Tutorials grab bag.

A few online library- and research-related tutorials that have caught my eye recently:

  • Scholarly vs. Popular Periodicals (Vanderbilt University)
    Created using Camtasia. I like the use of the artwork, although I’m not sure why no searches are shown, and why there’s no interactivity. The image quality in several spots is really nice, and the quality of the narration is good.
  • Internet for Architecture (Intute)
    Static, not animated, which is a bit of a drawback. Organized in a confusing way, to my eye. But possibly interesting b/c of its focus on architecture resources (they have tutorials for arts & design, construction, engineering, and other related topics) and b/c it uses a “link basket” feature that allows the user to easily save links as they’re presented in the tutorial. Offers a multiple-choice quiz with immediate feedback. Still, disappointingly text-heavy and 1.0-ish.
  • What is Plagiarism? (Rutgers University)
    A popular one with libraries, for some good reasons. It’s funny and creative, doesn’t take itself too seriously, but provides substantive content and some great, specific examples of what constitutes plagiarism (the second installment is most helpful–it shows a mock essay with highlights and a student’s narration explaining exactly what needs footnoting.) A couple of drawbacks–no pause button! And if you don’t have audio, this one’s inaccessible. I’m not sure how they work it into their curriculum at Rutgers, but I think this would have to be assigned to students, as it’s fairly long.

I’ve been working on revising the “Evaluating Scholarly Information Online” tutorial I created with Merinda McLure as a visual poster for ALA Annual 2007. It should be up on the UC Berkeley Library website, with a new design template and some added interactivity, in the next couple of days. I’ll link to it here when it’s ready.



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LJ interview with Brewster Kahle: words to live by

From the 08/15/2007 Library Journal interview with Brewster Kahle, founder of the Open Content Alliance:

LJ: Do you think librarians are prepared to face [the challenges of large-scale corporate digitization projects]?

Kahle: If we stick to our original principles of preservation and access, I think we’re in good shape….I think it can be the librarians’ day if we more boldly step into the world of digital resources. In large part, the librarian community hasn’t done this yet. In some ways, yes, by putting Internet terminals in or negotiating contracts with Elsevier for commercial services. But let’s do something more interesting. Let’s build services in the digital world analogous to the services we perform in the analog world.

LJ: How do librarians who want to go digital and open with their collections and services get started?

Kahle: It starts with a passion, it starts with a focus. Take a content set or a user need that you see and start producing services on your own. If you’re in a public library, it might be town history. If you’re a university librarian, it might be a subject specialty. Get those materials online in a way that you have control of them….We have to recognize that it’s not only possible but it is our responsibility to bring digital services to the world. If we can build this next generation in the open, the same way the open network and the open software infrastructure of the Internet developed, it will be the librarians’ day. Media companies, the Googles and Microsofts, they will play their roles. They’ll bring things to hundreds of millions. But they will never bring things to our patrons the way we can as librarians.

Knowledgeworks Map of Future Forces Affecting Education

The Knowledgeworks Map of Future Forces Affecting Education is fascinating.  I haven’t had time to really dig through it yet, but I’m interested in the drivers they’ve set up (the left-hand column.)  I don’t hear much talk in higher ed about some of these things:  the increasing urbanization of our population, the “sick herd” phenomenon.  They’re the elephants in the room.  I like the holistic approach this takes to issues facing education at all levels, even though it’s sobering to think about how big these problems really are.

Technology Review’s Top 35 Innovators

Technology Review has posted its list of top young innovators in technology fields (information technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and energy technologies.) It’s a fascinating group, and many of the projects people are working on are directly related to sustainability and social justice, which makes me happy. A couple of examples:

Ivan Krstic’ working on the One Laptop Per Child project

Tapan Parikh working on microfinance (and mobile phones) in rural India

Very cool projects, with fascinating implications for where technology is taking us.

Top 100 tools for e-learning

The Center for Learning & Performance Technologies has posted at “Top 10 tools for e-learning” list. They’ve compiled “Top 10” lists from a range of e-learning professionals and instructors, and put the whole shebang up for viewing purposes. Number one tool for e-learning?


This reminds me of a project I’ve been wanting to do for a while: step away from tutorials and instead deliver to students (at a click, preferably) a bundle of web-based applications or easy downloads that will help them study and do research. My top picks were Google Desktop and/or Reader, Zotero, del.icio.us, Firefox, Picnik, Flickr, and I forget what else right now. Sort of a taster’s choice of web apps to help you get through your undergrad degree. So far, delivery’s been the biggest problem. I’d like to do something sort of like an OPML bundle, but for links instead of feeds. Anyone know how that could happen?




Education and gaming

I’m not a gamer and I don’t know much about gaming, but I’ve been noticing with interest the trend toward creating games with socially topical content, and games that privilege problem-solving and higher-level cognitive skills, rather than the ability to shoot people in the head.  This seems like the real future of gaming and AI–finding ways to create online environments that engage players holistically, both affectively and intellectually, within and outside of the game.  I do think that games have the potential to do this, just as movies and books do.  I’m very interested to see where they head in the next ten to twenty years.

That said, there’s a recent article in Wired dismissing Second Life as “deserted, almost creepy.”  Apparently marketing efforts in SL haven’t been paying off, and a large number of avatars are abandoned shortly after being created.

On the other hand, there’s also this article in Yahoo! News, about a video game that gives players identities as immigrants in the U.S., and then makes them navigate through the difficulties that many immigrants face–deportation or scrutiny for minor infractions, inability to appeal, etc.  To my mind, this is in the same category as the video game Darfur is Dying, created by a group of college students and sponsored by MTV.  Both games (as well as a second one about the Arab-Israeli conflict, mentioned in the Yahoo! News article) are designed to educate people about an issue in an accessible, engaging way.  And, if my experience with the World Traveler IQ widget in Facebook is anything to go by, they may do a very good job of teaching.  My geographic knowledge has increased a lot (3 points!) since I started playing that addictive little game.