This weekend, the blogosphere and listservs were batting around two interesting reports: The Pew Internet & American Life Project’s “Digital Footprints” report, which was published this Sunday, and the New Media Consortium’s/EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative’s co-published future 2008 “Horizon Report,” which will be published in late January 2008 (a lot of people, though, are commenting on the report based on their wiki that they use to review, report, and refine their research oriented efforts, which is available now. Although I like skimming this wiki and seeing their Table of Contents and some details, I will wait for the published report–if interested, you can read about and browse the 2004-2007 Horizon Reports on this page.
For now, though, I decided to concentrate on the “Digital Footprints: Online identity management and search in the age of transparency” report, which did surprise me a bit with some of its findings. Here is a portion of their published summary on their site:
“Internet users are becoming more aware of their digital footprint; 47% have searched for information about themselves online, up from just 22% five years ago. However, few monitor their online presence with great regularity. Just 3% of self-searchers report that they make a regular habit of it and 74% have checked up on their digital footprints only once or twice.
Indeed, most internet users are not concerned about the amount of information available about them online, and most do not take steps to limit that information. Fully 60% of internet users say they are not worried about how much information is available about them online. Similarly, the majority of online adults (61%) do not feel compelled to limit the amount of information that can be found about them online.” [bold/emphasis is mine]
What surprised me was the section in the summary and report that stated that “Most internet users are not concerned about the amount of information available about them online, and most do not take steps to limit that information.” According to the “Summary of Findings” from the entire 50-page freely available PDF report, many of us (Internet users) are not concerned about online information on us—see my bolded statements above, which are also found on page ii, as well as four classified categories of online adults concerning this subject: “Confident Creatives (17%)” “Concerned and Careful (21%),” “Worried by the Wayside (18%),” and “Unfazed and Inactive (43%).” Interesting titles and descriptions, by the way–so I read on.
It is just that, ever since I starting doing seminars for school districts and libraries on social networking sites and personal information search engines, a great deal of interest seemed to be generated on not only finding out what was “out there” on them and their “kids” but also on what they could do to protect themselves and others. I constantly get asked about this topic, at just about any type of Internet workshop that I host or present. Maybe many who do ask about it do fall into the “Concerned and Careful,” but that would not seem correct to me, given the concern that I have witnessed concerning the protection of minors and the prevalence of identity theft articles. Remember, the report states that “Just 38% say they have taken steps to limit the amount of online information that is available about them.”
Although this does not seem right to me, I have to remember that they are only talking about “online adults,” and not my mother, for instance. I also do believe that the Pew Internet & American Life Project crew do a wonderful job of collecting their information and putting together their reports, but I am still curious…. We have a few thousand people who regularly visit us here at the Library Garden; How would you classify yourself using their four categories and their descriptions (see below). I would say that I fall into the “Confident Creatives”–the smallest of the groups (although my son would point out that I definitely don’t match the description of a “young adult”—those who most likely fall into this category, according to Pew / Internet).
Taken directly from page 30-31 of the report, see the four categories of online adults based on online footprint concern:
1) “Confident Creatives are the smallest of the four groups, comprising 17% of online adults. They say they do not worry about the availability of their online data, and actively upload content, but still take steps to limit their personal information. Young adults are most likely to fall into this group.
2) The Concerned and Careful fret about the personal information available about them online and take steps to proactively limit their own online data. One in five online adults (21%) fall into this category.
3) Despite being anxious about how much information is available about them, members of the Worried by the Wayside group do not actively limit their online information. This group contains 18% of online adults.
4) The Unfazed and Inactive group is the largest of the four groups—43% of online adults fall into this category. They neither worry about their personal information nor take steps to limit the amount of information that can be found out about them online.”
So, Library Gardeners and readers—what category best fits you, and what do you think about these findings? I guess I just think people online are more concerned with the making of and protection of their digital footprints, but it won’t be the first time that my experience differs with the results of a study or survey.
Out of town for a few days, I got back and while reading my RSS feeds, I saw mentions of the Open Content Alliance and Open Library project and the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine from Search Engine Watch and the ResourceShelf posts. I was very interested and happy to see more people talk about what the Internet Archive has been and is currently doing in regard to their free digital library collections and their efforts with the Open Library initiative.
Back last year, I published an article within MultiMedia & Internet@Schools magazine entitled “The Changing Face of the Scholarly Web” about the free quality full text resources that were available to us then. I have since presented on the topic (mid-April 2007) and updated my Filamentality site on the topic, providing over 25 resources for full text articles, books, and other multimedia content, to include the IA and Open Content Alliance sites mentioned above. I hope you check these sites out (see excerpts from my article below), as well as others within my article and/or site and that you find these useful to explore and share.
* The Internet Archive (IA) [http://www.archive.org/]. The Internet Archive, mentioned several times earlier in this article, is widely known for its Wayback
Machine service, allowing us to “visit” older versions of Web sites by typing in a URL. However, IA offers so much more, such as moving images, live music, audio, and text archives. The site truly is “building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form.” Like a paper library, the site provides “free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.” You really should take the time to browse this site, and fairly often—I love it!
* The Open Content Alliance [http://www.opencontentalliance.org/]. “The Open Content Alliance represents the collaborative efforts of a group of cultural, technology, nonprofit, and governmental organizations from around the world that will help build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia content. The OCA was conceived by the Internet Archive and Yahoo! in early 2005 as a way to offer broad, public access to a rich panorama of world culture.” Right now, other partners include Adobe, HP, MSN, the European Archive, O’Reilly Media, RLG, the University of California, the University of Toronto, and many others—and the list keeps growing!
What is mentioned in my article, hinted at within my Filamentality site, is that we all need to stay alert to and share the results of the search leaders and digitization entrepreneurs who continually provide us with free digital materials and improved means of locating, storing, and sharing this info. My clear favorite is the Internet Archive, and I know that with them leading the efforts working behind the scenes, the Open Content Alliance will produce fruit. The Internet Archive site and the Open Content Alliance may even become the precursors to the universal digital library, freely available to all. Below is an except from my article’s conclusion which I still believe holds true today:
In his May 18, 2006, SearchDay article “Building the Universal Library,” Chris Sherman noted that “building a Universal Library is a huge undertaking, and not just because the physical effort of scanning tens of millions of books is in itself such a massive task. Once scanned, the books must be indexed and made searchable, all the while respecting the copyrights of books not yet in the public domain” (#1314). Obviously, we have a long way to go before we have anything even resembling a “universal library” of books, articles, and/or even multimedia content. However, Kelly quotes Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive, who believes that “this is our chance to one-up the Greeks [i.e., Royal Library of Alexandria, 3rd century B.C.]! It is really possible with the technology of today, not tomorrow. We can provide all the works of humankind to all the people of the world. It will be an achievement remembered for all time, like putting a man on the moon.”
I am thrilled, as you can see, with the efforts of the Internet Archive with its captured Webpage archive, as well as its moving images, live music, audio recordings, and full text documents archives. Brewster Kahle and the Internet Archive are on the right track. Check out the Archive and their initiatives–you will be amazed.
While presenting at and attending several teacher conferences and workshops recently, I noticed quite a bit of negativity surrounding the issues of wikis in general and, specifically, Wikipedia. Mostly, I believe from my conversations, it seems that many still do not understand much about wikis or enough about Wikipedia. Certainly, there has been a lot published about Wikipedia and comparing it to other encyclopedias, with the Searcher article from early 2006 often cited, but I am still surprised by the strong reactions I receive from teachers, professors, and school librarians when I talk about Wikipedia as a positive example of Web 2.0.
Yes, I understand the downsides of the Wikipedia model, but I also recognize the positive aspects. For instance, I have never seen my undergraduate or graduate students in courses I have taught at Rider University and Rutgers University work harder at ensuring that the information they were providing or revising on their class wikis and/or Wikipedia was extremely accurate, up-to-date, and thoroughly-cited with academic resources! See, they knew that they were authoring information and placing their content into a vehicle which would automatically receive criticisms/comments by many, not just from their professor. This is a good thing, as they knew they were creating or revising global content, seeing themselves as members in a community of learners. Not allowing the use of Wikipedia whatsoever, or evening totally blocking it at schools with blocking software, is not the answer to our problems with it.
In my quest to better learn about and educate others on Web 2.0 collaborative tools, including wikis and Wikipedia, I must say that I have enjoyed the conversations and even some of the strong debates about their usefulness and appropriateness. But since I have not been blogging about Wikipedia itself, I thought it was time to do so. In a very recent email to a conference participant, I mentioned several older and recent postings and publications about Wikipedia in general that I would like to share more widely.
My favorite, now, is the 7 things you should know about Wikipedia from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative that came out last month. I think anyone who wants to learn more about Wikipedia will find this 2-page article quite enlightening. EDUCAUSE provides an interesting scenario of a student using Wikipedia as a source for his paper, followed by a concise explanation of what Wikipedia is, who’s using it, how it works, why it is significant, its downsides, its future, and, finally, a short paragraph on its implications for teaching and learning, which ends by stating that “some theorists contend that content creation and analysis is a necessary component of learning. Wikipedia can encourage students to analyze what they read, ask questions, and engage in reflective, creative learning.” I wholeheartedly agree. Let’s learn both sides of this issue, and please, take the time to read and distribute this in your schools and libraries. Other articles and links I have led questioners to besides those mentioned/linked to above are these:
1) Middlebury College post in Mar. 2007, with almost a dozen other links.
2) A Business Week article in Dec. 2005. Check out the question and paragraph dealing with students citing a Wikipedia article.
3) Wikipedia’s own criticism article. Check out the references, as well as the critical article itself. Do a “Edit” and “Find on this page” search of “Wales” and you will see some of his comments here.
I hope this helps everyone better understand Wikipedia, and I welcome your thoughts and contributions to this post.
The third phase of the Super Librarian campaign begins today, May 5, 2007, in conjunction with North America’s 6th Free Comic Book Day, a single day when participating comic book stores (find one near you) give away comic books for free to anyone who comes into their stores. It usually coincides with the release of a well-known superhero movie–and this year, it is Spider-Man 3 (can’t wait to see it myself later today–and yes, I got my tickets earlier this week!).
Well, as much as I am interested in seeing Spider-Man 3, I am just as interested to visit my local library as the brand-new Super Librarian comic book will be proudly given out at over 200 New Jersey libraries. Why is this important? Nancy Dowd from the NJ State Library explains the history behind it at her blog–here’s an excerpt:
“…the target audience from the general population to the tweens and teens. We had run a contest having teens write a backstory and from there two very talented librarians (David Lisa and Manny Rosca- Miracle) stepped forward to write the comic itself.The comic was drawn by a professional graphic designer. Appealing to the YA librarians just made sense. The next big step was finding a way to launch. Partnering with Diamond Comics for their Free Comic Book Day gave us a national event to join AND gave our libraries an added incentive to join up. Sure enough the new strategies worked… we have over 200 libraries signed up. Those libraries close to a comic book store are partnering with them and will hopefully create some great synergies. Those that don’t have a comic book store nearby will be getting free comics from Diamond. Everyone gets the Super Librarian comics.”
So, come on into your local library today and see what’s happening–that’s what I am going to do in an hour. Check out the graphic novel section and if you are in NJ, get a free Super Librarian comic book. Invite a tween, teen, or an interested adult to go with you. Then you have my permission to go see Spider-Man 3!
How about engaging your students or patrons in real time by putting a YackPack Walkie-Talkie Widget on your library home page, your Facebook page, your online syllabus, your course Blogger blog, or your educational PBwiki?
This fun widget allows you to very easily put voice on any type of Web page, with no configuration or registration to do, no software to download, no money to spend—just one “push-to-talk” button widget embedded on your site and you have a web walkie-talkie for live voice chat from any Web page.
It is a very simple and easy way to connect local and remote individuals or groups together to collaborate or coordinate on just about anything, including students conducting or sharing research with a teacher, or students or patrons discussing database research tips or verifying APA citations with a librarian.
And YackPack has teamed up with another free resource provider, PBwiki, bringing voice chat/functionality to any of your PBwiki pages in less than a minute. CNET wrote a short, entertaining article on the Walkie-Talkie Widget and the PBwiki blog introduces the widget.
Janie Hermann, blogging from the Computers in Libraries 2007 Conference, mentioned Tumblr (and some other very interesting tools) in her “CIL 2007 Link Dump” post a few hours ago on Library Garden. I agree that it is something special for us to explore. If you go to our (Renee and Robert Lackie) Tumblr tumblelog (R&R Tumblr-ama), we posted a short video about the walkie-talkie widget on PBwiki pages. I think you will love PBwiki, the YackPack widget, and Tumblr!