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A lot of work to do

4 min read

RreadWriteWeb's interesting experience with Facebook Connect and frustrated Facebook users was an interesting example of how 'ordinary' people use the internet.

Many of the commenters on the post didn't actually read it. It's an interesting bit about how Facebook and AOL are working together to integrate Facebook contacts into AOL instant messaging contacts. But that's not what made this post so popular.

It turns out that many people searched for "Facebook Login" in Google, clicked on one of the first returns, scrolled down to the familiar Facebook logo to sign in to Facebook and...nothing. They simply signed in to leave a comment on the post at RWW. Outraged that Facebook had changed the log in, many of these people left unhappy (to put it nicely) comments about how bad the 'new' Facebook is. Many of the comments left are funny, if you look at it in a "OMG I can't believe they didn't notice it was Facebook" way. If you look at this from an educator's perspective its kind of sad. I'll discuss that more below.

In a follow up post RWW listed four things they learned from the experience. They discuss the things that should have let these people know that they were not actually on Facebook. The points seem obvious to most people but they weren't obvious to the few hundred who thought they were logging in to Facebook. Its a thoughtful post about how a lot of people don't use the web the way many designers intend or think they should. One quote really stands out to me:

And most of them have no idea what a web browser is or how it differs from a search engine or a social network. They've chosen to be smart about other things, like building cars or making art or raising families. I'll bet some of them are terrific dancers. We have to build the Web for them, too.

I'm glad they said that. It would have been very easy for them to just sit back and laugh at all the people who couldn't tell the difference between their site and Facebook. It seems to me they are at least being thoughtful about how 'ordinary' people are using the web. As someone who interacts with the public every day I see many people who would have easily done the same thing the commenters in the original post did. We have a lot of work to do to educate these people about the Internet and how it works.

This is an education process that will probably never really end. I taught an 'Introduction to the Internet' class last month and spent a good 20-30 minutes explaining the difference between a browser and a search engine. This wasn't part of the class it was simply a question that came up...a few times. We teach this class multiple times in the library system every month. We've been teaching it for at least 8 years. It is still a popular class.

Just like everything else, you have to learn your way around a computer and the Internet. This takes exposure and time. Many people I see everyday are busy doing other things and don't have the time I do to learn about the wonderful world of technology. The people that take our computer classes are not dumb because they don't know how the Internet works they are just inexperienced. At least they are in a class wanting and willing to learn. It is my job to make sure they are more comfortable with the computer/Internet after the class than they were before it. From the looks of RWW's post, I've got a lot of work to do.

 

The dark side of the internet

3 min read

Just read this article and am intrigued.

Here are some quotes:

"The darkweb"; "the deep web"; beneath "the surface web" – the metaphors alone make the internet feel suddenly more unfathomable and mysterious. Other terms circulate among those in the know: "darknet", "invisible web", "dark address space", "murky address space", "dirty address space". Not all these phrases mean the same thing. While a "darknet" is an online network such as Freenet that is concealed from non-users, with all the potential for transgressive behaviour that implies, much of "the deep web", spooky as it sounds, consists of unremarkable consumer and research data that is beyond the reach of search engines. "Dark address space" often refers to internet addresses that, for purely technical reasons, have simply stopped working.

Michael K Bergman, an American academic and entrepreneur, is one of the foremost authorities on this other internet. In the late 90s he undertook research to try to gauge its scale. "I remember saying to my staff, 'It's probably two or three times bigger than the regular web,"' he remembers. "But the vastness of the deep web . . . completely took my breath away. We kept turning over rocks and discovering things.

In 2001 he published a paper on the deep web that is still regularly cited today. "The deep web is currently 400 to 550 times larger than the commonly defined world wide web," he wrote. "The deep web is the fastest growing category of new information on the internet … The value of deep web content is immeasurable … internet searches are searching only 0.03% … of the [total web] pages available."

Meanwhile the search engine companies are restlessly looking for paths into the deep web and the other sections of the internet currently denied to them. "There's a deep implication for privacy," says Anand Rajaraman of Kosmix. "Tonnes and tonnes of stuff out there on the deep web has what I call security through obscurity. But security through obscurity is actually a false security. You [the average internet user] can't find something, but the bad guys can find it if they try hard enough."

Ten years ago Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer scientist credited with inventing the web, wrote: "I have a dream for the web in which computers become capable of analysing all the data on the web – the content, links, and transactions between people … A 'Semantic Web', which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines." Yet this "semantic web" remains the stuff of knotty computer science papers rather than a reality.

It seems likely that the internet will remain in its Gold Rush phase for some time yet. And in the crevices and corners of its slightly thrown-together structures, darknets and other private online environments will continue to flourish. They can be inspiring places to spend time in, full of dissidents and eccentrics and the internet's original freewheeling spirit. But a darknet is not always somewhere for the squeamish.

I knew there was a lot to the web that I didn't know about but I had no idea that it was so vast. Read the article, its very interesting but tends to paint a not so rosy picture of the 'dark web'. I'm interested in checking this it out but maybe a bit squeamish.

Will my curiosity be happy not knowing or will I have to take a look?

 

Common Craft does it again

1 min read

Another quality instructional video by the people at Common Craft.

I am totally going to use this the next time I teach the Introduction to the Internet class!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZoMbBzqxyc]

Thanks to iLibrarian for pointing to this.

 

We think...

2 min read

Helen Blowers has this on her blog and she mentioned it in her session at Computers in Libraries last week.  It's an intriguing video about how we think about ourselves and how the web is shaping those thoughts.  Very thought provoking.  This was done by Charles Leadbeater.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiP79vYsfbo&feature=player_embedded]

As I watched this video I kept asking myself  "where does the library fit in to this?"  One point sticks out for me.  At about the minute mark the statement is made:

New ideas usually come through conversations...and the web is a mass of conversations

This fits with some ideas being promoted by R. David Lankes and the Participatory model of Librarianship.  

Here's an idea: if we are facilitators of knowledge we should do our best to encourage our community to use us to find and share new ideas because it is through the sharing of ideas that new knowledge is created.  

How to do that?  I'm unsure but a step we can take is to continue to provide

  • space for people to meet
  • access to information
  • a means for people to create

Any others?

 

Evaluating, Recommending & Justifying 2.0 Tools

3 min read

Marydee Ojala was the presenter at this wildly popular session.  There were no empty seats and people were standing in the back for this one!  I guess that means it’s something that a lot of people want to have strategies for. 

She discussed many different things and I know I missed a lot when taking my notes.  Luckily,  her presentation can be accessed here. 

The session began by highlighting what she planned going to discuss:

  • New Technologies
  • Evaluating, Recommending and Justifying
  • Building a business case for the new tools

2.0 = empowerment, sharing, communicating

  •  Social median & networking are interchangeable
  • COLLABORATION

Magazines & papers are adding things to their websites that won’t show up in archival versions (reporter’s blogs, comments on articles etc)

Social media as research (missed some of this)

  • Realtime & more

Does management really appreciate the power of social?

Does Staff?

Do you?

Personal use vs professional

  • Keep your personal life out of your worklife

Appropriatness

  • Would you ‘SuperPoke’ your boss?
  • Post something derogatory about a coworker/customer on any social media?

Social in a business setting

  • Guidelines not that different from technology before

Why add social tools?

  • Customer expectations
  • Marketing the organization
  • Product promotion (OPAC, new materials)
  • Transmitting/sharing information
  • Learning from others
  • Reputation management

Recommending

  • Get outside your comfort zone
  • It isn’t just a library decision
  • Opportunity to join a larger conversation

Justifications

  • What problem does it solve?
    • Should solve problems not produce them
    • What’s the problem?
    • What’s the best solution?
    • What’s the best product?
      • How well does it solve the problem?
      • Does it work as advertised
      • Will it survive?
      • Is there tech support?  Is it good?
      • Who owns the data?
  • Common Objections
    • Social is a waste of time
    • Invasion of privacy
    • Opens us up to security violations
    • Could give away secrets
    • Just a fad…get over it

The objections are NOT trivial

  • Don’t be quick to label people ‘luddites’
  • Some are real & serious concerns
    • Got to come up with real/serious reasons you want ___ tool

Try using the phrase “Yes…and” instead of “Yes…but” when discussing objections. 

Counter Arguments

  • Need to be constructed with understanding that the objections are valid
  • What are the technical ramifications?

Who are the stakeholders in implementing new technologies?

  • IT (can be either enthusiastic or paranoid)
  • Sales & Marketing
  • HR (concerned about employee privacy)
  • Strategic Planning
  • Top Management

All the stakeholders have a different worldview.

Making the Business Case

  • Align with goals
  • How do decisions get made?
  • Build a case based on outcomes
  • Anecdotes vs. statistics (depends on your audience)
  • Tailor your arguments
  • Your timing can be very important
  • Understand the internal decision making process

Money implications

  • Free stuff costs – staff time, training, upkeep etc.

Delivery

  • Know your audience
    • How do they want information delivered?
  • Start with benefits
  • Problems = Solutions

There are some things you may be able to do with out having to get ‘approval’ from management.  If you try this make sure they know about it. 

How do you measure success?

Have a good reason to want this new thing…just because it is cool does not cut it!

NO Tinselware!!!!

Other notes can be found at these sites:

Library Trainer

The Analog Divide

David Lee King

##cil2009

 

Googlization & Gadget Support for the Library

3 min read

This session was really two different topics, two different libraries/audiences, and two different presentations.  The slides for both presentations are available here.

The first speaker was Lorette S.J. Weldon.  She discussed how she was able to increase the use of her library by using Google.  She began by replicating (?) her small library’s (I apologize for missing the name of the library) collection by using Google Docs and creating Google Groups for her users.  The groups were used to hold online presentations/group discussions twice a month.  She found that the researchers really liked the new method of content delivery and the collaboration of research that it enabled.  The users were able to share information and work together in ways that they were not able to before.  The use of her library’s collection jumped from 200 users per quarter in 2007 to 2000 users in 2008.  She did exceptional work and I only wish it were more applicable to my work environment.

The next group of speakers was Jenny Norvalis, Elisa Day, and Dawn Fischer from the Bedford Public Library (VA). They discussed their ‘Tech Chat’ series of programs.  This is an amazing service!  The ‘Tech Chat’ program allows the people of Bedford to come to the library, ask questions about new gadgets or social networks and receive informed assistance from the staff.  It is kind of an open house where people can bring in their new stuff and the staff also provides examples of gadgets they have.  These monthly programs allow people to get hands on experience with new (expensive) gadgetry and ask questions they may be a little hesitant to ask their kids/family. 

They have set up a wiki for quick access to tutorials, frequently asked questions and reviews for different technology related categories.  It is available online as a quick reference for anyone wanting to know more about the selected topics. 

Select staff has been trained as ‘Tech Authorities’ at each branch.  It is their responsibility to support other staff members, contribute to the wiki and be the ‘go-to’ person at his/her branch for tech questions.  They are educated by the staff at library administration and their colleagues. 

I really think this is a great way to serve the community!

##cil2009

 

Social Network Profile Management

4 min read

Here are my notes (mostly coherent) from one of the sessions I attended at Computers In Libraries 2009.

Four member panel discussed different ways and strategies for managing your social network profiles.  This was a good session.  The topic is relevant to me and to the library if we decide to begin using social networking tools.  Each speaker had 5 minutes to speak then the session was opened to questions.  There is a good write up of this session at the electriclibrarian blog.

The first speaker was Greg Schwartz.  He began his segment by discussing identity.  A brief definition of identity:  What I say about me.  What others say about me.  You do not own/control your online ID…but you can influence it.  Here are his four suggestions for influencing your online ID.           

  1. Own your username.  Pick a name that represents you, is relatively professional and hopefully unique and stick with it (use it on all the social sites you sign up with).  A handy site for checking the availability of your username is www.checkusernames.com.
  2. Join the conversation.  Participate in the network you have joined.  Make friends, follow people, comment when/where appropriate.
  3. Listen.  Set up a twitter search and google alerts for your username.  When someone mentions you/your username you will be notified.  You can respond as you see fit.
  4. Be authentic/real.  Don’t be institutional or try to be someone other than yourself.  People will see through it. 

Amanda Clay Powers was next.  She began by stating that people have been telling stories forever and that social networking is just another way to tell your story.  Creating your identity is tied to managing your information.  Libraries can help manage people their identity by helping them manage their information.  We can educate about what they are doing and teach them the best way to manage their information.  An example is helping people who are setting up a social network profile with the privacy settings.

The third presenter was Sarah Houghton-Jan  and she had some tips for setting up an institutional social network profile. 

  1. Have a uniform username.  Try to use the same name across all of the social networks your library participates in. 
  2. Use a uniform, generic email address when signing up for social networks.  You want to do this so more than one person can log in and (most importantly) if the person who sets up the account leaves the username/log on information doesn’t leave with him/her.
  3. Make sure your profile information is current.  NO information is better than having wrong information.
  4. When people comment or ask you a question reply quickly.  You using social networks to listen to and engage the community so if you don’t reply then you are not helping your library.
  5. Be personal not institutional in tone.  Social networks are not a forum for press releases. 
  6. Be open to everyone.  If someone across the country wants to friend/follow you, let him/her.  

Realize that there is a time commitment to any social network you sign the library up for.  Who keeps the information up to date?  She recommends spreading the responsibility around so one person is the only one responsible for your online presence.  

The final presenter was Michael Porter.  His mission for this presentation was to give personal examples of do’s and don’ts for social networks.  Hilarity ensued.  His point was to be personal/real but be careful what you post especially when you are representing your institution/library. 

There was some time for questions and answers at the end of their presentations.  I can’t remember all of the questions but the one I do remember had to do with keeping your professional and personal lives separate online.  All four panel members agreed that it is difficult to do and maybe impossible if you are really being genuine online.  Eventually a blend of personal and professional will emerge.

Some other notes can be found at these sites:

Librarian in black

Hurst Associates

##cil2009

 

History of the Internet Video

1 min read

Got 8 Minutes?  Good.  Sit down and watch this video.  It's a great (short) history of the internet.  Perfect for people like me who don't know how it all started and are not IT professionals.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/2696386]

Many thanks to ReadWriteWeb for directing me to this very informative video.

 

Kidzui

1 min read

Downloading Kidzui to see if my 4 year old will enjoy it. So far we have her set up on a firefox browser with the speed dial addon with two choices (nickjr and pbskids) and she likes it. But...she's growing and may want to explore more. From what I've read about kidzui from lifehacker it seems like a pretty good introduction to the internet for young kids. 

We will see.