Using Digital Media in VLEs

July 28, 2010

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Untangling Web 2

April 27, 2010

First of all, a big thank you to all the librarians at the cofhe lasec event I attended at Westminster Kingsway College in London last Friday, Untangling Web 2, delivered by Phil Bradley.  The library staff at Westminster Kingsway College made us all feel very welcome and it was a great modern library to have the event.  The event was attended by a broad range of library staff from across a number of sectors, all of whom were enthusiastic towards the world of Web 2 and keen to explore Phil’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject.

The day began with a comprehensive and entertaining overview of Web 2 from Phil and raised some important issues, such as:

  • Although it’s important to consider your digital identity carefully when using Web 2 and the implications it has for your organisation, don’t let this stop you experimenting.  Fear stifles innovation.
  • Can Web 2 be trusted?  Before dabbling with an Web 2 site do some research by canvassing friends to see who is using it and what they think.  Does it have an entry on Wikipedia?  Is there a video tutorial for it on Youtube?  Search Twitter and blog search engines like Technorati to find out what other people are saying.
  • Don’t focus too much on the tool, but on what you get from the tool.  Many Web 2 sites can have a limited shelf life, but don’t worry too much if they disappear, you can guarantee another will spring up in its place that does a similar job!
  • Many Web 2 sites tend to be permanently in beta.  Web 2 is constantly evolving – go with it.
  • Web 2 doesn’t mean that there is no place for librarians anymore!  In fact, there is now a lot more work for librarians as there is even more information to organise, evaluate and share than ever before.
  • Many librarians are enthusiastic about using Web 2, but unfortunately their organisation sees Web 2 as a threat and it’s blocked on the network.  Phil has written a useful blog post, 25 barriers to using Web 2.0 technology: solutions, that addresses this and provides librarians with arguments to emancipate Web 2.

Okay, there was a lot more than just the above, but as I spent most of the day tweeting about Phil’s pearls of Web 2 wisdom you can get a flavour by searching Twitter under the hashtag #lasec.  Ewa Wraga, the E-Resources Co-ordinator at South Thames College, has also written a blog posting too about the event which can be viewed here.

Right, enough blogging for one day, time to check my Twitter…

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Is your library getting into the festive spirit?

December 7, 2009

This time of year is always very busy, particularly for libraries, and I’ve been having a look at what librarians are doing to celebrate the festive period.  If you want some inspiration for things to try out at your library, why not consider some of the ideas below?

  • Dress the librarians up as famous festive characters – imagine having to pay an overdue book fine to Scrooge?
  • Finally – a pratical use for that dusty old Reference section!  Give the library a festive makeover by having your own tree made of books!

  • This time of year is a great opportunity for story telling sessions on a festive theme and also a good way to raise awareness of different countries and cultures by having displays on how the festive period is celebrated around the world.  See Leeds Libraries for some great ideas.
  • Arts & crafts sessions on how to make your own Christmas cards, with lots of inspiration from books in the library of course!
  • Run a festive photography competition amongst your library users and make a book of all the entries for circulation after the competition.
  • Work in a library with a large cookery section?  Why not do a display with some great festive recipes? (just go easy on the mulled wine if you have to staff the enquiry desk)
  • Coffee mornings with mince pies etc to gain valuable feedback in an informal way from your library users.

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A Wiilly Good Idea for Libraries…?

November 17, 2009

Libraries (whether they’re FE, HE or Public libraries) all face the increasing challenge of engaging their audience in competition with a multitude of other information sources available to users.

According to recent government statistics, around 70% of households in the UK now have access to Broadband.  Add to that, the rise in internet access via mobile devices, with current estimates ranging between 7.2 million and 17.4 million users in the UK alone.  Of course, the library continues to play a vital role in providing access to digital information for those without any other means of access, as well as to the vast range of media that information is also available in today, which leads me nicely on to the point of this article…

Libraries have always been quick to provide a range of media types to cater to the diverse needs of their users, so what about exploring the world of modern gaming to convey information and encourage community engagement?

Libraries can be places of fun and the use of the Wii specifically in libraries is becoming more common than what you might think.  Sure, we still need quiet areas where people can study in peace, but does that mean to say there shouldn’t be a time and a place in the library where people can’t enjoy the fun side of learning as well?

Wii Sports

People learning how to get a hole in one on Wii Sports golf

(Image available under the creative commons licence, taken from Flickr)

The Online Education Database has a really helpful article detailing fifty ideas on how the Wii could be used in a library context.  Whether it’s using the Wii to introduce people to reading, bringing geography to life by using the Wii’s ‘News and Weather’ channels (an interactive globe at your fingertips!), or making use of the ‘Everyone Votes’ channel to find out what your users think of your library.

Examples also exist around the region, during Wimbledon Leeds Public Library had some great success using Wii Tennis to engage a whole cohort of young patrons who might otherwise have never stepped foot in the library. And if you work in a specialist Health Library you might be interested to know that the Department of Health has even given the seal of approval to the Wii Fit Plus.  For those who haven’t had a play on this, it’s a great way to introduce people to concepts like BMI, centre of gravity and weight management as well as playing an integral role in physiotherapy.  How many specialist Health Libraries are out there by the way, looking for a way to engage users?  Just a thought…

Also, there’s an increasing amount of research being undertaken to evaluate the Wii’s potential to support disabled students in education.

Okay, I admit, it’s not going to be for everyone (still, what is?), but if you can engage a few more people in the library and possibly break some of the old library stereotypes down into the bargain, then it’s got to be worth a go hasn’t it?

Wiimember, you’re never too old for a bit of silliness.  Sorry, that’s a terrible pun to end on, terrible…

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