Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rough guide to building digital literacies

In my post yesterday I alluded to being interested in building digital literacies. So here is my vague 'how to' guide. I think the first step is to think about your clients/community. Who are they and what are they doing?
Guide to building digital literacies
The who and what will depend on the library and even within one library it can vary wildly. Just remember there is no one size fits all library client. Whatever you decide to do needs to be flexible and modifiable. In an academic library our clients need to find, evaluate and use information for assignments, teaching and research, collaborate and work in groups, create and manage content like images, posters, models, presentations, video, animation, blogs and podcasts. They also like to share content via social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. Increasingly they like sharing where they are with Facebook and Foursquare checkins. When we figure out who they are and what they're doing we should try what they're doing so we can better understand how and why they're doing it. For example, having library Facebook, Twitter and Youtube sites to connect with your community, learn from them and share with them. The final step is helping them do things better and this is tricky. This might mean you have to try new things to come up with a solution. For example, developing new workshops on how to use collaborative tools to improve groupwork and dispersed communication. This is something many of our clients struggle with and there are many tools out there that can assist. One of our roles as librarians is to make connections (see awesome video by Kathryn Greenhill on librariansmatter) and this is an example where we can connect people with the right tools to help make groupwork more efficient and effective. Some of the tools are:

  • Diigo for shared bookmarking
  • Google docs for real-time shared editing of a wide range of document types
  • Dropbox for file sharing
  • Mendeley for sharing bibliographies
  • Elluminate for online conferencing
  • Skype for video calls and chatting
  • there are many, many more...
This is just one example where we thought about who our clients are and what they're doing and by trying new things were able to come up with a way to support what they need to do and help them do it better. In this example we're building digital literacies in online collaboration, shared bookmarking and cloud based information management. There are many more things our clients need to do that we could support by building digital literacies. Most of all I believe you need to make it fun! How you try to do that is up to you. Some things are easier to make fun than others... but who wouldn't want to play reference list Bingo? Please feel free to share your ideas.


  1. Your blog is very nice Miss Sophie.As you have written in your blog that Rough guide to building digital literacies.I agree with you but some people do not feel same about this.Can you share some more links on this topic.