Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Summation of Sessions

I feel a bit wistful writing this as it will be my final contribution to this blog. Our course on information literacy is over now. I wish I had more clear answers regarding the outcome of blogging. It just felt difficult to maintain given the other content in the class. Perhaps doing the '23 things' is easier for online courses, where writing is the only way to reveal oneself. I know I do wish there had been an anonymous format as some of us are private creatures. I also know it felt there was a tension, (at least temporal), between aspects of blogging, vs. information literacy vs. search strategies. To me, they are ranked in increasing utility.
As for our fellow blogs, I really appreciated the add-ons that teams had, such as Lobcock's wordplay section, and the newsfeed and 'dog of the day' from another team. Team T's group photo really helped personalize their work, as did the individual (and very unique!) photos from i23. Their writing style was also really clear, enjoyable and indicative of their personalities.
Very best wishes everyone!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Databases- the health food of the information world?

We had another session led by Alistair Allan this week. He introduced features of various databases. He also compared search engines to databases with the analogy of fatty junk food vs. more nutritional fare- basically, quantity over quality. It was a very interesting analogy connected with information obesity. I was very naive, but the most surprising thing to me was the very tiny overlap between databases. I thought that most academic papers would be on nearly all major databases, but am pleasantly surprised that there is a lot more 'out there' than I had previously imagined.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Polite Interrogation Techniques

Today we learned about reference services and the information interview. We were tasked with interviewing each other and had to both learn how to express our information needs and 'extract' the request from another. We found face-to-face interviewing much easier as we were able to gain further information and feedback. Effective communication is crucial, especially as we have to understand the scope of the query and deliver relevant information to the client. This was a practise exercise for future coursework. It is useful if you are able to give specific responses such as '5 people' and 'no shellfish please due to allergies' in connection to a restaurant recommendation. Vague questions are more difficult to answer. It's important not to make the interviewee uncomfortable. You are there to help them and sometimes must lead, sometimes follow, in order to fulfil their needs.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Information Literacy in Our Future Careers

Over the last week, we have been exploring the idea of our future careers in relation to information literacy. In our team, we each wanted to pursue a different route - Anna is interested in public libraries, Melanie would like to investigate the architecture of libraries, Nancy would like to work in an art library, and I'd really enjoy a career in archiving. We wanted to ensure that we illustrated everyone's ambitions, and we designed a concept whereby we would link the SCONUL Pillars of Information Literacy with the types of services we felt we would be providing as information professionals in our future careers: to manage space, to scope resources, to plan the future, to identify users needs, to present tools for searching, to gather information, and to evaluate our own service provision.

Nancy led us with her creative flair, but Anna and Melanie had some hidden artistic talents, too! I think we really enjoyed the opportunity to get creative, and to get to know each other a little bit better.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Web 2.0 - last.fm

While considering this post, I realised that I do in fact use web 2.0 applications more than I had initially thought. One example, for leisure purposes, would be last.fm, a music website that profiles and archives the user's musical taste by recording ("scrobbling") details of what is being listened to on their computer or via the website itself. There is also a social networking dimension to the site; I tend to use this less, but one interesting feature is the ability to check my musical compatibility with other users. I find it fascinating to check my personal listening statistics and see how my musical tastes have changed over the last weeks/ months/ years. The recommendations feature is also an excellent way to discover new music, events in my area, and articles or blog posts about music I like.

An Web 2.0 Application----Wikipedia


Wikipedia is a typical application in Web2.0 environment. It is a free, web-based, multilingual encyclopedia which is written collaboratively by largely anonymous. Usually, I use it as a kind of reference book, encyclopedia. Sometimes, it is also being treated as a writing samples database for English learner. A lot of people choose Wikipedia because of its high-quality content. Some academic institutions, however, do not recommend Wikipedia as a sort of research recourse, especially in term of articles about history. In fact, the figures from Nature and First Monday show us that Wikipedia does a good job in information diversity, reliability and accuracy.

Web 2.0 Services and Applications

This list of web 2.0 services is a little out of date now (2006) but is a very helpful starting point.

If anyone can find a more up-to-date list, please do post it!