Monthly Archives: March 2010

Notes from “Notes of a Traveler in the Strange Land of Information 2.0”

Last week I attended the William Badke presentation at La Guardia Community College entitled “From Broker to Strategist: Notes of a Traveler in the Strange Land of Information 2.0.” William Badke is an associate librarian at Trinity Western University and the author of “Research Strategies : Finding Your Way Through the Information Fog.” 

Mr. Badke’s began his presentation speaking about his own evolution as an educator and librarian and then presented ten informative and “sweeping but ultimately valid generalizations” about students ability to do research.  These generalizations and the full notes of the presentation have been posted on the blog of the the Library at La Guardia Community College.

The last of these generalizations–“The lack of information handling ability among university students is the biggest blind spot in higher education today”–set the context for the rest of the presentation.  And as he pointed out later in the presentation, students often struggle with research throughout their entire academic career.
Since the entire presentation notes are posted, I’ll just list a few of the points I took back to work with me. With regards to the situation students face with regards to information-rich environments we all operate in, I found the following a helpful reminder:
  • With the advent of the Internet, gate keeping of information is gone or has become ambiguous. This creates confusion for those looking for information.
  • We fail to provide appropriate context for new sources, ways of searching and thus what is academically acceptable. For more information on this, see Badke’s article: “How We Failed the Net Generation.” Online 33, no. 4 (July-August 2009): 47-49
  • Tools for acquisition are complex. This does not just refer to subscription-based tools found in the library, but Google products are also complex.
  • Information is cheap and ubiquitous.

Badke pointed out that because information is cheap, ubiquitous, dissemination of information is not as valued as it once was. And, with regards to teaching, a passive intake of  freely available information is not as useful as engagement with the concepts or ideas. He says this is leading to a more engaged form of  learning–constructivism or active learning. Librarians, he continued, have a role in this new learning environment since information literacy is an integral component. Information professionals are valuable because of their knowledge of research methodology and as collaborators in the learning process.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Notes from “Notes of a Traveler in the Strange Land of Information 2.0”

Data Dashboard from Brown University Library

The “dashboard” is an interesting idea from Brown University: develop a system that allows staff to build and deploy widgets summarizing library data. Details here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Course Weblogs at Baruch

If you’d like to get a better sense of the curriculum in some of the courses for the departments you are a liaison to, browsing through the course weblogs hosted by the Blogs @ Baruch service might be a good place to go. Some course blogs are primarily discussion platforms for students while others mimic course websites in Blackboard by offering syllabi, handouts, links to readings, etc.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Course Weblogs at Baruch

Tech Sharecase, 5 March 2010

Arthur Downing, Robert Drzewicki, Stephen Francoeur, Ryan Phillips

Mobile Phones
We looked at a report from Gartner that predicted sales of mobile phones with touchscreens are expected to rise 97 percent in 2010. We also wondered if we were able to track how many visitors to the library’s website came there on mobile devices. There is some data to that effect in our library’s website statistics if you look at what browsers and operating systems were used by site visitors, but the data isn’t as complete as we’d hoped it might be. We also talked about how much we know about the extent to which Baruch students have adopted the latest cell phone technology.

Ebooks and Ebook Readers
After looking at a graphic from the New York Times comparing the “economics of producing a book” in print vs. electronic, we had a discussion of our school’s Kindle experiment and what we might do with the Kindles after the semester is over. One idea that was floated was what it might mean were we to load public domain editions of books that are required reading in undergraduate courses (especially ones that are part of the general education curriculum).

We watched a video from Flat World Knowledge about their “open textbooks” that can be freely read online as well as purchased as a file download or a print-on-demand book.

Video Collections
We looked at the way that the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University has created a “Toolkit” site where screencasts are collected. Each video offers an embed code, making it easy for instructors and librarians to deploy the videos on course websites, course blogs, etc. The embed codes are for the hosted webservice where the video file actually resides (YouTube, etc.). It doesn’t appear that the videos are locally hosted on the Toolkit site.

We also browsed the collection of screencasts that have been uploaded to our library’s YouTube account.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tech Sharecase, 19 February 2010

Attendees: Robert Drzewicki, Louise Klusek, Kannen Mohan, Mike Waldman, Arthur Downing, Joseph Hartnet, Ryan Phillips

Bing Augmented Reality Maps 
We began the Tech Sharecase by watching Microsoft’s Blaise Aguera’s TED presentation on Bing’s augmented-reality maps. The presentation demoed the image and video capabilities that have been integrated into Bing Maps. The demo features live video feed from Seattle’s Pike Place accessed directly from Bing. This is similar to rumored Google plan to move beyond Street Views to capture the inside of retail stores.

Applications for such capabilities in the Newman Library may include virtual tours of the library building as well as capturing the history of the building as a power station.  This could also be a solution to the lack of signage in the library.

More Online Map Discussion
The conversation then turned to Four Square. Four Square is a social networking tool that pinpoints geographic locations people visit and currently are. Users can view locations, called venues, and see what the venue has to offer, who’s been there and how often they’ve been there (through frequency of virtually tagging themselves). The person who “visits” the venue the most often becomes the “Mayor” of that venue. Currently, Stephen is the “Mayor” of the Newman Library on Four Square.

We discussed the possibility of a contest for students to compete to become the Mayor of the Newman Library on Four Square.

Also discussed is the website Please Rob Me which posts feeds of people announcing via twitter they’ve left their home. The site posts these as “Recent Empty Homes” and thus an opportunity for theft. The web site seeks to promote the dangers of announcing such information publicly, or as the website describes “The goal of this website is to raise some awareness on this issue and have people think about how they use services like Foursquare, Brightkite, Google Buzz etc.”

Google Newman Library

Googling "Newman Library"

We then discussed the misinformation in searching via Google Maps. For instance, if you google Baruch, the phone returned is for the dean of the Weissman School.  The website address returned when googling the Newman Library is

Google News, Fast Flip, was also discussed. Fast Flip is the service at the bottom of Google News that allows you to flip through the stories as if flipping through a magazine. News featured here tend to be a combination of the odd, gossipy, science-oriented and tech-oriented.

Chat Widget in EBSCOhost
Changing topics entirely, we conversed about the new capabilities to add a chat widget into the EBSChost databases.  It’s possible for our 24/7 chat service to reside in a space on EBSCOhost. It would be an opportunity for students to access a librarian while searching any EBSCOhost database. 

A possible pitfall to adding a chat box would be a disconnect in context between the patron and librarian.  A Baruch Librarian, or another librarian in the QuestionPoint consortium, would not know if the patron came from EBSCOhost or the Newman Library webpage. If a different set of expectations existed, or a different type of question was being asked by a patron coming from EBSCOhost, it might lead to problems when a librarian is unaware of a patron’s origin.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Tech Sharecase, 19 February 2010