Friday, November 27, 2009

12/1 Readings: Unit 12

Reichardt, R., & Harder, G. (2005). Weblogs: their use and application in science and technology libraries.
Science & Technology Libraries, 25(3), 105-116.
The article focuses on weblogs as tools for project management and as educational tools for reference and public service librarians. Reichardt and Harder chart the rise of weblogs from the mid nineties to their current use as social networking tools (focusing on weblogs automatic archiving tool as a way to streamline work). One issue raised by the article was attempts to utilize weblogs as tools to help librarians troubleshoot student problems and field reference questions. I thought the use of RSS feeds on student websites would be an interesting way to find up-to-date reference questions, but like the use of IM Ask-a-librarian services it all comes down to how much staff and time you have to answer questions promptly, especially at a large research university.

Charles Allan, "Using a wiki to manage a library instruction program: Sharing knowledge to better serve patrons"
C&RL News, April 2007 Vol. 68, No. 4

Allan also focuses on how online tools-use of wikis- streamline workflow and enhance project collaboration. The article goes further to instruct librarians how to utilize wikis for library instruction purposes; using wikis to provide information on how to search for resources on a library website and keep professor up to date on library technology. The author highlights how wikis can be used to store pertinent information over several semesters for (incoming) students.

Xan Arch, "Creating the academic library folksonomy: Put social tagging to work at your institution" C&RL News, February 2007 Vol. 68, No. 2

Xan's article focuses on the use of tags to find scholarly literature and uses del.ic.oius, Cite-u-Like and Connotea as examples of use of scholarly tagging. The article also gives tips on how to create content-consulting with subject specialist to create tags for the information. The article also highlights a problem in using tagging for scholarly research, namely the use of controlled vocabulary (use of vs. user folksonomies. I think the use of both would be beneficial to the library-user definitions may vary greatly from those of the "experts"-bibliographers, librarians and subject specialists.

Jimmy Wales: “How a ragtag band created Wikipedia”
Goals of wikipedia: Free encyclopedia. Has free licensing model-Wales believes free licensing is cost-effective. Biggest languages German, Japanese, French. 1/3 of traffic to English language wikipedia. According to Wales, Wikipedia is more popular than the NYTimes, what does this say about where people get their information? The video reminds me of a debate I had with a chemistry major as an undergraduate. She espoused the idea that wikipedia was a great way to find information and was sanctioned by her professors as an adequate source. As someone in the humanities with a background in journalism, disagreed, namely because of issues with factual information on the site (anyone can edit). As far as citation of scholarly sources go, I think the schism is going to be between the "hard" science and social sciences.

Wales cites a major problem with Wikipedia-vandalism as a barrier to quality control. Wales cites a "neutrality policy" for wikipedia editors, but I wonder whether the ability to write factual entries suffers.


  1. I like your point about Wikipedia. I think the neutrality idea is a good one but ultimately inpracticable and useless due to the fact that humans are naturally biased during one POV or another and it is very hard to remove that bias, even when told to. I know this from when I was in journalism and trying to write articles I felt strongly about.

  2. Yes, I agree with your point about the difficulty to ensure consistency and quality control of factual information in wikipedia...