Tag Archives: Facebook

Tech Sharecase, 3 February 2012

In light of the rumored Facbook IPO we began by discussing the information Facebook keeps about its users and their activities. We watched a video posted on Information Aesthetics  regarding an Austrian Law student named Max who issued a request to Facebook  for his personal data and received a CD containing a 1,222 page document detailing his online activities. EU privacy law compels companies to respond to such information requests from citizens within 40 days.

Apropos this conversation, this past weekend On the Media reported on this very case as well as other stories during this weekend’s episode: “The Facebook Show”.  The recent  publication of “Web of Deceit: Misinformation and Manipulation in the Age of Social Media” by Anne P. Mintz was also noted during the discussion.

This lead to a review of the recent addition of  U.S. Consumer/Lifestyle information to the ReferenceUSA database and the sources for the info contained in this dataset.

We also discussed various  forms librarians have built with Qualtrics and the challenges in creating them. Below is one such form for library book purchasing which can be shared with faculty and departments:


Other topics
Lastly, we discussed Clicker registration for Fall semester as well as scanning and printing policies and procedures.

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Tech Sharecase, 14 July 2011

Arthur Downing, Lisa Ellis, Stephen Francoeur, Joseph Hartnett, Jin Ma, Ryan Phillips, Stella Varveris, Michael Waldman

In advance of the meeting, attendees were asked to focus on the topic of social networks and academy:

  • how do students use social networks and which ones are they using now?
  • what might students expect of the library and its staff who are on the same social networks (for example, how do they want to interact with an institutional accounts on networks? how do they want to interact with us as library staff with personal/professional accounts on these networks?)
  • how do faculty use social networks and which ones are they using now
  • how is scholarly communication being altered by the growth of social networks (see, for example, this report by the Centre for the Study of Research Communications at the University of Nottingham titled “Social Networking Sites and their role in Scholarly Communications”pdf)
  • how we we use social networks for professional development? for pinging the hive mind?

What We Discussed Regarding Social Networks

Mobile Databases Page
We got a preview of the mobile databases page that will link users to library databases that are optimized to work on mobile phones. The page itself is just an ordinary LibGuide page that looks kind of odd in a regular browser but renders in a much more mobile friendly way in a phone’s browser. The draft of the page shown was the result of the second round of usability testing; the release version of the page will be subject to one more round of usability testing.

LibX Toolbar
A new Firefox/IE toolbar is being developed that will let users search the catalog, our e-journals lookup tool, or Bearcat regardless of what site the user happens to be on. Another notable feature is that when the user is on a book page in Amazon or other online booksellers, a Bearcat icon will appear on the screen that when clicked will run an ISBN lookup in the catalog to see if we own a copy of that item.

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The Social Network and Our LIB Courses

In light of the great, informal conversation in Randy’s office today about using films in our credit courses, I thought I’d make a pitch for screening The Social Network and for a few interesting angles to employ when discussing the film in class. First, there is an interesting debate about intellectual property that can come out of the movie. Did Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg actually “steal” anything from his colleagues at Harvard that he worked with early on? Were the lawsuits that embroiled Zuckerberg based on valid complaints? In a really interesting review of the movie, legal scholar Lawrence Lessig condemns the lawsuits between Zuckerberg and his Harvard colleagues who accused him of stealing their ideas:

Did he steal a trade secret? Absolutely not. Did he steal any other “property”? Absolutely not—the code for Facebook was his, and the “idea” of a social network is not a patent. It wasn’t justice that gave the twins $65 million; it was the fear of a random and inefficient system of law. That system is a tax on innovation and creativity. That tax is the real villain here, not the innovator it burdened.

In his review, Lessig then goes on to critique the movie for missing what he sees as the most important aspect of the story of Facebook’s phenomenal growth: Zuckerberg didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission to create this site on the web, which in less than 6 years has grown to have nearly half a billion users. Lessig argues that the creators of “The Social Network” seemed oblivious to the way that Facebook magnificently embodies the idea that the web has democratized innovation:

Because the platform of the Internet is open and free, or in the language of the day, because it is a “neutral network,” a billion Mark Zuckerbergs have the opportunity to invent for the platform. And though there are crucial partners who are essential to bring the product to market, the cost of proving viability on this platform has dropped dramatically.

As Lessig points out, those watching this movie should wonder how the network neutrality debates playing out right now might lead to changes on the internet that would make it much more difficult for a future Mark Zuckerberg to innovate on the web.

Lessig, Lawrence. “Sorkin vs. Zuckerberg.” The New Republic, 1 Oct. 2010. Web. 3 Dec. 2010. [link]

The Social Network – Official Site. 2010. Web. 3 Dec. 2010. [link]

Wu, Tim. “Network Neutrality  FAQ.” Tim Wu. N.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2010. [link]

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Tech Sharecase, 19 November 2010

Stephen Francoeur, Ellen Kaufman, Jim Livornese, Ryan Phillips, Stella Varveris

Facebook Messages
We watched a video from Facebook about its forthcoming Messages service, which aims to integrate email, chat, and text messaging for Facebook users. We discussed how Google seems to be doing similar things with its Gmail service, which lets you chat and make VoIP calls in its interface as well as see text messages and voicemail messages from the Google Voice service. We also discussed whether we’d trust Facebook with all this personal communication.

RockMelt Browser
We looked at the new RockMelt Browser, which integrates tightly with Facebook and Twitter and watched this video explaining the browser’s functionality.

Firesheep is a worrisome new Firefox extension that makes it easy for people to hijack usernames/passwords people use as they login to various websites while on unencrypted wifi networks. What is alarming about this new packet sniffer software is that it is so easy to for the uninitiated to set up and run.

Web Conferencing Software
We talked about ooVoo and Adobe Connect as options for web conferencing. In addition to online learning uses, the software might also be useful for virtual office hours and for students working on group projects.

Interactive Pen Displays
We looked at a couple of companies (Wacom and Promax) that offer monitors that have built in tablets that allow you to write on the screen. These might be useful on instructor’s podiums (podia?)

Next Tech Sharecase

The next get together will be on Friday, December 10. Please come prepared to share any tips, tricks, or questions you have about Microsoft Office 2010. Don’t forget to check out the new BCTC page about Microsoft Office 2010, which offers tutorials, help sheets, and a form to sign up for training sessions.

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Tech Sharecase, 17 September 2010

Arthur Downing, Stephen Francoeur, Joseph Hartnett, Ellen Kaufman, Rita Ormsby, Ryan Phillips, Michael Waldman

Google Maps Mania
We looked at some of the mashups of Google Maps found on the site, Google Maps Mania:

  • Commute Map (enter a ZIP code and see where residents commute to or where people are coming from who commute to that ZIP code)
  • Public Data Explorer (this Google Labs project visualizes large data sets on maps)

Using Google Maps Drag and Zoom
We looked at an Google Map Labs tool (Drag ‘n’ Zoom) that you can turn on in Google Maps that lets you zoom in by drawing a square with your mouse on a map region.

Death of Bloglines
In talking about the recent announcement that Bloglines, a feed reader, would be shutting its service down soon, we discussed the increasing reliance of some on Twitter and Facebook for alerts to notable items from RSS feeds (especially blog posts).

Students on Twitter
We talked about whether it seems like more Baruch students are on Twitter these days and fewer are on Facebook. If you look at the Twitter search on “baruch college” you’ll see that a number of the tweets are clearly from students. It also appears to be the case that campus use of Skype is larger than expected.

Summon Adds Its 100th Customer
An announcement from Serials Solutions about Summon led to this interesting article by Sean Fitzpatrick in American Libraries.

Libraries Acquring Ebooks Rights?
An interesting blog post by Eric Hellman about whether it might make sense for a national consortium of libraries to form that would try to negotiate for rights to select ebooks.

Hathi Trust
We took a look at the Hathi Trust website to figure out what exactly the project offers (backup and preservation of digitized books). We then played around with the search inside books feature and compared it to Google Book Search and the Internet Archive’s collection of digitized books.

Google Instant
We discussed whether Google Instant might improve our students’ search skills or worsen them.

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METRO Universe

Jason Kucsma, the Emerging Techologies Manager at the Metropolitan Library Council of New York, has recently created a portal web site of library news and commentary using Netvibes, a free service that allows you to create your own customized start page. The METRO Universe offers a quick way to dip into the river of news that streams by daily in great volume. The eight pages on the site feature:

  • News: RSS feeds of news items from METRO, ALA, Library Journal, etc.
  • Libraries: RSS feeds from blogs created by staff at local libraries (NYPL, BPL, Pratt Institute, Baruch, etc.)
  • Librarians: RSS feeds from personal blogs of local librarians
  • Groups: RSS feeds from blogs of local library organizations (ACRL/NY, LACUNY, etc.)
  • LIS Schools (RSS feeds from blogs of local library library schools)
  • Tech Scan (RSS feeds from library tech blogs and general tech blogs)
  • Also of Note (RSS feeds from notable personal blogs of librarians around the country)
  • Search (widgets with search boxes for various search engines)

I sometimes get asked how I keep up with all the feeds I subscribe to. The answer is that I don’t “keep up,” I take dips periodically. If I miss a really important blog post somewhere, I figure that it will eventually get mentioned again in Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, someone else’s blog post, or even an old-fashioned listserv message. I’ve pretty much given up on thinking of print LIS publiciations (especially the trade ones) as must reads; if there is an interesting article it will likely get mentioned online somewhere, probably repeatedly, in one of the channels that I monitor.

For an interesting discussion of the shifting habits of professionals to “keep up,” you might want to check out two recent blog posts from Roy Tennant on his Library Journal-sponsored blog. Read the comments, too, as they add useful clarifications and disagreements over Tennant’s idea.

Tennant, Roy. “‘The Flow’ Revisited: The Professional Angle.” Tennant: Digital Libraries, 30 June 2009. Web. 7 July 2009.

—. “‘The Flow’ Revisited: The Personal Angle.” Tennant: Digital Libraries, 3 July 2009. Web. 7 July 2009.

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