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New technological tools in academe

New technological tools in academe

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Published by Ralph Adam
Ralph Adam,. Published in: Library & Information Update,
Ralph Adam,. Published in: Library & Information Update,

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Published by: Ralph Adam on Jul 03, 2009
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05/16/2010

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Williams, J.M. & Goodwin, S.P. (eds).
Teaching with technology: an academic librarian’s guide.
157+xviii pp.Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2007; Price: Not given13-digit ISBN: 978 1 84334 172 7 (pb);10-digit ISBN: 1 84334 172 7 (pb); 1 84334 173 5 (hb)Academic libraries have changed fast, reacting quickly to the ‘social software’ revolutionand the huge range of remotely-hosted tools and services it has brought: terms likeLibrary 2.0, wikis, blogs, podcasting, webcasting and instant messaging have gone fromthe language of a select few to daily use. And library education has come far since theearly tape-slide presentations! This book has appeared at just the right moment – and is very welcome.It describes technologies for enhancing library education (in both formal teaching andenquiry-desk work), filling the gap between teaching manuals and technology guides.The main chapters are by specialists, with each discussing one or several technologiesand their benefits, aided by examples and further reading. Chapters cover virtualreference services, mobile computing, collaborative learning, video-conferencing, course-management systems (such as Blackboard), the role of gaming and professionaldevelopment.The editors suggest that soon these systems will be even more interactive and have better  personalisation features allowing, for example, on-screen annotation and improved co- browsing.Most writers have a clear, descriptive style. I should, however, have appreciated more(and clearer) screen-shots, plus evaluations of the tools’ effectiveness. Discussion of other issues would
 
have been useful, too: staff-development, institutional politics (conflictswith other departments, such as IT), privacy, copyright and security, for example.The book’s origins are a mystery: published in Oxford, the editors and contributors arefrom (often little-known) US institutions. The style is very American and, in some cases,off-putting (I felt patronised by the many references to ‘patrons’ per page!). Knowledgeof the US library and education systems is assumed. Why there are virtually no referencesto British work is not explained: is this due to a lack of development on this side of theAtlantic? We should be told.Also helpful would be some discussion of related issues: staff-development, privacy, IPR,copyright, security, fire-walls and the impact of institutional politics
Ralph Adam,
 
Sept. 2007

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