July 10th, 2014 by Michael Sauers

WikiPedia-Logo-psd64607All through high school, Ani Schug was told to steer clear of Wikipedia. Her teachers talked about the popular online encyclopedia “as if it wasn’t serious or trustworthy” and suggested it only be used as a tip sheet.

Imagine her surprise this spring when her American politics professor at Pomona College assigned the class to write detailed entries for Wikipedia instead of traditional term papers.

Turns out it was a lot harder than the students anticipated. Their projects had to be researched, composed and coded to match Wikipedia’s strict protocols. Schug and her classmates wound up citing 218 scholarly legal and newspaper sources for their entry on a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing corporate donations for ballot initiative campaigns.

Then came the really scary step: All their work was posted publicly on Wikipedia for reading and editing by a potentially immense audience.

Read the full article @ The LA Times.

Posted in HIgher Ed, Internet Tagged with:

August 7th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

Cetacean needed

via Boing Boing.

Posted in Fun Tagged with:

June 14th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

Next to Google, Wikipedia is the major source of information used by people today. But libraries also own much content that isn’t available on Wikipedia, so how should we make sure users don’t stop there? In this session, Aaron Tay, Senior Librarian & eServices Facilitator at National University of Singapore, will cover ideas on how to link resources from Wikipedia to library resources using various tools including John Mark Ockerbloom’s Forward to Libraries service. In the opposite direction, libraries can also move in and use Wikipedia entries to enhance findability of their collections.

In this monthly feature of NCompass Live, the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Michael Sauers, will discuss the tech news of the month and share new and exciting tech for your library.

NCompass Live – June 12, 2013.

Posted in Tech, video Tagged with: ,

April 14th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

Wikipedia logoA recent dust-up between Wikipedia and Canada’s largest university raises questions about how collaborative the popular website that bills itself as “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” truly is.

The online information portal recently took a professor from the University of Toronto to task for one of his classroom assignments.

Steve Joordens urged the 1,900 students in his introductory psychology class to start adding content to relevant Wikipedia pages. The assignment was voluntary, and Joordens hoped the process would both enhance Wikipedia’s body of work on psychology while teaching students about the scientist’s responsibility to share knowledge.

But Joordens’s plan backfired when the relatively small contingent of volunteer editors that curate the website’s content began sounding alarm bells. They raised concerns about the sheer number of contributions pouring in from people who were not necessarily well-versed in the topic or adept at citing their research.

Read the full article @ CTVNews.ca.

Posted in Internet Tagged with: , ,

December 9th, 2008 by Michael Sauers

Back in June 2007 I wrote a response/review of Andrew Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur, a book that wasn’t exactly pro-Internet/Web 2.0. However, I’m a firm believer that it helps to make your case if you’re familiar with the counter arguments. Though it cam out a few months ago, I finally found the time to get through a similar title, Against the Machine by Lee Siegel.

I can say that this book isn’t nearly as outrageous and reactionary as Keen’s book was. Most of the arguments Siegel presents are rational and make sense even if you don’t agree with him. For most of the book I wasn’t finding anything that upset me enough to actually write this post. Then I got to page 143:

A twenty-four-year-old names Ryan Jordan was caught masquerading on Wikipedia as a tenured professor of religion. He used the pseudonym Essjay and aroused suspicion when readers began to wonder why a professor of religion was meticulously revision the encyclopedia’s article on pop star Justin Timberlake. By then, Jordan has created or edited hundreds of articles. He has even been made an "administrator" and was part of Wikipedia’s trusted inner circle of editors.

Wikipedia calls these instances of untruth "vandalism," as if the encyclopedia were experiencing an onslaught of invaders from beyond its boundaries. But the "vandals" are part of the Wikipedia enterprise, just as Jordan was. They’ve been invited to participate in its creation just like every other "Wikipedian."

Here’s my problem with this, and with every other accounting of the events he’s talking about: no one has indicated that anything Essjay contributed was actually wrong. I’m not necessarily defending Essjay’s misrepresentations of his qualifications but that’s not the point. If what he wrote was correct, what’s the problem?

As for what Essjay did write, wrong or not, that’s not the definition of wiki vandalism. To be considered vandalism, there needs to be intent. If Essjay was intentionally contributing bad/wrong information, the fine. But what he did wasn’t vandalism, this is vandalism.

My other major point of disagreement comes when Me. Siegel talkax about the "open secrets" of the new Web. On page 158 lists "Open Secret Number One":

Bloggers’ ability to revise or erase their writing without leaving any trace of the original post is the very antithesis of their claims of freedom and access and choice. The freedom and access and choice are theirs, not their readers’.

This is hardly an open secret because it just plain isn’t true. Someone has forgotten about the Google and this thing called the cache. Oh, and there’s the Wayback Machine too. Every time someone changes their blog significantly, say deleting a post they later regret, someone always seems to find the original and makes a bigger stink over the fact that the change/deletion was made than of the original content itself. (Anyone recall the story of all of Violet Blue’s content being deleted from Boing Boing?)

So anyway, that’s my two cents on this title.

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April 4th, 2008 by Michael Sauers

I’m a fan of wikis but when used appropriately. In other words, no matter how much you like wikis at a technology, that doesn’t mean they’re right for all situations. Here’s a way to think about it: blogs are for conversation, wikis are for collaboration. Just because you have three people editing your Web site, that doesn’t mean it should be based on wiki software.

Additionally, those that say that Wikipedia isn’t a good resource, are using a different Wikipedia than I am. I use it almost daily. Occasionally I find myself looking elsewhere to verify the information Wikipedia contains but generally it is right.

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February 19th, 2008 by Michael Sauers

Just edit some Wikipedia-specific CSS:

How can I hide the images using my personal Wikipedia settings?
See also: Wikipedia:How to set your browser to not see images

If you are offended by the images (and you have an account), you can change your personal settings so that you don’t have to see them, without affecting other users. This is done by modifying your CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) page, which is individual to each user.

To do this:

  • Click on this link to modify your monobook.css page
    • If no page is there already, just go ahead and create a page
  • Add the following line to your css page:

body.page-Muhammad img {display: none;}

This will permanently hide the images on the article for you as long as you are logged in.

From Talk:Muhammad/FAQ

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September 10th, 2007 by Michael Sauers

El Hormiguero (Spanish for “The Anthill”) is a television program with a live audience focusing on comedy, science, and politics. It is hosted and produced by screenwriter Pablo Motos and airs on Cuatro, a Spanish television station. Recurring guests on the show include Luis Piedrahita, Raquel Martos, Flipy (the scientist), and puppet ants Trancas and Barrancas. The program will begin its third season in Fall 2007. It has proved a ratings success, and will expand from a weekly 120-minute show to a daily 40-minute show in its upcoming season.

via Milestone Wikipedia articles

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April 18th, 2007 by Michael Sauers
Roy Tennant, California Digital Library & Tim Spalding, LibraryThing

Tim: The Fun Opac

  • OPACs should have funability
  • “The library is the most fun you can have with your pants on”
  • Bring the OPAC front and center, don’t separate it from the Web site
  • Separate because we’re ashamed of the OPAC
  • Inbound links don’t go to records but to the homepage or a timeout screen
  • Link outwards & people will come to you
  • Why not link to commercial services? Your patrons are already aware of them.
  • No benefit from being a Mall
  • Link around, make everything clickable
  • “massive linking”
  • Dress up your OPAC
    • covers
      • Syndetics
      • Amazon.com
      • Free open repository of covers needs to be created
    • link to Wikipedia via ISBNs
  • Put your data out there
    • you’re not the only one who knows how to work with your data
    • librarians don’t have a monopoly on fun
  • Feeds
    • of new books
    • from a search
    • subject headings
  • People don’t want your content, they want their content
  • Blog widgets
    • They want to tell people what they’re reading
    • LibraryThing widget
      • What I’m reading now v. random
      • Random way more popular
    • How much money do I owe my library?
  • Library Thing Tage Consortium

Roy: Catalogs for the Future

  • Refuse to use the “O word”
  • what future?
  • Demise of the catalog at the local level
  • ILS still needed
  • New world order
    • discovery disaggregated form the ILS
    • Google
    • OpwnWorldCat
    • Metasearch
    • Others
  • [diagram slide about worldcat, openworldcat & worldcat local]
  • Why this makes sense

    • users typically want to fine everything they can on a topic
    • prefer to search in one place if possible
    • most ILSs lack cool new features
  • WorldCat Identities
  • FictionFinder
  • Needle Library, Hystack College
    • made up example
    • finding tool, not an OPAC

  • Next Gen ILS
    • refocused on library operations
    • discrete components that interoperate through rapid protocols
    • able to work well with other systems
      • Upload to other systems
      • expose APIs
    • inexpensive, scaleable, & easy maintenance
    • [Pines Evergreen System]
  • Next Gen Finding Tools
    • integrate access to wide variety of sources
    • Able to use info from other systems as well as provide it (via protocols)
    • offer sophisticated features
      • relevance
      • faceted browsing
    • not a library catalog

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April 17th, 2007 by Michael Sauers
Meredith Farkas & Michelle Boule (http://michellemeredith.pbwiki.com/Learning%20with%20Blogs%20and%20Wikis)

  • What is a blog
    • frequently updated page with posts presented in reverse-chronological order

  • What’s cool about them
    • don’t need to know HTML
    • easy to update
    • don’t need server space
    • outputs RSS

  • How are blogs used in education?
    • Course management system
    • faculty communication w/ students
    • class news
    • course reflection
    • reflective learning
    • space for dialog & feedback
    • language/writing practice
    • alternative to discussion forum
    • [examples shown available on presentation URL above]
  • What is a wiki
    • a web site anyone in a group can create and edit w/o HTML
  • What’s cool about it?
    • don’t need HTML
    • quick updating
    • everyone can add their 2 cents
    • view page history and track changes
  • How can wikis be used in education?
    • course management system
    • stimulate class discussion
    • group projects
    • student space to build identity and portfolio of work
  • Blogs / Wikis cage match
    • b: more structured w: less structured
    • b: ownership w: egalitarian

    • b: best for chronological order w: knowledgebases, documents, directories
    • b: lends itself to reflective writing w: great for working in groups
    • b: more pressure to post w: have to trust your students
  • Five Weeks to a Social Library
    • “The first free, grassroots, completely online course devoted to
      teaching librarians about social software and how to use it in their
    • Model
      • 40 participants
      • small group weekly chats
      • sync & async presentations
      • weekly activities
      • participants blog & coment
      • final project: implement one tool in your library
    • Why?
      • continuing education needed
      • conference attendance dificult
      • One-day workshop not enough
      • many online classes require expensive tools
    • Drupal
      • allowed each student to have a blog
      • each post listed on central page
      • add-ons like chat rooms
      • Drupal creators have control over the site
      • many RSS options
      • Blogging to reflect on learning
      • blogging to get feedback
      • blogging to create a record
    • Media Wiki
      • runs wikipedia
      • common in libraries
      • lots of documentation
      • wikis for directories
      • wikis for quick collaborative pages
      • wikis for building a personal space
    • Steal this idea
      • don’t have to teach in 5 weeks
      • don’t have to use the same tools
      • don’t have to cover the same topics
      • do need to provide for reflection of experiment
      • do need to allow for many conversations
      • do need to use tools that are easy
      • do need to be flexible
      • do need to hve an open process
      • do need multiple modes of learning (audio, video, etc)
    • What participants said…
  • Tips for blogs in education
    • provide documentation and/or training
    • keep comments open
    • blog to start dialogues
    • don’t try to control discussions
    • allow for unpopular views
    • be willing to change based on feedback
    • remember that some people are uncomfortable w/ public writing
  • Tips for wikis in education
    • training often required
    • create a sandbox for experimentation
    • wikis can get messy
    • don’t control too much

Posted in video Tagged with: , , , ,