Academic Technology Specialist for Students

What a great title! This job was posted today for Colorado College. The blurb on the ALA JobList says:

Academic Technology Services at Colorado College is looking for an energetic individual to build student community around the use of technology for learning. Our Academic Technology Specialist for Students will create and support media and information literacy programming for our student body, lead and inspire our student workforce, and enhance and maintain our three public computer labs.

For the full job listing, see the official Colorado College job site.

–Jane, happy that it is Friday

The Machine is Us

I am sure this will be all over the biblioblogosphere soon/now, but this video posted by David Free is… well, amazing.

We are the toobes. Web 2.0 is about the content we create, the content that can be recreated by others. It is the read/write/share abilities of the web as we now know it that make this an exciting time to be alive.

The video was made by a professor of Anthropology at KSU, Michael Wesch. As academia embraces the concept of the read/write web for research, for ideas, and as a valid outlet, these tools will gain credibility. In some disciplines, YouTube can only be child’s play. What is the critical mass that will take Web 2.0 to credible, reliable, useful tool in “old school” disciplines? What is the critical mass that libraries must reach so that it is commonplace for libraries to produce something like what ACPL has been doing?

–Jane, has reached critical mass

*Updated: the spelling of Dr. Wesch’s name has been fixed. Thanks! 

Speaking Fees

I am trying to speak at more conferences. There are a couple of reasons why I am submitting proposals, not the least of which are my tenure requirements. I enjoy presenting and teaching, which is nice, but my library does not fund everything I do. Rachel Singer Gordon released her Speaking Fee Survey about a week ago and it is very interesting though the comments were not unexpected.

As a librarian who is currently woefully underpaid, trying to get to more conferences to speak is daunting, especially when I am not being compensated for my time or knowledge. This year I can only swing my conference schedule because of ALA TechSource (press passes) and the Emerging Leaders Program (money from LITA!). I would do both of these things anyway, but it is nice to get the boost.

I am giving a preconference at the Texas Library Association this year. It was an opportunity I felt I could not pass up. But. Though I am not a member, I work in Texas and therefore can not be paid for my time. I do not have to register to attend the conference, but I do have to pay for all travel out of my own expenses. I was told I could be given a gas card which is better then nothing, as they say.

Money and our profession is a bit of a sore topic for me lately anyway, but I hate the way academia (not just libraries) take advantage of underpaid workers who need to have certain things on their resume to advance.

–Jane, le sigh

Shakespeare MMOG

Edward Castronova, an expert in virtual world economies, recently received a grant from the MacArthur Foundation to build an MMOG based on Shakespeare’s King Richard III. The game, Arden, will be the first non-commercial, academic game of its kind. Castronova plans to use Arden to set up social experiments and teach people about Shakespeare’s works.

The concept sounds intriguing and I will be interested in seeing what the final outcome looks like. In order for the experiment to work, Castronova’s Arden will have to compete with some very popular commercial MMOGs.  The game is still in development stage, so a final product is a long way off.

The article on Gamespot News is interesting because it cites some other innovative uses of virtual worlds. One professor, Aaron Delwiche, is mentioned because he has held his class in the virtual world Second Life. That sounds like the kind of class I would love to attend.

–Jane, back to packing

Standardized Tests: Good, Bad, or Ugly?

It is that time of year when high school students have to start thinking about where they want to apply for college. In some cases, schools accept early admissions and seniors have already applied. It is also to time of year when the discussion turns back to admissions and what we do wrong and right. Depending on your beliefs, there are many answers to this question.

Inside Higher Ed has an article on the growing number of colleges dropping the SATs from their requirements (the comments are quite interesting as well). As a hater of standardized tests, having taken them from kindergarten, I love that schools are looking at alternate ways of measuring their applicants. I do not believe tests like the SAT are a validation of anything except how well you can remember math from years and years ago, how well you can sort out words in your head, and how much money you have to afford to get a tutor or take the test multiple times.

I know there are a lot of beliefs surrounding our standardized testing, but we need to start paying more attention to the issue as parents and as a profession that works with young people. Standardized testing is becoming more prevalant in K-12 across the country, as a way to measure the intelligence of our children. I have very conflicting and mixed feelings about these kinds of tests.

–Jane, hated taking them as a student

Remember Pine Email?

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an interesting article on colleges using MySpace instead of campus email to get information out to their students. In addition to this being a really interesting use of social software, the article also has one of the most hilarious headlines ever:

Email is for Old People

–Jane, simply priceless

Vendors, Cost Increases, and Keeping Your Mouth Shut

I need a handler that follows me everywhere with duct tape. The duct tape, of course, would be for my mouth.

Today, in a meeting, we were informed that one of our publishers (a university press no less!) is increasing their journal package 120% over last year’s cost. One Hundred and Twenty Percent. Are you kidding me? Our options are to pay the same amount but only have one concurrent user, which is completely unacceptable, or pay their outrageous cost increase. It was generally acknowledged that the publisher more than likely waited until our renewals were in and gave us a limited time to come back with an answer to force us to give in.

Now I am not naïve enough to believe that this does not happen often. I know that it does, but as I sat there I became incensed at the ridiculousness with which libraries are forced to deal with this kind of shit all the time. From publishers, from vendors. Over and over it is the same sad story and I am tired of having it sung to me.

I raised my hand to speak and the following words came out of my mouth in no certain order: ridiculous, dicking us around, hacks me off, and I then I said, “ …and if they think we are just going to continue to ben… I mean stand around and take this forever, they are wrong.” It is a good thing I did not finish my origianal thought.

Yes, Jane has a problem watching her mouth sometimes. This was one of those times. As a profession, we need to come up with some sort of something to deal with this because this is going to be an increasing problem. The price of journals has continued to rise and we have continued to do nothing and pay or cancel subscriptions.

I do not have a solution. I just know that I am angry at the rock and a hard place this puts us in years after year.

–Jane, grr arg

p.s. Hilariously, “dicking” is not in the Word spell check.

Updated to correct poor typing due to anger. 

Building Communites and Participating in the Discussion

A Review of Social Software

This post is part of a presentation for UNT’s SLIS 5330: Academic Libraries course. In this space, I will dump some key themes and my URL examples so that the students can have an electronic copy of the sites mentioned. This will also provide a place to give feedback or discuss issues we were not able to explore in class. This is an outline only.

Introduction 2.0
What is Web 2.0? This article, from O’Reilly, originator of the phrase, explains why Web 2.0 is different from the internet as it was in the beginning.

Library 2.0
The white paper that started a movement: (this link opens a pdf)

The Talis Paper gave wings to the discussion which continues today in the Biblioblogosphere. Some key examples might be, but are not limited to:

John Blygerg’s Library 2.0 tagged posts
Michael Stephens’ Tame the Web Technology, ride the cluetrain
Michael Casey, all L2, all the time
Walt Crawford in Cites and Insights 6:2, offers a very good roundup of the debate as of Midwinter 2006

Why does L2 matter?
For me, Library 2.0 is about realizing that the library does not belong to us. It never has and we must let our patrons, the real owners, guide the services of the library. L2 asks libraries to place services where our users already are with tools they are already using. Michael Habib created this diagram which is the best and most detailed I have seen.

Not everyone believes in the existence of Library 2.0, though I think that the discourse surrounding this debate has been amiable.

Below are links to the social software, with their respective examples, that I (will) use in the class.

Blogs
Platforms: Blogger, WordPress, MoveableType, LiveJournal
Lampson Library’s WPopac by Casey Bisson (Updated: Sorry for the original mistake. I must have been typing with my brain off.)

Wikis
Platforms: PMWiki, MediaWiki, PBWiki
Ohio University Libraries Biz Wiki By Chad Boeninger

Tagging/Social Bookmarking
Platforms: Del.icio.us and Furl
Not an academic library, but a truly librarian use of Del.icio.us
San Mateo Public Library’s Del.icio.us page, used mostly for staff

Flickr
South Carolina State Library
The Librarians and Libraries Pool, where you won’t need floaties

Social Networking
Platforms: MySpace and Facebook
Helene Blowers is compiling a list of libraries on MySpace. The links to the post at the bottom are very good reading as well.

Summary, Library 2.0 is all about building community, participating in a meaningful discussion, and being beta!

–Jane, not the fish

Emerging at the End of a Week

This week, a week of change at MPOW, I am reminded why I chose to work here and why I like working in academia. I like the flexibility, though it has its moments of quicksand. I like the expectation of greatness. I am expected to produce great things. To research. To learn. To teach. It is empowering, daunting, and invigorating. I love it!

I am working on my application for Leslie Burger’s Emerging Leaders Program. I detest writing those “in 500 words tell us how wonderful you are” essays, because really all I ever want to say is, “Pick me, dammit. I will not disappoint!” Alas, I have to talk about leadership. *sigh*

I hope everyone enjoys their long weekend. I will.

–Jane, almost time for happy hour