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Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

I’ve recently developed a Facebook page where I work and some of the discussions I’ve had with colleagues have prompted me to write this post.

It’s very easy to just jump on a bandwagon as an academic library and start-up a Facebook page, Twitter feed, Youtube site, Flickr page etc etc and before long you’ll need a dedicated Social Media professional to keep it all up-to-date. Actually I don’t think it’ll be long before this is a familiar role for academic libraries, it’s already the case in many commercial companies.

But what’s the point? What’s it all for? And do students really want you invading their social spaces with details on the latest books and resources you have?

Well my response to it would simply be adapt or die. Facebook is the most visited site on the internet. End of. Anyone who works in an academic library will be used to seeing students log-in to a machine and then, almost by way of habit, log-in to Facebook. If you can at least put something about your services into that omnipresent medium you are improving your promotion of library resources and improving student’s access to information – which is surely what we’re here to do?

Other social media sites like Twitter and Youtube are worth considering but I would say Facebook is the one you need to nail first.

 

“I define postmodern as incredulity toward meta-narratives” Jean-François Lyotard (1979)

Now over 30 years old the above quote by Jean-François Lyotard is part of a longer work in which he, to a great extent, defined the great cultural condition of our times; post modernism.

If postmodernism is about incredulity towards meta-narratives or incredulity towards accepted truths then what does this mean in the context of an academic library? It partly involves a rejection or at least re-imagining of what is considered as an academic library both externally and internally. One way in which this re-imagining is manifested is through the growth of Learning Spaces. These spaces take the once highly structured and didactic space of the library and take it into new and less controlled parts of campuses.

Inflatable learning pod inside learning centre at Glasgow Caledonian University

Inflatable Pod Glasgow Caledonian University

Learning Spaces are typically more social, less didactic and more ad hoc than the more traditional forms of academic library. They do not replace central HE library but rather reach out to the rest of the university and take those parts of libraries which can operate with less control. Group study, debating space, presentation rehearsal space or just casual conversational space are all catered for through these new spaces.

These developments in HE libraries are in essence the development of libraries without walls.

Reference

Jean-Francois Lyotard (1979) La Condition postmoderne: Rapport sur le savoir. Paris: Éditions de Minuit.

Finger and pulsating circles

(c) AngelIT 2008

What with the fall of society being blamed on technology by certain corners of society (certain, not very sharp corners if you’ll forgive the pun) it seems only a matter of time before we’re all reduced to a pre-internet state using pens and papers and…oh god it’s too much to imagine. What did people do before the internet?!

Anyway ramblings aside as you can tell from my tone I’m a tad dismissive about the idea that technology was to blame for the horrifying scenes last week across England. Riots aren’t new Twitter is is my concise rebutal to that argument. What the likes of Twitter and other realtime sites does facilitate is the most up-to-date reporting of events across the world that we’ve ever been able to manage as hairless apes.

A relatively new player in the search engine game has appeared as a result: real time search engines. With the phenomenal surge of information being created by the likes of social networks traditional search engines cannot keep up with the pace lagged as they are by their indexed lists of webpages.

My favourite real-time search engine is Twazzup which I discovered from Phil Bradley’s excellent blog a few weeks ago. During the riots I found this a more useful source of information than mainstream search engines or even news sites as it groups together Tweets, news stories, so-called influencers (sites which are generating a lot of content on your search subject) and top links.

Twazzup is just one of many real time search engines to have emerged over the past year and it’s something to keep an eye on with Larry Page admitting it’s a gap in the market which Google hasn’t yet thrown piles of cash at according to this article from  Venturebeat (which also lists a few others you might want to try).

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