Friday, August 17, 2007

Wikis and RSS in Plain English

The perfect tutorials--short, great examples, fun.

YouTube - Wikis in Plain English 3 min. 52 seconds

YouTube - RSS in Plain English 3.5 minutes

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

InfoMania - Information Overload

Ironically I am contemplating the results of this research article on the effects of information overload on "knowledge workers" as I sit at my desk waiting for the beep that indicates I have a new email in my inbox. Though the article couches its results in terms of loss of productivity--the way everything seems to be measured in the media these days--it makes some great points that I realize apply to most academics. We are the ultimate "knowledge workers." We think that those of us who eschew email are old-fashioned. We watch our students text messaging, instant messaging, using Facebook and MySpace and who knows what other communication methods invented yesterday. Maybe it is time to step back and look at our own brains on constant, instant and often irrelevant communication.

Try this research article in First Monday.

Infomania: Why We Wan’t Afford to Ignore It Any Longer
by Nathan Zeldes, David Sward, and Sigal Louchheim

The creative thinking process requires long stretches of uninterrupted time, to study books, articles and online resources, and to process information, sorting it mentally and generating insight. These activities take time as well as mental concentration, which builds up slowly and can easily be lost.

Field research demonstrates that restoring daily segments of contiguous “Quiet Time” can have a major effect of increasing productivity in development teams [21], [22]. Additional research shows a correlation between a fragmented work mode and reduced creativity [23].

In the past, such thinking time was core to the work paradigm. Newton got hit by that apple because he was sitting under a tree. Sitting and contemplating the world (what we now call “doing nothing”) was an expected part of a scientist’s routine. More recently, say ten years ago, employees could still expect to do some thinking – if no other way, after 5 PM, during the weekend, or by hiding in a conference room.

Today, the only time we can think is when the flight attendant orders us to close our notebooks prior to landing. At any other time – 24x7 – we’re accessible to beeping, alerting, attention–grabbing devices and software tools. We are expected to respond to them instantly. One perspective is that technology channels our thinking to multiple, mostly trivial problems instead of focusing on a few important ones where we can create real value.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Couple of Sites for Weekend Browsing

From Marylaine Block's weekly post:

"What Book Got You Hooked?
FirstBook, which gives away books to children, asked people to tell them
what book got them hooked on reading. "Over 100,000 people responded.
These are the Top 50 books that got YOU hooked!" No doubt everybody's
answers would be different, which makes this a great topic for
discussions and exhibits in your library."

"Smithsonian: Art and Design
A good place to sample or immerse yourself in the Smithsonian's
outstanding research and collections on design. Browse by type of design
(architecture, graphic arts, industrial design, stamps, letters and
coins, etc.), or by regions and cultures. Irresistible sample displays
from each category (lighthouse postcards, American lunchboxes, Asian
games, etc.) are available from the main page. Click on Ask Joan of Art
to have information specialists at the American Art Museum answer your

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Top 100 Tools for Learning

Here's a UK list, gathered from other lists, enumerating the most valued tools useful for educating students. It's interesting that the "written word" meaning words on paper only made it to 49. Guess students don't need "real" books much anymore, much less tools like library catalogs and databases--not mentioned at all.

What were the Brits thinking???

Top 100 Tools for Learning

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Newsmap--a news junkie's dream

I stashed this url in an email and just resurrected it while cleaning my desktop. Newsmap is a visual representation of the most recent stories from Google news aggregator by country and color-coded to 7 main topics and recency.

"Newsmap is an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator. . . . Its objective is to simply demonstrate visually the relationships between data and the unseen patterns in news media. It is not thought to display an unbiased view of the news; on the contrary, it is thought to ironically accentuate the bias of it."

How refreshing--to admit bias!


Friday, August 03, 2007

Non-Profit Research Reports and YouTube

I got this from today's Gary Price's Resource Shelf.
"IssueLab, which has been around for just about two years, is a project of the Chicago-based New Media for Nonprofits, which basically assists third sector organizations in creating and managing an online presence. Gabriela Fitz, IssueLab co-director, describes the site as
"an online publishing forum focused solely on research being produced by the third sector. Its mission is to bring nonprofit research into focus by giving a broad audience easy and open access to this extensive body of work." We would describe it, more simply, as a searchable archive of full-text nonprofit organization research and policy papers."

The second website, and a rather fun educational project, is a digital ethnography class from Kansas State University explaining YouTube by using YouTube.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


If you are like me there are hundreds of classic books you have never read. Ones that everyone assumes an educated person has read--and what respectable librarian wants to admit to such outrageous gaps in ones reading history. To the rescue--DailyLit--a website recommended by my well-read daughter. Have small chunks of classic, copyright-free books sent to you daily--a 5-10 minute read--either by email or rss feed. I have just browsed the list, but have not yet signed up for one. Maybe I can finally get through Joyce's Ulysses if it is fed to me in 332 parts! Maybe not. Free registration. js


Friday, July 27, 2007

Library Now Has Project Muse

If you haven't yet noticed the Muse icon on the bottom of our library homepage, please take notice! Project Muse might be considered the "front-end" of JSTOR, both non-profits starting about the same time with Mellon Grants. JSTOR covers full text back issues of many humanities/social science type academic journals. Project Muse carries the full text, current issues of many of the same journals.

This is a great boon to the humanities faculty who have, till now, not had the convenience of lots of full text humanities journals available to them online. Great for students doing papers too. JS

Here's what Project Muse says about itself:

Project MUSE is a unique collaboration between libraries and publishers providing 100% full-text, affordable and user-friendly online access to over 300 high quality humanities, arts, and social sciences journals from 60 scholarly publishers.

MUSE began in 1993 as a pioneering joint project of the Johns Hopkins University Press and the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at JHU. Grants from the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities allowed MUSE to go live with JHU Press journals in 1995. Journals from other publishers were first incorporated in 2000, with additional university press and scholarly society publishers joining in each subsequent year.

Today, MUSE is still a not-for-profit collaboration between the participating publishers and MSEL, with the goal of disseminating quality scholarship via a sustainable model that meets the needs of both libraries and publishers. At this time, Project MUSE subscriptions are available only to institutions.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How Google is Making Us Stupid

Worth a thoughtful read.
"It is hard to conceive of a more succinct description of what might be called the Google Society, convinced it is on the verge of a bright, shiny, networked utopia linked by huge virtual libraries to all civilised wisdom even as it reduces its culture to machine-generated lists of what everyone else is looking at, so stupid that it does not realise how stupid it is." Gideon Haigh

Monday, July 23, 2007

Copyright Guidelines Chart

Instructors, if you are planning for your fall classes, this chart might be useful. It is slightly old, 2001, but most of the components are the same. I will have to do some research to see if there have been any updates, but I don't think there are.

Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the U. S.
If you wish to print or publish on the Internet the works of others, this chart will help you decide whether the copyright police can throw you in the clink.