Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Geek Bars

There's a cool little piece near the start of the new Wired on the top geek bars in the US. I was excited to see that one of my Top 5 Bars, Barcade in Brooklyn, made the list. They have great American microbrews on tap (in fact that's all they have beer wise) and a bunch of old school video games with ridiculous high scores.

Blurry Centipede

Check it out if you're in NYC. I'd probably be there in March if ACRL wasn't at the same time as the Radio Heartbeat Powerpop Fest.

Labels: ,

New Modes of Information Delivery In Higher Education

I'm heading out to Denver on Sunday to participate in a two day ACRL/ EDUCAUSE/ National Association of College Stores forum on new modes of information delivery in higher education. The forum will focus on discussion about how librarians/IT/ bookstores can collaborate on new modes of information delivery like e-reserves, online textbooks, copyright, the role of emerging technologies (which I guess is where I come in) and the like.

I'm not really in the league of thinkers as some other people who are attending like Roy Tennant and Alane Wilson and am actually a little nervous about it, so I'd love a little input or discussion before I go on these issues. Any thoughts about the following questions or issues?

1. What do you see as the future of e-books, e-book readers, e-reserve systems?

2. What are the barriers to making digital textbooks more commercially viable? Do you think the barriers will be overcome?

3. What concerns do you have about the increasing digitization of content (Google etc) and what are the greatest opportunites available in those areas?

4. Is there any specific advice you would give to higher education leaders regarding preparing fo a future with more digital content?

I plan on spending some time this week pondering these myself and any input would be greatly appreciated!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Odeo For Sale

I ran across this post today in doing some research. The folks who run Odeo are looking for a buyer for the service. The post states:

In the last few months, we here at Obvious have been increasingly focused on Twitter. As a result, our original product, Odeo, has not gotten the attention it deserves.

That would explain the weirdness that Meredith noted in trying to use Odeo for the Five Weeks To A Social Library course. The idea behind Odeo, and especially its Flash players, are really cool so hopefully someone will step up, keep the service going, and make it better.

I've got 20 bucks in my pocket, anybody else in?


Monday, February 19, 2007

Coursecasting Evaluation Study

In doing some research last week, I ran across a great evaluation of an educational podcasting trial at the University of Washington called "UW Podcasting: Evaluation of Year One" (PDF) by Cara Lane of the UW Office of Learning and Technology. They did a good bit of student and instructor surveying about podcasting in the classroom. Definitely worth a look if you're interested in data on podcasting in higher ed.

A couple of interesting points in the findings:

* 76% of students they surveyed in classes that used podcasts for lectures had some sort of mp3 player (props for not just asking if they have an iPod!)
* 87% of students listened to the course podcasts on their computer (despite the fact that they were way more likely than not to own an mp3 player)
* 73% of students who had access to online notes listened to the podcasts while looking at the notes
* 87% of students who had access to online PPT slides looked at them while listening

I thought it was interesting that most students used the audio lectures in combination with visual material. Definitely something to consider in creating portable library instruction materials. Maybe video screencasts of how to use resources will work better than just audio. Or provide the audio overview for a specific class in tandem with a webpage that outlines suggested resources for the assignments for that course. And of course provide an easy way for students to either stream your content from your website in addition to being able to subscribe using a podcast receiver.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Everyday I Write The Book

Or at least every day for the next few months. After a few delays and fits and starts I now have a contract to write what will hopefully be a fairly short but comprehensive book about podcasting in academic libraries for ACRL. A good bit of the research has been done for past and upcoming presentations, so I've got a little head start. I will be asking for input from other library podcasters about their experiences, so keep an eye out. And feel free to send me any ideas or things that you'd like to read about in a book on podcasting in academic libraries. Hopefully it will be out sooner rather than later in 2007. But definitely sometime this year.

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 09, 2007

Happy Pod-i-versary!

Yesterday marked the two year anniversary of our first library podcast here at GPC. This was really something I did on a lark to see what would happen and to do a little playing with technology. I never really expected it to take off on campus or open up any of the opportunities I've had over the past year or so.

As far as our library podcasting goes, we've been through a few different versions over the last two years. We started with around 10 minute news podcastings, expanded to a longer radio show type program complete with music (not the best idea in retrospect!), cut the music and length and are now experimenting with even shorter single topic podcasts. I would love to do something like the Scientific American 60 Second Science podcasts, which focus on a single science topic for a minute each day. But doing a topic every couple of weeks (or maybe less) seems a little more feasible.

In addition to library news and info, we've podcast audio from campus presentations, interviews with authors, and readings. And gotten involved with our college literary quarterly. Our school also now has a fairly organized podcasting program with a group of instructors in a pilot program this semester creating content for their course. The program is run by our IT and Teaching and Learning folks, but the work that we've done in the library really helped to raise awareness of the technology and get us to this point. This perception as being a leader in technology on campus is a great potential benefit of experimenting with web 2.0 tools in your library.

I've used these in a couple of presentations before, but here are 8 quick things I've learned from podcasting over the past couple of years:

1. Make sure it feeds!
2. Promote. Then promote some more.
3. Keep it short.
4. Use music sparingly!
5. Multiple voices rock.
6. Podcast events.
7. Consider your web presence.
8. Listen to your listeners.

So all in all it's been a fun experience. And it's great to see all of the other libraries out there who are doing such cool and innovative things with the technology now too!


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Education Podcasting Resources

I finally got around to setting up the education podcasting resources page on my wiki. Right now it's mostly links to a few resources I've used in presentations but I'm planning on adding more stuff (especially articles) soon. The page covers anything dealing with podcasting in education that isn't library related (lecturecasting etc). Check out the library podcasting resources page for (duh) library related stuff.

One link I would highly recommend is the EDUCAUSE podcasting page. They have links to articles and presentations from (mostly) EDUCAUSE related events and publications. Great resource!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Machine Is Us/ing Us

I ran across this great video on Web 2.0 with the above title by an anthropologist at Kansas State today in a discussion of filtering on the CJC-L list. (And again through Nicole Engard before I had a chance to finish this post). Good stuff!

The filtering discussion was really another round in the argument on whether to block access to social networking sites: limiting computers to academic uses VS providing an open computing evironment to let students work the way they want to work. This is an oversimplification but you get the point. I generally fall on the providing open access side but can see that there is a tipping point of resource allocation in some cases. It can be very difficult to tell a student who wants to actually use library computers for school work or research that they have to wait for someone to finish looking at Facebook first. But the Facebook student can also argue that they pay for the computer and net access through student fees too. We're having time management software "forced" on us here by our IT people, which is actually not a bad solution, IMHO. It takes away the human factor of picking who to bump off a computer etc. You get 2 hours. Do your thing. Don't look at porn please.

One poster in the discussion was pretty irate about having to change things and tailor library services to the 18-24 year old crowd. I'm sure there's nobody at that institution over 24 who wants to access social networking sites. Or even if there's not you're really not robbing Peter to pay Paul by providing open computer access. You're giving all library users equal access to resources to use as they want, regardless of any generational stereotypes you can throw at them. They can Facebook, sell junk on ebay, buy books on Amazon, or even do school work. There's a little something in there for everyone. And you can keep the books and the newspapers and the phone reference service too! But you're doing your users who actually want to have web 2.0 style interactions a disservice by rejecting them outright. They're patrons too, regardless of age.

So is the primary mission of the academic library to provide access to educational and research resources or are we moving towards being a general access point when it comes to computing? There's not really a good one size fits all answer to this "problem". Every institution has to decide what works best for their situation and allocate their resorces the best way they see fit. And observers have to accept that folks other places will make that decision differently and have different results. But take a serious look at your situation and user behavior and needs before jumping to any off the cuff decisions.

But really, wouldn't we prefer to be having these type of discussions than the library being a complete ghost town where it's not going to matter?

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

LITA Podcasts

In doing a little work today I realized that I haven't blogged about the cool stuff LITA is doing with podcasts.

LITA is doing cool stuff with podcasts! They currently have audio of the Top Tech Trends session at Midwinter, video greetings from current officers and an audio wrap-up of the Midwinter LITA town hall meeeting by VP Mark Beatty and Emerging Leader/ all around cool person Michelle Boule.

I really like the way PodPress (a podcasting plug-in for WordPress) integrates the content into the blog, including a very snazzy Flash player and an option to play in a popup window so you can keep browsing. Very nice!


Friday, February 02, 2007

ACRL Podcasts

ACRLog this week announced the launch of ACRL's new podcast series and blog. So far there are podcasts of interviews with candidates for ACRL Vice President/ President Elect and an interview with Craig Gibson, editor of a new publication on student engagement and information literacy. These are a couple of the ideas that the ACRL folks discussed implementing when I visited them to talk about podcasting back in December. Very cool to see them in action and online!

The RSS feed worked just fine when I subscribed through iTunes too.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Drone! Drone! Drone!

The SF Chronicle has a great podcast available of an irate (to say the least) reader who called their comment line to complain about the use of the phrase "pilotless drone" in a news story. I think he found it redundant. The original post is updated with some remixes, a ringtone and a music video version from YouTube (it's really just one image and a remix, but still). Good stuff.

Besides being totally hilarious, this is a very cool idea for a possible library podcast. Set up a comment line as an audio suggestion box and respond to the comments in podcast form. There might even be some serious comments you could address. Or if you don't want to necessarily wade through the....interesting...content you might get, respond to comments and suggestions from your suggestions web form or old school drop box in a podcast.

I think this was pointed out to me from Boing Boing but I can't find the post now. It could be due to the piloted droning on the earbuds though.

2/2/07 Update:
The original post was on the Freakonomics blog. And there are now rumors that it was a stunt by Matt Groening. If it a hoax, good thing it wasn't done to the Boston Herald. BTW my favorite 70s hairstyle is the afro.