Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.
Technology as Paintbrush?
An Artist's Perspective
Section 1 of 4:
An Introduction to What Competency H Means to Me and to Library and Information Science
Current and Emerging Information and Communications Technologies:
Scannable smartphone points on information boards at trailheads provide helpful and uniform information about that trail to hikers (Kodym et al., 2017).
GPS routes, digital maps, and Google Earth are frequently utilized by hikers to choose trails and better navigate them (Hyatt, 2016).
Blogs and forums full of ideas for hiking adventures, and the necessary gear to safely enjoy them, are often provided by outdoor suppliers like REI or Sierra Trading Post.
The National Park Service aligns itself with organizations like "Find Your Park", to allow hikers to digitally search for trails by location and park.
Infographics: Creating infographics that convey important information in a visually appealing, easy-to-process, and succinct manner allows information professionals to impart facts in a rapid-fire, simple, manner.
Virtual Storytimes: During the pandemic, we’ve seen a massive shift in storytimes moving to a virtual delivery method. Librarians, information scientists, and early childhood literacy practitioners are displaying a remarkable ability to adapt their services to meet ever-shifting community needs. Virtual storytimes allow early literacy practitioners to keep their patrons, staff, and communities safe while still providing children with the important early literacy benefits achieved through storytimes. Audience interaction is an important component of storytime and through skilled storytellers, it is not being lost in virtual delivery methods.
Website Creation: The increasing use of free website-creation platforms such as Wix or Wordpress has provided librarians and information professionals with new and creative opportunities with which to organize and present information to their audiences.
Links: As the transition to largely digital service models has swept the globe during the pandemic, the world of links has become increasingly important. When information professionals are providing virtual storytimes, websites they've created, lists of digital resources, etc. They must provide highly-visible and easy-to-navigate links (often in multiple places) that work correctly to access all of the above services. Digital services must be accessible to be utilized.
Why Competency H is Important to Me as a Professional:
One of the most important concepts that I see demonstrated time and time again across competencies and across the principles of information science is that of accessibility. As our culture continues to incorporate technology and digitally based service models, it is more important than ever that information professionals understand these technologies. We cannot truly service our patrons, clients, and communities to the best of our ability if we do not understand the prevailing and developing methods of communication. We need to be able to provide access to emerging technology, to understand how to best utilize it, and to ensure that we provide our patrons with technology that is working and accurate. Information professionals not only need to have a deep understanding of available technology, but we need to lead the way in the field. We need to demonstrate to others how to utilize what is available to meet various information needs.
Why Competency H is Important to the Profession as a Whole:
At the heart of library and information science, is the ability to provide accurate, important, and accessible information to a wide array of audiences. Identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies allows information professionals to do this. As a profession, we have always excelled at adapting our services to meet ever changing needs. This ability to adapt allows us to not only remain relevant, but to lead and excel in information practices. To fall behind in our understanding of technology or to eschew the many ways we can utilize technology to better provide information is to become irrelevant, which is not an option for our profession.
What Excellence in Competency H Looks Like to Me:
When I think of what excellence in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies looks like to me, I think of many things. I see libraries designing their own websites and saving financial resources, allowing them to reallocate budget items to important services, such as an in-house social worker at a public library. I see librarians and information professionals making available technology work to meet their needs. This could look like monthly programming events geared towards teaching a specific information group how to utilize current tech options. For instance, one event could be for hikers, and librarians could show them library resources that benefit them, such as hiking backpacks that kids can check out, or how to use library computers to access GPS routes, digital maps, and Google Earth to choose trails and safely navigate them. I see researchers presenting their findings in colorful infographics, so that the information is more accessible and easier to process for a wider audience.
Section 2 of 4:
The Discussion of My Evidence
I wrote a research paper, The Information Needs and Behaviors of Hikers, that has a discussion focusing on hikers’ use of emerging technologies. I also explore how information professionals can help to support hikers’ use of emerging technologies. I created an infographic in Canva, imparting the most important finds.
How and Why I Created Evidence A:
In my “Information 200: Information Communities” course, I studied information communities' use of emerging technologies and how information professionals fit into that picture. I was tasked with writing a research paper that analyzed available literature and critically discussed issues surrounding the information needs of a specific information community and how information professionals could assist them.
The Process of Creating Evidence A:
When deciding how I wanted to create Evidence A, I knew I wanted to choose an information community that I belonged to, but that I wanted to explore more. I decided to use hikers as my information community. I am a frequent solo-hiker but there is always more to learn. I knew going in that I wanted to highlight the unique and interesting ways that hikers can benefit from current and emerging technology. I decided to do this by exploring how hikers can use smartphone points on information boards at trailheads, GPS routes, digital maps, Google Earth, blogs and forums, and services like "Find Your Park".
I chose these technologies and communication methods because they are relevant and useful to the field of library and information science. As I address in Evidence A, issues of inequity can affect the level of safety and access hikers have when pursuing this recreational activity. Inequitable access and safety can manifest as only those who can afford the high cost of National Park entrance fees having access to those hiking trails, or as womxn or People of Color feeling unsafe hiking alone due to fear of attack. Libraries and information professionals can help to address these issues when they provide accurate, resourceful, and free access to information regarding hiking. Libraries provide hiking activity kits that can be checked out and contain free entrance passes to National Parks. They can also provide hikers with information on how to better stay safe while hiking and on what to do in an emergency. Information professionals can also teach hikers how to use smartphone scan points or how to access trail information on library computers.
In Evidence A, I provide a literature review that discusses themes in the academic literature regarding hikers and their information seeking practices. The relevant themes I chose to focus on were: access and equity of information and resources, and the intersection of information professionals and hikers. In the methodology section of Evidence A, I decided to include information on how I conducted my research and on what information I was seeking versus what information I found, as well as an analysis of the search methods and terms I found most helpful. In the discussion section of Evidence A, I chose to provide in depth analysis on the following relevant themes: the information needs and behaviors of hikers, hikers using emerging technologies, and library services provided for hikers.
Why I Chose to Feature Evidence A and How Evidence A Shows Competency:
Evidence A showcases the important connections that can be made between 1) current and emerging technologies (smartphone scan points, hiking data, and free internet and computer access at libraries), 2) information professionals (librarians), and 3) specific information groups (hikers). When information professionals understand these correlations, they better understand how they can be of use to information seekers. Evidence A uses my formula of “Technology + Information Professional + Specific Information Group = Highly Relevant Information Professional and Informed and Prepared Information Seekers”.
This formula can be applied in many situations. We can use it this way: “Infographic of Study Results on Representation in Children’s Books + The Study’s Researcher + An Audience with Less Understanding of This Issue = A Researcher Who has Provided Easily Processed Important Information and An Audience Who Now Has A Better Understanding of the Issue”.
When information professionals understand the technology available to them and how it can be used to meet the information needs of their clients, patrons, and communities, everyone involved benefits. Evidence A demonstrates this through its in depth examination of hikers, technology, and information professionals.
As my “Evidence B”, I am presenting a book promotion website that I created, “Children's Books with AMAZING illustrations!”.
How and Why I Created Evidence B:
For my “Information 237: School Library Media Materials” course, I was tasked with creating a themed book display with an annotated bibliography of each title selected.
The Process of Creating Evidence B:
When thinking about how to create Evidence B, I decided I wanted to use this assignment to feature current and emerging technologies that allowed me to better communicate with my audience, as well as to enhance the accessibility of a book display during a pandemic. To do this, I chose to make the book display in the form of a website that I created on Wix. I also decided to create and utilize infographics, links, and virtual storytime performances presented as videos throughout the site.
My knowledge of and ability to effectively utilize each of these information and communication technologies allowed me to create a book display that was publicly accessible and safe during a pandemic, allowed viewers to mimic the experience of picking up a book off a display and looking inside, and each of these technologies are able to be used to enhance a very visual mode of information presentation.
When libraries are protecting their patrons, communities, and staff by closing their doors to the public and offering services digitally or within social distancing guidelines, their ability to use technology effectively is paramount. Choosing to create Evidence B as a website allowed me to incorporate my annotated bibliography into the site, instead of as a separate (and not publicly viewable) document. I also considered the fact that, much like libraries were closed to me, they were closed to children. A display of great art in picture books that was locked inside an inaccessible library would do no one any good. Creating my book display as a website allowed the titles I selected to be recognized as having great art, allowed their art to be displayed, and provided lots of information on the books, all in a way that kids could access during the pandemic. To further this train of thought, I chose to utilize my knowledge of Wix settings to make the site publicly accessible.
Working with the theme of great illustration, I wanted my display to support important elements in art, such as color, correlating color schemes, representation, joy, and the ability to draw a viewer in visually. I knew how to utilize website design, create eye-catching infographics in Canva, create, perform, and incorporate storytime video and audio elements, and how to incorporate working links throughout the site. I used all of these elements to incorporate bright colors that would pop throughout the display. I was also able to use Wix and Canva to correlate the color schemes of the site with the artistic themes and styles of the individual titles, and to use technology to make the display visually appealing and to highlight the illustrators’ work.
Why I Chose to Feature Evidence B and How Evidence B Shows Competency:
Evidence B demonstrates my knowledge of current and emerging technological issues and trends and their impact on the information professions. It does this through creatively finding a way to use technological resources (Wix website creator, Canva infographics, Windows and Android studio video recording and editing, and effective creation of accessible links) to provide an accessible and safe book display when many libraries have been closed or patrons were uncomfortable going inside due to a pandemic. The way that I chose to design Evidence B (choosing a theme of great illustrative works and making technology work to support that theme), shows my ability to select, adapt, and effectively utilize different technological communication resources to specific situations based on their effectiveness and appropriateness.
Section 3 of 4:
How Creating the Evidence Helped Me Gain Expertise in Competency H
How Creating Evidence A Helped Me Gain Competency in the Area of H:
The process of creating Evidence A was one of my most formative experiences in grad school. This was the first research paper I had ever written. I was able to search effectively through dozens of online academic databases that I had access to as a grad student. I was able to effectively apply the elements of a research paper that I had been learning about: crafting an effective abstract, what to include in an introduction, how to write a literature review, themes in the literature, an original and well researched discussion, discerning themes in the discussion supported by the literature, and a well crafted conclusion.
Setting out to do all of this for the first time was daunting. Yet I received a 100 A+ on the paper. I feel like what allowed me to succeed was largely how I had chosen to organize my available technology resources. I created a folder in my web browser’s favorites labeled “Research Resources' ' and put it on the top navigation bar of my browsers that was always there. I filled it with all I would need to conduct research: links to the SJSU library, databases I liked, and “how to” pages full of research tips. I did the same thing with a folder I labeled “APA Resources”. I filled it with shortcuts to best practices in APA, helpful charts and examples. Utilizing the technology available to me so that I had all of these resources at my fingertips made my work streamlined and effective.
How Creating Evidence A Changed My Way of Thinking on Competency H:
Before creating Evidence A, my understanding of information groups and information seeking behaviors was vague and less defined. I knew that I was a hiker. I knew that as much as I hiked, that there was a lot I did not know. Doing the research for Evidence A showed me new and interesting ways that I could use technology to bolster my hiking efforts, access, and safety. I had no idea that smartphone scan points at trailheads were a thing before I came across them while doing this research. Creating Evidence A helped to show me that there are fascinating new ways to use technology for pretty much anything if you go looking for it.
How Creating Evidence B Helped Me Gain Competency in the Area of H:
I am a painter, illustrator, and fiction writer. Technology can sometimes seem very dry to me. Creating Evidence B allowed me to identify, use, and evaluate current and emerging information and communication technologies in a very creative and artistic fashion. I wanted everything about Evidence B to be visually appealing: the website itself, the book titles I chose, the infographics I designed, even the way I structured the site’s pages.
I have been creating websites in Wix for the past two years and I knew that I could use Wix to really build a visually appealing book display and that I could incorporate lots of multimedia elements. I used Canva for a project in my Info 200 course to create an infographic and I loved it: I could play with themes, templates, colors, graphics, text...there were so many fun, creative options. I chose to use Canva for Evidence B to design and create infographics for some of the book titles, to present information in a concise and visually appealing way. Creating Evidence B really helped me utilize technology to create something artistic.
How Creating Evidence B Changed My Way of Thinking on Competency H:
Creating Evidence B really opened an artistic door for me. Instead of seeing emerging technology as a possibly dry or tedious element, I was able to get very excited about all of the artistic potential that website creation, designing infographics, and incorporating storytelling through video and working links allowed me. I plan on continuing to expand my well developed expertise in using Wix, Canva, virtual storytimes, and the world of links to pursue creative endeavors.
Coursework That Has Prepared Me for Competency H:
In my “Information 260A: Programming and Services for Children” course, I created a storytime snippet video, allowing me to explore and navigate camera angle, file size, upload capabilities, and sound elements. I then further developed these skills working with a community library as a volunteer. I planned and performed virtual storytimes for their videographer, who presented them to the community. I expanded on this further by building all of these videos into a website I created called, A Children's Librarian's 12-Month Programming Plan. In my “Information 200: Information Communities” course, I created an infographic in Canva discussing how hikers use emerging technology. I then built the infographic into a blog I kept for the course. In this blog, I organized my work for my research paper (Evidence B). In my “Information 244: Online Searching” course, I used Canva to create an infographic containing light hearted, visually appealing, introductory, information about me. I also created a LibGuide, Using the Civil Rights Digital Library database, that allowed me to navigate the nuances of creating working links in a live document. In my “Information 230: Issues in Academic Libraries” course, I really expanded my capabilities and knowledge of website design when creating my website, Diversifying the Library Sciences, which has a more professional aesthetic and different navigation approach then ym websites focusing on children's books. It also taught me how to convert all types of documents and files into shareable formats and build them effectively into a website, as well as incorporating video, slides, screen shots, photos, and working links throughout.
In my “Information 237: School Library Media Materials” course, I chose to explore a new website creation platform, Google Sites. I was very comfortable with my ability to create a variety of sites through Wix. Expanding to Google Sites helped me to gain further knowledge on available mediums and learn what platforms were best suited to particular kinds of sites. Google Sites, I discovered, works brilliantly when creating annotated bibliographies, text sets, and digital collections. In my “Information 263: Materials for Children” course, I used Wix again to really embed illustrative work and multimedia elements throughout a website when I created my Illustrator and Illustrator-Author Study.
How I Have Changed From the Person I Was Before These Courses, to the Person After, to the Person I Am Now:
Before I completed these courses and assignments, I will admit that I was very intimidated by the way emerging technologies were dominating the artistic realm. I am a painter whose art requires a physical canvas and a box overflowing with bottles of acrylic paints and mason jars full of well worn paint brushes. I am an illustrator who draws by hand in notebooks full of paper, with pencils, ink pens, and watercolor markers. I do not have a degree in graphic design. As illustration moves largely into realms that require iPads and photoshop and online illustrating programs that I have never had the financial funds to purchase or learn, I have felt left behind.
Learning to create and design websites, infographics, virtual storytimes, and working links, has allowed me to truly embrace, explore, and excel at using different emerging technology-based mediums to create artistic projects. I can apply these skills to so many different areas that interest me: hiking, organizing information, building art into websites, and exploring whole new avenues of design.
What I Have Learned:
I have learned to create and design websites on platforms like Wix and Google Sites. I have learned how to present important information in rapid-fire, visually-appealing, manners through building infographics in Canva. I have learned to create effective and appealing video content and to build those video files into website design. I have learned how to evaluate, convert, and present documents in formats that are compatible with different website capabilities. I have learned that hikers can use their smartphones to scan trailhead information boards, can use free library resources to safely plan and access incredible hiking opportunities, and can glean insider information from outdoor professional blogs. I have learned that information professionals can provide remarkable levels of assistance and resources to niche information groups.
Section 4 of 4:
How the Knowledge I Have Gained Will Influence Me in the Future, as an Information Professional
What I Bring to the Position, in Terms of Competency H:
I bring with me the ability to assess communication and technology needs, to evaluate current and emerging technologies, and to determine the best communication practices and technological solutions in nuanced situations. I bring with me the professional skills and eye of an artist as well as a graduate degree in library and information science. This is the best of both worlds when creating digital resources, solutions, and artifacts to meet information needs. I bring my ability to apply current and emerging technologies to a wide variety of situations, as well as my outstanding ability to create visually-appealing, dynamic, efficient, and well-organized information products.
How My Excellence in Technology and Communication Will Contribute to My Professional Competence in the Future:
I am an outstanding communications and technology professional because I skillfully identify, utilize, and evaluate current and emerging information and communication technologies to meet various information needs. I have developed high level communication and technology skills through authoring a research paper (Evidence A) examining the information seeking practices of specific groups and how information professionals can help to support their use of emerging technologies. This taught me that information professionals can find unique and helpful solutions, information, and resources for almost any niche group or interest. I also assessed and utilized technology and communication resources such as Wix, Canva, video editing software, and file conversion best practices, to address a need. I did this through creating a book promotion (Evidence B) featuring current and emerging technologies that allowed me to better communicate with my audience, as well as to enhance the accessibility of a book display during a pandemic. This taught me how to use emerging technologies as artistic outlets that promote communication to a specific audience. My understanding of best communication and technology practices, including my own desire to use technology as a professional creative and artistic tool, make me an excellent choice for digital resource creation and maintenance.
Please enjoy some of the fun infographics I have created below:
Just for fun:
The amazing Nederland Community Library invited me to do a virtual storytime for them!
Please enjoy, as I read:
"The Librarian From the Black Lagoon" by Mike Thaler and Jared Lee
Links mentioned in my virtual storytime:
- Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden discusses Race In America with YA/children's authors Jason Reynolds (the 2020-21 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature), and Newbery Honor winner Jacqueline Woodson
VIDEO PRODUCTION CREW:
Producer: Zen Cat Productions
Cinematographer-dp: Charlie Westerink
Find Your Park. (n.d.) Park finder. Retrieved April 27, 2020, from https://findyourpark.com/park-finder?field_activities_1=1
Hyatt, E. (2016, September 20-23). The information behaviour of Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers: an autoethnographic pilot study [Conference presentation abstract]. Proceedings of ISIC, the Information Behaviour Conference, Zadar, Croatia. http://InformationR.net/ir/22-1/isic/isics1607.html
Kodym, O., Kodymová, J., & Matušková, S. (2017). Information support for sustainable tourism. Les Ulis: EDP Sciences, 134, 1-9. http://dx.doi.org.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/10.1051/matecconf/201713400023
REI Co-Op Journal. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.rei.com/blog
REI. (2017, April 17). Force of nature [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6Msz46mqrw