CU in the Future: Emerging Technology Planning Assignment

CU in the Future: Emerging Technology Planning Assignment

Throughout the term we have explored ways that libraries have engaged with their users to create more participatory and inclusive library services. Although blogs are not a new technology in the web 2.0 world, they offer academic institutions, who are traditionally seen as rigid and static gatekeepers to information, a chance to create two way communication with their users.

At Carleton University MacOdrum Library, I am proposing that we create a blog, CU in the Future, as a way to promote our newly created emerging technology lending library. The blog will contain a mix of static and participatory pages. The static pages will list the mission, guidelines, policy and events associated with the emerging technology in the library (sessions and presentations), while the blog portion will be written by staff (promoting and sharing information on new additions to the library), faculty (sharing projects that they are having their students work on using emerging technology), and students (sharing their experience with the technology that the library loans out).

The following emerging technology plan will outline the steps necessary to successfully implement the project in Carleton University MacOdrum Library.

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service

The goal of this service is to promote the new emerging technology lending program at Carleton University’s MacOdrum Library, through the development of the CU in the Future brand. The brand will utilize the blogging platform WordPress to encourage participation amongst students, staff and faculty at Carleton University.

The blog will focus on student and faculty projects that use the library’s emerging technology collection.

CU in the Future provides the following benefits to the library:

  • It promotes the emerging technology lending program
  • It promotes collaboration amongst different departments at Carleton University and showcases how they are making use of emerging technology provided by the library
  • It helps promote the ACRL framework, with focus on ‘Scholarship as Conversation’
  • It encourages library staff to learn what technology the library is investing in and how various departments are using it (basic training and information on these technologies was requested by the staff)
  • While quantitative stats are the traditional method of assessment of library collections (how many times an item has circulated), CU in the Future attempts to add qualitative assessment to the technology through stories, projects and conversation

Although this emerging technology plan will focus only on the CU in the Future blog, additional technology can be added to the social media campaign including Facebook and Twitter.

Description of Community you wish to engage

Located in the nation’s capital of Ottawa, Canada, Carleton University’s community includes:

Students:

  • 24,554 undergraduate students (4262 part time)
  • 3735 graduate students (620 part time)

Faculty and Staff:

  • 850 faculty members
  • 1,050 staff members
  • 713 contract instructors
  • 106 library staff
  • over 130,000 alumni. (source)

While this seems like a large community to engage with this service, it is something that will align with the library strategic plan for 2013-2018. In that plan, the library states that it “improves the value of the University, welcoming members of the Carleton campus as well as the wider community to inspiring spaces and dynamic study and research connections.” Further, it states that the Library “uses accessible technology and highly trained personnel to ensure that all users develop research and inquiry skills necessary for continuous learning as global citizens” (Carleton University Library: Strategic Plan 2013-2018, p. 3).

Through the sharing of student and faculty projects on the CU in the Future blog, and the encouraging of communication through the WordPress comment system we hope to better serve the Carleton community through collaboration and communication, while promoting the collection.

Action Brief Statement

To convince library administration that by implementing the CU in the Future blog, they will be more actively promoting the new emerging technology lending library by creating collaborative communication between library users and demonstrating how the technology is being utilized.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service

The following resources and evidence can be used to support the technology and service that CU in the Future offers the community. The resources have been broken down into several categories to make browsing easier.

Branding

Krum, R. (2015). The Power of Visual Branding. Retrieved from http://stephenslighthouse.com/2015/10/11/the-power-of-visual-branding/

Potter, N. (2012). The library marketing toolkit. London: Facet.

Mathews, B. (2009). Marketing today’s academic library: A bold new approach to communicating with students. Chicago: American Library Association.

Carleton Policies, Guides and Branding

Carleton University. (n.d.). Best practices for managing your account. Retreived from http://carleton.ca/socialmedia/social-media-guidelines/best-practice/

Carleton University. (n.d.). Carleton University Visual Identity Toolkit. Retrieved from http://newsroom.carleton.ca/wp-content/files/cu-visual-identity-toolkit.pdf

Blogs:

Adams, R. (2013),Blogging in context: reviewing the academic library blogosphere. The Electronic Library. 31 (5) doi:10.1108/EL-05-2012-0054

Chong, Eddy K.M. (2010). Using blogging to enhance the initiation of students into academic research. Computers & Education 55 doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2010.03.012

Relevant Class Material (Evidence):

Anythink’s Strategic Plan (which they have extended through 2015)

Anything Staff Manifest

A Day in the Life of an Anythink Library

Kitsap Regional Library. (n.d.). Brand.

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service

At Carleton University, our emerging technology lending program is still in its infancy and has a modest budget. By creating a strong mission statement, guidelines, and policy for the blog we can use the blog as an effective tool to measure the qualitative value that these technologies have for students, faculty, the community, and staff. While circulation statistics may be low for the technology in the lending program, the impact of the emerging technology can be more effectively assessed in qualitative terms through stories and project examples.

Who would be included in mission, guidelines, and policy creation?

Key staff members from Carleton University should be included when creating the mission, guidelines, and policy for the blog to ensure that the policy remains strong and relevant moving forward. It would be important to include a member of the collection development team, the subject support specialist for emerging technology, a handful of faculty members (champions and even some skeptics for balance), and a student representative. It would also be valuable to include a representative of the web committee at Carleton University who can advise us as we develop our mission, guidelines, and policy to align more closely to that of the library’s web policy.

Where could we look for example policies?

For example policies we can look at academic libraries who are effectively loaning emerging technology to their communities. Some libraries who have established technology lending programs include:

North Carolina State University Library: https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/techlending

Toronto Public Library: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/using-the-library/computer-services/innovation-spaces/

What do we want to include in the guidelines for use?

When a service allows user feedback, it is important to clearly define acceptable use. When users conduct themselves in an appropriate manner, disagreements can be a valuable part of the learning process and the dissemination of information (a skill that I hope students can build on through the blog). However, inappropriate use of the blog, which includes personal attacks and inappropriate comments, are not acceptable. While the Library will not actively censor comments, they will remove or refuse to post non-constructive or inappropriate comments that they feel compromise the safety of other users (personal attacks) through the inclusion of a moderation period on participatory comments.

Privacy will also be addressed in the guidelines. The anonymous nature of the web can be both positive and negative. Since students will be using the WordPress platform for interacting with CU in the Future, it will be important to educate users about protecting themselves in online environments. Several online resources can be used to teach students about their online privacy such as:

Stay Safe Online (Higher Education): https://www.staysafeonline.org/teach-online-safety/higher-education/

Teaching Privacy in the Internet Age: http://ikeepsafe.org/be-a-pro/privacy/teaching-privacy-in-the-internet-age/

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service

Technology Costs:

Although initial costs are low for implementing this service, investments of staff time are needed to make CU in the Future successful.

The WordPress.com platform is free to use unless the library wishes to purchase the premium version. WordPress.org is also free, but the library would be required to pay to host the files through a third party service like Bluehost, Inmotion Hosting, or Hostgator. These third party web hosts range in price but several sources place the average cost around $125/year.

While beta testing the CU in the Future blog, it makes sense to use the free WordPress platform until evaluation and assessment of the service can justify either a.) a need to move to a self-hosted platform or b.) the beta program would be amalgamated under the library website and control.

Carleton University Library’s website was created with Drupal, and several online resources state that migrating from WordPress to Drupal should, in most cases, be straightforward. While some of the more complicated plugin features may require additional work, the core of the WordPress site should migrate to Drupal with little effort. This includes content, comments, taxonomies, etc.

Brand Design:

For this plan, I have provided a quick draft of a logo I designed, however it would be important to look at having a logo created by a professional designer. At Carleton University, Graphic Services offers professional designing for logos for a price. (https://carleton.ca/graphicservices/graphic-design/)

Rough draft of a branding for CU in the Future
Rough draft of a branding for CU in the Future

Staff Costs:

Staff time would be the most resource intensive requirement of the project. This includes the staff needed to maintain the site, write short articles bimonthly about emerging technology in the library, and monitoring site activity.

Action Steps & Timeline

Building a site through WordPress.com is very simple, and can be done with relative ease. I drafted a test page in about an hour which can be seen here. More care and design decisions would be used in the creation of the live site.

Departmental Level

I would start by pitching the service at the department level with the department head and emerging technology specialists present. This would include a short presentation, complete with further resources and readings for the group to explore. This meeting would either get the service approved or declined.

If approved it could be submitted to the web committee.

Web Committee

Once the web committee is presented with the project we would have to address and answer any questions they may have. If approved, we could move forward with designing the blog and move into the beta phase.

Beta Phase

The beta phase would involve bringing in faculty from outside the library to help promote and share the blog to their students and colleagues. Once the blog is live, content should be published approximately every two weeks to ensure faculty and students are updated on library events, new technology purchases, and ongoing/completed student projects.

From start to finish, I think that the project could be put into beta phase within two months of the initial presentation.

If the plan is denied, we can step back from the blog technology and instead use CU in the Future as a face-to-face tool to bring students, faculty, and staff together in a physical space to showcase student projects. As Michael Casey mentioned in our #hyperlib chat, if a proposal is declined, sometimes approaching the problem from a different angle can be appropriate. If the face-to-face sessions become popular and enough interest is garnered from staff, students and faculty, perhaps that endorsement can make the difference.

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service

While staffing is always an issue in libraries, this service can be implemented using existing library staff with little disruption to daily activity. The staff needed would be:

Team Lead: This library staff member takes on the primary role of running the CU in the Future blog. This person would schedule meetings with faculty, plan future blog posts, and moderate user comments.

Library Outreach Member: This library staff member should have a good knowledge of the technology being added to the emerging technology lending library, as well as have a good working relationship with Carleton University faculty and how their students are using emerging technology. This person would facilitate communication between the team lead and the students/faculty who want to contribute to the blog posts.

Library Team Members: While the team lead takes the primary responsibility of posting content to the CU in the Future blog, the library team members will have editing and posting privileges as well. These people should be interested in emerging technology trends and willing to share and post on the blog regularly.

Faculty Champions: These people should be innovators in the classroom and willing to share what they are doing with the rest of the campus. At Carleton University, we have a number of emerging technology champions that would be willing to contribute.

Student Assistants: The library has a large number of student employees. We could utilize these students to monitor blog activity at regularly scheduled times, which could be adjusted depending on how frequently comments are submitted. This could be reviewed as the project moves forward.

Training for this Technology or Service

The great thing about WordPress is the ability to set permissions between different users. While CU in the Future is in early beta stages, we would create one administrator account (Team Lead) who would be in charge of creating and maintaining the site. This person should have basic understanding of HTML and CSS coding but WordPress can be setup with little training.

Staff designated as “team members” will be given moderation and writing privileges. Training for writing and publishing on WordPress can be given in a brief one hour session and questions that come up throughout the life of the project can be addressed by the Team Lead on a case by case basis.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service

Carleton University offers various channels for promoting events and services. Some of those include:

[email protected]: From the website, “[email protected] is a daily e-newsletter distributed to 2,000 faculty and staff subscribers. Anyone may subscribe or unsubscribe at any time. The focus of [email protected] is on news briefs, events and admin announcements” (http://newsroom.carleton.ca/resources-and-publications/todaycarleton-subscription-submission-form/).

Mailing Lists: Mailing lists can be a great way for people to share information within a community of like minded individuals and insures that users are getting the information as we ‘push’ updates, news, and event information (as long as users are checking their email regularly).

Library News Pages: These pages are showcased on the library homepage at Carleton University MacOdrum library. If interested, we can post news updates about new technology, projects, or articles that we publish on the blog.

Library TV: The blog and the brand can be promoted on a television screen that broadcasts library news and events as users enter the library.

Word of Mouth: Faculty champions, students and library staff can promote the blog and the technology through word of mouth. Faculty can inform their students, students can tell their friends, and library staff can promote to faculty and students.

Faculty Champions: One of the most important promotional  tools we will have at our disposal is the faculty who are involved in getting their students to make use of the technology. These faculty members can promote the technology to their peers and their students.

Carleton University Social Media Directory: This directory lists all the social media tools for the university. Adding CU in the Future would ensure that it has a place on the Carleton University website.

Evaluation

While most of the evaluation that occurs at Carleton University MacOdrum Library is quantitative in nature, the CU in the Future blog will provide a qualitative assessment of the emerging technology. This is one of the most exciting parts about this service. The collaboration and communication on the WordPress platform, can showcase the value that this technology has for students and faculty and demonstrate Carleton’s commitment to student learning through innovation.

The blog’s success can also be evaluated through WordPress’s dashboard features, which tally the number of visits, record where people are accessing the blog from, and contain many additional features that would prove valuable in assessing and evaluating its effectiveness.

Expanding the service includes exploring additional social media outlets for the brand. CU in the Future could branch into Facebook and Twitter to share interesting new technologies with students and faculty. Facebook particularly would be a valuable tool in evaluating interest in new technology before the library decides to purchase it. The library could ask students what they would like to see in the emerging technology lending library and make purchases based on the feedback they receive.

The great thing about building a brand is the power that the participants have in promoting and creating a culture around it. In many ways, CU in the Future is a unit of like-minded users who all share a common interest, emerging technology.

Sources

American Library Association. (February 2, 2015). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework

Anythink’s Strategic Plan (which they have extended through 2015)

Anything Staff Manifest

A Day in the Life of an Anythink Library

Carleton University. (n.d.). Best practices for managing your account. Retreived from http://carleton.ca/socialmedia/social-media-guidelines/best-practice/

Carleton University. (n.d.). Carleton University Visual Identity Toolkit. Retrieved from http://newsroom.carleton.ca/wp-content/files/cu-visual-identity-toolkit.pdf

Carleton University. (n.d.). Facts and figures. Retrieved from http://carleton.ca/about/facts/

Carleton University. (n.d.). Graphic services. Retrieved from https://carleton.ca/graphicservices/graphic-design/

Carleton University. (n.d.). [email protected]. Retrieved from http://carleton.ca/tac/

Carleton University Library. (n.d.). Carleton University Library: Strategic Plan 2013-2018. Retrieved from https://library.carleton.ca/sites/default/files/about/projects/CUL_Strategic_Plan_2013-2018.PDF

Drupal. (July 15, 2014). Migrating from WordPress. Retrieved from https://www.drupal.org/node/43178

Kitsap Regional Library. (n.d.). Brand.

Krum, R. (2015). The Power of Visual Branding. Retrieved from http://stephenslighthouse.com/2015/10/11/the-power-of-visual-branding/

ikeepsafe.org (n.d.). Teaching Privacy in the Internet Age. Retrieved from http://ikeepsafe.org/be-a-pro/privacy/teaching-privacy-in-the-internet-age/

Leaver, T., & Kent, M. (2014). An education in facebook?: Higher education and the world’s largest social network. New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Mathews, B. (2009). Marketing today’s academic library: A bold new approach to communicating with students. Chicago: American Library Association.

North Carolina State University Library. (n.d.). Technology lending. Retrieved from https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/techlending

Potter, N. (2012). The library marketing toolkit. London: Facet.

staysafeonline.org (n.d.). Stay Safe Online (Higher Education). Retrieved from https://www.staysafeonline.org/teach-online-safety/higher-education/

Toronto Public Library. (n.d.). Digital Innovation Hubs. Retrieved from http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/using-the-library/computer-services/innovation-spaces/

4 thoughts on “CU in the Future: Emerging Technology Planning Assignment

  1. I liked how you broke the staffing into Team Lead, Library Outreach Member, Library Team Members, Faculty Champions, and Student Assistants. This is a great idea!

    I liked how detailed you were with the marketing ideas as well. All are very practical and doable.

    Nice work! 🙂

    1. @krislib thank you! I think outreach member is the key to the project’s success. Without them faculty champions will be overlooked and a great opportunity could be missed.

      We have some very keen faculty that would be instrumental in spreading the word and promoting the service.

  2. @ryantucci, this is such a thoroughly and thoughtfully illustrated plan — I really hope it works for you and your library, and I would be interesting in hearing about the project’s progress. Even something as “simple” as a blog might encounter resistance, and your plan is careful and welcoming such that I believe others in your organization would seriously consider it (and act on it, we hope!).

    Also, the pun on the blog name slays me, LOL. 😉

  3. @ryantucci, Nice plan! I also like the pun, and am impressed that you designed a logo. Thanks for the reminder that WordPress does its own data collection on site visits. I can see where that could come in very handy.

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