Dominican Ramblings

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Blog #5

This is a little bit like in LIS 701, when I had to go visit a library and write a paper about my observances. This time I visited the Oak Lawn Public Library's Website. This process has come full circle for me, since I did write a paper in 701 about this library, I did my reference slave time there, and have made friends with a few of the librarians. I really am a fan of this under utilized library, and I personally advocate for it every chance I get. I live in Chicago, so this is not my local library, but I do have a reciprocal card for them.

Once again, OLPL did not let me down. OK--I do have a few problems with their design--BORING! But the information provided therein is amazing! It is everything the library has to offer right at your fingertips...

The general information is useful, but they go into such detail to list every periodical the library subscribes to, the full OPAC is available, and they have even listed available pamphlets and brochures. All of this could save a person a trip to the library, as they can check availability online.

In the reference section, you will find a page entitled "Ask A Librarian." By leaving your card number, contact information and general info, you can ask a reference question and get an answer back by e mail on the following business day. The youth services has orgainized reference databases for the kids, as well as over 700 websites of interest. The fiction department has listed new titles, bestsellers and the various bookclubs that meet at the library.

They have a page devoted to local history in which you can review obituaries, old newspapers, photo archives and even the minutes from local governmental meetings. This is an old neighborhood, and the library is building on available research to save steps for anyone interested.

Finally, they link to various sites in the community, including the government offices, schools, churches and medcical centers. My mom would say that this website is "as handy as a small skillet," (you will just have to imagine the irish accent, since I can't replicate it in type). I myself have visited the site many times since I discovered it a few weeks ago, and even saw my husband on it for information on a restaurant...

Monday, July 31, 2006

Blog Post #4

Not to be too late for post #4's due date, I am posting relatively early this week. I have been reading a lot about blogging in another class, and I am intrigued with the idea of blogging in a school library. Keith McPherson wrote an article for Teacher Librarian in which he talks about many ideas for the use of blogging in schools. Since this is something used by kids regularly, as teacher librarians, we could really make it work for us easily, and with little technical instruction.
The "Think-Pair-Share" model of instruction is one used by many teachers to promote critical thinking skills. It is a basic process in which the teacher halts instuction, encourages the students to come up with examples of the lesson being taught, then share their thoughts with a partner. This could be done in a library setting on a blog, and the librarian would actually have access to the thought processes being shared. Also, a blog could be used in a novel study, author study or book club situation--perfect for when the student is struck by a thought when reading at home.
With regard to information literacy skills, the library could be the perfect place to complement the instruction going on in the classroom with blogs. Instead of keeping a journal of a science experiment, students could keep a blog. Again, the blog is easily accessed from home or school. The first step of the Big 6 research method is to formulate a question on a particular subject--this could also be completed on a blog--as could the rest of the process.
Not that the kids would cozy to the idea, but this could eliminate the most bothersome part of the research process--procrastination...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Blog Post #3

Here I am "Last Minute Charlie-ing" my blog post for Sunday morning, only to find that this post was due LAST WEEK! I should formally apologize to Michael first. Taking 3 classes this summer has been hectic and I guess the freedom I was alotted last weekend went to my head. I barely touched a notebook at all--my bad.

Anyway, I was contemplating the history of the internet for my post, and I was thinking that "back in the day" as an undergrad at U of I, I remember talk of supercomputing. As I remember it, they were tearing up the quad to lay more phone lines or something and the student body was not happy about it. We wanted our quad--lazy days, playing frisbee with dogs in bandanas, etc. The student government went to the administration about this, and various articles were written about it in the student newspaper--lots of uproar. This was the late 80's and we didn't care about supercomputing--even though some engineering student wrote some article saying that the quad was miniscule in the context of what was going on in the world of computers. Still the complaints--bring back the quad.

I decided to check out the U of I connection to internet history. I found a short but sweet article from the Lemelson-MIT program that archived Inventor of the Week The article told all about Marc Andreeson and Eric Bina, co-inventors of Mosaic. Apparently, these two clever guys were tired of the browsers that were available for only expensive Unix machines. They saw what was happening on the World Wide Web and thought they might be able to develop something that was more user friendly. They used HTML code, but added tags like center and image. The image tag was big, since images were only available as separate file up until then. They also developed the hyperlink--all components of Mosaic. Blah, Blah Blah, the two graduated from Uof I and made it big. There was a dispute (read lawsuit) with the university, but Mosaic eventually became Netscape--the browser first used by most early internet users. I do not know what they are doing today--maybe I will look that up next.

So, a walk down memory lane, a few regrets about having strict rules against dating engineering geeks at U of I, and the realization that the supercomputing that was going on at the school changed everyone's life. Maybe tearing up the quad was a small deal....

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Blogpost #2

Well, for my newest blog I created a Librarian Trading Card. It took me a long time to do so, as I felt compelled to come up with a schtick. Somebody had already taken the Punk Rock Librarian identity, and I was NOT going to use the "Soccer Mom Librarian" that Rebecca suggested. When in New Orleans at the ALA Conference, I uncovered my heretofore unknown forensic talents in trying to decipher why there were screws sticking up from the sidewalks. (One of my friends tripped over one and broke her arm!) By denoting the location and frequency of the objects and finally determining the shape of the dirt marks surrounding the screws, I deduced that the screws had once secured the garbage cans to the sidewalks. They had blown away in the hurricane. Anyway, it is a roundabout way of introducing my new title, but at least it's a little more interesting than "Soccer Mom Librarian."

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Blogpost #1

My head is spinning this morning. I created a flickr account on Thursday, after reading the Newsweek article. This is exciting to me, and I have downloaded pictures each day. We just had a graduation in our family, and I have been talking to other moms and dads, trying to get them to post pictures so we can share photos. So far, I haven't had any takers, but it has only been 2 days...
This morning, I created a myspace account. I will need some time to play around with this account, but I am excited to gain access to my kids' accounts and those of their friends. To me, this is another way of keeping an eye on what they are doing in the space, which I am sure will be relatively transparent to them. I realize they can easily have a few different accounts--one for my eyes and one for the eyes of their friends. Rebecca just showed me how to search for a friend on the site, and I found a very old-looking picture of my 14 year old! Again, the same old problems becoming more obvious in a new light--teenagers trying to look older. Ok--I am committed to keeping an open mind about the site, but it is somewhat scary for a parent.

My Very First Blog!

My name is Annie McIlvain. I am a library student at Dominican University. This is my blog for LIS753.