the scoop — Jan/Feb 2012
Tumblr & Pinterest
What is tumblr?
Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from your browser, phone, desktop, email, or wherever you happen to be. …
How are people using Tumblr?
The average Tumblr user creates 14 original posts each month, and reblogs 3. Half of those posts are photos. The rest are split between text, links, quotes, music, and video.
You’ve probably already been looking at tumblr pages without even knowing it. They are highly customizable, allowing the user control over look and feel (versus Facebook, Twitter, etc.) An example of one that was making the rounds last month: Hey girl. I like the library too.
Libraries are already using tumblr to connect with users. A few examples here: Libraries and tumblr
It’s a little like pinterest “the virtual pinboard,” another popular image-heavy sharing (and re-sharing) platform. Tumblr has been around for a few years, but pinterest is new this year. Example: http://pinterest.com/dimac4/libraries/
Uses in libraries? I couldn’t find any great examples, but there have been a few nice blog posts about the idea:
- Pinterest online curation pinboard with major promise Joe Murphy
- 5 ways to use Pinterest in your library iLibrarian
- Pinterest and the Core of Librarianship All These Birds With Teeth: *an interesting discussion about the shift from Search to Discovery
Communication and promotion with students. Easy to create as “one-offs” for specific instruction or course. Other ideas? Collaborative curation? I’d love to hear what you think!
Collaborative Editing/ Google Docs
In a workshop this month, I wanted to have the students do some quick hands-on research and share their results with the class so we could review the citations & discuss search strategies. I wanted something simple with no log-in required. I ended up using Google Docs & it worked so smoothly.
Here’s how I did it:
- For each session, I created a blank Google Document. You must have an account to do this, but students do not need an account to contribute.
- I adjusted the permissions for the document (found under the “Share” button) so that anyone with the link can *edit*
- The link provided is incredibly long & complex, so I created a bit.ly for each document
- To start the activity, I put the bit.ly URL on the screen, asked everyone to punch that in & access the document. This worked with very few hiccups
- I briefly explained collaborative editing & asked them to be cautious not to delete each other’s entries
A few students commented that they found it neat to ‘see’ their colleagues in there writing. Several wrote “hello world” or similar funny comments when we first pulled it up on the screen. I would definitely use public Google Docs again for future hands-on session.
Demanded some accountability from the students to enter content on this “public” platform which their peers would see. Allows you to have live results from your hands-on session on a simple platform. Creates a team atmosphere as we work together to populate the blank document.
Out of seven sessions with 10-20 students each, it didn’t work for 2 students (possibly a machine problem?). They worked with group members to contribute content.
In the same workshop, I learned that a good number of these first year Pop Culture students are using free web services such as CitationMachine and EasyBib to compose citations for them. Am I the last one to hear about these?
EasyBib only provides free citations for MLA. They are actually in partership with WorldCat and even have widgets you could put in your LibGuides. Beyond that, they do have ads on the page and have subscription fees for other citation styles (and “premium accounts”).
CitationMachine does a pretty good job for MLA, APA, Chicago & Turabian. The site does seem to have pop-up ads sometimes, but does not ask students to pay. A few students told me they just find the ISBN and punch that in to save time.
I’m sure there are many more. Since neither of these sites has the credibility of something like Purdue OWL, I wouldn’t recommend users use these without double-checking with a more official source (just as we recommend with RefWorks!). *But* I do think it is useful to know what many students are already using.
Have you tried something different with technology in instruction? Feel free to submit a little summary to share here!
~In the literature…~
“Balancing Act: How College Students Manage Technology While in the Library during Crunch Time,” Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg, Project Information Literacy Research Report, University of Washington’s Information School, October 12, 2011
A lengthy exploratory report that confirms some assumptions but also provides some surprises & compelling observations. Includes some wonderfully rich comments from students.
*If you only have a few minutes, perhaps check out their Recommendations on p 50-53.
A sample of interesting points from the report:
- “Despite some students expressing resistance to Facebook, we found the ubiquity—the sheer omnipresence—of Facebook made it a force this generation of students had to contend with,whether they had 600 Facebook friends or none at all. Whatever their circumstances, nearly all of the students we interviewed were well versed in the pros and cons of using Facebook and how they had chosen to manage its use.” (p.13)
- “The majority of the respondents described the value of the library as a place: (1) where they could witness other students engaged in “hard work,” and this often was contagious for them, (2) where they could rely on library equipment rather than their own devices that often had too many easy access distractions, including Facebook, and/or (3) where students could unplug entirely and work in solitude during the final weeks of the term.” (p.17)
- “In general, YouTube videos helped certain students grasp complex concepts more easily. Perhaps, most importantly, these students considered being able to stop a video, take some notes, then go back and review and replay it as many times as they liked as something they could never get in a class lecture from a professor when they were struggling to learn material.” (p.45)