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Heather Turner
I have blogged for many years and found this experience different from personal blogging.  Blogging for an assignment differs greatly from blogging as a conversation between friends.  I had unsuccessfully tried to start numerous academic blogs.  I found the key to a successful academic blog was to make the time to devote to the creation of entries.  If one is always on the look out for new and interesting knowledge the actual task of creating the blog is nearly effortless.  A blog at its heart is a funnel in which to post information found at various sources with your opinion.

 I feel that blogging would be very beneficial to educators because of its interactive nature.  Without an audience, blogging becomes a one sided conversation.  The opportunity to create a blog for use in the library setting would be optimal.  Blogging is non-confrontational and optional.  For those teachers that would never approach a teacher librarian, they might find the tidbits and unique information a way to be connected.  Those teachers that were interested could subscribe.  Any new way to create a dialog between librarians, teachers, and even students would be welcome to any teacher librarian.

Class blogging as an assignment was a welcome change from traditional paper writing.  The conversational style encourages participation and differs from leading a discussion.  I enjoyed the ability to interact with fellow students on a more relaxed level repeatedly.  It might be nice in the future to include more people in each blogging group.  Personal blogs only have such levels of conversation when they find an information piece relevant to themselves.  In requiring participation participants had to think about what had been written.

Throughout the assignment I realized the importance of questions and forcing one’s reader to think about what has been said.  Reiteration and summary was used throughout.  Blogging is very much like public speaking.  You must hook them and continue to interest them throughout the speech/blog of they will quickly leave your site.  For example in regard to questions, during the beginning of the semester I asked few questions of my readers and short responses were the result.  I enjoy the opinions and information given by readers therefore I decided to include two or three questions at the end of my piece to spur on conversation.  It worked marvelously!

I also found the use of multimedia information including videos, links, pictures, and sound files to be important.  Straight text can be daunting for a teacher who has five or ten minutes before his/her class returns.  Short entries with only one topic would be best in this type of application.  One can post numerous times a day but keep them short and to the point.  These entries could serve as short commercials for new products, databases, book reviews, and much more.

In conclusion, blogging is another way to reach constituents.  Although it can be time consuming in the beginning it is well worth the effort.  The unobtrusive nature of blogging makes it ideal in the library setting.  I will definitely be using blogging in the future for both personal and professional applications.

My personal blog can be found here if you are interested:  moontail.livejournal.com

Current Location: work
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: Waitress -- Tori Amos
Heather Turner
25 April 2008 @ 03:40 pm
I have noticed that several publishers have decided to offer books for free online. One of the first of these was Neil Gaiman's American Gods (EDIT: It appears that it is still online!).  Granted this was only for a short time (1 month I believe) it is an interesting phenomenon.

TOR has put up Sun of Suns by KARL SCHROEDER. How long it will be up is beyond my knowledge.   Mothers & Daughters another free book available.  Also John Campbell's Grey and the audiobook of it.  Lastly Beautiful Children by Charles Bock from Random House.

Libraries have also taken it upon themselves to include e-books within their digital library collections. I have seen that OCPL, BPL, and NYPL all have e-book offerings. It would be hard to mention this topic without mentioning Project Gutenberg which is attempting to give access to those books which have fallen out of copyright.

Another fine example would be WOWIO which includes many books, comics, animated comics, and much more.  For anyone in the United States pdfs of all of these items can be downloaded with a bit of advertising.  Creators of theses get $.50 per download.  FREE...I was amazed as this because a lot of amatur comic artists cannot afford to self-publish their works and many of their readers would not be able to donate.  This is the perfect solution.  Some of my favorite comics on WOWIO:  Inverloch, Lullaby, Phoenix Requiem, Earthsong, The Imaginaries, and lastly Shadowgirls.  Interestingly these are made by well known and unknown authors.  If only it were also available to everyone (overseas included). 

What books would you like to see offered online for free?  Would you read them online if they were offered?
Current Location: work
Current Music: Mother - Tori Amos
Heather Turner
25 April 2008 @ 03:23 pm
In the final week of my presentation of BuILder I will give you all some insider knowledge.  Yesterday I found out that it is Dr. Ruth and not Dr. Arnone who does the first approval.  If you are in dire need for your buILder to become searchable please e-mail her with your builder title and link.  She has over 500 to review at current.  I for one was not aware of the amount of buILders that had been submitted.  On top of that 500 are all the lesson plans that also need to be reviewed.  Phew...that certainly is a large undertaking and to my knowledge approval is not something done by student volunteers.  I can understand their feelings on this issue.  Those lesson plans that are searchable should have a certain level and quality.  As much as it is frustrating I think it is much better than the alternative which would mean automatic approval.  Even in the small amount of time that I randomly typed in numbers several were not anywhere near completion.

In conclusion I think that the goals set out for buILder and SOS for Information Literacy are good ones.  The implementation and review process need to be updated in order to degree the wait time between submission and approval.  Sites such as this are important to create because we as teacher librarians need a source we can go to with excellent lesson plans.  It is a collaborators dream and I am sure each of you will find use of it at somepoint during your library careers. 

It has been fun and I hope you have gained more knowledge in buILder.  If you were to start from scratch and create a site like SOS for Information Literacy what would you all do?
Current Location: work
Current Music: Body and Soul - Tori Amos
Heather Turner
16 April 2008 @ 10:15 pm
This week I think I will give some links to some articles about buILder. (Brochure on SOS)

http://www.acrl.org/ala/aasl/aaslpubsandjournals/kqweb/kqwexclusives/schooltools/ALA_print_layout_1_412089_412089.cfm (An article from the ACRL American College Research Libraries)

http://www.infolit.org/meetings/nfil_summary_May2001.html (Short blurb when the process was just beginning) (Paper on the development)

http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/index.cfm?i=36601&CFID=4725950&CFTOKEN=68575712 (eSchool news article on SOS)

Something I found interesting about the articles is that fact that nothing has been written new about buILder or SOS for Information Literacy for about three years.  Has this resource started to stagnate?  Are the only new buILders being created by students who take the Motivation class?  It is hard to tell because on the buILder website there is not a date as to when the buILder was added to the site.  I would be interested to see how many buILders are approved a year.  Upon having the Motivation class we were told that the approval process did not take long at all.  Yet we still wait. 

A resume tool or a portfolio tool.  Do you all think you would use buILder to create your portfolio?  Why or why not?  The links can get kind of long but one could use TunyURL! to shorten them.  I am unsure if I would want my portfolio on a educational medium.  Even if I never published it people could still randomly find it. 

What do you all wish that buILder could do in terms of programming?

I wish it did not open everything in a new window or force you to download it as I have said before.  Are there usability issues are that are unnecessary.  Is the software not customizable enough?
Current Location: home
Current Music: John Tesh
Heather Turner
14 April 2008 @ 10:05 pm
This is a site note (not included in blogs for the week)

From AMP member Kitty Diggins:

An "artist" from Costa Rica - Guillermo Habacuc Vargas - as an installation piece took a dog from the street and caused it to suffer and starve to death in the name of Art.

While I do not believe in censorship, I do believe that a line must be drawn when it involves taking an unwilling model and using them against their wishes. Maybe it is not very humane of me, but I strongly believe that people who use and abuse animals, or people for that matter, for any reason, deserve to have the same thing happen to them. It may be an old cliché that many artists suffer in various ways for their work, but causing another being to suffer is another story.

I did not compose the following letter. I believe it was composed by a British artist. I am reposting it and encourage you to examine it and do something about it. Read on, as more information follows the letter.



Centro Nacional de la Cultura
Antigua Fábrica Nacional de Licores.
Avenida 3, calle 15/17. San José, Costa Rica.
Teléfono: (506) 257 7202 / 257 9370
Fax: (506) 257 8702

What he says on his blog (translated):

I knew the dog died on the following day from lack of food. During the inauguration, I knew that the dog was persecuted in the evening between the houses of aluminum and cardboard in a district of Managua. 5 children who helped to capture the dog received 10 bonds of córdobas for their assistance. During the exhibition some people requested the freedom of the small dog, which the artist refused. The name of the dog was Natividad, and I let him die of hunger in the sight of everyone, as if the death of a poor dog was a shameless media show in which nobody does anything but to applaud or to watch disturbed. In the place that the dog was exposed remain a metal cable and a cord. The dog was extremely ill and did not want to eat, so in natural surroundings it would have died anyway; thus they are all poor dogs: sooner or later they die or are killed.

VIEW AND SIGN THIS PETITION: http://www.petitiononline.com/13031953/petition.html
Heather Turner
13 April 2008 @ 03:24 pm
Here is another hint when trying to find buILders. There are so many buILders that are not searchable (from the argument last blog post). A really cool way to find more buiILders is to type a random number at the end.

For example here is a buILder address: http://www.informationliteracy.org/builder/view/956

Just change the 956 to another number and off you go. Sometimes you find some real diamonds in the rough. Note: bookmark these because remember they are not searchable.

I found a really interesting one: http://www.informationliteracy.org/builder/view/1023 about Poetry writers

Another one here: http://www.informationliteracy.org/builder/view/1605 which is about The Midlakes Art Museum Project Library Research.

The number of builders is around 1620 or so therefore you cannot go any higher than that until more are made.

SOS for Information Literacy is an amazing collaboration of Syracuse University, Center for Digital Literacy, AASL (American Association of School Librarians), ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries), IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services), and Data Momentum.  It is interesting to see such different entities gather together and create a database for information literacy lesson plans.  I have search online and there is not an e-mail resource for librarians in existence. 

Have fun and post some buILders you find via the hint I gave you above.
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Current Location: home
Current Music: radio -- random
Heather Turner
13 April 2008 @ 03:23 pm

This type of book is marketed as the Harry Potter look

You can buy this titles by the linear foot.  Wow....a fake library...there are just not works for the implications of this.  It seriously scares me.
Here is the home page : http://www.bookdecor.com/decorating.html
Current Location: home
Current Music: radio -- random
Heather Turner
11 April 2008 @ 11:45 am
This article seriously scared me....an completely automated library using RFID tags. 

"BEIJING, April 8 -- Locals in Shenzhen, a booming city in southern China, no longer need to visit libraries in person. Instead, they can borrow and return books from a library automation system much like banks' ATMs."

Can you imagine just going up to a terminal to get a book rather than being able to browse and talk to people.  I feel like China has forgotten what a library entails.  I think of a library as a place that is more than the books contained within.  Just because you can build something does not mean you should...case and point many weapons.

"The ILAS system includes self-checkout and return, security gates, and programming and circulation stations. All forms of media available at the library will be RFID tagged, from books to CDs to videos to library cards."

Now I do not know if I have as large a problem with it if it existed in conjunction with a traditional library.  Sometimes it would be nice to just be able to go up to the something and get a free-reading book at a time when the library is closed.  But to completely be replaced by such a unfriendly and sterile instrument is appalling to me.  Yes there is computer help on book selection of course but we all know how reliable computers are.....what do you all think?
Current Location: work
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: Purple People -- Tori Amos
Heather Turner
06 April 2008 @ 11:59 pm
The Library of Congress has just release a rather cool site:  Historic Baseball Resources

This includes images, text, audio, and videos.  There are teacher resources and Did you know which might be interesting to students.  I for one constantly see students take out books on different sports and the addition of such information in one place is rather exciting.

Also a resource of note:  SimplyGoogle

A wonderful resource that gives all of the various resources on Google...though as the Librarian in Black says, "Here you can find all of the various Google sites and searches all in one place.  This site could prove to be a librarian's good friend.  It is important to remember, though, that one shouldn't only use one search engine all the time, and even within one reference transaction if you're looking for comprehensive or research information.  Try Ask, or Yahoo!, or Dogpile, or Gigablast.  Show your professional awesomeness!"  It is extremely important to use more than one search engine of course because they index differently.  Those differences could give you the difference between finding the information in a minute or twenty.
Heather Turner
06 April 2008 @ 11:28 pm
Are there any negatives to buILder?  Are the improvments that need to be looked at for the sustanability of buILder.  I think these are valid questions when thinking about buILder.  I think the ability to create unique items is sadly lacking in the program.  I do not think I should have to create powerpoint presentations to have a nice layout that is not linkable within the interface.  I also think that pdf, documents, and other items should not have to be opened in a new window in order to be viewed.  And change in screen can blow kids minds.  In fact such a thing happened when I used builder with 5th graders in a city school.  I ended up using Portaportal for the remainder of the project because it was a bit like information overload. 

I think buILder is an excellent start but it needs to be more adaptive and customizable if it is going to to get a lot of use.  I know that my lesson plans and buILders I created last fall have not been approved.  I got full credit from Dr. Ruth so I do not know what the hold up is.  I even e-mailed to ask that it be approved but alas nothing has come of it.  I do understand that the site is run completely non-profit but there is a certain expectation online.  Without lessons being approved they are not searchable by other librarians.  I know that SCDS is creating their own database of links to the buILders they create and are specifically not sending them in for review because they can no longer be updated.

The ability to continually update is an important feature missing when one's project has been reviewed.  I understand that it is a bit like a journal and once it has been "published" it cannot be altered but this is not conducive to the type of environment that school librarians work in.

What do you all think?  What would you like to see improved in the working of buILder?

Articles of Note on SOS:
http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6286453.html -- Article on SOS from 2005
http://technicallibrarian.blogspot.com/2007/05/slms-2007-sos-for-information-literacy.html -- Blog entry from Technical Librarian about SOS
http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/?i=36601 -- Article on eSchool on SOS