Too often, I have been told to add a video to my content, simply because it is showing that we’re using technology. People want to look like they’re keeping up with advancements with technology, so throwing in a few videos gives that appearance.
But many times, the videos are too long, or don’t really add anything to the content. The learning in that instance isn’t really enhanced by having a video. Using technology in your teaching isn’t as simple as throwing in a video. It has to be carefully sculpted and considered, and used to support and enhance what you are already doing. It is ideally interactive and thought-provoking, helping students to make connections between concepts and solidify their understanding. It must ADD VALUE.
So it’s been four months since I last wrote, how time flies! I suppose one reason that I have written less recently is because of my new involvement with Twitter. Instead of saving up all my thoughts for a full blog post, I can throw them straight out in little micro-blogs and start an instant conversation. It’s been a great way to get more connected with the library community, and I’ve gotten to know some great people and learnt a lot of new things through using the platform. So I highly recommend getting on board if you haven’t yet – and then follow me @MissLibraryGrrl
2017 was an amazing year. I never realise how much I have achieved until I sit down and reflect on it, which is why I actually really value my end of year professional review. Writing out all the things I did to achieve my goals is so satisfying, and encouraging to see that I am heading in a positive direction.
Do you publish blogs, or maybe a Library guide? Or make posters and marketing materials for your Library? Or maybe you are just doing a PowerPoint presentation and need some images to jazz it up a bit?
As many Librarians would be aware, you can’t just go and take any old image from Google Images, because these are usually under copyright and not free to use. Too many times I have seen images with watermarks being used without permission – and the user doesn’t realise that this is what the watermark signifies!
It always makes me especially happy to see Librarians represented in books, movies and TV shows. So I thought I would share with you a few of my very favourites:
In Terry Prachett’s Discworld series, the Librarian of the Unseen University Library (full of magical books for the wizards) has some time ago been transformed into an orangutan, and he doesn’t really want to be changed back. Though all he says is ‘ook’ his character is quite endearing, and I love the description on the fan website (which really could be describing any one of us 😛 ):
When worried, the Librarian tends to hide under a blanket in his book-lined nest in a cubby hole under a desk in the middle of the library. He is generally naked but he does wear an old green robe after he has had a bath. He is also a Special Constable of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. In his spare time he visits the pub, leaving a trail of peanut shells behind.
Did you know that Batgirl, aka Barbara Gordon (Commissioner Gordon’s daughter, NOT Alfred’s niece as shown in the movies), is a Librarian by day? HEAD Librarian of the Gotham City Pubic Library to be more specific. It’s nice to think of us Librarians as butt-kicking superheros, thank you very much.
Speaking of butt-kicking, Evelyn ‘Evie’ Carnahan – the female lead in ‘The Mummy’ movies, is an exceptionally intelligent and strong Librarian. Her knowledge of ancient Egyptian mythology and hieroglyphs would shame any scholar. And she won’t let no undead jerks tell her what to do!
I was recently shown an amazing movie called ‘Desk Set’ from the 1950’s starring Katharine Hepburn as ‘Bunny Watson’ – a sassy and highly intelligent Librarian whose role and department is at risk of being replaced by a fancy new computer (sound familiar?!) There’s also a pretty cute love story intertwined in the very witty and humorous dialogue.
While not technically a Librarian, I absolutely love the sneaky Carl Conrad Coreander who runs the antique book store in the ‘Neverending Story‘ film. I always think of the library as a safe place for all, especially for those kids who need a place to go at lunchtime in school, just as Bastian is saved from the bullies by entering the book store. I can’t help but laugh at Coreander’s sentiments “the video arcade is down the street, we just sell small rectangular objects, they’re called books and require a little effort of your part – and make no pllffbb beeps! Now on your way” haha oh I feel you!
I could go on and on, so I’ll leave you with a quick few others to check out on your own – if you haven’t heard of Rupert Giles, the Librarian in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, definitely have a watch. Of course, ‘The Pagemaster‘ film has a great eccentric librarian, Mr. Dewey (lol), who is willing to bend the rules a little. Then there is ‘The Librarians‘ film series and TV show from the USA which again has supernatural elements and a very clever Librarian. Finally, ‘The Librarians‘ TV show from Australia takes a more realistic approach, with a horrible librarian who is actually painful to watch (but its very funny).
So, from this list you can see: there is mostly an even split of male and female Librarians – interesting. Also we seem to be quite eccentric, and involved in lots of supernatural events, and are also very intelligent, quite funny and sort of rule breakers. I’m quite happy with this profile 🙂
It can be easy to forget as you are diligently working away, but every book cover in the library is covered by copyright law, not just the content within the book. Often the book cover will contain an artistic work, and some may be particularly unique.
So if you are using thumbnails in a catalogue, or a blog, or on a library poster – is this breaching copyright law?
An interesting article by Janne Hukkinen in Wired has introduced me to a new concept, peer review conducted by artificial intelligence!
The article argues it is risky business, and I agree. While it can streamline the process and lead to faster publishing, I seriously doubt an algorithm could review a paper to the same quality as a human expert. Nuances would be missed. As the author states it would fail to consider values, “such as ranking two scientifically equal texts on the basis of their social relevance”. Hukkinen also tells a story akin to Hal in 2001: a Space Odyssey, where a rogue program sent “terse letters” without the knowledge of the company.
Clearly there is space for computer assistance, searching for plagiarism and obvious errors for one. It can immediately discount some manuscripts based on particular criteria. But peer review done solely by AI? I am sceptical. Of course, I suppose people are sceptical of every new technological development. Perhaps in the future it will simply be accepted as the norm.
The article poses some interesting questions for the future of publishing and science, and is well worth a read. The possibilities really are endless…
The author of the list, Jeffrey Beall, has come out with an article titled What I learned from predatory publishers, which provides “a first-hand account of the author’s work identifying and listing predatory publishers from 2012 to 2017.” This article provides some interesting insights into predatory publishing, and also suggests why Beall felt it necessary to remove the list – he was under “intense pressure” from his employer and feared losing his job.
I like to think of the Global Seed Vault as a form of archive and library. I can only imagine how they have catalogued and organised all those seeds!
The vault is supposed to be
an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever.
Unfortunately, even deep in the Arctic circle it is still not perfectly safe. An archive/library’s worst nightmare – FLOOD. According to The Guardian, due to climate change and much warmer temperatures than usual, loads of melted snow and rain have breached the vault!!
Thankfully no seeds were harmed. But this questions the vaults ability to preserve the seeds for eternity, and also shows the dramatic effects of climate change. I’ve seen flooding before in a library, and its not a pretty site. Paper clearly does not withstand water very well. I can’t imagine having the responsibility to preserve my library items for eternity!
In my first year out of university, I worked in high school libraries. And for the last two years, I’ve been working in an academic library. For those who are just starting their career journey, and are interested in this type of library work, I thought I would write about what its like working in each of these environments.
As part of my Masters course, I have just completed a unit on Marketing for Libraries. It was interesting to see how marketing concepts from for-profit businesses could be augmented to serve the purposes of the services industry.