March 2010 Archives

While it may not be surprising that the 2010 Horizon report would focus on digital media literacy, this year they point out that now, more than ever, this skill set is relevant across all disciplines.  I have seen first hand this diversity, from student-produced video documentaries in Sociology for International Law, to Environmental Sustainability program awareness videos. 

One of the major points the report makes is that:

"As faculty and instructors begin to realize that they are limiting their students by not helping them to develop and use digital media literacy skills across the curriculum, the lack of form training is being offset through professional development or informal learning, but we are far from seeing digital media literacy as a norm.  This reality is exacerbated b the fact that as technology continues to evolve, digital literacy must necessarily be less about tools and more about ways of thinking and seeing, and of crafting narrative."

So just as we no longer focus on whether someone is typing a paper using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Works, Apple Pages or Text, we are concerned that they are able to compose papers in cogent and engaging manner.  The same holds true for all forms of media.

My question to you then is two fold: 
1)  What instructors in your area are already incorporating these media production opportunities into their curriculum?

2)  What instructors in your area may not currently being doing so, but would likely be interested in exploring this possibility?

Ebooks: Are we there yet?

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In the Horizon Report, electronic books are suggested to take off in academia within 2-3 years.  Over the past year, over a half-dozen Libraries have been involved in college pilots of electronic books with mixed results.  Library staff certainly are excited over ebook readers, illustrated by the hovering crowd around the prize drawing for the Nook at this year's Library Technology Conference. 

Two primary obstacles outlined in the Report are availability and quality of illustrations.  Though Amazon has over 30,000 ebooks in the education catalog, that by far does not include all texts that faculty require.  Students would still be carrying around some texts and an ebook reader/ mobile device in the near term.  Where we can play a big role is in course pack reduction.  Informing faculty of the journals we already are paying for and how to properly put the links online for students to access articles to supplement their learning. 

Questions to consider:

  • How do Libraries balance patrons' wants with the proprietary nature of some of the ebook systems? 
  • What are libraries' role in the debate over ebook licenses?  Users cannot resell their material like you can with a physical book.  Or, the fact that Amazon has retracted books from Kindle owners in the past.  
  • Will ebook readers catch on, or will that technology die off as more mobile devices are ebook friendly?

A sample of the ebook articles over the past year:

  • Barsky, E., et. al., Comparing Safari Tech Books Online and Books24x7 E-book Collections: A Case Study from the University of British Columbia Library. Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship no. 56 (Winter 2009)
  • Behler, A. E-Readers in Action. American Libraries v. 40 no. 10 (October 2009) p. 56-9

  • Clark, D. T. Lending Kindle e-book readers: first results from the Texas A&M University project. Collection Building v. 28 no. 4 (2009) p. 146-9

  • Shelburne, W. A. E-book usage in an academic library: User attitudes and behaviors. Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services v. 33 no. 2/3 (2009) p. 59-72

Looking at the furthest Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years in the 2010 Horizon Report is a fascinating exercise in imagining how these technologies might be used in teaching and learning in 2014-15. The two that made the final cut, from Horizon Report Wiki:


Gesture-based computing allows users to engage in virtual activities with motion and movement similar to what they would use in the real world. Content is manipulated intuitively, making it much easier to interact with, particularly for the very young or for those with poor motor control. The intuitive feel of gesture-based computing is leading to new kinds of teaching or training simulations, that look, feel, and operate almost exactly like their real-world counterparts. Larger multi-touch displays support collaborative work, allowing multiple users to interact with content simultaneously, unlike a single-user mouse.

Relevance for Teaching, Learning & Creative Expression

  • Researchers at Georgia Tech University have developed gesture-based games designed to help deaf children learn linguistics at the critical time of language development.
  • Using off-the-shelf existing technologies, the Sixth Sense project from MIT provides a gesture interface that can be used to augment information into real world spaces.
  • After discovering the significant improvement in dexterity that surgeons-in-training gained from playing with the Wii (48%), researchers are developing a set of Wii-based medical training materials.

Data Visualization & Analytics

A variety of tools are emerging that make it possible to extract data from large datasets and display it in new ways. These tools do not require sophisticated math skills--as used to be the case to do work of this nature--and they present data in forms that make patterns obvious and intuitive to grasp. Online services such as Many Eyes, Wordle, Flowing Data, and Gapminder accept uploaded data and allow the user to configure the output to varying degrees. Some tools, like Roambi, have mobile counterparts, making it easy to carry interactive, visual representations of data wherever one goes.

Relevance for Teaching, Learning & Creative Expression

  • New apps for mobiles place data visualization in the palm of one's hand: Roambi charts your data, while SimpleMind Xpress is a colorful and intuitive mind-mapper.
  • Harvard scientists are using data visualization to measure the expansion velocity of the supernova remnant Chandra.
  • With Wordle, students can analyze their papers and see in moments which points need further development, and whether or not certain language has been overused.


How might we start thinking about ways to use these applications way ahead of the curve? Might there be applications in areas like the humanities? How will we-- as an institution and individually-- keep up with all these new applications coming our way?

I'm going to be up front and honest with you here my library colleagues...I don't understand augmented reality.  It's one of those concepts that I think I kind of have a grasp on and nod my head a lot at when people mention ("Oh yes, of course, augmented reality"), but if I had to come up with a definition I'd struggle to say more than "it's when reality gets augmented".

Well the Horizon Report helps flesh it out a little--here's their definition:

The concept of blending (augmenting) virtual data -- information, rich media, and even live action --with what we see in the real world, for the purpose of enhancing the information we can perceive with our senses... (p. 21)

And then they provide a nice link to this example:

Realtà Aumentata - Augmented Reality from soryn on Vimeo.

So now I'm thinking I might have a better handle on involves web cameras, phone cameras, or those awesome glasses the guy in the video is wearing (but does it require a bright red  blazer?  I hope so) and matches the image the camera sees to a database of images and then can layer that image with added data? (I think)

Does this sound right?  If it does, than it sure sounds intriguing.

The report also states "This kind of augmented experience especially lends itself to training for specific tasks" (p. 22).  A perfect fit for much of what we teach!

So now time for questions...

1.  Does anyone have a concrete idea of how we could use this emerging technology in library instruction?  Is anyone currently using it?

2.  Is our library (staff workstations, user computers, instruction labs) equipped to use this technology efficiently?

3.  Have I completely misunderstood this technology (a distinct possibility!)?  If so I'd love to be corrected!

Come to the the Information Literacy Collaborative to discuss this and other questions raised by the 2010 Horizon Report on Tuesday, March 30 as part of the Current Issues Coffee Club series. 

Horizon Report 2010

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horizonreport_2010.jpgAs I was reading the report I want to take a look back and see the evaluation of the reports. So here is a brief list--The first two for each year are in the "1 year or less for time-to-adoption," the next two are in the 2-3 years and then the last two are 3-5 years.

Mobile Computing
Open Content
Electronic Books
Simple Augmented Reality
Gesture-Based Computing
Visual Data Analysis

2009: (IT Council and SED sponsored a talk around this Horizon Report last year)
Cloud Computing
The Personal Web
Semantic-Web Applications
Smart Objects

Grassroots Video
Collaboration Webs
Mobile Broadband
Data Mashups
Collective Intelligence
Social Operating Systems

User Created Content
Social Networking
Mobile Phones
Virtual Worlds
New Scholarship and Emerging Forms of Publication
Massively Multiplayer Educational Gaming

Social Computing
Personal Broadcasting
The Phones in Their Pockets
Educational Gaming
Augmented Reality and Enhanced Visualization
Context-Aware Environments and Devices

I was most interested in the near term trends and as I was reading the 2010 report I circled phrases that were meaningful to me:
  • abundance of increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators in sense-making, coaching, and credentialing.
  • People want to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want
  • A faster approach is often perceived as a better approach....people want easy and timely access to...information
  • informal learning..."just in time" learning and "found" learning
  • need to emphasize critical inquiry and mental flexibility and provide students with necessary tools for those tasks
  • digital literacy must be less about tools and more about ways of thinking and seeing, and of crafting narrative
  • information is everywhere; the challenge is to make effective use of it
  • skills related to finding, evaluating, interpreting, and repurposing the resources they are studying in partnership with their teachers
  • Open content shifts the learning equation in a number of interesting ways; the most important is that its use promotes a set of skills that are critical in maintaining currency in any discipline--the ability to find, evaluate, and put new information to use.
  • supported open learning

What would it look like if the Libraries created tools to help students and faculty in "skills related to finding, evaluating, interpreting, and repurposing the resources they are studying in partnership with their teachers"

What is our role in ensuring instructors and faculty have the skills discussed in this report?

What would it look like if the Libraries used "supported open learning"?

The annual Horizon Report starts off by identify key trends that are currently affecting the practice of teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in academia and ranks them according to how significant an impact they are likely to have on education during the next five years.  The very first trend listed in the 2010 report is about the challenge of improving information literacy (though they never actually use that term):

The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators in sense-making,coaching, and credentialing.  Institutions must consider the unique value that each adds to a world in which information is everywhere.  In such a world, sense-making and the ability to assess the credibility of information are paramount. 
Within the Libraries, we spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get faculty to think of us as resources or partners in helping students acquire these types of skills.  With more and more information available directly online, potentially without the mediation of the library or librarians, libraries increasingly have to be concerned that they are still perceived as relevant. However, I was quite surprised when the Horizon Report went on to suggest that universities themselves are starting to feel threatened: "Universities have always been seen as the gold standard for educational credentialing, but emerging certification programs from other sources are eroding the value of that mission daily." 

Do you think that the University of Minnesota sees itself as competing with outside credentialing entities? How do emerging technologies play into that trend? 

Join the Information Literacy Collaborative to discuss this and other questions raised by the 2010 Horizon Report on Tuesday, March 30 as part of the Current Issues Coffee Club series. 


Google versus China

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How does a society become information literate if they are not presented with all the facts, or have the opportunity to explore a variety of resources?  Dropping the filters that Google previously had on their China domain on March 22 has already sparked controversy in China.  How the government will react is still waiting to be seen.

 In the meantime, hopefully librarians will use the Google debate as an opportunity to discuss information literacy, specifically the first two points:
  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently (What are the implications of government censorship on information and IL? )
For more information on this matter, read Google's blog and Wired

inms.jpg"The Rise of Networked Individuals" by Lee Rainie, director, Pew Internet & American Life Project

Thursday, 22 April 2010, 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Location: 100 Rapson Hall [map]

The Institute for New Media Studies is co-sponsoring this event with the Institute for Advanced Study, the Social Networks Research Collaborative, and the Office of Information Technology. 

Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, will discuss the latest research findings of his project on people's use of social media (social networking sites, blogs, Twitter, YouTube, and, yes, even email). Learn how technology has affected some of the ways people learn, make decisions, and seek and offer social support to others.

He and sociologist Barry Wellman describe this as a "new social operating system." Lee and Rainey will highlight the ways in which those who use participatory media are changing how communities of all kinds form and perform.

ACCESS proposal for MN K-16

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New proposal for K-12 in Minnesota. A number of U of M folks were on this task force: 


"The Achieving College and Career‐readiness for Every Student's Success (ACCESS) assessment and accountability system proposed in this report utilizes multiple measures of learning to determine a student's eligibility to earn a high school diploma."

"in a broader sense its work was part of an ongoing effort to reposition Minnesota's educational and economic systems for success in the global Information Age. In that context, during the task force meetings members often discussed two related trends that are reshaping life in Minnesota today and that will have a dramatic affect on the future of the state and its citizens...."

"The first trend is the growing connection between education and economic success... The second trend that is remaking Minnesota is rapid demographic change. The percentages of students of color and low‐income students are rising rapidly in Minnesota's elementary and secondary schools, while the proportions of white and middle and upper‐income students is declining. Since 1989‐90, the number of students of color enrolled in Minnesota schools has doubled, totaling over 195,000 students. The numbers of low‐income students and students whose first language is not English are rising rapidly as well."

aacu.jpgReport posted on AAC&U news...
"The 2009 ACT National Curriculum Survey, Focusing on the Essentials for College and Career Readiness, included data collected from more than 7,500 middle school, high school, college, and college remedial instructors of English, mathematics, reading, and science about the skills being taught at each grade level, and which skills are considered essential for college."

"Important results of the 2009 survey included the fact that high school teachers tend to overstate their students' readiness for college-level reading; that both high school and college instructors believe that readiness for college and readiness for workforce training require comparable skills; and that high school educators report that they reduce academic expectations for non-college-bound students."

Access full report:

On page 75...

Is facebook a learning tool?

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facebook.jpgWhile I am not going to tackle that question in this post....I did see an interesting blog post linked from the eCommunication Blog that talks about how to measure your facebook page traffic. Has anyone done any analysis of this sort of stuff?

This semester we have created a facebook page for the Peer Research Consultants. As far as I can tell we haven't gotten much traffic--yet. Become a fan if you like.

New Alexandria

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alexandria.jpgToward a New Alexandria:Imagining the future of libraries.
The New Republic
March 12, 2010
Lisbet Rausing

Here a few quotes that jumped out at me from this article. I wish there was a bit more about the use/teaching in addition to the ideas on the collection itself.

"To do research, only one in a hundred American college students turn first to their university catalogue. Over 80 percent turn first to Google."

"Scholars have traditionally gated and protected knowledge, yet also shared and distributed it in libraries, schools, and universities. We have stood for a republic of learning that is wider than the ivory tower, and now is the time to do so again. We must stand up, as the Swedes say, for folkbildningsidealet, that profoundly democratic vision of universal learning and education."

"We must first understand that the nature of the library is changing."

"The obstacles to a true and electronic Reformation are real, but perhaps also caused by the continuation of "business as usual," perhaps ultimately founded in the mental difficult that older folk have imaginatively re-drawing work practices, as well as organizational and legal "silos." Remember Henry Ford's comment: "If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have asked for a better horse carriage."

Spatial Literacy

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Is "spatiality" a neologism in the making?

I have been hearing about things "spatial" lately and wondering. At ALA in Boston, a friend described how he has just become a liaison to a program called "Spatial Studies" and at a recent Libraries Brown Bag presentation, Kate Peterson showed a slide that included "Spatial Literacy" as a core competency for undergraduates.

Is this about reading maps? It seems to be more:

"Lost in Space: On Becoming Spatially Literate." Knowledge Quest v. 36 no. 4 (March/April 2008) p. 32-9.

This is written from the K-12 teacher perspective but applies to us as well. 
It's a nice introduction to the concepts.

In February, we began to offer the option to use Desk Tracker (you still have the option
of using the User Ed Stats). When you log into Desk Tracker you should
see a tab labeled "Instruction." Use this tab to collect information on
your workshops, tours, orientations, and course-integrated instruction
sessions. The purpose of this form is to collect information about the
session. If there are multiple instructors be sure to only enter the
session once. For more information go to: .

Here are some of the statistics we have collected from February 1, 2010
to March 12, 2010:

Type of Sessions:
Course Integrated: 43
General/non-course specific: 23
Orientation/Tour: 1
Other: 1

Total Number of Sessions: 68

Total Attendees: 1445

Measure of Gravity

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Have you seen this?

The Gravity of a Library

"The gravity of a library can be calculated thus:

Formula to calculate library gravity

where G (gravity) is equal to the sum of C (collections) and S (services) multiplied by P (personnel) divided by F (facilities), which, in this case, is an expression of facilities inadequacy (higher inadequacy results in lower gravity).

Typically, a library organization will seek to balance these factors in order to maximize gravity, but many are willing to sacrifice several factors (facilities, service, and investment in quality personnel, for example) in order to invest in one (collections, let's say). It is clear that all of the quality accrued through collections, services, and personnel can be undone by shabby furniture, dirty restrooms, antiquated computers, and poorly shelved materials."

I wish instruction had been pulled out as a separate part since I think it can contribute a great deal to the gravitational pull of the Libraries. What do you think?


Information Literacy: A Neglected Core Competency
By Sharon A. Weiner

"Key Takeaways"
  • College students think of information seeking as a rote process and tend to use the same small set of information resources no matter their question.
  • Information literacy is essential for lifelong learning and empowers individuals and societies.
  • Our educational system should expose students to information literacy from elementary school through postsecondary education so that it is a habit of mind they can call upon throughout their lives.
  • Collaborative efforts between faculty, librarians, technology professionals, and others can develop students who graduate with information literacy competency.

Researchers at the Information School at the University of Washington released an important and thought-provoking report in late 2009: "Lessons Learned: How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age."1 The study confirms and expands on the results of other reports. Its particular value is the size of the population studied, the diversity of institutions represented, and the use of both a survey and follow-up interviews for data collection.

The findings are troubling. College students think of information seeking as a rote process and tend to use the same small set of information resources no matter what question they have:

  • The primary sources they use for course work are course readings and Google.
  • They rely on professors to be "research coaches" for identifying additional sources.
  • They use Google and Wikipedia for research about everyday life topics.
  • They tend not to use library services that require interacting with librarians.

And although they begin the research process engaged and curious, they become frustrated and overwhelmed as it progresses.

The results of the study suggest that many college students view their educational experience as one of "satisficing" -- finding just enough information that is "good enough" to complete course assignments. They miss opportunities that college education provides for exploration, discovery, and deep learning.

Have you noticed the poster presentations in Wilson, Walter, Biomed, and Magrath Libraries?  Do you want to see what sort of high-quality research our undergraduates are conducting?  Please volunteer to help judge posters during the Undergraduate Research Symposium.  The posters displayed in the Libraries are selected by a group of volunteers from the Libraries, who spend part of the day of the Symposium evaluating the posters and talking with the student-presenters.  The Symposium is on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 in Coffman Union.  We need volunteers from all subject areas.

The time commitment for this effort is around three to five hours including:
1. a pre-symposium meeting to clarify evaluation criteria
2. attending part of the Symposium
3. a post-symposium meeting to choose the posters for display

If you're interested in volunteering, please contact Kate Peterson via telephone at 6-3746 or email at: by March 19, 2010.  Learn more about the Undergraduate Research Symposium at:
Web Conferencing with Camtasia Relay
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Room S30B, Wilson Library

Camtasia Relay (a.k.a. Class Capture) is designed to capture live workshops, presentations, training sessions, conferences, or meetings and make them available to watch later.  Camtasia Relay records your audio and whatever happens on the computer screen, such as demonstrations or Power Point.  The OIT (Office of Information Technology) supported software connects with Media Mill for storage and re-purposing of recordings (such as flash video, YouTube, iPod and more).

In this ninety-minute "TechShop" (part technology demonstration and part discussion) we will explore specific examples of how Camtasia Relay is used and consider ways it might fit into your work life, such as recording a training session for a student employee who can't make it for the live event, to create a short video on a procedure to teach another staff member, or to record a library workshop so users can go back over content.  The recording can also be embed into a blog, web page, or guide.  Coffee and cookies will be available to sweeten our interests and our discussion.

Two ways to participate:
- Register for the session at:
- Watch via UMConnect at:

Spring TechShops are the second phase of the highly successful Fall 2009 Emerging Tech Expo.  This spring, the IT (Information Technology) Council and Staff Education and Development (SED) are sponsoring a series of five technology workshops to further explore the application of technology within the Libraries environment.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2010 is the previous archive.

April 2010 is the next archive.

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