My apologies

November 23, 2006

my apologies all; that last file attachment didn’t work.

i have updated my previous post with a link to the file…. it decided that creating a new page would be great…

 https://roldham.wordpress.com/2006/11/21/im-in-the-libs/msn-file-sharing/

 i had a hard time getting back into wordpress again!

IM in the LIBS

November 21, 2006

Hey all;

 first, a couple of admin issues:

1) has anyone else been having huge problems with admin’ing their wordpress blog since say, 2 months ago? whenever i try to create a new post, it is VERY slow… and often times, when i am done a post, and click PUBLISH (thats right, not SAVE, but PUBLISH) it just SAVES the post and doesn’t actually post it! at any rate… i just hope that i am not alone 😀

2)”IM” to me seems like an american term… i don’t hear anyone my age (or younger) use the term IM… i think it is one of those words cooked up by older people trying to be ‘hip’… like when your friends would come over and visit you at your parent’s house when you were younger, and your parents, when chatting with your friends, would use the words “HIP” or “Groovy” and sound completely archaic. for this reason, i will use the term Message and/or messaging when i am refering to IM and IM’ing. THis is the term i have always used, and the term i hear the ‘kids’ use at work :D.

i would like to talk about the use of Messaging within the library used as a tool for virtual reference.

 at the university of guelph, we use a pay-for commercial virtual reference solution called “DOCUTEK”, which, as far as i understand from the workers who use it, is less than perfect. this service permits patrons to email questions in, and to request ‘live chat’ with an individual working the reference desk. A key feature of docutek is the ability to ‘cobrowse’ with patrons (Cobrowsing definition: Synchronizing browser access to the same sites. As one user browses the Web, the other users trail along automatically and link to and view the same pages from their browsers). the need for this feature becomes of greater importance as an increasing number of a library’s services migrate to the online realm. In discussions with the staff members who work on virtual reference with the docutek service, apparently this ‘cobrowsing’ feature typically does not work. It seems that at the University of Guelph we experience the same strict system requirement issues as outlined in the Aaron Schmidt article which leads to the incorrect functioning of this co-browsing feature.

 A few years ago (before my time at the McLaughlin Library), Virtual reference assistance via msn chat was added as a method of receiving reference help. MSN was chosen because of the sheer number of MSN users in our environment: it seems MSN Messenger is used more often in canada, and AOL Instant Messenger is used more often in the US.

 this new service offering, from what i understand from those staff members working Virtual Reference, has been quite popular. However, only the chat feature was being used, and  co-browsing was not offered. what we didn’t realize was that MSN actually has the capacity to allow for co-browsing as well.

 when WIndows Live Messenger (the newest version of MSN messenger) was released in the summer of 2006, co-browsing became available. I put together an instructional presentation for all of the library staff about ‘advanced use of MSN messenger’ and had over 50 staff members in 3 showings! in this presentation, i demonstrated how to use cobrowsing within MSN, as well as some other ‘advanced’ msn features, such as file sharing and remote assistance. This offering seemed quite well received, and with the cobrowsing feature available within Windows Live Messenger, there is the possibility to provide reliable online assistance and cobrowsing to our patrons via the platform they are most familiar with.

please see the informational sheet ( MSN file sharing ) that i used for the staff training:

Banning Social Software

November 15, 2006

I choose to be apart of this group project on Online Social Networks (OSN’s) not because of the date at which it fell (although it was strategically due right after conference week… i give you that… :D), but because this is the topic for the reason behind why i took this entire course.

 In this post, i’d like to discuss an issue raised by Meredith Farkas concerning some libraries blocking OSN sites. i think back to LIS 501 when we spoke about the roots of the library; we spoke about how there are several key factors to libraries, including: storage of books/materials, access to knowledge, and also a location for the democratic discourse. Now, one of the things i thought about was that in the ‘digital library’ age as many of the services/resources provided by libraries are moving to the digital realm, one thing that has yet to move to the digital realm is the library as a hub of democratic discourse. this is where i feel OSN’s are CRITICAL to the continued digital development of libraries.

Ebooks, E journals, OPAC’s, online virtual reference, chatting with librarians over MSN, online course pacs, e-reserve, RACER, IUTS, the ability to renew books online… these are ways in which library services have moved online…. but again, notice the one thing missing: the library is a place where people meet to discuss issues… in 501 we called it ‘democratic discourse…”…. where is this feature? seemingly, almost every other library service has been born to the digital world, but not the social networking function also served by the library.

As we see huge amounts of teens/students/adults interacting in online worlds, sharing their opinions on blogs, writing academic entries on wikipedia, posting comments on blog entries… these are all very academic scholarly ways of interacting with others that have not yet found their way into libraries (for the most part). So, as these technologies grow in popularity, libraries should be embracing them, not blocking patrons from using them to interact with one another. As the ALA states on their website: “ALA promotes the creation, maintenance, and enhancement of a learning society…” what about a society that is slowly moving online? how counter-productive is it then  to actively block these technologies which can move democratic discourse into an online realm with all of the other online library services ?

Let me first start off by saying that i was part of the group who presented “online social networks” this week.

As the group of us began deciding on which online social networking websites we would examine, something dawned on us: “the whole internet is an online social network!”

 now, certainly, there are some sites which incorporate more online social interaction than some other sites, for example, myspace is definately an ‘online social network’, but what about Digg? if you head over to the group presentation this week on online social networks (PLUG PLUG PLUG), you’ll find out how it is that digg works… what do you think? is it an Online Social Network? there are social aspects to digg, the stories that are ‘dug’ the most make it to the front page, users ‘digging’ a news story technically interact together by showing a consensus on which news articles they ‘dug’… but is this degree of social interaction “enough” for you to consider it an online social network? there really is no clear definition of exactly how much social interaction is required for a site to get pigeon-holed as an ‘online social network’. should we be happy with ‘degrees of social-ness’ for online social networks, that is, are you ok with ‘digg’ and, say, myspace, being in the same ‘online social network’ category considering the great degree of seperation that exists between them in terms of how social the sites are? is any degree of social interaction, no matter how ‘asynchronous’ the interaction is? or is synchronis communication/interaction the key to making it into the ‘online social network’ category?

October 24, 2006

I have been using delicious to keep track of links for a while and this was the second time i was ‘forced’ into tagging. the first time i was forced into using tagging was with the release of gmail. gmail was quite revolutionary in that instead of offering its users folders in which they could sort and store email messages, they had NO folders and were given ‘labels’, which were essentially just a different word for TAGS. There was a little bit of backlash, some irritation, and some praise when google released its gmail sans folders. one rebel, even ‘deciphered’ a way of still having folders… or so she thought… this is tagging still miss kim. I also use an online file storage application called esnips which incorporates tagging for files as well (and folders tooooo!)  

 like i said in my last post, tagging is the new folders… hmmm that doesn’t sound particularly grammatically correct… but ya know…

I am taking LIS 502 this semester and when we were learning Library of COngress Subject Headings, and all their confusion and rigidity assigning supplementary subject headings… for example,  a textbook on electricity could have an entire chapter or more devoted to magnetism… in subject headings, this becomes somewhat difficult to catalogue, and often times in the past, the book would have been catalogued by its primary subject heading ONLY, completely disregarding the chapter on magnetism   

Kroski states in her article:  “The wisdom of crowds, the hive mind, and the collective intelligence are doing what heretofore only expert catalogers, information architects and website authors have done. They are categorizing and organizing the Internet and determining the user experience, and it’s working. ”

By permitting tagging within the OPAC, we could capture these other subjects that are covered in works that are more often than not, disregarded entirely. imagine the fine-grain categorization that could be applied to each work… if you read a book on firetrucks, and they had a particularly indepth look at firehoses in chapter 2, you could tag the book with ‘firehoses’…. then anyone searching for ‘firehoses’ would come across your tag, and consequently, the book on firetrucks with the rich chapter on firehoses!!

Tag=Cataloging

October 24, 2006

I have been using delicious to keep track of links for a while and this was the second time i was ‘forced’ into tagging. the first time i was forced into using tagging was with the release of gmail. gmail was quite revolutionary in that instead of offering its users folders in which they could sort and store email messages, they had NO folders and were given ‘labels’, which were essentially just a different word for TAGS. There was a little bit of backlash, some irritation, and some praise when google released its gmail sans folders. one rebel, even ‘deciphered’ a way of still having folders… or so she thought… this is tagging still miss kim. I also use an online file storage application called esnips which incorporates tagging for files as well (and folders tooooo!)   like i said in my last post, tagging is the new folders… hmmm that doesn’t sound particularly grammatically correct… but ya know… I am taking LIS 502 this semester and when we were learning Library of COngress Subject Headings, and all their confusion and rigidity assigning supplementary subject headings… for example,  a textbook on electricity could have an entire chapter or more devoted to magnetism… in subject headings, this becomes somewhat difficult to catalogue, and often times in the past, the book would have been catalogued by its primary subject heading ONLY, completely disregarding the chapter on magnetism    Kroski states in her article:  “The wisdom of crowds, the hive mind, and the collective intelligence are doing what heretofore only expert catalogers, information architects and website authors have done. They are categorizing and organizing the Internet and determining the user experience, and it’s working. ” By permitting tagging within the OPAC, we could capture these other subjects that are covered in works that are more often than not, disregarded entirely. imagine the fine-grain categorization that could be applied to each work… if you read a book on firetrucks, and they had a particularly indepth look at firehoses in chapter 2, you could tag the book with ‘firehoses’…. then anyone searching for ‘firehoses’ would come across your tag, and consequently, the book on firetrucks with the rich chapter on firehoses!!

Tag=Cataloging

October 24, 2006

I have been using delicious to keep track of links for a while and this was the second time i was ‘forced’ into tagging. the first time i was forced into using tagging was with the release of gmail. gmail was quite revolutionary in that instead of offering its users folders in which they could sort and store email messages, they had NO folders and were given ‘labels’, which were essentially just a different word for TAGS. There was a little bit of backlash, some irritation, and some praise when google released its gmail sans folders. one rebel, even ‘deciphered’ a way of still having folders… or so she thought… this is tagging still miss kim. I also use an online file storage application called esnips which incorporates tagging for files as well (and folders tooooo!)  

like i said in my last post, tagging is the new folders… hmmm that doesn’t sound particularly grammatically correct… but ya know…

I am taking LIS 502 this semester and when we were learning Library of COngress Subject Headings, and all their confusion and rigidity assigning supplementary subject headings… for example,  a textbook on electricity could have an entire chapter or more devoted to magnetism… in subject headings, this becomes somewhat difficult to catalogue, and often times in the past, the book would have been catalogued by its primary subject heading ONLY, completely disregarding the chapter on magnetism   

Kroski states in her article:  “The wisdom of crowds, the hive mind, and the collective intelligence are doing what heretofore only expert catalogers, information architects and website authors have done. They are categorizing and organizing the Internet and determining the user experience, and it’s working. ”

By permitting tagging within the OPAC, we could capture these other subjects that are covered in works that are more often than not, disregarded entirely. imagine the fine-grain categorization that could be applied to each work… if you read a book on firetrucks, and they had a particularly indepth look at firehoses in chapter 2, you could tag the book with ‘firehoses’…. then anyone searching for ‘firehoses’ would come across your tag, and consequently, the book on firetrucks with the rich chapter on firehoses!!

tagging vs folders;

October 17, 2006

Just like black was the new orange a few years back, it seems as though TAGS have become the new FOLDERS.

 when you place a file in a folder on your computer, you are limited to a hierarchical structure of data storage…. allow me to elaborate;

lets say that you have a folder on your computer which is found at C:\Fruit\Citrus\Oranges\

so you can see, the folder ORANGES is within the folder CITRUS, which is within the folder FRUIT which is finally within the “folder” (well, actually, the C drive). Further suppose that you have a file in the ORANGE folder called seeds.doc all about the germination of orange seeds. Now imagine that there was another folder on your computer in the following location:

C:\school\assignments\

now imagine you were doing an assignment on the germination of orange seeds…. do you move all of your ‘orange seed’ information over to this folder, or make a copy of it and store it here, or use a SHORTCUT in this folder that will take you to the C:\fruit\citrus\oranges\ folder? well, if you were to make a copy of the files in the ORANGE folder and place that copy in the ASSIGNMENTS folder, you would have 2 copies of the same file… the problem is that you can only work on one of the files at one time, so when you would begin working on one of the sets of files, the other set would fall out of sync, ergo, you would have 2 different versions of the same file. this is bad.

if you used a shortcut, you would technically have access to the files in both locations, however, the file would still only exist in the one location, you would just be shuffling yourself to the ORANGES folder when you were wanting to work on the seeds.doc file in the assignments folder… essentialy, you are living a lie 😛 thinking you are working in the assignments folder when you are actually in the ORANGES folder.

if you physically moved all of the data from the ORANGES folder to the ASSIGNMENTS Folder, then your ORANGES folder would be empty…. and you would have all of that content pertaining to ORANGES existing only  in the assignments folder… bad also…

so… what is someone to do? well, TAG THE FILE! you could tag the seeds.doc file with both ORANGES and ASSIGNMENTS and then the file could retain both classifications of ORANGES and ASSIGNMENTS simultaneously. this removes the geographical requirement for files to have to sit within the folder for which they ‘belong’, and allows you to transcend the limits of the folder hierarchy structure.

 this scares a lot of people; imagine: instead of having a ‘logical’ hierarchical folder structure, you have just a C drive FILLED with files, here and there. Imagine our seeds.doc file being tagged with both ORANGES and ASSIGNMENTS residing in this mishmash of files… a quick search for the tags ORANGES and/or ASSIGNMENTS would show us this file (and any other files sharing the same ORANGES and/or ASSIGNMENTS tags).

 newer operating systems and social software programs are moving towards this method of storing files…. these systems are using backend databases to store files which allows for relational file storage; for example, the new and upcoming version of windows file system, WINfs is meant based on this concept. The same is true for Microsoft’s Sharepoint services: Files in sharepoint are stored in a SQL database and are searchable by ‘metadata’ (fancy word for tag). [see the post by daniel larson on this page about sharepoint’s file system]. the same is also true for XYTHOS, a collaboration/file storage system {more}

 tags aren’t just for del.icio.us anymore: they will soon be how we all navigate the files on our computers as well.

October 14, 2006

I just finished reading the Brian Lamb article and wanted to comment on something he mentioned concerning the primary reluctance of people to using Wiki’s: “Their objection to wikis is nearly universal: “If anybody can edit my text, then anybody can ruin my text.””

Brian goes on to say that  

“This concern is largely misplaced. Think of an open wiki space as a home that leaves its front door unlocked but doesn’t get robbed because the neighbors are all out on their front steps gossiping, keeping a friendly eye on the street, and never missing a thing.”

This presupposes that the neighbourhood is a good neighbourhood and the homeowner is trusting enough of the neighbourhood to leave their door unlocked; imagine if our trusting homeowner lived in on the wrong side of the tracks in detroit… would they still be as trusting to leave their door unlocked? the problem with Brian’s analogy is that you have control over who your neighbours are (by and large), by where you geographically situate yourself… however, on the internet, there are no geographical boundaries… if we are speaking about wiki’s on a corporate intranet, then it is a little easier to know who your ‘neighbours’ are when you are participating in the wiki; however, wikis that are available within the public domain have no such boundaries. on the internet, you cannot ‘move into a good neighbourhood’…

Brian goes on to say that “This ethic is at the heart of “SoftSecurity,” which relies on the community, rather than technology, to enforce order. Whereas “hard security” functions by restricting access or hiding pages…..”

again, this assumes that the community is good, or that the community has a vested interest in maintaining the integrity of the WIKI. I am speculating as to the accuracy of this presupposition after seeing the following on wikipedia:

Wiki

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Because of recent vandalism or other disruption, editing of this article by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled. Such users may discuss changes, request unprotection, or create an account.

as you can see, the definition of WIKI from wikipedia, one of our readings for the week, contained this notice at the beginning of the article. If Brian’s idea of “SoftSecurity,” which relies on the community, rather than technology, to enforce order” was as successful as he suggests in his article, then Wikipedia likely would not have had to implement technology to enforce order…

User-friendly Wikis?

October 11, 2006

hey everyone;

sorry for my late-ish post… i guess the tryptophan in my turkey caused me a little more sleepiness than i had bargained for! 😛

anyways, all turkey aside; i was reading the  and became quite skeptical of what the presenter was saying about the ease of use of wikis.

 i am going to be talking about a specific example about a department at the university of guelph which was using a wiki as a way of storing how-to information and essentially acting as a departmental intranet (Definition). the department members were using this wiki as a place to post all of their intra-departmental information, processes, procedures, how-to documents, documentation etc. the users of this system were quite frustrated at how limited the editing and formatting was; you essentially had to know HTML in order to format documents properly in the wiki. for example, if you wanted to include a simple table of potential scenarios on one side, and possible outcomes on the other within your actual wiki posting, GOOD LUCK; users were still limited by how they could format documents in the wiki based on their knowledge of HTML… even now as i type this posting on my wordpress blog, i am looking at the features available for my formatting of this blog, and i am faced with the following options: Bold, Italics, Crossout, bullets/numbering, indenting, left justify, right justify, centre, add a link, remove a link, add a picture and spell check. what about the table? what about having multiple columns in the posting, like a newspaper? i mean, for the average user posting the average text posting with the occasional picture/link, wiki’s seem great! however, if you wanted to say, create some sort of online tutorial which included a flash video you nabbed from the internet, or had a table embeded, or had other sorts of advanced editting, you would be limited by your understanding of HTML…

although, again, i think that both blogs and wikis have come a LONNNNG way since the ‘olden days’ when, even to just post simple text/pictures/hyperlinks on a website required knowledge of FTP protocols, FTP programs, HTML, website design…etc….

what do you all think? have you provided information to a wiki before? did you find the formatting limiting you in what you wanted to post? if you haven’t posted to a wiki before, do you find that your blog limits your ability to format posts precisely as you want? do you find that WYSIWYG isn’t always WYSIWYG (Definition WYSIWYG )?

 i realize you can attach a document that is formatted how you wish with some services, but i am just wondering about why, with all of the free online wordprocessors out there such as Writely and Zoho office, we can’t have a more rich editing interface than just the 7 or 8 options we currently have…