Monday, February 18, 2008

Evaluating Wikipedia

I came across this video called Wikiality in a workshop I attended on teaching information literacy. It is a video by Stephen Colbert that can be used to point out that anyone can edit/change a Wikipedia article. Since then, I have been exploring the Library Instruction Wiki for ideas about how to approch Wikipedia. I found two contrasting activities:
  1. Wikipedia Exercise (create a wikipedia article for yourself to demonstrate how every can add to Wikipedia)
  2. Evaluating Scholarly Sources with Wikipedia (use a Wikipedia article as a starting point for a discussion of evaluating all sources - cites an article which argues that ALL sources should be evaluated and that it is just as easy to find an outdated book on the shelf in the library, as a Wikipedia article with unreliable information)
Then, last week, Bernie Sloan from Web4Lib listserv posted a link to an article arguing that we should teach students about the value of Wikipedia and teach them to examine the History and Discussion pages to understand how articles are created: Wikipedia and the New Curriculum Bernie Sloan goes on to mention that Wikipedia itself has an article on its flaws as a source for academic research: Academic Use of Wikipedia

In most classes, I don't have the chance to talk much about evaluating web sources, but when I do, I usually point out only the flaws of Wikipedia. How do you approach Wikipedia in library instruction? How should we present Wikipedia to our students? Are we doing students a disservice by focusing only on its flaws? Is understanding the strengths and weaknesses of Wikipedia an essential part of information literacy as knowledge is being created in new ways?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Educause Debriefing

I just wanted to post a couple of links related to the Educause overview Shawn, Elenka and I gave at the retreat in January and at today's department meeting. There were a lot of interesting sessions at the conference and I encourage you to check out some of the conference proceedings.

All three of our presentations are available in the department workspace in the infamous Internal-Communications folder. Follow this path to get to the presentations: Internal-Communications - Reports-Presentations - Presentations - Educause-2008. Each person has a folder with their presentation documents inside.

The Programmable Web

Educause Conference proceedings (warning: best viewed in FireFox)

Student Web Portals

Shawn's overview of Xavier University's Road to Xavier reminded me of a student web portal that I used back when I was in school. Created and run by students, Go Haverford! has everything from the lunch menu, daily events, customizable search engines, Blackboard, and board post and Haverpedia (wiki on all things Haverford) RSS feeds. I think this is really exciting stuff. If LCC has any plans for a student portal there are certainly a few that it could draw ideas from...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

LibWiki Training

Part 1: Wiki Basics (10 minutes)

What is a Wiki ?
Wikis in Plain English video

Wiki Software
There are hundreds of different kinds of wiki software to choose from. Check out the WikiMatrix

LibWiki uses Mediawiki software
Widespread Use - You'll be prepared to partipate in other wikis
Familiar - Used for Wikipedia

Examples of Wikis in the Library World

Sharing Best Practices & Professional Development

Library Success Wiki: A Best Practices Wiki
Michigan Library Consortium (MLC) Wiki
Library Outreach Wiki
Library Instruction Wiki
PALINET Leadership Network

Research Guides

Bizwiki from Ohio State University
Norwich Research Guides from the Kreitzberg Library
Florida State University Subject Guides


University of Texas Libraries How do I wiki?

Wiki as the Library Website

USC Aiken Gregg-Graniteville Library web site

Internal Communication/Training
Circulation Department Wiki: Procedures Manual

Part 2: Wiki Scavenger Hunt (20 minutes)

Part 3: Create a Personal Page (20 minutes)

Part 4: Brainstorm Uses of Wiki (10 minutes)
What are some possible ways that the wiki can be used by library staff for collaboration? Post your ideas in the LibWiki Suggestions section of the wiki.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


On February 3, the New York Times published an article about Twine, a new software product that lets you tag and organize emails, websites, and more into a searchable list. It is in beta testing now and sounds pretty handy. Twine's URL is

If you'd like to read the Times article, it's available at:

Do you think there would be some Twine applications for our library?


Has anyone heard of DabbleDB? If not, you should really check it out at:

I could immediatly see about a million applications for making our website more web 2.0. Not only that, there are a number of ways it could be used to make our internal processes more efficient. For example DabbleDB could be used to schedule instruction sessions or we could use it to design suvey forms and easily collect the data and create reports -- just to name two I'm thinking of right at this very moment!

Check it out, I'm sure you'll have lots of ideas too.

Thanks to Shawn for turning me on to this.