Social Networking Usage and Grades

I see a number of articles about a recent study of Social Networking usage and grades (pdf) performed by a class at The Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Other studies have found likewise, while at least one study has shown that Facebook use leads to lower grades. So what is the answer? I don’t know, but my guess is that it isn’t that significant. Students either try hard to get good grades or they don’t and using social media has nothing to do with that decision.

The UNH study does not go into much detail about how it was performed, so it is hard to draw many conclusions, but it is interesting that some of the results (no grade difference, types of majors more likely to use social media) conflict with the Ohio State study by Aryn Karpinski that found a grade difference in Facebook users. Maybe the school has more to do with thing than one would think? Maybe this is all just media hype?

Some takeaways from the UNH study:

  1. 96% of students used facebook. 84% used YouTube/ Only 12% used MySpace.
  2. More students increased Social Media usage on weekends then decreased (I bet this is opposite for professionals)
  3. 26% of students used Social Media for Educational reasons and 16% for professional ones

I think academic libraries should look at that 26% number as a sign that they should be involved in these spaces. I don’t mean going out and friending all of the students at your college, but make resources available to students in faculty in these arenas.

Privacy, Borders, and the Internet

I was reading an article about Facebook and Canada’s Privacy Commissioner today. In a nut shell the article says that Canada’s Privacy Commissioner doesn’t meet Canada’s privacy laws. Facebook apparently disputes this but whether or not it does or does not isn’t the point of my post. This article has reminded me of others before it, only the names have changed.

What happens is a social networking site or other Web site is created in one country and because citizens of another country use it, they seem to be expected to live up to the second countries privacy (or other) laws. Now I don’t know if Facebook has an operation in Canada or not, but I know that other past stories I’ve read had countries (or states) taking or threating legal action against Web sites that did not have any operations in their jurisdiction. This is just madness and has to stop. I’m not saying Facebook has the world’s best privacy model. I agree they should do more to protect users privacy but you can’t expect a Web site operator to know and follow the laws of 195 countries not to mention laws of various territories, states, etc. that make up these countries. As long as the privacy terms are disclosed and follow the laws of the country the site is incorporated in, it should be up to the user to determine if the privacy is adequate. With the never ending news stories of lost laptops with social security numbers and other personal data, the privacy of Facebook is not really a huge concern for me. I just figure that everything I put on there may at some point be seen by friends, enemies, criminals. people who couldn’t care less, employers, and my mom.

Really, what do you need for a Facebook account now-a-days, an e-mail address? Sure they say to use a real name but I know many people who don’t and you can easily get a pseudo-anonymous e-mail address. In other words, everything you post on Facebook is what you decided to make available to at least a limited public sphere of friends. Whenever you give something to friends such as a phone number or tell them a tale of your latest adventure you can, or should, consider that they will share that with their friends. No matter what the policy is, even if it lives up to Canada’s privacy policy (or any country’s policy) will not save you from yourself. Users of social networking and other Web sites need to keep this in mind and not post or share anything that they would have a problem with being public.

Niche Social Media Sites

Do you ever get a feeling you don’t need to see yet another new Social Media site. They are popping up like crazy and while many of them are excellent, it takes time to invest in each one. Well, I can help you there, but if you want to learn about what sites are available, vist Kevin Palmer’s Niche Social Networking Sites list (which also includes reviews) on his Social Media Answers blog.

John Blewett, III: RIP

While checking my e-mail in Dakar, I can across some bad news that most short track fans in the Northeast have probably heard. John Blewett III passed away following a crash with his brother on Thursday night at Thompson Speedway in CT. While I always thought John III was a great driver, he was never my favorite even though with him being from New Jersey I did like to see him beet the New England boys. John will always be known as an aggressive racer. No matter how much you like, or don’t like, a race car driver, it is always difficult to hear about a fallen driver, and when it is someone you have meet and talked to on many occasions, it is even harder. I wouldn’t even go so far as to say we were acquaintances, but he was always nice when I did talk to him before or after a race. My condolences to his family and friends. May he rest in peace. BTW: 51sports racing has put up a nice tribute page that you may want to check out.

eXtensible Catalog Survey Report released

On July 20, 2007, the University of Rochester released their “eXtensible Catalog Survey Report.” This survey was designed to help Rochester determine what systems survey respondents currently use, what programming ability and experience with open source software respondents had, and what metadata standards are in use. The survey was targeted too large and medium sized academic and public libraries. Because of the targeted nature of this survey there were only 66 respondents. When I read through the report, I didn’t see anything that completely surprised me, but it was still a good read to see what other libraries are thinking.

The report included a list of the top issues with currently used OPACs. The top three were difficulty of customization (42 instances), Inadequacy of search functions (31), and opacity of results and lack of grouping or faceting (27). While facets were only third in the voting, the responses to the other questions show that this is a vary high priority for many libraries. I was a little surprised that the Lack of Web 2.0 functionality only received 9 instances. One of the interesting things to come out was that yes, in fact, a system like SC is “likely to hold most appeal to the wide range of “average” libraries, as opposed to those special few libraries that already have the resources to tweak their existing products.” In this vein, 81% respondents believe “that they would be able to dedicate enough resources to download, install, and support XC” and 92% said that would consider implementing XC if commercial support was available while 67% would consider doing it even without support. (FWIW: With companies like LibLime, Equinox, Indexdata, and CARe Affiliates, is seems extremely likely commercial support will be available).

As I said, I didn’t find anything in the survey shocking, but it is still good to see what others are thinking about projects such as XC and it is a good read. The full text of the survey is also available for those interested in knowing what questions were asked.

Equinox choosen to support Evergreen

In a non-shocking PR announcement, it was revealed that the Georgia Public Library Service selected Equinox “to provide Evergreen ILS support, software development, system administration, training and consulting services for the agency’s PINES program, a consortium of 265 public libraries. The agreement took effect July 1.” Equinox is a company formed by the original developers of Evergreen, who at the time worked for GPLS.

Equinox has also announced that of a consortium in British Columbia choose Equinox for Evergreen support. Things are looking up for the folks at Equinox.

Python Magazine Lives

Another new technology related magazine that code4libers (and anyone else in the IT field) might be interested in is the soon to be released Python Magazine. You can read more about it in the Editor in Chief’s blog post “Python Magazine Lives.”

Code4Lib Journal goes live

As one of the editorial committee members, I am happy to report that the Code4Lib Journal Web site has gone live and we are actively seeking submissions. If you are a computer programmer/hacker in the library world, please consider submitting an article. Here is the full call for submissions:

The Code4Lib Journal (C4LJ) will provide a forum to foster community and share information among those interested in the intersection of libraries, technology, and the future.

Submissions are currently being accepted for the first issue of this promising new journal. Please submit articles, abstracts, or proposals for articles to c4lj-articles@googlegroups.com (a private list read only by C4LJ editors) by Friday, August 31, 2007. Publication of the first issue is planned for late December 2007.

Possible topics for articles include, but are not limited to:

* Practical applications of library technology. Both actual and
hypothetical applications invited.
* Technology projects (failed, successful, proposed, or
in-progress), how they were done, and challenges faced
* Case studies
* Best practices
* Reviews
* Comparisons of third party software or libraries
* Analyses of library metadata for use with technology
* Project management and communication within the library environment
* Assessment and user studies

Above all, C4LJ encourages creativity and flexibility, and the editors welcome submissions across a broad variety of topics. Anything that supports the mission of C4LJ is welcome.

The goal of the journal is to promote professional communication by minimizing the barriers to publication. While articles in the journal should be of a high quality, they need not follow any formal structure or guidelines. Writers should aim for the middle ground between, on the one hand, blog or mailing-list posts, and, on the other hand, articles in traditional journals. We want publishing in the journal to be easy and painless, helping the community to share timely, relevant information that is currently shared all too rarely.

Articles need not include comprehensive literature reviews and bibliographies, although pointing the reader to useful work that has gone before can certainly be helpful. Authors are encouraged to include code samples, algorithms, and pseudo-code where appropriate.

The Journal will be electronic only, and at least initially, edited rather than refereed.

Please contact us with proposals or queries, as well as draft articles, at c4lj-articles@googlegroups.com (a private list read only by C4LJ editors) no later than Friday, August 31, 2007. Earlier contact is appreciated.

For more information, you can find information on our mission, processes and structures, and guidelines for authors at: http://journal.code4lib.org/

We look forward to hearing from interested people,

Code4Lib Journal Editorial Committee

Carol Bean
Jonathan Brinley
Edward Corrado
Tom Keays
Emily Lynema
Eric Lease Morgan
Ron Peterson
Jonathan Rochkind
Jodi Schneider
Dan Scott
Ken Varnum

Recently cited ecorrado

I have found out that my Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship article “The Importance of Open Access, Open Source, and Open Standards for Libraries” and the presentation “Comparison of Selected Open Source Software Library Management Systems” I did at Internet Librarian in 2004 have both recently been cited in two different articles. One was an article by Michell K. Campbell called “Libraries and open source: A natural alliance” that appeared in the May 2007 issue of Footnotes , 36(4) (the official newsletter of the New Members Round Table (NMRT) of the American Library Association). Unfortunately this article does not appear to be available online.

The other article appeared in the 2007 annual volume of Library Philosophy and Practice. This article was titled “Standing Up for Open Source” and was co-authored by Lee David Jaffe and Greg Careaga.

One interesting thing about the conference citations is that they both cited the Internet Librarian conference presentation on Rider University Libraries’ Web site even though I’m now at TCNJ and the slides and chart are also available on my professional website there.

Changing Mazda 6 head lights and fog lights

As I wrote once before, the official way to change the headlights on a 2003 Mazda 6 is to take off the front bumper. However, with skinny hands and some patience, you can get it done without going to such extreme measures. Recently, a low beam headlight on the passenger’s side and a fog light on the driver’s side went out. Having already changed the headlight once, it was pretty easy to do (you just need to move the radiator overflow tank out of the way). The fog lights, however were more confusing. However, thanks to a few Web sites, it wasn’t that bad. You still need some patience, but it can be done. The sites I looked at for hints were:

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