New Technology; New Skills

November 10, 2014

Karen Muller

Technology has been changing libraries for as long as baby boomers have been in the workforce, or longer, if you consider that typewriters supplanted “library hand.” The internet increased the complexity and diversity of this change, enabling librarians—or anyone, really—to access information in more formats and in more ways. Effective use of these new means of accessing information requires new skills on the part of librarians and library users so that they can become effective information guides and consumers.

More Library Mashups
More Library Maships: Exploring New Ways to Deliver Library Data

What is a mashup anyway? And why would you want one? These questions are addressed in More Library Mashups: Exploring New Ways to Deliver Library Data, edited by Nicole C. Engard. The first question is best answered by an example: the s’more of campfire fame. It is the merging of distinctly different foods into a new one. Applied to information sources, mashups are s’mores that enable their creator to pull content from disparate sources to create a new resource. The 21 chapters in this guide cover the basics: mashups for library websites, visualizing data with mashups, using them for value-added services, and mashing up catalog data.

Indexed. Information Today, 2015. 376 p. $45. 978-1-57387-498-4

Web developers must consider the user experience (UX) when planning a new website. Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches apply the principles of UX to other aspects of library functions in Useful, Usable, Desirable: Applying User Experience Design to Your Library. They demonstrate how UX principles can be applied to the parking lot, the library card, signage, online reference, classes, and other touchpoints of the user’s interaction with the library beyond the website. They present techniques for researching user behavior and tips for incorporating the results into UX improvements throughout the library.

Indexed. ALA Editions, 2014. 216 p. $65. 978-0-8389-1226-3

Going Beyond Google Again: Strategies for Using and Teaching the Invisible Web, by Jane Devine and Francine Egger-Sider, probes how students can learn to use the deep or invisible web. The authors posit that limited search skills of users may render web content inaccessible, a deficiency that might be overcome through teaching new information-seeking behaviors. They include results of a survey about teaching methods and coverage for specialized Internet search tools, databases, and social networking sites.

Indexed. Neal-Schuman, 2014. 192 p. $72. 978-1-55570-898-6 (Also available as an ebook.)

Teaching how to extract information from the invisible web is one area librarians may work on with patrons. More mundane internet uses, such as for shopping, Facebook, and dating sites, may also lead people to the library. And they may be the topics for computer instruction classes. Teaching Social Media: The Can-Do Guide, by Liz Kirchhoff, and Teaching Internet Basics: The Can-Do Guide, by Joel A. Nichols, offer tips for designing classes on these topics. The expected after-class competencies, preparation, key concepts to be conveyed, a workshop plan, and hands-on activities are listed for each.

Indexed. Libraries Unlimited, 2014. 121 p. $45. 978-1-61069-556-5 (Also available as an ebook.)

Indexed. Libraries Unlimited, 2014. 140 p. $45. 978-1-61069-741-5 (Also available as an ebook.)

Helping patrons learn to use technology is just one teaching opportunity. The myriad reasons people visit libraries—job hunting, research papers, accessing government resources, small business start-up, crafting ideas—present teachable moments. While librarians may be skilled in the reference interview, information organization, and information sources, they may not have knowledge of pedagogy, or simply put: how to teach. Beverley E. Crane’s How to Teach: A Practical Guide for Librarians fills that gap. Starting with defining learning and moving through various types of instruction—face-to-face, online, asynchronous—Crane presents the principles underlying the instructional techniques. Includes evaluation checklists, lesson plan templates, and rubrics.

Indexed. Rowman & Littlefield, 2013. 198 p. $65. 978-0-8108-9105-0. (Also available as an e-book.)



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