Williams, J.M. & Goodwin, S.P. (eds). Teaching with technology: an academic librarian’s guide.157+xviii pp.

Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2007; Price: Not given 13-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’ revolution and the huge range of remotely-hosted tools and services it has brought: terms like Library 2.0, wikis, blogs, podcasting, webcasting and instant messaging have gone from the language of a select few to daily use. And library education has come far since the early 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 and enquiry-desk work), filling the gap between teaching manuals and technology guides. The main chapters are by specialists, with each discussing one or several technologies and their benefits, aided by examples and further reading. Chapters cover virtual reference services, mobile computing, collaborative learning, video-conferencing, coursemanagement systems (such as Blackboard), the role of gaming and professional development. 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 cobrowsing. 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 (conflicts with 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 are from (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!). Knowledge of the US library and education systems is assumed. Why there are virtually no references to British work is not explained: is this due to a lack of development on this side of the Atlantic? 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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