Information and the Future

This is the blog of the Information and the Future task force of the Rolfing Library at Trinity International University. The IF task force exists to explore the role of libraries in the future of Christian higher education.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

An attempt to loosen the DCMA:

Wired News has this report on another attempt to loosen the DCMA restrictions. One of the specific provisions the congressmen are putting into their bill has to do with libraries:,72833-0.html?

Marie & Rebecca's library examples

Marie and I are working on our part of the presentation for the IFTF large group meeting. We've saved a word document with an outline of what we want to cover, and links to examples. If you want to take a look at it, it's located at F:\data\Tech Services\Administration\IF Task Force\LibraryExamples.doc

Monday, February 26, 2007

Blogging at Buswell

I found out from Gregory Morrison at CATLA that Wheaton's Buswell Library now has a blog. Check it out here.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Minutes 2/22/07

The minutes for our last meeting are posted on the wiki:

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Playing tag

Tim at the Librarything recently posted the results of study he did on tagging. As I read this it made me think about some of the points in Tim O'Reilly's article What is Web2.0 (I highly reccomend the O'Reilly article btw).

1. If tagging is ultimately going to be useful then it needs to improve search. We need to find a way to factor user generated content into our search algorithms, hopefully in a way that the user will come to understand that tagging or other content creation activities will improve their ability to find what they are looking for.

2. In order to reap web2.0 benefits (the benefits of operating within a network) we need to find ways to enhance data that go beyond asking users to consciously tag or categorize data for us. In other words we need to be documenting what users are doing and use what we learn to improve our data. Probably the paradigmatic instance of this is Amazon's users who bought x also bought a, b, c etc.

So thinking about this in the library world... I wonder what if circulation stats were figured into keyword (and heading searches) so that books that circulated more often were more likely to float to the top of results lists. What about tracking what books are put on reserve? Or what books do we own multiple copies of, or hold request and so on. Could we assume that a book that has been on reserve is more likely to interest a student than one that hasn't? Also could we think about generating tags from things that are already happening with books, for instance statistical codes we apply, funds, reserve lists, ref. works folders...

Finally I think Tim Spalding (Librarything) has a good point that tags are only (or especially) useful in large numbers. Thus a consortia catalog is much more likely to generate helpful tagging then any single institution. O'Reilly argues that true web2.0 applications perform better the more people use them. All this makes me think that the future of "SOPACs" lies with big conglomerate catalogs like IShare, WorldCat, or Librarything.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Creating the academic library folksonomy

In the February issue of College and Research Libraries News, there was an article talking about how to use social tagging in the library. They suggested creating tags for students in specific classes with links to good academic sites, online catalog records, and articles.

University of Pennsylvania created PennTags, which allows students, faculty and staff to bookmark quality web sites and records from the online catalog:

Stanford has been using the software Drupal ( to create a site which includes wiki, blog and features.

The article also mentioned some alternatives to - social tagging for academic environments, pulls bibliographic info from scientific sites - captures bibliographic metadata to store with the tag, and it will publicly show only links from peer-reviewed journals

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Social OPAC in Ann Arbor

Information about this came out over Autocat and the Thingology blog today. This post describes the new Social OPAC at the Ann Arbor District Library. It includes a helpful video (that will take a while to buffer) explaining the new features.

Secret Identities

OCLC has a beta product out called WorldCat Identities. It is an interface that allows you to search for names (real and fictitious) and discover the most widely held works by and about them, among other things.

A couple of things that stand out. Not only does the main search page have a "tag cloud" like interface the font size on search results indicates the prominence or obscurity of the author, the database includes images of book jackets that don't link to Amazon (hmm... wonder where OCLC gets those at), the database is very thorough - even if you've just produced an MA thesis you are still included.

So far there is no way to add to the web pages. It might be interesting to compare Worldcat Ids with the Librarything's author pages - See Vanhoozer in WorldCat and in Librarything by clicking those two links.

Finally, I've been thinking about and plan to post some thoughts on the future of integrated library systems, but this makes me wonder what OCLC could do if it could get access to raw circulation statistics. It would be interesting to see what books are actually being checked out the most and then if the user could set a time parameter so that you could see what has been checked out the most last week, last year, last 5 years, etc.

Using technology in teaching and learning

Some of you may have seen this ACRL article summarzing the directions different technologies are going in academia, but I thought I'd post the link here. I also found the list of resources and links at the end to be particularly helpful:

One of the links at the bottom references the 'library supported blogs' at the University of Minnesota. There's not a lot there yet in terms of the actual library, but I thought it interesting, nonetheless:

Monday, February 12, 2007

Technology & the Future of Higher Education

The 2007 Horizon Report on key tech trends in higher education has identified the following as the six technologies they think university administrators should be paying attention to:

1. User created content
2. Social networking
3. Mobile phones
4. Virtual worlds
5. New scholarship and emerging forms of publication
6. Massively multiplayer educational gaming

The ranking roughly reflect the order that the committee mostly of campus IT administrators (no librarians on the panel) expect the technology to impact schools. Probably nothing on the list is a surprise to readers of this blog, although I thought mobile phones was an interesting inclusion. The executive summary suggested that mobile phones will become (are becoming) the hardware that students will use to interact with digital material (sound, audio, internet etc).

I think it is important to not get too distracted by current applications of 2.0 technologies but rather to be thinking about how the underlying concepts may impact how we teach, how we grade, and the support that will be expected from University staff be they IT or library employees.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

NSLS - web 2.0

NSLS is offering another workshop on web 2.0:

Bring the Latest Web Technologies to Your Library
Come to NSLS on February 15 for a day of learning the latest and greatest on the Web! In the morning, come to Develop Your Own Blog from 9:30 a.m. - noon to learn the tricks and techniques your library needs to enter the world of blogs. Follow that up with Socialize Your Library! Fun and Easy to Do Web 2.0 from 1-4 p.m. This hands-on class, a repeat of the program offered last November, is back by popular demand to help you understand the latest social networking tools (including Flickr, weblogs, wikis, and more) and discover how you can use these tools at your library. Get even more training on the latest technology with online courses available through Ed2Go.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Minutes 2/8/07

The minutes from our 2/8/07 steering committee meeting are now available on our wiki:

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

15 Minutes a Day: a Personal Learning Management Strategy

This page talks about strategies for learning 2.0:

We could use it as a checklist for things we should explore! Many of the things we already have done, like creating a blog, a wiki, using RSS feeds. But there are some things we could explore more, like Flickr, image generators, Rollyo, and online word processing. I also thought he had an interesting idea for a "Technology Petting Zoo." This is a brownbag where staff share their technology devices, such as iPods, MP3 players, camera phones, e-books readers, gaming devices, text messaging tools, digital cameras and firewire. That way people can learn some new technology that they may not have a chance to explore otherwise.

P.S. - This page also has some good ideas for 2.0 things to explore:

New wiki

Information and the Future now has a wiki, located at:

This will be an opportunity for us to learn more about wikis, and try using one ourselves. It could also be a good way to organize things such as minutes, or create pages on specific topics for our general meetings. Feel free to play around with it!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

Here is the video I blog about below.

Web2.0 Video

I know watching YouTube is a real pain on campus but I would encourage you to check out this video from Michael Wesch a professor at Kansas State University.

The video is a four minute visual explanation of the difference between Web1.0 and Web2.0 (or an HTML based web and an XML based one). Both the content and presentation are fascinating. I think we may want to use this video in future presentations. It would be great if we could someday make videos like this.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Virtual book displays

Today TC had a perspectives chapel on social networking. Afterward David Whited said he hoped the chapel was merely the beginning of a campus wide conversation on the role of technology in our lives.

That got Rebekah and I thinking about how as librarians we could aid that discussion. Among other things we discussed coming up with a list of resources that people interested in pursuing the topic may wish to consult. Rebekah thought it would be great if we came up with a variety of types of resources (and I think that is a good idea) but I've been working on producing an online bibliography that would be graphically appealing. I've been experimenting with Library Thing (LT) and if you look at the margin of this blog you will see a list of books that I was able to create using LT. Unfortunately I can't get these books to link to our catalog from this widget but we could create a web page that included links and also had these book cover images supplied by the LT. I think that would be kind of cool :)

We can create different "widgets" based on tags of books in our Library Thing library so we could have different pages with different displays. In the future I think it would be great to work with the chapel office and the faculty panelist to provide resource pages for the perspective chapels. Maybe eventually we can facilitate campus dialogue on these pages as well.

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