Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ball State University Libraries’ Innovators Share Knowledge at Local Conference

Several librarians represented the Ball State University Libraries’ commitment to technology at a conference entitled Reaching Digital Natives and Immigrants: Library 2.0 on November 2, 2007 at the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library. The program was hosted by Indiana Online Users Group (IOLUG),, a local professional organization that aims to further the use of online systems, databases, computers and telecommunication systems in libraries. The conference was attended by 81 information professionals from around Indiana.

As a member of the IOLUG Program Committee, Amanda A. Hurford said that several librarians from the University Libraries brought a special dimension to the program by speaking about their Library 2.0 activities and social networking tools.

Jonathan M. Brinley, Metadata and Digital Initiatives Developer, presented a hands-on breakout session about creating a library wiki. Information Services Librarians Jason A. Fields and Eric B. Fisher and Amanda A. Hurford, Digital Initiatives Multimedia Developer, participated in the Blinded Me with Library Science Fair, a free form, high energy gathering in which conference attendees visited booths managed by librarians demonstrating specific implementations of Library 2.0 technologies.

Jonathan provided hands-on experience for participants regarding several popular open-source wiki software packages, including MediaWiki, TiddlyWiki, DokuWiki, and PmWiki. He assisted participants through the process of creating a wiki using the MediaWiki package, the same software used to power the University Libraries’ wiki. You can learn more about wiki administration from the MediaWiki wiki,, or by contacting Jonathan M. Brinley,, 765-285-3341.

Wikis for Project Management
As attendees approached Amanda's booth, they were welcomed by informational posters describing how the Ball State University Libraries’ wiki helped to manage the Middletown Digital Oral History Project. Amanda also used a laptop to demonstrate how the wiki works and the kind of information that is organized there.

Participants learned how wiki technology allows a large group of people working on a project to collaborate and communicate their ideas in organized, centralized, and searchable forum. Amanda explained that the wiki used for the Middletown Digital Oral History Project is open to the public and retrievable by a simple Google search, so other institutions embarking on an oral history project can benefit from University Libraries’ documentation.

To view the Oral Histories page on the Ball State University Libraries’ wiki, visit

Second Life
The crowd that gathered at the Second Life booth watched as Jason maneuvered his avatar, Phenyks Winx, through the multi-user virtual environment. His demonstration, called Avatars, Objects, and Islands, included a tour through several Second Life landmarks such as Ball State's own Middletown island, Vassar's recreation of the Sistine Chapel, and Alliance Library System's Information Archipelago.

Observers received a brochure with supplemental information explaining the function of an avatar, a Second Life user's virtual representation, and the objects with which they interact while in-world. The brochure also touched upon concepts such as virtual land, currency, and the nature of library service, and there was a listing of references and informative Web sites. To view the complete brochure, visit For more information about University Libraries’ Second Life Initiative, contact Jason A. Fields,, 765-285-3326.

After their brief tour of some of the locations in Second Life, attendees visited the MySpace booth to see how Ball State University Libraries are using this popular social networking site to connect with students, authors, and other libraries. Visit

Eric demonstrated the University Libraries’ public profile as well as the user page where the profile owner can control the content of the public profile. He then showed the audience how different features such as the MySpace bulletin feature, public calendar, event manager, and blog can be used for promoting a library’s programs, services, and collections. He also presented how images and videos could be loaded onto the profile page.

A list of resources on social networking sites that were provided to conference participants is also available online at For more information about Ball State University Libraries’ MySpace page, or to ask about promoting a library event or program on MySpace, contact Eric B. Fisher,, 765-285-3338.

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