#48 Web Content (2)

Web Content

There are obvious areas to concentrate on in a school library website. So what else could you publish? Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Opening hours, holiday times
  • List of library services
  • Curricular Links
  • Library staff qualifications and biography
  • Events information: World BookDay, Poetry Week etc
  • CPD record
  • Library photographs
  • Virtual tour
  • Podcast
  • Information Literacy guides
  • Search engine guides
  • Worksheets and/or workshops
  • Library handbook
  • Links to other school library sites
  • RSS feeds

As your options increase due to the advent of web 2.0, soon you may be able to display dynamic and relevant content without creating it yourself. If you’re starting out, it’s also useful to observe those who’ve been working at it for some time.

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#47 23 Things

23 Things

This site is brought to you by the California School Library Association, and is magnificent.

Basically, this is self discovery programme that looks at 23 things related to web 2.0 technologies. Feedback from participants seems to be very positive, and if you follow it through your knowledge of web 2.0 technologies should be increased greatly. Well worth a visit!

23 Things

#46 Web Content: Reading

Web Content

Whatever tool you’re using to get your message across on the web, your actual content is, or should be, king. So what to link to? Author and book sites are the most obvious place to start, some starting points listed below.

Authors

Achuka

Bloomsbury

Booktrusted

Fairrosa

Google Directory

Jubilee Books

Random House

Scholastic

Strongest Links

Teen Reads

The Wee Web

The Word Pool

UK Children’s Books

Yahoo Directory

Book Reviews

Booktrusted

Guardian Children’s Library

Jubilee Books

Penguin Children

Scholastic

Teen Reads

#45 Abuse Of The Web

Abuse Of The Web

This is always going to be an issue wherever you find one or more computers with web access. Schools, colleges, universities and businesses all have to deal with these issues. Whatever the answer is, I don’t think it should be the responsibility of a school librarian or teacher.

The librarian should always be aware of the school’s (and perhaps the regional authority’s) acceptable use policy. This is essential if you want to deal comfortably with daily issues as they arise. Some things are fairly obvious; pornography, rascist and sexist materials, bullying other pupils, should be taboo.

However, other things are not so clear cut. Some schools may want to allow access to YouTube for its educational content. On the other hand, there’s a lot of offensive material on YouTube. My own opinion is that these types of sites should be allowed, but that the Acceptable Use Policy should cover the viewing or downloading of innapropriate material. Pupils are generally aware about what they should and shouldn’t be downloading.

Schools or regional authorities will often use filtering software, which bans particular sites, or types of sites. On the other hand, pupils will always find ways round such filters, not least by the use of anonymous proxy sites. It is obviously the librarian’s responsibility to police pupils in the library at any given time, but walking round checking screens is not only time consuming and very confrontational, but also totally ineffectual.

If you do feel strongly about web abuse, you could try persuading your school to fund software such as MyPC or SynchronEyes, which allows you to view screens, send messages, logoff, shut down machines and ban users. Two years ago, I had reservations about such software on the grounds of privacy and data protection issues. However, after having used them my opinion is completely different. The only people who get annoyed by this type of software are the timewasters, the bullies, the miscreants and those who feel they have a right to access any kind of material in a public place. Not only do you get rid of these people, but you free up thousands of hours of computer time for those who want to actually work.

#44 Sound Out Your Authors

Sound Out Your Authors

Podcasts, strictly speaking, are a type of audio blog, where the information is updated regularly. Your subscribers will await updates via RSS or visit the web area where the podcast lives, such as i-tunes or your own blog.

However, I don’t see any reason why you can’t use the same technology to make static recordings which will not need updating often, but will provide your pupils and staff with useful information. A good example might be audio clips about authors (short example below) or book reviews.

Once you’ve created one, it’s very easy and quick to create more. These audio files have the advantage that they may be of particular use to pupils who have poor reading skills, or are more likely to engage with audio than text. It’s a good idea to encourage your pupils to do the recordings, particularly those with bright voices and clear diction; I generally tend NOT to use my own voice!

Philip Pullman: Short Bio

#43 Web 1.0 v Web 2.0

Web 1.0 v Web 2.0

It is always tempting to post information on school Intranets and websites, to keep your pupils informed, and also to highlight the library’s role in the life of the school, and to raise its profile.

However, it is worth asking whether this is the most appropriate way to do things. Is it easier to create a blog rather than update a school website? As many librarians find out, updating a school website can be a chore, particularly if you don’t have the ability or access to update pages yourself. Also, with a blog you have complete editorial and administrative control.

As discussed earlier, it is very easy to create a blog. After taking the following into consideration, it is worth looking at the blog route as the solution to keeping pupils and staff informed:

  • Will the school have any objections to a library blog?
  • Will I be able to brand it? (Regional logo, school crest)
  • Does my school or regional authority already have acces to in-house blogging technology?
  • Who will be allowed to post?
  • Will I have time to update it regularly?
  • Do I actually have anything to say?
  • Will any one read it; how will I promote it?

Many librarians have already decided that blogging technology is for them, and have some excellent sites. Some are listed below.

A Library By Any Other Name

Anne Johnstone’s Library Blog

Bramcote Hills LRC

City of London Academy

Cumnock Academy Library Blog

Infomancy

Joyce Valenza

Judy O’ Connell

Librain

Meredith Farkas

School Library Land

How To Use Weblogs Safely In Schools (Becta)

#42 Linking The Web (Internet)

Linking The Web (Internet)

The type of links you might put up on the Internet should be somewhat different from the links to be found on the Intranet. Intranet content might be short term, ephemeral links which will be deleted and replaced as appropriate. A structure should build with time on an Intranet, but this structure will not be open to public scrutiny.

Not so with the Internet. Your potential audience is large, and people are generally not slow to criticise, and not always constructively!

Generally, your content here should be well researched, well evaluated and not be too volatile, or liable to go out of date quickly. So, what should a good school library website look like? I think the links below give some pointers.

George Watson’s College Library, Edinburgh

Hinde House School Library

Pembroke School Library