Assignment 3, Part 2 – Evaluative Report

This report comprises two parts, part A is an evaluative statement using three experiences in my online learning journal (OLJ) to demonstrate meeting the five learning objectives for INF206 as published in the subject outline.  Part B is a reflective statement about INF206 and its effect on my development as a social networker and the implications for my development as an information professional.

The three experiences chosen from my OLJ are:-

  • Delicious: a social bookmarking service
  • ASU Libraries
  • Social Media Policy

Delicious a social bookmarking service

This learning experience proved to be effective in developing my skills as a social networker and in gaining an understanding of social networking technologies.  While being aware of Delicious I had no previous experience with social bookmarking.  While Delicious was fairly easy to grasp one area of difficulty was overcome by social networking with fellow students through Facebook.  Examination of the functionality allows for sharing, following and networking with tagging/stacks for organising and searching.

Research into Delicious gave further insight into how this tool could be used in a number of ways by libraries and information professionals to support their communities informational needs, for example, the provision of online subject guides feed or feeding into a website.  Like all Web 2.0 technologies, evaluation of usefulness is necessary and will depend on the context; the information needs of the organisation and those being served.

Shortly after I made my OLJ entry the Delicious interface changed and I had to learn how to perform the same functions again.  This reminded me that Web 2.0 technologies are constantly changing and evolving, and that I need to be open to learning and change.

ASU Libraries

This exercise involved an examination and evaluation of the Arizona State University Libraries (ASU) use of social media to connect with library users and provide a participatory library service.  Social media’s foundation principles of conversation, collaboration, community and content creation form the basis of not only Web 2.0 but also Library 2.0 which encompasses both these foundation principles and Web 2.0 technologies, applying them to libraries allowing “the end users to thrive and survive (and libraries along with them)” (Abram, 2007, Library 2.0 section).

The ASU libraries did make an effort to connect with their community using a variety of tools and media, to have the conversation about what their users needs were, then they responded, for example staying open all night before exams, demonstrating participatory library service.  Participatory library service is dependant on getting to know your community (both users and non users) and their needs through assessment, both formal such as surveys and informal such as conversation, or observations and then responding, allowing the community to shape future services (Farkas, 2007).

ASU’s librarian Anali Perry featured in The Library Minute videos added a human face to the library.  Bennett suggests that “the more human we look, the more we personalize our services, the more connected we will be to our patrons” (as cited in Brookover, 2007).  These videos made me question how far I am prepared to go as an Information professional to connect with and serve my clients.  When client’s needs are identified, will I be prepared to respond and change?

Social Media Policy

This exercise demonstrating policy development was the last of several exercises relating to the issues that our socially networked world presents.  Through access to the Internet, information, Web 2.0 technologies and the ease with which interaction and content creation is taking place we are seeing a global transformation that is changing society and culture, for example many now have mobile phones to access the Internet wherever they are.

To respond to these changes information policy which control and guide the flow of information are developed at both government and organisation levels.  Intellectual property, copyright, Internet regulation, privacy and security of information are some of issues that need to be addressed.  Government information policy as defined by Weingarten “is the set of all public laws, regulations and policies that encourage, discourage or regulate the creation, use, storage and communication of information” (as cited in Hay & Wallis, 2011).

For an organisation, information policy can provide direction about the flow of information, what is acceptable behaviour and use of social media whilst in work or personal time.  Information policy would also cover use of the network, computers and other devices.

This exercise made me consider some of these issues when developing a social media policy for an organisation.  Developing policy was found to be very complex but a necessary part of management in organisations today.

Part 2 – B.  Reflective Statement

Social Networker

Social networking is something that people do naturally as they are drawn to others for any number of reasons; those reasons could include common interests, values, and social circumstances.  Social networks are based on the concepts of communication, sharing, collaborating and creating a community; and the Internet with the emergence of Web 2.0 technologies have made  “contributing materials and connecting with other people faster, easier and more accessible to a wider population than ever before” (De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk, & Jenkins, 2007, p.2-1).

Social networking with staff from other libraries at meetings, conferences, via the telephone and email listserv has been very valuable in my current work but my use of other forms of social networking was fairly limited.

This subject has allowed me to explore a wide range of social networking and Web 2.0 technologies and share experiences with fellow students.  Without studying INF206 I would have never have considered using some of the networking technologies, such as Second Life for example.

The experience I have gained by participating in this subject has given me greater confidence as a social networker.  The understanding gained about how the technologies work and of the many advantages of social networking now seems to outweigh any perceived disadvantages that I held previously.  The ease and quality of information accessed through social connections has been impressive and will inform my work from this time forward.

At the same time I recognise that I still need to develop further, as my social technology behaviour has tended to be that of a spectator and joiner on Bernoff and Li’s Social technographics ladder, whereas this subject has given the opportunity to be a creator and I could contribute more, becoming a conversationalist (Bernoff & Li, 2010).

Information professional

INF206 has had significant impact on my perspective and future direction as a developing information professional.  While having been aware of social networking and many Web 2.0 technologies I had not really considered their application to libraries or why they should be used.  This subject has made me think about social networking and Web 2.0 technologies potential for connecting to and serving end users, how our end users might already be using them and how these technologies can be effectively used within the workplace.  Recognising that before implementing any new services or technologies there must be a need, supported by assessment and it cannot be because the technology is interesting, new or desirable (Farkas, 2008).

Our socially networked world does present some challenges too, for example mobile devices have made Internet access and social media readily available for many, requiring an understanding and ability to develop information policy.  Easy participation in the online community and access to information is not a given though, as digital divide exists between those that have access to the infrastructure, skills and resources and those who do not.

Helping others to be able to freely access information and develop their information literacy skills to be able to fully participate in society is a key role of information professionals (Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), 2006, 2007).  Thus helping others learn to critically evaluate online information and identities, helping them to be aware of the dangers or consequences and the need for them to safely manage their privacy and identity is part of my role as a future information professional.

This subject has also alerted me to new ways of staying informed and learning about emerging technologies and trends, bringing the information to me.  Through this new knowledge I have been able to extend my personal learning network and have found an amazing array of new and useful sources of information that will equip me to improve the quality of my work.  At the same time I recognise that I will have to make more of an effort to keep my technical skills up to date, keeping an open mind and experimenting with new technologies.  This will be important not only for looking for opportunities to improve service and access to information but also as I help others acquire skills and knowledge.

INF206 has encouraged me to understand “end users deeply in terms of their goals and aspirations, workflows, social and content needs, and more” (Abram, 2007, Librarian 2.0 section) so that I can become a librarian 2.0 and information professional for our time and into the future.

References

Abram, S. (2007). Web 2.0, library 2.0 and librarian 2.0: Preparing for the 2.0 world. Retrieved December 12, 2011, from http://www.online-information.co.uk/online09/files/freedownloads.new_link1.1080622103251.pdf

Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) (2006). Statement on information literacy for all Australians. Retrieved January 26, 2012, from http://www.alia.org.au/policies/information.literacy.html

Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) (2007). Statement on free access to information. Retrieved January 26, 2012, from http://www.alia.org.au/policies/free.access.html

Bernoff, J., & Li, C. (2010). Social Technographics: Conversationalists get onto the ladder. Retrieved January 9, 2012, from http://forrester.typepad.com/groundswell/2010/01/conversationalists-get-onto-the-ladder.html

Brookover, S. (2007). Why we blog. Library Journal, (November 15). Retrieved from http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6497263.html

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J., & Jenkins, L. (2007). Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership.  Available from http://www.oclc.org/reports/pdfs/sharing.pdf

Farkas, M. G. (2007). What will work @ your library. In Social software in libraries: Building collaboration, communication and community online (pp. 233-255). Medford, N.J.: Information Today, Inc.

Farkas, M. G. (2008). The essence of library 2.0? Retrieved January 9, 2012, from http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/

Hay, L., & Wallis, J. (2011). Social networking for information professionals [INF206 Module 5]. Retrieved November 10, 2011, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF206_201190_W_D/page/5feac35f-13fd-4dc5-80db-434ea456a7ca

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