Reflection Activity – Week 14 – Wrap Up Post

My contribution to the learning community this semester

Here we are in the wrap-up post, which I think is a great opportunity for examining what we have learned and achieved during the semester; however, we also need to be honest with each word we write, otherwise we would seem that we did our job perfectly when in fact we did not.

In week 2’s reflection, I decided to generate an information provider profile, so I will now try to be a content producer and share my thoughts in order to learn collaboratively with my peers. To be honest, I have achieved only a part of what I thought I would achieve, as I have written 10 comments on my peers’ posts. I think it is a small number compared to what I had planned. There were lots of factors that influenced the volume of my contributions, including:

    • Having four stressful units with lots of assessments and commitments every week.
    • Facing difficulty sometimes when reading native students’ posts, as they use very difficult language that I, as an international student, do not understand.
    • Being afraid to participate in some threads that referred to specific information about Australian experiences and systems that I know nothing about. I felt like I simply could not participate in those discussions. Since we need to analyse critically when reading these posts, I tried to read without commenting.
    • Having difficult health-related issues throughout the whole semester.

Most of the topics were interesting to me, but information and digital literacy was the topic that I most enjoyed talking about, because it I found it to be a new trend in libraries. I am interested in exploring, reading about and participating in this area. However, as I said before, some obstacles (listed above) hindered my continuous participation.

In terms of my instinctive behaviour, I tried hard to change it, because I believed that I needed to engage with others and learn collaboratively, but it was not easy to behave in a way that did not feel natural to me, especially in light of harsh conditions that disturbed my concentration while studying. Thus, I think my posts have not embodied the characteristics that I should have displayed in the community this semester.

 Twitter

Before this unit, I had feelings of discomfort when browsing and using Twitter. I used to follow my lecturers and many LIP students and libraries’ accounts, but I found it hard to keep track of what was being posted. Using Twitter this semester has changed my feelings, particularly my concerns toward attending Twitter chats, which I thought would be too fast for me. I feared that I would not be able to contribute effectively. In the end, I enjoyed the Twitter chats because of others’ valuable thoughts and experiences. They were very useful to my learning process, but there was one problem. During every Twitter chat, when I sent my answers or responded to others’ tweets, I could not see my own comments within the chat. I am not sure why this happened; it might be because of my Internet settings or the Twitter chat-monitoring tool that I used.

As for using Twitter outside of the Twitter chats, I remained as I was before this semester. I tend to browse my Twitter account, read what others have written and benefit from their posts, thoughts or the links they provide, but it seems that I have not changed my habit of only browsing professional profiles. I do not use it for personal purposes.

My learning in the unit

As a learner, the key take-away for me in this unit has been the need for balancing my time with studying. This unit has rich weekly topics, thus, if we do not balance our time with the learning process, we will miss a lot of learning objectives related to these topics. Time management techniques and skills are needed to solve this problem, or perhaps more patience is needed if we want to succeed while studying. This is what was most important to me.

I believe that the ‘learning journal’ assessment approach was very beneficial for me as a learner. It was great for keeping me on track and helping me to explore a topic every week. Not only this, but also reading weekly materials and using them critically to write reflective posts helped me to gain broad knowledge about the subject. I also found grant applications to be a new element I had not yet experienced, so that was a valuable chance for me to learn about and apply knowledge in the future. In addition, the aspect that clearly did not work so well for me was sharing my thoughts with others through Twitter and my comments on peers’ posts, which, unfortunately, will be assessed.

Reflection on the quality of my work

It is not easy for me to evaluate the quality of my own work. This requires a lot of honesty here. In the first place, I admit that I have not paid much attention and effort to my comments on peers’ posts, and I feel that my comments need to be improved. This is an area where I clearly have not achieved the learning objectives very well. In my limited comments, I tried to analyse critically, but I know that my work was not perfect. Improving this would involve me being more confident and open to sharing my opinions, even If I do not understand the topic clearly.

My strengths were related to writing my own posts. I was jumping from one reading to another to support my arguments and tried my best to relate them to my experiences. I always wanted to focus and write about one or two ideas, to avoid the failure of regulating my ideas.

I also worked hard when searching for a program or a service to be granted in assignments 2 and 3. Exploring the wide range of these aspects and hearing of others’ experiences and opinions were very beneficial. I have improved my understanding in this area of the unit, and I can see that I have accomplished the goals of this part of the course.

Twitter Chat – Week 12 – Children and Teens

This week we discussed children and teens’ programs, rights and issues in libraries. It was an impressive discussion as these issues concerned a lot of us. Kate Davis started the discussion by asking about the problems associated with unattended kids in the library.

However, Sharee believes that building kids’ confidence is also important.

We also discussed about Kids and privacy and What is our responsibility to kids and to parents as librarians.

Then, my favourite part in this Twitter chat was about our memories related to our use of the library when we were children and teens.

After that, we discussed school holiday programs and their relation to the free entertainment.

Finally, we ended up our discussion by talking about kids and teens’ programs that we have discovered this semester.

I was interested in these issues because they reminded me of a similar situation where I work. I am a school librarian, and I always feel upset because of kids’ and teens’ noise in my library. Since they come to borrow items without their teachers, I take full responsibility for controlling the situation. I always prefer if they come with their teachers as groups, because being unattended causes a lot of chaos in the library. This shows me that most kids, no matter where they are, make noise if they are unsupervised.

Peck argues that unattended children may cause a lot of problems within the library, including misbehaving when they get bored, being disruptive to others, noisily playing and talking and taking up chairs and tables. Peck recommends several solutions for librarians seeking to handle these issues, such as creating homework centres, setting age limits and rules related to using quite voices and using library materials. However, I think the most important thing that libraries need to take into account is making parents aware of the federal rules and policies related to leaving a child without supervision and then applying these policies if there is someone who does not obey them. ALIA (2012) also emphasises the importance of parental guidance when children want to access library materials.

Young people have access to a full range of library materials subject to parental guidance and relevant legislation

Some argue that children have a right to privacy in their use of libraries, saying that it helps them to build their confidence and independence. However, I think this is a reasonable issue, as there is still a need to supervise children and to know what they want from libraries and their materials. This is a parent’s responsibility, since this will help them to know what their children’s concerns are.

In regards to teens’ rights in libraries, librarians need to value this user group, as they are heavy users and they will be sustained and committed users in libraries for years to come. Libraries should give them their rights through teens programs such as the Burlington Public Library’s experience of giving a priority to high school students studying for finals. This is a result of the ‘10 teen rights’, which are set out in the ’Teen Rights in the Library‘ position statement adopted by the Ontario Library Association.

 

Reflection post – week 11 – AIRS (Program Review)

 
Support Research

While there is currently an environment of rapid change in the Australian research landscape, new roles for research librarians need to be taken into account, such as data management and curation. Academic librarians play a key role in supporting researchers with different services and programmes within academic libraries. This means that they need to apply their information management skills to the different stages of research, including data collection, experimentation and data analysis.There can be there consultation with researchers through liaison librarians, institutional repository support, publication support, bibliographic management support, higher degree research student support, research skills training, eResearch, data management, assistance with grants / funding applications, research collection development (Richardson, Nolan-Brown, Loria &Bradbury, 2012).

 

Program overview
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The picture sourced from QUT blog

Advanced Information Research Skills (AIRS) – IFN001 is a mandatory unit at QUT for all students in the Masters by Research courses, Doctor of Philosophy and IF49; in other words, all researchers must take it. It is taught by the QUT – Garden Points Library and aims to improve researchers’ ‘advanced information search, retrieval, evaluation, management and usage, and to develop advanced academic skills’, which are considerably important for students’ research (QUT, n.d.).

An interview with a QUT researcher

– What was the nature of AIRS (its approach to learning, assessment and materials)?

It was a course of four sessions that each lasted for two and a half hours held in one of the library rooms at the Gardens Point QUT campus. A student had to register for four consecutive sessions, so that he or she would be provided with the needed research skills. Students could attend AIRS in person at registered sessions, or by viewing the learning resources and modules available on the AIRS webpage. However, students could also do a combination of both: physical attendance and online modules. Students were given a template for their assignments and a marking criteria sheet aligned with the research process. It started with developing research questions and ended with the best strategies for finding and accessing resources strongly related to the topics of the student’s research and study. In regards to the materials, there were several learning materials, such as recorded sessions and the PowerPoint slides, which could be accessed via the AIRS webpage.

– To what extent do AIRS help you as a researcher?

It is one of the most important courses I have ever taken. It gave me the principles I need for how to conduct research and provided me with the skills I most need as a researcher. In more detail, this includes:

  • Developing concise research questions and strong research strategies, topics I was not previously aware of.
  • Giving me several tips for writing successful grant applications.
  • Organising and managing my source material, data and notes through QUT software.
  • Providing me with quantitative and qualitative measures to use when assessing my research output. These were very useful in, for example, making grant applications and finding and evaluating information.
  • Supporting me with the basics of publishing, authorship and copyrights.

– What was the role of librarians in AIRS?

Librarians were the ones who delivered the sessions. In addition, they advised us to go to the liaison librarian, who was, indeed, of excellent help.

 

 

 

Critical reflection – Week 9 – Trends in Library Makerspaces

Before this week, I had never heard of a makerspace and did not know what it was about, but when I had a look to the weekly readings and browsed Twitter chat, it was immediately easy for me to understand. The reason for this is that, in my country, we call it a ‘Science Hub’ or ‘Technology Hub’, and they are only summer programmes and specified for school students, not for the entire community.

Based on these readings, I recognised to what extent these makerspaces are valuable for creating communities. They are about encouraging creativity among all community segments, not just students. We can also find them in public, school and academic libraries (not limited to the summer programmes). I noticed that makerspaces are about using technologies such as 3-D printers, sewing machines, 3-D designs and media labs; however, new trends have emerged in recent years.

 

Trends in Library Makerspaces

Virtual Reality (VR)
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This image used under (CC BY 2.0)

One of the new trends related to libraries’ makerspaces is using virtual reality (VR). With this technology, library patrons can immerse themselves in a virtual environment using a headset to access a computer-generated simulation of a real-life situation. VR can be used for social networking, communication, education and building creativity, not just for entertainment.

 

Augmented reality (AR)
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This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

In augmented reality (AR), digital content is layered on top of real- world objects and then viewed through smartphone apps or a headset. These computer-generated enhancements exist atop an existing reality. The purpose of AR is to make true reality more important by enabling a user to interact with it.

The obvious difference between these two technologies is that VR offers a digital recreation of a real-life setting, while AR delivers virtual elements as an overlay to the real world. However, both enhance creativity among library community patrons.

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Giving library users an opportunity to interact with artificial intelligence (AI) machines is one of the newest trends appearing in some libraries. AI machines like robots and smart cars give a chance for adults and teens to build their own knowledge and share it with the library community. This, of course, will enhance creativity.

Pop Up Makerspaces

The Toronto Public Library has pop-up learning labs. These labs move among all library branches that do not have digital innovation hubs and stay at each branch for one month. They allow library users to use several types of equipment, such as 3D printers; Apple MacBook Pros; microcontroller-based kits for building digital devices; kits containing software and hardware to create customisable, programmable robots; Google Cardboard (a VR platform); and Snap Circuits.

All of these emerging technologies adopted by libraries have the ability to create dedicated community members. Further, they enrich users’ knowledge by helping them to practice and share their creative thoughts and practices with others. From here, libraries have a main role in creating knowledge and promoting production, which will foster economic growth in their communities.

 

Critical reflection – week 7 “Access to the Internet is a fundamental human right”

For this week activity, I chose to argue a point of view which is “Access to the internet is a fundamental human right” and discuss why accessing to the Internet should be one of human rights. I believe that in order to support the new generations, Human Rights Organisation should make everyone connected with the world and able to be a long life learner. Without accessing the Internet, great deal of opportunities will not be known because the majority of people’s activities have been online and provided by the information-driven world.

Some General opportunities

Around the world, there is “4.6 billion people live without Internet access”. This means that 68% of the population on the earth are missing a lot of online services and benefits. These services have many facets. First, if one does not have access to the Internet, searching for a suitable job may be very difficult. The reason beyond this is most governments and organisations are, currently, requiring people to apply for their job opportunities throughout their website. Second, poor communities, where people live without the Internet, might be deprived from the online trade, where a lot of product options and offers are available with less prices than real markets. In the other side, stockholders limit their products in the local environment because they do not have the Internet to spread them and reach prosperity. Not only this, but they also live with social deprivation due to their limited relationships as they cannot contact online people, engage with them and create their own knowledge through this communication.

The connection between information literacy and access to the Internet

Information literacy is one of the important aspects in the library field that has existed in the last decade. With the rapid changes of technology and the various information landscapes, information professionals have raised the necessity for IL skills. People need to obtain information literacy skills and abilities which includes recognising the need to the information, evaluate information sources and perfectly use this piece of information to solve a problem. However, people without the Internet access cannot improve these skills, education or even being long life learners. Having no Internet access means not being connected and engaged with other students or professionals who have similar studies or works. So why do we need to have IL skills if we do not have access to the Internet!

Similarly, with digital literacy, where people should have abilities and skills to deal with digital devices, poor communities are also deprived from being digitally literate because they do not have access to the Internet. However, there is an obvious problem for countries which have digital divide. It is noticed that there is a big economic gab inside countries and the world as well. This is because the knowledge divide between citizens that has emerged because of digital divide.

Libraries role

Although libraries might be affected by the Internet access and digital divide, there are some attempts from many libraries to solve digital divide. There are also several global attempts to overcome digital divide and libraries can contribute through the “cognitive access ” issue to improve information literacy skills of locals.

Critical reflection activity – week 6 – Reader advisory services for older adults

Why is reader advisory service for elderly important?

Older adults are one of the community segments that, as librarians, should mainly care about providing them reader advisory (RA) services. This is justified by two reasons. Firstly, by these services, we can help this category to continue leading their “fulfilling and rewarding lives”. The second reason is “we are faced with elderly relatives and friends as well as our ageing”. In general, RA is very important because we need to help readers in finding books of their interest, enhancing reading and literacy, marketing library’s collection and saving readers’ time.

Some benefits and drawbacks

I think, by offering RA services, the literacy will be brought to high level in all community segments, and this will ensure that our libraries, particularly the public ones, will be continuously visited and used, with the added benefit of enhancing elderly’s sense of belonging as well. Despite most public libraries offer RA services, these services are not divided by age. Thus, there are no elder-oriented services like reading groups or suggested reads. This might be because librarians feel that they are not experienced in RA and always face difficulties because of their work load. However, there should be generational collaborations in some of reader advisory services, because specifying each age with its reads would limit fields of interest for each category.

Obstacles for librarians

This survey indicates to what extent RA is inadequately supported  and what are the obstacles that librarians face in order to provide RA. Examples of these obstacles are, keeping up with all types of books, being unfamiliar with all genres and feeling uncomfortable when advising young adults and children but more comfortable with older adults.

Reader advisory skills

To offer high quality RA services, librarians need to be well trained with RA skills. Librarians also need to specify hours from their working time to advise older adults in their reading needs. This is because this segment mostly prefer using in-person RA service as they do not tend to use digital RA.

Additionally, librarians  should be able to divide their recommended reads and books lists by age, otherwise elderly will feel overwhelmed with huge amount of choices. They may also be confused when selecting the most appropriate ones which fit their ages and suit their reading taste.

There are also many general skills that reader advisors should have. Communication skill is the most important one when it comes to dealing with older adults because they prefer face-to-face conversations. in addition, older adults like asking a lot about displays and attend bookclubs and reading groups to speak with others. Reader advisors should also love reading, know about their libraries’ collections, understand current elderly reading trends, have a general knowledge of all genres and use tools that can help older adults to help themselves.

Older adults need a consideration

Social media, e-newsletters, blogs, online reading lists and other online tools might not help reader advisors in marketing their collection and give the right book to the right older adult. Not all of elderly would use the Internet. Considering all these things should be reader advisor’s responsibility. In spite of this, having computer basic skills could give a great opportunity for older readers to participate in reading groups , for example, which might be organised for them as they cannot travel to the library. For instance, using video instant messaging will be effective tool for elderly to share what they have read and give recommendations about books.

Service review: State Library of Queensland Reference Service “Ask Us Service”

Reference services are changing

Reference service is one of the key areas in library field that has considerably changed in the last decade. This is because of the technological change which has led this service to have an ambiguous future and competitive role with other information providers. For example, currently, libraries are offering their reference services in social media like Twitter in order to keep up with this technological development.

Not only this, but also there is a claim that reference services are no longer necessary due to the movement of the information in online environment while Saunders (2012) believes that reference services are not dying but are evolving. Reference librarians should acquire the core competences from their traditional activities, such as desk duty, instruction, and collection development. However, new responsibilities need to be considered, including assisting users with their computer problems, maintaining websites and online guides and supervising staff and student workers.

My experience with SLQ “Ask Us

As other students, I always prefer to search in the QUT library catalogue for my information needs. Asking a librarian for assistance is something that rarely happen during my studies. As a librarian, I used to get enquires from most school students to guide them getting their desirable resources. Our reference service in the school is limited to only “Help Desk”. There is nothing about e-mails, chats or social media.

In this critical reflection, I have chosen to review the reference services in one of the main libraries in Brisbane which is State Library of Queensland (SLQ), particularly the reference services available in the library website.

When I started searching about their “Ask a Librarian” button, I could not find it. Unfortunately, it was not clear, so I started searching in every button in the Homepage and eventually found it. I think the button should be clearly presented and visible to save users’ time. In fact, some users may leave the website if they do not find “Ask a librarian” button in a clear position because they will think there are no reference services in this library website.

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The library offers four forms of its reference services which include phone enquiries, online enquiry (consists of four ways), appointment service and instant message service.

In addition, I can see that library staff help information seekers through either searching relevant resources or referring them to other organisations. Moreover, if the library staff could not give the answer to a client immediately, they offer this client free-of-charge two hours in order to answer his or her inquiry. If a client send an inquiry via e-mail, answers will be provided within 10 working days.

So, to review its reference services I have selected “instant message service” which is immediate like a chat. Unluckily, for three days, I could not contact the librarian in the chat because of the time inconvenience. There is a 6-hour gap difference between Brisbane timing and the timing of where I live (Oman). Thus, I decided to use “Online inquiry” which has differences between the four forms.

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These are the four forms of  “Online inquiry” and each one has its own purpose.

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I chose to fill this form as it was related to my inquiry and I have received a message confirming my inquiry and I am still waiting for their response which will be within 10 working days and I will update my post once I get their answer.

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My apologies for the bad quality of the screenshots, not sure why they are not clear. Any advice?

** Update: my inquiry

Hi dear,
I am searching about information related to the “information issues” that (Save the children Australia) may face when they manage their information within their organisation and what are the implications of these issues in this organisation.

This is the link of the organisation.
https://www.savethechildren.org.au/about-us/who-we-are
 I am doing this assignment for a unit called (Information Management) for LIP master course.
Your help and advice will be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.

Regards,
Ibtisam

**  Their response:
Dear Ibtisam,
I’m writing in response to your enquiry about information management issues for Save the Children Australia.
Before Ican begin to work on this enquiry, I will need some more information to help us with our research. I am unable to provide detailed assistance with assignments but I can assist you with identifying and searching for relevant resources for your topic.
Can you tell me what topic you would specifically like help finding resources for? Or, do you just want help locating general resources on information management or information issues?
This information will help us to answer your enquiry more efficiently.  I will wait to hear from you.
Regards
Alexandra Miller, Librarian
State Library of Queensland

 

I admit that there was a mistake when I submitted  my inquiry without giving enough details about the topic. This wasted my time because I was waiting for days for their response and of course this was my fault. As we know that online reference service sometime takes several days to give you the answer that you want and make you satisfied, so it is better to be well prepared with clear questions to get their response as fast as possible.

 

Critical reflection activity – Communities & Twitter

community
This image is licenced under CC0 Public Domain

 

Communities

When I recalled memories about my participation and involvement in the communities that I engaged in, I noticed that most of the time I was silent person either on the online or physical communities. I tend to be information consumer in online communities. On the other hand, I am question asker in physical communities. I am not information provider or resolver of problems and I tend to listen more than talk, so that I missed the benefits of having a critical thinking.

However, in IFN614, I would like to generate an information provider profile, so I will try to be content producer and share my thoughts in order to learn collaboratively with my peers, and this is an example of the learning environment which led by the technology and supported by the active communication between participants which enhances learning experience and critical thinking.

From my perspective, a professional should accept others’ ideas and opinions and accept collaborative thinking in learning communities as this will lead to have appropriate solutions for presented problems in these communities. To be a professional participant, I need to adapt myself and go with the flow. Being information consumer for long time means it is difficult for me to change, participate and collaborate with others by thinking critically and writing own thoughts carefully in these communities. It is not easy to transform yourself from a behavior that you used to do for long time to a new behavior.

 

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This image is licenced by CC0 Public Domain
Twitter

Twitter is not new for me, but to be honest, I do not feel comfortable when browsing and using it. I used to follow my lecturers, many of LIP students and libraries’ accounts. About using Twitter this semester, I feel that I will face a difficulty to keep track on what will be posted, but I need to be in touch with my lecturers, fellows and information professionals. The most important thing that concerns me is using Twitter chat. I attended one Twitter chat two or three months ago. It was very useful and did like the debate between information professionals. However, I could not post any of my ideas because the chat was very fast. I also could not understand everything because of my language limitations and their use of the abbreviations in those fast posts.

One of the things I like in Twitter is the limit of 140 characters; this means you have to write your idea precisely and concisely. This ensures that writers will not go so far from the main topic and this will save our time (see Why is Twitter Limited to 140 Characters?) . However, I do not like the lack of the visual content. Most of Twitter posts are text content or links, because of this reason I prefer Facebook which is more about social networking than Twitter. Twitteris more about learning and marketing purposes. 

I think I will like using Twitter in this semester because I am just waiting for the moment which will force me to love Twitter. The reason is I believe that Twitter chat is very useful to enter profession and have collaborative thinking with information professionals.

An introduction

Hi everyone,

My name is Ibtisam and I am in my second semester of MIS (LIP). In this semester, I am doing all units externally (Oman).

I am a school librarian in my country since 2008, so I have a little experience in the field. However, from this course I can see to what extent the field has been changed in the last years, so we need to change as librarians as well. Actually I am interested in academic libraries and this is what I would like to achieve after finishing my masters.

In terms of my superpower, I think that I have the ability to work in any circumstance. However, I feel very nervous and stressed when I have to submit any assignment even if I know that I am on track and I will get high marks. unfortunately, this is my obvious weakness.

Looking forward to getting deeply into the unit and read your interesting posts and experiences.