Archive for January, 2008

Blogs, wikis and social networking

January 26, 2008

What is the point of Web 2.0? A poor example of Web 2.0 is students boozing and bareing their bottoms on Facebook. Maybe Facebook has no place on university campuses! 

I joined Facebook to try it out but feel disappointed and bored with all the trivia: do I care if someone ‘superpokes’ me? Uploading photos with the intention of making them available to family and friends on the web is fair enough. But all this trivia! As for second life, where you can do anything from running your own virtual business or using a library catalogue – I believe life is too short for Second Life! 

Blogs, wikis and social networking was the subject of a workshop I attended this week. Some of the websites we looked at I think I will use, such as Flickr (a photo sharing website) and Furl (a book marking website).  

Tim Berners Lee, a physicist and founder of the World Wide Web, originally intended the web to be used as a tool for collaborative working. We learnt about how wikis can be used for participants at a conference to get to know each other a bit in advance of the conference and how they can post their impressions of the conference afterwards and post photographs. Furthermore, project wikis can be used for collaborative working where all the team members can contribute to and edit the content.  

So, what use can academic libraries make of Web 2.0? In the workshop, I looked at examples of a library news blog at the University of Bath, a library blog for students with postings about library services at Perth College and even a link from Facebook to the library catalogue and subject resources at the Wolverhampton Learning Centres.

There are also security, privacy and ethical issues to consider with Web 2.0. Too many sites allow full access by default, whereas they should be tied down to privacy by default.

Word 2003-2007 training

January 22, 2008

I recently attended an in-house training course on the differences between Word 2003 and Word 2007. At present the newer version of Word is only available to students at our organisation and is currently available to staff only through our remote service, Desktop Anywhere. However, we still need to have the skills to support students using Word 2007 at the help desk.

 The trainer took us through the different features and commands on the ribbon. Some features were new to me and I had never explored much before, like tables. One useful thing we looked at was headings and creating a page of contents – this would be useful to students when writing dissertations. We also learnt how you can edit a word in a heading and then change this word in the page of contents automatically. This saves time and ensures you don’t miss anything.

 One alternative way this training could have been carried out would have been to have a long document for course participants to work through and to perform certain tasks using different commands.  Then information may have been retained better.

However, a useful half day’s training. I just need to practise a bit more now and then hopefully be in a better position to support our learners with Word 2007.