Sunday, April 29, 2007

Social Networking Sites: Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

Don't Tell Your Parents: Schools Embrace MySpace
Robert Andrews 04.19.07 | 2:00 AM

Some schools ban social networks for wasting classroom time or to protect students from weirdos. But, as part of a wider trend toward less top-down teaching, other institutions are putting tools like MySpace, Bebo and Facebook on the curriculum -- and teachers are saying: "Thanks for the add."

Recent efforts to outlaw the Web 2.0 sites so beloved by teenagers include a congressional bill that would throttle funds to schools that do not restrict access. But Elgg, open-source social networking software developed at the University of Brighton, has been designed specifically with academic uses in mind.


Students, tutors and researchers each get a profile page, a blog, photo sharing and friends lists, and they can create and join on-site discussion communities. Some of these features might cause tutors to balk, but Elgg's creators say the collaborative, conversational exchanges in which today's students have become so fluent outside class are the best way to deliver learning inside it.

"The virtual learning environment model used by nearly all universities these days is based on the traditional tutor-led, course-structured mode of learning and doesn't easily allow for significant participation by students or for crossing course boundaries," said Stan Stanier, the school's learning technologies manager, who oversees a 33,000-member Elgg installation. "Higher education is meant to be an environment for student-centered and collaborative learning."

Broadly, Elgg represents a shift from aging, top-down classroom technologies like Blackboard to what e-learning practitioners call personal learning environments -- mashup spaces comprising feeds, blog posts, podcast widgets -- whatever resources students need to document, consume or communicate their learning across disciplines.


But Elgg, which is being translated into nearly 40 languages, may also have applications outside education.

With media organizations and sports teams scrambling to create yet another social network, the software could become an open-source rival to Marc Andreessen's Ning platform, an easy way to create on-the-fly, user-centric sites for any conceivable niche.

Around 30 private companies and other organizations, including France Telecom, are already using Elgg. Curverider, a Brighton University spinoff responsible for commercializing the software, recently released an enterprise edition targeting big businesses keen to get on board the social networking train.


The University of Brighton hosts ElggJam07, an Elgg-themed conference, July 11. Registration is free, but limited to 70 places.

Source []


1. Elgg was NOT developed by the University of Brighton

2. Curverider - the company which actually developed elgg - is NOT a University of Brighton spinoff.

The University of Brighton has implemented elgg for all of its 30,000+ students and staff, and has funded the development of the e-portfolio module of elgg.

Facebook/Social Networking Literature

In addition to personal experiences, I am also interested in Any/All literature (articles, reports, presentations, etc.) that discuss the use of Social Networking Services for Engaged Library Services.

I wish to note the recent one-pager from Meredith Farkas in _American Libraries_ 38 (4): 27(April 2007) (“Going Where Patrons Are: Outreach in MySpace and Facebook”) as well as her new book _Social Software in Libraries: Building Collaboration, Communication and Community Online_. Medford, NJ: Information Today (2007)
[ ] [Meredith: Our Copy is On Order] [:-)

Also Not to be Missed are “Do You Facebook? Networking with Students Online” by Brian Mathews of Georgia Tech (_College & Research Libraries News_ 67(5: 306-207) (May 2006)and“Your Space or MySpace?” by Beth Evans (_Library Journal_ 131 (X): [Net Connect]: 8-12 (Fall 2006)(October 15, 2006).

There are Lots of Great PPTs on Facebook/MySpace on Google … _E.G.,_

“Can We Be Friends? One New Jersey Academic Library’s Experience with Facebook” by Harry Glazer,Communications Director, Rutgers University Libraries

“Fishing in a Barrel: Facebook as an Outreach and Marketing Tool for Academic Libraries” by Shannon Kealey

“Myspace and Facebook: Reaching Our Students with Their Technology of Choice” by Yvonne Nalani Meulemans and Melanie Chu

Then There Is Of Course: “Are Reference Desks Dying Out?” by Scott Carlson from _The Chronicle of Higher Education_ (Section: Information Technology Volume 53, Issue 33, Page A37) April 20 2007
[] [Subscribers]

QUOTE: “The big trend is using social-networking tools to move beyond the reference desk," he says. "By putting ourselves in blogs and social networks, it opens up a door" to patrons (Brian Matthews)

In Your Face(book): Social Networking Sites for Engaged Library Services

I am pleased to inform you that my abstract for the forthcoming LITA National Forum 2007 scheduled to be held in Denver, October 4-7 2007, has been accepted.



Excerpt from The Orginal Abstract

We believe that social networking sites such as Facebook are excellent environments to foster and facilitate contact and communication among members of a local community. We also believe that as a structured, yet open, communication venue within an educational community, Facebook can also serve a place and space in which library and librarian services can be more actively and visibly promoted.

During the Summer 2007 semester, we will undertake a series of outreach initiatives using Facebook. We will contact select members of the university Facebook community to inform each of the availability of core services offered by the reference and instruction department (e.g., book and journal selection, library presentations, research assistance) as well as general library services (e.g., interlibrary loan, library collections, reserve and media services).

As a preface to the project results, the general nature of Facebook, and its current use by e ducators as well as libraries and librarians, will be reviewed. The presentation will conclude with a brief overview of key readings and Web resources.

I. Facebook Overview
II. Library and Library Facebook Presence
III. Iowa State University Facebook Community
IV. Library Outreach Project Description
V. Project Implementation
VI. Project Results
VII. Future Plans
VIII. Readings and Resources

I would be most grateful to hear from e-list members who have used Facebook for _ANY and All_ library-associated purposes [The experience of users of MySpace (or other social networking) services for engaged library services are also of interest]

BTW: I am aware of the Facebook library groups …

In addition to personal experiences, I am also interested in Any/All literature (articles, reports, presentations, etc.) that discuss the use of Social Networking Services for Engaged Library Services.

Thanks in Advance!

P.S. The focus groups for my study will most likely change as will the specifics of my outreach efforts. Stay Tuned ... [:-)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Launch of Friends: Social Networking Sites for Engaged Library Services

Friends: Social Networking Sites for Engaged Library Services, a blog devoted to application and use of online social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace for any and all types of library-related programs or services, was officially launched on April 28, 2007.

Friends will include announcements and general news about online social networking sites and services within organizations, with a focus on their use by libraries and librarians. It will also include citations to significant articles, books, presentations, and other publications, and, when available, link to the full-text of these items.