Combining and Contextualizing Information: Mobility, QR Codes and Podcasts

In “How Libraries Can Bridge the Information Web and the Social Web,” Dave Puplett discusses some of the ways in which libraries can implement new media to integrate the information web and the social web. (2011) In Puplett’s words: “the social web, oriented around people and the connections they have with each other, could open access to libraries’ content and [foster] awareness of library services” (20). The social web offers new opportunities in information organization, dissemination and acquisition; it can offer alternative avenues for users to connect with and discover information (I imagine interconnected information circles, settings or scenes in which users are able to negotiate organization, dissemination, acquisition in different ways and to varying degrees as they engage with information). Bridging the information web and the social web enhances the potential for the occurrence of meaningful conversations and knowledge creation.

Although Puplett does not mention mobile websites and applications, his discussion is very relevant to these technologies. Users often engage with the social web on the go, and one of the joys of mobility is being able to have information at one’s fingertips (i.e. mobility can widen and improve access to resources). Additionally, connecting the two webs which Puplett identifies contextualizes and re-contextualizes information continuously—especially in a mobile environment (when users can be experiencing and engaging with available resources almost anywhere). So, leveraging the social web, which includes mobility, can mean not only widening access to library resources, but also expanding the possibilities and impact of those resources by creating opportunities for multitudinous combinations through the constant re-contextualization of information. In other words, mobile technologies can further libraries’ capacity to facilitate knowledge creation.

In a conference at Wilfrid Laurier University that gave faculty and librarians the chance to discuss the role of social media in an academic environment, Associate University Librarian Greg Sennema remarked that students no longer ‘go online.’ Rather, they are simply online. (“Laurier Seminar Explores the Neo-Millennials,” 2006) The increasingly widespread use of mobile, web-enabled devices supports this notion, but I think that (for libraries) part of leveraging this technology involves exploiting the possibilities of new media creatively as well as demonstrating how different media contextualize information. Mobility may impact how ubiquitous social media becomes, but perhaps it could also be used to interrogate seemingly transparent processes that involve information organization, dissemination and acquisition by foregrounding (shifting) location as a primary context. I’m still thinking about how…

Considering QR Codes:

If a library is going to create a mobile site and mobile applications, it could also make sense for that library to implement other types of social media that require and encourage users to interact via their devices. Strategically implementing QR codes can be fun and useful, but I think it’s important for a library to deeply consider whether or not this tool is appropriate for the user community in question. These codes are flashy and creating them is not difficult, so it may be quite easy to get carried away. As always, a consistent approach that clarifies how the library and users will engage with the tool is necessary.

A Podcast Adventure:

Joanne Kosuth writes that “[t]oday’s learners are combining knowledge in new and different ways to support their personal learning styles and requirements in an increasingly mobile universe” (62). These ‘new and different ways’ include multimedia tools, and with that in mind I am in the process of morphing this blog entry into a podcast!

Canadian University Press Release. “Laurier Seminar Explores the Neo-Millennials.” April 26, 2006. Accessed November 21, 2011.

Kossuth, Joanne. “Student Engagement: Challenges from a CIO Perspective.” Educause Review 46.3 (2011).

Puplett, Dave. “How Libraries Can Bridge the Information Web & the Social Web.” Multimedia Information and Technology 37.3 (2011): 20-1.

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