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Objective #3: Design Technological Testbed for Digital Librarianship

Objective three involved the design of a technological test bed for digital librarianship. The first component of this objective involved the identification of new technologies through environmental scanning of resources as well as the administration of surveys to librarians and educators.

The test bed, which is better described as a sandbox or play area, was implemented in a limited way using both the IPL Learning Community and the project website. For example, early on in the project, a Meebo widget was made available to students and faculty through the IPL Learning Community in addition to forums, wikis and blogs.

We launched social media sites both to disseminate the work of the grant, as well as for use as digital librarianship learning venues for LIS students in managing and experimenting with YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Delicious, Flickr and Twitter.

As we began to expand hands-on options beyond the IPL, we initiated the creation of a repository of existing training material on Web 2.0 technologies, and expanded our sandbox concept into a series of teaching and learning exercises, “IPL’s 15 Things” with background information, links to explore, readings, and hands-on activities in new technologies such as blogging, wikis, social networking and virtual worlds.

In addition, we began to establish relationships with library software vendors to expand training and learning beyond the Ask an IPL Librarian service and the IPL collection to create a virtual learning laboratory for digital reference software. To date, two vendors have provided access to their software for members of the IPL consortium. Mosio SMS Text a Librarian became available to students in the partner schools in Spring 2009 and OCLC QuestionPoint was offered to students for the first time in Fall 2009. Hands on assignments using the software have been developed and tested in workshop classes at Drexel and Florida State University. These assignments will become part of the learning objects repository developed for the project. These technologies will be incorporated into the Virtual Learning Laboratory.

During the transformation project, other efforts were underway related to the IPL. Two activities are of particular note. First, the IPL Labs has been initiated (http://project.cis.drexel.edu:8080/wiki/index.php/Main_Page). The IPL Labs will be a collaboratory for digital libraries research. This effort is seen to complement the Learning Laboratory.

Second, the IPL Consortium responded to Califa’s request to host the Librarians’ Internet Index (LII). In early 2010, “IPL2: Information you can trust” will be launched as a merger of the LII and the IPL in January 2010 (current development URL: http://research.cis.drexel.edu/) . This new platform will provide a basis for exciting enhancements to the Virtual Learning Laboratory and will preserve the work, and contributions to LIS history achievements of Librarians’ Index to the Internet.