-end of an online digital repository. I have also attached a sample screenshot of how the content will be presented to users accessing poetry recordings through DIVA.
Library and information professionals are implementing new technology-based programs and services to provide users with greater information access and resources. Innovating our instructional practices to incorporate social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest, collaborative peer engagement tools like wikis and blogs, or other learning and discovery tools like Wordle and Glogster present library and information professionals with new and exciting opportunities to meet user needs.
Main, Linda. (2008). Librarians are the Best Googlers in the World. In Haycock and Sheldon (Eds.), The Portable MLIS (148). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.
Pew Internet and American Life Project. (2012). Why Americans Use Social Media [Data file]. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/Static-Pages/Trend-Data-%28Adults%29/Internet-Adoption.aspx.
Purcell, K. (2012). Teens 2012: Truth, Trends, and Myths about Teen Online Behavior. [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/PewInternet/teens-2012-truth-trends-and-myths-about-teen-online-behavior.
apoetlibrarian by Melissa Eleftherion is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.