Archive for August, 2008

This morning I went to the Martin Regional Library to observe the children’s librarian doing story time.  My mom takes my two-year-old nephew to My First Storytime every Tuesday, so I tagged along with my new digital camera to see what I could learn.

I asked permission from Ms. Suzanne, the Children’s Librarian, and the other parents in story time to take pictures, because I didn’t want to post pictures of other people’s children on the Internet if they were opposed to that.  My background with Domestic Violence Intervention Services has taught me to be careful—you never know if a mother and child have fled an abuser and are in hiding.  I guess people have limited expectations of privacy when it comes to pictures taken in public places, but I want to ask permission before I post a person’s face and location on the Internet.  No one objected to my photography, but I will still try to avoid posting face-on photos of other people’s children on my blog, as a courtesy.

My First Storytime is for newborns to 2-year-olds.  Ms. Suzanne started out with a “welcome to storytime” song, read about five easy picture books, introduced some animal finger puppets, led the children in making animal sounds, and closed with a goodbye song. 

I thought it was worth noting that Ms. Suzanne was very laid back; even when the children got up and tottered around in front of her instead of sitting and listening quietly, she just kept reading and periodically making eye contact with each child.  One little girl even got up and tried strumming Ms. Suzanne’s guitar during a story, but Ms. Suzanne didn’t let it distract her.  Clearly patience and a relaxed, flexible attitude is key.

The library also had a special program after storytime today.  The Music Together program, presented by the Barthelmes Conservatory, is for ages 5 and under and encourages children to sing, keep a beat and participate in music.  The presenter sang songs while playing guitar, and sang songs with motions, like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Trot Old Joe.”

Giddyup, Giddyup, Giddyup, WHOA!

She encouraged the children to march, dance and turn in circles while singing, and she handed out plastic eggs filled with rice for the kids to shake and keep time. 

She also encouraged the parents to sing, clap hands and interact with their children, which kept the children interested and engaged.  The kids loved it!

Mom and my nephew

Mom and my nephew

"Jack jumped high, Jack jumped low, Jack jumped down and stubbed his toe!"

"Jack jumped high, Jack jumped low..."

One especially interesting bit, the presenter had the children sing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” while doing the motions, then had them do the motions without singing the song.  She said this promotes audiation, “the process of mentally hearing and comprehending music, even when no physical sound is present,” according to Wikipedia.  She also encouraged the children to play with their voices by singing songs that involved shouting “Whee!” or “Whoa!” or making sounds like horse hooves clopping.  Since most of the children present were under age three, she said such vocal play is beneficial to their vocal development.

It’s surprising what you can learn from a room full of toddlers giggling and wiggling.  Thanks so much to Ms. Suzanne, the Martin Regional Library and the Barthelmes Conservatory for this learning experience!

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Are you seeking an open source means of controlling your zombie minions, but having Linux installation issues?  Have I got a book for you!

Reader’s Services class, here I come!

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Okay, so, more about the Knowledge & Project Management (KPM) Symposium.

The panel discussion on Digital Libraries featured Anne Prestamo, Associate Dean for Collection and Technology Services at Oklahoma State University, and Gina Minks, Imaging & Preservation Service Manager for Amigos Library Services.  Prestamo discussed the definition of “digital library,” and provided some examples of digital collections, including organizational intranets, Google Books and the Valley of the Shadow digital archives, for example.  Prestamo discussed how digital collection curators should consider the organization and presentation of a collection in terms of prospective users.  She offered the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System as an example of a collection that may be organized in a way that is intuitive to astrophysicists, but less so for non-astrophysicists.  Other collections mentioned included Purdue’s data curation projects and institutional repositories as a means of capturing university output such as white papers, conference presentations and theses.

I never thought of it this way before, but I guess one might say that in my last job I developed and maintained a digital collection of grant applications, including profiles of and correspondence with local foundations.  It was a collection only accessible to the administrative staff, but it fits the criteria as a collection of information objects, organized to support access and usage, and available via digital means.  I maintained folders on the server for each foundation, including gift history, Form 990s, giving guidelines, and grant proposals organized by year of submission.  My collection provided the historical data needed to inform future requests for funds, proposals more likely to be accepted because of similarity to past requests that were granted.

Gina Minks discussed digital collection details including standards, quality assurance, file formats and preservation.  Dennis asked a question about where to draw the line in terms of preservation through digitization—how do we determine whether a piece of information is worth digitizing and preserving.  I think that question is too situational for an easy answer.  As Ruth shrewdly pointed out, what is garbage to one person may be an informational jackpot to someone else—quite literally if the audience happens to be the FBI.  The topic of preservation and born-digital information (like this blog) got me thinking about how archives are changing.  I remember how awe-inspiring it was to see rough drafts of Emily Dickinson’s poems in the University of Tulsa’s special collections, and I wonder how many rough drafts will be preserved in the next fifty years?  I used to write everything on paper and transfer it to the computer later.  Now so much is born digital, drafts overwritten and lost as the newest version is saved.  Again, Ruth said it best: we are losing the process of writing.  Or at least evidence of that process.  Unless overwritten data is preserved beyond my knowledge, like some digital palimpsest.  They say nothing deleted is ever totally gone.  But if it is inaccessible to all but a few technical gurus, the data seems as good as lost.  I wonder what archives will look like in the next century?

Back to the KPM Symposium, Martha Gregory of the Tulsa Library Research Wizards provided some excellent resources in the panel discussion on Strategic Intelligence.  Dun & Bradstreet, economic census, PIERS, Plunkett and many more provide a variety of information about corporate undertakings.  On a side note, Dun & Bradstreet and the Central Contractor Registration have given me quite a headache in the last few months as I struggled to procure and register a DUNS number for The Salvation Army’s federal grant application process.  I think the numerous territories, headquarters, outposts and area commands of The Salvation Army really threw D&B for a loop in terms of DUNS number assignments and appropriate affiliations.  Miraculously, everything finally passed D&B, CCR and IRS approval on my last day of work.

While we manned the information/registration table, Dennis gave me his sales pitch on the value of podcasting, and how it could benefit OU and the School of Library & Information Studies.  I have to thank him for turning me on to iTunes U—I had no idea so many free lectures were floating around out there.  Yesterday I downloaded a lecture series on open source software from UC Berkeley.  The sound quality’s not perfect, but it’s interesting stuff.  I found a podcast audio tour of the Yale library, which is interesting, but I think an audiovisual version would be more effective.  In any case, I agree with Dennis that podcasting selected OU lectures and conferences would be an excellent educational and marketing tool for OU and the SLIS.  What if the OU library websites had a podcast library orientation new students could download?  Podcasts for how to use the catalog or how to conduct research in ESBSCO databases and online journals?  I’m going to try to find opportunities to promote and support podcasting efforts through OLISSA and the student association, if I can.

Well, that’s all the musings my muddled mind can muster for this evening.  To bed, to bed, to bed.

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I’ve been attending the Knowledge and Project Management Symposium this week.  Three hours of pre-conference prep work and a couple hours assisting with check-in each morning earned me free admission! 

Today I attended Ken Lackey’s keynote speech on the knowledge economy and the aerospace industry, and panel discussions on digital libraries, information literacy, and strategic intelligence.  OU-Tulsa’s Stewart Brower promises to post his lecture notes here, regarding information literacy, and here is the e-journal he founded, Communications in Information Literacy.  I have to say, Brower’s enthusiasm is infectious!

Also enjoyed hearing Dr. Tom Rink‘s take on strategic intelligence.  The Tulsa Police Dept.’s interactive mapping application is one way in which information has been made more accessible to the public.  I’ve used this feature to identify and document high-risk Tulsa neighborhoods when conducting research for grants to support The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs.

More thoughts to follow as they crystalize…

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Libraries as Ecosystems

Most people don’t realize how dangerous libraries can be…

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Heard about a cool new search engine last night, created by some former Googlites.  Cuil claims to search more pages on the web than anyone else.  Also, Cuil doesn’t capture information about users’ search history like Google does. 

Should be interesting to see how this tool can compete with Google.  Can Cuil be more powerful and avoid being evil?  We’ll see…

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