Friday, August 14, 2009

Final Reflections

Throughout the duration of this course, I have been exposed to a variety of Web 2.0 technologies. I was already familiar with a few of these technologies, such as wikis, blogs, podcasts, and social networking. Others were brand new to me so it required me to do more exploratory work when it came to these technologies, for example, Twitter.

Since the amount of time devoted to each technology was extremely limited, I found it difficult to really take in the technology and learn how to use it well. I found the lack of time to be frustrating. I was unable to look at a technology in more detail and forced to move on to a new technology despite being unprepared mentally (especially since I was still considering the previous technology).

While I think that finding information on the particular technology helpful, in the future, I will likely spend more time pursuing the actual technology and figuring out how it works. I think that only once you can use the technology comfortably will you be able to incorporate it into the school or library context. Although sometimes it is interesting to find out how people are using these technologies in similar situations, if you get too caught up in it, you can be “putting the cart before the horse,” so to speak. I, myself, think that if I can use the technology well, I am able to implement it into my work more effectively, rather than just using the technology because it is there.

In order to properly integrate a new technology into the library, I would put together a short presentation to be given at a staff meeting to show the other staff the benefits and uses of the technology I selected. I would use the presentation as a way to communicate to them the importance of the technology in reaching our patrons and a great way to keep up with current technologies.

To stay on top of the technologies, I will sign up for various seminars and workshops that are offered either through SLIS (School of Library and Information Studies) or other organizations. By doing this, I can also get new ideas regarding how the technologies are being incorporated into libraries and schools every day. It will also be interesting from a discussion point of view because if everyone in the workshop comes from a different field, I will be able to get a wide range of ideas for how they are being used.

Jack M. Maness (2006) writes about “library 2.0” and defines it as being user-centred, providing a multi-media experience, socially rich, and “communally innovative.” Through Web 2.0 applications, our library staff and patrons can be connected even more so, allowing those with similar interests to find out what the others are reading or taking out of the library and to discuss these materials more easily. Web 2.0 applications also allow the library to reach more of the population – especially those who would not normally visit the library.

I also found a website dedicated to librarians exploring Web 2.0 technologies called Learning 2.0. I would use this website to also familiarize myself with the ways in which the technologies can be used. The information technology director of a library in North Carolina came up with the site as a way for librarians to “play around” with the technologies and “remain relevant” to the patrons.

I definitely feel nervous about using some of the technologies. For example, podcasting and videosharing are not necessarily things that I am keen on doing. I don’t like the sound of my voice and I wouldn’t say that I have the greatest intonation (because I read from a paper when I podcast). I find it difficult to just say what I want to say and have it come out sounding professional and clear. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people are speaking and they add numerous unnecessary “ums” and “uhs.” This would definitely be an area that I would work on personally.

I would say that the most that I learned form other classmates revolved around the various types of each technology that they used. I found their reflections on how the various applications worked rather helpful and based on what they found I could decide which specific applications I would use and those that I would definitely avoid. I also learned more about associated applications for many of the technologies. For example, Lamebook is an application associated with Facebook which users utilize to remind people about what they are sharing on the Internet (and usually what they have shared is considered “lame”).

It is definitely intimidating to think about being the person on staff who wants to push to implement the Web 2.0 technologies into the library. I think that a lot of people like to hold on to the traditional way of doing things, and for these people, it may become a struggle to win them over and get them on board to introduce the technologies to the staff. At the same time, however, there are probably people who will be on the opposite end of the spectrum – those who will immediately embrace the technologies and not need any convincing so as to why they should be used in the library.

Although I have encountered many bumps, things that intimidate me, throughout the duration of this course, I feel as though I am prepared to take the next step and use these technologies in my future career as a librarian.

Hanly, Beverly. “Public Library Geeks Take Web 2.0 to the Stakcs.” Wired 29 Mar 2007. 14 Aug 2009

Maness, Jack M. (2006). “Library 2.0 Theory: Web 2.0 and Its Implications for Libraries.” Webology, v. 3( 2)

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