Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Business Information not limited to a "thing"

In the capitalist world/ the neo-liberal world information tends to be commodified into a thing or a resource. This thing or resource is then handled by technology. However, I want to argue that information is not just a thing or a commodity packaged in a particular format or medium or media. Business information is much more.

First there is people information or people sources of information (most commonly referred to as knowledge).  For those seeking business information, much of the information that is relevant comes from social capital or people sources (otherwise known as oral or personal sources). As such a business information system for business users cannot only provide information embodied as thing, but must also facilitate the exchange of information or knowledge transfer through interaction with personal or people sources. This may be done through technology and spaces that facilitate online social networking and digital communication.

For further discussion on information as a "thing" see Buckland (1991).

Buckland, M. K (1991). Information as Thing. Journal of the American Society for Information Science  42, 5;  351-360. Retrieved from

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Student entrepreneurs on the rise

This week in my findings, readings or browsing of the web in relation to my refined thesis idea:

And the US pushing their postsecondary students, including those on student loan into entrepreneurship
Laura Vanderkam: Give enterprising and business-minded students the same loan breaks as those who work for the government.

More Findings on libraries supporting entrepreneurship and more

I concluded a rough week and have now began a rough half week. Anyway, today I want to report on my latest findings related to my thesis topic.

Now for those wondering why all the interest in entrepreneurship by this information professional, here is a link that manifests part of my vision for libraries: libraries supporting entrepreneurship:

Libraries and Economic Development « Supporting Entrepreneurship

It is a blog that actually details the case of actual libraries/ a library that seeks to directly impact economic development.

Also I looked at this week an article on Canada job losses at This was important as in talking with someone about my business project, she was skeptical as to whether libraries need to support entrepreneurship in Canada as she argued that recessions always occur, and over time give way to times of prosperity. As such, it might not be worthwile for libraries to support something just because unemployment and job losses are going through a cyclical process.

Also picked up on my radar was something about the floating immigrant business incubator at

Here it is reported that a
Startup hopes to hack the immigration system with a floating incubator [as]... American immigration law makes it difficult for foreigners to found businesses in the United States. A new startup by the name of Blueseed hopes to solve the problem by parking a ship in international waters off the coast of Silicon Valley.
I also wanted to feature and introduce the first academic business library that I found to provide support for student entrepreneurs: at Santa Clara University, Leavey School of Business.

Comparing Jamaica and Canada on online information available for student entrepreneurs

A few days ago I posted a comparison on Jamaica and Canada in terms of the provision of entrepreneurship information for youth and students. This topic might very well be a chapter in my dissertation. This is an update to my thoughts on the subject.

In some countries, the opportunities for youth entrepreneurship seem even more abundant. The opportunities available to the Canadian student entrepreneur is even greater. Organizations such as Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE) on their website are dedicated toward collaborating with postsecondary institutions in igniting youth entrepreneurship. An excerpt from the ACE 'About ACE 'on What is ACE states

What is ACE? Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship or ACE is a national, charitable organization dedicated to teaching and igniting young Canadians to create brighter futures for themselves and their communities. Through a collaborative partnership between higher education and industry, ACE delivers pro...1

Provincial governments also provide that service. In Ontario, Canada, the provincial government provides a one stop shop or information portal for youth interested in entrepreneurship to get help and assistance through its Youth Entrepreneurship Info-Guide: Canada Business Ontario on its website:
"This website provides information on federal and provincial business-related programs, services and regulations and includes such topics as starting a business, financing, marketing, management and planning, taxation, exporting/importing, and e-business."
The youth entrepreneurship info-guide specifically provides: 'information on a variety of resources for young entrepreneurs; including tax information, hiring, financing, as well as on various associations and online publications'. The webpage serves like a directory to direct the youth entrepreneur where they can go for information, assistance and services that they need to get started and navigate the process of starting a business in Ontario, Canada.

Apart from Canada Business Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation also provides information and opportunities for youth entrepreneurs to get information, assistance and services to help them enter into entrepreneurship. The goal of the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation as stated on its website is 'to build a strong economy for all Ontarians' by creating a number of programs to support individual economic and entrepreneurial efforts, through programmes including the Next Generation of Jobs Fund , and the Advanced Manufacturing Investment Strategy among others. Specifically for youth entrepreneurs, there are several programmes including a Summer Company programme for youth between the ages of 15-29, that provides 'hands-on business training and mentoring, together with awards of up to $3,000' to help youth start and run a summer business and experience being an entrepreneur. There is also the Ontario Global Edge program that provides international entrepreneurship placement for the 'enterprising student between the ages of 19 and 29' which is currently delivered exclusively by nine post-secondary institutions. Finally, there is the Youth Entrepreneurship Partnerships program that provides 'grants to non-profit organizations to run programs promoting the development of entrepreneurial skills in young people between the ages of 12-29'. 2

Thus much e-government information exists about programmes and services available to Canadian youth and specifically postsecondary student entrepreneurs. The ones examined here are just some among the many sources that exist online for the youth of say Ontario, if not all Canada, to access information regarding entrepreneurship. With such provisions, it is therefore not surprising that recently, a Canadian PhD student wins global graduate student entrepreneur title.3

The comparison is a stark contrast to this researcher's home country of Jamaica, where online government or e-government information is not so targeted toward the youth entrepreneur. In fact, in Jamaica, even though government provides inexpensive information services, youth entrepreneurs still encounter monetary constraints to utilize available offerings. While government established agencies provide training and information for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the information may be scattered across various agencies, and inaccessible through any central portal aimed directly at the youth entrepreneur. Through agencies such as Human Employment and Resources Training Trust National Training Agency (HEART Trust NTA), government may provide entrepreneurship training and other education about an industry or the standards in an industry. Further standards information are available through the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ). Through agencies like Jamaica Promotions (JAMPRO), government may provide information on Jamaica’s investment opportunities as well as opportunities for exports and/or trade. The Government has even established agencies like Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) to provide training, advice, counseling or expertise for SME owners in business planning, marketing planning and other areas essential in growing a SME. And this list is not exhaustive.4

Yet even the list supplied by the Jamaican government do not explicitly mention services targeted toward the youth entrepreneur. This situation begs the question of where are those programmes and services for Jamaican youth, especially the postsecondary Jamaican student, provided by the government to help them to realise their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs?5 In comparison to Ontario, Canada as a province, it is amazing how little Jamaica has not invested as much in programmes and services targeted towards youth entrepreneurship.
1Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE). 'About ACE.'
2Students & Young Entrepreneurs - Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade
Graduate Student Entrepreneur Title
4The (Economic and Social Survey Jamaica 2008) highlights several Government business development services offered in Jamaica (13.2-13.3).
5This question is however beyond the scope of this proposal. To offer an opinion, in my view, Jamaica invests more time and money in developing talents in sports and music, that should really be invested in developing youth entrepreneurial skills.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Comparing the Information Online for the Jamaican versus Canadian postsecondary student entrepreneur

After browsing the web and seeing how much youth entrepreneurship is encouraged in Canada, I am not surprised that a Canadian PhD student wins global graduate student entrepreneur title:

Graduate Student Entrepreneur Title

What can Jamaica do in this regard? In my view, we spend so much time and money in developing talents in sports and music, when we should really be developing our youths' business and entrepreneurial skills.

In comparison to Jamaica, it is amazing how much help postsecondary students in Canada can get to realise their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs. Here is another organisation, Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE)

ACE » About ACE » What is ACE
What is ACE? Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship or ACE is a national, charitable organization dedicated to teaching and igniting young Canadians to create brighter futures for themselves and their communities. Through a collaborative partnership between higher education and industry, ACE delivers pro...

Provincial governments also provide that service. Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation also provides information and opportunities for youth entrepreneurs to get information, assistance and services to help them enter into entrepreneurship:

Students & Young Entrepreneurs - Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade
The goal of the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation is to build a strong economy for all Ontarians. Thats why weve created a number of programs to support your efforts, including the Next Generation of Jobs Fund , the Advanced Manufacturing Investment Strategy and the Eastern Ontario D…

Additional provincial government provided information for Ontario Canadian youth to enter into entrepreneurship is also available on:

The Ontario provincial government in Canada does provide a one stop shop or portal to help student and youth interested in entrepreneurship to get help and assistance.
Youth Entrepreneurship Info-Guide | Canada Business Ontario

This website provides information on federal and provincial business-related programs, services and regulations and includes such topics as starting a business, financing, marketing, management and planning, taxation, exporting/importing, and e-business. It is like a directory that directs the youth where they can go to for information, assistance and services that they need to get started.

My issue is that these are just some of the sources that exist online for the youth of say Ontario, if not all Canada, to access information regarding entrepreneurship. Where are those resources for Jamaican youth? Especially the postsecondary Jamaican student ?

Information Services available for Youth Entrepreneurs Part 1

I am still refining the idea for my Youth Entrepreneurship Information Behaviour research. I am though uncovering many resources that suggest where youth can go for information.While youth education in entrepreneurship is neglected in secondary education, despite having clear benefits (Kourilsky and Walstad 2007), I believe that entrepreneurship education is recently gaining importance in postsecondary education.
It seems to me that being young and a student is the best time to launch a business as:
  • one has opportuntiy to do courses in entrepreneurship at universities
  • many universities provide support to student entrepreneurs including career information services, business incubators and opportunities for internships and mentorship
  • there are also contests/competitions/organizations targetting student entrepreneurs
In Ontario, Canada, the provincial government does provide a one stop shop or information portal for youth interested in entrepreneurship to get help and assistance.

Through its Youth Entrepreneurship Info-Guide: Canada Business Ontario on its website:

"This website provides information on federal and provincial business-related programs, services and regulations and includes such topics as starting a business, financing, marketing, management and planning, taxation, exporting/importing, and e-business."
The youth entrepreneurship info-guide specifically provides: 'information on a variety of resources for young entrepreneurs; including tax information, hiring, financing, as well as on various associations and online publications'. The webpage is like a directory that directs the youth entrepreneur where they can go for information, assistance and services that they need to get started and navigate the process of starting a business in Ontario, Canada.


Kourilsky,M. L., Walstad,W. B. & Thomas, A. (2007). The entrepreneur in youth :an untapped resource for economic growth, social entrepreneurship, and education. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Resource for the Young Entrepreneur's library

Here are is a book that I discovered in the UWO Ivey School Business library that may be a useful purchase for librarians who want to contribute to youth entrepreneurship:

Author Hawkins, Barrie.
Title How to start a business when you're young : get the right idea for success / Barrie Hawkins and Luke Wing.
Publisher London : A & C Black, 2009.

I have not yet read it, but just browsed it, so I am unable to provide a thorough review. But one could definitely see if there is any information on Amazon or Google Books or contact the publisher for more information.

On another matter, so far I found that my research will be citing a lot of periodicals from Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship. As such, I will be looking foward to perhaps preparing an article from my research for that publication.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Entrepreneur and Small business information need: Open-source library of business documents

Interesting finds today as I surf the Web searching for information for my thesis proposal. Today I found a web forum where small business owners and entrepreneurs were discussing creating their own library of open source documents. The discussion began on March 2010

From the wealth of information I find in this discussion forum, I am wondering if I can undertake a study that seeks to investigate the information needs of enrepreneurs and small businesses based on their posts on blogs, tweets and online fora.

For example, here is a post where the participant posted about the type of information needed and how it could be organised for access:

The A-Z of business development. For example; brainstorming, team building (finding collaborative tools), writing plan, looking for F&F, bank, state, angel, VC, PE funding, writing the presentations, honing the E-pitch, hiring lawyers to write NDAs, placement docs etc, getting offices (lease docs), hiring people (writing ads and designing remuneration packages), designing strategy for corporate, marketing, finding CRM tools, accounting packages, bureacracy etc etc.
That is a brain dump, it can be structured, but there is a huge list of the same tasks all entrepreneurs have to undertake!

However, the participant continues to post a revolutionary idea:

If you think about it there is actually a serious business in offering templates and advice on every aspect (sorry, can't help myself from thinking of the angles!) but can you imagine how cool it would be if we got the whole entrepreneur community to contribute snippets of their work and insight every step of the way, which would build up over time and anyone could access for free!
 The participant even goes on to make my case or point out the same business problem that I posed in my proposal:

Part of the problem is that to an extent a lot of good stuff is already out there, it is just so fragmented, and do people want it brought together? Also, people quite rightly want to profit from their work. Nivi and Naval at venture hacks have great tips, thefunded have term sheet database, y-com have some legal docs etc. To an extent bringing it together just means having connections and saying “hey buddy, got a great community idea, would you mind us aggregating your great stuff” and then filing it together in a smart manner. Ok, but largely venture hacks is a business per se, they have free stuff to sell interviews and the odd spreadsheet, but you get the idea, no need for me to spell everything out.
This is only a part of the potential database of information, most of information will come from non-celebrity entrepreneurs, though these guys would be great at getting the word out. It’s all about getting people to think of using it and them getting over perceived competition issues.
Find the best ip telephone (Someone on twitter was asking about this the other day) having spent days analysing who the best provider is for areas with bad cell signal, file the research and advice under “getting the office set up”! Business fails, upload a copy of useful docs. Why waste it all.

Readings this week in support of my thesis proposal idea

Universities are changing and academic libraries will need to change with them. That is my central idea, as I contemplate academic libraries as centres for supporting student entrepreneurship.

I was searching for a periodical that discussed academic libraries providing support to businesses:

Title:A library for entrepreneurs
Other Titles:Arkansas Small Business Development Center at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock
Personal Author:Cooper, Susan
Journal Name:Arkansas Libraries
Source:Arkansas Libraries v. 53 (April 1996) p. 3-6

This lead to me to Historic Little Rock: An Illustrated History  by C. Fred Williams and in particular page 138. In it, while reading about Arkansas Small Business Development Center at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock I discovered theconcept of metropolitian university. From what Iunderstood from the reading the concept speaks to universities engaging in outreach in its local community.

This concept of the metropolitan university I think I will need to read more about. Hence the book

Metropolitan universities: an emerging model in American higher education  by Daniel Milo Johnson and David Arnold Bell might be part of that reading.

However if this model of university extend its resources including its research for the benefit of the local community, then what are the implications for the academic library?

Academic libraries supporting Student Entrepreneurship (Part 1)

I was down last week, when my feedback returned where all the reviewers of my proposal doubted if it was feasible. I had plan to explore academic libraries as centres for supporting student entrepreneurship. However, my reviewers doubted if this was in the scope of what academic libraries do and also had doubts about the feasibility of my topic.

Well, I prayed and mini fasted. I repented and sought to pay what I owed. Today I found a link to a university library that did provide some library space to support student entrepreneurs. Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business website states:

Santa Clara’s new Harrington Learning Commons, Sobrato Technology Center and Orradre Library opened at the beginning of spring quarter, and the facility’s flexible spaces and state-of-the-art technology are already transforming the ways in which student entrepreneurs collaborate, study and strategize.

Thank G-d. However, I am still dependent on him to get me through the revision of the proposal in time for submission next week.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Libraries as solutions to current economic and social disequilibrium

I am revisiting my research proposal ideas, after readings and feedback. I decided to choose an epistemological standpoint, approaching my research from a functionalist/structural approach/paradigm.
My epistemological standpoint is that of  functionalism. I believe that evidently there is conflict in society, that can be mediated towards stability and order. For my particular research, there is conflict  among the youth and those who are in power.

Society has been structured to traditionally educate youth and the young to become labourers rather than entrepreneurs/capitalists. Middle class parents send their middle class kids to universities to get degrees to get professional jobs.However, the structure worked well in the past, but is now collapsing. As higher education has been liberalised as a service while the demand for university education has risen, more students are attending universities, leaving without jobs and are accumulating huge debts in doing so.

There is now a disequilibrium in society, with the need to find meaningful employment for university graduates as well as create jobs for the many workers displaced by global economic recession. Things are even more difficult with the growing world population, which will require more jobs and employment for the future.

Occupy movement has brought to surface some of the problems with the current model, and it is now up to the authorities to  respond appropriately to these issues and concerns. At this point there is need for social change.

Libraries and higher education need to be restructured as part of this social change. Libraries have traditionally been used to support education or to provide opportunities for the consumption of culture. I argue that libraries must move to a new level, bypassing the support of consumption of culture to places where youth can create culture and even be educated beyond employment, but to become part of the business and entrepreneurial classes. Libraries to move to place of becoming centres of innovation and entrepreneurship and incubators for youth entrepreneurs.

I therefore see libraries as part of the solution to the disequilibrium in current societal and economic trends.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Facebook and libraries

One of my other interest is to write the book on Facebook for Librarians: A Conversational Librarian's Guide. We had a discussion in one of my classes about libraries on Facebook where it was discussed that libraries are not doing Facebook right.

My argument is that librarians and libraries that establish library pages do not do it right, because they approach it as they would traditional media. Facebook is not like a website. A website is a static publication, and as such formal language and editing is definitely important. However, Facebook is more for real time communication, and Facebook pages should aim to be more conversational and informal. It is about conversing with users and striking up conversation with them.

Conversation does not only have to be about library events or activities, but other things that the library may think that users may be interested in. For example, discussing items in the library's collection or current awareness issues that users may be willing to comment on.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Young Adult-Owned Business Information Resources for Academic Librariesss

My vision is to see academic libraries provide support for student entrepreneurs to start new businesses. I strongly believe that academic libraries have the existing resources to do so.

Today I went to the Business Library at the Ivey School of Business building and in its reference collection used several resources of value to the small business owner or entrepreneur. There where directories about who buys what; sample business plans, business plan templates, industry profiles and other resources.

I am contemplating collecting a list of resources that academic librarians can use to provide information to students who want to start small businesses.

However, I may first want to make the case for young business owners:

Today, 'more young persons have abandoned traditional corporate career paths in favor of increased autonomy and financial rewards that are possible through entrepreneurship.' Hillstrom, updated by Magee ('Young Entrepreneurs' Organization (YEO)' Encyclopedia of small business / Arsen J. Darnay, Monique D. Magee, editors.3rd ed. Detroit : Thomson Gale, c2007.)

This is evident from a number of articles:

  • Muhammad, Tariq K. 'From Buppie to Biz-Wiz: Forget Corporate America - Generation X is Choosing the Entrepreneurial Path to Success." Black Enterprise. January 1997.
  • "Entrepreneurial Enthusiasm" Black Enterprise. February 2004 vol 34 #7- p. 32
  • Smith. D. (2004, Nov). Students of enterprise. Entrepreneur vol 32 # 11 p. 108
  • "Turn classmates into customers" Black Enterprise vol 33 # 3 October 2002, p. S2.

Some resources that I saw as very useful include:

  • For Reference book - Small business sourcebook.(2008). Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co.,
  • For Periodicals - the Black Enterprise and Entrepreneur magazines.
  • For Book - Young Entrepreneur's Guide to Creating What Matters Most: Building Attitudes, Behaviors and an Action Plan for Success in Your Own Business. - Mary S. Moore (1994). Courage Press

However, as my problem is practically oriented, I have the great challenge of converting this into an academic research proposal.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My research to focus on Student Entrepreneurs

I have decided to narrow my studies to focus on student entrepreneurs and their information needs. This focus emerged from the challenge of studying small businesses, as there are many varieties and flavours of the term. There are competing definitions of small business, as well as the fact that current entrepreneurship recognises that there are various sub categories within small businesses that have special or unique needs and problems. There are Women owned businesses, Mompreneurs and Family businesses to name a few.

The literature of information seeking studies tend to focus on large firms, corporate executives and on managers. My study on the other hand want to zoom in on university or college students and their needs for information. I assume that  university students need information for undertaking entrepreneurship that may be different from other entrepreneurs.

I feel that students are different because they:
  1. usually work and study
  2. might be on student loan and may be more timid to take a risk to venture into entrepreneurship if they are not sure how they can pay back their student loan
  3. are expected by society's traditional norms to get jobs
  4. usually have less work/working experience to capitalise on, and 
  5. may not have the connections to social capital or other networks needed to establish business
I am going to also focus on how academic libraries can provide information services to help these students meet their information needs.

The first step however in my research proposal for my doctoral dissertation is to first find out what government information services exist online for these student entrepreneurs and potential student entrepreneurs. Does the government provide online information accessible to these students to assist them to launch their businesses and start-ups?

Student entrepreneurship is not new. Many high-tech companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Google were all start-ups launched by university students.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Writing a statement of intent/proposed research to get into graduate studies

A former student of mine, preparing for application to graduate studies, requested information about how to do a proposal for getting into a Thesis/Research based Masters. I know that when I was seeking to get into a PhD and MPhil programme, there was little documentation about how to produce such a document. However, I conducted my research through asking faculty and administrators for the particular programme that I was interested in and getting a basic outline of what I must put in such a document. Here I will generally share what I have done, which has been successful thus far in landing me into my current PhD programme.

You will definitely need to include the following in your document (statement of intent/research proposal/proposed research), whatever name or label it is called or referred to.

1.An interesting title: one that will appeal to the faculty that you are interested in. Usually something that is in line with what they already research but also something novel and kind of innovative/creative.

2. The problem - This is essentially your introduction/background to the topic that you are interested in studying; what it is and why is it significant and ought to be studied

3. A brief literature review to relate the issue you want to study in other literature/scholarship in the field.

4. A proposed method for discovering the data - who you are going to talk to/observe and/or what are some of the documents/sources that you will consult. Also make explicit some possible research objectives and questions.

5. References - sources you used throughout. the proposal/document.

Hope you will find this useful.

Edited: November 4, 2013

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Refining my research proposal idea

With some of my minor assignments out of the way, I have now returned to my dissertation topic and proposal. Based on feedback in class and learning about ethics review at FIMS, I am totally scaling down the topic. One of the issues that I am deciding to do is to study documents rather than people in order to escape Ethics board. However today, I became much more closer to identifying who I would study after reading a newspaper article. This I will elaborate on some more in this post.

One of the issues that came up with my research topic was that the definition of small business is very wide, and within contemporary studies of small business owners, there are several typologies and niche groups. I have heard of Women-owned businesses, family-owned businesses, and as of lately - mompreneurs. For the latter, I actuall saw this term in an issue of the Western News here at UWO entitled:  "Exploring the motivations of 'Mompreneurs'" by Paul Mayne published on October 13, 2011. See the link for the article:

Today, another newspaper kind of helped me to pick a niche group of small businesses that I think I want to study. This is the group of college students and/or college graduate entrepreneurs. I am not sure what is the right term for them yet and the type of business that they would be classified as. But I do know that I want to narrow my focus these as a user group in need of online business information/library services.

In an article in the London Metro, entitled: "It’s been a pleasure doing business", Vered Ben gives her experience of how she has started 2 businesses during her studies (page 14).  You can also read her story via the link: In the closing paragraph of her article, Ben states that:

"Most career centres and schools focus a lot on grades, career options and resumes, and usually do not let students think outside the box when it comes to job searching. I think schools should help students see that working for yourself can be a great option."
I believe than more universities are doing exactly that, and will in another post collect some of those articles to demonstrate that point.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Caribbean Libraries need to lead in Digital Publishing

I spent some time looking at some multimedia that some library students created and their documentation regarding the assignment. As I did so, my thoughts turned to the ways in which Caribbean librarians can lead the Caribbean in presenting and publishing  information digitally.

Caribbean libraries need to publish digitally because, much of our own information is not yet published either in print or digitally. A lot of our information is also published by outsiders, who are not familiar with our own interests and unique perspective. Further, being published outside, the cost of libraries owning materials published on our own cultures becomes expensive, requiring foreign exchange for acquisitions.

Due to this situation, our most important and affordable local sources of information are easily found in the vertical files, where we have collected, brochures, newspaper clippings and other ephemeral publications.  Vertical files are important because not all of Caribbean material will be published in books, but more so in ephemeral newspapers or magazines. Sometimes our newspapers and magazine publishers decide to convert their published information compiled over the years into books. However, for the most part, our publishers cannot afford to undertake the cost of publishing information that is locally needed, but expensive to produce and the publishers are not certain of getting sales to recover the costs.

As such, libraries should move from just producing print based vertical files to more digital libraries or editions of these vertical files. Doing this, they can publish these to their own internal computers for users to access, or on their websites, if they can clear copyright restrictions. An in house multimedia information retrieval system, digital library or electronic vertical file will allow for digital preservation of our materials. We can utilise multimedia to compile various articles and items in our vertical file into a digital format that  can help preserve the information found.

Further, many libraries compile and create displays that last for a month and are then removed, without being put in a permanent storage medium so that future generations can access the information from the display. We can rethink this through the creation of digital exhibitions, using multimedia.

We also need to make our online resources easy, simple, convenient and available, when our users/audience need it. Currently, our publishers and those who produce publications or documents make them so difficult to identify and locate.

Advice for those seeking to pursue a PhD

A former student of my Department, interested in doing a PhD immediately after graduation, asked me about the programme at FIMS, UWO in London Ontario, Canada. The student wanted to know if it offers a scholarship for PhD, how I found the school thus far and if I am loving the programme. Here are some of the answers that I gave the student.

The faculty is lovely so far. Professors very good. You should continue following my Facebook + Twitter (mscale) posts and the Small Island Librarian blog to see what I am learning, doing and how I am finding PhD studies.

You however may want to consider your future after PhD. I think that is the most central question to ask: do I want to be in academia? What do you want to do with the PhD? Do you want to be a lecturer/professor? Can you handle the responsibilities of being a lecturer or an academic professor? It means no holidays and many times, no week ends.

When you have fully sought answers on that question or on the question of why I want to do a PhD, then I think we can better discuss the matter. Also, after you have written your Masters Thesis, that will tell you if you really like research enough to undertake a Thesis.

I think you are jumping the gun by asking the wrong questions first and seeking the wrong information at this time.
What is your take on my answers?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

iPad experiment reflections: Part 2

So I took another shot at the iPad. Hence I borrowed it from my library to play with and get a feel of the technology and its applications. I recognise the need to take the time to learn and seize learning opportunities that I may not have in Jamaica, due to prohibition of price or opportunity.

From my first experiment, I realised after problem shooting with the library staff, that the strength of the iPad depends upon a reliable Internet connection. Hence wireless connectivity is the first issue for those who seek to implement it.

However, today, I saw that the iPad is not perfect for user generated textual content, except in the case of micro-blogging. The experience is a bit like text messaging, but an improvement. I have a virtual keyboard, but it is not as comprehensive as the PC or mobile with everything that I need in one place. I begin with the letters, and to access numbers, I have to click an additional button before the numbers come up. For capitalisation, there is no CAPLOCKS key. Hence, there is some readjustment required as the familiar keyboard interface is not the same.
Secondly, my experience reminded me of my dislike for touch pad mouses. Even with my laptop, I prefer to use a mouse to navigate the screen and to click and select options.

Finally, I recognised a truth that was not readily apparent. Because tablets are based on the cloud computing concept, unlike with PCs, where your software are with you on CDs, with tablets, it is like subscribing to cable tv. Hence you get what you subscribe for and cannot transfer other software from CDs or other storage devices to the new hardware device. 

As such, personally, I would not yet purchase a tablet, as  it does not yet meet my personal computing needs. If only I needed to use it to view slide presentations or YouTube videos, but it is not for me in terms of creating textual content, for which I rely heavily on a familiar keyboard interface and a mouse that gives me more control.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Experiment with the iPad: Part 1 of the story

As I am researching tablets technology for a course that I am pursuing, I learned from the professor that my library, the Graduate Resource Center of the Faculty of Information and Media Studies loans iPads. So I decided to borrow it to test it for myself and draw conclusions based on practical experience and not just from reported speech.

So my first task was to put it to test to access a scanned reading in PDF, which is sideways and could not be manipulated by my computer or laptop. Hence, my first test was to see how the iPad would help me, seeing that while I can't turn my laptop sideways, I could do so with the iPad.

Difficulties begin

I went to the Google app, but realised that it was an app and not a browser. As such, I could not type the URL that I wanted. Instead, I had to search for the website, and click. Unfortunately there was a particular link that I kept clicking but could not access through the Website. As such, I had to abandon that app, in favour of the Safari browser.

I am not familiar with the Safari browser. However that failed too, as the browser could not open the desired page URL as it was "not connected to the Internet".

Hence for the first task or experiment, the tablet technology failed.
Now I have to ask the library staff what went wrong.

Sorry Tablets. That is one point for PC and laptops.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How to increase your knowledge of research methods and your research competence?

PhD studies have been increasing my knowledge of research methods. I have been benefiting from taking the class on research methods, and the discussion and the assignments that takes place around methods. Further, I have benefited from the courses, which forces me to read and evaluate research papers each week.

My ideas for improving one's research competence is now being shaped by my own experiences here in the UWO LIS PhD program(me).

  1. Have an academic mentor who selects and helps you to choose quality academic research journals and papers to read each week
  2. Read a research paper with a different research method each week, while evaluating its strengths and weaknesses
  3. Discuss the research paper (in 2), with your academic mentor after you have read and evaluated it. 
  4. In conjunction, read books on research methods to help you evaluate how well each research paper function in carrying out the research. however recognise that research method textbooks are still primarily the perspectives and opinions of the authors.
The main issue though is to read research critically each week and have discussions about such research. In addition, one needs to read on all research methods that are practiced in one's discipline as well as available for application to one's field, so that one can be thoroughly appreciative of the many ways that one can approach research in the discipline/field of study. Research methods are mainly a matter of applying the right technique to investigate the right question.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Quotes from the IFLA president relevant to my thesis

Acceptance Speech Delivered by Ms. Ellen R. Tise at the 75th IFLA Congress in Milan 2009

"While there are those who believe that libraries do not get votes and hence do not require support, I believe that if we can demonstrate that through libraries and librarians there can be quantitative and qualitative improvements in health issues, entrepreneurial skills development, environmental protection, poverty alleviation, a reduction in illiteracy, the development of a respect for diversity and all of the other issues that politicians and others in decision making roles hold dear - that not only will we be providing access to knowledge, but we will also be able to demonstrate that libraries and librarians are key to the political process and national development."

"When a young entrepreneur visits a library as part of his or her investigation for the development of a new product, process or service, seldom is the critical role that the library and librarian played in the resultant end product acknowledged. However, without the information gleaned from the library visit or visits and often the extensive assistance of a librarian or two, the positive outcome of the entrepreneurs work could have been otherwise. But the knowledge creation process is not only with regard to the work of others. When we package and bundle existing information in such a way that an information-seeker is able to have at their fingertips exactly what they need to make a reasoned decision or further their research enquiries, our efforts are not confined to only providing access to knowledge and information, by our actions we have become knowledge creators. In such an instance not only are we driving access to knowledge, we are creators of knowledge and thus become part of the knowledge building process, one of the underpinnings of the knowledge society of which we are an integral dimension."

Managing your PhD supervisor

On reading the book "How To Get a PhD?" by Estelle Phillips and Derek Pugh, I obtained valuable advice about how to be a good research student and also a better supervisor of research students myself. Just thought I would share some of what I learned.One of the fabulous chapter in this book is Managing Your Supervisor. Can a research student manage their supervisor?

Well yes. According to Phillips and Pugh, you can. You are the one who set the tone for meetings as a research student. You are the one that helps the supervisor to know how often to meet.

As a research student, you must in your first meeting with your supervisor, discover what they expect of you. So you must ask them what are their expectations. Also, you as the student must also indicate and discuss what you expect to get out of the supervising experience. Raise your concerns in the first meeting and discuss them with your supervisor. Discuss what you fear about the experience. Discuss what you have heard from other research students that you do not like and ask about how the supervisor can help you avoid those pitfalls. Ask them their opinion and what is the ideal research student like?

As the research student, you are the one that directs the discussions had with your supervisor. You do so by the questions you ask and the concerns you share.

Ask questions such as:
  • how regular can we meet?
  • how often must I send/give a report on my progress?
  • what documents do I need to submit and by when?

Ensure that you and your supervisor set deadlines and that you never leave your meetings with your supervisor without knowing what you must do next and when is the next meeting or when you must submit the next report or document.

So in summary, you manage your research supervisor by communicating with them as well as questioning them from early in the relationship and clarifying their requirements and expectations. It is therefore all about communication and setting goals. Communicating expectations and setting shared goals at the very early stage is important so that both you and your supervisor can have a smooth relationship based on understanding of each other from the inception of the relationship.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reading on mobile social networks

I have been using my technology courses at Western (or UWO) to catch up on learning about technologies that I have hither to ignored or not fully explored.

In the past, a student of mine mentioned to me FourSquare. I asked him 'what was that?' He was surprised that a person like me who has been keeping up with the literature on Social Networking Sites would not be aware of its development.

This weeks reading for class, has helped me to explore the technology behind FourSquare. I first however read Humphreys (2007) article about Dodgeball, which got me thinking about foursquares, which my student was trying to explain to me. I did further research and discovered that foursquare ( replaces Dodgeball, its forerunner, started by the same founder.

I will definitely be writing again, as soon as I have time to pause and reflect about some other technologies that I am learning about as I pursue my courses towards the fulfilment of the requirements for the PhD  programme.


Humphreys, L. (2007). Mobile social networks and social practice: A case study of Dodgeball. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 17. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

In search of a PhD

Revisiting something that I posted on Facebook some time ago, and have decided to repost and revise with my current reading.

Those seeking to get into a PhD program should read the following books:

The postgraduate research handbook :succeed with your MA, MPhil, EdD and PhD /Gina Wisker.
Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

How to get a PhD :a handbook for students and their supervisors /Estelle M. Phillips and Derek S. Pugh.
Buckingham [England] ; Philadelphia : Open University Press, 2000.

While they don't tell you how to get into a PhD Programme, they do tell you what to do when you are in. However, they have been useful in giving me hints about what potential supervisors or faculty evaluating PhD applications will look for in the applications process.

Definitely, those who review the applications will want a student who has a narrow topic, that is already refined, and also demonstrates the capability to take on independent research and are almost confident in what they are going to do. Further, that one must have a research idea that is original, an idea that will make an original contribution to the discipline, as a PhD must offer some innovative and new knowledge to the discipline.

It is also best that you test out your methods of research before grad school. You can undertake this either in your Masters research or just in your own attempt to get a publication in a journal. I got from the books that I need to acquaint myself with what PhD work looks like in order to know what is expected of me when I do my PhD.

Today I learned more about what it is - a 'book-length manuscript' often 200 pages in lenght, with a 'statement of a well-defined problem within an area', 'a review of how the problem' has been dealt with in the literature and a 'statement of a new approach to the problem' (Goldsmith,  Gold and Komlos 2001).


Goldsmith, J. A., Gold, P. S., & Komlos, J. (2001). The Chicago guide to your academic career: A portable mentor for scholars from graduate school through tenure. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The state of LIS as a discipline and its "research"

One of my course readings for the research methods course was on an article by Budd and Hill entitled "The Cognitive and Social Lives of Paradigms in Information Science". I must say that the reading by Budd and Hill makes me motivated to read Kuhn's work on the nature of scientific paradigms and revolutions for myself to form my own opinions about its relevance and application in Library and Information Science. The following reading was posted or submitted as part of my weekly reading reaction report

In this blog entry I want to discuss 3 main points:
  1. How disciplines/theories/paradigms are formed?
  2. Trends in LIS research
  3. How can changes be made to LIS as well as how changes are stifled?

Most importantly for me, the reading caused me to reflect on how school of thoughts, theories disciplines and sub-disciplines are formed or emerge.These are all socio-economic products and constructs. In the previous class we concluded that research problems must be rooted in the social and situated in society, as well as in a discipline. This reading, was however not as normative, but more descriptive about the process.

Irwin Sperber is cited in Budd and Hill as indicating that funding impacts the development of science, as does politics in the case of political appointments to important, well-funded  and powerful agencies. Sperber is also cited as indicating that the audience to which a scientist must communicate and be accountable also impacts on science. This brings me to a critical look at LIS research trends in its publications and literature in general.

In the case of librarianship, I see where the audience, the practitioners and pragmatic professionals impact on the research of the field. The issues of practitioners or professionals do not necesarily overlap with the issues that academics want to study. Practitioners want research situated in practice, and in my view, academics question and criticize the nature of the practice in the first place. Practitioners are looking for ways to do their jobs better and improve their practice, while academics may question, what is it that is practiced and why?

With regards to funding, I see where vendors are sponsoring, partnering or encouraging librarians to present papers and to research their products and its use by library users. I have been to conferences where vendors and practitioners are co-presenters, and have seen in the LIS literature numerous publications that focus on technology products and how these were either implemented in libraries or are being received by library users. Can these be legitimately termed “research” and “scientific research” at that. Aren't these what we call “market research”?

Another issue to discuss is how can LIS change. From my reading and understanding of Kuhn through Budd and Hill's writing, because science is social (Sperber expands it to political and economics), if  young scholars and academics such as myself and my peers in the PhD programme want to change LIS and its direction as a discipline, then it begins with us making a strategic alliance and agreeing to principles, research methods and what constitutes the problems of LIS today. That is if we accept, as I do, the definition of a paradigm as a 'state of collaboration, agreement, attention to a specific set of problems, and co-citation...' (p.4).

At the same time, we are scientists bred after our own kind, by faculty. Our beliefs, principles and methods will be inherited from our socialisation with faculty members at FIMS UWO. FIMS will shape us and our scientific approaches to researching and thinking about LIS. We will see the problems of LIS through their eyes.

The reading has definitely caused me to reflect that LIS is an immature science, in danger of being subverted by politics, economics and pragmatism. Pragmatism according to Budd and Hill are the major forces that shapes science through funding sources and departmental faculties, an issue which I see aptly applicable to LIS. LIS is shaped by funding sources- whether government, corporate or private bodies in my view, and I am yet to see the extent of the influence of departmental faculties.

For LIS, with the evidence based practice movement, I see where more and more, LIS research and theories will be chosen based on social and economic pragmatic reasons, rather than by LIS community identifying the gaps in our current research and theories, and intellectually, rationally and objectively filling those gaps.


Budd, John M. & Heather Hill. (2007). "The Cognitive and Social Lives of Paradigms in Information Science." Paper published in the proceedings presented at the Conference of the Canadian Association of Information Science. Information Sharing in a Fragmented World: Crossing Boundaries. McGill University, Montreal, Quebec. May 10 - 12, 2007.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Library and Information Science as a discipline

Some discussions have caused me to reflect on library and information science (LIS) as a discipline. In fact the issues are so many that I wonder if LIS can really be called a "discipline". Today, we have little theory as we borrow our theories and methods from other disciplines.

Further, we are having trouble categorising and labelling ourselves especially as information and communication technologies have changed and revolutionised how people acquire, seek, access and create information. There are those with different philosophies that have removed the term "library" all together, and have just focused on 'information science'.  

Another problem is that the library and information science community, apart from being divided over labels as to what to call themselves, are also divided into two camps, the scholarly community and the professional or practitioner community. For the practitioners, research must be situated in practice, as they need answers to understand how to do their work better. For the scholars, they question the nature of the work being done by practitioners in the first place.

In my view, most LIS publishers for the main part are interested in publishing for practice and may not necessarily serve the interests of scholars in disseminating their research. Of course, publishers are driven by the need to profit from publications, and must seek to publish articles that they believe their audience will want to read. For scholars and academics, the issues of professional journals are not necessarily issues that they contemplate and have an interest in researching. For when you are an academic in the ivory tower, you get a license to research anything of interest and may pursue research that questions the very nature of what is currently practiced in the field of librarianship. Much of this research may never be integrated into practice.

I heard a view expressed that LIS should no longer be a discipline, as every discipline requires the methods, practices and skills of library and information science. In every discipline, information is being generated, and needs to be organised, managed, acquired and made accessible. Who better to do it that the persons who are already situated in those communities?

This has gotten me to think that library and information science should actually be a foundation course for all disciplines. Rather than train a group of professionals and practitioners who specialise in organising, managing and facilitating the acquisition and access to information, why not train every one to do it so that they can manage their own information.

The practitioners of librarianship are complaining that nobody values their work. Perhaps, the solution is to move from actually doing the work to training persons from all disciplines to do the work. Rather than teach specific techniques, methods and systems, why not teach generic methods for information organisation. Through this process we can raise awareness of the best practices that we have discovered and show the importance of what we know and have been doing and why it is important that persons of varying disciplines realise this.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Learning about Natural Language Processing and its applications for libraries, librarians and beyond

I attended my first Language and Computer technologies class today with Victoria Rubin. My professor opened my eyes for the first time to the fact that when libraries talk about library automation or library technologies, most of the time they exclude natural language processing technologies. She however raised the issue that this should not be the case, as there are lots of applications of computer processing natural language applicable to libraries.

For example:
  • automated summarisation software to summarise a large document in a page or few paragrahs,
  • machine translation applications to translate documents in foreign language
  • automated indexing applications among many others.
Through her class, I caught her vision to extend library practice from beyond the technologies that libraries are already applying or talking about.

Rubin made the case that language can be processed by computers but that there are certain challenges that must be understood. Her main thesis was that computers can recognise and analyse human language, and with the right algorithms and understanding of the process in which human beings make sense of, interpret and use language, a lot of applications could be created that could further automate various library processes.

One such process is the reference service. Computers could be used to process user queries and reply to their questions, especially for those questions that require simple answers.

What she made clear was that once we can break up an intelligent human task into a sequence of steps, then algorithms could be written to enable computers to perform them.

Throughout the rest of this course, I will be learning about Natural Language Processing and its applications for libraries, librarians and beyond.

 As I sat in the class I thought about the myriad of ideas and work processes that I have in which I wanted automated. Grading and marking student papers is one. I want to be able to write or create an application that automatically marks a student's essay for me.

Also, I want to be able to take data that is not in any structure and use a software to structure that data for me so as to make it available for input into a database. Many times I get a list or directory in a text format, that I want to get into a database or spreadsheet format, and have to manually copy and paste to enter such data into the software application.

Then there is also my idea about cellular/mobile phone applications, where users can interact with a library's online catalogue through text or SMS messaging in order to retrieve data.

I am looking forward to learning about these new technologies that I have not seen in the library literature or heard being discussed at library conferences, except for those natural language processing applications that relate to assistive technologies.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Language Technologies and the Future of libraries: Preliminary thoughts

I was just looking at a course that I will be taking this semester entitled: “Language and Computer Technologies for Libraries and Beyond” .

The course introduced me to the IBM computer Watson that played Jeopardy and beat the best human champions. I also learned about Eliza, an intelligent agent (chatterbot) in the 1960's that tricked human beings into thinking that she was a real therapist who could help them talk about their problems.

It got me thinking that in the future, computers may be so intelligent, that we can design online systems that interact with people, without their knowledge that they are actually interacting with computers. These computers can then draw large datasets and analyse what information is required based on what the person is asking and deliver the right information to the user to meet the need expressed.

I see this applied in libraries in two ways:
1. virtual reference services
2. search of online catalogues

For virtual reference, instead of having a librarian, we can have an intelligent agent (or chatterbot) that can respond to the online user and guide the user based on what they ask to the right source online.

For the online catalogue search, we could design online systems that interprets what users put in the search box and retrieve the most relevant sources to the user query.

I already encounter these types of system through online systems that are designed to answer frequently asked questions. They have a database of questions and answers and are able to pull answers based on similarities between questions being asked to those that are already in their databases.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What library associations can do about fellowships and library exchanges?

I remember a time when I was on the Executive of the local library association where it was argued that the library association had no power to tell employers to allow for library exchanges among librarians and library staff. Today, I propose 5 things that a library association can do towards promoting a library exchange programme.

  1. Present the programme to the members. Make a formal presentation and facilitate members awareness of the benefits of such a programme. Also indicate to members tips for selling the idea to their institutions and employers.
  2. Insist that members who are seeking or taking new jobs, negotiate this with potential employers at the onset. Librarians can at a job interview with their potential manager/employer ask if they would be allowed to visit other libraries to get ideas and to forge networks for purposes such as inter-library loan and other cooperative initiatives. 
  3. Hold talks with employers, meeting with groups such as Human Resource Managers, associations or federations of employers, trade unionists about the need for fellowship leave for librarians in order to facilitate library visits and exchange programmes.
  4. Seek out existing fellowships opportunities such as those offered by OCLC or embassies, and promote them to members and employers as opportunities to faciltate international library exchange/visits.
  5. Set up a Library Exchange and Fellowship Section that seeks to promote this programme and in charge of doing the work mentioned in the previous bulleted items.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Libraries and Tablets

I hope to write an article on libraries and tablets. The article is very timely and significant given a recent comment by one of the inventors of the PC that indicates that the personal computer era is over.

"IBM PC daddy: 'The PC era is over': Chucks own invention into vinyl record bin"
By Rik Myslewski in San Francisco
The Register

12th August 2011 16:39 GMT

I also think it is worthwhile for members of the profession to take this opportunity to familiarise themselves with these new electronic devices that our future users will be using to access information. You may even want to consider purchasing some for your libraries instead of those heavy laptops (that require plugs and electrical outlets) and consider these as the better option for providing access to an e-book collection. The tablet does have the potential to change how we interact with our users. The PC, DVDs, CDS, flash drives may become relics of the past if our users migrate to tablets.In addition, libraries may need to create applications for the app stores to enable library software functionality on user owned tablet and mobile devices.

I attended a seminar on the applications of Tablet technology put on by a local electronic and computer superstore, Watts New on July 27, 2011 in Kingston, Jamaica. The seminar was presented under the theme: "2011: the year of 'the tablet'". I want to share in that article, my reflections and reactions to what I learned at that seminar.

 I think that one of the approaches that I will use in that article is to start with stone tablets, as these were the very first tablets that libraries were concerned with. So perhaps I may give the article the subtitle: From stone to electronic. I perhaps will then discuss the evolution towards tablets discussing the Palm pilot and other hand held PCs and then the smart and i-phones (the first evolutions of the mobile PCs).

However, just some quick notes:

1. Tablets are good for presentation purposes (especially if there are large flat screen TVs with HDMI connections). I learned and saw the usefulness of a tablet for keynote and major speaking applications.Hence the weighty laptop can be replaced with the tablet, and the projector with the television display screen with HDMI connection.

2. I also saw tablets being useful for interactive exhibitions. Tablets permit touch and interactivity.

3. Tablet devices are not really a stand alone devices but work best when connected to cloud and cloud services

4. can be used for note taking in meeting with note applications. 

5. Tablets promise the continuous availability of information.

6. Allows for access to the latest subscription to an e-resource such as electronic newspaper.

 7. One can back up online on the PC, on phone and on external drive, and use the tablet device to access documents in cloud storage

8. Tablets need applications or apps. They are useless without them. However, tablet come without many apps, and allow you the user to shop for/download the application that you want or need.

 I also will discuss in the article the categories of tablets.

Tablets are currently categoriesd by OS. They can be
  • Apple based
  • Android based
  • Blackberry based
  • Windows Mobile based
Blackberry playbook was presented on by a guest speaker. The device promises the the ability to reduce clutter on one's desk and allow one to be less disorganised by having everything in one organised device.Convenience and mobiltiy are also key features.

Its With - 7.6" and Height 5.1".It features a Micro HDMI port and a Micro USB port. It also has a OS and processor that permits multi-processing  and/or multitasking capabilities.

It has 4 buttons:
  • power
  • media control
  • volume controls
Data transfer to other devices is made possible by its micro USB port that connects with phones, while the micro HDMI port connects to video allowing for output on a large  display.

It does not carry however a SIM card.

The design was developed by QNX.

The device promises an uncompromised Web experience.

With BlackBerry Bridge application, one can wirelessly connect to Blackberry smartphone, hereby allowing for connection with the data services of the phone. As such, one can sync calendar with Blackberry phone and use cloud computing storage such as Dropbox to share files across other varied devices.

Apple based Tablets - iPad and iPad2

The iPad and its newer devices promise the portability and interface of the iPhone with the functionality of the laptop. (Or the mobility of the iPhone and the robustness of the OS of the laptop).

One can browse email, photo, watch videos, read eBooks, listen to music and play games.

iPad released January 2010, with the height of 9.5",  0.5 " thin and weighing 1.5 lbs, with 256 Mb.

iPad 2 released March 2011 with 0.3" thin, weighing 1.3 lbs and with 512 mb.

The newer device comes with longer battery life, 2 cameras (front and rear), a dual core processor and faster graphics.

iPad2 compatible with a wireless printer and can be integrated with other devices from other mnanufacturers.

iPad also provides oppportunity for software for multiple email account management

An Android based tablet based on Android 3.1 and the Honeycomb is10.1" in height.

Posses a camera, mini HDMI port, a charger port, micro SD card slot as wellas a SIM card slot, a mini-USB port.

It promises the feature of being able to watch video for 9.3 hours with a fully charged battery,.

TIPS for purchasing tablets
  1. identify the reason for tablet - the purpose or use
  2. research what is available and how it can meet your needs.
  3. invesitgate the product support 
  4. check out the app store (what software applications are available to your tablet)
When you purchase a tablet, know that upgrade in terms of hardware might be difficult, but easy when it comes to software, as you can just get new software from the app store. For hardware upgrades, you may just need to purchase newer versions.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Library online radio

Libraries in the 21st century are now publishers, making accessible content in digital formats. As such the line between libraries, publishers and media houses have become blurred. The main distinction in my mind  is that unlike the media houses, libraries do not seek advertisers to sponsor the information that they make publicly available. Unlike both publishers and media houses, libraries are theoretically uninfluenced by those who are driven y an interest in profit making or profiteering from information shared.

It therefore stands to reason that some of the very tools that media houses and publishers use to share information can be adopted and applied by libraries (without the advertisements and profit motives of-course).On this regard, radio broadcasting is perhaps one such under-explored are for libraries as a way of sharing information and meeting the information needs of its clientele.

The question to be asked is:

    What about a library radio station?

This can be an internal radio station (accessible only in the library) or can be one globally available through the Web.

In times gone by, broadcasting equipment was expensive, but in today's world of pod-casting, anyone can broadcast information across the Web for a large and even global audience.

For Jamaica, radio is the largest mass media that reaches most persons. Stone in the nineties, suggested that  media audience for electronic media grew faster than newspaper readership. He explained that this was not surprising as ‘50% of voters experience problems reading the written word’ (Stone columns 145). Entertainment radio on the other hand had a growing radio audience (Stone columns 146). Stone also felt that word of mouth in the nineties remained a very important communication channel for Jamaicans (Stone columns 146).

Under these circumstances, it is evident that the conditions more favour library providing access to oral based information sources rather than print based sources to reach the masses. Long once declared that the need for  publishing a magazine arises when ‘people of common interest want to communicate information that they find difficult to say in spoken conversation’ (cited in Ford 1969 v). For this author, the same may be true for all print materials. Print publications arise when people find it difficult to communicate intended messages through spoken conversation.

As such there are difficulties in providing access to printed publications in Jamaica. Nationally, Jamaica has little history with the adoption of print based information sources which coincided with literacy skills at the period being nationally low. In addition, by the nineties, Jamaicans were exposed to growing electronic media including radio and television, which further competed with the need to access information in printed form.

If the premise still holds today, that in Jamaica the leading mass media is radio, then Jamaican librarians should not just be concerned about capturing and sharing our print based media, but definitely seek to capture and archive, provide access to and share our orally/aurally based media.

Today the Internet has made it possible for libraries to venture into broadcasting. Before the Internet,  one would have to purchase the same infrastructure that radio stations invest in.
For a library broadcasting programme, the library is equipped perhaps not to broadcast as a traditional radio station, but with the possibility of broadcasting digitally through the Internet, the library is able to venture into this popular Jamaican media for reaching the orally and aurally based folk of Jamaica.

I therefore propose that Caribbean libraries create broadcasting programmes to reach their audiences.

Not only should such a broadcasting programme be one controlled by the library where, the library produces the content to be aired and archived on the web, but the programme should also be interactive, in the sense that persons can call in to ask questions and broadcast their own questions, to be answered by the library experts or for the library personnel to get the experts to reply and provide the answers.

Such a programme should also involve the library allowing users to respond to other users questions and provide comments that help to create new knowledge, or capture knowledge in the heads of library users persons  or provide unique experiences/knowledge that has not yet been published  or documented.

The library could also utilise their radio station to advertise library events and services, thereby exposing the users to what the library has to offer. Further, libraries could utilise this inborn media to show case some of the audio resources that they have in their collection or provide orientation and other instruction to new library users, just like some airports, where instruction is delivered through the intercom/public announcement system.

Since Jamaica has a very strong oral tradition, in which the singer and story-teller are held in high regards (for their gift o orally and aurally sharing information), Jamaican libraries must focus then not on acquiring a largely print collection, but one that caters to the traditions of the nation.

It is not that reading is unimportant. However, if Jamaican libraries focus on a largely print based collection, then whose interest are these libraries really serving? whose culture is being transmitted and facilitated through Jamaican libraries full of print materials, when the masses are largely interested in oral information sharing?

Works Cited:

Ford, James L. Magazines for millions: The story of specialized publications. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1969.

Stone, Carl. The Stone Columns: The last year’s work: A selection of Carl Stone’s Gleaner articles, January 1992 to February 1993. Rosemarie Stone (Ed). Kingston, Jamaica: Sangster’s Book Stores, 1994.

Why business information services for the National Library of Jamaica?

The recent National Library of Jamaica Act 2010, specifies that in carrying out its function it must:

I note specifically, the idea of economic development, which comes about when Jamaican can produce goods and services for sale. This idea also takes into consideration the need for job or employment creation. It is further noted that entrepreneurship is responsible for the creation of jobs and employment opportunities. hence it is impossible to have economic development if entrepreneurship is not harnessed and businesses not developed. As such, it is one of the paramount priority that a business information service be delivered for Jamaica's economic development, and it is thereby the mandate of the National Library of Jamaica to provide this.

In another post, I hope to take this argument further.

Work cited:

National Library of Jamaica Act. Act 33 of 2010. 31 Dec. 2010. JAMLIN Jamaica Libraries & Information Network. Web. 14 July 2011. <,%202010.pdf>

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Why blog? The benefits of blogging

As a research student getting ready to go into PhD studies, I have decided to use the online writing tools of  blogging to allow for personal development as a writer. What I love about blogging is the opportunity to keep track of my thoughts and notes with keyword searching. I also love the opportunity for the public to give feedback and comment on my thoughts and ideas.

Blogging helps to preserve a record of my intellectual development on a subject in a format that can be easily retrievable. In the past, I kept written notebooks and even note cards, that I had to flip through all the pages to locate a specific record of what I had written. Blogs however allow me to locate specific information through keyword searching making retrieval of written ideas faster than skimming the pages of a notebook or indexed note cards.

Audience feedback helps me to know what gaps I have left in my writing and what I need to do further research on. Peer review has taken on a special meaning to me as a published writer (of scholarly papers). Many eyes are needed to see common spelling mistakes, or to discover unclear and ambiguously constructed sentences, ideas or concepts. As a writer, you know what you are thinking and what you mean to say, and you believe that what you are saying is clear and very convincing. However, that does not mean that your audience will get the same message and understand it clearly as you do. Just the other day I posted a note and someone was able to point out another item of interest that could be included to make my argument/communicated ideas stronger or more persuasive. Even now, I have an article that I wrote being critiqued by the editorial team, which has helped me to sharpen my communication for reaching my intended audience.

Apart from these reasons professional blogging can have an impact on your career dreams and hopes.

What is the impact of blogging professionally?

It can definitely lead to you getting a job:
Meredith Farkas:

"I can't say this 100 percent, but I believe that it helped me get a job. There are more new librarians than there are library jobs out there, and I didn't have a lot of experience, so what did they have to go on?… With a blog, they can see that she's passionate about the profession. She's tech-savvy. She has thoughts in her head. It made me a known entity." (qtd. in Kenney and Stephens)

It can also lead to you getting speaking and training engagements and to publishing opportunities
Laura Smart: "Professionally, it's been really great. It has led to a lot of speaking engagements and training and publishing opportunities". (qtd. in Kenney and Stephens)

Further, Asgedom recommends that in order to launch a career in the writing/speaking business, one needs to begin by blogging, rather than by writing a book.

Works Cited:

Asgedom, Mawi. "How to Start a Writing/Speaking Business"  Mawi Develop Greatness. July 13, 2011. Web. 14 July 2011. <>.

Kenney, Brian and Michael Stephens. "LJ Round Table: Talkin' Blogs: Library Bloggers Discuss the Impact of their Work."  Library Journal. 1 Oct. 2005. Web. 14 July 2011. <>.