In mid-May, I’m giving an hour-long talk at the Vermont Library Association’s Annual Conference about using social software in academic libraries. The majority of the population I’ll be talking to has not used any of these tools, so I’m trying to figure out what would be most valuable to talk about. I’m torn between providing a brief sketch of a whole bunch of these technologies or doing three technologies more in-depth (well, I’ll only have about 15 minutes for each, so it still won’t be that in-depth). I feel like the attendees might be overwhelmed by me going over a whole bunch of things, but on the other hand, I’d love to expose them to as much as possible. At the moment, I’m leaning towards just doing three technologies, but I’m not sure which ones I should focus on. So I thought I’d ask all my very smart readers, of the technologies listed below, which three do you think I should discuss in my talk? Which ones would be the most helpful to libraries that don’t have a lot of money and where the staff may not be the most tech-savvy?
- Social Bookmarking
- Instant Messaging
- Social Networking Software (Facebook, MySpace, etc.)
If you have a good argument for me discussing more than three technologies, I’d love to hear it. I’m very open to your ideas. Thanks for your help! I want this talk to be as useful as possible for the attendees.
At the Colorado Library Association meeting last October, I did a presentation on “add-ons” to improve your blog called Teach an Old Blog New Tricks. I also attended Shelley Walchak’s session on “What is a Blog?” which was well-attended, with lots of people asking good newcomer questions about blogs.
My point being, there are likely still a lot of people who wouldn’t mind a good blogging primer.
I’m not sure how “social” the screencasting stuff is, either, which is not to say that it isn’t potentially useful and interesting.
IMHO, go with the following:
Blogs: good for updating staff and users with what’s going on. Incredibly easy to use.
IM: easy and free to use. Their users probably use it and would want to use it to communicate with them.
either social networking or social bookmarking tools. Probably social networking, again because all their users will be familiar with it, so they should be too.
The advantage of all these is that they can be set up basically instantly, for free, with no real technical knowledge required.
RSS, screencasting and podcasting are all a bit more complicated and require a bit more technical ability, and maybe more suitable for a follow-up class.
Wikis might be worth talking about, but only if you have time (and an internal blog could maybe meet some of the same needs as a wiki).
I’d vote for:
– IM (especially with an academic library crowd that serves younger users)
– Blogs (maybe you can work in RSS feeds a tiny bit and mention the grooviness of aggregators?)
– Social Networking Software
Which means ITA with Simon…
You can always include some sort of handout/bib with other technologies to look for and perhaps some delightfully SSP* of your blog and all the handiness therein.
*SSP = the hussy-esque personal advertisement that Shall Not Be Named
I’d vote Blogs, IM and Social Sites too! From the groups I’ve talked to, these topics seem to be at the top of the list AND they are practical starting points. Remember my Sirsi thing? 67% of those folks weren’t using blogs yet!
I’d go with blogs, IM , and wikis. You can probably sneak a little RSS in with the blog/wiki portion too, bonus! And I’m with you on doing a meaningful intro for a few technologies rather than a drive-by of a whole lot of them. Plus, you can give them some “first steps” to close out the session for how to get up to speed with all the technologies you didn’t get to.
Good luck! It’s going to be a great session 🙂
I think if you cover blogs, social sites, and/or wikis, you need to at least touch on RSS. Just show them how easy it makes it to keep up with what is going on with a blog, changes to a wiki, new photos/comments on Flickr, etc. Even if you just spend three minutes on it to show them what it does and then give them links for more reading, you’ll be doing them a favor. Tell ’em it is the “duct tape of the web” (actually, I think that is Perl, but they’ll get the point).
I would go with
1) Social networking & collaboration: Would the students want to communicate with other students in different locations countries, ask their questions to a social network where you have all the teachers etc
2) Social bookmarking: would they be interested to see if they tagged a scientific record who else tagged the same, again can this be useful for collaboration (like nature’s connotea)
I would recommend IM, RSS, and Blog – with a focus on RSS (syndication to be exact…or would it be “to be generic?!”). The reason being; If the participants are sold on the usefulness of RSS, and they subscribe to your blog (among others) they will have the opportunity to learn about other technologies, recieve perpetual updates on search strings, etc. IMHO, teaching wikis in too short of a time slot introduces the possibility of leaving techno-phobes and troglodites feeling overwhelmed rather than excited to learn more. IM and blogging are realy logical jumps from other accepted mainstream user-side experiences…that is IM is like fast turn around (synchronous) email, and blogging has its newsletter or journal cousins (and its author interface is a lot like email). The wiki on the other hand is a cross over between user and web designer. The learning curve and intimidation factor are to high to overcome quickly in my experience.
Incidently, have you thought of creating a wiki of resources/analogies/powerpoints for teaching these tools? (…I would contribute…)
Sorry for the double post…I am a dork…you already have a wiki for this type stuff! How could I not have guessed that?!
One thing I’ve used for presentations recently is the personal start page (I used Netvibes). The nice thing is that it displays the characteristics of Web 2.0/Library 2.0 in an approachable way, and can be used to bring in other technologies (tagging, blogs, RSS feeds, etc.).
Wayne State University
I have a ten tech tips talk that I give which touches on a lot of topics and has links for people to find out more. I feel that some people may already know some of what I have to say [though that is less likely with your crowd] and some don’t and most of them are coming in thinking “how can I use this to save time/money?” They will also want to know the MySpace/pedophile connection, so be prepared for that since it was all over the papers here and librarians I meet seem to be curious about MySpace since what the know they read in the paper.
1. Contact the conference program chair and find out whether any other presentations will be addressing the same topics. If so, you might want to contact those other presenters and work out some way for each of you to present different aspects of the topic.
2. Focus on only 3 major examples; that’s really all you’ll have time for in an hour’s presentation. Direct your listeners to additional resources on some of the other topics, and leave them wanting to hear more from you…next year!
Being an academic librarian and needing the easy fix to social software needs I would go with blogs, wikis, and RSS. These three are ones that do make a difference and most librarians are familiar with the social networking software and the others take too much time. I would touch on the other ones with a handout. Don’t overwhelm them.
Good Luck with the presentation.
I would vote for blog/RSS/IM if you’re talking to a fairly non-techie crowd. Those might be easiest to implement for libs that might not have a huge budget for tech stuff and most immediately useful. If you try to cover blogging and RSS in the same section and have 2 more topics be prepared for a lot of RSS questions that might throw the timing off. Of the 3 I find that RSS takes the most time to get across.
But whatever you cover it will be great.
I’m doing a presentation tomorrow for a local BOCES and am mentioning several social networking sites and other tools in order to build general awareness. Several screen shots. (I’m being followed by someone who will talk specifically about blogs.) So my vote is to cover whatever you are comfortable with, since you will be opening their eyes to a huge world that they may not know exists. I think talking about Facebook and MySpace could be important since they may have heard the negative side of these sites and don’t know any positives.
Whatever you do, it will be wonderful and appreciated!
I’m in a similar position — I have to present to our senior staff in the next week or so on Web 2.0 and Library 2.0. I had a similar dilemma: broad or focussed? I’m opting for a broad coverage of topics, simply because most of them are way, way back in terms of understanding these things — I think most have heard of Amazon and one or two may have even used it. 🙂
So I guess it depends on how you see your audience. In my case, I see a need to bring them up to speed fast, and I also cannot resist the temptation to dazzle them with possibilities and even frighten the poor dears a little. I want to maximise the excitement. But if your audience is past that phase, then a more focussed presentation will probably have a more practical payoff.
Not sure of my top three. I think blogging — we should first and foremost let our users know what we’re thinking. We’re very bad at that right now. And I think tagging/folksonomy, because I think they excite (and I’m biased against LCSH.)
Thanks everyone for your terrific suggestions! I’ve decided (I think — I’ll have to see how long I go when I do a run-through) to do a slightly broader talk covering blogs, rss, wikis, IM and social networking software. Obviously I won’t be able to go into a ton of depth, but I’ll be able to cover the basics of each and give them something to take back to their libraries.
If it’s too long, wikis will probably be the thing to go since it’s hard to cover blogs without mentioning RSS and I was already pretty sold on talking about IM and social networking software. As much as I personally love wikis, I think the others might be more important to mention in this situation. There isn’t much virtual reference going on in our state and a lot of that has to do with money, so IM is a great option. Also, I think a lot of librarians only have a sketchy idea of what MySpace and Facebook are (at best), and I’ve gotten really excited seeing the ways libraries are building presence in these online social networking sites.
I’m really excited about the presentation!!! Thanks again for all your help!
One thing you might consider is lumping blogs and wikis into “web publishing”. I’ve started doing that for some conversations, and it’s working pretty well. Blogs are chronologically based web publishing, wikis are multiple author web publishing (not that either is strictly one or the other, of course). The important thing is that web publishing is now really, really easy and you don’t need to know coding or server stuff to do it, or to have a web conversation about what you have published (which in turn leads to RSS, social networking, etc.)
Good luck with the presentation. (Please post notes!)
I have to do two similar presentations on “Emerging Technologies” and “Integrating Technology into the Classroom” for a technology summit for our school’s faculty. I am facing the same decisions and have found this post and it’s related comments very helpful. Great stuff. 🙂