Group Project: Research @ Your Library

This is my part of our group project. The objective was to create a series of videos to take junior high students through the research process, from start to finish. Each of the videos was created using a different technique. I used a video game called The Sims 2 to create video clips, which I then cut together using Windows Movie Maker.  This technique is called machinima.

Overall, it was moderately easy to create the video clips, but I am familiar with the game and I researched techniques for creating videos on several sites, especially britannica dreams, a site dedicated to making machinima movies. Using Windows Movie Maker to edit my video was very straightforward. Unfortunately, I had to make a lot of cuts in WMM because of the way The Sims 2 creates movie clips. All these cuts made my movie very “complicated” which meant it couldn’t be saved as a .wmv in my version of WMM. Because I saved my movie as an .avi, it was too large to load onto Youtube in one piece.

As far as the “group” project is concerned, because we each made separate videos, the main collaborative element was deciding on the topic, splitting up information to be covered, and brainstorming techniques for video making. We tried keeping each other informed of our progress on Twitter, but the limit of 140 characters made in-depth discussion difficult. We ended up doing a lot of the final preparation over e-mail.

Enjoy my videos and the other videos from my group. We’re on YouTube, and each video is a response to the next. You can also check out their blogs: Parry with Part II , Aleks with Part III, and Ana with Part IV

Part 1

Part 2

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Information literacy on the interwebs

Many of us are familiar with fun library promotion videos, like Common Misconceptions about the Library, and the Library Rap. However, since I’ve been spending a lot of time making an instructional video for students using the library, I thought I’d look to see if there were other videos designed for user instruction on the web.

Turns out, there’s a ton of great videos that cover a variety of topics. Most of them appear to be produced by Academic libraries for use by college students.

Starting from the beginning, Harper College Library offers a humorous tour in their video, while William College Library uses their video as a setup for a library scavenger hunt.

There are some good videos about evaluating web resources, using boolean operators, or the hilarious Databases! which appears to be a student project and features one super-smooth Guybrarian.

UCLA has done a series of instructional videos called LITEbites(Lite stands for Library Instruction To Everyone) Many of the videos are parodies of films or TV shows , such as Dude, Where’s My Book on using the Catalog and Nightmare on Term Paper Eve about keeping track of your sources.

At first, I had a hard time finding videos for k-12 kids, but when I headed over to Teachertube, I found more. It was more difficult to browse these videos, because unlike Youtube, there are no recommended videos in the sidebar. I found a library orientation video from a high school that contained LOTS of rules, and a slightly nausea-inducing video about how to find books for elementary students.

It seems that our group project may be a welcome addition to the library instruction offerings. Does anyone know other good user instruction videos? Especially ones for kids?

Author Blogs

When I first got a feedreader (see previous post on the word aggregator to know why I choose feedreader) I added lots and lots of blogs to the reader. I checked it ALL THE TIME. Then life caught up to me, and I had to drop some of the blogs that didn’t hold my interest. Some of those that I kept ended up being blogs from Young Adult authors.

My favorite YA author of all time is Tamora Pierce (yes, she beats Stephanie Meyer and JK Rowling. I may like some of their books a little better, but Tammy herself is just awesome, AND she writes awesome books… so there you are. Tammy calls her blog “Dare to be Stupid.” She talks about the reason she chose to name her blog after a Weird Al song in her first post. Recently, she asked her fans for help. She was working on a short story and couldn’t remember details about a particular character. She had her answer in less than four hours.

Scott Westerfeld is the author of Uglies, Peeps and the Midnighters books. His blog is fun and random. Recently he posted pictures of fans in costume as characters from his books. Not only that, but Scott is always on the pulse of what is happening in the YA author blogosphere.

For example, Lauren Myracle recently dared several YA authors to face their biggest fears, then blog about it. There were great posts from Shannon Hale (Newbery Honor winning author of Princess Academy) , Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries) and Libba Bray (author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy). More authors to add to my feedreader! Yeah!

Except then I might have too many again… We’ll see.

What’s the point of all this nonsense?

  1. Well, we ARE librarians and part of what we do is books.
  2. Plus it’s a fun way to tap into the writing process and what goes on in our favorite author’s heads.
  3. It helps make authors real to the readers, including the teens in our library
  4. You can get access to cool information that teens will want to know about their favorite books/authors.

If you want to see if your favorite YA author has a blog, try YA Author Cafe. Of course, lots of children’s and adult fiction writers also have blogs. You can add some of those too. Consider having the link to the author’s blog in your information about the next book club selection. Any other ways people are using author’s websites or blogs in libraries?

The new Library brand: ukuleles

This has nothing to do with Library 2.0, but it’s awesome.

Fans of Unshelved may have already seen this:

At Forbes Library in MA, Circulating Ukulele Is a Hit

Awesome! Just Awesome!

Creativity for Sale?

A co-worker and I were preparing for the new session of storytimes coming up. She mentioned that she had been looking on the Internet for a while for a flannelboard pattern where kids add feathers to a turkey’s tail. Turns out, we already had just such a flannelboard made from a pattern from a book. My co-worker commented that it was “exactly what she was looking for” and was frustrated by trying to find similar materials on the Internet.

I, too, find that it can be difficult to find planning materials for storytime on the Internet. Of course, there are no end to storytime websites, including Bayviews, The Best Kids Book Site, and the newest offering from Hennepin County: ELSIE.

But storytimes are about more than books. They may also include rhymes, songs, fingerplays, flannelboards, crafts, games and music. These elements can be harder to find online. Finding flannelboards and crafts that are of high quality can be even harder. Because the truth remains that it can be hard to make money from your ideas when you make them freely available on the web, but people are generally reluctant to pay for web content. The best way to get credit (and benefit financially) from your ideas is to put them in a book. However, I never think to look for rhymes or flannelboards in books anymore.

I do use DLTK for crafts and the occasional flannelboard, and I have found some rhymes on The Best Kids Book Site, but I wonder if other have any good ideas for flannelboards, rhymes or crafts.

This also brings up a bit of the arguement about creative commons and copyright. If a person has a talent, they deserve to be recognized for that talent and, in many cases, compensated.  My talent as a singer is a commodity. I choose to donate my talent or use it in return for compensation. It seems however that there is a stigma in the library world against those who expect to be compensated for their abilities.

I am, of course, a fan of the creative commons and of the open source movement. But sometimes I pause before I put my ideas up on a listserv, thinking “what if I put these ideas into a book and made some money off of them instead of just giving them away?” Is there still a market for books containing storytime ideas? Should these ideas be freely available on the internet, even if it affects the quality of ideas available? What do people think?