Assignment 3: Evaluative Report

Part 1: Online Learning Journal

A separate tab for the Online Learning Journal (OLJ) was created on my blog: Informative Flights where readings and learning activities were documented throughout the session from 30 October 2013 to 26 January 2014. 

Part 2: Evaluative Report

During the semester many of the learning activities were interesting and eye-opening.  Prior to commencing INF506 I had considered myself to be reasonably experienced in social media personally and considered the library I was working in as similarly “with the times”.  I must admit to easily being “wowed” by the newest and latest online tools and gadgets and had previously too easily adopted and (over)-used (Facebook) or dismissed tools (Twitter, Google+).

a) Evaluative Statement:

The three experiences that are highlighted are; Building academic library 2.0Web 2.0 tools in the library and Information Policy: identity, privacy and trust.
In Building the academic library 2.0 the talk of Farkas (2007) made me consider a number of points regarding Web 2.0 in the library.  One of the things I followed up on subsequently was the notion that students use their parents as a first port of call when they need to do research.  Since Farkas is speaking from a tertiary education viewpoint, this is probably even more applicable to secondary schools, which is the environment I work in.  Hoover-Dempsey et al (2005) concluded that schools both enhance and influence parental involvement.   Although the “themes of empowerment” they referred to did not mention the library or research, this is an area where positive reinforcement of involvement in a constructive way could occur, something which is echoed by DePlanty, Coulter-Kern and Duchane (2007) and Hay (2010) who suggest schools align parental participation with what matters to academic success using workshops, brochures and pamphlets and talks with parents. The library is ideally situated to do this, and in fact needs to if parents are expected to “help educators address the information literacy initiative” as Valenza (2003) highlights in her “Letter to Parents about the Internet
Web 2.0 tools in the library allowed me to critically evaluate the Web 2.0 tools of ASU through the lens of the 4 C’s : collaboration, conversation, community and content creation (Mishra, 2009).  Initially I was under the impression of how much they were doing, their consistency and the scope of the tools they were using (Youtube, Facebook, Blog, Twitter, chat etc.).   My conclusion was that they were putting a lot of time and effort into social media, but I wasn’t sure of the pay-off.  There was not much two-way communication on any of the tools they were using and no evidence of collaboration, conversation or community.   An argument can be made that various social media channels were being used in order to reach the greatest number of users and that information and marketing was the objective, however Harpointer (2012) and Freud (2010) warn against engaging in social media without understanding the nature of social media and allow dialogue and user-generated content to occur.
The final posting I’d like to evaluate was Information Policy, and that coincided with a media furore about a social media posting here in Singapore.  Unravelling the incident under the rubrics of identity, privacy, security and trust, it became apparent that the concepts of privacy and trust were illusions in the world of social media.  Everything you post “can and will be used against you“. In addition postings “live forever” even though one tries to delete them.  The concept of personal identity online versus in person is a very interesting one.   In essence the ideal would be to have congruence between the two identities, the problem comes when one is “a dog” (Pearson, 2009).  In person the less positive attributes are limited to a smaller audience than on social media and personal contact with your “friends” (Young, 2013).  In the workplace, an abrasive personality may be compensated for by limited customer interface or good performance in profitability – on the Internet these compensating factors are eliminated at the less positive aspects highlighted.  Although companies are encouraged to have social media policies governing their employees  (Lasica, n.d.), what employees do in their private capacity on “private” social media can impact organisations adversely.  For this reason Lauby (2009) argues, “employers need to be upfront with employees that they have no right to privacy with respect to social networking”.  
Within the school sphere, studies such as Keipi and Oksanen (2012) point to the problems around anonymity and social identity which leads to less social accountability, particularly in the sphere of cyber bullying, aggression and harassment.  These are issues that schools would need to address in their policies, particularly with the movement to one-laptop-per-student and the increased use of smart-phones and other mobile devices. 

b) Reflective Statement

Looking back on the beginning of this semester, my use and experimentation of social media could probably be categorised as random.  As an early adopter of computers and the Internet, I’d grown tired of the “flavour of the month” in social media and was trying out new media without spending the necessary time to understand how to use it properly.  Enrolling in the course coincided with starting work with a very media-savvy librarian, who encouraged me to try out new tools and assisted in shortening the learning curve, which, together with the guidance and instruction offered in INF506 kept me stimulated and experimental. 

One of the most interesting aspects of the course was examining social media under an “academic” lens and thinking about matters such as identity or participation in online groups from a sociological or psychological viewpoint, or personal learning networks from a knowledge management perspective always reflecting back what it means for the library and information sciences (Burkhardt, 2009; Casey and Stephens, 2009) and the individual librarian (Utecht, 2008).

Looking back in my module notes, on numerous occasions I’ve scribbled “out of date” or “links no longer working” even though the resources were no more than three years old.  The core learning in such a rapidly evolving field is the ability to differentiate between concepts and ideas, and the materials or tools that they are embodied in at a moment in time <!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM CSL_CITATION {“citationID”:”rXUfU1rg”,”properties”:{“formattedCitation”:”(Shariatmadari, 2013)”,”plainCitation”:”(Shariatmadari, 2013)”},”citationItems”:[{“id”:852,”uris”:[“”%5D,”uri&#8221;:[“”%5D,”itemData&#8221;:{“id”:852,”type”:”webpage”,”title”:”Writing on the Wall: Social Media – The First 2000 Years by Tom Standage – book review”,”container-title”:”The Guardian”,”URL”:”;,”author”:[{“family”:”Shariatmadari”,”given”:”David”}],”issued”:{“date-parts”:[[“2013″,10,11]]},”accessed”:{“date-parts”:[[“2014″,1,30]],”season”:”13:22:11″}}}],”schema”:”;} <![endif]–>(Standage, 2013 reviewed by Shariatmadari, 2013)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.

        My research project “Comparative analysis of social networking tools and technologies for International School Librarians in Asia” prompted me to evolve further as a social networker in my professional sphere.  Many librarians had responded on the benefits of Twitter and Google+, necessitating professional exploration into the ways in which these tools could be incorporated in my learning network through aggregators such as and Flipboard.  Becoming active in both these tools and curating material for librarians and students has been very satisfying as more people access and use these resources.  

However, despite these useful tools, there is still a frustration shared by the librarians canvassed in my research.  On the one hand there are graphically interesting, dynamic, current but ephemeral resources  (Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Paperli) which are constantly refreshed without reference to what is useful in an ongoing manner. On the other hand there are the static collaborative wikis (Wikispaces) which had their hey-day in professional networks around 2006,  but are suffering from neglect and time shortage on the part of their initiators.  There are attempts at social bookmaking using folksonomies (Vander Wal, 2007) with less graphically enticing but practical tools (Delicious, Diigo).  Forums and listservs as social media didn’t receive a lot of attention in the course although these appear to be the dominant mode of interaction for many of the professionals surveyed. As a professional and as a researcher I have become more and more interested in knowledge management and how the world of the online social network can be carved out by organisations and individuals to meet their information and learning needs and this is something I would like to explore further.

The concepts of online identity are fascinating and manifold.  Reading around issues relating to identity, trust, privacy and security in social media made me re-examine both my use of social media and that of my family using various tools suggested in the modules.  Professionally the most important take-away for me has been the value of building up your online professional identity as a librarian using your own name as a “brand”.

Practically I’ve learnt much which can be directly beneficial to my work, whether in terms of Website design (Lazaris, 2009; Mathews, 2009) or marketing (Brown, 2009) or how to approach teaching students about the use (and abuse) of Social Media (Valenza, 2009; Stephens, 2011; Lorenzo, 2007) and the creation of a social media policy (Dearnley and Feather, 2001; Lauby, 2009) and strategy (Kagan, 2010).

Finally, the best part of the course was to be afforded the time to systematically explore the world of online social media in all its aspects, to play around with the tools, using and keeping or discarding them according to their relevance or usefulness while still earning academic credit!

I’ll end this reflection with the latest Facebook meme – the wonderful “Map of the Internet 1.0” created by Jay Jason Simons – a graphic glimpse of the state of the Internet world in 2014. 

Map of the Internet by Jay Jason Simons @

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Burkhardt, A. (2009, August 25). Four Reasons Libraries Should be on Social Media. Information Tyrannosaur. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from
Casey, M., & Stephens, M. (2009). You can’t afford not to do these things. Library Journal. Retrieved from
DePlanty, J., Coulter-Kern, R., & Duchane, K. A. (2007). Perceptions of Parent Involvement in Academic Achievement. Journal Of Educational Research, 100(6), 361–368.
Dearnley, J., & Feather, J. (2001). Information policy. In The wired world: An introduction to the theory and practice of the information society (pp. 60–93). London: Library Association. Retrieved from func=direct&doc_number=001664190&local_base=L25RESERVES
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Keipi, T., & Oksanen, A. (2012). Youth Online: Anonymity, peer interaction and linked subjectivity in Social Media (pp. 16–27). Presented at the To be Young! Youth and the Future, Turku, Finland. Retrieved from
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Lazaris, L. (2009, November 27). Designing Websites for Kids: Trends and Best Practices. Smashing Magazine. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from
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Thomas, L. C. (2011). Google+ and the Commodification of Cool. Journal of Web Librarianship, 5(4), 322–326. doi:10.1080/19322909.2011.623535
Utecht, J. (2008, April 3). Stages of PLN adoption [Blog]. The Thinking Stick. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from
Valenza, J. (2003). A letter to parents about the Internet. Library Media Connection, 22(3), 30–31.
Valenza, J. (2009, September 27). 14 Ways K–12 Librarians Can Teach Social Media. Tech Learning. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from
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Young, K. (2013). Managing online identity and diverse social networks on Facebook. Webology, 10(2). Retrieved from

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