Miss Letting-Go-Getting


Post #3: Play
October 28, 2007, 9:54 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Play:

“An activity which proceeds within certain limits of time and space, in a visible order, according to rules freely accepted, and outside the sphere of necessity or material utility. The play-mood is one of rapture and enthusiasm, and is sacred or festive in accordance with the occasion. A feeling of exaltation and tension accompanies the action.”

-Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture

It has been a week since my LIS 753 class was blessed with a visit from a trio of vibrant and brilliant librarians from Delft in the Netherlands. Their library, the DOK is a stunning public space combining art, music, books, and technology. In form and in function, their innovative library completely embraces the concept of play–a space devoted to imagination, creativity and celebration.

Since their visit, a stop on their cross-country tour of the USA dubbed the Shanachie tour, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about “play” and what it means to us as a society, and as a profession.

Though most public libraries have abandoned their quiet mausoleum like spaces, we can still do more to encourage play, collaboration, teamwork and pure unbridled joy. Offering gaming in the library to patrons of all ages, is just one way to encourage everyone to lighten up a bit, have some fun, and enter this rapturous realm of imagination.

Too many pressures–work, school, money, day-to-day living often take priority over play time, and much to our detriment. Restoring and maintaining a sense of play for all should be a new role for librarians in an ever increasing fast-paced, info bloated world.

Of course, we should all experience vigorous, active, play–but I think reading is play as well! Check out these books that explore play in all of its glory!

The Art of Play: An Adult’s Guide to Reclaiming Imagination and Spontaneity by Adam Blatner, M.D & Allee Blatner

Deep Play by Diane Ackerman

artofplay.jpgdeepplay.jpg

Thank you Erik, Jaap and Geert!



Assignment: Web Page Review
October 18, 2007, 2:38 pm
Filed under: Library Land | Tags:

Pretty but soulless
Tidy yet boring
The library website leaves me snoring.

I need to clarify my above harsh (and really bad) poetry by stating that this is not the fault of the library!

The main problem with the Rebecca Crown Library web page is that it seems to be stuck conforming to university-wide mandates of layout and style. In appearance, it seems to be merely a marketing tool for the university, rather than its own entity, which would allow for much more freedom and play. The DU athletics department has their own site (sponsored by CBS), different and certainly more exciting than the parent organization’s. Perhaps the library just needs a corporate sponsor (kidding)!

I understand that Dominican uses the website to market to potential students and parents, and that the over-all look is important to establishing a consistent brand. The Crown library, however, exists to provide quality service to current faculty, staff and students. Because the library web page must connect the community with large amounts of information, it is crucial that the site have a very efficient layout with much more interactivity! The library presence on the DU portal does a better job of this, but is still restricted by a set layout and design.

The main page of a library website should contain a map of all of the information held within. North Carolina State University Libraries (with their own site) do a fantastic job of this—by including the feature categories and what is held within them on the main page. The main page also includes a drop down box of most used features on the site, a search box and an FAQ:

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Without scrolling or clicking on multiple links, a user immediately knows where to go from finding info in the catalog and databases, to library news and contact information. North Carolina University also creates a user-rich experience by incorporating extensive subject guides, virtual tours, web-cams and interactive maps of Library locations.

Though the Crown Library now incorporates exciting Web 2.0 tools (yeah!) such as a blog, a wiki and IM they aren’t necessarily easy to find from the main page. Web 2.0 tools should be more prominent—just having them isn’t enough. They must be marketed and promoted like anything else! For example, Reeves Library at Moravian College has a Meebo box with the header “Research Help” on nearly every single page of the website—there is absolutely no missing it:

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In conclusion, the Crown library web page suffers from confinement!

Dear Dominican,

Set the library web page free! Give it flexibility and a room of its own to grow and change!

Sincerely, GSLIS Student



Assignment Web 2.0 Tool Review: Ning
October 16, 2007, 4:38 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

First came MySpace, then Facebook and now Ning, a fairly new Web 2.0 tool (in its current form) allowing anyone to create a unique social network from scratch, for free. With MySpace and Facebook, members belong to one massive social network. Though there is the option to join specific groups, they all still exist as part of the larger organism. In contrast, Ning gives anyone the power to design a complete network around whatever passion, interest, or organization they want to promote and share with like-minded folks.

In his blog, Ning co-creator Mark Andreesen, equates Ning with second generation social networking stating:

“the more people learn what social networking makes possible, the more interested they will be in creating their own worlds. their own social networks, around every conceivable need and niche: their families, friends, cities, companies, start-ups, classes, hobbies, interests, political candidates, nonprofit activities, and so on.”

Add to that list libraries!

With Ning, network creators can:

  • make their network public or private
  • fully customize and brand their site
  • for a small fee, opt to include their own advertising or remove all advertising

With Ning, network members can:

  • design their own profile page, useable on any Ning network they join
  • start their own blog
  • participate in network forums
  • Add pictures, music, widgets
  • Add features seamlessly into Facebook

Extremely viral, Ning has recently exceeded 100,000 networks. Some savvy libraries and librarians have started using Ning to create their own environments for collaboration, discussion and play. Roselle Public Library uses the forums on their network for book discussions, networking tips, jokes, and audio books. In addition, they have photos from library events, links to the catalog and RSS feeds for new items in the collection. Ning networks also exist for library technicians, support staff, catalogers, collection managers, MLS students and even Library 2.0.

Easy, free and completely customizable, Ning is a great way for libraries, professionals, and patrons to enter the next level of social networking. I strongly believe that smaller, more specific social networks will be the next big thing and libraries should catch the wave now! By providing a specific network for our patrons to communicate with us and fellow library users, we can serve them better. By joining specific networks in our profession we can learn more about our field while establishing valuable contacts.



Post #2: Do the Mash!
October 6, 2007, 3:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

In my humble opinion, mashed things are pretty fantastic. Mashed potatoes, the Monster Mash, M*A*S*H the t.v. show and movie, and last but not least, my favorite Web 2.0 technique the mashup. Mashups, to put it simply, enhance, combine or manipulate existing web applications (APIs) to create a completely new thing. For example, do you love shopping on Craig’s List, but hate having to click on each post to only find that the coffee table is definitely not the one you’re looking for? Listpic is a mashup using Craig’s List images to create a visual Craig’s list search. Feeling indecisive and can’t decide where to go for lunch, spin the Wheel of Lunch! Looking for a new apartment, but don’t want to live next to another crazy neighbor, take a gander at Rotten Neighbors.

There are thousands of mashups on the web, ranging from the incredibly useful and informative to the completely fun, ridiculous and purely entertaining. Mashups are built on applications such as Google Maps, Flickr, Amazon, E-Bay and Yahoo (just to name a few). David Berlind, executive director of ZD.net gives a great explanation of mashups in this Youtube video and states that at a rate of 10 new mashups per day, they have become the fasted growing application ecosystem online. Even better, with just a little bit of know how and a great idea, anyone can develop a mashup and put it on the Internet. If you’ve got a few minutes check out what Mr. Berlind has to say…

Libraries can harness the power of this really cool and creative Web 2.0 technique to enhance catalogs, to get where patrons are on-line and last but not least to make the on-line library an exciting and visually stimulating experience. What do you think? Have any mash-tastic ideas for your library?

More about Mashups:

Mashups and Libraries: Resources, Articles and Links
http://library2.usask.ca/~fichter/mashups/

Mashups, a little bit of this a little bit of that
http://www.sirsidynixinstitute.com/seminar_page.php?sid=77

Programmable Web
http://www.programmableweb.com/

The Library 2.0 Mashup Gang: Podcast
http://talk.talis.com/archives/2006/07/the_library_20_2.html

Examples of Library Mashups:

Hot Titles Info mashed with Syndetic Book Covers
http://www.cambridgelibraries.ca/hot/carousel.cfm

Book Delivery Route Info mashed with Google Maps
http://www.lcls.org/members/routemap.aspx

Go-go-google-gadget (winner of the Talis Library Mashup Award)
http://www.blyberg.net/2006/08/18/go-go-google-gadget/