Live blog of Connect@NMC: Michael Wesch and Digital Ethnography

I’m trying to live blog Connect@NMC: Michael Wesch and Digital Ethnography. I’m coming in late but ETA: here’s the discussion template ( He’s talking about the exploration phase of the course and the infrastructure on NetVibes ( using Diigo, ZohoCreator and other tools. They did initial exploration on topic (anonymity), had to find 5 articles and summarize, input them into Zoho Cretaor (a student pulled a JSON feed to collate them and tag cloud); everyone had to read all 94 summaries for class. They had to do trailers and then put all trailers into one master Anonymity project trailer on YouTube ( This helped them decide what aspects they wanted to focus on for their research projects Read more Live blog of Connect@NMC: Michael Wesch and Digital Ethnography

ACRL/CNI/EDUCAUSE Virtual Conference-Daniel Greenstein

Daniel Greenstein

Experience comes from Open Content Alliance (content partners like UC, Internet Archive; tech partners like HP Labs, Yahoo, etc.; funders).

Interesting notes from talk:

Melvyl (UC library catalog) has three recommender systems in place (a "more like this" feature, recs produced by an algorithm run on their circ data, and recs from Amazon)

UC has found that faceted browse is more useful for non-experts (like K-12, community college, and undergraduate students) than a search box (since they don't know what's behind it or what words to use). The California Digital Library gives ways to drill down (geography, time period, etc); they provide thumbnail images and instant results but also the ability to drill down more and refine still stays no matter what level you go to. This, he points out, required a lot of metadata augmentation since all the items in the library came from varying sources; massive text digitization would require less because of robust existing standards and the presence of full text.

Open services definitions–he was all about building collections in a way that allowed others to build on top and repurpose (I was wondering if this was another way of saying open architecture or talking about APIs).
Advantages of mass digitization:

Greater reference linking and discovery (not just for journal literature but for books, images, sound, data (which scientists have requested), etc) in an automated fashion

Curation-ability to build corpus or canon that you couldn't do with physical holdings (e.g. APIS-APIS, Advanced Papyrological Information System)

Localiztion or metasearch across items people in a local community (intellectual as well as physical) care about. This kind of catering to small communities (esp. small scholarly communities) is the sort of thing Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and the like won't do because the market's too small. if we don't do it, no one will.

Dissemination of content in new ways (Amazon model of print-on-demand, OCLC library toolbar, image reproductions)

Efficiencies–high density storage facilities. UC stored 1 set of 23,000 volumes represented in JSTOR. If all their libraries got rid of their duplicate copies (which they weren't required to do) UC would save 3.8 million in shelving costs

Enrichment of existing texts (again the idea of building services on top of digital collections)–He mentioned Joe Esposito's Processed Book project (article in First Monday at and demo at and Wikipedia as examples of cases of scholars and laypeople who are willing to and interested in adding to a text

Personalization–he said that it was important to allow local users to present local views of content and to add a local narrative to those views

Funding–He basically said we'd have to choose what our priorities were and make a commitment. He also pointed out that it wasn't as much a matter of finding new money (as reallocating the money we're spending on maintaining physical collection? Must go back and re-listen)

In Q&A someone asked a question (must also re-listen to hear where this comment originated) but he said that as a research university (which was't about teaching) UC wasn't going to be taking care of the pedagogical services needed on top of digital collections but he hoped someone else would so they could take advantage of it. The way he put it sounded a bit harsh but thinking about it later, it was honest (though the instruction librarians at Berkeley will probably string him up when he gets back). It's a sad truth that most research universities are more geared to research and major collections that teaching. But I don't think it's something that should or has to be.

ACRL/CNI/EDUCAUSE Virtual Conference-Blogging in Academic Libraries

Susan Herzog of BlogBib and Susan's Blog gave a presentation on blogging in academic libraries. At the beginning of the session she asked a series of questions of the participants: less than half of the people in the session read blogs, about a quarter had their own blogs, and strangely enough, even fewer people had commented on someone else's blogs. Maybe this indicates that so far a lot of people are using blogs for marketing, self-expression or current awareness but the conversation factor might not be as prevalent yet in this group?

It was interesting hearing someone else give a version of the type of presentation I've done a few times–what blogs are, examples, what they're used for, how you can create one and why you'd want to–but unfortunately since it was something I've done before that was the best bit about it. She went more into detail about trackbacks and permalinks and the connection factor as well as the data on blog use than I usually do. It was interesting hearing the updates on the Pew Internet & American Life but I could have done with a little less data. I did see a few other blogs that I hadn't known about and she talked about the auto-emailing feature from blogs and the editorial policies point which I always forget to talk about too much.

I missed a good chunk of the end of this talk and will have to go back and listen at some point but I thought the bit on institutional blogging was interesting.
Who will post to the blog–you or a team (much easier with a team but need to train them), consistent format, conversational tone, and spell/grammar checking, marketing (press release, announcement in library newsletter, put the URL on library publications, bookmarks or business cards, links from other blogs, and listings with search engines.

Technical issues with the presentation: it seems like the blog presentation format is a little difficult in this online conference format since everytime she switched from live links back to the blog it jumped to the top of the blog not where she was in the presentation.

ACRL/CNI/EDUCAUSE Virtual Conference-Keynote by Clifford Lynch and Charles Henry

As a member of the ACRL Professional Development Committee, I've been on the committee helping to put together the ACRL/CNI/EDUCAUSE Virtual Conference. It's been a really interesting and valuable experience being a part of the process–seeing how the call for proposals is issued, getting to look at all the really great proposals that came in, hearing the thoughtful discussion and suggestions of a lot of great colleagues and having the honor of being part of a group that includes Joan Lippincott, Evelyn Blount and Margot Sutton (who has to be one of the hardest-working people I've ever met virtually). And today is the day it kicks off!
Keynote with Clifford Lynch and Charles Henry

Cyberinfrastructure-Question on American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)–umbrella organization of mostly humanities and social sciences academic institutions–and their cyberinfrastructure task force which both of them took part in I believe (report forthcoming). ACLS decided to convene the task force after two influential science and quantitative social science reports (Revolutionizing Science and Engineering Through Cyberinfrastructure, an NSF report in 2003 on cyberinfrastructure in support of science and engineering-Dan Atkins, chair (also see; and last year, a report on cyberinfrastructure for quantitative data (also NSF). The ACLS report is meant to take a look at the special circumstances of humanities and social sciences in cyberinfrastructure (much less work done in digital world for these fields despite pioneering projects, much less funding (not the same huge grants given by funding agencies like NSF), abd special need for backfile digitization especially for humanities) as well as the common themes across all fields (need for appropriate support personnel, changing landscape of research and  inadequecies of current system (tenure, departmental organization, scholarly communication, etc) to address change introduced by technology, historical lack of funding for supporting data sets after project's over, and need for strong leadership). Also not only technical support and training issues but also challenges (and opportunities) for interdisciplinary scholarship.

Libraries' role? Scholarship much more involved in digital data which need support and institutional homes (access, availability, preservation, development for ongoing scholarship)

Note to self: look at NSF Office for Cyberinfrastructure

Example: Shoah digital archive (
Digitization–Large scale projects like Google Book Search–Stopped by copyright or orphan works? Good or bad as a whole? Good for cultural preservation and not just for books-photos, television, etc. Google most aggressive and perhaps pushed ahead and now are having to deal with resistance but good thing that has come out of it has been discussion, awareness, European libraries intitiatives (like Sputnik, an info race).

Institutional repositories–In answer to audience question, Lynch Cliff says important (though not all things will be journal articles or books) and must place in context of larger digital repositories/network. Henry agrees and says another useful point is that it shows more of process of scholarship ("intellectual life of institutions" says Lynch "an uneneding supply of symposia, lectures, etc" that can be saved and broadcast. pointed out loss of historical record of performing arts because of technical and copyright problems)

Digital preservation–initiatives, multiple strategies? Yes, multiple strategies (don't put all your eggs in one basket and we also don't know enough to whittle down to just one). Lots of initiatives and hard to keep track of if you're not embedded because research/operation/field trials all mixed. National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation project coordinated by Library of Congress (distributed initiative) and European intiatives (like the Digital Curation Centre in Edinburgh). Need to integrate concept of preservation in any digital project.

I missed the end of this because of a nissue I had to resolve so perhaps more later. 

ACRL-"Big Picture" Pedagogy

Benjamin Harris from Trinity University gave an engaging presentation based on his contributed conference paper, which was more theoretical in tone and style, and used the theory to start discussion about the practical side of things.

Why should we talk about images in relation to IL?

* because students are media driven–from TV, music, comics, graphic novels
* our lives are media-driven, image-driven
* critical thinking issue-someone mentioned the prosciutto man exercise-using images of a guy sliced into parts like puzzle pieces. students have to pieces images back together to learn anatomy. Good visual problem solving)
* not so text dominant, oral/aural divide

Why haven’t we addressed visual literacy yet? We’re usually on a 50-min. mission to get students to find what they need to complete assignments and if they don’t have to find images then we don’t have time to spend on it.
Right now, we’re not playing catch up; we’re right on our game but we still have to stay with students and help them find things that are useful for their work. Images may be more important down the line and it’s best to be prepared.

7 considerations for why you should consider why you should think about visual literacy in IL

* Words are images, letters are images (pictographs, hieroglyphics) that represent sounds. We’re already doing visual lit!
* Images are information-we read them in a different way.
o No smoking icon–MN just passed the ban
o Bar graph of Schiavo case information (should feeding tube be removed–CNN graph skewed to make it look like Dems were way more in favor of removing tube when the numerical difference was small. Bloggers called CNN on it.)
* Reading images requires critical thinking
* images w/words and images w/o words are different messages (often given less guidance with no-word images; we could all come to different conclusions) He showed an image of a smiling black woman and asked what we thought (nice pleasant woman) and then reveled that it was an ad for Prozac. Character of image changes w/o words and with them.
* Images are already there probably (in your library home page). You’re doing something already if you are mentioning the design features on your website that help navigation.
* Design of site also a part of site evaluation (what do the images say about bias, currency, advertising)
o Family Education site ( content but huge ad in the middle and the color of the heading images caused too much blending together of categories
* Exploration of ethical, cultural and political context of texts/images
o Picture of smiling black man in chef’s cap revealed to be racist 1921 ad for Cream of Wheat
o Image of young woman-elementary school teacher revealed to be part of ad against Prop. No. 6 law in CA, a law which would have allowed teachers to be fired for suspicion of homosexuality (law didn’t pass)

In closing, he noted that after school, students probably won’t have to write 5 pg paper with 3 sources from print journals, but they will always need to evaluate the images they see around them.

The Q&A brought up two interesting points. One commenter posited that the only difference between the poster against the anti-gay law and the Cream of Wheat ad was because we believe in cause of one but not the other. I didn’t agree with that and neither did Harris, and in talking to him afterward I was able to better articulate why. One image was an unconscious reflection of stereotypes of the day and one was explicitly used to challenge them.

Another interesting comment from the peanut gallery was from a media librarian who taught a class in which the professor had told their students that they could use anything from Google Images with no credit in their website projects and that it was OK because it was for educational purposes and therefore fair use! (Harris, in showing his Works Cited, mentioned that we can also bring up IP issues that students are often careless about.)

As for find images to work with and incorporate into IL, he admitted it was difficult. All our systems privilege words and that’s probably not going to change soon.