Assessment 1: what is social networking?

For me social networking is the ability to share information of any nature and in a variety of formats with people all over the world virtually immediately. It allows me to browse and post material.

I use: Facebook for personal, work and study purposes; Google Reader for feeds from blogs related to personal interests, study and work, Delicious (for study), a little Twitter out of curiosity; Flickr (personal and work); Learning Management Systems (Blackboard at RMIT and LMS and Sakai at the University of Melbourne) for work; YouTube for everything including information literacy sessions.

I want to be convinced that social networking is worthwhile and is not just a case of the tail wagging the library dog. I currently work with medical librarians who do not appear to avail themselves of this technology. When I attended a day conference last year I sat next to a librarian from another University who Twittered all day, which I found both intriguing and amusing. I can see the benefits but I want my horizons broadened and see how such technologies could be applied more effectively in a library setting. I also want to debunk the myth that anybody over the age of 40 sees such technology as the work of the Devil.

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Second Assignment: Part B Reflection

At the start of the course I stated that I wanted my social media-horizons to be broadened and to be convinced that social media has a place for constructive use in libraries. Three months on and I feel both goals have been achieved but with some reservations.

The real eye-opener was the visit to the University of Warwick library. This was my first experience of social media being used in a library in an effective, synchronous manner. Blogs, Facebook and Twitter were all employed but recognised as different types of mediums and used to communicate different messages effectively. As the library I work in does not employ social media I began to see many possibilities for the future.

As a result of this visit I established a Twitter account in March and am now something of an avid user. Statistics to-date: Tweets 125, Following 316, Followers 72. I’m still not completely up on the operational intricacies but I follow libraries, social media, news and personal social interests and look out for #FF (Follow Friday) recommendations. When I Tweet I try to make it count and avoid inane chatter so I look to link to something relevant or RT something I find interesting. One tweet from @saturdayboy said he considered Facebook a closed circuit and wouldn’t be using it. I felt this neatly summed up how Twitter differs from other social media tools in that it creates conversation and draws other people in and can communicate more broadly than other tools.

As a result of this I’m now using Tweetdeck to access my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts at the same time. I will be watching to see how Tweetdeck changes given that Twitter have just purchased it.

Establishing a blog has been another positive. WordPress seems a very stable platform to work from and there is a lot more to explore on it. Feeding a post onto my Twitter account has also been a boon and something to bear in mind for the future if adopted at my library. I may continue with the blog once this course is over. I like posting to it but wonder whether I have the discipline to continue with it or whether it retains its purpose? I may update it through out my Masters course.

As a result of exploring the use of social media at the University of Melbourne I’ve also discovered social media groups and policies. More recently I have joined a social media group that exists across the University. Currently this is an email forum but within the last week has begun to move to a Yammer account which I have joined. Twitter-like in appearance and structure it seems a more accessible means to discuss and share special media issues as a group.

As a result of the research I conducted for the first assignment I am now meeting up with other library staff involved in driving the social media within the University libraries. I have forwarded my thoughts particularly with regard to using Twitter in a more effective manner and although my job has changed within the last two weeks to a casual basis I have been encouraged to forward a proposal suggesting a more creative and tactical use of the library Twitter account. I have also explored a range of social media policies and would suggest that the library group develops its own.

One of the main things that has struck me is that the use of social media is still very much in its infancy and that institutions are still feeling their way as to its use.

I have used Flickr briefly but found Delicious and also Diigo very useful and have linked my accounts. Flickr has been used by the University to load artist impressions of a new library being developed. Delicious shows more of a future particularly now that Yahoo has offloaded it although Diigo seems to have far more tools and the desktop toolbar is very good. Second Life proved to be something of a disappointment due to computer hardware restrictions but I would still like to follow this up in the future.

For the future I would like to explore Tumblr more. I’ve already established an account and had an initial play and it seems to combine many facets of existing social media into one tool. I’m also exploring mobile devices. I have an iPod Touch and downloaded most of the social tool apps but I now have the opportunity to play with the work iPad with a view to utilising it as a reference tool for library staff.



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Second Assignment: Part A Evaluation

OLJ Module 3: Library 2.0
Building Academic Library 2.0: Meredith Farkas

I felt Farkas’ speech clearly demonstrated the principles of Web 2.0: collaboration, conversation, community and content creation (4Cs) and then provided numerous examples of how these could be incorporated into a 2.0 Library.
Farkas stresses the need to know your users. I think this is the key as until this groundwork is undertaken then a library cannot proceed effectively with meeting the 4Cs. So ask them what they are using and what mobile devices they are using and whether they are in fact interested in receiving information from the library via, for example, Facebook or Flickr. It may be seen as an invasion of their space so it has to be undertaken in a flexible and non-institutional manner.
Conversation: enable feedback and be transparent in communication. Use social media tools such as Facebook and Flickr and RSS feeds to highlight and promote a library collection in an inventive manner.
Collaboration: Farkas suggests librarians lose the expert tag (this would horrify many in the profession so maybe we could just loosen our grip on it). Provide a permanent place for collaboration and share resources such as bookmarking and share annotated bibliographies through Diigo or Delicios and allow crowd sourcing by tagging.
Communicate: go where users are with links from subject guides through to Chat services for reference questions but also communicate with library staff to explain and overcome any resistance: I think the one negative comment at the YouTube post summed up the attitude of some of my colleagues: ‘Web and library 2.0 are meaningless marketing buzzwords spouted by the information poor.’ So introduce, for example, 23 Things as part of a professional development plan and hence enable change management.

OLJ: Module 3
A-Z of Social Networking

Social networking tools can effectively support the information needs of libraries. For example subject-specific blogs such as the RMIT Library News of the School of Education blog, originally authored by Dr Gary Pearce, regularly posts on a wide range of library resources (databases, book, children’s literature, information literacy) but also links to legislation affecting the education from professional bodies, government and current affairs. I have since become aware of another social media tool Tumblr. This seems to be an exciting alternative to blogs. Swinburne University of Technology, early adopters of social media have been using Tumblr for at least a year. Tumblr is a blogging platform that makes it easier to post video, audio, words, social bookmarks, photos, and even other people’s blog posts into your blog, and share it with other people (Dannen, 2009). So Tumblr, as a more flexible, multi-faceted platform than a blog, could be adopted with real possibilities for supporting and promoting libraries such as information literacy sessions, embed slideshare, raise the profile of ebooks and feed into the student LMS.
Thought needs to be given to planning, marketing and development of a social media policy. Especially with regard to staffing and empowering librarians to become involved and at the same time taking responsibility for what is posted and when.
Dannen, C. (2009, 26 May). What the Hell is Tumblr? And Other Worthwhile Questions.

OLJ Module 5

The challenge of finding authentic information in a socially networked world

This OLJ task enabled me to critically examine Wikipedia and consider the implications of how current undergraduates learn and evaluate resources and how librarians can remain relevant and assist students through use of Library 2.0.

Some of the results in the OCLC study quoted in the Lorenzo article provide sober reading with only 2% of respondents using library websites as the source to begin an information search. Due to Google’s search algorithm, Wikipedia entries will figure prominently in initial search results (72% of college students refer to it as the first choice of information). I don’t think academics or librarians should be surprised by this anymore. Indeed in some academic circles in the UK a more positive attitude is being taken towards Wikipedia (Corbyn, 2011). There are still some reservations, a nagging concern that contributions will be edited but in the US, The Association for Psychological Science, is now fixing up Wikipedia psychology pages through their scholarly membership (Corbyn, 2011 #2). However, academic librarians still have an important role to play in weaning students off Wikipedia through information literacy sessions and directing their attention to major databases. I have used social media tools, such as YouTube, to support this and La Trobe University has gone a step further and embedded search skills modules into the Health Science LibGuide (Health Sciences La Trobe University, 2010 #4).

I think it has also forced libraries to confront the question of just how accessible are library resources? Many University libraries are adopting a single search ‘google-like’ search page, such as Summon and Ebsco Discovery, to enable a supposedly simpler access to library resources.

Corbyn, Z. (2011, 29 March 2011). Wikipedia wants more contributions from academics The Guardian. Retrieved from

Health Sciences La Trobe University, L. (2010). LibGuides. Information Literacy Health Sciences Modules Home.   Retrieved November 2010, from




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Module 3: Library 2.0

Web 2.0 (Miller)
Library 2. 0 (Casey and Savastinuk)

Miller outlines his thoughts regarding Web 2.0 and how this can be translated into library environment. He lists the following Web 2.0 characteristics:

Freeing of data: access is a right rather than a privilege. So long as it does not effect an author’s rights and infringe copyright (Google Books)?
Construction of virtual applications

Participative or collaborative. One of the main attractions to the technology but for me it raises questions about validity and authority of information published and/or shared online.

Communication, Remix (eg Mashups), Intelligent, Long Tail: servicing niche interests, trust.

Harnessing Web 2.0 tools allows libraries to free information, add value and offer improved services. However, institutional procedures still act as barriers and there is greater need to push services at patrons.

Library 2.0

  • User-centred change
  • User participation
  • Reach new users
  • Serve existing customers better

At the centre of Library 2.0 is the question of awareness. If content is locked up on websites it will fall by the wayside. I agree with this absolutely and at the moment I would suggest that is what is happening at the academic library where I work.  There is no notification of new titles and databases and journals are hard to search although this is being addressed. I still prefer to use Google scholar as a means to access resources as the website is very user unfriendly. Yet the collection is still seen by many as everything and  they have become as Seth Godin remarked recently ‘clerks who guard dead paper’.

Library 2.0 examples: mobile-friendly catalogues RMIT; libguides, subject blogs, subject-specific alerts from journals; podcasts; videos; interactive crowdsourcing sites for archival material seeking help for people to identify photos, places etc.


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Module 2: Podcasts

More examples of library podcasts

LaTrobe University Library

University of New England Library

University of Adelaide Library


More information on podcasting from libsuccess

Does anyone use them?

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Module 2: Social Networking

The Comscore article emphasises the need for companies to market effectively and understand and engage and interact with an audience who spend considerable time using social network channels.

The eMarketer data is something that academic libraries have been aware of for some time especially with regard to learning behaviours and the overly used Digital Native tag. Older generations who study can and do learn how to work, research and interact online even though they have known a world without such connectivity.

Social Media and the Workplace by Common Craft

  • Companies can’t afford to be left behind in adopting social networking tools and communication strategies
  •  Encourage employees to be part of online conversations
  •  Develop official accounts on social media
  • Monitor them for customer comments eg Twitter search
  • Develop social media guidelines and adhere to them eg. never get angry, play the issue not the person, are you qualified to answer this question?
  • Participate and build trust

Google Wave
I had looked at Google Wave prior to this course but never really used it and personally I’ve never actually met anyone who’s used it or even talked about it. This doesn’t mean that isn’t a popular tool but I still find it curious for such a big name.

Key points:

  • Collaboration and communication in one tool good for creating documents
  • Playback facility relays how the wave built up
  • Hosted conversation
  • Embedding
  • Roots to interface with other systems anything with an API
  • Translation

Survival Guide: Online Social Networking

I wanted to take a shower after reading this article. As I’m from the Bill Hicks attitude towards marketing in general (Satan’s spawn filling the world with violent garbage) I found it very exploitative and found little relevance here for use in a library context.

Social networking for a business is a survival tool and an opportunity to raise product awareness.

Social networking systems balance providing trust of the user in terms of privacy between people and keeping barriers to network creation to a minimum.


  • Privacy: read the privacy policy. Not sure about this. Who bothers? They are usually so long and tedious. Facebook has received some criticism regarding their policy and whether they are forwarding user information to third parties (Wall Street Journal 2010)
  • Barriers to entry
  • Maintenance

Integrate across networks to maximise your message

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Module 2: Mashups

Mashups are interactive Web 2.0 applications that utilise content retrieved from external data sources to create new and innovative services

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)

The API permits web communities to create an open architecture for sharing content and data. As a result content can be dynamically posted and updated in multiple locations on the web.


Photo sharing from Flickr to Facebook and MySpace.

Content embedding, e.g. YouTube clip into a Libguide

Dynamic posting: comments made on Twitter linked to a Facebook account

Creative Commons


Creative Commons develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation (Creative Commons)

The Licenses

Built on copyright law the licenses assist creators retain copyright whilst allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work (non-commercial) with full credit

Attribution (CC BY)

Al-Jazeera Creative Commons Repository

Public Library of Science – open access journals

Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)


Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND)

Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)

Flickr and Google use all the licences.


Libraryhack is a mashup and apps competition using data from Australian and New Zealand libraries and has run throughout May, 2011.

Libraryhack aims to make library collections more accessible by releasing library data in easily mashable formats for re-use by anyone. Participating libraries have created datasets of information available through the Australian government data repository , the New Zealand government data repository and through DigitalNZ.


State Library of Victoria: Port Philip Papers 124 original manuscripts from early European settlement of Victoria.

State Library of South Australia: 81 000 out of copyright photographs including localities across South Australia, houses and buildings, portraits, social and historical events, industry, farming, transport and more.

Ideas Entries

Content on the LibraryHack website is licensed under Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)

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