Monthly Archives: January 2012

Evaluative Report

Evaluative Statement

Module 2: Virtual Worlds

Second Life is a virtual world, a playground where many users can interact and experience other cultures, visit other countries and learn in a stimulating environment that is difficult to replicate in the real world (Module 2: Virtual Worlds). As a social networking platform, communication and interaction are integral to participating in this immersive environment, a point that I should have placed greater importance on. Being part of a community, learning about yourself and how you relate to others (Bell, Lindbloom, Peters & Pope, 2008) are central to the aims of social networks.

My journey in Second Life with my avatar Poppydom helped me to understand the enormous learning possibilities for students and the sense of achievement as new tasks were accomplished. I described my experiences in Second Life to illustrate how information can be gathered in a fun and innovative way (Dede, 2009). In retrospect I should have emphasised the collaboration and interaction with fellow students from CSU, which made the Second Life experience more enjoyable and rewarding, and demonstrated how a virtual world is an ideal learning space.

My Module 2 task included a description of the various virtual libraries represented in Second Life, highlighting the widespread and global use of this library tool to share resources and information outside the confines of a traditional library (Baity, Chappell, Rachlin, Vinson & Zamarripa, 2009). I clearly outlined the ability of virtual libraries to promote services and materials which illustrated how users can visit and source information from libraries around the world without leaving their own homes.

Module 4: Comparative Study

Social networking technologies influence how we communicate, interact, share information and learn.  The social networking sites Facebook and Twitter are universally popular in establishing and maintaining relationships, conveying information and supporting learning (Module 4: Comparative Study). My comparative study of three libraries and their use of Facebook and Twitter utilized a table format to help define the libraries that used these social networking sites to maximum advantage. This method allowed for a critical examination of the features and functions that each library used to provide information, services and resources for their patrons (Burkhardt, 2009).

In my comparative study, I concentrated to a large degree on mobile compatibility as so much of my research emphasised that the future of internet access will be via mobile devices (Dadwal, 2011; Digital World, 2012) and libraries who do not heed this trend will be left behind. I believe that I successfully highlighted the significance of effective mobile functionality. I also stressed the importance of vibrant and appealing Facebook and Twitter interfaces (Burkhardt, 2009) in encouraging active participation by users to the libraries’ social networking sites.

I touched on the educational implications and benefits of these libraries’ use of Facebook and Twitter by reporting their use of reading groups and tutorials but I should have placed greater emphasis on how these technologies support the educational and informational needs of the community (Hricko, 2010; Reed & Evely, 2011). Facebook and Twitter can not only inform users of materials available to them in the library but also direct users to sites and related educational institutions that assist their learning journey.

Module 5: Information for all

The relatively new platform of ‘cloud computing’ promises to alter the way we use computers by making both data and software obtainable via the internet (Module 5: Information for all). My intention at the beginning of this task in referring to both American and Australian statistics was to demonstrate the financial, organisational and monetary difficulties encountered by libraries today in providing free internet access to their patrons (Bertot, Jaeger, McClure, Wright & Jensen, 2009; Alia survey, 2011). I believe that I highlighted these concerns in sufficient detail but I failed to link these issues to the development and implementation of a social media policy. This policy provides clear guidelines which assist library managers to deliver optimum service to their patrons (Kroski, 2009).

I introduced and discussed the emerging ‘cloud computing’ platform in detail as I strongly believe that it is the solution to many internet and computer accessibility problems in today’s libraries. I believe that I succinctly explained the ‘open cloud’ concept which enables the shared use of software and data amongst libraries worldwide (Nelson, 2009). This is a highly desirable solution for libraries as it allows them to provide internet services within their budgets.

My aim throughout these online learning journal entries was to illustrate how the realm of virtual worlds, social networking sites Facebook and Twitter and the emerging platform of ‘cloud computing’ enhance the services and learning environments that libraries are able to provide for their patrons.

Reflective Statement

INF 506: Social networking for information professionals – what a journey of discovery!

In November 2011, at the commencement of this course, I had a very basic understanding of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. I already had a Facebook account which I used occasionally to stay in contact with my children and overseas friends and relatives. My experience with Twitter was confined to reading about famous people and their tweets in the daily newspaper. Then I started working my way through the social networking modules and the world of Web 2.0 technologies and social software was revealed to me.

I created numerous accounts – Delicious, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and Second Life. My blog Domonthenet was conceived and I posted my first entry – how proud I was seeing my first and subsequent words in print! I joined the INF 506 group on Facebook and Flickr, all the time struggling to keep track of user names and passwords. Blogs, wikis, QR codes, mash ups, RSS feeds, podcasts… the list is endless and I was in awe (I still am) of where technology is taking us and the enormous possibilities for education, business and information services.

There were many struggles and challenges along the social networking road as I uploaded my first photos on Flickr, conquered the Delicious stacks, tweeted to no one in particular, was followed by Kevin Rudd and cautiously posted comments on Facebook. The generosity of my INF 506 colleagues and tutor as they added links to interesting and relevant sites and responded promptly to my questions made my journey less overwhelming and so much more rewarding. I found group communication via Facebook where comments and posts can be categorised under headings, far more efficient and user friendly than wikis or forums. Being notified of new posts via email added to the sense of immediacy and currency that Facebook inspires.

Without a doubt, my experiences in the virtual world of Second Life were the highlight of my INF 506 passage of discovery. Poppydom (my avatar) was born in late November 2011 and my initial venture into Second Life left me wondering about its worth. As Poppydom joined tutorials and her skills improved, I discovered the wealth of experiences and opportunities for learning that are possible in virtual worlds (Bell et al, 2008). Visits to libraries in different universities, gardens with rare book collections, islands dedicated to health information, cities set in different times… the world of Second Life is a treasure trove waiting to be opened and enjoyed. The project presentation, complete with slideshow, involving my INF506 colleagues in a virtual conference scenario made online learning more real. An advantage of Second Life conferencing is that many people can communicate simultaneously (yet anonymously) and engage with others through immediate questions and answers (Arroll, Attree, Dancey, McLean, Painter & Pawson, 2011).

I am looking forward to future forays into Second Life, especially meeting up with my daughter and her avatar in a cute Parisian café when she moves to France for her studies later in the year.

My development as an information professional is in its infancy. I have acquired a great deal of knowledge in a short time and am now in the process of consolidating this information and knowledge and devising plans for its application.

I will definitely retain my Facebook and Twitter accounts as I am receiving regular updates from libraries around Australia as well as posts from fellow colleagues who will continue to keep me informed about the latest library and social networking trends. Being able to interact with people in the same profession has a two-way benefit as we can stay connected and communicate globally (De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk & Jenkins, 2007). As I work in primary education, there are age restrictions to the use of Facebook and Twitter which would unfortunately prevent any real use of these social networking sites in the school environment.

My Delicious account with access to the SIS social media stacks is an invaluable source of information that I will be able to refer to over time. I can envisage using Flickr with upper primary school students as a means of sharing photos for use in projects and as a creative stimulus for writing.

I intend to continue contributing to my online journal as my career as an informational professional develops. It will be an avenue for adding new resources and emerging technologies as well as allowing me to evaluate my growth and development as a teacher librarian. The benefits for students of all ages in having their own online journal are enormous. They can share their creative writing efforts and projects with their fellow students and gain a sense of pride and satisfaction in seeing their work published (Brookover, 2007).

I can see vast learning opportunities for students in being able to immerse themselves in virtual worlds. There are many virtual worlds dedicated to younger school age students such as Club Penguin, Whyville and Pora Ora where children can learn at their own pace and experiment in the safety of a virtual world, without fear of failure. It is a more engaging way of learning, a more active involvement for students than usually found in traditional classroom learning (Helmer, 2007; Dede, 2009).

My journey into the world of social networking has only just begun and I envisage continuous and ongoing growth as an information professional as Web 3.0 technologies evolve globally.


Arroll, M., Attree, E.  A., Dancey, C. P.,  McLean, G ., Painter, J., & Pawson, C. (2011). Real Benefits of a Second Life: development and evaluation of a virtual psychology conference centre and tutorial rooms, Psychology Learning & Teaching, 10(2), 107-117.

Baity, C., Chappell, P., Rachlin, D., Vinson, C., Zamarripa, M. (2009). When real and virtual worlds collide: A Second Life Library. Desktop Computing. Retrieved from

Bell, L., Lindbloom, M., Peters, T., Pope, K. (2008). Virtual Libraries and Education in Virtual Worlds: Twenty-first century library services. Policy Futures in Education 6 (1) 49-58pages 49-58. Retrieved from

Brookover, S. (2007). Why we blog. Library Journal. Retrieved from

Burkhardt, A. (2009). Four reasons libraries should be on social media. Information Tyrannosaur – Top of the Information Food Chain. Retrieved from

Dadwal, R. (2011). An ever-changing field: developments in mobile marketing. Retrieved from

Dede, C. (2009). Immersive interfaces for engagement and learning,
Science, 323(5910), 66-69. Retrieved from;323/5910/66.pdf

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L. (2007). Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world. A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. [eBook] Available

Digital World (2012). In Technology Explained (2012). Retrieved from

Helmer, J., & Learning Light (2007). Second Life and virtual worlds Available from

Hricko, M. (2010). Using Microblogging Tools for Library Services. Journal of Library Administration, 50, 684-692. doi: 10.1080/01930826.2010.488951

Kroski, E. (2009).  Should Your Library Have a Social Media Policy? School Library Journal.  Retrieved from

Nelson, M. R. (2009). Building an open cloud [Cloud computing as platform]. Science, 324(5935), 1656-1657. Retrieved from

Reed, M., & Evely, A. ( 2011). Top Twitter Tips for Academics. Living With Environmental Change. Retrieved from


Module 2 : Virtual Worlds

Second Life is another world, a virtual environment involving multiple users (Dede, 2009), participating in experiences that would not be possible in the real world. It is a playground where avatars can fly, teleport to other lands and interact anonymously with other avatars around the world. There is no limit to the possibilities and no fear of failure (Helmer, 2007) as the virtual world of Second Life is revealed. It is therefore the ultimate place for learning.

Poppydom (the avatar I created), was initially extremely hesitant to leave the safety of the CSU Learning Centre but gradually she took her few steps, her first flight and eventually managed to acquire a new T shirt. Getting lost in Second Life wilderness produced some anxiety but being able to set the CSU SLURL to home was a welcome safety net. Since her early tentative steps, Poppydom has visited Macquarie University, Stanford Library with its fascinating garden of rare books, Hong Kong Polytech Library and Healthinfo Island with a wealth of support groups for every conceivable medical problem. Future journeys will bring more encounters and more learning opportunities for Poppydom.

It is naïve to think that the unsavoury elements of Second Life do not exist (Helmer, 2007) and recent public outcry relating to possible addictive use of Second Life (Sunrise Morning Show, 2012) brings fresh criticism but studies into the educational benefits of immersion in a virtual world tell a different story. Students are able to view situations from different perspectives and subsequently grasp new and challenging concepts while immersing themselves in situations that imitate real environments (Bell, Lindbloom, Peters & Pope, 2008). The virtual world of ‘River City’ involves students acting as scientists as they identify, observe and test theories in order to solve problems in this computer-generated world (Dede, 2009). The simulation requires collaboration with fellow students and engages users in an exciting learning situation not possible in science laboratories or traditional classrooms.

Second Life libraries are gaining popularity globally with users able to visit Stanford, Harvard, Princeton and the James Joyce Library,an initiative of University College Dublin, to name just a few virtual libraries (Baity, Chappell, Rachlin,Vinson & Zamarripa, 2009). The aim of these libraries is to showcase digital exhibitions, display rare books, attract new users as well as provide access to resources from around the world. Virtual Libraries can also serve as a meeting place or conference centre for librarians and educators to discuss the educational and informational possibilities of virtual worlds (Bell et al, 2008).

If a mature adult can get such a sense of achievement from navigating a virtual environment, then imagine the enormous learning possibilities for students of all ages.


Baity, C., Chappell, P., Rachlin, D., Vinson, C., Zamarripa, M. (2009). When real and virtual worlds Collide: A second Life Library. Desktop Computing. Retrieved from

Bell, L., Lindbloom, M., Peters, T., Pope, K. (2008). “Virtual Libraries and Education in Virtual Worlds: Twenty-first century library services”. Policy Futures in Education 6 (1) 49-58pages 49-58. Retrieved from

Dede, C. (2009). Immersive interfaces for engagement and learning,
Science, 323(5910), 66-69. Retrieved from;323/5910/66.pdf

Helmer, J., & Learning Light (2007). Second Life and virtual worlds Available from

Sunrise Morning Show (2012, January 20). Second Life Controversy: Is the online community ruining our reality? [Television Broadcast]. Sydney: Channel Seven. Retrieved from

Module 5: Information access for all.

Public Libraries remain the sole institution that provides free public internet use and with three quarters of communities in the Unites States of America relying on them to supply free internet access and services (Bertot, Jaeger, McClure, Wright & Jensen, 2009), the challenge is to maintain adequate services to meet this demand and fulfil a critical objective of library policy which is to provide information access for all users.

The current global financial crisis has created high unemployment and reduced personal wealth, resulting in a greater demand for free internet services as supplied by public libraries. Patrons are using the internet more and more to look for jobs, contact social services and find places to live (Van Sant, 2009), while economic cuts to public libraries are affecting staffing and services and limiting opening hours.

The growing demand for internet training and services by the community places more pressure on public libraries as staff need extra training to keep up with emerging technologies (Bertot et al, 2009; Alia , 2011) . Libraries are endeavouring to improve services by increasing the number of workstations, making connection speeds faster, securing robust band widths and  providing more wireless access. Due to the burden of servicing the internet needs of a large community, most libraries have time restrictions placed on internet use.

Public Libraries in Australia are experiencing similar problems with budget restrictions not keeping pace with the growing demand for internet access.  Many libraries are struggling to sustain the cost of providing free WI FI to their patrons and finding the time to train staff to be IT competent (Alia survey, 2011). As in the American study, there are problems with slow broadband speeds, inadequate number of terminals and lack of assistance from library staff.

The emerging ‘Cloud computing’ platform has the potential to solve many of these problems, with the ability to “link millions of users to thousands of computers simultaneously” (Nelson, 2009). Cloud computing involves both data and software being accessible on the net resulting in reductions in the cost of expensive hardware, maintenance and power. Libraries will be able to utilise the expertise of the cloud service providers, eliminating the need to have an IT support team on hand in the library. The ‘open cloud’ using “open standards, open interfaces and open-source software” (Nelson, 2009) would allow libraries to be linked globally, increasing collaboration and service sharing.  Security and privacy concerns would be minimised as libraries could utilise the latest security technologies available through the cloud. A solution to the global problem of public libraries supplying sufficient and efficient internet access, within their financial budgets, lies with cloud computing.


Alia Internet Access in Public Libraries Survey (2011). Australian Library and information Association. Retrieved from

Bertot, J. C., Jaeger, P. T., McClure, C. R., Wright, C. B., & Jensen, E. (2009). Public libraries and the Internet 2008-2009: Issues, implications, and challenges. First Monday, 14(11). Retrieved from

Nelson, M. R. (2009). Building an open cloud [Cloud computing as platform]. Science, 324(5935), 1656-1657. Retrieved from

Van Sant, W. ( 2009). Librarians now add social work to their resumes. St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved from

Module 3 – ASU Libraries and Library 2.0

The Arizona State University Libraries has endeavoured to establish an interactive relationship with its’ patrons by promoting the library and its’ services through their one minute videos, and the social network sites, Facebook and Twitter. A series of short videos are used effectively to explain the physical areas in which to study in the library, ways in which the students can communicate with the library and staff, the availability of online resources, new services such as the mobile website and the links on the ASU home page.

There is a repetitive slogan throughout the videos reminding users to “Ask the librarian” which reinforces the library’s desire to encourage open conversation with the users (Mathews, 2009).  The videos are a means of connecting with patrons as well as explaining and communicating the library’s services and resources (Miller, 2005). The ‘Social Connection’ video reiterates that unless the students communicate with the library and state their expectations from the library and staff, then the library will be unable to fulfil their needs (Mathews. 2009). By collaborating with library staff via suggestion boxes or online surveys, patrons are taking on a participatory role in designing the library to suit their requirements (Casey & Savastinuk, 2006). The ASU library creates these short videos to share content and keep patrons up to date with the latest technologies and services (Miller, 2005).

The ASU libraries use Facebook and Twitter to inform and interact with students via a mode of communication that is globally widespread. These social networks support student communities by sharing resources, encouraging conversation and feedback and fostering collaborative collecting of knowledge (Uden & Eardley, 2010). Posts on both sites are current, advising patrons of new resources, interruptions to web services, library hours and even job opportunities ( The Twitter site provides prompt assistance from an online librarian in response to urgent enquiries, facilitating community and trust (Miller, 2005).  In the long term, a library’s fostering of an open and communicative relationship with its patrons will benefit the whole community.


Mathews, B. (2009). Web design matters: Ten essentials for any library site. Library Journal, (15 February). Retrieved from

Miller, P. (2005). Web 2.0: Building the new library, Ariadne, 45, 30 October. Retrieved from

Casey, M. & Savastinuk, L. (2006). Library 2.0: Service for the next-generation library, Library Journal, 1 September. Retrieved from

Uden, L., & Eardley, A. (2010). The Usabilityof Social Software. In T. Dumova, & Fiordo (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Social Interaction Technologies and Collaboration Software: Concepts and Trends (pp. 574-584). Doi:10.4018/978-1-60566-368-5.ch050

State Library of Victoria

ImageImageOn a recent trip to Melbourne I was fortunate to visit the State Library of Victoria – one of the libraries featured in my case study on the use of social media in libraries. The State Library of Victoria, ranked as one of the most interesting libraries in the world (mirage bookmark), is not just an architectural masterpiece but home to over two million books, many thousands of pictures, newspapers, maps, manuscripts and digital resources that trace Victoria’s colourful history. The library features current exhibitions (Photographers in Post War Melbourne) and permanent exhibitions (People that have shaped Victoria in the past 200 years) with talks supporting these exhibitions. The La Trobe reading room, with its’ spectacular domed skylight houses the largest collection of Australiana in the state.

The library’s learning programs are particularly impressive, providing educational support across a wide range of areas and for a diverse group of patrons. The programs include a new user’s guide to the library; sessions on refining internet searches; a genealogy workshop and even story time for babies.

The use of social media, notably Facebook and twitter ensures that the library’s excellent services and resources are promoted to a wider audience. The Facebook and Twitter pages are mobile compatible, an indication that the library is keeping up with current and continually growing trends where patrons want to access information via mobile devices.

References  accessed 8th January 2012  accessed 7th January 2012