bird of maps

competency H

demonstrate proficiency in the use of current information and communication technologies, and other related technologies, as they affect the resources and uses of libraries and other types of information providing entities


Introduction

Transformations in information and communication technologies have proven themselves to be profoundly effective forces in the business of creating and sharing information. In recent years, we have witnessed how the introduction of web-based technologies have altered the information landscape and leveled the playing fields of information access. On the Internet, we can all be producers and consumers, and the role of the information professional necessarily includes competency in employing and implementing these technologies.

The Internet has broadened the information environment by its very nature of being a network of networked information. People, information objects, and collections of knowledge can be brought together in ways that were impossible in a pre-networked world because our communication potenial has expanded so greatly: barriers in correspondence time, communication distances, and resource access have shrunk. Our world is simultaneously infinite and accessible.

This presents new methods for collecting, producing, and organizing information. In what we may categorize as academic methods, we have digital libraries, digital collections, electronic databases, and digital institutional repositories. In what we may categorize as social methods, we have blogs, wikis, and social networking tools and websites. New licensing models such as Creative Commons licensing have emerged to accommodate our willingness to share and seek information. We are able to pursue individual goals by using the tools and resources created by many.

Current technologies affect how people use libraries and other organizations that provide information. The traditional collection has been expanded to encompass objects that exist only digitally. Digital files and web-based resources are to be included in the types of information sources that we can expect ourselves and our patrons to interact with. To be a modern information professional, the ability to navigate and create electronic resources is essential.

Assisting others in their informational pursuits will require a broad understanding of the technology behind creating and sharing information. Information professionals must also be able to use these technologies in order to distribute knowledge. Flexibility in quickly grasping the interfaces of such technologies is an advantageous professional skill. It is perhaps just as important as the ability to keep users in mind while creating resources based on new technologies, since digital media increases the ability of an individual to explore collections independently - and we can expect users to do so.

Evidence

In this program, my exposure to digital course management systems, web-based educational tools, digital collection management tools, and electronic databases was the beginning of my understanding the basic technologies used to organize information in networked environments. From there, I expanded my experiences to include other Internet and web-based technologies. Fundamental to this was creating a website in my Information Technology Tools and Applications course. Using HTML and CSS, I built a hand-coded website educating visitors about the fundamental concepts and practices of digital preservation. Creating websites for the purposes of sharing information is a necessary and valuable service that information professionals provide.

In addition to the technologies themselves, there are major implications for how new technologies are combined to create new avenues for sharing information. I am submitting a paper from my Digital Libraries course that investigates the use and presentation of collections of digital videos in academic institutions. I argue that digital video libraries can be valuable assets to educational institutions based both on their content and on their increased accessibility over physical video formats. This paper illustrates my recognition of harnessing current technology - in this case, collections of digital videos - as a progressive way of providing information services.

To illustrate my proficiency with blogging as a ubiquitous tool that enables self-publishing, interaction with readers via commenting, and a method of sharing information by using current technologies, I am submitting my personal professional blog. The blog, Digital Preservation for Beginners, was inspired by a need to fill an informational void: no such resource existed at the time I created it. I am using Wordpress for this blog, but in general the blog format allows us to take advantage of the content found on the Internet by including links, photos, and videos in each post. The freedom of this publishing format allows fluctuating formality, and sharing the output of blogs is easy.

Conclusion

Demonstrating proficiency in current information-sharing technologies is an important competency to fulfill because it represents how we create, access, and control information in our networked world, which utilizes communication technologies in increasingly permeating ways. In the past several years, these technologies have largely been made simple for everyone to use without special training. Thus, familiarity with these technologies will also help us understand how our patrons and customers interact with information. I have provided evidence to demonstrate my proficiency and understanding of a sampling of these technologies. My experience in learning technologies such as the ones that I have been exposed to over the course of this Masters program will prepare me for my encounters with new information-sharing tools as they are developed.