March 20, 2008

20080320 SOLINET: JMO, HTH! Social Networking in Academic Libraries

Filed under: precat — tsladmin @ 11:52 am

Jamie Coniglio, George Mason University
– computers aren’t technology
– internet is better than tv
– doing is more important than knowing
– learning more closely resembles nintendo than logic
– multitasking is a way of life
– typing is preferred to handwriting
– staying connected is essential
– zero tolerance for delays
– consumer/creator are blurring
quick overview of social networking and different types of sites
at George Mason University, they’re playing with:
– wiki for internal communication
(showed Chad Boeninger’s business wiki as an example of a public wiki)
– Meebo widget chat box
– blogs, although they have fewer now than before because they were using them to route around the fact they didn’t have a CMS
– moving to a research portal that blends WordPress and the Internet Scout Toolkit
– have fooled around with MySpace, and they’ll respond, but not much going on for them there
– same thing with Facebook
– seriously looking at LibGuides; playing with it right now
– have discovered Zoho and are trying Zoho Show as a way to share materials among staff
– bookmark sets
– showed the UThink blogging project at the University of Minnesota
– virtual reality
– showed the browser Flock
marketing & social networks
– keep your content fresh
– provide reliable content
– know your market
– have good content
from an organizational point of view, where do we put the personnel for this
– declining visits/gate counts (at least in academia)
– fewer reference desk transactions
– fewer circulations of print materials
– competitors in the information environment
– disintermediation
– being where our users
– being useful where our users are
– realizing we aren’t in control (chaotic versus structured)
– silo-ing or personalization
– who’s on desk
– face time versus online
– privacy? her staff uses nom de plumes on Facebook to protect their email addresses and identities
– keeping up/”losing” skills
– getting/keeping good parapros
– riding the tsunami
– organizational structure/agility
free the bound periodicals? and more?
– discomfort (certainty versus uncertainty)
students aren’t using their GMU email addresses because they already have other personal ones
– stay aware of “uber” environment to kee up
– pilot/try it out (if someone wants to try it, she says sure)
– student input/feedback/training us
– keep/move on/ can’t be wedded to “one way”
– avoid searching for a magic bullet; can’t emphasize flexibility enough
– departmental facility; take advantage of your staff’s expertise
– streamline aspects of “standard” job elements
– read special library “tactics”
– create zones of experimentation
– building a “knowledge practice;” start with the ones who will work with you
– closer alignment with curricular changes, emerging and redesign academic programs
– movement from “support service” toward collaboration and partnerships
– value risk-taking
– reorientation toward user-centered services; noted University of Rochester’s anthropological report published through ACRL
service transformation to
– visible
– trainer/learner
– collaborative
– informal
– visual


  1. So… if computers aren’t technology, what are they? What, for that matter, is technology? That sounds like meaningless buzz-talk to me.

    Comment by Melissa — March 20, 2008 @ 2:13 pm

  2. Wow, pretty cynical, Melissa. Actually, Jamie’s point was that computers aren’t technology for those who have grown up with them, just like television isn’t technology to us now. It’s a valid point, one I fully support. Jamie’s talk was anything but meaningless, and it was a great overview of an academic library’s efforts to get a handle on the Web 2.0 world and interact in it. I encourage you to re-read the notes from that perspective or to contact Jamie for details. All of our presentations should be on the SOLINET and OCLC sites soon.

    Comment by jenny — March 20, 2008 @ 4:57 pm

  3. First of all, how is disagreeing “cynicism”?
    Second, I fail to see how that is a “valid point;” in fact, I don’t see that a point is even being made. Certainly computers are still technology. Television is still technology. Phones are still technology. Paper books? Yup, still technology.
    I reiterate: if a computer is not technology, what is a computer? If a computer is not technology, what is technology?
    Third, I did not claim that the entire talk was meaningless, only that the “point” that “computers aren’t technology” is meaningless buzz-talk. I stand by that.

    Comment by Melissa — March 20, 2008 @ 5:12 pm

  4. Alright, let’s back up a minute here. I didn’t say disagreeing was cynicism. I think you’re reading sketchy notes of a 45-minute talk – in particular one piece taken out of context – in a cynical way. There’s a difference.
    The point, which is not spelled out in the notes, is that Jamie sees that list as characteristics of students today, one of them being that computers are not some mysterious technology. Hopefully the adjective will help clarify her point, because she was saying that kids aren’t afraid of computers the way older adults might be. It’s a point Douglas Adams made back in the 80s, one that I consider even more valid today. I’m not going to split hairs on the semantics of it so go ahead and call it technology, but there is a larger point being made that you’re not acknowledging or addressing.
    I’ll retract my implication that you said her whole talk was meaningless, but her point was not meaningless, nor was it “buzz-talk.” These are just my notes from the session, for me, so that I can refer back to what was said. Sometimes others find benefit in them, so I post them on my blog. I again encourage you to look at Jamie’s slides when they become available or to contact her if you want more detail, but it seems a bit superfluous to throw around buzzwords like “buzz-talk” based on the small bit I wrote up. I hope the adjective and clarifications help provide some context.

    Comment by jenny — March 20, 2008 @ 5:35 pm

  5. I was quoting the following item: Frand, Jason L. “The Information Age Mindset: Changes in Students and Implications for Higher Education.” EDUCAUSE Review, September/October 2000, 14-24. It is footnoted on the slide.

    Comment by J. Coniglio — April 7, 2008 @ 8:24 am

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