Archive for the 'Social Media/Web 2.0' Category

Research Study: How Is Web 2.0 Viewed by Academics?

Posted in Digitization, Museums, Social Media/Web 2.0 on July 7th, 2008

The Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery's Pre-Raphaelite digitization project has released a study (Pre-Raphaelite Resource Project: Audience Research Report) about the perceptions of academics of the usefulness of Web 2.0 capabilities.

Here's an excerpt from the "Executive Summary":

Our research indicated that there is some readiness among the education community for Web 2.0 technologies but only in the context of academia as a status-conscious, competitive environment. Whilst there are clear benefits to be achieved from providing teachers and students with the opportunity to share ideas in the context of stimulus artefacts, many hold reservations about 'giving away' their intellectual property. Providing different levels of publishing privileges will help cater for the varying acceptance within the audience base for sharing their ideas publicly.

Social networking features are perceived by both HE students and lecturers as primarily for pleasure rather than for work so must be used sparingly in a resource of this nature. For younger students, however, the boundaries between work and life are increasingly blurred and the ability to contact experts and to personalise or control the space would be welcomed.

Care must be taken with positioning for the resource to be truly useful as a research tool; students and lecturers need to know that it has been created for them and has scholarly merit. Their main concern is to access reliable, relevant content and information, but the ability to form connections between these resources is one way of adding value to the collection.

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    University of Michigan Library's MBooks Adds User-Created Public Collections

    Posted in ARL Libraries, E-Books, Mass Digitizaton, Social Media/Web 2.0 on July 1st, 2008

    The University of Michigan Library's MBooks project now offers user-created public collections of e-books.

    In the future, Michigan plans to add MTagger functionality to MBooks.

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      Omeka Version 0.9.2 Released

      Posted in Digital Archives and Special Collections, Digital Asset Management Systems, Social Media/Web 2.0 on June 20th, 2008

      Version 0.9.2 of Omeka has been released. This is a bug fix release.

      Here's an excerpt from the About page that describes Omeka:

      Omeka is a web platform for publishing collections and exhibitions online. Designed for cultural institutions, enthusiasts, and educators, Omeka is easy to install and modify and facilitates community-building around collections and exhibits. It is designed with non-IT specialists in mind, allowing users to focus on content rather than programming.

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        Oil, ALA, and Digital Communities

        Posted in ALA, Libraries, Social Media/Web 2.0 on June 13th, 2008

        I follow the energy markets closely, and recently there have been predictions of $250 a barrel oil in 2009 and $400 a barrel oil in 2018.

        What does this have to do with ALA? Nothing, if ALA functioned effectively as a virtual organization that wasn't dependent on physical travel. Everything, if it is not.

        Already we see airlines consolidating, cutting routes, and raising ticket and auxiliary prices. That's with oil at about $136 a barrel. Imagine if it were $250 a barrel or $400 a barrel. Impossible? Unlikely? Maybe, but in early 2007 it was $60 a barrel, and predictions of $100 a barrel met with incredulity.

        We can hope that oil prices stabilize or decline, but it may be prudent to plan for what to do if they do not.

        Would ALA function well if its committee members were increasingly unable to attend meetings? Would the organization's current awareness and personal networking functions that physical conferences support work if general members were increasingly unable to attend them?

        Ask yourself this: If you never attended ALA conferences, how would the organization look to you? Would you feel that you could meaningfully participate in it? Would you feel that it had added value as an important source of current information, personal networking, and professional development?

        Perhaps. In recent years, ALA has make progress in creating a more useful digital presence with efforts like virtual committee members, blogs, wikis, and other tools. This is commendable progress; however, much remains to be done. Do virtual committee members interact with physical committee members in real-time meetings? Is there meaningful non-conference committee digital interaction? Are conference presentations and committee meeting sessions available to ALA members in MP3 and digital video formats? Are blogs open to all potential member authors through self-initiated registration procedures? Are wikis dynamic information exchange mechanisms or primarily dull descriptive tools for disseminating information about ALA and its divisions? Is social network software provided to connect members with each other, committee members, and ALA officers? Is there is a true sense of a vibrant digital community?

        Although its not perfect, the EDUCAUSE CONNECT community points in the direction of what could be.

        Of course, energy markets are volatile, prices could drop, and all could be well for a while, but there is little to suggest at the current time that the long-term prospects for cheap energy are good. Thinking the unthinkable about reinventing ALA as a digital community might not be a bad idea as a contingency plan, and it might not be a bad idea in any case.

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          Encyclopaedia Britannica to Accept Online Contributions from Scholars and Readers

          Posted in E-Books, Publishing, Social Media/Web 2.0 on June 6th, 2008

          The Encyclopaedia Britannica has announced that it will allow online contributions from scholars and readers. All contributions will be vetted before becoming public.

          Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

          The Britannica Online site will become the hub of a new online community that will welcome and engage thousands of scholars and experts with whom we already have relationships. . . .

          To elicit their participation in our new online community of scholars, we will provide our contributors with a reward system and a rich online home that will enable them to promote themselves, their work, and their services; allow them to showcase and publish their various works-in-progress in front of the Britannica audience; and help them find and interact with colleagues around the world. In this way our online community of scholars not only will be able to interact with our editors and content in a more effective manner; they will also be able to share directly with Britannica’s visitors content that they may have created outside Encyclopaedia Britannica and will allow those visitors to suggest changes and additions to that content. . . .

          Readers and users will also be invited into an online community where they can work and publish at Britannica’s site under their own names. Interested users will be able to prepare articles, essays, and multimedia presentations on subjects in which they’re interested. Britannica will help them with research and publishing tools and by allowing them to easily use text and non-text material from Encyclopaedia Britannica in their work. We will publish the final products on our site for the benefit of all readers, with all due attribution and credit to the people who created them. The authors will have the option of collaborating with others on their work, but each author will retain control of his or her own work. . . .

          Two things we believe distinguish this effort from other projects of online collaboration are (1) the active involvement of the expert contributors with whom we already have relationships; and (2) the fact that all contributions to Encyclopaedia Britannica’s core content will continue to be checked and vetted by our expert editorial staff before they’re published.

          Read more about it at "Encyclopaedia Britannica Goes—Gasp!—Wiki."

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            Open Access Directory, a Factual Wiki, Launched

            Posted in Open Access, Scholarly Communication, Social Media/Web 2.0 on April 30th, 2008

            The Open Access Directory, a Wiki for factual information (vs. narrative descriptions) about the open access movement has been launched.

            Here's the press release:

            Peter Suber and Robin Peek have launched the Open Access Directory (OAD), a wiki where the open access community can create and maintain simple factual lists about open access to science and scholarship. Suber, a Research Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College, and Peek, an Associate Professor of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, conceived the project in order to collect OA-related lists for one-stop reference and searching.

            The wiki will start operating with about half a dozen lists—for example, conferences devoted to open access, discussion forums devoted to open access, and journal "declarations of independence"—and add more over time.

            The goal is to harness the knowledge and energy of the open access community itself to enlarge and correct the lists. A list on a wiki, revised continuously by its users, can be more comprehensive and up to date than the same list maintained by an individual. By bringing many OA-related lists together in one place, OAD will make it easier for users, especially newcomers, to discover them and use them for reference. The easier they are to maintain and discover, the more effectively they can spread useful, accurate information about open access.

            The URL for the Open Access Directory is

            The wiki is represented by an editorial board consisting of prominent figures in the open access movement. The Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at Simmons College hosts and provides technical support to the OAD.

            Editors and administrators

            Robin Peek. Editor, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College
            Athanasia Pontika. Assistant Editor, Doctoral Student, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College
            Terry Plum. Technical Coordinator, Assistant Dean for Technology and Director, Simmons College

            Editorial board members

            Charles Bailey. Publisher, Digital Scholarship
            Leslie Chan. Program Supervisor for New Media Studies, University of Toronto Scarborough
            Heather Joseph. Executive Director, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)
            Melissa Hagemann. Open Society Institute
            Peter Suber. Research Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College, Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School, and Senior Researcher at SPARC
            Alma Swan. Key Perspectives Ltd
            John Wilbanks. Vice President, Creative Commons

            Read more about it at "Launch of the Open Access Directory."

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              E-Book Readers to Go: NCSU Libraries to Check Out Kindles and Sony Readers

              Posted in E-Books, Social Media/Web 2.0 on April 23rd, 2008

              Starting next week, the North Carolina State University Libraries will check out Kindles and Sony Reader Digital Books from its Learning Commons. Users will ask library staff to load desired e-books on the readers at check-out.

              Read more about it at "Library to Offer New Reading Options."

              Another interesting development is that the NCSU Libraries are supporting both Weblog (WolfBlogs) and Wiki (WolfWikis) services for NCSU community members.

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                Digital Library Federation and 10 Vendors/Developers Reach Accord about ILS Basic Discovery Interfaces

                Posted in ILS, Linking, Linked Data, and Semantic Web, OAI-PMH, OPACs, Social Media/Web 2.0 on April 9th, 2008

                Ten vendors and application developers have agreed to support standard ILS interfaces that will permit integration and interoperability with emerging discovery services. These interfaces will be developed by the Digital Library Federation's ILS-Discovery Interface Committee. The participants are AquaBrowser, BiblioCommons, California Digital Library, Ex Libris, LibLime, OCLC, Polaris Library Systems, SirsiDynix, Talis, and VTLS.

                Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

                On March 6, representatives of the Digital Library Federation (DLF), academic libraries, and major library application vendors met in Berkeley, California to discuss a draft recommendation from the DLF for standard interfaces for integrating the data and services of the Integrated Library System (ILS) with new applications supporting user discovery. Such standard interfaces will allow libraries to deploy new discovery services to meet ever-growing user expectations in the Web 2.0 era, take full advantage of advanced ILS data management and services, and encourage a strong, innovative community and marketplace in next-generation library management and discovery applications.

                At the meeting, participants agreed to support a set of essential functions through open protocols and technologies by deploying specific recommended standards.

                These functions are:

                1. Harvesting. Functions to harvest data records for library collections, both in full, and incrementally based on recent changes. Harvesting options could include either the core bibliographic records, or those records combined with supplementary information (such as holdings or summary circulation data). Both full and differential harvesting options are expected to be supported through an OAI-PMH interface.
                2. Availability. Real-time querying of the availability of a bibliographic (or circulating) item. This functionality will be implemented through a simple REST interface to be specified by the ILS-DI task group.
                3. Linking. Linking in a stable manner to any item in an OPAC in a way that allows services to be invoked on it; for example, by a stable link to a page displaying the item's catalog record and providing links for requests for that item. This functionality will be implemented through a URL template defined for the OPAC as specified by the ILS-DI task group.
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