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.