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Monthly Archives: April 2012

LIS 9763 Wrap-up

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When going over the different tools we learned about each week, I realized how much I am taking away from this class.  Prior to taking this class, I knew that libraries should be using social media, but I never considered the issues surrounding it.  Libraries need to spend a lot of time planning which tools they should use, why they should use them and most importantly HOW they are going to use them.  Selecting tools that make sense for a library is much more important than selecting tools because they are popular.  I also learned about the crazy privacy policies that many of these tools have.  I’m still shocked (and I know I shouldn’t be) by Facebook’s social media policy.

MY FAVOURITE TOOLS

TWITTER

My biggest discovery this semester was Twitter.  I was very ambivalent about Twitter prior to this course, but I feel like it’s one of the better social media tools for connecting with patrons.  Libraries can easily use Twitter to market their programs and services, but then also interact with patrons about the library.  It’s a tool that enables a more succinct and focused message compared to Facebook.  I think it’s a tool that has lasting power, and something that libraries should be using more effectively.

WIKIS

Another favourite tool of mine was wikis.  The ability to connect with people remotely and collaborate is pretty incredible.  Instead of having word documents sent through email, staff can log into a wiki and feel like an equal contributor.  Wikis are a great tool to communicate with other staff and work as a team.   Plus, they’re easy to use.  I think this is the biggest strength of all social media tools, that ability to collaborate towards a common goal, and I think wikis are one of the easiest and most effective ways to do just that.

TOOLS THAT I DIDN’T LIKE

The tool that I’m most ambivalent about is probably Google+.  I realize it is still a fairly new tool, and perhaps it still needs some updates, but Google+ does not stand out.  It’s not unique enough for people to get excited about it.  It feels like another version of Facebook, but without the buy-in and I’m not sure how long it will be around.  For now, I don’t think this is an effective tool for libraries to implement.

Thank you for a great class Professor Neal, and making me think about the many issues of social software in libraries.  I’m looking forward to taking the skills and ideas that I’ve learned here and applying them in the ‘real world’.  And thanks to the rest of LIS9763 for the great discussions on Monday evening.

All the best,

Caroline

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Gaming in Libraries

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This week I was a little surprised, and taken aback by the challenge to play a virtual game online.  How is playing games online linked to libraries? It’s not that I’m adverse to gaming, I’ve certainly spent a lot of time procrastinating school-work by playing games online, but I’ve never created an avatar to play in a virtual world.  However, I’m very happy with the challenge this week, to try to see what all the hype is about.

I had heard of Second Life before, and how libraries are increasing using it.  Specifically, I remember reading about CDC and libraries. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has set up a reference desk in Second Life to provide health information to avatars. I thought it was a really neat way to connect to people who may be embarrassed to talk to a health professional in real life.

However, I haven’t heard of a lot of people who joined Second Life and liked it, so I decided to join a different virtual world.  I decided to play Runescape, and I am now known as Stealsand625 (you can read about it  Runescape here).  At first, I found it difficult to get into the game, I had trouble walking because it required a left-click of the mouse, which is awkward to do on my MacBook, but I stuck with it, and played for a little while.  I started getting into the game when I found gold and was able to kill a few trolls.  I can see the appeal of this game and I think its incredible how much the graphics have changed since I was a kid.

The chat feature is also new to me, and I like the ability to talk and connect with people while playing. It does give the game a new perspective, as its the ability to socialize in a unique way, and become part of a community.  I think this is where it relates to libraries.  Libraries is all about supporting and giving space to community groups; facilitating interaction and growth.  And more importantly, as Eric M. Meyers points out, virtual worlds promote literacy, something that libraries are very familiar with.

I’m not sure how the library can actively support virtual gaming.  As Professor Neal says, giving gamers space in the library counter-acts the point of virtual worlds.  However, I like the idea of the ALA National Gaming Day because it shows gamers that libraries support virtual gaming and will provide access to these games.

This is such an interesting and unique way for libraries to become involved with different communities and support literacy and cognitive learning.  I hope this trend continues and that libraries only become more engaged in virtual worlds.