Thursday, 29 January 2009

oh heck - now we have to twitter too.....

Twittering Libraries, by Lindy Brown, an MLIS student at Florida State University. She contact 90 libraries with a questionnaire. the wiki is interesting and has sections like What's init for Libraries? Prominent uses in Libraries ; mini case studies of libraries ;Pros and cons of using it ; tools that can extend Twitter ; list of Libraries using Twitter plus a bibliography.

Generations X, Y, Z etc.

New report out from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Summary:

Contrary to the image of Generation Y as the "Net Generation," internet users in their 20s do not dominate every aspect of online life. Generation X is the
most likely group to bank, shop, and look for health information online. Boomers are just as likely as Generation Y to make travel reservations online. And even Silent Generation internet users are competitive when it comes to email (although teens might point out that this is proof that email is for old people).

The web continues to be populated largely by younger generations, as over half of the adult internet population is between 18 and 44 years old. But larger percentages of older generations are online now than in the past, and they are doing more activities online, according to the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project surveys taken from 2006-2008.

Teens and Generation Y (internet users age 18-32) are the most likely groups to use the internet for entertainment and for communicating with friends and family. These younger generations are significantly more likely than their older counterparts to seek entertainment through online videos, online games, and virtual worlds, and they are also more likely to download music to listen to later. Internet users ages 12-32 are more likely than older users to read other people's blogs and to write their own; they are also considerably more likely than older generations to use social networking sites and to create profiles on those sites.

Compared with teens and Generation Y, older generations use the internet less for socializing and entertainment and more as a tool for information searches, emailing, and buying products. In particular, older internet users are significantly more likely than younger generations to look online for health information. Health questions drive internet users age 73 and older to the internet just as frequently as they drive Generation Y users, outpacing teens by a significant margin. Researching health information is the third most popular online activity with the most senior age group, after email and online search.

Full report (pdf) from here.

That last point about the importance of health-related search is interesting. I'm hoping to organise a one-day symposium on this later in the year.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Edit everything?

Some interesting news in yesterday's Telegraph regarding the decision by Encyclopaedia Britannica to finally allow readers to edit it's online content. Is the resource a Wikipedia-wannabe or just improving its "symbiotic relationship between editor and reader"?

At the same time, the RNA Biology journal is apparently now requiring academics to post their research findings on Wikipedia. "Modification activity", as Terry Wassall puts it, is obviously a concern but it certainly supports the idea that distinctions between subscription and non-subscription resources are blurring.

2009 is the Year of the M-Library

I've just seen a post from The Distant Librarian entitled "Is 2009 the year of the m-library?" I think it could well be, or if not 2009, then 2010.

I think library users, especially those enrolling for university this year, will expect to be able to access at least some library services via mobile devices and I think it's important that we meet that demand. Of course, my own project for the Arcadia Fellowship could prove me entirely wrong!

One interesting thing to note from the post above is that there is now an M-Libraries page on the LibSuccess wiki.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Why you can't find a library book in your search engine

This is an interesting article in the Guardian about searching for books online and finding your nearest library that has the one you want. I was surprised to read that OCLC are quite resistant to this idea. Their WorldCat is a great tool, but not everyone knows it's there, so why not make it possible for search engines to access WorldCat and make sure it's well badged in search results?

Despite the internet's origins as an academic network, when it comes to finding a book, e-commerce rules. Put any book title into your favourite search engine, and the hits will be dominated by commercial sites run by retailers, publishers, even authors. But even with your postcode, you won't find the nearest library where you can borrow that book. (The exception is Google Books, and even that is limited.)

That's strange, because almost every library has an electronic database of its books - searchable either at the library's own website or via its local council. The wrinkle is that at the book level, those databases aren't accessible to the search engines; and you may not be able to search all the libraries in your area at once.

Yet there is an alternative that few people seem aware of: Worldcat (, which offers web access to the largest repository of bibliographic data in the world - from the 40-year-old Ohio-based non-profit Online Computer Library Center ( But Worldcat suffers from the same problem on a larger scale. OCLC shares only 3m of its 125m records with Google Books; none of them show up in an ordinary search.

Apparently OCLC are considering making WorldCat records easier to search, though, according to this post: OCLC, Record Usage, Copyright, Contracts and the Law

Horizon report

Just been alerted to the publication of the Horizon Report produced by New Media Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) (thanks to UoL blog and it's talk of emerging technologies that will impact higher education:

"The areas of emerging technology cited for 2009 are:
• Mobiles (i.e., mobile devices)
• Cloud computing
• Geo-everything (i.e., geo-tagging)
• The personal web
• Semantic-aware applications
• Smart objects"

Monday, 19 January 2009

M-Library Services User Requirements Project

The term 'm-library' now refers to library services delivered to, or accessed from, mobile devices such as phones. A literature review of m-library services developed so far by libraries around the world shows that little work has been done in terms of gathering user requirements to find out what sort of library services users would be likely to find useful when they’re on the move.

From 2nd February 2009 to 1st May 2009 I am undertaking a project to scope the information requirements of academic library users on the move in order to inform future development of library services to mobile devices.
These services could be of particular benefit to students as library users because mobile access to library services could give them greater flexibility to study anywhere at any time. One project undertaken by Student Services at the Open University has shown that students do like to receive alerts and reminders by text message.

This will be a three month project including
  • mobile diaries by library users - users submit a photo/video showing where they were when they had an information need and comment on what their information need was
  • a review of previous research about how Cambridge and Open University students use mobile technologies
  • a questionnaire about when people need information on the go, how well their needs are met and what they'd like access to, to a fixed number of Cambridge and Open University students
  • analysis of questionnaire results (quantitative and qualitative)
  • focus groups with Cambridge and Open University Librarians to scope out possible m-libraries services


  • Proposed service models for both campus-based and distance learning academic libraries.
  • A website making the methodology and results from the project available to other UK Academic Libraries, and allowing them to input their own data and analysis if they choose to run the questionnaire with their own students.
  • A paper to be presented at the M-Libraries conference in June 2009, including an analysis of environmental factors affecting mobile library services, such as cost and availability of institutional text messaging services or mobile broadband, and library user communication behaviours.

I have been developing a list of ideas for m-library services. Comments and suggestions for other services would be welcome.

danah boyd's dissertation on teenage social networking

danah boyd (yet, she likes lower case) probably knows more about teenage social networking than anyone alove. Her Berkeley dissertation is now online (as a pdf). Abstract reads:

As social network sites like MySpace and Facebook emerged, American teenagers began adopting them as spaces to mark identity and socialize with peers. Teens leveraged these sites for a wide array of everyday social practices—gossiping, flirting, joking around, sharing information, and simply hanging out.

While social network sites were predominantly used by teens as a peer-based social outlet, the unchartered nature of these sites generated fear among adults. This dissertation documents my 2.5-year ethnographic study of American teens’ engagement with social network sites and the ways in which their participation supported and complicated three practices—self-presentation, peer sociality, and negotiating adult society.

My analysis centers on how social network sites can be understood as networked publics which are simultaneously (1) the space constructed through networked technologies and (2) the imagined community that emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology, and practice. Networked publics support many of the same practices as unmediated publics, but their structural differences often inflect practices in unique ways. Four properties—persistence, searchability, replicability, and scalability — and three dynamics — invisible audiences, collapsed contexts, and the blurring of public and private—are examined and woven throughout the discussion.

While teenagers primarily leverage social network sites to engage in common practices, the properties of these sites configured their practices and teens were forced to contend with the resultant dynamics. Often, in doing so, they reworked the technology for their purposes. As teenagers learned to navigate social network sites, they developed potent strategies for managing the complexities of and social awkwardness incurred by these sites. Their strategies reveal how new forms of social media are incorporated into everyday life, complicating some practices and reinforcing others. New technologies reshape public life, but teens’ engagement also reconfigures the technology itself.

Download available from here.

Thanks to Jack Schofield for the link.

LATER: danah writes:

There was a huge part of me that wanted to hole up and not share this document with you, for fear of your criticism. This is not a perfect document. Not even close. There are holes in my argument structure, problems with my description, and loads of places where I can't help but smack my forehead at my simplicity and lack of depth. With all of its imperfections, there is one very important thing about this document: it is done. And by the end of the process, I accepted the age-old PhD mantra: the only good dissertation is a done dissertation.

I don't expect you to read this, but I know that for some sick and twisted reason, many of you have an urge to do so. That makes you very weird. Still, I have a favor to ask... if you're going to take the time to read this beast - or even a single chapter of it - could you share your thoughts? I really want to push this further and deeper. Parts of it will turn into journal articles. Other parts will emerge in a book. The more feedback I get now, the better I can make those future document. So, pretty please, with a cherry on top, could you share your reflections, critiques, concerns? I promise I won't be mad. In fact, the opposite. I would be most delighted!

Friday, 16 January 2009

Learning Literacies for a Digital Age

Interesting new project by JISC, led by Lou McGill (who did great work with the Distance Learning Unit at University of Leicester a few years ago, and moved on to do very interesting work around wikis with students in Strathclyde University I think) - will be well worth looking at the results when they come .

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

US adults and social networking

A new report from Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project on 'Adults and Social Network Websites' looks at how adults use sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace. Among the main findings of the report:

  • The share of adult internet users who have a profile on an online social network site has more than quadrupled in the past four years -- from 8% in 2005 to 35% now, according to the Pew Project's December 2008 tracking survey.

  • While media coverage and policy attention focus heavily on how children and young adults use social network sites, adults still make up the bulk of the users of these websites. Adults make up a larger portion of the US population than teens, which is why the 35% number represents a larger number of users than the 65% of online teens who also use online social networks.

  • Still, younger online adults are much more likely than their older counterparts to use social networks, with 75% of adults 18-24 using these networks, compared to just 7% of adults 65 and older. At its core, use of online social networks is still a phenomenon of the young.

  • Overall, personal use of social networks seems to be more prevalent than professional use of networks, both in the orientation of the networks that adults choose to use as well as the reasons they give for using the applications. Most adults, like teens, are using online social networks to connect with people they already know.

  • When users do use social networks for professional and personal reasons, they will often maintain multiple profiles, generally on different sites.

  • Most, but not all adult social network users are privacy conscious; 60% of adult social network users restrict access to their profiles so that only their friends can see it, and 58% of adult social network users restrict access to certain content within their profile.
  • Audience development

    From The Register...

    Edinburgh librarians are apparently "seething" after the powers that be decided they should henceforth be known as “audience development officers” as part of a plan to drag libraries kicking and screaming “into the 21st century”.

    That's how the Caldeonian edition of the Sun describes the move by "barmy" council bosses, which prompted one irate "book-stamper" to offer the obligatory: “It is just political correctness gone daft. No one can see the point of this. The public will still call a librarian a librarian. It is idiotic.”

    The change of job title was prompted by the decision to deploy "self-service borrowing systems similar to those found at supermarket checkouts". Up to 40 librarians could be for the off, and those who do hold onto their jobs will be expected to "run computer courses, hold talks and encourage kids to read".

    Accordingly, the council reckons the reinvented librarian is best described by the shiny new term which better reflects "the extra responsibilities and more hands-on role of modern-day librarians".

    Sadly for the council, a union poll saw 95 per cent of workers reject the proposed changes. The opposing sides will meet for "crunch talks" today amid the threat of industrial action.

    Tuesday, 13 January 2009

    Arcadia lecturer on Radio 4

    Michelle spotted that James Boyle features in an episode of 'In Business' on Radio 4. It's on iPlayer for two more days at:

    What else to call an e-book?

    Interesting post here about e-book terminology: By any other name. However, there's no suggestions of alternatives to use: any thoughts?

    Monday, 12 January 2009

    Amazing stats, v 3.0

    49 Amazing Social Media, Web 2.0 And Internet Stats.

    I particularly like these:

    133,000,000 - number of blogs indexed by Technorati since 2002

    346,000,000 - number of people globally who read blogs (comScore March 2008)

    900,000 - average number of blog posts in a 24 hour period

    1,750,000 - number of RSS subscribers to TechCrunch, the most popular Technology blog (January 2009)

    77% - percentage of active Internet users who read blogs

    55% - percentage of the blogosphere that drinks more than 2 cups of coffee per day (source)

    81 - number of languages represented in the blogosphere

    59% - percentage of bloggers who have been blogging for at least 2 years.

    New Arcadia Fellows

    Lizz Edwards-Waller and Keren Mills are the Arcadia Fellows for this Term. I'm hoping that you'll see both of them posting here before too long.

    Wednesday, 7 January 2009

    Libraries in a world of permanent connectivity

    Lorcan Dempsey has an interesting article in First Monday.  Abstract reads (in part):

    "Libraries have been working to develop network-ready services. Mobile communication intensifies this activity and adds new challenges as they look at what it means to be mobile-ready. This has organizational implications as a shift of emphasis towards workflow integration around the learner or researcher creates new relationships with other service organizations on campus. It also has implications for how space is used, for library skills, and for how collections are developed. We can see the impact of mobile communication on services in two ways. First, services may be made mobile-ready, as with special mobile interfaces for library services, alerting services, and so on. Second, mobilization continues the restructuring of services, organizations and attention that networking has brought about. Think here of how to socialize and personalize services; how to adapt to collection and service use which spans personal, institutional, and cloud environments; how to position and promote the library ‘brand’ as services become atomized and less ‘visible’ on the network; and more complex questions about what best to do locally and what to source with collaborative arrangements or third parties."

    Tuesday, 6 January 2009

    The NINES project

    Keynote speaker at the CRASSH symposium on digital humanities drew my attention to NINES.  Looks like an extraordinary project.

    Monday, 5 January 2009

    The impact of the Google books judgment

    The New York Times has an interesting piece on the effect that Google Book Search is having on researchers.

    Saturday, 3 January 2009

    A test posing from ScribeFire

    ScribeFire is a Firefox plug-in which enables one to post directoy to a blog or series of blogs.  This is just a test. Please ignore.