Instructional Design Resources

Librarians sharing cool stuff

IL2007 Closing Keynote: From Physical to Virtual and Back Again – Blurring the Boundaries. October 31, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennym @ 5:43 pm

Liz Lawley

Came dressed as one of her World of WarCraft characters (really)

Became interested in WoW in 2005 and was asked to join a guild of virtual worlds researchers (made up of people who all know each other in real life and have a significant research interest in gaming and virtual worlds – a close knit professional community)

  • Professional networking here was real – Liz was invited to become an author on this community’s blog (Terra Nova) soon after

Guild Drama

  • Where do you draw the lines professionally and personally when it’s not just your friends, but also people who are reading your grant proposals or students who are taking your classes

Games, Learning and Society Conference (Madison, WI)

  • People sharing both physical and virtual spaces

Colleagues in real life are playmates in virtual life

Is WoW the “new golf”?

  • Many accomplished professionals are spending upwards of 20 hours a week on this game

Why does WoW work?

  • nearly a million concurrent primetime US users — they’re obviously doing something right

Amy Jo Kim on Game Mechanics

  • “putting the fun in functional”
  • 5 game mechanics:
    1. collecting
      • we want to have things AND be able to see/show people these things
    2. points
    3. feedback
      • how do we know we’re doing the right thing?
      • this is a huge part of what makes an experience work – feedback needs to be quick and transparent so that we feel motivated to stick around
    4. exchanges
    5. customization

Lawley isn’t interested as much in how we can make games like the real world (like Second Life), but in how we can make the real world more like games – how can we be as engaged and delighted by real world tasks as gamers are about games?**

WoW demo: creating a new character

SecondLife demo: creating a new character

  • Lawley’s not a big fan b/c there’s nothing she can do here that she can’t do anywhere else — it’s a solution in search of a problem
  • Reminds me of what Paul Jones said a few weeks ago: you’ll get nothing out of Second Life if you’re not a builder

Game Mechanics and Goals: The first Five Minutes

  • Understanding
    • Back story, context, information from characters
  • Accomplishment
    • most things in life are never done (laundry, dishes, etc), but in the game, you can check things off; they’re finite
  • Progression
  • Acquisitions
  • Communication

Nick Yee’s MMO Player Stages (managers also need to think about this — how can we take people through burnout and into recovery, where they can feel willing to accept the grind b/c there’s enough that’s interesting and challenging)

  • Entry
    • newcomer euphoria
    • playing with someone
  • Practice
    • ramping up/ progression
    • solo to group
  • Mastery
    • leadership
    • competition
    • high-end content
  • Burnout
    • grind burnout
    • nothing left to do
  • Recovery

Pokemon – why can’t learning be as much fun as Pokemon for children?

  • Why power through the grind?
    • b/c there are rewards
    • along the way, you also build expertise

Real world games

  • summer reading
  • super sleuth

Implicit Online Games

  • ebay feedback
  • MySpace/Friendster
  • page rank
  • Google Smackdown

Games that Blur Boundaries

  • PMOG (passively multiplayer online game)
  • Chore Wars (get points for doing chores)
  • Seriosity’s Attent

Social Genius

How can we deal with the issue of burnout? There’s almost nothing that can’t be turned into a game, but it requires thought. How can we make people keep coming back to the catalog, tutorials, the library, etc? Can we design game-like activities that keep our users interested and engaged?

A Theory of Fun for Game Design by Raph Koster

**I like the way she puts this; it’s one of the main reasons that I’m so fascinated by gaming and immersive technologies as tools for learning. As Chad Boeninger said yesterday, games are undeniably hard. But they’re still fun and people will totally abandon their lives for a few minutes (or hours, or days…) to learn how to master them. Is there a way we can make research more like this? Now, I’m not totally naive. I’m aware that the motivators for starting a research project for most of our users are much different than the motivators for starting a game (boils down to: my professor wants me to vs. i want to). But I’m not ready to just give up and say, “oh well, research will never be as fun as gaming, so why try?” Still, it’s difficult to know exactly how to go about bridging — or attempting to bridge — this gap.


How ironic

Filed under: IL2007 — ellenh @ 5:04 pm

I’m sitting in the closing keynote session for IL2007, by Liz Lawley on “Gaming, Learning, & the Information World” and at the same time, reading the Annoyed Librarian’s rant on Gaming.


Session B304 – Content Management Systems (CMSs)

Filed under: IL2007 — ellenh @ 4:43 pm

I’ve been looking forward to this session all week – since I have my own struggles with our campus CMS.


Ruth Kneale, National Solar Observatory, ATST Project – From Static to Dynamic: Choosing and Implementing a CMS

CMSs – used to collaboratively and interactively create, manage, control, and publish information. Known by many other names.

We need them to avoid the “single point source syndrome” and to increase team collaboration, ease administration, increase functionality, improve presentation.

Her needs: LAMP setup (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PhP), content approval, WYSIWYG editor, friendly URLs, version control, content reuse.

Should haves: sandbox/staging area, mass uploading, site mapping/indexing

Nice to have: stats, events, photos, drag and drop

To CMS or to Wiki?
Looked at and,,, and did local evaluation

OpenSourceCMS – lets you play with CMSs without installing on your own server – Very nice!


Amy Radermacher, Reference/Cataloging/Electronic Resources Librarian, Concordia University
May Chang, Head, Library IT Services, UMBC Library, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
– CMS Experiences at CSP and UST: Same Application, Different Libraries

At both these universities, the CMS was handed to the library from the IT department.


across-campus CMS use: from a marketing standpoint, wanted to develop a more uniform website, increase the number of editors while maintaining design consistency.

The library would have liked to have been involved in the plan from the beginning, because library sites are much more dynamic than other departments on campus – they are constantly changing, constantly growing, constantly requiring new interactive tools.

Issues: the design was separate from the content, library site linked to many more outside sites (and the web services people had put all links across all the campus in one folder), weren’t able to make pages live immediately

University of St. Thomas:

Again, decided on a CMS because of marketing considerations. However, the library is a service point, not about marketing. Campus IT wants control and consistency.

Tips for success: get in early, negotiate flexibility, develop in-library technical expertise, communicate! Make sure you still create good folder structures, etc. even if you do have control over your content.


One lesson learned: ally yourself with someone in marketing (since they have so much power over how the CMS got deployed) and argue your case for other functions from a library marketing standpoint.


Session B303 – Folksonomies and Tagging: Libraries & the Hive Mind

Filed under: IL2007,tagging — ellenh @ 3:31 pm

Tom Reamy, Chief Knowledge Architect, KAPS Group

Cautionary quote about folksonomies – “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world… The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate conviction.” -W.B. Yeats

Essentials of Folksonomies

  • folksonomy is done by users, taxonomy is done by professionals
  • basically what it comes down to is that it is metadata that users add
  • key – social mechanism for seeing others’ tags


  • Very simple to use – no need to learn a difficult classification system
  • lower cost of categorization – distribute the cost over a large population
  • Open ended – respond quickly to changes
  • Relevance – users’ own terms
  • supports a serendipitous form of browsing
  • easy to tag any type of an object – photos, docs, bookmarks
  • better than no tags at all
  • gets people excited about metadata

Disadvantages – related to quality of tags

  • they don’t work well for finding – re-finding is of marginal value
  • no structure, no conceptual relationships – flat lists do not an “onomy” make – there is only popularity
  • issues of scale – popular tags already showing a million hits
  • limited applicability – only useful for non-technical or non-specialist domains
  • either personal tags (other’s can’t find) or popularity tags – lose interesting terms. Most people can’t tag very well. Tagging is a learned skill.
  • errors – misspellings, bad compounds, etc.


  • Unwisdom of crowds, madness of crowds
  • Tyranny of the majority, popularity drowns quality, narrowing of choices, lost content
  • belief that hierarchy, taxonomy not needed

Will Social Networking make better Folksonomies?

  • Not so far – the same tags are dominating on
  • quality and popularity are very different things
  • most people don’t tag, and don’t re-tag
  • study – folksonomies follow NISO guidelines – nouns, etc. – but do they actually work to get you where you want to go? – no
  • most tags are created by heavy computer users, who love to do this stuff – the regular users and infrequent users aren’t good taggers

Flickr Facets

  • his organization analyzed flickr tag clouds – 90% of content falls into 6 different types of facets (place (40% of tags), events, dates, people, things/animals, color).
  • Subject matter of photograph was less than 1% of the tags
  • If Flickr added facets, it would be a whole lot more useable

  • tags are not facets, they are subjects
  • high-level topics – photography, news, education
  • get related terms by popularity, not conceptually
  • one type of facet stood out – “howto” “tutorial” “toread” “todo” etc.
  • popularity is not quality – dominance of computer terms, tyranny of the majority – “design” – 1 million, “interior design” – 3,909
  • top 25 – same set, slight order shift – social inertia
  • folksonomy findability – too many hits, no plurals or stemming, personal tags like “cool” “fun” and “funny” – good for social research, not for finding documents or sites
  • Folksonomies are really good for social research

Improving the Quality of Folksonomies

  • adding facets to Flickr
  • Clustering tags – taxonomy/ontology, entity extraction, populate facets and subjects, types of relationships
  • add a broad general taxonomy of most popular tags – tags as natural categories (dog, rather than “mammal” or “purebred golden retriever”)
  • evolve quality of tags and emerging structure of tags – preferred terms, ranking tags

Folksonomies and Libraries

  • Three contexts: Library Catalog, Internet Service, Enterprise (Knowledge Management) contributor
  • PennTags, Stanford – librarians find good sites to tag
  • LibraryThing – still high level concepts, not that much better at tagging, issue is the variety of terms, strange tags – 19,000 tags of “book”, combination of facets and topics, inconsistencies, redundancies

There is a lot of in-between between folksonomies and LCSH

What might work: semantic infrastructure and evolution, dynamic social rules, reduce the amount of “folk” and increase “onomy” (example: Wikipedia hiring editors, ranking articles), also can increase “folk” – not just see tags, discuss tags


Session B302 – What’s Hot with RSS!

Filed under: IL2007,rss — ellenh @ 1:07 pm

Steven Cohen, Senior Librarian, Law Library Management Inc., & Creator,

“RSS is neither simple nor syndicated: discuss”


I’m not going to blog all the notes, since his presentation is up on pbwiki: Presentation site

Some points of interest:

  • You can analyze trends with Google Reader, find your subscription numbers (this is fairly new), share items (which creates a new page of shared items, and another RSS feed of those shared items – this could be a really great item for sharing information among organizations)
  • Tumblr – can share snippets, images, other feeds (Twitter, blog RSS feed, Flickr) – again provides another feed – can grab stuff from lots of folks, again could be good for organizations sharing information.
  • Windows Vista has an RSS feed directly on the desktop, IE directly on the browser.
  • – searching the biblioblogosphere and beyond. Run search results and then grab the feed.
  • Techmeme Meta RSS for Tech bogs
  • Wesmirch – Meta RSS for celebrity gossip
  • Page2RSS – can create a feed from any page, whether they have one or not.
  • Ebsco databases have feeds for searches now – after running a search for someone doing a big research project, subscribe to the feed and email them with new articles that come out. “You look like a hero.”

Session B301 – Mashups & Data Visualizations: New Breed of Web Applications

Filed under: IL2007,resources — ellenh @ 12:18 pm

Darlene Fichter, Head, Indigenous Studies Portal, University of Saskatchewan

Web 1.0

  • realm of the HTML coders

Web 2.0

  • don’t need to know HTML
  • citizen journalists, stock photo sites
  • DIY Programming

What is a mashup?

  • uses content from more than one source to create a new service.
  • uses an API or RSS feed
  • sent in an XML stream

Mashup Ecosystem

  • Open Data
  • Open set of services and applications (APIs)
  • Us

The library could be one of the sources of content, as well as the place that creates the mashups that use content.

  • is a great website for sources of mashups.
  • Mapping, photos and shopping mashups are really hot right now.


  • Fastest growing ecosystem – Most of the sites we’re going to right now are mashups
  • Questions of authority and province – where is the data from? Is it reliable?
  • Don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to use APIs

Mashup Tools

Google Maps

Yahoo Pipes

  • A little more complicated than some of the other mashup tools
  • Except that it uses types of advanced database queries – boolean terms, etc. which librarians are pretty good at, so it’s not impossible to use
  • Cambridge Public Library – top book covers

Unintended Consequences

  • Garbage In, Garbage Out. If you don’t know the real source of the data
  • Client side scripts that modify the pages that you look at.

These days there are so many information rich data visualizations in newspapers and magazines. There are some really good tools out there to help you do that kind of thing.


Social Sites for Data Visualization

  • Important new medium
  • an individual should get value from their contribution
  • these contributions should provide value to peers
  • the organization that hosts the service should derive aggregate value and be able to expose this back to the users


  • Many Eyes – from IBM, will analyze text and display tag clouds. View and discuss visualizations, view and discuss datasets, create visualizations from existing datasets, upload your own data, topic hubs, select items to watch, track contributions, see comments
  • Swivel – tasty data goodies. Shows you teh source, gives lots of graphs. Very cool.
  • LivePlasma – shows relationships between actors, directors and movies
  • Gapminder / Trendalyzer – bought by Google

This was an amazing session – I learned a LOT about some really cool tools for data visualization and mashups. I’m really excited to explore some of these tools and see what could be useful for my library.


Session A202 — Promoting Play Through Online Discovery: Lego Building October 30, 2007

Filed under: IL2007 — ellenh @ 3:50 pm

Helene Blowers and Meredith Farkas talked about the concept of “playing” with technology – as ways to learning more about how to use technology, online social networking tools and other online applications in our libraries as well as ways to train others to use them. Helene specifically told us to carve out time during our day to allow ourselves to play with different tools.

I had been thinking about this concept a lot lately, as sometimes I wonder if people look at the work I’m doing with blogs, wikis, IM, RSS, web pages, etc. as “not real library work.” I think it’s imperative that as librarians we experiment with different tools, resources and technologies. The use of one particular tool may not be immediately apparent, but you never know when some situation or problem might arise and that tool could be the perfect application to address that issue.

This point was driven home for me when last week I heard a report on NPR about the local NPR affiliate station in San Diego, and how they had used web-tools to get information out about the fires. The web-developers at the station created a public Google Map and a Twitter feed with information about the fires, evacuation areas, shelters and other pertinent public information. The key quote from the report for me was this one:

Online Managing Editor Leng Caloh relied on My Map, a fairly new application from Internet search engine Google. People usually use My Map to pinpoint things like the best places to play golf or get a drink.

“The playing that a lot of us on the team do in our free time has been the key to our success,” Caloh said.

You never know what kinds of applications you could use these new tools for, until it becomes very apparent. So play around with them.