#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Generally, your content here should be well researched, well evaluated and not be too volatile, or liable to go out of date quickly.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

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#41 Linking The Web (Intranets)

Linking The Web (Intranets)

This is an excellent way of getting involved in curricular support, and creating an end product which is useful for teachers and pupils. Librarians are the natural people to research this kind of information, though many teachers might not agree. I spent some considerable time researching weblinks for quality links relating to topics and sub-topics across the curriculum, from ancient history to modern studies.

Storing these links on an Intranet make them ‘personal’ to your school and only available to the teachers within it. It is also a good way of ‘shepherding’ pupils towards the quality information, rather than letting them head down the Google road immediately. If this seems too much like spoon feeding, they could only be used at towards the end of a class, or for less academically able pupils. My own experience was that teachers were immensely grateful for such links, and grabbed the opportunity for using them with both hands.

Obviously, you don’t need to restrict yourself to curricular issues; there’s lots of information on the web about books, authors, reading and information literacy generally.

Whatever they are used for, there is no doubt that an Intranet can be a powerful tool for the school.

#40 Web Pages

Web Pages

Creating web pages is a very easy process, particularly if someone else has worked on the site and created a school website, of which the library space could be a part. Free tools are available for creation of web pages such as Dynamic HTML Editor.
Microsoft Frontpage is incorporated in the Office Suite from Office XP onwards, and an educational copy of a top end editor like Dreamweaver costs about £40-50.

This kind of thing was cutting edge about 10-15 years ago, but nowadays most schools will probably have a Content Management System powering their website, which means you don’t have to know any technical details before you add content. Speak to your school’s webmaster, and see what system they use.

If a library area doesn’t exist already, ask for one to be created!

Be aware of data protection and child safety issues, and also general good practice.

#15 Linking The Web

World Wide Web

Linking to web information from a school website sounds like a very simple concept, and indeed it is. It is also a hugely powerful way of interacting with teaching staff, and producing an end product that will be of immense use to teaching staff and pupils.

If your school already has a school website, chances are that the library has a page describing opening hours, services etc. It should be an easy matter to persuade the school and the webmaster to allow you to expand that area, particularly if you can demonstrate it will be of practical curricular use across the school.

Updating and adding links to web pages is a very easy process, particularly if your school has a content management system setup, whereby you login and are ready to start typing. Once you hit ‘publish’ (or refer to webmaster), you’re done. Speak to your webmaster to see how your website is updated.

Planning is essential with this kind of project. Questions to ask:

  • Is the topic suitable for web based information?
  • Who will I target first?
  • What are the topics, and the components within it?
  • Do I have enough specific information to find relevant information?
  • When will I do the searching, where will the time come from?
  • Do I have a reliable system for storing websites I find?
  • Has someone covered it already, do I need to do more?

 

It is advisable to discuss the project in detail with one or two members of staff before you begin. There are some issues you need to be aware of with this kind of work:

  • Ensure that roles and responsibilities are clarified at the outset
  • Make clear the amount of work required to create a link bank; it can be considerable
  • Try to get a guarantee that the weblinks will be used by staff and pupils to support the curriculum
  • Ensure you have enough information about the topic to do the searching
  • Document the project, and get feedback at the end of the first cycle, to try and improve the service for the next cycle

Topic related weblinks can be a boon to teaching staff and to pupils. They can be particularly useful to those who struggle to find information for themselves, and to advanced pupils who may want to explore further and deeper into the topic. For this reason, you should ensure that links are differentiated; from simple, picture based sites, through to more advanced, text based sites.

 

Useful Weblinks:

Teachernet: School Websites

http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/management/atoz/s/schoolwebsites/

 

Thousands of Free Weblinks for Topics in the Scottish 3-18 Curriculum.

http://www.topicsonline.net

Learning & Teaching Scotland Resources

http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/5to14/resources/index.asp