Blog Post Gold

&tPosts I’ve noted for use in classes, presentations and future writing:

Aggregator as Textbook by Will Richardson:

I’ve been thinking more and more about my own use of RSS, and trying to reflect on the choices I make in my aggregator. Frankly, I am still amazed that so relatively few people (not just educators) have made RSS a part of their practice, but I wonder if it doesn’t have something to do with how disruptive a technology it is when you really think about it. It changes the traditional information structures in fundamental ways, and it forces us to be much more involved with the information we consume. I’m no longer just a reader; I’m an editor who is constantly at work in the process of finding feeds to read, determining what’s relevant, trying to connect ideas and patterns, making decisions as to what to do with all of the information I come across.

Connecting ideas and patterns is part of trendspotting to me. I also enjoy the way a meme or news item will travel around various blogs and news sites.

;a href=”http://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/story.cfm?id=4868″>Libraries: not just for Books Anymore (McMaster University News)

Shawn McCann isn’t your typical librarian. He recently joined McMaster University Libraries as the immersive learning (gaming) librarian, but don’t think he’s playing video games all day. He’s responsible for using new technologies like gaming and virtual worlds to make libraries relevant to today’s tech-savvy students.

In the past, libraries were reactive instead of proactive about new technologies, says McCann. Now, they’re trying to stay ahead of the game by keeping up with the Joneses. McMaster already has a “building” on Second Life, where library users can access digital archives and research services in a virtual world.

McCann isn’t the only one jumping on the virtual bandwagon. A number of McMaster faculty are doing research on gaming, such as the effects of gaming on the brain, the social and cultural impact of gaming as well as software and game development.

“It’s important that the library supports that kind of research through our collections,” says McCann.

Gaming can actually enhance the learning process. For example, gaming allows students to see the results of their actions in a virtual world without any real-life consequences, says McCann. They can also examine 3D models of objects such as museum exhibits that they wouldn’t get a chance to see up close in the real world.

Good to remember when thinking about library jobs — especially in academic libraries.

Finding time to learn about Emerging Technologies by Kathryn Greenhill

My top 5 reasons for librarians to learn emerging technologies:

1. Core business. Our core business is linking information and people. There are new and better ways to do this and we need to know how.

2. Understanding all formats. Users will ask us about these information sources. Are we serving them well if we say “sorry I only know about information in some formats?”

3. Our users are required to keep up. In academic and special libraries, our users are required by our organization to keep up to date with technology in their fields. To support them, we need to know what that is.

4. Dealing with vendors and IT departments. If we know what tools are out there and how to use them, we can set some things up for ourselves and know how to specify what we need to others.

5. Can’t predict the future, so need to experiment. Without crystal balls, we don’t know for sure what will be widely used. We need to try and assess many services to find what works for our users.

Checkout the whole post, the presentation and the links to some of Kathryn’s clear, concise thinking – like this gem! And THIS!

In Praise of Cool by Gardner Campbell

Sometimes we should take a look, maybe even try something risky, just because we think it’s cool. “Cool” taps into a moment of wonder, surprise, pleasure, delight, and intrigue that can lead to all sorts of encounters, with ourselves and with others. As Donald Norman very persuasively insists in Emotional Design (a very cool book full of pictures of very cool things), the pleasure we take in design need not be fleeting or superficial. Instead, that pleasure can be the foundation for deep, purposeful cognitive activity, an agent of lasting engagement.

Cool can be something to run toward, not away from. Seeking out cool need not be a sign of immaturity. Rather the opposite.

I was glad to read this. It seems like so often we hear speakers at our conference talking about cool technologies. Cool for the sake of cool and sexy for the sake of sexy does not good technology planning make. This post balances out that belief with a healthy dose of exploration, play and examining what “Ohhhh Shiny” might mean in the future.

Eight Tips for Healthy Meetings

6. Not every issue needs a meeting. (Tangentially, see also my observation earlier that for every action there is an equal and opposite committee.) Sometimes a problem can be at least partially resolved by two folks standing around a cubicle tossing a nerf ball; sometimes it’s too early to meet because you don’t know what the issue is. Sometimes the issue needs slow, protracted online conversation (easier among people who work this way naturally) rather than the artifice of ten people, a room, and an agenda.

God Bless Karen Schneider. I’ve been making points about bad meetings in my talks for years and this list is a perfect for illustrating exactly how to have effective meetings.

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