Honored to have written a third joint column with Aaron Schmidt!
Recent articles from voices in the field of library and information science (LIS) have questioned the value of the MLIS or pointed toward an uncertain and evolving future. Former LJ editor in chief Michael Kelley’s “Can We Talk About the MLS?” garnered much attention. Kelley argues that the profession should have a serious conversation about the values and merits of formalized, professional LIS education. Is the library degree, in his words, “an expensive and unnecessarily exclusionary credential”? Kelley’s call for discussion is a sound one and is echoed in Brian Kenney’s similarly themed piece in Publishers Weekly, “So You Think You Want To Be a Librarian?” Kenney’s frank approach looks beyond collections to interaction: “Librarianship today is about greeting each customer (in person or online) and making sure that his or her library visit is one of the best experiences of the day.”
These articles struck a nerve; the resulting links, comments, and discussion serve as evidence of librarians’ interest in the topic and, perhaps, their sensitivities to these issues. Why the consternation? Librarians want libraries to succeed, and they know that libraries must evolve in order to succeed. The future of libraries is closely linked to the skills of newly minted librarians.
We’re gearing up for the Fall 2013 Hyperlinked Library MOOC Pilot, and we are excited to share the most recent news.
Here are some of the topics and guest lecturers that we have planned for our MOOC participants:
• Explore the Hyperlinked Library Model, Hyperlinked Library Communities, and Community Engagement, along with Participatory Service and Planning for Hyperlinked Libraries. We’ve invited Michael Casey, Sarah Ludwig, Monica Harris, Gretchen Caserroti, and others as guest lecturers and have open and collaborative assignments for you to explore.
• Expand understandings about Transparency, Privacy, User Experience, and the Mobile and Geo-Social Environments. We’ve invited Aaron Schmidt and Jan Holmquist as guest lecturers, and have organized an expansive and open set of resources for you to use and share.
• Engage with The Creation Culture, Learning and New Literacies, and Reflective Practice. We’ve invited Nate Hill, Char Booth, and Peter Morville as guest lecturers, and we will be adding more lecturers, content, and online experiences for you in the coming weeks.
We cannot wait to begin sharing this global, completely open and free, online learning opportunity with you.
SLISConnect, SJSU’s School of Library & Information Science student and alumni group, is excited to announce the launch of 23 Things for SLIS Students & Alumni: Essentials Skills for Professional Success. This Learning 2.0 program will offer 23 weekly modules (one module per week) to introduce specific online technologies that are proven and recommended by SLIS students and alumni for academic and professional success. Created by SLIS students and alumni for SLIS students and alumni, this unique program, in addition to exploring valuable online tools, creates and fosters connections among a community of professionals committed to lifelong and collaborative learning. With three target audience groups, 23 Things will be broken down into 3 segments: New LIS Students, Professional Development and Presentations (focused on current students), and the New LIS Professional. Each segment will entail seven to eight modules that will include exercises to demonstrate learning and digital badges will be awarded to those who demonstrate module completion. The program has already attracted over 30 student and alumni volunteers who will participate as site administrators, module builders, module reviewers, module correspondents, and bloggers.
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SLISConnect hosted a Kick Off Session on July 10th where participants were able to learn more about the program, how they can participate, offer ideas for upcoming modules, and participate a Q&A session. Suggestions poured in for the program include having live sessions where module participants can share how they used the technologies and resources presented and expanding the asynchronous module format into a more engaging and collaborative learning experience. Additional ideas were also presented to include modules for MARA students, mobile technologies, dealing with diversity issues, and more. One participant even asked “Why 23 Things?”. Project Manager Elaine Hall responded that the program was an adoption of the original 23 Things program developed by Helene Blowers but further emphasized with that with evident enthusiasm of this program and the suggestions already submitted, there is convicting evidence that the program will expand well beyond 23 things.
Note from Michael: I am thrilled to see our students run with this idea. The image above is one of the badges participants receive for completing a module. Watch the Kick Off Session video for more about this program.
Greetings! The Hyperlinked Library MOOC is coming together. Kyle Jones and his team of SJSU SLIS students are building an incredible site for the MOOC and for our SLIS classes.
I wanted to put out a call – as i have done before – for additions to the “Context Book” assignment. We’ll use this in the MOOC and in our regular SLIS class. What socio-technical titles would you add to this list?
- Anderson, Chris. The Long Tail
- Anderson, Chris. Makers: The New Industrial Revolution
- Batelle, John. The Search
- Beck, John C. & Mitchell Wade. Got game
- Berger, Jonah. Contagious: Why Things Catch On
- Bernoff, Josh. Groundswell
- Bilton, Nick. I Live in the Future And Here’s How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted
- Buckingham, David (ed.). Youth,Identity,and Digital Media
- Carr, Nicholas. The Big Switch: rewiring the World, from Edison to Google
- Carr, Nicholas. The Shallows
- Collins, Jim. Good to Great
- Davidson, Cathy. Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn
- Doctorow, Cory. Content
- Duhigg, Charles. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
- Dyer, Jeff, Hal Gregersen, Clayton M. Christensen. The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators.
- Fields, Jonathan. Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance
- Frankel, Alex. Punching In
- Friedman, Thomas. The World is Flat
- Gee, James Paul. What Video Games Have to teach Us about Learning & Literacy
- Gilmore, James & B. Joseph Pine II. Authenticity
- Gladwell, Malcolm. Blink
- Gleick, James. The Information
- Godin, Seth. Small is the New Big
- Godin, Seth. Tribes
- Godin, Seth. Linchpin
- Godin, Seth. Poke the Box: When Was the Last Time You Did Something for the First Time?
- Harper, Richard. Texture: Human Expression in the Age of Communications Overload
- Hayes, Tom. Jump Point:How Network Culture is Revolutionizing Business
- Hsieh, Tony. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose
- Ito, Mizuko (ed.). Hanging Out,Messing Around,and Geeking Out:Kids Living and Learning with New Media.
- Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture
- Jenkins, Henry. Fans, Bloggers & Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture
- Johnson, Clay. The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption
- Johnson, Marilyn. This Book is Overdue!:How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All
- Johnson, Steven. Everything Bad is Good for You
- Johnson, Steven. Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age
- Johnson, Steven. Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
- Kawasaki, Guy. Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions
- Kelley, Tom with Jonathan Littman. The Ten Faces of Innovation
- Kleinberg, Tamara. Think Sideways: A Game-Changing Playbook for Disruptive Thinking.
- Kusek, David & Gerd Leonhard. The Future of Music: Manifesto for the Digital Revolution.
- Lanier, Jaron. You are Not a Gadget
- Levine, Rick et al. The Cluetrain Manifesto
- Levy, Steven. The Perfect Thing
- Linkner, Josh. Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity
- Logan, Dave, John King, and Hallee Fischer-Wright. Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization
- MacKinnon, Rebecca. Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom
- Martin, Patricia. Ren Gen Renaissance Generation
- McGonigal, Jane. Reality is Broken
- McKnight, John and Peter Block. The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods.
- Meyer, Danny. Setting the Table
- Neumeier, Marty. The Designful Company
- Palfrey, John & Urs Gasser. Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives
- Penn, Mark J. Microtrends
- Pink, Daniel. A Whole New Mind
- Pink, Daniel. Drive
- Powers, William. Hamlet’s BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age
- Reynolds, Glenn. An Army of Davids
- Rheingold, Howard. Smart Mobs
- Rosenbaum, Steven. Curation Nation : How to Win in a World Where Consumers are Creators
- Rushkoff, Douglas. Playing the Future
- Scoble, Robert & Shel Israel. Naked Conversations
- Senge, Peter. The Necessary Revolution
- Shirky, Clay. Here Comes Everybody
- Shirky, Clay. Cognitive Surplus
Simon, Nina. The Participatory Museum
- Solove, Daniel. The Future of Reputation
- Sunstein, Cass. Infotopia
- Tapscot, Dan. Grown Up Digital
- Tapscott, Don & Anthony D. Williams. Wikinomics
- Turner, Fred. From Counterculture to Cyberculture
- Weinberger, David. Everything is Miscellaneous
- Weinberger, David. Small Pieces Loosely Joined
- Weinberger, David. Too Big to Know
- Zittrain, Jonathan. The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It
Updated from a previous TTW Post: HOW COOL! A teen who lives next to us at the lake made a video for the Little Free Library Film Festival! Cassidy shot the video on his iPod Touch and used some of our pics from the building of the library. The video features the kids and neighbors who use our Little Free Library (and a shot at the campfire too!) I am really knocked out by his creativity!Vote for Cassidy’s super cool video about the Little Free Library at Spider Lake by liking or pinning it on this page:
Please forgive the shameless plug but I am knocked out by Cassidy’s work on this video! He taught himself iMovie and engaged with the kids in our little neighborhood as actors! Please share the link above with friends and if they like the video, maybe they’ll vote too.
Every ILS and database vendor at ALA Annual seemed to be touting their new flashy, single-search discovery tool that groups together all kinds of information sources in a list of search results. Discovery is the hot topic, and your library surely doesn’t want to be left out in the cold. The sales folks have been putting on the full-court press within higher education, and I assume also in public libraries. After leaving ALA, I just don’t get it. The hype doesn’t seem to match the impact. I struggle to see who these tools benefit.
Who’s the Audience?
Over the years, my library has completed two formal usability studies focusing on new community college students. One resounding lesson from these studies is that students are poorly prepared to recognize differences in information sources on the screen. If new students aren’t really the target audience for discovery tools, then maybe these are really aimed at faculty members and researchers? I am skeptical. Most experts find sources through consulting the literature regularly, contacting colleagues, and attending conferences. They rarely sit down and search a topic from scratch (see Soo Young Rieh, “Judgement of Information Quality and Cognitive Authority in the Web” for an early but useful discussion).
Format as Value
When we consider search from the information literacy perspective, discovery tools also seem to be a move in the wrong direction. Lori Townsend, Korey Brunetti, Amy R. Hofer, in their work on information literacy threshold concepts, have found that the understanding of “format as process” to be foundational to understanding research. This means that information literate individuals recognize that the format (news, peer-review, books, web pages, etc) provides an indication to the process used to create the content. This, in turn, contributes to authority and credibility of sources. Format is process, and process is value, meaning, and applicability to need (see Lori Townsend, Korey Brunetti, Amy R. Hofer, “Threshold Concepts and Information Literacy“). The idea of adding value to the research process by requiring searchers to sift through long lists of results seems problematic.
Quantity Hides Quality
Not to mention that user behavior studies indicate that quantity obscures quality. It is pretty well documented that most people rarely click past the first 10 results in a Google search despite the fact that most searches return millions of results (see Danny Goodwin, “Top Google Result Gets 36.4% of Clicks”). Yet, discovery is being sold as a benefit.
I am willing to admit that discovery platforms may not be that much worse than the search interfaces we already have, but they don’t seem to be much better. They especially don’t seem much better considering the price. Why pay tens of thousands of dollars for something that is just as bad as what we already have?
I wish ILS providers thought more about user interfaces as opposed to search results. Have they really thought about how the user experience might work beyond a single search box that pukes back 1000s of results? The vendors in the ALA exhibit hall gave me the feeling that they had invented a secret weapon to win the technological arms race, but I increasingly wonder if our challenge is not about technology at all. What if this is really about design? What if the thing libraries really need is design-thinking (IDEO-style) focused on how we lay out access pages that are more than just single-search boxes? ILS vendors are missing the real market.
For example, the article by Lown, Sierra and Boyer in College & Research Libraries takes a step toward a single-search option that rethinks how results are displayed. Perhaps breaking results down into distinct panes is a direction that warrants more exploration?
I know that many libraries have discovery in place so I’d love to hear about your experiences. Currently, my library staff is seriously contemplating our next steps for our ILS. To me, bringing together these disparate tools is one the most significant challenges that we face. Who is innovating around this? What’s the next step that focuses on design?
(Thanks to Eric Phetteplace for his conversation on this topic at ALA and for reading an early version of this post.)
Troy A. Swanson is Department Chair and Teaching & Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College. He is the author of the book, Managing Social Media in Libraries. You can follow him on Twitter at @t_swanson.
“There are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don’t” – Robert Benchley
When I walk in to a library I can usually tell what type it is fairly quickly. I don’t mean public, special, academic, school, etc. but a library for stuff or a library for experiences. When I walk in to the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, IL it is obviously centered on experiences. When I go in to a museum library it is obviously about stuff.
This isn’t to say that AHML doesn’t also have an amazing amount of great stuff and a museum library doesn’t have a wonderful experience, these are not mutually exclusive. I am also not passing judgment on either type, simply pointing out that there is a difference when it comes to emphasis stuff vs. experience which affects every aspect of managing a library.
My home town library is a very interesting case in regards to experience vs. stuff. The adult area is all about stuff as was the kids area. However, in the last 2 years in the kids section has changed from stuff to experience. I love the changes as does my family.
MPOW is a hybrid between stuff and experience. I believe if you come in one entrance you will believe we are all about experience (the theater, kids play area, meeting rooms, Digital Media Lab, and art) and if you come in the other it will look like we are all about stuff. I think it works for my community at this time.
So, what type of library do you work for? Are you changing?