You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2012.

'Burgeoning' by Robert S. Donovan via Flickr

The readings for this, our last week of class, center on online professional development opportunities. It’s fitting — and, I suspect, no coincidence — that we’re thinking and talking about this topic just after completing a week of webinars designed to present an opportunity to consider new library programs, services, philosophies, and trends.

As others have said, one of the great things about this class is the chance to run what amounts to a series of mini-conferences for preprofessional librarians and information workers — we learn by doing, and from each other. That’s easily been one of my favorite aspects of this semester.

Our collection of webinars has been no different — topics ranged from assistive technologies to open-access publishing to library outreach for young professionals. My group’s presentation looked at the concept of libraries as incubators — for business entrepreneurs, artists, and underserved populations who need a home base for starting a cottage industry or connecting with technologies. You can check out our online handout to read more about some of the organizations we talked about.

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'Not Getting Involved' by TarikB via Flickr

Apologies for the brief blogging hiatus. We took last week off from class to make room for a series of fantastic webinars produced and presented by my classmates. I’ll talk about those in my next post, but first I’ve got a few more thoughts on Twitter, the topic of our most recent class.

I’ve already written about how I use Twitter as a preprofessional, so I wanted to take a look at the use of Twitter by libraries as institutions. Social media is becoming increasingly important for all kinds of institutions — in fact, Michigan just hired its first full-time university-wide director of social media — and I’m seeing more and more books and articles offering advice for libraries using social media to connect with their communities.

It’s fairly straightforward to set up institutional social media accounts and start pushing out content. But what happens after that? How do you measure or discern any effect or enlarged connection to your patrons?

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'Maze' by woodleywonderworks via Flickr

This week, my classmates and I ran our own #si643 backchannel on Twitter. A few days into our conversation, I felt like I’d participated in a virtual conference with all my sharp, engaged colleagues. Y’all are a fun bunch.

Last semester was my first experience using any kind of backchannel for class-related but out-of-the-classroom discussion — in that case, a Diigo group where classmates shared links and news related to our discussions of information literacy instruction.

The Twitter backchannel this week was a bit more informal and definitely more interactive, as we traded tweets on open access journals, eBook DRM, computational literacy, and more. While I’ve been a Twitter user for a while now, I primarily use it to follow professionals in my field and to curate my own news feed of neat stuff. Our class conversation required more back-and-forth, and challenged me to hone my responses in such a short format — always a useful tool for clarifying one’s thinking.

Now that I’ve got more than 140 characters, though, I’ll say a bit more about one topic that came up in our discussion: library jargon.

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