Professional Information Management Tools
• Identify and evaluate professional websites related to the library and information science profession.
• Discuss the need to identify and use professional information management tools.
• Define RSS and identify aggregators to manage RSS feeds.
• Identify online tools for idea organization.
• Define and use social cataloging sites.
• Define taxonomy, folksonomy and social tagging.
• Define social bookmarking tools.
• Define and use content curation tools including LibGuides.
A wide range of resources are available to support the activities of library and information science professionals.
Many organization, agency, and corporate websites provide useful resources and professional opportunities.
Both general and library specific web-based tools can be applied to information management activities.
It’s important to join and become actively involved in professional organizations. Explore the American Library Association (ALA) website. Notice the many divisions. Explore the division that most closely connects with your professional interests.
- American Association of School Librarians (AASL)
- Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS)
- Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)
- Association for College & Research Libraries (ACRL)
- Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA)
- Library & Information Technology Association (LITA)
- Library Leadership & Management Assoication (LLAMA)
- Public Library Association (PLA)
- Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)
- United for Libraries
- Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)
Besides the American Library Association, many other organizations are connected to the library and information science profession. A few examples are shown below. Explore areas of interest.
- American Association of Law Libraries (AALL)
- Medical Library Association (MLA)
- Special Libraries Association (SLA)
- American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)
- American Indian Library Association
- American Theological Library Association
- Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA)
- Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE)
- Music Library Association (MLA)
- Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP)
You should also be aware of the state associations including the Indiana Library Federation.
Explore the associations above. Which best fits with your professional interests?
Professional Information Tools
Library and information science is a constantly changing profession.
It’s critical that both new and experienced professions develop and maintain professional networks and keep up-to-date on current news and trends.
Many technology tools are available to assist professional.
ALAConnect is a centralized space where members of official ALA groups can work together online.
LinkedIn is an example of a social network that can be used to develop a network of profession contacts.
RSS and Aggregators
Aggregators can be used to organize news and information from key professional organizations and agencies.
It's easy to become overwhelmed by the information found in blogs, audioblogs, or videoblogs.
Most regular readers and listeners use RSS feeds and a news aggregator to help them manage their favorite resources.
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary.
This approach uses web feed formats to share frequently updated web content such as news, blogs, podcasts, and videocasts.
Subscribing to an RSS Feed
You use a news aggregator to view a list of all the new resources from all your subscription feeds. Aggregator software generally allows you to see a master list and well as individual feeds. You can then choose what you want to read, hear, or see. You can also download these feeds to your iPod or other handheld device.
Most blogs and many websites contain an RSS link. It's often at the bottom of a sidebar on the blog. You can use this file to subscribe to "feed" from this blog. Go to the RSS Feeds for the Library of Congress.
Once users subscribe, the web feed will appear automatically in their web feed reader. This eliminates the need to manually check the website for updates.
Many Web browsers such as Safari and Chrome have tools for subscribe to and reading RSS feeds. In addition, many email applications also have options for subscribing to RSS feeds.
Feedly is a popular example of a feed reader available for both computers and mobile devices.
Those who aren’t interested in creating their own reader, can use popular news aggregators such as Google News and Digg that pre-select the feeds. Users have limited options for customizing the feeds. For instance, you can search for news about libraries.
My Yahoo is another example of a tool that can be customized. RSS feeds can be selected or added.
Library RSS Feeds
Many libraries maintain their own RSS feed for blogs or the library website.
If you want to easily distribute your news to others, you need to create an RSS text file. This file is then downloaded by others in their new aggregator. Many of the blog services automatically generate a RSS file. However you may need to create your own if you're serving your own blog software.
An RSS document or web feed includes a short description and metadata regarding the feed such as the author, title, and dates. It contains dynamic information about your site content. The XML file format is used to maintain compatibility of web feeds.
Once you've created your RSS file, you can register it with news aggregators so others can find it. You'll also place a link on your website so people can subscribe.
Sometimes you need a place where you can organize ideas with others sharing text, photos, images, and other materials.
Stickywalls provide notes that can contain text, images, video, and links. These notes can be organized.
Many of these tools allow collaborate among a number of participants.
Give it a try. Create a stickywall featuring a few professional organizations.
Social Cataloging Social Networks
Social cataloging applications are web-based tools designed to help users catalog resources including books, DVDs, recipes, or other items.
LibraryThing was the first tool designed for storing and sharing book catalogs.
Social cataloging is particularly useful for personal libraries and small libraries that can’t afford expensive tools for cataloging.
Personally, it’s nice to be able to search your home library using a smartphone before checking out a book from the library or purchasing a book at a bookstore.
Taxonomy, Folksonomy, and Tagging
Taxonomies are created for organizing information. For instance, the Library of Congress Subject Headings were created by professionals as a consistent way to organize information by subject. It’s controlled vocabulary.
Folksonomy involves collaboratively created labels or tags that categorize web content such as photos and web pages. It's used by many of the social bookmarking sites as well as other online communities that create user-generated content. A folksonomy is a collection of data informally generated by a social group through the use of tags and other descriptors. Using criteria specific to the online community, data is sorted and ranked then shared with group members. It uses natural vocabulary.
A tag is a keyword or term assigned to a piece of information such as a social bookmark, digital video, or blog entry. Tag clouds can be used to visualize the tags submitted by users.
Taxonomy vs Folksonomy
How does folksonomy and tagging differ from traditional taxonomies such as subject headings? Let's use a book called Big Cats: Hunters of the Night by Elaine Landau as an example. The Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data lists the subject as Felidae-Juvenile Literature. If young people were searching for books about "tigers" they would miss this great book. It's unlikely that kids would search for the word "felidae." However people adding this book to LibraryThing have used tags such as animals, big cats, cats, leopards, lions, tigers, panthers, and nonfiction to describe the book, making it easier for people to locate it.
Can you imagine the hassle of physically relocating a book every time someone invents a different Dewey or LC number? Or, physically adding new subject headings to the OPAC. No way. However in a virtual world, it's easy to rearrange information, collapse information, and expand descriptions.
It's also great to have both formal and informal approaches to describing the content of books.
Social Bookmarking Tools
Social bookmarking allows a user to build a set of web addresses that can be identified, tagged, and shared with others. In some cases, social bookmarks can be expanded and edited by peers. Features such as tagging allow easy searching and exploration of the bookmarks.
Social bookmarking is a technology used by both librarians and library users. Library professionals use social bookmarks as a quick way to organize web-based resources for library users. For instance, a law librarian could organize bookmarks to key websites or databases based on a request from a client. A school librarian could organize resources related to a particular social studies or science unit for a student or teacher. Or, a librarian might also create a set of bookmarks related to the library profession for themselves.
Social Bookmarking Tools
Library users can be encouraged to use social bookmarks to organize research. Small groups working on a project can collaborate on a set of bookmarks. Users can also use social bookmarks to find out what others think are key resources related to a topic.
Delicious is one of the most popular social bookmarking sites. Explore few library-related examples:
- Chelmsford Library
- Cindy Newton
- Nebraska Library Commission
- Springfield Technical CC
- Unquiet Library
- Virtual Reference
Librarians and library users need to constantly locate, evaluate, select, organize, and share resources on topics of interest.
Content curators provide tools for organizing, annotating, storing, and accessing information. Users can add to the work of others or create their own
Pinterest is an example of a content curation tool focused on visual content. Tools like Pinterest are being used to pin book covers for virtual displays, showcase authors and programs, and offer access to digital collections.
Content Curation and LibGuides
If funding is available, consider a subscription to LibGuides.
This content curation service provides an easy-to-use interface for creating subject guides and embedding Web 2.0-type materials.
The IUPUI University Library uses LibGuides to create CampusGuides.
Spend some time exploring the LibGuides community.
Library and information professionals need to be aware of professional associations in their areas of interest.
Many professional information management tools are available to help library and information professionals in their own professional development. RSS feeds and feed readers provide tools for organizing and accessing professional resources.
Tools are available for idea organization, social cataloging, social bookmarking, and content curation. Many of these tools allow users to assign tags and participate in the development of folksonomies.