Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Well, neither did I really: I knew there were concerns about the credibility of the contributors, and because of that I forbade my students from using Wikipedia as a source in research. Instead, I wanted my students to use criticism from scholarly sources and databases. It seemed an easy answer for me - end of story, right? Wrong!
Apparently, there is a whole storm a-brewing out there about the margin of error found in Wikipedia, how that margin compares to long-revered sources such as Encyclopedia Britannica, rebuttals from Wikipedia's founder...what a brouhaha! Or is it?
Honestly, credibility is an issue in every form of media isn't it? And isn't it incumbent upon us as consumers (of thought as well as material goods) to carefully screen whatever we purchase, whatever we believe? Do we allow our opinions, thoughts, values, etc. to be shaped by one source? Hopefully not.
That determined, I move on to more salient topics: creating our own wikis. Once again, the guys over at Common Craft make simple work of the topic. (I think I love them. Really.) For the last year or two, my partners and I have tried different technology applications hoping to generate online discussions among our students. Unfortunately, none of them worked very well. There was always some limitation, procedural or within the technology available, that hindered meaningful discussion.
I am hoping that wikis might offer a solution to the problems encountered. Looking at the wikis and blogs through the learn2play page, I came across some really neat applications. There was one great wiki on Hamlet. Have you guys seen it? If I can find it again, I will include the link in this posting. And the one from the New Jersey Public Library? Great!
I have only one question - how does what one posts in the sandbox differ from what one posts on the wiki itself? Anyone know? Am I exposing my ignorance again?
Friday, June 20, 2008
In Episode 22, "The Library," Jerry is investigated by Mr. Bookman, the New York Public Library's detective. At question - a copy of Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer supposedly returned in 1971. Below are two particularly salient (not to mention darn funny) passages from the script:
Phillip Baker Hall visits Jerry in his apartment and issues a flaming oratory on the sanctity of the library and finally an ultimatum...
BOOKMAN: Well, let me tell you something, funny boy. Y'know that little
stamp, the one that says "New York Public Library"? Well that may not
mean anything to you, but that means a lot to me. One whole hell of a
lot. Sure, go ahead, laugh if you want to. I've seen your type
before: Flashy, making the scene, flaunting convention. Yeah, I know what
you're thinking. What's this guy making such a big stink about old
library books? Well, let me give you a hint, junior. Maybe we can live
without libraries, people like you and me. Maybe. Sure, we're too old to
change the world, but what about that kid, sitting down, opening a book,
right now, in a branch at the local library and finding drawings of
pee-pees and wee-wees on the Cat in the Hat and the Five Chinese
Brothers? Doesn't HE deserve better? Look. If you think this is about
overdue fines and missing books, you'd better think again. This is about
that kid's right to read a book without getting his mind warped! Or:
maybe that turns you on, Seinfeld; maybe that's how y'get your kicks. You
and your good-time buddies. Well I got a flash for ya, joy-boy: Party
time is over. Y'got seven days, Seinfeld. That is one week!
Later in the same episode, Bookman comments on the qualities and virtues of the librarian...
BOOKMAN: I remember when the librarian was a much older woman:
Kindly, discreet, unattractive. We didn't know anything about her private
life. We didn't want to know anything about her private life. She didn't
have a private life. While you're thinking about that, think about this:
The library closes at five o'clock, no exceptions. This is your
final warning. Got that, kewpie-doll?
I think these stereotypes fit so perfectly in the case of Thing #15. After reading the five perspectives one cannot help but accept that a great shift is occurring, and for myself may I say "Hallelujah!" Undoubtedly we all have our own "librarian" stories - have you ever read Eudora Welty's description of Mrs. Calloway, her hometown librarian? And, true, it may be unfair to place the blame solely on the librarian, but I'll bet that every one of us has run up against the archaic library system at some point in our life. Those of you who know me have heard (ad nauseum, probably) my own tale of woe as my "lending privileges were suspended" one summer. The sting of those whispered words still pierce my tender psyche.
But I digress. Back to the words "archaic library system": I think that is what the five perspectives presented in Thing 15/Library2.0 strive to overcome. While reading the words of each expert, I used my Google Notebook ( a pretty cool feature, by the way) to keep notes. As I did, I tagged key concepts, words, and phrases. When done, I couldn't help but notice the contrast of past and present. Take a look at the lists below...
Words used in discussing the past included:
remnants of a bygone information age
practices and attitudes that no longer make sense
difficult, expensive and slow
barriers that exist between patrons and the information they need
privileged with access
libraries no longer have the monopoly power that they had in the days before the Internet
policies and procedures that impede users’ access to the library
Words for the present and future?
anticipates the user’s every need
our patrons will expect access to everything
more humble in the current environment
a social and emotionally engaging center for learning and experience
breakdown barriers and allow users access wherever they are: home, work, commuting, school, or at the library
a climate of collaboration
users add value
Libraries should welcome the submission of reviews, assignment of keywords (“tagging”), addition of scholarly commentary, and other forms of user participation
Forgive me for failing to cite each and every one of the five authors separately. For the quotes used in their exact contexts, see the links below.
So goodbye Mr. Bookman, Mrs. Calloway, and the lady in the pink sweater at the Hedwig Village libary. Times they are a'changing, and dinosaurs need not apply!
Away from Icebergs
Into a new world of librarianship
To more powerful ways to cooperateTo better bibliographic services
To a temporary place in time
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Have any of you read Gary Paulsen's Hatchet? If so, you no doubt remember poor Brian surrounded by swarms of gnats and mosquitoes even to the degree that his eyes and nose were clouded by the offenders! That horrifying image always stuck with me, and to a large degree it colored the way that I looked at social bookmarking tags. I considered them a nuisance, an unwelcome presence that buzzed about the bottom of webpages I tried to view.
I wasn't sure of these semantic intruders' origins nor could I speak to their intent, but I did know that ignoring them and hoping they would go away was out of the question. The blue underlined pests buzzed around the screen and distracted me from my webquests. Honestly, if I came across a website or blog that harbored these little intruders, I would hit the back button with lightning speed. Could any site that gave refuge to that disorganized mess of words (and I do hate a mess!) really be credible? Really?
Well, that was my opinion until the wee hours of this morning. Imagine my surprise when I heard that these "tags" (as I learned they were called) really held some value. I have to credit the guys at Common Craft for my changed heart: really, those fellows are amazing! Who would ever have thought that a white board, a few paper dolls, and a dry-erase marker could be such an effective educational tool?
Once I watched their video and listened to the podcast by Kathleen Gilroy, my previous disdain melted away. Concepts like "the magic middle," "topical authority," and "folkarchy" suddenly added purpose to what I previously considered worthless junk.
After such a thorough introduction into Del.icio.us, Furl and Ma.gnolia seemed to pale in comparison, so I didn't even pursue them. Instead, I just played around with the tags already posted in Del.icio.us, spending most of my time in the most popular tags in the food section.
So, what is my new and improved opinion of social bookmarking? Well, I like the idea of using one's own system of organization to create order out of the increasing tangled worldwide web. How many times have I wished that there was a better way to categorize my bookmarks, one that would allow greater flexibility in nomenclature? My own word associations do far more to charge the synapses than do the stilted titles of some website. The title of the play Tanglewood Tales is a far better reminder than the name of the article which discusses the play, "Hawthorne in Salem."
But will I use it? Will I encourage my students to use it? I think I'll have to be sure that those little clouds at the bottom of the screen are fireflies or lightning bugs before I do!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I eagerly anticipated the Library Thing, having seen on other players' pages rows and rows of books, neatly arranged on a shelf... I created my account, added my titles, and prepared my books for viewing; however, I couldn't figure out how to make the bookshelf. Look at the boring little sidebar on the right side of the page: that is no way to display something one loves!
Can anyone out there help me?
I have tried a hundred different ways of using the tools offered on Library Thing, but all I succeeded in doing was to erase my original post which was, if I might say so, quite inspired.
(Someone left my cake out in the rain, and I tried so hard to make it, and it took so long to bake it, and I'll never have that recipe again... Oh, forgive the 70's flashback/self-induced pity party!)
I'm hoping that someone out there is actually reading this and can help...
Oh, it is Shelfari!!! Thank you, Bibliophile Blogger, for mentioning this in one of your posts!
Friday, June 13, 2008
ImageChef.com Poetry Blender
My early morning quest for an ice-cream cake recipe to share on Father's Day must have a lingering effect... (I'm thinking of a chocolate jelly-roll cake with bing cherry ice cream if anyone has a good recipe!).
But on to more salient topics like the image generators: what fun! The greatest difficulty I encountered was deciding from among the options. I started with the Custom Sign Generator http://dummies.book.cover.txt2pic.com/ and after sifting through the 51 links offered therein created the "Dummies" image found down the page a bit.
Amused but not fully satisfied (kind of like eating Jello), I pressed on to Image Chef. Gratified to see the words "Visual Poetry" pop up on the page, I knew I was in the right place. Using the Poetry Blender http://www.imagechef.com/ic/blender/ I created the ice cream image that you see above.
Applications for the classroom? Let your mind run wild. For my own students, I can see covers for their outside reading novels, venues for their found poetry and embellished words, etc. What a great tool for the kids who are inspired to create but are, in their own words, "not good at art."
Well, since these generators give birth to flights of fancy, let me offer a little bit of whimsy to send you on your way...
Bleezer's Ice Cream
by Jack Prelutsky
I am Ebenezer Bleezer,
I run BLEEZER'S ICE CREAM STORE,
there are flavors in my freezer
you have never seen before,
twenty-eight divine creations
too delicious to resist,
why not do yourself a favor,
try the flavors on my list:
COCOA MOCHA MACARONI
TAPIOCA SMOKED BALONEY
CHECKERBERRY CHEDDAR CHEW
CHICKEN CHERRY HONEYDEW
TUTTI-FRUTTI STEWED TOMATO
TUNA TACO BAKED POTATO
LOBSTER LITCHI LIMA BEAN
ALMOND HAM MERINGUE SALAMI
YAM ANCHOVY PRUNE PASTRAMI
SASSAFRAS SOUVLAKI HASH
BUTTER BRICKLE PEPPER PICKLE
PEACH PIMENTO PIZZA PLUM
PEANUT PUMPKIN BUBBLEGUM
BROCCOLI BANANA BLUSTER
CHOCOLATE CHOP SUEY CLUSTER
AVOCADO BRUSSELS SPROUT
COTTON CANDY CARROT CUSTARD
CAULIFLOWER COLA MUSTARD
ONION DUMPLING DOUBLE DIP
TURNIP TRUFFLE TRIPLE FLIP
GARLIC GUMBO GRAVY GUAVA
LENTIL LEMON LIVER LAVA
ORANGE OLIVE BAGEL BEET
WATERMELON WAFFLE WHEAT
I am Ebenezer Bleezer,
I run BLEEZER'S ICE CREAM STORE,
taste a flavor from my freezer,
you will surely ask for more.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Particularly influential in my changed thinking was the article about creating your own "Circle of the Wise" at Coolcatteacher.com. http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2006/12/how-to-create-your-circle-of-wise-how.html This author's stance toward character, inspiration, responsibility, etc. assuaged some of my concerns and helped guide my own blog searches.
So, using Coolcat's guidelines, I searched by character and credibility in the areas that I enjoy. Using bloglines and google, I started with William Safire, then on to Jan Freeman, and so on.
These search methods may seem archaic in light of the myriad available, but given my fledgling knowledge and tendency to be overwhelmed by too much information I thought it best to keep it simple.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
What do you like about RSS and newsreaders?
How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your school or personal life?
How can libraries use RSS or take advantage of this new technology?