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Campus Strategic Planning Embraces a Wiki

Adelphi University in New York faced the task of devising a new 3-year strategic plan. It chose PBWiki ( as its tool of choice. (PBWiki took honorable mention in the AIIP Technology Award.) According to Andrew White, it took like 60 seconds to download and install the tool.

Why use a wiki?

  • Introduce staff to new technologies
  • Demonstrate the power of Web 2.0 collaboration
  • Allow for input from off-site staff
  • Training opportunities
  • Group activity

After the success of this project, the staff looked for additional uses for the tool, including web design. The project garnered the increased participation of staff (“everybody”) and was deemed easy to use. The tool truly became a social facilitator.

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief, Information Today, Inc.

AIIP Technology Award Given to 10K Wizard

Before Tuesday morning’s keynote address, conference chair Jane Dysart turned the podium over briefly to Cindy Shamel, a representative of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP; Each year, the AIIP Technology Award goes “to the company whose product best assists independent information professionals with their day-to-day operations in locating, analyzing, organizing, and delivering information.” Shamel presented this year’s award to 10K Wizard ( Accepting the award for 10K Wizard was Marie Varelas, librarian relations specialist.

According to the official announcement, “The AIIP Awards Committee found that the 10K Wizard’s Regulatory Database consolidates nine disparate sources of regulatory information, enabling users to utilize simple keywords or complex Boolean expressions to find and monitor the evolutionary path of regulations from a variety of related sources. Alerting, delivers pro-active updates on any of these sources.”

The committee also gave Honorable Mention to PBWiki ( for its online wiki application and to Tableau Software’s Desktop Tableau ( for its visualization software.

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief, Information Today, Inc.


Creating Games, Services for Digital Natives

It’s always a shame when good sessions have few attendees, probably because of competing conference sessions. Such was the case with "Creating Games & Services With Digital Natives." It was next door to the Pecha Kucha presentations (and the laughter from that session came right through the dividing wall). Krista Godfrey, from McMaster University, and Amy Buckland, from McGill University, gave a wonderfully coordinated presentation on their efforts in introducing reference service in the virtual world of Second Life. They agreed that the future of virtual world reference (and they weren’t limiting this to SL, although that’s mostly what they talked about) revolves around creativity, the ability to experiment with new technologies. Incorporating digital natives, through student projects and feedback, helps make projects successful. McGill’s SL island was designed by a student as part of his master’s thesis. Libraries in SL shouldn’t duplicate what’s available in the non-virtual world, nor duplicate how things are done. Both librarians believe stongly that higher education is moving towards virtual worlds to deliver learning experiences for digital natives. I was surprised, however, when they said that many of students at their respective universities are not in SL. I wonder if sometimes we information professionals are too far ahead of our clientele.

Following the "Mc’ers" were Erik Boekesteijn and Jaap Van De Geer, explaining how they build the game Dark Ink. This was a joint project of Delft Public Library and the University of Delft, which was interesting because apparently the two libraries hadn’t done anything cooperatively in the past. Erik and Jaap also stressed the importance of involving the digital natives in the design process and the critical role of creativity.

Marydee Ojala

Editor, ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals

Darlene & Jeff on Information Visualization

Darlene Fichter and Jeff Wisnewski admirably pinch-hit for a scheduled speaker and reviewed tools for information visualization.  We humans are visual creatures, and whenever we use visual techniques, it makes it much easier to find information.  For example, at the University of Pittsburgh, where Jeff is located, a "discovery cloud" appears on results screens. Clouds such this bring search aids together visually.

How many times have librarians heard requests like "I know it when I see it" or "The book had a red cover"?  Visualization tools now available can help find the answers.

Darlene has posted the slides showing examples of the tools and their URLs on Slideshare.  Links to the tools are available on her blog.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today, and IL 2008 Blog Coordinator