Deepening the Conversation

thinking about questions of authority, technology, learning, and 2.0 in academic libraries


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Wiki’ing and blogging aho!

Yesterday I built a new blog and a conference wiki. Neither were particularly difficult (although there was a bit of a challenge in finding the right tool for the job in regards to the conference wiki) and the conference wiki, at least, seems like a natural part of my job. But I’m trying to remind myself that a lot of the things I do are not regular parts of librarianship, at least as practiced, and I think making the conference wiki is one of them (I also think they are part of my job as practiced, and my title is Instruction & Collection Development librarian, not Emerging Technology Librarian!).

The wiki had an interesting birth: I was looking for a tool to allow my panel to do a specific thing during our presentation. Mostly, I wanted a way to avoid having to do a lot of data entry after the fact without disrupting the plan we already had in place. A 1.0 PBWiki solves the problem. While I was creating that space, however, it occurred to me that other folks might also want some sort of collaborative space during their sessions, or some other space for tracking stuff about the conference. So, I opened it up to the membership of the organization, and seeded it with pages for our bloggers and tweeters to identify themselves and set it loose.

Now, the conference is in two weeks. We could have done a lot more with the wiki if we’d been thinking about it. But no one thought about it. How strange is that? I didn’t even think about it, except as an afterthought.

And there’s something else I did a little differently than perhaps is usual. I didn’t ask permission first. I made a tool, opened it up for collaboration, and set it on its way.

The real question is, how are these tendencies described, in resumes, and job descriptions? in annual reports
for P&T? For essential skills out of library school? What do you call this kind of stuff when you try to talk about it? (and when and how do you try to talk about it?)


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Perfect conference collaborative tool?

This morning I hit a wall with PBWiki 2.0. and a perfect storm of terrible/outsourced customer service, customization, lack of information, and knowing exactly what I needed. [update: the folks at PBWiki responded very nicely & very quickly to my email once I figured out how to send one directly to them. They deserve kudos for being so responsive]

At a conference next week, we will breaking out session attendees into small groups and having them brainstorm a bit. I want a collaborative tool that will allow multiple synchronous editors, but that will not require me to invite each individual person. A wiki with a single password, or a completely open google doc were my first choices, but none of those appears to exist.

We have some time issues during the session, so collecting email addresses and sending the invites isn’t ideal. We would also like the tool to be available after the session for continued contribution.

Worse case scenario is index cards gathered and data entered after the fact, but it would be great to avoid having to do that.

Does anyone know of a tool that

  • can be guarded by a single password?
  • can have multiple folks editing at the same time
  • does not require email based logins (or being invited in general)

Does my tool exist yet in cyberworld?

[further update: PBWiki original flavor does exactly what I need. But since PBWiki 2.0 doesn't I'm still actively interested in suggestions!]

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