“Reality. Now that’s a concept!”

This famous quote by comedian (and philosopher, I might add) Robin Williams offers great insight as I embark on my latest journey—the pursuit of PhD in Communication from the University of Oklahoma Department of Communication.

Already I’m in full reality of just why one is designated as a “Doctor of Philosophy.” I’m knee-deep in theory construction, theory memorization, theory classification… theory of theory. The image I’ve chosen as the “trademark” of this blog, Raphael’s “School of Athens” has shown its appropriateness once more, as I’m delving into the thinking of our forefathers of philosophy and the ways in which they are intertwined.
My introduction into course work was M. Dues and M. Brown’s Boxing Plato’s Shadow—which serves as a plethora of basic communication history… its philosophers, it’s place in history. I might add that I was a bit disturbed when in the opening pages the authors referred to our field of study as “a field of renegades.” Given my history for churning the pot and questioning the status quo, however, I feel right at home.

Next on the menu was (is) P. Reynold’s A Primer in Theory Construction. As a new student in Dr. Kim’s Intro to Graduate Studies class, I have been assigned to review and facilitate a discussion of Chapters 3 & 4: Concepts & Statements. As all the new “concepts” swirled through my head I kept wishing there was a visual to help me put the interrelatedness of the basics of theory construction into learnable perspective. Alas, the Theory Construction Concept Map I created and linked here, based on J. Novak’s idea of concept maps, serves such a purpose. For my class colleagues, it will appear in full detail on my handout. My hope is that is assists us as we grow from novice scholars into accomplished ones.


reluctant blogger?

Doc Martens asked me to pinch hit at the Oklahoma Library Association annual convention this past Wednesday. The topic of the panel discussion was open source software, i.e. OSS. I was the clean-up batter, and my mission was to summarize my conversion from an open source technophobe to an open source/open access evangelist.

Although simple, you can check out my powerpoint visual aid–“My Journey to Blogdom”–on slideshare.

In short, I took conference attendees on a sentimental journey of my OSS awakening… from blogging on WordPress to creating a PBWiki to designing an open access journal with the PKP OJS system to utilizing sites like slideshare, flickr, and the like.


We’re studying web 2.0 today, as the countdown to comps continues. David Gurteen has cleverly explained the 2.0 phenomenon in a powerpoint and chart comparing “World 1.0 and 2.0”. Today an area of focus for comps studies is Web 2.0. Following is a summary of information offered by the ACRL

What about Web 2.0?

Microcontent, i.e. individual chunks of content, users can link to, pullout, unbundle, & repackage in a variety of creative forms; not pages or stories, but posts, photos, videos, tags and pod casts.

As a platform, i.e. using lightweight programming languages, running applications without downloading programs, and saving files on the web.

Radical openness, i.e. using a variety of applications which allow users to easily collaborate and share data across products and services.

User focused, i.e. most visible content is created by users from Amazon reviews to blog posts to LinkedIn pages and most applications are released in “beta” so user feedback shapes the way the applications develop.

Flattened hierarchy, i.e. resulting organization is dynamic and can be difficult with entry points that are hard to identify.


Implications of Web 2.0:

Libraries are using blogs, wikis and social tools to deliver dynamic and new services;

Web 2.0 allows users to interact with libraries and information in exciting ways;

Web 2.0 affects the way librarians help patrons find, manage, evaluate and use info tools and sources;

It is tempting to focus on limitations of Web 2.0;

Knowledge professionals should recognize tools are easy to find, easy to use and too useful for users for librarians not to recognize.


Information literate users:

Users must determine how much info needed, i.e. berry picking of info for learning and research, and complex non-hierarchical system;

Users must recognize the challenges of organization, i.e. how search engines work, how info is retrieved on the web, folksonomies, user-created metadata;

Users must be able to validate authority and evaluate a site without traditional editorial control;

Users must be able to keep their identities private while still contributing, i.e. teach awareness;

In Web 2.0, determining ownership is difficult and understanding of copyright is needed, i.e. easy for users to loose track of where they got the info and plagiarize



Communicating on the web…

Thanks to Scott Karp and Publishing 2.0, anyone who has any hesitancy or wonderment about the 21st century journalist can now be FULLY informed! His January 21 post—“The Only Way For Journalists To Understand The Web Is To Use It” (and the EXCELLENT reader comments, including responses from bloggers Colin Mulvany and  Howard Owens)—sums “the (r)evolution of media” up very well.

I especially enjoyed Karp’s detailed comparison of linear print publishing and dynamic web publishing. Having lived through the multi-generational life of print production and paper communication, I must admit that I was part of the “resistance.” It wasn’t until my blog was imposed upon me that I found delight and amazement in this type of publishing. As I remain true to my mission, I find Karp’s post a wonderful aid to articulate my belief that it’s ALL about communication, so… Just Communicate!

The web and its social network accomplishes this in ways that still both astonish and allude many. For all who remain as scared as I was, follow Karp’s advice: “The only way to really understand web publishing intuitively is to DO IT.”

Is library 2.0 communication? Can it be?

Today started out like most Mondays. You know, “Monday Monday”…

The one bright spot was taking a break to support a fellow colleague at the ACRL-OK conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her (Linda Summers) poster presentation on libraries and blogging as a way to COMMUNICATE with patrons caught the eye and attention of keynote speaker David Silver.

A comment David made gave me hope that the human element of our technological patch for communicating could live a REAL life, not a second life. When asked about blogging, his advice was to make your blog about YOU. What that said to me is put your “person”ality into the mass media, in this case web technologies. My cynicism is being questioned. Could blogging actually be a way to facilitate communicating on a more personable, intimate, friendly way? Come to think about it, my online classes are proving this to be true…

David offered pitfalls of one-topic blogs, of blog anxiety to “produce”, of blog burn-out, of maintaing both a “professional” and a personal blog… He reminded us that variety is the spice of life–that it’s nice to sprinkle short posts in with more lengthy ones. He demonstrated to me in just a few short minutes his excitement about blogging… (check his out! Silver in SF) and how fun AND personable the social networking technologies can actually be! Already this evening he has posted photos HE took of us on his Flickr photostream. And he wrote about us on his blog!

THIS Monday turned out to be an inspiring day. Maybe I should blog about it.