Society of Australian Genealogists Library

I have spent two days at the SAG library for my professional placement and I’m still feeling more like the work experience girl.  The system is so different to any I have ever encountered! My first day was spent on a whirlwind tour of two separate sites madly trying to take it all in and then today the lovely librarian set me loose to research my own family history as she believes the best way to learn the system is to experience it for yourself.  I didn’t find anything very exciting but have become slightly more familiar with what services and information the library provides. As a not for profit organization there are not that many employees but there is a veritable army of wonderful volunteers who give up their time to help those in need (me). Tomorrow I will be exposed to more administrative duties – helping out accessioning new resources-hope I’m not totally useless!

E-portfolios for Librarians

Important additions to a Librarian’s portfolio taken from the articles:

  • Weathers-Parry, P. (2001), ‘The librarian’s portfolio’
  • Steffen, S.S., (2000) ‘The professional portfolio for librarians’
    Moody describes the professional portfolio as a “collection of examples of your work” which illustrate your skills and help in self reflection and preparation for job applications.  Weathers- Parry agrees but also includes performance appraisal as a potential purpose for portfolios and suggests that a print version be also available for potential employers to peruse.  Steffen places a greater emphasis on self reflection as an illustration of your professional development as a librarian, your personal philosophy and the way in which your practices as a librarian reflect and support that. Steffen’s recommendations for what to include in a portfolio are quite comprehensive and as such I think would be easier to maintain online.  I agree with Moody that this reduces the amount of paperwork and can be edited more easily to maintain relevance and currency.  A prospective employer would not want all of this information at the time of an interview but having access to it online would help you to pull out items relevant to a particular employer which may not be of interest to another.
    Here is my list of what a TL already employed at work in a school library should keep in an online portfolio, based on these three articles:
    1.  A short statement of personal philosophy. (Steffen)
    2.  A curriculum vitae or resume summarising your career experience.(Moody, Weathers-Parry)
    3.  A record of your ongoing Professional Development (Moody, Weathers-Parry, Steffen)
    4.  Examples of your work which illustrate your personal philosophy, your career experience and your professional development, including short reflections on each which clarify their relevance.(Moody, Weathers-Parry, Steffen)
    5. A short statement of your goals for future development. (Steffen)
    A professional portfolio such as this will change over time and publishing it online on a website or in a blog such as this one would be an easy way to maintain its relevance.  You could still print out a version of the portfolio that best serves either a performance review or a job interview if need be.


Saying goodbye to Dewey?

I enjoyed this article and the discussions it threw up about the Dewey Decimal systme versus categorizing books in genres and types rather than subjects.

Thanks to Joanne Barnes for adding it to the forum.

Bibliographic Standards in Education

I have just handed in my final assignment for this subject, fairly confident I have passed.  I have found it extremely challenging and time consuming and my hat goes off to all those students who are working full time and are trying to complete the course 2 subjects at a time!!  I have spent hours, days – in fact weeks!- working on the last two assignments and found them very difficult.  I feel that in this subject the distance mode really wasn’t the best way of learning.  I really felt I needed to see someone face to face who could walk me through examples and explain the terminology.  Hopefully the lecturers will be able to modify the course to allow for this in some way – dare I suggest a few lectures, tutorials or presentations in Second life may have been helpful?!  Our classrooms are being connected across the country and the world via satellite links so that our children can learn from teachers everywhere.  It would be great to think that at some stage the same could be said for universities offering distance education to people all over the world.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to book time with a local library and join with all the other distance ed students in tutorials being broadcast from Wagga Wagga?

Any hoo……  I have enjoyed the subject and have a real respect for people who make cataloguing their life’s work – thank heavens for you!!  I am not sure that my brain is either neat or logical enough to be successful in this field.  Having poured over the exercises I do feel though that I have a glimmer of understanding and as many of the others students have said I think it is like learning a complex language full of rules and the exceptions to them. I managed to learn English when I was 2 so  maybe, with more experience and practice, I could probably become fluent in this language though I’m sure it would take my aging brain a lot longer!!


OLJ a) Evaluative Statement b) Reflective Statement

a) Evaluative Statement

(headings link to OLJ tasks; text links to Inf506 (2011/2012) course objectives)

This subject has been a huge learning experience for me. To combat information overload I have tried to explore the modules, add entries to my OLJ and complete the first assignment with particular reference to the primary school environment within which I teach.  The following tasks and the posting of them to the OLJ blog demonstrate the development of my learning over the course of this subject.


OLJ Task 1 A-Z of Social Networking for Libraries


This task was a great introduction for someone relatively new to social media and gave me a chance to explore a range of social networking tools while considering their relevance in the context of a primary school library.

Evaluating the school’s library blog led me to investigate a range of social media sites such asEdublogs and WordPress to assess their suitability as an alternative which would better meet the student’s information needs.

Investigation of Ning opened my eyes to the possibilities of using social networking platforms in primary schools not just for library blogs but for a whole range of collaborative learning opportunities.  It also threw up the question of the use of such sites by children under 13 and sent me in quest of social networking platforms that were designed for this age group and also for schools in Australia that were already using them.  I was amazed at what was already happening worldwide and interested to note that Australia was only just beginning to trial such platforms as SuperClubsPLUS in schools. (DEECD, 2010)

The task also introduced me to the need for consideration of the purpose of using social media in schools, the necessity for considering first and foremost the wants and needs of users, and also the ethical considerations of use by children under 13.  This would later inform my inquiry into the use of social networking platforms in primary schools and the need for a marketing strategy and social media policy.


OLJ Task 2 Primary School Marketing Strategy


The small school where I teach is very conservative in their views of the use of social media with younger children, concerned, quite rightly, with the implications for privacy, online safety and digital citizenship.  The school has no social media policy and individual teachers have little knowledge and experience of social media.  The children however are using it everyday.  The school’s one nod at social networking is an internal library blog which illustrates the hesitancy the school has in plunging into the social media pool. Kagan’s (2011) slidehare presentation brought home to me the enormity of the impact of social media worldwide and spurred me to complete this task with the ulterior motive of learning how to market it to the school.

I was able explore the educational, ethical and social value of primary schools engaging in social media.  I discovered the importance of creating the means for establishing a dialogue between the library and its patrons so that their needs and wants can be supported (Burkhardt, 2009).

Having a clear vision for the library is crucial and as long as the school has nothing in writing it is hard to see how individual teachers/librarians can instigate anything that will endure past their own tenure.  Brown’s blog post (2009) emphasizes the value of detailing a marketing  strategy and the task of drafting a marketing plan for the school  gave me a good understanding of what will be needed to convince the school that social media can be instrumental in providing the information needs and collaborative learning experiences for all school library patrons.


OLJ Task3  Social Media Policy (in Primary Schools)


I chose this task to try to discover the best way to justify the use of social media in primary schools. It was fairly difficult to find articles and policies online specific to primary schools, giving me ample opportunity to hone my search skills, but the task was rewarding in that I was able to identify the issues that concern them.

I feel that the 5 resources I found and annotated will be useful references when, hopefully, my school is ready to formulate their own social media policy.  Giffards Primary School(2011) and Masseni (2010) clearly outline where schools’ main concerns lie.  The NSW DET (2011) Social Media Policy is a good reference for staff, Varlas (2011) puts the case for having clear guidelines and Kroski (2009) provides a list of what to include in a policy.

Creating a stack in Deliciousand sharing these resources with other members of sissocialmedia was also a worthwhile experience.  It illustrated the value of using social bookmarking sites to store, organize and share resources.  Using Delicious over the course of this subject has allowed me to discover and share a great many links to resources that will be of great use, not just in this course, but in my future as a school librarian. Sharing on Delicious has given me the opportunity to be a contributor not just a collector.


b) Reflective Statement


In my first Online Learning Journal (OLJ) entry I expressed the aim of becoming more experienced and confident in the online environment using web 2.0 tools and also of better understanding the applications of social networking in primary schools.  I feel I have been able to achieve these aims as well as identify areas that I need to investigate more in the future in order to further my development as an information professional.

One of the first major revelations for me in this course was the potential for social networking to empower people to make a difference in the world.  People who, up until now, had very little voice are suddenly being heard, instantly, en masse, all around the world (Bernhoff & Li, 2008; Zandt 2010)Previously the importance of contributing to this global communication had escaped me.  On Bernhoff’s (2009) ladder of social networking usage my feet were firmly stuck on the spectator rung.  Now I am reaching towards the conversationalists and creators, though I still feel I have a long way to go.

Having had some experience of such social networking tools as Twitter, Flickr, Delicous, YouTube, Second Life and Facebook I began to understand the educational advantages for a school becoming a networked community of learners (Lee & Finger, 2010; Notley, 2008).  I began our first assignment with some regrets that I had not been able  to participate in a more practical task, such as setting up a social networking platform for my school.  However, in the end, I was pleased to be able to delve more deeply into the literature surrounding the topic and came to understand the importance of determining a school’s aims and objectives before plunging into using social media tools simply because they are amazing and fun (Brown, 2010; Farkas, 2008).

Concentrating on social networking in schools taught me a great deal that will benefit my future as a teacher librarian, especially in the areas of social media marketing and policy.  However there are parts of the course I know I need to develop further, particularly in the area of my Professional Learning Network (PLN).  In Utech’s (2008) stages of PLN adoption I am still only at the immersion and evaluation stage.  I have joined networks through Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Diigo, LinkedIn and Pinterest and have begun to evaluate these as to which of these are most useful to me.  I still don’t feel the urge to “know it all” and am hoping that as I gain more experience with these tools my PLN will take on the perspective and balance to which Utech refers (2008).

The other area that I didn’t investigate thoroughly is the virtual world of Second Life.  I found it difficult to justify using Second Life in primary schools given the concerns of staff and parents for online safety for young children but because of my narrow focus I don’t feel I explored the area enough to make this judgement myself.  Helmer’s (2007) paper clarified the way in which virtual worlds can provide organizational and educational training and elucidated the benefits of Second Life as a learning environment, encouraging me to continue, in the future, to explore its use with younger children and also for my own professional development.

As an information professional I feel I have come a long way.  There are still many areas in which I am inexperienced but  I am determined to experiment with them in a school library environment in order to improve collaborative learning for students and staff.  I have discovered the value of podcasting (Kreider Eash, 2006) and would love to explore the uses of QR codes (Walsh, 2009).  I am also itching to set up a library website, inspired byMathews (2009) list of essential ingredients and I am sure these are things I will accomplish in time.

Participation in this subject, particularly via Facebook, Second Life and Delicious, has taught me one overarching lesson.  Up until now I have tended to see learning (including my own) as a one-way process of imparting knowledge – with technology being the next great tool to use. Participation, I realise now, is an active rather than passive term. Education is a two-way exchange with the purpose of developing wisdom and with the acquisition of wisdom comes the ability to create change (Wheeler, 2012).  I have often felt, like so many others, that I have no voice, no chance to make a difference to the world, except perhaps at the ballot box. I understand the significance of sharing information , I am gaining confidence to join in the conversation and I am excited about the challenges not only for my own future but for the entire future of the information profession.




Bernhoff, J. (2010, January 19). Social technographics: Conversationalists get onto the ladder [Web log post]. Retrieved January 30, 2012, from


Bernhoff, J., & Li, C. (2008). Excerpt. In Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Retrieved from


Brown, A. (2009, July 30). Developing an effective social media marketing strategy [Web log post]. Retrieved from


Brown, A. (2010, 29 January 2011). A to Z of Social Networking for Libraries.


Burkhardt, A. (2009, August 25). Four reasons libraries should be on social media [Web log post]. Retrieved January 27, 2012, from


Dept of Education and Early Childhood Development. (2010). Teaching and learning with web 2.0 technologies. Retrieved December 11, 2011, from


Edublogs – Education Blogs for Teachers, Students and Institutions. (n.d.). Retrieved from


Facebook. (n.d.). Welcome to Facebook – Log In, Sign Up or Learn More. Retrieved from


Farkas, M. (2008, January 24). The essence of library 2.0? [Web log post]. Retrieved January 30, 2012, from


Giffards Primary School. (2011). Giffards Primary School social networking policy. Giffard Primary School. Retrieved from


Hay, L. (2011). Social networking for information professionals : Course outline. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Interact website:


Helmer, J. (2007, October). Second Life and virtual worlds [White paper]. Retrieved from


Kagan, M., (2008). What is social media now? [Slideshow]. Retrieved from


Kreider Eash, E. (2006). Podcasting 101 for K-12 librarians. Computers in Libraries, 26(4). Retrieved January 30, 2012, from


Kroski, E. (2009). Should your library have a social media policy? School Library Journal. Retrieved from


Lee, M., & Finger, G. (2010). Developing a networked school community: A guide to realising the vision. Victoria, Australia: ACER.


Masseni, D. (2010). Why schools are spooked by social media (Rep.). Retrieved December 29, 2011, from


Mathews, B. (2009). Ten essentials for any library site. Library Journal. Retrieved January 30, 2012, from


Ning – Create a Social Networking Site with Ning, the Best Social Site Platform. (n.d.). Retrieved from


Notley, T. M. (2008). Online network use in schools: Social and educational opportunities. Youth Studies Australia, 27(3), 20-29. Retrieved December 19, 2011, from


NSW Department of Education and Training. (2011, March15). Social Media Policy.  Retrieved 2012, from


Twitter. (n.d.). Retrieved from


Utech, J. (2008, April 3). Stages of PLN adoption [Web log post]. Retrieved January 30, 2012, from


Varlas, L. (2011). Can social media and school policies be “friends”? ASCD. Retrieved 2012, from


Virtual Worlds, Avatars, Free 3D Chat, Online Meetings – Second Life Official Site. (n.d.). Retrieved from


Walsh, A. (2009). Quick response codes and libraries. doi: 10.1108/07419050910985255


Welcome to Flickr – Photo Sharing. (n.d.). Retrieved from


Wheeler, S. (2012, January 30). Digital learning futures. Learning with ‘e’s. Retrieved February 1, 2012, from — Get a Free Blog Here. (n.d.). Retrieved from


YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. (n.d.). Retrieved from



5 course objectives for Inf506

1. demonstrate an understanding of social networking technologies;
2. demonstrate an understanding of concepts, theory and practice of Library 2.0 and participatory library service;
3. critically examine the features and functionality of various social networking tools to meet the information needs of users;
4. evaluate social networking technologies and software to support informational and collaborative needs of workgroups,   communities and organisations; and
5. demonstrate an understanding of the social, cultural, educational, ethical, and technical management issues that exist in a socially networked world, and how information policy is developed and
implemented to support such issues.


Hay, L. (2011). Social networking for information professionals : Course outline. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Interact website:

Digital Learning Futures – Steve Wheeler

Steve Wheeler used this slideshare at the Learning Technologies conference in London in January, 2012.
During his presentation he discussed “a number of possible scenarios that might result when wholesale adoption of digital technologies occurs in education and training”.  I was personally impressed with his discussion of “pedagogical issues such as deep and surface learning, creative thinking and the transformation of knowledge consumption”. (Wheeler, 2012)

OLJ Module 5 Task social media policy (in primary schools)

1. Kroski, E. (2009). Should your library have a social media policy? School Library Journal. Retrieved from

The author, an information consultant, reference librarian and faculty member of various US universities, outlines some of the reasons for having a school library social media policy for both staff and students. Kroski(2009) recognizes that many schools block social networking sites but points out that students and staff can still access these on their own accounts.  The article lists what to include in a guideline or policy and also links social media policies from a variety of organisations.


2.   Giffards Primary School. (2011). Giffards Primary School social networking policy.Giffard Primary School. Retrieved from

This incredibly strict policy was prepared by Giffards Primary school in 2011 in response to the growing use by staff and students of social networking sites. It provides precise guidelines for using social networking during school hours, outlines what is considered acceptable online behaviour and is very specific about child protection issues and cyberbullying. It also details disciplinary action incurred if this policy is breached by staff or students, illustrating the extreme wariness with which primary schools approach social media.


3.  NSW Department of Education and Training. (2011, March15). Social Media Policy.  Retrieved 2012, from

This is the NSW DET policy on social media use for staff, implemented in 2011.  It supports staff use and recognizes the value of blogs, wikis, social networking sites amongst others.  It outlines standards of staff online behaviour such as the code of conduct, and while it does not specifically address students’ use of social media it does provide links to related documents such as Online Communications Services – Acceptable Usage for School Students and NSW Public School Values.


4. Masseni, D. (2010). Why schools are spooked by social media (Rep.). Retrieved December 29, 2011, from


Denis Masseni, a lecturer in multi media at Monash University, identifies, in his 2010 survey of Victorian school principals,  the reasons why  schools are hesitant to use social media. After summarizing the survey and addressing the “blockers” for social media use in schools he suggests three “defensive” strategies, social media monitoring, policy and the law, and puts a strong case for using social media to strengthen school communities but warns that schools must develop policy for behaviour both inside and outside school hours.


Varlas, L. (2011). Can social media and school policies be “friends”? ASCD. Retrieved 2012, from

Laura Varlas is a blogger for the website ASCD (Association for supervision and Curriculum Development) a US based non-profit organization providing professional development for educators.  The article gives a good case for using social media in K-12 schools, reviews US legislation COPPA (1998) and CIPA(2000) and goes on to give interesting examples of how and why schools either use or block social media. Varlas advocates having clear guidelines for students and teachers using social media to educate children about cybersafety and digital citizenship.