Staying Informed with Community

I have a set of Tipples out today with FreePint Newsletter (scroll to the bottom). Tipples are quick tips for staying informed.

It was excrutiating to boil down my information consumption into 4-5 places/tools with general appeal. The things I chose to include are things which have stood the test of time, but after making my list I realized this:

The number one thing keeping me engaged, up-to-date, and informed is my community.

My community, tribe, mob, crowd, or whatever label you give it is what influences what articles I read, what books I buy, what RSS feeds I subscribe to, in some cases where I shop, and how my opinion on a topic evolves.

I participate in different communities, because each one offers me a different information set and, occasionally, different values.

The tools and websites I mention are all well and good, but they are nothing without the community behind them and I am nothing without mine.

If you do not participate in different communities or even one community online, you are missing the point of this beautiful, living thing called the internet. Newsflash: It’s not just for porn anymore!

–Jane, loves her tribes

New Unconference and Mob Resources

Here are a couple resources that might be useful to you if you are new to the idea of the wisdom of the crowd or if you need a little inspiration for your own mob: – Though the blog on this site is not updated often and much of the information was posted long ago, there are a plethora of resources on unconferences here. There are explanations of unconferences, facilitation styles, how tos, and a discussion about Open Space Technology.

Open Space World – The original site on Open Space(OST). It is a must read for noobs.

Unconference LibGuide – This is a resource site put together by some librarians who have attended many unconferences. There are some great checklists for planning and some other resources.

Crowdsourcing in Higher Ed IT – This is a step by step guide from Educause on how to use mob rule to make campus and even multi-campus wide IT decisions.

25 Great Ways Colleges Are Using Crowdsourcing – A fabulous list to inspire your own ideas to improve your teaching or impact your community. Some of the ideas are only marginally related to Higher Ed, but they are still very interesting.

–Jane, what mob are you growing today?

Websites That Help You Help Others

I have recently come across two websites that I thought I would share as they are very useful. There are many times in our lives when we need to help out others. Sometimes, they need meals, sometimes people need help with other things, like chores or childcare, during a family crisis, surgery, or the arrival of a new baby. There are two websites that I have used that make coordinating these things for friends and family much easier. -is a site that coordinates meals. For some areas, they even have a section of the website where you can order soup to be delievered to someone. This website creates a new schedule for someone and then anyone with the last name and password (a four digit number) has access to the schedule.

Lotsa Helping Hands – This site lets you create a community. Each community has a message board, a calendar on which you place items that are needed (chores, meals, childcare, etc.), photo gallery, announcements, and a place for people to leave well wishes. This site requires that you create a unique account when asked to join the community.

Both websites are easy to use and seem to be intuitive. They definitely take some of the headache out of coordinating help for those that need it.

–Jane, currently benefiting from the meals provided by friends

My LTR is Out!: Changing the Way We Work

I wrote the first 2008 issue of Library Technology Reports on how technology has changed the way we do business, in libraries and outside of them. It includes case studies, tool reviews, and best practices for organizations, team leaders, and team members. Here is the blurb from the ALA TechSource site:

The way of work in the Information Age continues to be commuted by the Internet. The interconnected, collaborative functionality the World Wide Web provides, when implemented and utilized, can help individuals, as well as working groups, achieve greater flexibility and productivity, reports Michelle Boule, the author of the first issue of Library Technology Reports in 2008.

A social sciences librarian and technology trainer, Michelle Boule (Univ. of Houston) examines how technology—which in Boule’s report is defined as “any tool that can be used to communicate and collaborate over the Internet”—can and has impacted libraries in her issue “Changing the Way We Work.”

I am very excited about this report. Even in the business community, this information is non-existent or hard to find. I hope that people find it useful.

–Jane, loves the potential for technology to create a revolution