Friday, January 29, 2010

Impress Your Professor: Elsewhere in the Tech World

Tired of iPad news? Your faithful blogger has scoured the Internet for news of anything but Apple's unfortunately-named new release.

* Lest Steve Jobs get all the spotlight this week, Bill Gates and the foundation he shares with wife Melinda have made improving online learning a priority. In his annual letter, Bill Gates ponders the future of e-Learning at every level and wonders who will shape it.

* Before you completely write off the Amazon Kindle, you might want to know that tech company Qualcomm released a video-capable, color screen at the recent CES show, and the buzz is that the next Kindle will use this technology.

* In the midst of all this e-reader insanity, one content format seems uniquely suited to take advantage of it: the comic and graphic novel. eComic reader software and Longbox recently went into public beta. Some publishers like Marvel, the home of Spider-Man and Captain America, already have their own in-house, subscription-based digital comics readers but nothing yet allows readers (or libraries) to purchase and keep individual volumes.

Sorry! Not entirely iPad-free, but it's still interesting to see how its ripples affect other realms of media technology.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You Tube Tuesday: Customer Service

Parker Posey gives a patron a lesson in information organization.

I feel like I need to go review the RUSA Guidelines now...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Impress Your Professor: Bookbinding 101

How do you treat your textbooks? Penciled notes in the margins, easily erased? Dog-eared pages, highlighting, and inkblotted underlining? Crumpled corners from daily transport to campus or a pristine cover (likely from lack of use)?

Or do you download it? PDF it? eRead it? Could you if you wanted to?

The state of California has given its colleges and universities until 2020 to make their textbooks available electronically "to the extent practicable." Some of the rationalization given is that it will put more technology in the classroom and teach students valuable technological skills.

This is, of course, doable for bloated freshman and 100-level textbooks constantly in publication, but what about smaller texts with smaller print runs for upper level and graduate courses? What if the book isn't even in print anymore?

This is reasoning behind the "extent practicable" clause, which has led some to question the usefulness of such a law that doesn't seem to mandate anything. Still others question the idea that textbook vendors will encourage or require students to rent their textbooks, not buy them. Again, this may be fine for required courses outside a student's major, but the theory behind a text is that it should serve as a reference throughout a student's career. Many will want to keep their texts, and some observe that students still buy hard copies more often than electronic when given the choice.

I guess they like to highlight!

In my experience, professors have already been assigning electronic texts. Prior graduate courses required downloading digitized primary source texts that were several hundred years old and several hundred pages long from digital libraries. A great use of technology, but I spent as long printing and assembling my "book" as I did reading it.

Will such laws give students the technological skills promised, or will it just give them a lesson in printing and bookmaking?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

YouTube Wednesday... What?

This week's edition of YouTube Tuesday will be brought to you on Wednesday. We got a little carried away with the holiday - oops.

Now here's the Monty Python crew interviewing a gorilla for a library position. As though the job hunt wasn't challenging enough. Who can compete with a gorilla?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Welcome Back

To all the new students in the SLIS program: Welcome!

To all the returning students: Welcome Back!

The ASIST blog is back from its holiday hiatus and we will now return to our regularly scheduled program. Check back often or add our RSS feed to receive our YouTube Tuesdays, Impress Your Professor, and Event Notification updates.

To kick things off, we welcome you to the cloud.

Have a great semester everyone!