The absolutely standout, rush-home-and-start-doing-it-myself session from today was Jody Atkinson and Sonja Olsen’s talk on podcasting information literacy tutorials at Curtin Library. (Thanks to everyone who counselled me to go!) As an initiative it certainly passes the is it cheap?/is it easy?/is it worth it? trifecta of important questions to ask whenever starting a new endeavor. Eight months later, more than 5,500 downloads of their podcasts have been initiated by students, with some months registering more than 1,000 downloads of podcasts. The secret of their strategy seems to be:
• offering new podcasts every week, thus keeping it fresh and new;
• offering podcasts on useful, practical topics such as library tours (brilliant use of the technology!) and guides to referencing;
• creating not overly complicated podcasts, keeping them under 5 minutes in length, which meant not too much time was spent on each one, therefore maximizing resources and keeping momentum going.
Their paper was jam-packed with lots of practical advice – I’ll forward more detailed notes when I get back to Sydney.
The morning sessions I attended were largely about opac usage. As Tom has covered those sessions I’ll keep my comments brief. The most interesting point for me was something I have suspected for a long time –students find our opacs very hard to use. This seems to be due to a number of factors, including students’ reluctance to change any default settings or to read help screens. Unsurprising stuff, really, considering what google looks like.
Another interesting afternoon session was the “SMS a librarian” service that Southbank Tafe offers. A very interesting and effective service that has been particularly adopted by their young, international, and hearing-impaired students.
So it’s been a tech-heavy day here in Perth. I expect it will continue tomorrow, with papers on wikis, blogs, and of course our very own Sten’s talk on the Sydney eScholarship repository.
Here’s my question of the day: should I go to a session on Libraries Australia and Picture Australia (Tom Boston, National Library), or should I go to a talk about evaluating information architecture of Australian library web sites (Philip Hider, Charles Sturt)?