Assessment Item Four – Evaluative Report

A) Evaluative Statement

On completion of INF506 I have explored a variety of social networking technologies and created new accounts with LinkedIn, Second Life and Delicious which have broadened my experience as a social networker. The following OLJ entries show I have developed a thorough understanding of the issues and theories that surround social networking within an information environment and I am able to identify how these tools can be utilised to meet user information needs in a variety of information environments.

As evidence of meeting the learning objectives for INF506, the following OLJ posts have been selected:

Critical evaluation of ASUL achieving the 4c’s of social media critical evaluation

Creating an Online Personal Learning Network

Critical evaluation of ASUL achieving the 4c’s of social media

As an example of social networking technologies within a library context, ASUL successfully apply the 4Cs of social media – ‘collaboration, conversation, community and content creation’ (Hay, Wallis, O’Connell & Crease, 2014) which has allowed the institution to promote services and collections in many ways but also to ascertain critical characteristics of their audience (Mathews, 2009). Knowing what motivates their users, the ‘Library Minute’ videos via YouTube are tailored to deliver relevant information with a succinct and entertaining method – perfect for time poor students.

Critically examining the features and functionality of ASUL’s social networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo it is easy to observe how these tools satisfy the informational and collaborative needs of the tertiary community. ASUL promotes participatory library services by providing ample opportunity for user content creation and participation via online feedback, open collaboration and encouraged to post comments and images via Facebook.

By exploring ASUL’s site, I am able to understand the practice of Library 2.0 as ASUL has embraced the trend towards utilising Web 2.0 (Lamb, 2012) technologies to enhance their services and recruit new users or ‘crowd source’ (Hay et al., 2014). ASUL’s professional practice indicates that they have carefully considered the lifestyle of users and how the library fits into their world (Mathews, 2009) which has ensured that ASUL will remain the information hub of the university. critical evaluation

Becoming a member of Delicious proved to be a valuable exercise. New to social bookmarking, I explored the platform and adapted quickly to collecting noteworthy resources online and effectively storing, tagging and disseminating information within my small but professional network. Although I found the features and functionality to be sound, Delicious has been subject to negative reviews (Naone, 2011). Considering this, I will also experiment with ‘Reddit’ or ‘StumbleUpon‘ to better support my need to organise sources that have potential for future application in workplaces.  As a personal exercise, I was able to streamline my learning resources rather than adding to a long favourites list of websites and recommended readings for INF506.

Delicious highlighted the importance of ‘tag literacy’ (Redden, 2010) and reasons tag terms must be appropriate in order for tools such as Delicious to be functional and meet the information needs of users. Although Delicious assists with the issue of broken links, the management issue of ongoing maintenance to ensure up to date additions and to add members to the online Delicious community still exist (Redden, 2010).

Creating an Online Personal Learning Network

Up until this point, my personal use of social networking technologies had not evolved to include professional relationships and was merely as ‘spectator’ (Bernoff, 2010). Creating a map of my personal learning network (PLN) helped to identify gaps and according to Utecht’s stages of PLN adoption (2008) my use needed to be better planned if any professional development was to be gained (Cooke, 2011).

This activity proved to be useful in enabling professional development opportunities as well as facilitating collaboration that would not have otherwise been feasible (Cooke, 2011) given I do not currently work full time in an information environment. By information professionals establishing a PLN they are able to contribute when developing library 2.0 participatory services (Casey, 2007; Sodt & Summey, 2009) as they are better aligned with client needs (Farkas, 2009). Similarly, by becoming aware of my PLN, I have broadened my expertise for understanding user experiences and making informed recommendations (Lamb, 2012).

It has been valuable to engage with social networking technologies and note best practice of institutions implementing their use to improve services. Critically examining the features of these technologies has shown that not all social networking tools are beneficial to users and libraries must ascertain which tools are best suited to supporting information needs and providing access to services.

As a continuous project, my OLJ shows that I have gained an understanding of how libraries can utilise Web 2.0 social networking tools to gain educational and collaborative benefits as well as achieving INF506 course objectives.


B) Reflective Statement

The INF506 journey has benefited me both professionally and personally with a deeper understanding of social networking tools and their variety of uses. As a social networker, I have evolved from mindlessly possessing many unused accounts to regularly maintaining a few which contribute to my development as an information professional now and in the future. At present I have progressed to a ‘collector’ level (Bernoff, 2010) and dabble as a content creator contributing to feedback and blog posting. However, I am yet to reach a ‘conversational’ level as I lack confidence when contributing to academic forums given that I am not working in a full time position. However, I fully intend to participate in the ongoing learning process to benefit any future positions I may hold as an information professional.

Information gleaned from INF506 modules was able to be applied to a variety of situations that helped me to extend and improve my using of social media. For example, I was not aware of the importance of a personal learning network (PLN) for current and ongoing professional development. Due to negative personal experiences, I had shied away from social networking as a professional. Half way through the course, it was clear in OLJ that I was still fearful and struggling with the online exposure however once I separated personal and professional profiles, I felt confident to increase my interactions with tools such as Facebook.

Assessment item three gave me great insight into the continually changing and controversial media surrounding social networking in a school setting. In an attempt to quell cyber-bullying and increase net safety, New South Wales government schools ban all social networking access. Even so, school administration still struggle to remain abreast of mobile access which allows access at any point. In addition to state government policy, school administration considers views of parents as well as achieving educational goals. It is certainly a difficult balancing act that is taking some time to manage. In the meantime, young people are losing the opportunity to learn social media skills which will benefit future employment opportunities not to mention awareness of issues such as a lasting digital footprint or copyright. On completing the report, the importance of written policy, planning and evaluation are clear. Given the constant change social technologies, solid social media policies are essential to guide staff and for the protection for of organisation (Kooy & Steiner, 2010).

Looking back at my first post it was my goal to understand how to use social media beyond a superficial level. I believe this has been achieved in that I now realise that information professionals must be organised and deliberate in their use of social media. For example, Farkas (2007) stresses the importance of knowing users. This may seem obvious, however professionals need to gather this information from a variety of sources and apply findings when developing market strategies. Further, Farkas (2007) highlights how a user centered focus coupled with ongoing evaluation is essential in creating and maintaining a library 2.0 information environment. I have bookmarked various sources authored by Farkas which have been valuable to my understanding of libraries and Web 2.0.

At various stages throughout INF506 I was forced beyond my comfort zone, in particular in my attempts to access ‘Second Life. As stated in my OLJ, I had a myriad of problems with the software and program crashes however I was able to experience the program vicariously via YouTube clips. This activity added a whole other dimension to user access. I had never imagined the possibility of communicating via an avatar or users learning as characters and the possibilities for isolated users are endless. Attempting to master the technology was challenging (Luo, 2009) however I will be attempting to revisit Second Life at a later date.

Certainly, INF506 has increased my awareness of social media however it has also become clear that there are many more resources and social media technologies that I have not yet encountered. The realm of social media is being broadened further with apps gaining popularity and providing new spaces where libraries will need a presence. Even so, INF506 has provided me with confidence to explore these new areas and to implement new tools to assist in the organisation of my professional development. When I secure a full time librarian position, I will feel competent in utilising these tools to improve library services, reaching out to users and keeping the library services relevant to new and prospective users.


Bernoff, J. (2010). Social technographics: Conversationalists get onto the ladder. Retrieved from

Casey, M.E. (2007). Maintaining the momentum. In Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. pp. 119-132. New Jersey: Information Today.

Farkas, M. (2007, November 2). Building Academic Library 2.0.[Video file]. Retrieved from

Hay, L., Wallis, J., O’Connell, J. & Crease, R. (2014). Library 2.0 and participatory library services. Librarian 2.0. [INF506]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University

Mathews, B. (2009). Marketing today’s academic library: A bold new approach to communicating with students: Blurb Chicago: American Library Association. Retrieved from

Naone, E. (2011). Are social bookmarks still delicious? Retrieved from

Kooy, B. K., & Steiner, S. K. (2010). Protection, Not Barriers Using Social Software Policies to Guide and Safeguard Students and Employees. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 50(1), 59-71. Retrieved from

Lamb, A. (2012). Audience analysis. In Eduscapes, Marketing 4 Libraries. Retrieved from

Redden, C.S. (2010). Social bookmarking in academic libraries: Trends and applications. The Journal of Academic Librarianship. 36 (3) pp. 219-227. Retrieved from

Sodt, J. & Summey, T. (2009). Beyond the library’s walls: Using library 2.0 tools to reach out to all users. Journal of Library Administration, 49, pp. 97-109. Retrieved from EBSCOhost Education Research database.

Utecht, J. (2008). Stages of PLN Adoption. Retrieved from

OLJ – Creating an Online Personal Learning Network

If considering Utecht (2008), I sit at Stage 2 – Evaluation within the 5 Stages of PLN Adoption. Initially I engaged with many social media sites and had profiles galore (Stage 1). Professional connections were mixed with personal (Cowan, 2013) and it became obvious that some social media pruning was needed. At Stage 2 I find myself deleting profiles that I do not use frequently such as Twitter (I just don’t have enough occurring in my life to warrant regular tweets), LinkedIn (I believe the chances of an employer discovering my profile amongst a sea of better qualified individuals are slim) and also culling Facebook friends (I wasn’t fond of various individuals in high school so why do I accept these requests?). Given my current studies, I have begun to focus contacts and content towards information management. Using Delicious to bookmarks resources I may find valuable in future workplaces, saving poster images via Pinterest and limiting Facebook to colleagues – it feels better.

The above changes have brought about the following:


* Connection and sensible conversation – professionally these people are like-minded. I’m enjoying reading posts and comments that are not complicated by family feuds.

* In the loop – although not working full-time, I find that I am still updated with the latest happenings such as online conferences.

* Motivation – I like to see where and what my colleagues are up to. Asking questions or brainstorming opportunities exist via Facebook and my news feed is no longer clogged with items that are a distraction.


*Still striving for Stages 4 and 5.

*initially, I had a ‘detox’ period where I felt I needed to re-engage and was missing out on important happenings – I wasn’t.

* Negative reactions of de-friended individuals.


Although I have made many positive changes to my PLN, none of these have been a part deliberate plan but a general sweep of the obvious. Time permitting, I would like to better assess how social networking can be utilised for professional use. This would involve studying examples of other librarians and perhaps considering how I may market myself for future job prospects.

A visual of my PLN:

 image (2)

Image source: Apple ‘Inspiration’ App


Cowan, A. (2013). How many social medial social profiles do you needs, exactly? Retrieved from

Utecht, J. (2008). Stages of PLN Adoption. Retrived from


OLJ – Building Academic Library 2.0

As a keynote speaker of this symposium, Farkas discusses academic libraries and how they may utilise Web 2.0 to improve user services. Other speakers also addressed how basic Web 2.0 applications such as blogs, Twitter, Flickr and so on can be harnessed to attract new users and reflect changing user needs.

Although delivered with academic libraries in mind, this valuable information may also be applied to a secondary school library:

Utilising social media as marketing tools

Using sites such as Facebook, information regarding the library and users can be delivered instantly and can be tailored to attract new users. A solid marketing strategy needs to be devised and maintaining such sites needs to be included in staff job descriptions so that ample time is allocated.

Know your users

At first, this seemed an obvious point as we interact with users on a daily basis. However, one must consider the users not often seen – students who play sport each break, students with learning difficulties, students who consistently have detention, teachers who devote breaks to other activities and so on. Each of these groups may benefit from library services but are otherwise engaged. Here the librarian may need to leave the walls of the library and go where the users are.

Go where the users are

Within a secondary school, the librarian may need to reach users outside of the library. Seemingly the majority of secondary students have a Facebook account and even though blocked at school, students still access their profiles before and after school – not to mention on mobile devices during school hours (school admin is yet to address this issue). Therefore it would seem sensible to maintain a presence where our users frequent.

Users include teachers

It is easy to focus upon student information needs and leave teachers to source their own resources. However, it is advised that teachers also need guidance and provide a link to student needs. If a teacher is aware of all resources and services the library has to offer, then this is also passed on to students.

Creating partnerships

A school library may seek partnerships with groups within the community to increase quality of service to users. Such partnerships can be promoted using Web 2.0 applications. For example, TAFE or public libraries, apprentice programs or mobile library services.

School library users should also be viewed as participants as opposed to consumers, being invited to suggest, comment and create information via Web 2.0 applications. Farkas recognises that there is a control risk when inviting patron comments publicly although, if monitored regularly, there exists rich opportunity for users to create services specific to their immediate needs.

Posted in OLJ

OLJ – Critical evaluation of ASUL achieving the 4c’s of social media

Arizona State University Libraries (ASUL) have created an interesting and informative page. Easy to navigate, I was motivated to explore the various services offered by this institution.The Library Minute YouTube collection and use of web 2.0 social tools certainly promoted and achieved the 4c’s of social media – Collaboration, Conversation, Community, and Content-Creation. Web 2.0 technologies utilised included Facebook, RSS Feed, Twitter, YouTube and also a presence on Instagram and iTunesU. The one minute videos highlighted various library services and resources such as location of academic articles and audio-visual materials. Further, clips also addressed library exhibits and media issues.

Conversation and community

Certainly an attempt at conversation via ASUL’s Facebook and Twitter pages was encouraged with regular posts and tweets.  Although Twitter as a community seems to be favoured by students with 2,547 followers as opposed to 594 likes on Facebook. A reason to explain such a difference may be that ASUL tweets contain useful and practical information such as links to the university’s feed and last minute changes whereas Facebook is more promotional, mentioning future events such as ‘Education Week’.


There was very little collaboration between library and users. Most Facebook posts had less than five likes and there was very rarely a comment. However, I do not feel the library is at fault, the option for suggestion, comment or feedback exists. Perhaps actually inviting opinions or comments may remedy this.

Content creation

The majority of content existing is created by ASUL staff and this may deter users from creating new content.  The promotion of Instagram may reduce feelings of vulnerability with users tagging images rather than having one’s name exposed such as on Facebook. The library’s Instagram account is successfully adding a human element in that the culture of is not perfect (Farkas, 2008) and constantly changing as shown with informal and fun photos. Pictures show librarians as Star Wars characters, cleaning up of big rubbish, working with students, big smiles and funny faces – all visually communicating that the library is alive, amongst the user community and working behind the scenes to improve.

Clips viewed:

The Library Minute: LIB 101 ASU Libraries Introduction. Retrieved 1st May 2014.

Important Library Minute: Mobile Security

The Library Minute: Interlibrary Loan Document

The Library Minute: Study Spaces Video

Access Week Continues!


Farkas, M.G. (2008). The essence of library 2.0. In Information Wants To Be Free. Retrieved from

Half Way – Social Media Reflections

It is quite some time since I have published anything on this blog. I have kept up with my OLJ, module activities and assignment submission however I haven’t been comfortable participating as a social networker.

I find being an active contributer to social networks quite confronting. I didn’t realise that I had deliberately hidden myself from followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Perhaps this stems from a lack of self esteem, although being stalked by crazy family members certainly is a driving factor. I feel uncomfortable that my old real estate agent knew within a few hours that I had registered with LinkedIn. Also, I’m reluctant to post or comment on the INF506 Facebook group – what if I write something incorrect? My previous comments have not been ‘liked’, do my contributions add value to the conversation?

I have, however, realised the essential part social networking has to play in libraries. Living in a rural area, I’ve seen first hand the number of people that depend on the virtual connection between user and librarian. Online catalogues, reserving books and asking questions are all services well used through the local library. Our council library is seen as a hub of the community I believe because it markets itself online so efficiently. If there is any community activities happening, the library has the details and extra resources to go with. Any feedback is encouraged and the librarians always seem eager to help. The dialogue fostered through social media has helped this perception.

At present I do not work full-time within a library, but I think I will enjoy working with social media much more when it has a professional purpose. I can see the point and the value of using social networking to engage with users, develop marketing strategies and connecting with other institutions or resources.

OLJ – Developing a draft marketing strategy

Using the readings and concepts presented in Module 4 as a guide, a draft social marketing strategy (SMS) can be developed for a secondary school library in which I am visiting. The following points are considered:

* Establish goals for the SMS (weekly and yearly) and use these to define the process. Keeping a written record of these goals assists in maintaining focus. Goals will be specific, realistic and be in-line with the relevant policies of the school.

*Ensure adequate time is allocated during the initial stages of social media development and selection of tools. Ongoing attention is needed to maintain an adequate social presence. Time and responsibility needs to be negotiated with members of staff.

*Evaluate the target audience. Teachers, students and parents will all be engaging with the social network therefore it is these groups that will need to find the topics relevant and useful. Further, reading levels, maintaining interest and appealing to a variety of age groups would also need consideration.

* The library budget must meet the ongoing needs of maintaining a social media presence. Whilst the start-up software may not incur a cost, the ongoing maintenance in terms of staff time do need to be included in the strategy.

*Library management will then decide which social media sites to use and what services will be promoted. Most students utilise Facebook therefore this is where the library will reach the greatest number of student users. The library is also able to ensure ‘likes’ rather than ‘friends’, this way updates will reach students via newsfeeds and students do not fear school administration viewing their personal activities.

* Review and assessment is essential in maintaining an effective marketing tool that is responsive to needs and interests across the school. Listening to and engaging with the users will yield valuable feedback that can be utilised when reflecting and reviewing the SMS.

OLJ – critical evaluation

Arranged as a folksonomy (Allen, 2011), is an online tool used to save and organise web links. Classifying links using tags and subject stacks, a user can keep many links as well as view other public link lists.

Creating a account was relatively quick and easy. Instructions and functions of the site are clear. This was possible due to the simple lay out of the site and few advertisements or pop-ups. Before INF506 I had not experienced and had struggled with an impossibly huge favourites list. Keeping an online collection of bookmarked links seemed risky given many links were essential to research and assessment. However, it seemed users can access bookmarks regardless of online location.

Finding and tagging links proved to also be a simple process. I was able to record information about each link such as date linked, comments regarding nature of link and tags to categorise each link – something that was not possible with home bookmarking. From here, my links could be organised and I could search other lists held by members of this strong community. is an incredibly simple way for organisations such as libraries or universities to engage with users and develop an online collection of resources. Value is again given when such institutions have access to further lists from any other organisation. This arrangement or collaboration means professionals, educators and students have access to organised resources and are not having to re-research already discovered information about a particular topic. Lists or stacks of such extent would, however, need to be monitored for out of date or broken links to ensure all sources remain current.


Allen, A. (2011). Taxonomies and folksonomies. Retrieved from


OLJ – Comparison of three libraries


Why should libraries have a presence within social media?

With over 62 per cent (Australian Interactive Media Association, 2011: Foreword) of Australian Internet users accessing some sort of social media at least three times a week, it would seem wise that libraries tap into this audience. To name a few, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube all present a low budget and relatively easy avenue to immediately access users and maintain a constant presence. Extending from the points mentioned in the above comparative table specific reasons include:

  • Increase access and improve services

All three libraries provide ‘live help’ during business hours or maintain a social networking presence. This allows information professionals to respond promptly to inquiries, comments or criticisms. Charles Sturt University (2014) notes that by making their library services more accessible portrays that the University is committed to users and improving services.

  • Encouraging valuable conversation

Social networking sites allow direct engagement with users. From these conversations, libraries may glean valuable information such as collection feedback, improvements, praise, warnings or general comments that portray the library as maintaining a human element. Via their Facebook site, Clarence Valley Library (2014) posts regular updates regarding the re-location of the library. Users are invited to suggest ideas for the new library design and contribute information about the new site. Such participation means the library is seen as a part of the local community and all input is answered and valued.

  • Showing that the library is the information hub of the community

In addition to conversing with users, social media allows the library to extend resources beyond a physical collection. Sydney City Library tweets and posts to Facebook about community events such as  ‘Earth Hour’ or local protest marches. Such efforts ensure that new users are attracted to the library as a hub of information and the library maintains a relevant place within the local community.


Australian Interactive Media Industry. (2011). Sensis: Social media report. Retrieved from


OLJ – Second Life Evaluation

Despite satisfying the Windows system requirements, I was unable to successfully participate in Second Life. With varying success, three attempts were made to install the program although and each time I was faced with error messages and freezing screens. After creating three accounts, I was eventually able to choose an avatar and this was the extent of my progression not to mention my limited monthly data allowance taking a huge hit. Perhaps turning off video and voice media may reduce data usage although once in the game, an avatar uses data regardless.

As a new user, I was able to create multiple accounts and this presents a significant security risk. Individuals are able to hide behind duel identities and are not accountable for personal behaviour. Helmer & Learning Light (2007: 28) also agree that the ability to create multiple virtual identities leads to an increased incidence in ‘griefing’ which can include deliberately harassing other players or intentionally lagging server.

I could, however, see the point of Second Life. Glitches aside, I was able to experience second life here and here. Attending classes, doing business and visiting virtual libraries all hold great potential for education and individuals somehow hindered in reality. Emoshea (2011) highlights the possibilities of partnerships between schools and museums thus creating an endless wealth of learning experiences despite location. The situated learning provided by virtual simulation allows students to establish skills or knowledge that can be transferred to the real world (Dede, 2009).

User services are supported within The Community Virtual Library. This space allows many professionals to virtually collaborate and participate in a variety of projects such as creating collections, providing reference services and holding exhibits. Cote, Kraemer, Nahl & Ashford (2012: 14) explain that Second Life radically shifts the traditional role of a librarian to that of an ‘embedded librarian’ where the professional is a member of the customer community rather than a stand-alone service provider.

Cote, D., Kraemer, B., Nahl, D & Ashford, R. (2012). Academic librarians in Second Life. Journal of Library Innovation, 3 (1). Retrieved from

Dede, C. (2009). Immersive interfaces for engagement and learning. Science, 323 (5910), 66-69. Retrieved from

Emoshea. (2007). Second Life and Libraries: What’s the point? Retrieved from

Helmer, J. & Learning Light. (2007). Second Life and virtual worlds. Retrieved from

Posted in OLJ

Assignment One


a) What is social networking?

Social networking may take place in person although in an online environment, social networking is simply communicating with other users via websites. Usually these users share a purpose or an interest.

b) Which social networking technologies do I already use?

Facebook – study

Flickr (personal) + study

pinterest (personal)

Ravelry (personal)

LinkedIn + study

Delicious + study

c) What do I expect to learn from INF506?

At present I use various networking sites for personal reasons and whilst this satisfies a social purpose I struggle to understand the technology beyond a superficial level. Given that I live in a rural area, I would like to learn how to use these sites with professional purpose and explore ways in which social media may be utilised to bridge the gaps between metropolitan and rural professionals. Further, I want insight into the younger users of these sites – their social needs, information seeking habits and ways of communicating. I anticipate this subject will increase my understanding about the world of young information seekers and hopefully to remain one step ahead!