Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Ergonomic library space: New design ideas for a healthier library space

Here goes another viewpoint or opinion piece entry. This always happen when I am reading or doing some work that bores me intellectually, that my mind begins to wander to other problems that require solutions. Today's problem is the question of how libraries could better design their spaces.

On seeing that a sedentary lifestyle contributes to the problem of obesity and related 21st century diseases, libraries need to modify their space design to help the public combat the problem of an inactive lifestyle. What we need library spaces that are designed like gym spaces, so that we can facilitate active lifestyles while people engage with information. This means that libraries need to have modified furniture that allow us to exercise our limbs while interacting with media.

We need unicycle chairs that we can sit on and pedal and burn calories while we read or surf the Internet. Or spaces where people can pace and read with a book or periodical like indoor track fields for walking and jogging.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Organizational storytelling research part 1

I am now unto my second annotated bibliography on storytelling and the connection with businesses. This part of the research is now uncovering dozens of articles on the subject of organisational storytelling. To help me make sense of the literature, I have realised that it is useful to think visually or graphically incorporating diagrams, illustrations and tables to help make sense of scholarly works. So this is what I have done so far with more readings, note taking and writings to be undertaken.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Library as a place for academic writing

Today, my blog article departs from my more essay-like or research knowledge sharing. Today, I want to share reflections on the library as a place for me as a PhD student.

To me the library is the perfect place for content generation, creation and writing. It is a great place for the writer. As I sit in D.B. Weldon library, (Western University, formerly University of Western Ontario), I analyse the conditions that make me want to be here in the place to write my papers.

There is the quietness of the place, as less undergraduates are here during the summer period, giving me the opportunity to think, reflect and write uninterrupted by conversations.

The cool air-conditioned climate, as the heat of summer turns up, makes this a place of choice to work.

The wide screen workstations (yes workstations, not laptops or tablets) that enable me to enlarge the fonts of my content to my comfort level (no straining the eyes to look at text).

The bar-like stool also an asset. Though the stool irritatingly squeezes my buttocks after a time, it reminds me not to just sit around the workstation, but to get up from time to time to stretch and let the blood circulate through my body.

I love also the filtered water cooler that permits me to be able to refill my thermos each time it runs out and avoid the issue of plastic bottles (and their pesky chemicals and unseen bacteria that enter the water consumed).

The access to a clean men's washroom is also on the list. As I consume all that water, I need to get up regularly to empty the used water in my homeostatic system.

Finally, the reference books. When I need a definition of terms, I have a variety of tools at my disposal. I have the general dictionaries and the subject specific encyclopaedias and dictionaries for more scholarly definitions. Of course I  could use the Web, but nothing beats distractions from reading like going to the printed book, where multi-tasking is not optional.

I have outlined the variables that make a library a great place for the academic writer, namely:
  • quietness,
  • climate control
  • appropriate for content generation and the production of quality writing
  • seating
  • access to water for drinking purposes
  • access to sanitary conveniences
  • and tools and aids to support quality academic writing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Reflections on blogs as life-writing information sources

This week as I focus on writing a paper on blogs as information sources, I am learning and inspired. As I have been reading, I have encountered one author who has explicitly shared my perspective that blogging is a form of life-writing (Keren, 2006 p. 7). According to Keren (2006), blogging is a form of life writing encompassing all the life writing genres: autobiographies, memoirs, confessions, spiritual quests, meditations, personal essays, travelogs, autobiographical short stories and novels, portraits, complaints, conceptual writings, works of humor and family histories.

Keren's (2006) mention of family histories peeks my interest in developing my own blog to document my family history, including photographs, in order to preserve the historical record of my family and pass it on to my daughters for their heritage.

On another matter, I think the LIS community needs to be better educated about blogs. While libraries are using blogging software to create their own blogs and apply blogging platforms for various library applications, I wonder when I will see blogs incorporated into library collection development policies.

So far I have learned that blogs are dynamic web pages, that presents content in a chronological manner. I have also learned that the majority of the blogosphere (in America) blog personal life stories and experiences (Lenhart & Fox, 2006). I have also learned that a great portion of bloggers are actually entrepreneurs (Technorati, 2011).

Technorati's (2011) State of the Blogosphere report states that:
13% of the blogosphere is characterized as entrepreneurs [N=526 of 4,114 bloggers around the world], or individuals blogging for a company or organization they own. 84% of these bloggers blog primarily about the industry they work in, with 46% blogging about business and 40% about technology. 76% blog to share expertise; 70% blog to gain professional recognition; and 68% to attract new clients for their business.
This tells me that a lot of entrepreneurs are sharing their own life stories and experiences online.

This brings me to my final conclusion. For me, I foresee libraries being actively in pursuit of these stories and life experiences being shared online just the way that they pursue the purchase of other lifeworks. Books about real people and their lives and experiences are among the bestsellers of the world and are also in high demand in our libraries. Yet those life stories and experiences actually published are done by publishing enterprises who make them because they know that the people whose lives are be written about are famous and will be bought and sold in millions of copies. Publishing companies take risk to publish books only if they are confident that there is a potential market for the content.

Libraries end up only buying books from these dominant publishers and players in the publishing market, while the voices and stories of the poor and ordinary are not covered, unless the media or press captures it. (Or perhaps the musicians and other artistes and players in the popular music industry)

If future libraries want to ensure social equity in the voices represented and truly democratic representation of stories and experiences of members of their community, libraries need to see blogs as important information sources that capture alternative community voices that are not necessarily represented in the published literature of life writing.


Keren, M. (2006). Blogosphere :The new political arena. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Lenhart, A., & Fox, S. (2006). Bloggers: A portrait of the internet’s new storytellers. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2006/PIP%20Bloggers%20Report%20July%2019%202006.pdf.pdf

Technorati. (2011). State of the blogosphere 2011: Introduction and methodology. Retrieved 6/13/2012, 2012, from http://technorati.com/social-media/article/state-of-the-blogosphere-2011-introduction/