Libraries and Infographics

Library Infographic - OCLC 1

Library Infographic - OCLC 2

Thinking about how to create an eye-catching marketing tool, I went searching for infographics related to libraries and found the following three:

In this blog post Andy Moreton, a ‘technology librarian’, considers infographics “a method for presenting data in a more informative and entertaining fashion than just dumping the content into a table.” He goes on to say,  “libraries are notorious for presenting data to the public in ways that are neither informative nor entertaining…”

This is certainly a challenge, and I would love to create an infographic to visualise my Library report at the end of the year. However, I think the skill of  developing an effective infographic is to use less information rather than more and therefore infographics perhaps work best as a marketing tool, focussing on key data, rather than a reporting tool.

In the meantime, while I’m thinking about how to do it, I’ll have plenty of sites to work my way through at Kathy Scrock’s  Infographics as Creative Assessment.  Here she has put together an impressive list of links to:

The history of infographics

Examples of great infographics

Literacies and standards

How to create an infographic

Successful K-12 practices

Infographic collections and info

Infographic topics keywords

Recent Diigo Links – Education

The Power of Google Docs

I just came across this amazing YouTube video via my Diigo links (one of the best professional development tools available!)

This Google Docs presentation was created in 3 days by 3 people in different locations, all of them working together on the same presentation. Cloud computing is becoming increasingly important as a means of storing documents online, then accessing them from any computer. Google Docs is a great example of this and, in addition, it allows other people to share and collaborate on the same document at the same time.

It’s interesting to read the comments below the video ( and see the number of people who think this was a waste of time, however I think it’s extremely creative and, in a visual world, it’s an amazing and engaging advertisment for the power of Google Docs coupled with imagination!!

Deep Web vs Surface Web

Invisible Web Deep Web is Huge

Images from Juanico Environmental Consultants Ltd and US Dept of Energy

Did you know that while we are suffering from a glut of information -‘infobesity’ – with a typical search in Google yeilding thousands or millions of results, Google only actually searches one fifth of the available information on the internet?

This is called the surface web, and the most commonly used search engines trawl this area for information. The remaining four-fifths or 80% of the web is referred to as the deep web, the hidden web or the invisible web. It is made up of information locked away in password-protected databases, white papers, and grey literature.

According to the Australian Law Postgraduate Network,  “The term grey literature refers to research that is either unpublished or has been published in non-commercial form. Examples of grey literature include:

  • government reports
  • policy statements and issues papers
  • conference proceedings
  • research reports
  • market reports
  • working papers.

Professional associations, academics, pressure groups and research institutes are only some of the sources of grey literature. Much grey literature is of high quality, although grey literature has generally not passed through the process of peer review….   Grey literature is often the best source of up-to-date research in specific areas. Another benefit of grey literature is that it is often written in an accessible style, providing a clear, concise introduction to difficult or complex topics.”

White papers, on the other hand, are “detailed, sometimes highly researched, documents intended to offer a much fuller picture of the capabilities of a product or company. Unlike an advertisement or press release, white papers are normally not promotional (though certainly some are) but rather, through strong writing and hopefully good research, these documents attempt to establish a level of credibility for a company and its products or services. Since many white papers are grounded in research these often contain good information, especially in terms of results of customer surveys, sales trends, and industry forecasts.” (

The last major part of the deep web, and the one most likely to impact on school students, is information contained in databases, both free and subscription.  One of the best reasons to promote these databases to your students (generally the content in these is made up of journal articles, research papers, theses, multimedia and news archives) is because a person has checked these sites for reliability and included them in the database – as opposed to a robotic search engine which cannot discern if a site is relevant or not. To see if there is a free database available on a particular subject, type it and the word ‘database’ into Google. If there is one, Google will usually find it.

As well as looking for databases, there are many specialised search engines or websites to help you access the deep web. For academic research, Infomine from the University of California and ipl2 are two of the better web sites you can use, but also try these suggestions below:

Magazine & Journal Databases
This page is a guide to journal databases which are free on the web. Many subscription-only databases are also available through libraries, so contact your local library for details.

Complete Planet
Discover over 70,000+ searchable databases and specialty search engines.
A comprehensive listing of dynamic searchable databases. Find databases with highly relevant documents that cannot be crawled or indexed by surface web search engines.

Turbo 10
Search the Deep Net : Turbo 10 sends your query to over 800 specialist search engines.

Search for digital resources held across hundreds of university repositories.

Tools to Help You Use the Hidden Web

Information from The Hidden Web Workshop

Invisible Web Research Tools

For more interesting reading see Michael Bergman’s article,  The Deep Web: Surfacing Hidden Value and Invisible Web: What is it, how to find it, and its inherent ambiguity from UC Berkeley.

Digital Libraries – Goodbye to Books?

Will books ever really become a thing of the past? Is all the hype about bookless libraries just hype? When computers entered our lives we were told we had entered the paperless society, but this never eventuated. Will it be just the same with books?

This post by Kerrie Smith recently caused a huge commotion in the Australian library community – A Library Without Books –  and the empty Libray shelves in this video are quite confronting if you’re a teacher-librarian:  Education in 2025.  Also have a look at this news article: Digital School Library Leaves Book Stacks Behind

Girl Hugging Words

While books remain an integral part of the lives of Baby Boomers and even Gen Xers, they don’t hold such an elevated position in the lives of many teenagers and young adults, who are happy for all their infomation needs to be met via a screen. Author Marieke Hardy has written a 20-part book which was commissioned by The Age newspaper, and sent out to mobile phones over a 4 week period.

The article goes on to say, “It’s probable that this is Australia’s first sizeable fiction written for the mobile phone. But in Japan, millions of readers are devouring novels on their phones, often when commuting to work or school. They download the novels — usually racy romances — and read them in 70-word instalments. As many as 86 per cent of high school girls read these phone stories, and the novels subsequently turned into print form have raced to the top of bestseller lists.”

Read about Marieke here:  and watch a video of her here:

This is what New York Times readers had to say about eBooks: (Does the Brain Like eBooks?

All reading is not migrating to computer screens. So long as books are cheap, tough, easy to “read” from outside (What kind of book is this? How long is it? Is this the one I was reading last week? Let’s flip to the pictures), easy to mark up, rated for safe operation from beaches to polar wastes and — above all — beautiful, they will remain the best of all word-delivery vehicles.

I assume that technology will soon start moving in the natural direction: integrating chips into books, not vice versa. I might like to make a book beep when I can’t find it, search its text online, download updates and keep an eye on reviews and discussion. This would all be easily handled by electronics worked into the binding. Such upgraded books acquire some of the bad traits of computer text — but at least, if the circuitry breaks or the battery runs out, I’ve still got a book.  (David Gelernter)

Electronic reading has become progressively easier as computer screens have improved and readers have grown accustomed to using them. Still, people read more slowly on screen, by as much as 20-30 percent. Fifteen or 20 years ago, electronic reading also impaired comprehension compared to paper, but those differences have faded in recent studies.

Reading on screen requires slightly more effort and thus is more tiring, but the differences are small and probably matter only for difficult tasks.  In one study, workers switched tasks about every three minutes and took over 23 minutes on average to return to a task. Frequent task switching costs time and interferes with the concentration needed to think deeply about what you read.  (Sandra Aamodt)

So what is different? It is not just a matter of comparing reaction times or reading comprehension; it’s the entire experience. Reading a Google book enables the reader to search for words or passages throughout the text. It’s effortless to skip to a juicy section or to go back and reread a memorable part. Contrast how long it takes to skim to a particular passage in a paper book, unless of course it is bookmarked or the page corner is bent.

Hypertext offers loads of advantages. If while reading online you come across the name “Antaeus” and forget your Greek mythology, a hyperlink will take you directly to an online source where you are reminded that he was the Libyan giant who fought Hercules. And if you’re prone to distraction, you can follow another link to find out his lineage, and on and on. That is the duality of hyperlinks. A hyperlink brings you to information faster but is also more of a distraction. (Gloria Mark)

As a recent adopter of e-books, I am extremely pleased with my new way of indulging in an old habit: reading multiple books at once. I can have 5 or 6 books going at a time, have them all with me whenever I want to read any of them, and choose the one I want to read based on what I feel like reading at the moment. My e-book reader keeps track of what page I’m on in all of them, so I don’t waste time flipping pages (I’m terrible at using bookmarks).

I do love books – they’re nice to hold, look at, and keep on my shelf – but an e-book reader is awfully convenient. (Reader’s comment)

the future of libraries – with or without books

Google Sparks eBook Fight with Kindle