Posts tagged ‘Digital Divide’

27/08/2011

“I came to the library to get some information, not to have a conversation with the librarian” or, “The user experience in the library”

I found the website for the Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction while looking around for some information on usability.  The site is about “human-centred aspects of technology” (from the About page) and I thought at first that allot of the information in here might be of use for librarians interested in Web and Library 2.0 issues.  However, I have come across a few interesting articles recently which sort of tied in with this topic, so here are a few rambling thoughts on the topic of the user experience as it relates to libraries, and a few (amateurish) ideas about how to improve user experience.

How do users of the library experience the library, it’s services, and interactions with staff?

The Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries (or ERIAL) findings to be published soon, found that students generally were fairly wasteful when it came to using information resources – they knew where the information was, but did not have the skills to access it properly, or understand the results of searches.  In an article about the ERIAL findings in InsideHigherEd.com (22.08.2011), titled What students don’t know,

Only seven out of 30 students whom anthropologists observed at Illinois Wesleyan “conducted what a librarian might consider a reasonably well-executed search,” wrote Duke and Andrew Asher, an anthropologist at Bucknell University…  Throughout the interviews, students mentioned Google 115 times — more than twice as many times as any other database…  but the Illinois researchers found something they did not expect: students were not very good at using Google. They were basically clueless about the logic underlying how the search engine organizes and displays its results.

What students don’t know / Steve Kolowich, 22.08.2011, viewed 25.08.2011, http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/08/22/erial_study_of_student_research_habits_at_illinois_university_libraries_reveals_alarmingly_poor_information_literacy_and_skills

This isn’t really a new finding and shouldn’t surprise anyone.  The fact that it does surprise anyone might have something to do with the fact that librarians are looking at information behaviour from the perspective of what librarians believe should be happening, rather than from what is happening.  As an example, while studying LIS I wanted to find information about how people actually looked for information, rather than just look at what my reference and research textbooks suggested was the way it should be done.  I knew I didn’t follow a clear path to writing essays or putting information together, and I suspected I wasn’t the only one.

Finally I came across an article The paradoxical world of young people’s information behaviour  by Andrew K. Shenton (School Libraries Worldwide, vol 13, no 2, July 2007).  I suggest you read it.  One of the mind-blowing statements of Shenton’s is contained just a few paragraphs into the article where he suggests that many of the things librarians are implementing in the library to help the facilitation of information retrieval and utilisation are actually acting as “barriers” to ordinary people, especially students, when using the library.  Reading something like that for the

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20/08/2011

Four-legged library / David O’Shea reporting, SBS Dateline

A week ago I put up a link to Mary McGregor’s Extreme librarianship : Biblioburro! blog, about Luis Soriano and the PBS documentary about his work bringing books to kids in rural Columbia.  I’ve managed to find an SBS Australia Dateline episode on Luis and his donkey ‘Alfa.’  Titled ‘Four-legged library’, it was aired on 24.07.2011.

Four-legged library / Reported by David O’Shea, Dateline, SBS Australia, 24.07.2011, viewed 20.08.2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPfFZEPhLAE&feature=player_profilepage (also http://www.sbs.com.au/dateline/story/watch/id/601279/n/Four-Legged-Library)

Some quotes from the show:

LUIS:  (Translation): If we teach a citizen, a compatriot, to read, he or she will be a good citizen. The main purpose of the Donkey Library is to take books they can at least look at. So they see that the world isn’t just mountains, paths, donkeys and cows…  

D. O’SHEA: I tell Luis that gadgets for reading are replacing books in my own country but he doesn’t see that as a problem.

LUIS: (Translation):  We have to teach and prepare them. And it’s a good thing. It has to happen. We need development. We can’t be left behind…

When things are done with love and dedication, they transcend time and space. That’s why it’s had such impact and worldwide recognition. It’s a labour of love. Things are more valuable when they can’t be bought.

In the documentary, David O’Shea gets Luis in touch with the President of East Timor, Jose Ramos Horta.  In May 2011, Luis Soriano met Ramos Horta in Singapore (See Tarie’s blog – The Children’s Literature Lecture and Awards Ceremony / Asia in the heart, world in the mind [09.06.2011], and afcc.com.sg)

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16/08/2011

A library opens in Burma

The opening of a library doesn’t usually make the headlines, but when Aung San Suu Kyi is able to leave her home to even visit a library, it is worthy of mention.  Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for many years, but was released in November 2010, and on a trip outside of Rangoon, in August 2011, she visited Bago and opened two libraries.  The libraries were named in her honour, and, according to the Mizzima report, were established to help the poor access information which would otherwise be too expensive for them.

Aung San Suu Kyi secretly recorded the 2011 Reith Lectures for the BBC this year (also available from ABC Radio National’s ‘Big Ideas’).  Also this year, ABC journalist Zoe Daniel met with Aung San Suu Kyi, and the report below includes a rare interview with Suu Kyi.

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The Lady on the lake / Uploaded to Youtube.com by JourneymanPictures 15.08.2011, Reported by Zoe Daniel, Foreign Correspondent, ABC TV Australia, originally aired 19.07.2011, viewed 16.08.2011,  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtYY6GllMNA (also http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2011/s3273094.htm)

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In 1991 Aung San Suu Kyi received the Nobel Peace Prize, and in 1996 she was made a Companion of the Order of Australia.  Below are some sources, as well as some related links and searches.

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11/08/2011

Challenging Librarian Stereotypes

Two blog posts I have come across today linked to some great information about librarians, and will give you food for thought about what it means to deliver information to those who need it.

First, Mary McGregor‘s Brooklyn Biblio blog has a post entitled Extreme librarianship : Biblioburro! (20.07.2011), which links to information about a documentary shown on the American Public Broadcasting Service called Biblioburro : The Donkey Library (NB: the documentary isn’t available in Australia due to restricted rights [currently that is] but the trailer can be seen on Youtube from Simon and Schuster under the title Biblioburro).  The documentary aired on 19.07.2011 in the USA on PBS, and hopefully it will get an airing  in Australia.  For some other online information about this film, see this saved search, the Biblioburro Facebook page, and the works listed at Trove.

Secondly, Jessica Danielle writes, in an article entitled Libriotypes : putting the SUPER in superficial (03.08.2011), about challenging stereotypes by showing that many librarians just don’t fit the usual expectations society has of them.  Jessica says

if they took a few more minutes to know me, perhaps they could shake some of those ridiculous concepts out of their heads and appreciate that I am a person who likes to help people find information, gain knowledge, learn technology, and understand how to sift through the rubble to find reliable material. 

There is a link to the Warrior Librarian Weekly’s article, Rejecting the stereotypical librarian image, with a list of websites about librarians (the list is from 2008, and a few of the links are now dead).  Jessica Danielle’s blog is Librarians + Stereotypes :: A blog about the two.

UPDATED 20.08.2011

I have managed to find an Australian story about the Biblioburro.  SBS’ Dateline current affairs program made a story about Columbia’s Luis Soriano titled ‘Four-legged library’ – I decided to put it up in another post because it was worth a look.  Go to it here…

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