Our 21st Century Destiny

Maybe you have to be a librarian to get excited about the Library management system but I hope not! Especially when it comes to the Destiny Quest feature of Follett’s LMS that we  launched a couple of weeks ago at school. It’s so slick and user-friendly that I’m hoping the whole school will be kicking into high gear over it.

What does Destiny Quest do?

Well it will took our catalogue from this:

Regular Destiny page at log-in

To this!

 Destiny Quest Homepage

Destiny Quest Homepage

This is a little pet project I had at the end of last year that was on a back burner until our IT team had time to upgrade the system (sadly we were behind about 5 versions).

So now searching looks more appealing and much easier to read. But wait there’s more! You can also:

  • customize the look of your page
  • write reviews
  • friend people and recommend books/websites
  • place holds on books
  • check your overdues
  • make wishlists
  • make resource lists
  • check your reading history
  • see what’s new to the library collection

And to really pull the library into the 21st Century ….

  • a smart phone app that connects to your library (go to iTunes store or Android Marketplace)
  • an iPad app that connects to your library.

Our school is beginning a one-to-one iPad program next year (incoming Year 7s); this wonderful Library Management System will mean that we remain front and centre – students will be required to install the library app as part of their suite of apps and we’ll be showing them how to use it as part of their Library orientation.

What more can I say except …
SQUEEEE!

 

A New Kind of Catalogue – The Open Library

open sesame by 1541This week I’ve been concentrating on the workbook exercises that have to do with The Catalogue and some of the questions in the book (eg. Find out about other cataloguing networks) put me in mind of a site I’d stumbled on last year but hadn’t checked in on in a while – The Open Library

The Open Library has a goal  – to create a web-page for every book ever published. At the time it seemed like a helluva(n) undertaking and while I cruised around on it admiring the enormous amount of content (today it has 23,543,896 books listed) I remember vaguely wondering why they were doing it. So today (a bit older and wiser) I went in search of the answer online. I came across this article in the UK Guardian.

I really admire what they are trying to do and was pleasantly surprised and interested to see the person driving the bus was Australian and has been involved with several other mega-projects including Flickr and the Flickr Commons scheme. I loved this idea especially:

“Imagine books more as a networked object, rather than a single entity,” she suggests. “We start with this kernel and then we see what we can pile onto it … it’s a locus for all the information about a book that’s on the wider web.”

If you have the time it’s worth looking through the FAQs , take a guided tour or read about some of the challenges they are working through as they develop a completely new kind of catalogue. They are rethinking everything from points of access (eg. Subject headings) to the schema of the information to the technology that will support it. They are building a catalogue for the public not just libraries and librarians. They are building it using a wiki, using the good will of many organizations and individuals  and they are building it to be completely open to editing.

This is a real opportunity to watch one of the future directions of catalogues/cataloguing being born. And one I will be keeping a closer eye on (and maybe one day participating in) now that I am a student of ETL505 Accessing Information.

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Photo from Flickr by: 1541

“Electronic Neanderthals” and Squirrels

One of this semester’s subjects in my course is ETL505 – Organising Access to Information – what many refer to as Cataloguing. Some say “DRY”. I think, “Tell me more, I’m drowning out here”.

And that is probably why this quote in our textbook caught my attention —

cataloguing and the kind of imposition of order on the flow of knowledge and information that it represents may be all that separates up from becoming electronic neanderthals … (Gorman in Hider & Harvey, 2008, p. 8 )

This really rang true for me as I reflected on my increasing frustration in trying to organise and keep track of my own resources for study and professional learning. The common practices of tagging and word clouds in wikis, blogs and book-marking tools such as delicious.com are such a flabby ways of organising access to these resources. I may start saving articles for an assignment one day with certain tags but three weeks later I may be saving under some variation and not even realise it. Access becomes more difficult the greater the number of things saved/bookmarked. Like a squirrel running around hiding nuts for winter, I don’t always remember where I’ve put them later.

Electronic Neanderthals or Electronic squirrels – neither is a pretty picture when it comes to taking on the huge job of making digital information accessible. There really needs to be some standards to bring about better order for better access.

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Creative Commons flickr photo by: Kalense Kid

Hider, P., & Harvey, R. (2008). Definitions and introductory concepts. In Organising knowledge in a global society: Principles and practice in libraries and information centres. Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies.