Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Browsing Magazines!

We were starting to notice some capacious gaps in the Browsing Magazine section, which is located near Ollie’s on the first floor of the library. That has now been remedied! Come by Carmichael to flip through any of the following new magazines:

  • The Advocate
  • American Cinematographer
  • Condé Nast
  • EGM Electronic Gaming Monthly
  • Entertainment Weekly
  • ESPN: The Magazine
  • Game Developer
  • Game Informer
  • Glamour
  • Juxtapoz
  • Lapham’s Quarterly
  • Mental Floss
  • Orion
  • Out
  • Vegetarian Times

If one of these magazines isn't on the shelf yet, worry not! It soon will be!

Monday, February 13, 2012

More on Curation and Information Literacy

The flowering of curation platforms like Pinterest would suggest that the fundamental appearance of the internet is evolving.  A recent article in Mashable makes this claim by pointing out that the "post-it" note concept of Pinterest fosters a "window-shopping" mode to accessing content.  However, it's not just the aesthetics of website design that is in flux; the way information is organized and circulated on the internet is radically changing, thanks to social media and social curation platforms.  According to Jeff Croft, founder of the e book lending community Lendle, Pinterest "flattens the information hierarchy."  It takes the process of information generation out of the hands of select individuals and companies and puts it into the hands of individual people.

What does this mean, and why does it matter?  A mini infographic that I found on The Next Web's Pinterest account documents this shift from top-down dissemination of knowledge to user-centric circulation of knowledge nicely.  Without including any dates, we can see a progression from browser based-content to content that comes to us via an algorithmic construction, which the average user only partially controls.

Traditional social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were important changes to this algorithmic model because they facilitated the spread of information as a social activity.  Many people desire to click on a news story, an editorial, or a blog post when they know that a friend writes or recommends content.

However, the problem for some people is that they are unwilling to wade through the "social" elements of social media as they seek information.  Facebook and Twitter are laden with too much complaining, personal information, gossip, and other baggage that people don't always want to navigate.  I know of several people who have left Facebook for this reason, even though they saw it as a viable way to get information.

What Quora, Flipboard, Pinterest, and some of the other platforms in the graphic's "No Name Yet" category offer is user-curated information with limited undesirable social information.  One of my friends who did leave Facebook joined Pinterest recently so she could recover some of the information-sharing practices that are valuable to her.  These curation services take the best aspects of social media, socially-driven information ecologies, and represents them in user-friendly ways that are much less obtrusive.

These curation platforms are particularly valuable tools to develop information literacy.  Students are already incorporating them into their daily information diets.  Instructors should begin to think about the possibilities of curation platforms to become a part of the classroom learning experience.

Friday, February 10, 2012

College Night 2012 Student Leaders Get Caught Reading

It's that time of the year when Carmichael Library pays homage to Montevallo's greatest tradition with our occasional blog feature, Get Caught Reading. We caught up with your busy Purple and Gold Side student leaders between College Night rehearsals to ask them what they're reading.

Photos/Design by Joel Bullock

Gold Side co-leader Lindsey Bristol chose The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Lindsey's reading this book, which can be found in the library's Main Floor Browsing Collection, so that she'll be familiar with the story before the movie comes out this spring. J. R. Campbell chose Olivia Saves the Circus, by Ian Falconer. J. R. explained that reading this popular children's title gets him in the right frame of mind for the Gold Side's circus-themed production. Lindsey majors in musical theatre, and J.R. is working toward his degree in mathematics. J.R. mentioned that he uses the library both for scholarship and for pleasure reading. Lindsey makes use of Carmichael's collections of scores and scripts when rehearsing for theatre productions.

Purple Side co-leader Hannah Jean Farris chose The BFG, by Roald Dahl. Hannah said that Dahl's book was one of the first that she read on her own. At the time, she shared that she identified with the protagonist-as-outcast theme that pervades this children's book. Gold co-leader Todd Campbell also chose a favorite book from his childhood, Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger. Todd said that he found common bonds with Salinger's main character, Holden Caulfield, when reading the book as a teen. Hannah is a theatre major and Todd is a marketing major. Hannah uses the library for research on plays and makes use of the online databases frequently. Todd says that he uses the library's extensive online business journal holdings, most often Business Source Complete and LexisNexis.

Now that we know what our College Night student leaders are reading there's only one question to ask: "What's it gonna' be?!"

Related on Carmichael blog:

Monday, February 06, 2012

Extended Hours for Homecoming Saturday 2012

Close up of College Night 2010 display, by Joel Bullock

To commemorate College Night and Montevallo Homecoming, Carmichael Library is extending its regular Saturday hours to accommodate the many guests who will be returning to campus this weekend. The library will remain open this Saturday, February 11, until 5:00 p.m. The library will display this year's College Night production books as well as a number of past College Night books, photos, and other archival materials. A librarian will be on hand to answer questions about College Night and campus history.

Welcome back to all alums and good luck to our 2012 College Night participants!