Web 2.0: Knowledge, skills & attributes

INF506 Module 4: Online Learning Journal (OLJ) question:
What do you believe to be the essential knowledge, skills and attributes of an information professional in a Web 2.0 world?

The most effective information professionals in a Web 2.0 world are those that are most in tune with users in a Web 2.0 world. Their knowledge, skills and attributes will be well tailored to the community that they directly serve. It is clear that this is critical to the success of library operations and marketing (Huvila, Holmberg, Kronqvist-Berg, Nivakoski & Widén, 2013).

Librarians and other information professionals are facilitators, first and foremost. We can’t be telling people what to do and how to do it. As outlined in my post on November 24, Web 2.0 is centred around being interactive and allowing for two-way communication. The best librarians will be those that understand how the most widely used Web 2.0 platforms operate (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.). They’ll use them to interact with library users to ensure that these users are getting what they want, how they want it. This means not only understanding how such tools operate, but also the behaviours, culture and etiquettes of the communities who use them (Luo, Wang & Han, 2013).

Working with and understanding library users in this way might sound like an obvious goal to many. Its power in targeting the marketing of a library would also seem to go hand in hand with it. However, few library marketing studies have even consulted the actual users despite their often stated recognition of the importance of user needs (Huvila, et. al, 2013). Clearly it is important that we walk the walk when it comes to seeing librarians as true user facilitators.

Library manager Christine Mackenzie (2007, p.120) is certainly awake to this. She highlights that the central role of libraries has shifted from being about the presentation of information. To Mackenzie the central role of a library today is about facilitating people to “participate, interact and create”. Perhaps a strong statement, but one I agree with. Libraries are about information access, but they are about people first. Nothing connects people in the online environment better than those seen in the world of Web 2.0.

References:

Huvila, I., Holmberg, K., Kronqvist-Berg, M., Nivakoski, O., & Widén, G. (2013). What is Librarian 2.0 – New competencies or interactive relations? A library professional viewpoint. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 45(3), 198-205. doi: 10.1177/0961000613477122

Luo L, Wang Y, Han L (2013) Marketing via social media: A case study. Library Hi Tech 31(3), 455–466.  Retrieved from http://link_resolver.unilinc.edu.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/unilinc/resolver_icon/csu.gif

Mackenzie, C. (2007). Creating our future: Workforce planning for Library 2.0 and beyond. APLIS, 20(3), 118-124.

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What is Web 2.0?

INF506, Module 2, Online Learning Journal (OLJ) question:
What is Web 2.0?

It has been interesting to read through the second module. Doing so has allowed me to learn a bit about what Web 2.0 actually means.

Web 2.0 is certainly a term I have heard thrown about over the years, but I’d never given much thought to its actual meaning. If pressed, I would’ve probably called it a trendy new-age term for the internet of today and all it encompasses. So I’d be thinking of things like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and so forth. What I see as the “modern face” of the web, what it is today. I’d have been right to say that too. Social networking sites such as these are all great representations of what Web 2.0 represents. However, this is not simply because they are the here and now. The module 2 readings have made me actually think a bit deeper, to scratch below the surface more.

McKinnon (2013) states that Web 2.0 are websites or web tools that allow for two-way communication between a website’s publisher and its users. Patrick Schwerdtfeger (2013, March 17) also notes Web 2.0’s basis in user generated content. He also reminds us that many Web 2.0 websites even allow for three-way communication, with users being able to communicate with other users also. Clearly Web 2.0 websites are not static. They provide a dynamic and interactive online environment.

The term “Web 2.0” first came into usage in 2004 when a series of web conferences were run under that title (Hosch, 2009). It was around the beginning of this new millennium that websites started to evolve from what we might now call Web 1.0, to Web 2.0 (McKinnon, 2013). Websites of the Web 1.0 era provided information in a much less interactive way. It was all about one-way communication, with website publishers providing information to users (Schwerdtfeger, 2013). Much like a book, you could read the published content and that was about it .

I’m glad I’ve been made to think more deeply about what Web 2.0 actually is. It’s not simply just about being modern, or a fancy term for the modern era of internet usage. It’s about the interactive nature of the web today. When another new dimension is added we may see the birth of Web 3.0. Who knows? Maybe this could be seen with the rise of new virtual reality technologies that seem to be emerging at a fast rate? All we can be sure about is that the web will remain ever evolving.

References:

Hosch, W. L. (2009). Web 2.0. In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Web-20

McKinnon, L. H. K. (2013). The Teaching Librarian. Elsevier Science. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au

Schwerdtfeger, P. (2013, March 17). What is Web 2.0, What is social media, what comes next?? (video file). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iStkxcK6_vY

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INF506: First entry (my first thoughts on the unit ahead).

(a) Define what social networking is (in your own words):

Anything involving people coming together is social in my view. However, when we talk of conferences and meetings in the physical environment we don’t generally talk about these as social networking opportunities. We simply refer to them as networking opportunities. The “social” aspect of it these days seems to refer to media-based networking opportunities. I do think that social networking has come to mean interactive media-based networking. The bringing together of people in a virtual environment, as opposed to a physical one.

(b) List what social networking technologies and sites you already use (for personal, work and study purposes):

High use (every day or so):
The social networking site I most use is Twitter. I find this to be an excellent site to obtain news as it happens. I am also a big user of YouTube.

Medium use (every week or so):
I use Evernote. A note making and sharing social networking program. I don’t tend to share the notes I make with others though. I tend to use this program to make and organise personal study notes.

Low use (every month or so):
I did use Facebook for a while a few years ago, but closed my account. I didn’t use it much. I have reopened an account for use in the completion of this unit, INF506. Also a requirement of my studies is the creation and ongoing development of this blog. Naturally I expect both my blog and Facebook usage to rise greatly in the weeks ahead.

(c) Describe what you expect to learn from completing INF506:

I’m not a big social networker. However, I do recognise the great power of social networking. Whether it be for personal or work-related connections, social networking is here to stay. It’s ever-evolving too. I need to better understand what different forms are out there, how to use them, and to be better informed as to how they might be able to benefit me and others.

 

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ETL505: Assessment 2, Part C – Critical Reflection

To be honest, I’d never really thought too much about how I would define what information organisation is. If I’d tried I’d have probably been stumped for words. One of those concepts you feel you understand but just can’t quite describe. However, in reality I didn’t understand how broad a concept it really is. Simply put, information organisation is information combined together to create a resource (Hider, 2012, p.13). Now that encompasses a lot!

Metadata is another term I’d greatly underestimated. Prior to studying ETL505 I’d probably only heard it mentioned in the media on topics to do with national security. Even still, I wouldn’t have been able to define it with any confidence. Like information organisation, it too is a term that encompasses a great deal. Metadata is the term used to describe information resources, data about data (Liu, 2007, p.5). To complicate things further, the creation of metadata is often quite subjective in nature (Smiraglia, 2012, p.159).

I think by this early stage in the unit I was feeling quite overwhelmed with what librarianship really encompassed. How can all this information be brought under some control and made manageable?

It was great to learn that teacher-librarians have a range of tools available to bring about some consistency in the management of all this information. The Functional Requirements of Bibliographic Records (FRBR) is one such tool, but also one I struggled to get my head around. Being a concept model, rather than rules, is what I found challenging. To me FRBR seemed to leave itself open to interpretation too much. However, I’d yet to come to the realisation that it was just one of many tools. When partnered with Resource Description and Access (RDA), which is essentially a set of rules, I could begin to see a road map forming. That combination of RDA’s prescribed standards, with assistance from FRBR providing further guidance and recognising that not everything in this field is black and white.

I also enjoyed learning about Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), a system of organisation that just about everyone seems to be aware of. I found it interesting to see how call numbers are formed under DDC, and some of the differences that exist between Trove and SCIS in applying DDC. Particularly the differences in how cataloguers may choose to apply DDC for use on databases such as Trove or Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS).

I think at this point I became convinced that the subjective nature of information organisation will always be present. Oliver (2010, p.10) reminds us to consider all the changes information management has encountered over the last 50 years. A timeframe in which much new content as emerged, as well as carriers of that content. Naturally, new processes have also emerged in response. It’s very dynamic field and some flexibility is clearly needed to keep up with it.

A degree of flexibility is always going to be needed. It has to exist to ensure that information management tools remain relevant. The subjectivity that occurs as a result is something we all need to accept, and make work to the benefit of all information seekers. The responsibility this grants has both challenged and overwhelmed me at times. To me, it’s the key challenge and what I’ll take away from ETL505 more than anything.


References
:

Hider, P. (2012), Information resource description. London: Facet.

Liu, J. (2007). Metadata applications in the digital library. In Metadata and its applications in the digital library: approaches and practices (pp. 147- 164). London: Libraries Unlimited.

Oliver, C. (2010). Introducing RDA: A guide to the basics. London: Facet.

Smiraglia, R. (2012). Metadata: A cataloguer’s primer. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au

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ETL504 Assignment 2: Reflective Critical Analysis

When I first commenced this unit around three months ago I gave my own definition of leadership as basically being whenever one person influences a group of others (Coussins, 2016, March 11). I described it in fairly simple, plain speaking terms. To me it was a simple concept. I still believe that it can be in many situations. You can get by to an extent only using the principles of instructional leadership, for example. This is perhaps the model that best reflected how I saw leadership back in March. The oldest model linking leading and learning, it is largely based around a leader teaching by instruction (Bush & Glover, 2014). I suppose it was the essence of this model that I was referring to in the very unilateral view I had. This, coupled with a very simplistic view of some of the great leaders in history. When I thought about these people, I thought about them as one leader, alone on a pedestal that many followed.

Over the course of this unit I have come to realise that leadership is not always that simple. It is very much a multi-layered and multi-faceted phenomenon. Look at the distributive model of leadership, for example. Far from relying upon one leader, distributive leadership has its focus in sharing leadership amongst others, employing their expertise as necessary (Harris, 2008). It’s practically at the other end of the leadership spectrum and a form of leadership I failed to consider. Enabling the leadership of others was also something I neglected to consider when I failed to establish a recycling program at my former school. An event outlined in my blog, I attempted to lead and manage all aspects of this task my myself (Coussins, 2016, March 22). How foolish I was!

It has really struck me how the importance of collaboration has continued to pop up time and again throughout my ETL504 readings. From the first module to the last, I don’t think there’s failed to be focus on collaboration somewhere. I highlighted this in my assignment one blog post (Coussins, 2016, April 10), having being particularly stuck by the Don Tapscott presentation (TED, 2012). The way Don Tapscott finished that presentation, showing the collaboratory size and power of the flock of starling birds in scaring away a bigger predatory bird really was spine tingling stuff. It showed visually what simple words often cannot. I have always known the value of collaboration as a teacher, but I hadn’t considered just how important.

Further to this, I also now believe that there is not a role in the school that offers a better chance to lead and facilitate collaboration than the teacher-librarian. Librarians have a wide, multi-year level knowledge of the curriculum (Church, 2013). The very nature of their role ensures they work among every year level. Let’s also remember the very nature of the place the teacher-librarian oversees – the library. A place centred around activity, participation and a voice for everyone (Seasholes, 2013). Being exposed to these realities throughout the modules has certainly helped to put a spring in my step towards a hopeful teacher-librarian career.

Attempting to write a strategic plan for assignment two has also challenged the way I view leadership. It is certainly not easy to put together a formal school document that draws upon leadership theory, implementation and practice in a written plan format. Further complicating matters is an ever changing and unpredictable external environment, making future planning difficult (Strategic Planning: A ten step guide, 2001). It’s one thing to be able to able to evaluate a certain situation that you are currently in from a leadership and planning perspective. It’s another to attempt to write a lasting report that needs to be flexible and capable of maintaining its relevance in ever changing future situations. It has opened my eyes to another aspect of leadership reality. I have enjoyed this challenge.

To be an effective leader you really do need to realise that there are many different approaches to leadership, and different styles will be needed at different times. Being able to recognise which approach is needed in which situation is a strength of great leaders. So is the ability to adequately identify leadership approaches for future situations that are yet to fully unfold. This best summarises the most poignant discoveries I will take from my time studying ETL504.


References
:

Bush, T., & Glover, D. (2014). School leadership models: What do we know? School Leadership and Management, 34(5), 553-571. doi:10.1080/13632434.2014.928680

Church, A. (2013). Tapping into the skills of school librarians. Principal Leadership 14(3), 44-46. Retrieved from https://www.nassp.org/news-and-resources/publications/principal-leadership

Coussins, J. (2016, March 11). What is leadership? – My understanding. [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from:  https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&forum_id=_42379_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_18171_1&course_id=_11861_1&message_id=_538150_1#msg__538150_1Id

Coussins, J. (2016, March 22). Bringing innovation and teamwork together. [Online blog post]. Retrieved from: https://librarylandscape.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/bringing-innovation-and-teamwork-together/

Coussins, J. (2016, April 10). ETL504 Assignment 1: Reflective Critical Analysis. [Online blog post]. Retrieved from https://librarylandscape.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/etl504-assignment-1-reflective-critical-analysis/

Harris, A. (2008). Distributed leadership: According to the evidence. Journal of Educational Administration, 46(2), 172-188. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/10.1108/09578230810863253

Seasholes, C. (2013, January 9). Teacher librarians at the heart of student learning [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_ybY5O7WvA

Strategic Planning: A ten step guide. (2001). Worldbank. Retrieved from http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTAFRREGTOPTEIA/Resources/mosaica_10_steps.pdf

TED. (2012, June 28). Don Tapscott: Four principles for the open world. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfqwHT3u1-8

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Libraries: Celebrating the past, present and future

As a personal observation, I have noticed a lot of negative portrayals of what libraries used to be, and what librarians used to do, in the eyes of many students. Not just in this current unit (ETL504), but throughout my whole time studying this qualification.

I have noticed that students will often praise the direction many libraries are heading towards today, painted as tech savvy community hubs that empower learners of the 21st century. Very true. These views are often contrasted with what the student remembers libraries as being when they were younger – typically painted as dark dingy places full of hard copy books gathering dust, with the librarian’s main purpose being to keep everyone quiet. Such views were also expressed by a librarian presenting at TEDxWellington (TED, 2016). I thought this was an excellent presentation none-the-less. While I love the way libraries have evolved, and continue to, I don’t believe the libraries of yesteryear were quiet as bad as many others seem to feel.

For me, my 1980s primary school library was a place full of vividly coloured posters. It had a warm and inviting ‘story corner’ with all the cushions and bean bags common to libraries at the time. The librarian often had copies of the latest picture story books which she was always eager to show off and read to us. Her enthusiasm was infectious and her ability to read these stories with such expression and heartfelt meaning made the library such a special place to be. I know it helped insta my love of reading and literacy – and I was generally quite an unengaged student in those days! My memories of our local public library were much the same. I know these memories have had a large impact on why I continue to love and value the place of libraries in society today, and why I chose to study this course.

I’m really excited at the positive ways in which libraries are helping to shape today’s world. However, I do think talk of ‘the bad old days’ is a bit exaggerated. Libraries have much to be proud about – past, present and future.

Reference:

TED. (2016, April 5). The dangerous myth about libraries [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdQwrhxw8LM

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ETL504 Assignment 1: Reflective Critical Analysis

Throughout my readings and writings for ETL504 to date my understanding of leadership and its application in a school library context has continued to evolve.

A poignant moment came for me upon hearing that a teacher-librarian will only be a successful leader if they understand the school structure system, and where they fit in it (Bales, 2016). This is not something I had deeply considered, made quite obvious in an earlier blog post which outlined my failed attempt to start a school recycling program (Coussins, 2016, March 22). School hierarchies need to be understood, and having the principal onside is clearly important. Building strong collaborative partnerships with influential and respected teachers is only going to help with this. Being able to utilise the skills and experience of others who understand and value your vision is vital (Aguilar, 2012). This means regular collaboration. It’s just so obvious, and a shame that I wasn’t awake to it with my plan for school recycling. These are not the sorts of errors I want to be repeating as a future teacher-librarian.

Don Tapscott’s video presentation also had a big impact on me (TED, 2012). Although it wasn’t a speech directed specifically at aspiring teacher-librarians, it felt that way. Tapscott spoke of the importance of collaboration, transparency, the sharing of assets and intellectual property and the distribution of it to create empowerment. If you want to take hold of these opportunities in your professional life can there be a more suitable career than a teacher-librarian? I can’t think of one.

Putting these open world principles of Tapscott into practice also offers a very clear opportunity to project to all staff just what the teacher-librarian can do. In my experience few teachers really understand the role and capabilities of the teacher-librarian. Imagine a teacher-librarian who can truly grasp and display the power of skills in collaboration, facilitating the sharing of assets, knowledge, empowerment, and so on. Would there be a staff member left to question the value of teacher-librarians?

Furthermore, no staff member should miss out on being exposed to what their teacher-librarian can do for them. As Levitov (2015) points out, the teacher-librarian is among the few staff members that directly works alongside all school staff and students, giving them a unique school-wide leadership perspective.

The wide ranging leadership opportunities available to the teacher-librarian has been a revelation to me. However, I do think the teacher-librarian needs to recognise these opportunities and consciously act to take hold of them. This is in contrast to the view I expressed on the ETL504 discussion forum. Here I talked of how the decision to show leadership can be both conscious or sub-conscious (Coussins, 2016, March 11). I’m not sure I see things that way now. No doubt the words and behaviours you express can influence people. However, to be a true form of leadership I think a conscious decision has to be made to lead. Bush (2008, p.277) identifies intention as a key aspect in defining what leadership is. I can now see this.

When I think about the breadth of leadership opportunities available to a teacher-librarian I’m excited about my future career. I look forward to consciously grasping and using them for the betterment of the library, as well as the entire school community.


References
:

Aguilar, E. (2012, November 28). Effective teams: The key to transforming schools? Edutopia: What works in education. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/teacher-teams-transform-schools-elena-aguilar

Bales, J. (2016). Online meeting assessment 1 recording . Retrieved from https://connect.csu.edu.au/p1uztvc9acw/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal

Bush, T. (2008). From management to leadership: Semantic or Meaningful change? Educational Management, Administration and Leadership 36(2): 271-288. doi: 10.1177/1741143207087777

Coussins, J. (2016, March 11). What is leadership? – My understanding. [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from:  https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&forum_id=_42379_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_18171_1&course_id=_11861_1&message_id=_538150_1#msg__538150_1Id

Coussins, J. (2016, March 22). Bringing innovation and teamwork together. [Online blog post]. Retrieved from: https://librarylandscape.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/bringing-innovation-and-teamwork-together/

Levitov, D. (2015). Leadership is necessary. School Library Monthly, 31(5), 4. Retrieved from http://staging.schoollibrarymedia.com/

TED. (2012, June 28). Don Tapscott: Four principles for the open world. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfqwHT3u1-8

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