Professors With Personal Tweets Get High Credibility Marks – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Interesting study into the impact of social media on education.  The article doesn’t go into depth about research methodology, of course, so the results need to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt, but it certainly raises some interesting questions.  I have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and FourSquare accounts, as well as this blog, so I’m obviously comfortable with using social media, although I still am very conscious about posting personal information, particularly on Twitter, where you can’t control easily access to your tweets.  I’ve always believed in maintaining a line between your professional and personal identity with students, as I think it’s dangerous to get too personal when you have to evaluate people’s work.  I was raised in a very formal learning environment where the roles of the participants were very clearly delineated; I actually appreciated that structure, as you knew where you stood.  In graduate programs, particularly in a smaller School, the lines between student and faculty can get quite blurry; should we be in a rush to blur those lines any further, I wonder?

Professors With Personal Tweets Get High Credibility Marks – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Librarians fight ebook pricing

As a dedicated ebook reader, I’m finding the debate over ebook pricing both intriguing and alarming. This post continues to raise the question of the quality of access to ebooks in libraries. Will access to ebooks be more restrictive than that to print books? There appears to be the popular assumption that digital items are more accessible because they lack a physical presence and can thus be downloaded easily. This is certainly not the case with the ebook collection in my local public library, where often access is restricted to only one person at a time, at least going by the number of times I have had to place an item on hold. While I can understand that pricing models often restrict libraries’ abilities to provide multiple digital copies, the placement of expiration dates on digital items by publishers is a rather different matter. What will be the impact on library budgets if ebook purchases last for only approximately one year if the HarperCollins model is to be applied?


Organizing the bookcase

This video about organizing a set of bookshelves made me laugh; granted, it was made by film makers as a film project, but who hasn’t re-arranged bookshelves in countless ways to try to fit as many items as possible? How many different ways do we try to organize our books: by colour, size, shape, subject, title, anarchy, chaos? In one of my classes, I ask students to describe and explain personal organization systems they have created: Perhaps adding a video component might make a good complement.


The changing face of academic library collections

Over the past few weeks, I’ve frequently come across the topic of the changing nature of academic library collections. While library collections is a topic outside of my normal purview, it does concern one of the committees I’m currently sitting on which has been tasked to search for a new university librarian. A recent OCLC report examines the emergence of a mass-digitized book corpus in the HathiTrust Digital Library and whether it can serve as a substitute for low-use print collections in academic libraries. Rick Anderson presents a thought-provoking presentation of next-generation workflows for libraries:


Social connectivity of LIS students

I have been rather surprised over the past two years by what I perceive to be a lack of social connectivity amongst a number of LIS students. By social connectivity I mean students who are not only aware of a variety of social media tools, including social cataloguing and bookmarking sites, but who actively use them. It’s a little disconcerting when you realize that you are often the most socially-connected person in a room of students; granted, I am not perhaps the best example, since my use of social media is probably rather above average, but given the age ranges of many of our students, I would expect a higher level of awareness and use of these tools. I wonder to what extent our frequent discussions of the importance of privacy deters many of our students from using these tools.

It’s a potentially difficult tightrope we walk across as instructors. On the one hand, we need to discuss the importance of privacy and the integrity of our personal information, and highlight the pitfalls of many social application sites; on the other hand, it’s important that our students be not only aware of these technologies, but also use them effectively. I’ve heard from a number of employers that one of the first things they do with a candidate is to determine his or her social presence; a lack of such a presence can be seen as a detriment, since it may suggest that the candidate is not engaged in social technologies. I certainly think that one can maintain a degree of privacy with respect to social application tools and, perhaps more importantly, exercise proper good sense and discretion in what information to post in such applications.

Do we go too far, perhaps, in discussing the dangers of breaches of privacy to the point where we create a culture of near paranoia? I think it’s important that we include in these discussions the question of risk assessment: Do the gains I achieve from using social tools outweigh the potential of privacy breaches? How likely are these breaches to occur? Are such breaches more likely or dangerous than, say, handing over your credit card to a salesperson at the desk, who could quite easily take note of the number and expiry date and use them? What is the balance amongst efficiency, convenience, and privacy?