OU Library iGoogle Gadgets

Posted on September 11, 2008. Filed under: google, library 2.0, technology, web 2.0 |

The OU Library’s Website Personalisation Project is experimenting with the use of web services (including gadgets) to provide content to Library customers. The gadgets are currently available within Library Toolbox, which is where we showcase new technologies that we are working on and invite feedback on them.

Below is the list of gadgets that we plan to implement using the NetVibes Universal Widget Application (in addition to the Library catalogue search and the new books list gadgets that are currently available). The Netvibes UWA enables you to write a widget once and run it anywhere, e.g. iGoogle/Pageflakes/Netvibes/Facebook, Vista etc. Is anyone else using this application to create Library widgets? Please share your thoughts on it.

  • ORO Search
  • OneStop Search
  • eJournals Search
  • Search boxes for key databases
  • Featured links (as per the links box on the Library homepage)
  • “My record” (similar in format to the Facebook iGoogle gadget; to enable people to see how many books they have out, how many requests pending and how many items are available for them to collect. Tabs for other Library services e.g. catalogue search, New books, etc)
  • RSS feed for each OU Library blog
  • New books (individual rss)
  • Library news (rss)
  • Library events (rss)
  • Library seminars (rss)
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Reading, Writing and Arithmetic on the Web or the Wii

Posted on December 3, 2007. Filed under: children, collaboration, education, edutainment, gaming, kids, technology, wii |

I’ve just had a quick go on a few games on the Arcademic Skill Builders site, having read a blog posting by the Shifted Librarian “The Three Wii R’s“.  Arcademic Skill Builders are providing free educational ‘arcade’ games for (younger) children that can be accessed over the web, or using a Wii browser and ‘mote.   There are single-player and multi-player games available.  So up to 4 children anywhere in the World can play against each other.  I’m looking forward to trying this out with my daughter on our Wii. 

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More on Journal Articles: Ratings and Comments

Posted on November 22, 2007. Filed under: collaboration,, education, indexing, information, library 2.0, sharing, technology, universities, web 2.0 |

This post is further to my earlier post on Journal articles: ratings and comments (7th November, 2007).

Yesterday I attended the JIBS workshop: “Is Library 2.0 a trivial pursuit”. The presentations were all excellent. They included one by Dave Pattern, Library Systems Manager at the University of Huddersfield: “Making the catalogue a good place to be: Lipstick, cowbells and serendipity.” I asked the question:

“How long will it be before people can rate and comment on articles aswell as books; and how long will it be before we can find out ‘people who read/downloaded this article have also read/downloaded these articles’ ” and “Are fed search providers e.g. Exlibris looking at doing this sort of thing?” No-one was aware of anyone doing anything in this area.

However, Ale de Vries, Product Manager, Elsevier, in his presentation: “A publisher’s view of Library 2.0” mentioned 2collab, a beta system that will enable sharing and collaboration between researchers in particular fields. Ale’s presentation also included a last-minute slide (following my question earlier in the day) on how they are going to provide article download/useage information and rankings based on this. So perhaps the rating, recommendation and review of journal articles and papers is not far off.

Personally I think that this would work best as a mash-up of a type-system with a LibraryThing/Zotero type system so that you can save the references to the articles (and add your own tags and comments/reviews to them) wherever you have found them (e.g. within a web-based bib database to which your library subscribes or in a web-journal, e.g. Ariadne) and share them with your colleagues wherever they are based.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this? Anyone else blogging/writing elsewhere about this? Should I patent the idea?

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Journal Articles: Ratings and Comments

Posted on November 7, 2007. Filed under: education, indexing, library 2.0, sharing, technology, web 2.0 |

How long will it be before it is possible to rate and comment on articles and papers and see that people who read this also read…  these papers and these books and want to read these ones?

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Virtual Edutainment Worlds for Children

Posted on October 26, 2007. Filed under: accessibility, barbiegirls, children, club penguin, education, edutainment, funkeys, future, gaming, kids, play, sharing, technology, tygirlz, webkinz |

When speaking at the Virtual Worlds Forum in London this week about the game-related worlds targetted at children (primarily those that link membership of the world to ownership of a toy) Lord Puttnam (who is incidentally the new Chancellor of The Open University) presented the following challenge:

“The challenge ahead is this – to ensure that virtual worlds are increasingly places that offer real meaning to their lives and in the real world to learn from the sense of community and collaboration that’s been experienced in virtual worlds” (BBC News, “Virtual worlds threaten ‘values'”, 2007-10-15.

I think that the challenge should be wider than this. Children-centred virtual worlds should be more educational. The developers should be challenged to produce children-centred virtual worlds that include educational games and activities that link with and enable them to build on the educational experiences that are available in the real world.

Children-centred virtual worlds should provide opportunities for children to learn through interacting and networking and through sharing experiences and collaborating on projects with other children from all over the world. The challenge is to ensure that the worlds remain safe, fun and engaging; that there are a variety of educational experiences available to all levels from pre-school up-wards; and that the worlds are accessible to all, including those with disabilities.

The Club Penguin virtual world provides free access to a subset of the functionality available to paid-up members and although CP merchandise (t-shirts, key-rings etc) is available from the site it does not tie membership of the world to the ownership of a toy (unlike webkinz, Funkeys, BarbieGirls, TyGirlz and others).

Club Penguin offers non-members simple strategy games like 4 in a row that can be played by two friends. It would be good to see more educational games that 1, 2 or more friends can participate in. Club Penguin offers a safe mode in which children can only chat using ‘safe’ phrases provided by the site. It provides a forum in which children can learn and practice social and networking skills – e.g. to wait for their turn to speak; to keep a conversation going and the engagement of their friend; practice how to respond to people who are annoying them (throwing snowballs at them perhaps); how to get to know and make friends with other people.

It also enables them to explore and navigate within an online environment and learn how to play games to win (coins). Penguins (children) are able to purchase items (clothes, pets, pet food, backgrounds for their profiles, furnishings for their igloos etc) and so they learn something about the value of money (all be it a virtual currency) and that hard work (winning a game) pays off. If they buy a pet then they have to learn how to look after it (feed, play, exercise it and bath it – all of which cost coins) and in doing so they learn from their decisions – e.g. that too many treats and not enough exercise reduce your level of health. They also see their number of coins going up and down and so learn about addition and subtraction during the various games available. The children can reflect and develop their personalities in the clothes, accessories and igloo furnishings that they choose for themselves, in the same way that many of them do in real life. They can develop their reading, spelling and keyboard skills through chatting and reading the club magazines and story books.

I’m on the look out for more ‘safe’ worlds like Club Penguin, especially any that provide educational content, collaborative educational experiences and opportunities to use and develop imagination and storytelling. I would also like to see edutainment worlds linked to classic children’s books to enable them to explore ideas in the books further, act out scenes as the characters and make up their own storylines.

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End of PROWE event

Posted on October 5, 2007. Filed under: cpd, education, library 2.0, OU, PROWE, technology, web 2.0 |

I am organising an end of project event on Wednesday 12th December for the JISC-funded OU-led PROWE project ( which looked at the use of informal repositories within wiki and blogs to meet the Continuing Professional Development needs of part-time tutors.

We will be disseminating PROWE’s findings at the event. If possible I would also like to include talk(s) by other speakers who have been researching or implementing web2.0 technology to support CPD. So I am looking for people who are working in this area who I could contact.

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Podcasts and indexing

Posted on September 26, 2007. Filed under:, education, future, indexing, lectures, podcasting, students, technology, universities, web 2.0, You Tube | Tags: |

Brian Kelly’s post “The Future As Today, But More So” started me wondering whether today’s university students, who audio/video record their lectures (or whose lecturers provide them with recordings) bother to take full handwritten notes. Perhaps it is down to the individual student and the quality of the recording/accessibility/reliability of the technology. If it was me I would probably store the videos on my PDA and make the odd handwritten note (probably on my PDA) – e.g. points I want to find out more about or questions I want answers for, any urls/references given by the lecturer that I want to look up etc.). I would want to be able to link my notes with the podcast file.  When it comes to assignment or revision time, is it more time consuming to revisit all the video/audio files, or to read through a load of ‘old-fashioned’ notes to find the piece that you want? Perhaps lecturers/students are tagging their videos, eg. within YouTube or Or maybe they are using free web2.0 software that enables them to either manually or automatically index their videos? If not then is this something that we will see in the future?

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A kids-eye view of wii gaming

Posted on September 14, 2007. Filed under: design, gaming, kids, play, technology, wii |

I read this post (“A kid’s-eye view of laptop design”) about a group of primary school children who pretend to email each other using keyboards that they have drawn out on paper:

and it reminded me that my daughter has this week drawn and cut out a couple of ‘motes and a screen and has been pretending to play with them as though they are a wii (we purchased a wii in the Summer). How long will it be before we see mini-wii clubs forming in the play-ground and what type of games will children play with them?

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RL emulates SL?

Posted on September 6, 2007. Filed under: second life, technology, web 2.0, You Tube |

Real Life emulates Second Life?

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It’s not a bug it’s a…

Posted on August 30, 2007. Filed under: image, technology |

…feature of the system.

David Turpie pointed me to this most excellent image:

This brought back memories of past development/implementation projects.

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