Friday, July 1, 2011

Blogging About Blogs

As the CS-SIS Web 2.0 Challenge requires participants to blog about what they learn, and as the class assignment I have for Professor Maatta Smith's Teaching Information Literacy class also requires a blog, my first post for this assignment will be on blogging. [This particular blog and blog post is not my first blog, blog post, or assignment on blogs but it is the first time I will be talking about blogging in a blog. Kinda meta really]

Blogs are basically a tool. They can allow you to share your thoughts with others and post original creative content, like Live Journal. They can allow you to promote your organization, events being held, and things like that, much like the SOLIS blog does. They can also allow you to share information and knowledge you have with others, becoming a learning space for communities, much like the wonderful Librarian in Black blog. They can also allow you to post little blurbs and bits, along with photos, videos, and such, like the popular microblogging site Twitter or the popular multimedia blog service Tumblr.

Just like any other tool, some blogs are done quite well whereas others fail to garner any interest, even by the person blogging. Personally, the difference between good blogs and the not so great ones lies with content an design. A good blog needs interesting content and an easy to use design. Post about things that matter to you so that your enthusiasm shows [really hard to do by the way, especially when you start a blog or you have to maintain one for your job]. Make sure that you haven't added so many widgets that your blog takes forever to load and your actual content isn't buried under fishes and twitter feeds.

Good or not so great, when it comes to teaching information literacy, blogs can be quite useful in a number of ways:
  • On the most obvious level, there are a number of blogs out there run by librarians and people who deal with information literacy on a daily level. By following these blogs, you can get ideas for how to teach, what to teach, and things to that affect. A great list of such blogs can be found here. The list includes blogs like Librarian in Black and the LITA blog. Follow some of these blogs as they are a great way of keeping up to date and in touch with the field, especially after you leave school. 
  • On a slightly less obvious level, keep your own blog, especially if you teach information literacy frequently. A blog can allow you to organize lessons or bits of advice you frequently share and can allow your library customers to ask you questions or offer comments. Blogs are free, easy to use, and can also be added to your portfolio to show others what you are doing. 
  • Blogs can also be used directly to teach people how to find, vet, and create information on the web.
    • Finding: Show them how to search for blogs, search on blogs, and things like that so that they know how as blogs can be a great resource for many things, especially technology related. 
    • Vetting: As great as blogs can be, they are written by people who can be mis-informed or just plain wrong. This also makes them a great tool for teaching people how to figure out if the information they have found is accurate or not.  
    • Creating: Information literacy today, in my opinion, also includes teaching others how to create content and information so that they can fully participate in society today. What better way to do so then by showing them how to blog so that they can easily have a platform for their thoughts and ideas. 
In the end, blogs are just tools. They are a format for posting information that can be quite useful. The format will eventually change so that the blogs of today will eventually be replaced. We as librarians and information literacy professionals have to be willing to keep up to date with whatever the future brings so that we can continue teaching others the skills and knowledge the need to navigate the information rich world we occupy. 

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