Friday, September 23, 2005

Invited users to the class wiki

After some time spent working to create user accounts for my class wiki, I finally sent out emails to everyone in my ILS501 class inviting them to participate. I also sent out a separate email to everyone giving them their specific username and password to edit the wiki. I chose to go with a site that only registered users could edit to help protect content . Of course, the trade off is that more usernames and passwords can be cumbersome - and it is much more work for me to maintain. However, I like the site I chose to host my wiki. I find it easy to use and fairly intuitive. The true test will be to find out the opinions of class mates once they have tried it.

I'm hoping to use the wiki as a collaborative tool for students in the class to use to publish results of the web search exercise. My plan is to create individual pages for each search engine that someone evaluates. Hopefully, my collegeaues will be willing to post their summations of each search engine evaulated. I thought it would be interesting to do a compilation of everyone's results to see what types of trends and opinions the class has developed about search engines. Additionally, I would like to get student opinions of the wiki to find out what they might have liked/not liked/found easy to use/found difficult to use.

As I run across different wikis of interest or web sites dedicated to web search engines, I am trying to post the links to the wiki. I'm going with the theory that students may be more apt to use the wiki if they can find information of interest to them.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Library school wiki

The University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign has a wiki for their Graduate School of Library and Information Science. It is a very information site and might be of interest to students in other MLS programs. I think this is a great way to develop a community spirit among a group and may be a great way of developing such a community for participants in distance education MLS classes.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Blogs in libraryland

I've only been reading different blogs for several months. One of the reference librarians at the library where I work had a question about RSS feeds and XML which led me the world of blogs. In the course of answering a simple question, I discovered a fascinating new world. At this point, I may even be a bit addicted to blogs - seriously. Some mornings I can't wait to log into my computer and see what new posts are waiting for me in my aggregator. The majority of blogs in my reader are library-related ones. The information that people post is incredible. This has definitely become one of my favorite ways of keeping up with trends in libraries.

Of course, there are so many posts that keeping up with them can be overwhelming. This is one of the reasons that I really enjoy the Carnival of Infosciences which is essentially a roundup of the best, most interesting posts from library bloggers from a set period of time. For more information, see this post at Open Stacks where the Carnival of Infosciences originated. To date, there have been seven Carnivals hosted by various bloggers. To check them out, see Carnival of Infosciences #1 (hosted by Open Stacks), Carnival of Infosciences #2 (hosted by Open Stacks), Carnival of Infosciences #3 (hosted by Wanderings of a Student Librarian), Carnival of Infosciences #4 (hosted by lis.dom), Carnival of Infosciences #5 (hosted by Christina's LIS Rant), Carnival of Infosciences #6 (hosted by . . . the thoughts are broken . . .), and the current Carnival of Infosciences #7 (hosted by Mike's Musings). The things that librarians and library professionals come up amaze me some time!!

More on the class wiki

I spent most of the weekend thinking about my class wiki project and how best to get classmates to join in and collaborate. At this point, I think my plan is to create (or have others create) individual pages for each of the search engines and ask students to post comments about each of the search engines that they surveyed. It seems as if this would allow for more collaboration - which I think is essential for a successful wiki project. I'm hoping to get emails out this week to everyone in class asking for their help with the project.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Debate about distance education

Recently there has been a rash of emails on the Newlib-l listserv about distance education classes in MLS programs. In a recent post on the Wanderings of a Student Librarian blog, Joy Weese Moll discusses how the debates are primarily about the perceived lack of jobs for those with MLS degrees and beliefs that distance education will attract even more students to a profession where there is already a shortage of jobs. Fortunately according to a report published by the ALA entitled Library Retirements - What Can We Expect, an expected wave of librarian retirements is expected to take place starting in 2015. An entry in an blog suggests that by 2027, there will be a good market for librarians.

On a more personal note, I am currently taking an entirely online library science class. I am hoping to be admitted to a MLS distance education program - one that is entirely online - meaning that I will never have to set foot on campus or take an actual face-to-face class. I admit to having some reservations about distance education, but given my physical location, the high cost of the closest MLS program and my work schedule, I cannot actually attend a traditional class. As such, my choice was clear.

I am now two weeks into my first online class and I have been pleasantly surprised by the experience. The major means of communication is through threaded discussions and email. Despite the fact that I do miss the personal interaction (I find it difficult to judge what the professor is looking for or what his expectations are), the discussions are quite lively, well thought out and often allow the personalities of the students to shine through. The difficulty level of the class seems to be appropriate - I think the assignments are challenging without being overbearing. Of course, I have to keep in mind that I haven't actually done most of them yet. It is obviously quite early in the semester, but each day I get a bit more comfortable with the format - and I think my typing skills are improving. So far, I think I am getting money's worth and am being intellectually challenged.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Wiki Project Continues . . .

Well, I made it through another crazy week during which I wasn't able to spend too much time on work for my class. After successfully hosting a pot-luck lunch at work in honor of the last day of work for the woman who worked for me, leading the first class of a first-year student seminar as a mentor (for which I spent the better part of the week preparing) and hosting a party on Saturday for several of my first cousins, I think that my life may return to relative normality.

In honor of this, I spent most of today messing around with the wiki for my class. I created accounts for all of my colleagues in class to use - including a second account for me. I have been having fun editing pages logged in as two users. I think that I may have the concept down - and an idea of what the experience may be like for my classmates. I have created a new page on which I have put links to many of the websites that I have used while doing my wiki research. I'm hoping that this will serve as a testing ground as well as another area of documentation.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Information on web searching

I discovered a useful web site on search engines by Phil Bradley. It looks like an excellent resource for the web search engine project that is due next month!! Phil currently links to 138 general search engines. He breaks the search engines down into several categories including free text, index/directory, meta/multi, natural language and pay for placement search engines.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Libraries as Learning Commons

Not only are librarians debating about what they should call themselves, they are also debating about what they should call the buildings in which they work, especially in academia. Some libraries are dropping the library from their name and replacing it with "Information Commons" or "Learning Commons." Many others are keeping the name library, but adding commons spaces - generally at the expense of stacks, but in response to student needs. I think that this trend is having a great impact on our notions of what information actually is and what libraries need in order to disseminate information.

Today, I saw a news piece about the fact that Georgia State University is currently transforming its libraries. To learn more go to The library has a web site devoted to the transformation at There is also an INFOCOMMONS web site and listserv - details can be found at There isn't much traffic on the listserv as of yet, but I have learned some interesting information from it.I suspect that academic libraries 20 years hence will look quite a bit different than they do today - probably a bit more like Borders bookstores!!!

The Wiki project has begun

Yesterday, I finally decided to use EditMe for my class wiki. After much debate, I chose this service because for a small montly fee I could have unlimited users edit and collaborate on the wiki and could restrict access in a number of ways. Many of the other services that I looked at had limitations with the number of users and restrictions on administrator privileges.

Currently, there isn't anything to see on the wiki - I think that will be my next step in the project.

Who would have thought . . .

I'm not entirely sure that I have anything of interest to say to the world at large.

I have created this blog as an annotation tool to use for a class project on wikis. I have no clue where it will take me, but I guess I'm along for the ride.