Tuesday, July 8, 2014

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em...

I had some very interesting feedback from a session I provided yesterday for the Shad Valley group.  The individual was impressed by the fact that I wasn't "no, don't use that..." but instead was "use it, but here is how to use it more efficiently to retrieve more relevant results". 

Apparently high school students are still being warned against using Google and Wikipedia for their research.  I say - we know they are going there anyways, so why don't we teach them how to use those databases more effectively.  I also said to the students, start your research there... just don't end there...

I am sensing a research project here... I am feeling inspired! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

presentation tips from a thoughtful observer

Spelling: double check and then check again.  You must spell everything correctly on your slides.  You will quickly lose creditability if you have more than one obvious spelling mistake.  If your software does not have a spell checker, write your text in Word first and then copy and paste it in

Don't admit: that you don't know something during your presentation, unless you are specifically asked a question about it.  Better yet, don't put anything on your slides, that you don't know something about

Pause: take time to pause when you are asked a question or to gather your thoughts during your presentation.  Better yet, implement a thoughtful posture, so your audience will believe you are brilliant.  I saw someone do this today, and was thoroughly impressed by how he choose to pause and think. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

networking online

Profile Image
and finally, I went to a session on improving your LinkedIn profile in 5 easy steps, which are:
create - compelling profiles that include your accomplishments and success
connect - to the people you already know and the people you would like to know based on personal interests and professional associations. 
contribute - communicate, comment and share insights
congratulate - sincerely recognize and applaud the success of others
craft - your settings so you are making the most out the tool
and finally commit - to daily progress.  

dress code = pajamas?

The next quick take session I attended was about teleworking, a topic close to my heart... as I worked from home between 2006 - 2009 (and yes, I did work in my pajamas sometimes). 

The presenter spoke of the mandate of her company to reduce greenhouses gases, so they encourage all employees to work from home at least one day a week.  The company offers a flexible schedule that they believe improves morale and helps to attract and retain staff. 

Staff members participate online in meetings through Link, which enables video conferencing and chat. 

Considerations: technical issues as well as social issue such as: out of sight, out of mind and the challenge of building relationships with your co-workers.  The presenter encouraged enlisting small talk and similar check-ins with your colleagues that build connections even at a distance.

measure your impact

The next quick take session that I attended was on the basics of altmetrics.  The presenter noted that scholarly impact measures are based on activity in online tools and environments such as citations.  Metrics are a proxy for scholarly influence which take a long time to accumulate.  Negative considerations: journals could be hidden in subscription based journals; the metrics don't capture the publications overall impact and the challenge of variability in the measure tools themselves.

Altmetrics indicators:
  • journal article use
  • social media use - blogs, Twitter (# of Tweets about conference presentation), copy of article saved in Mendeley (# of saves)
  • data and software use and re-use
  • educational resource use and re-use - i.e.: slide share or Prezi 
  • broader impacts for research (readership,
Caveat: how do weight each of these indicators, are they equal or are some weighted more heavily than others.

Altmetrics measures diverse impacts by various tools to track readership and impact, such as: academia.edu, CiteULike, F1000, Google Scholar, Mendeley and Zotero.  Items that add value to traditionally published content include: crowdsourced peer review, and the exposure of questions and comments via social media.

Altmetrics tools include Altmetrics.com, Plum Analytics, Mendeley, Impact Story (which considers citation patterns in a particular field) and ORCID (which is aiming to unify author profiles). 

Monday, June 9, 2014

We are talking big, big data that is!

I had the most interesting conference experience ever yesterday.  I literally flew into Vancouver in the morning, attended 4 quick take sessions, did a presentation and flew home.  I snuck a lovely walk on the waterfront as well... but don't tell anyone.

The first quick take session I attended was entitled Big Data.  Presenters were given 15 minutes to discuss their topic.

The speaker started off by stating "Google has always been a database so start using it as such".  He also recommended that you use LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. to harvest known information about your community or your potential community.
  • Hard Data - location, employer, job title... no one lies about this information and it tells you a little bit about the Who
  • Soft Data - likes and interests
He also stated that the words used in a profile can be used to create a trends forecast as most of these social media tools have search functionality built into them.  You can use big data in correlation with other information sources.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Tasha Versus the Hack Off

Hackfest: Honestly I didn't know what to expect when I attended this session.  It appealed to me as the presenter also works in an Engineering Library and as such, I thought I should attend.  I left with a greater understanding of what a hackfest is and some lingering desire to help plan one at the University of Saskatchewan.

A hackfest is an event that attracts a large number of individuals who come together and engage in collaborative computer programming while evolving the principles of information literacy instruction.  The presenter highlighted that this event worked nicely because of the experimental learning opportunities in the first year computer science course at her university (guest lecturer each week who assigned work of some kind).

Students formed groups, worked on ideas and concepts, meet with mentors and participated in peer-to-peer feedback sessions and then finally presented their idea.  The event is collaborative and not competitive.

  • dedicated space for at least 48 hours
  • opportunities for ongoing mentorship
  • build relationships with faculty and staff
  • build upon the history of libraries
  • create an agenda that foster critical literacy and not just digital literacy. 
Key takeaways:
  • learn more about GitHub (social coding): https://github.com/
  • Definition of critical making "is the process of making is as important as the results" Ratto
    • This reminds me of the leadership learning that we have done around the formation of teams at the U of S. 

Please note: the name of this blog post pays homage to my favourite episode of Chuck, Chuck Versus the Hack Off - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2034914/.