Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tutorials in the library world


A tutorial according to the Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science is:  

     A printed or online instructional tool designed to teach novices how to use a computer system or electronic resource, usually in a step-by-step manner, often with questions at the end for testing proficiency.  

         There are numerous tutorials available at most libraries that can teach the online user how to search a database, a catalog, and more.  There are also many tutorials available on the web for just about any topic a user may find of interest.  However, users need to be careful in determining the validity of a particular tutorial.  For example, if a tutorial is viewed from a major university on how to accurately search a database a user can assume the information is accurate.  However, if a user locates a tutorial on YouTube from an unknown source on how to search a database in general, how can the user determine if the information is accurate?  Individuals should remain cautious and not take all information that is published or available on the Web at face value.    
       Are tutorials helpful?  In the library setting, the tutorials are of value and helpful to those individuals who are unfamiliar with the process of database searching or catalog searching.  The explanations of how to utilize Boolean searching techniques or what databases are available can be invaluable tools for patrons.  For those individuals who prefer the personal interaction with the librarian they can also be shown how to locate the information.  The premise of the tutorial is that if the user performs the functions themselves they are then able to perform the task again on their own.  Tutorials that are interactive and informative will seemingly be of more interest to users and will probably have a higher usage rate.  

Basic Searching tutorial provided by the University of Southern Mississippi:

The ever important Plagiarism Tutorial: 

Below is the link for the Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science:

What is a Bibliographic pathfinder?

Bibliographic Pathfinder???

      What is a bibliometric pathfinder and where can it be found?  According to the online dictionary for Library and Information Science, a pathfinder is:
A subject bibliography designed to lead the user through the process of 
researching a specific topic, or any topic in a given field or discipline, usually
 in a systematic, step-by-step way, making use of the best finding tools the 
library has to offer. Pathfinders may be printed or available online. 

       People of every age can benefit from the information rich environment of today’s world.  Individuals, who have the desire and ability to locate, evaluate, and use information effectively have the ability to achieve a greater degree of success.  A vital service now offered by many libraries of all types is pathfinders on various subjects.  Pathfinders can be located to increase accessibility of many different topics from services, educational purposes, job opportunities, and more, all to increase our quality of life.  As an example I am attaching a pathfinder list of historical fiction books for young adults that provide a description of each book.

      Pathfinders are readily available at most libraries and can offer a time saving advantage for young and old alike.  Libraries offer this service to all patrons.  If a library has the information listed online then it is “free for all” as was the desire of Andrew Carnegie who said:

“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library,
this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.”
Andrew Carnegie 

Old meets New



      When many libraries were established in the early years of the United States the main concern was how to build a collection, how to avoid a fire, and how to provide ample lighting for the facility.  As time went on, technological advances created electrical lighting, central heat, better ways to avoid fire hazards, as well as a card catalog system for information retrieval.  Since we all know that time does not stand still, and technology continues to advance, our lives were changed by the introduction of computers.
      Computers have ultimately revolutionized libraries as we know them.  Computers have changed the way cataloging is done and how we retrieve information.  Indexing information is done through a catalog system that can also be accessed online from anywhere.  So what have all these modern transformations done to our libraries?  Older libraries have incurred a tremendous cost and burden to budgets for the updating of wiring to accommodate our latest technology.  Like schools, libraries have had to update antiquated wiring, install new cables, and hire technical personnel to keep things running smoothly.
      Is it all worth the time and expense?  Librarians now offer the capability to reach out to users from so many mediums, and provide them a plethora of information.  Librarians can chat and answer patron’s queries through IM, e-mail, telephone, blog, or even video chat.  Book clubs can be conducted with members over Skype and the only one that needs to be present at the actual library is the facilitator.  Members can enjoy and participate the discussion from the comfort of their own homes. As technology continues to advance we can only imagine where we will be as soon as the next ten years.  

Libraries and the virtual world

virtual library


        Do libraries exist in a virtual world?  They do in a 3D world called Second Life. What is Second Life?  It is a place to connect with others, to shop, to work, love, and explore all in a 3D virtual world.  The user creates an avatar, in their own image or different.  The user gets to decide.  So how does this relate to libraries you ask?  Many academic institutions now offer virtual classrooms which allow online collaboration or distance learning.  Libraries are starting to offer the same type of services for students who prefer the 3D experience to the real world. 
       Attached I have incorporated links to videos on what Second Life is as well as a real academic library and services offered in the virtual world. Is this a cost effective way to introduce students to our academic libraries?  Is this the wave of the future?  For those students who may not know what resources are available to them in the library, this may be an interesting way to peak their interest.  Users can remain anonymous, yet be able to access databases, search catalogs, and other collections as if they were in the real world library.  Personally I like to roam the stacks, feel the actual books in my hands, and get the full experience of actually visiting the library, however, this may be a technologically savvy way for some to visit the library.   

 Check out the Second Life Introduction at:

Experience the Hong Kong Poly U library in the virtual world of Second Life:

Our Digitized World

        Camera’s, scanners, cell phones, web cams, digital video recorders, and audio digitizers are all items used today to preserve images.  Modern digital computers are storage facilities for analog information that has been converted digitally for the purpose of preservation.  We can now capture an image, a sound, a video and preserve it for generations to come. 
        Libraries around the world have been working hard to digitize collections of rare and important works so future generations will be able to enjoy them as much as we have.  This preservation process will provide access to information to a great many more people around the globe.  What a great experience to be able to reference collections of artwork, rare books, or even learn about faraway lands, from the comfort of your own home.  One of my favorite sites I would like to share is the British School at Athens.  This website through an RSS feed provides videos of ancient lands, news, events and work that the British School is doing at the moment.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have. 
British School at Athens RSS Feed:
         If your interested in finding out news closer to home the local university libraries have RSS feeds to keep patrons updated on news and database information.  The attached link to the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg is a great way to stay connected. 

University of Southern Mississippi RSS Feed: