Professional Development

In the 'Web 2.0' Category...

Educause Webinar – “What Happened to the Computer Lab?”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 1:12 pm

Last week among all of the closings and delayed openings I was able to attend a webinar entitled “What Happened to the Computer Lab?” Our presenter was Beth Schaefer, Associate Director in Client Services and University Information Technology Services, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her discussion centered on changes the university computer labs have taken over the past year. With an enrollment of over 30,000 students the campus has 6 campus computer labs housing around 450 computers running Windows XP or Mac OSX. Along with the 450 computers there are also 130 SunRay Kiosks scattered across the campus that the students can use for web base applications such as twitter, checking in on facebook, or checking their email. Computer ownership among the students run about 49% desktop and 83% laptops. She said that the percentage of students using their labs was 19%. Using a program called Lab Stats they are able to tell how many users log into the machines and what applications are launched. Last year they averaged 62,000 total users with over 578,000 total logins and an average of close to 1600 logins a day.

The Student Union lab went through a few changes in the past year. To make it more open, enclosure walls were brought down. It also saw expanded hours and became more food friendly. Several of the labs have also become unstaffed and now contain security cameras and have security guards walking through periodically. In the past year they also closed a 24/7 lab and opened a 24/5 (Sunday thru Thursday) lab in the Library Learning Commons. The Library Learning Commons now houses 200 computers, made up of both PCs and MACs and is staffed by library staff, IT staff, and students. The Library Learning Commons also houses several Classroom/Teaching labs and group study rooms. In the past year they also saw the addition of a coffee bar. A couple of projects they are looking at for the future are a quick print release station and virtual desktop computing.

Her conclusion was that university computer labs aren’t going away any time soon and I tend to agree. Even though our students are given a laptop they continue to come to the library and use our labs. Many sit at a station using both desktop and their laptop. Like at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the biggest draw for our students seems to be printing and the software available on the desktops, along with the collaborative space available here in the library.

Leslie at MLA 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009 7:59 pm

I’m back from this year’s annual conference of the Music Library Association, held in Chicago (during a snowstorm) Feb. 17-21. This year I also attended the pre-conference hosted by MOUG (Music OCLC Users Group). Some highlights:

Sound Recordings and Copyright

Tim Brooks of the Association of Recorded Sound Collections described the ARSC’s work lobbying Congress to reform US copyright law on pre-1972 sound recordings. These recordings are not covered by federal law, but are often governed by state law, which tends to give copyright holders, in Tim’s words, “absolute control.” Tim cited some startling statistics: of all recordings made in the 1940s-70s, only 30% have been made available by the copyright holders; of recordings made in the 1920s-30s, only 10% are available; and of the enormous corpus of ethnic and traditional music from all over the world that was recorded by Columbia and Victor in the early years of the 20th century, only 1% is available. Because US copyright law for sound recordings is the most restrictive in the world, early recordings of American artists are currently legally available in other countries but not in the US — which means that American libraries and archives are unable to preserve this portion of our own heritage.

In response, the ARSC has made the following reccomendations:

  • Place pre-1972 recordings under a single federal law.
  • Harmonize US copyright law with that of other countries.
  • Legalize use of “orphaned” works (whose copyright holders cannot be identified).
  • Permit use of “abandoned” works, with compensation to the copyright holders.
  • Permit “best practices” digitization for preservation. Libraries and archives are the most likely to preserve early recordings (they have a better track record on this than the recording companies themselves) and the least likely to re-issue recordings (so they’re no financial threat to copyright holders).

Of ARSC’s experiences lobbying Congress members, Tim reports that many were simply unaware of the situation, but were sympathetic when informed; that libraries are seen as non-partisan and a public good, “the guys in the white hats”; and that there is now much “soft” support in Congress. Other ARSC activities include a “white paper” for the Obama administration, and the establishment of an organization called the Historical Recording Coalition for Access and Preservation (HRCAP) to further lobbying efforts.

In another copyright session, attendees and speakers offered some good tips for approaching your legal counsel re digitization projects:

  • Present your own credentials (copyright workshops you’ve attended, etc.) pertaining to libraries and copyright.
  • Cite specific passages of the law (section 108, 110, etc.)
  • Show you’ve done due diligence (e.g., you’ve replaced LPs with CD re-issues where available; you’ve determined other LPs are in deteriorating condition, etc.)
  • Try to persuade counsel to adopt a “risk assessment” approach (i.e., just how likely is it that a copyright holder will challenge you in this case) versus the more typical “most conservative” approach.
  • File a “contemporaneous writing” — a memo or other document, written at the outset of a digitization project, in which you explain why you believe that you are acting in good faith. This will go a long way towards protecting you if you are in fact challenged by a copyright holder.

Is the Compact Disc Dead?

This was the question addressed by a very interesting panel of speakers, including a VP of Digital Product Strategy at Universal Music Group; the CEO of the Cedille recording label; a concert violinst (Rachel Barton Pine); a former president of the American Symphony Orchestra League; and a music librarian at Northwestern U.

The panel quickly cited a number of reasons to believe that the CD remains a viable format: among these, the universal human desire to own a physical artifact “to give and to show”; the ability to listen on room speakers, not just earbuds; violinst Pine noted that she sells and autographs some 40-70 of her CDs after each performance, that people enjoy the personal contact with the artist, and relish being able to take home a souvenir of the concert. Flaws of downloadable releases were cited in comparison: garbled indexing, making identifying and retrieving of classical works difficult; frequent lack of program notes to provide historical context; the inferior audio quality of compressed files. Changes in student behavior were also noted: in online databases, students tend to retrieve only selected works, or excerpts of works; there doesn’t seem to be the inherent incentive to browse like that offered by physical albums, with the result that students don’t develop as much in-depth knowledge of a composer’s works. On the other hand, the reduced cost of digital distribution has enabled smaller orchestras and other groups to reach a larger audience.

Concern was expressed over an increasing trend among major labels to release performances only in the form of downloadable files, often with a license restricted to “end user only” — preventing libraries from purchasing and making available these performances to their users. The panel proposed that performers and IAML (the International Association of Music Libraries) put pressure on the record companies. Alternative approaches? CDs-on-demand: Cedille’s boss sees this as a growing trend. Also, consortial deals with individual record companies: OhioLink has recently done one with Naxos.

Finally, a concern was expressed about the aggregator model of audio-steaming databases: that these hamper libraries’ responsiveness to local user needs, and the building of the unique collections important for research. The music library community needs to negotiate for distribution models that enable individual selection for traditional collection development.

How Music Libraries are Using New Technologies

  • Videos demonstrating specific resources, such as composers’ thematic catalogs (similar to Lauren’s Research Toolkits).
  • “Un-associations,” in informal online forums like Yahoo or Google groups. There are currently groups for orchestra libraries, flutists, etc.
  • Use of Delicious to create user guides.
  • Meebo for virtual ref.
  • Twitter for virtual ref and for announcements/updates.
  • Widgets and gadgets to embed customized searches, other libraries’ searchboxes, and other web content into LibGuides, etc.
  • ChaCha (a cellphone question-answering service) for virtual ref. Indiana U is partnering with ChaCha in a beta test.

JSTOR

A JSTOR rep presented palns to add 20 more music journals to the database, including more area-studies and foreign-language titles. Attendees pointed out that popular music serials (Downbeat, Rolling Stone, etc.) are becoming primary source material for scholarly research — would JSTOR consider including them? The rep replied that JSTOR originally required that journals be peer-reviewed, but had recently begun to relax this rule. A dabate ensued among attendees as to whether the pop publications were sufficiently relevant to JSTOR’s mission — some believed that JSTOR should stick to its original focus on scholarly literature, and that others could preserve the pop stuff.

Bibliographic Control and the LC Working Group (or: Music Catalogers Freak Out)

The MOUG plenary session gave catalogers a forum to discuss ramifications of the LC Working Group’s recommendations on bibliographic control (see my blog posting for RTSS 08). Concerns expressed:

If collaboration is properly defined as “doing something together for a purpose,” then the disparate (and sometimes opposing) purposes of publishers, vendors, and libraries means that LC’s vision of collective responsibility for metadata and bibliographic control will not constitute true collaboration, but merely exploitation.

The Working Group appears to some to harbor a naive faith in digital architecture to meet all discovery and retrieval needs (it reminded one attendee of predictions that microform would solve all our problems). This is perceived to cultivate a gobal, generalist, one-size-fits-all outlook divorced from existing patterns of scholarly communication and “communities of practice” (e.g., the subject specialist and the community of practitioners that he/she serves). Bibliographic control should be “a network of communication between communities of practice.” An MLA liaison to ALA’s RDA committee noted that the RDA folks expected local catalogers to help fill in the gaps in the currently-vague RDA code — but when specialist communities actually propose details (such as a list of genre terms for music), they’re “dissed.”

Others fear that if LC backs away from its historical role as national library, relying on the larger community of publishers, vendors, and libraries to collaborate in bibliographic control, the actual effect will be that library administrators will think: “If LC isn’t doing this work, then we don’t have to either” — and collaboration will disappear.

Yet others fear the “commodification of cataloging.” With the increasing availability of MARC records and other metadata from third-party sources, there seems to be a growing perception that all metadata is the same — and a concommitant decline in willingness to investigate its source and quality. Administrators increasingly speak of metadata as a commodity.

Remember Katrina?

I’ll close with an item from the business meeting of SEMLA (the Southeast chapter) which was a cause of great celebration: our colleagues from Tulane University in New Orleans, whose music collection was flooded in Hurricane Katrina, announced that 70% of their collection has successfully been restored, and the last portion of it recently returned to them. They brought along a few representative items for show and tell — including a score died pink by its red paper covers. Recalling photos of the original damage, a 70% recovery rate seems a miracle!

Roz at LOEX – Teaching Web 2.0 to Students 1.5

Friday, May 2, 2008 2:11 pm

Robin L. Ewing and Melissa Prescott from St. Cloud State

Web 2.0 Definition (won’t regurgitate this – the basics – Social networking, bookmarking, tagging, communicating, RSS, etc.)

Web 2.0 Surveys 2007

Teens and Social Media from Pew Internet and American Life

Creating and Connecting from National School Board survey

  • 64% online teens have created Web 2.0 content
  • Approx. 30% of online students have their own blogs
  • 22% have uploaded videos they have created

Their own Web 2.0 Awareness Survey

74 students

Awarness of Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Blogs, Podcasts, Social tagging, Wikipedia, Other Wikis, RSS

  • RSS had not heard of 92%, 0% had ever used
  • Social Bookmarking 68% had not heard of
  • Other Wikis 45% had not heard of
  • Podcasts 51% had heard of but had not used
  • 5% had blogs
  • 8% had uploaded videos

Audience discussed how their students compare – similar experiences — students are not seeing new technologies as ‘exciting’ the way librarians do….for them it’s like a new feature on a car — or a refrigerator…..

Librarians respond to Web 2.0 — we see it as a way to connect, market, facilitate — but do students want us there?

Wanted to use credit courses to introduce Web 2.0 concepts and applications, identify tools to discuss with them but not have them create the content or evaluate

Devoted the last 5 minutes of each class to Web 2.0 technology – overview and example — used PPT presentations, or Social Bookmarking YouTube videos (In Plain English series)….. sometimes also did in-class exercises

Virtual Library Tour

  • Had students take the pictures (check out the cameras from Circ) …..upload to Flickr….. tag….
  • Set up a Flicker account for the class
  • Assigned them to groups
  • Gave each a camera
  • Instructor uploaded them to Flickr
  • Tagging happened later in the semester
  • Now they do a short tour – students upload the pcitures – students add tags and notes — http://www.flickr.com/photos/13167481@N03
  • Practice tagging with Google Image Labeler

Social Bookmarking

PPT – definition, video — in class they signed up for account and tagged some sites

Podcasting

Online article — Online May/June 31-31 — Bennington, Adam. 2007. Stick it in your ear: Keeping current with Podcases

Had them listen to a podcast and then evaluated it in class….

Next Steps

Connect Web 2.0 Resources to student research

  • Blogs as research logs
  • Wikipedia article creation
  • 23 Things idea….
  • Short readings ’7ThingsYour Should Know about…..” from EDUCAUSE outside of class and come into class ready to discuss

Implications for IL Instruction

Evaluation of Information from Web 2.0 Sources needs to be considered – not easy to get a checklist format for this.

This was a great session because it confirmed my hunch that students don’t use Web 2.0 the  way librarians use it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not relevant to their research in certain circumstances. I really love the idea of having the students take pictures of the library and then use the concept of tagging to introduce the concept of controlled vocabularies.  I also got some other good ideas about how to approach the topics with students by starting with things we know they do (read their updates in Facebook) and applying that to other Web 2.0 technologies (RSS Feeds).


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