Wednesday, March 19, 2008

a talk for librarians at stanford university

today i hopped in the car and drove down to palo alto to present some ideas to librarians in green library at stanford. the talk was organized by stanford librarian shinjoung yeo and the information center.

i seldom give talks about classes that are still in progress but that's what most of my presentation today covered. first, i talked about what my students are doing this semester in digital journalism. next, i talked about what my students are doing in digital literacy. my main idea, i think, was to say that instead of librarians and educators thinking about teaching with technology, we should be thinking about learning with technology. put another way, instead of professors and librarians building sites for students to visit and obey, we should encourage our students to build their own sites - sites where they follow their curiosity, create content, converse, and collaborate (the five c's). i closed my talk by gushing about gleeson gleanings.

i began by discussing my digital journalism students and their tech skills: they blog, they flickr, they comment, they tag. they, like other young people, create lots and lots of content, some of it really good. i presented our growing campus map and clicked through some of the pins. i spent considerable time on one pin, the pin over USF's organic garden.

this year at USF, the garden project - 11 students, 2 profs - has planted an organic farm on campus. last week, i sent out my digital journalism students to cover the garden. today, with the librarians, i focused on one post, miles' USF Organic Garden Project post, which includes excellent writing, photography, and video, but also includes an inaccuracy. i then noted to the librarians how a garden project student, valeria, commented on miles' blog and corrected the mistake. so: a digital journalism student explores and documents the work of garden project students, and then a garden project student reads over and makes more accurate the work of a digital journalism student. very cool: students teaching students. i call that campus crowdsourcing.

i then changed gears and talked about the students and happenings in my digital literacy course. i explained, i think, the davies forum and the uniqueness of the enrolled students. i also explained that the course includes multiple field trips and some stellar guest speakers including ivan chew.

i used this photograph to share with the librarians a long, complex, and wonderful story about ivan's visit with the davies forum and one day i'll try to blog about it in detail. but i also used this photograph to explain how my davies forum students are not only creating content. they are organizing content. they are curating content.

to illustrate what i meant by student-generated content and curation, i showed lulu's Librarians of the Future photo set:

and flickr's public daviesforum tag:

at this point, time was running short and things got blurry, but i seem to recall saying that i ask my students to log off - to go to a lecture, to attend a concert, to walk around and photograph a garden, to make a delicious meal, to physically drag your body away from the computer or cell phone and experience something deeply in first life - and then to blog about it. i said to the librarians that i expect all my students, my digital journalism students and my digital literacy students, to log off before they blog off.

i ended with four reasons why gleeson gleanings is so cool:

* it's a group blog, collaboratively written by librarians and library staff;
* section/topic bloggers seem to be developing organically;
* blog posts are diverse in terms of length/depth (this is huge in the long run);
* and the best: USF students actually comment on it!

books on shelves vs databases online, authorial credibility vs the wisdom of the crowds, closed journals vs open access, taxonomies vs folksonomies - seems to me that librarians and academics have a lot of concerns and opportunities in common. the more we work together, especially when it comes to curriculum, the smarter and more creative our students become.

thanks green library!


Ivan Chew said...

"...instead of librarians and educators thinking about teaching with technology, we should be thinking about learning with technology" -- right on, David.

To extend that thought: Instead of librarians thinking about merely delivering content with technology, we should be thinking about using technology to enable *readers* to learn in different ways.

(oh, thanks for the compliment. It's humbling to be included in the same class as those whom you've invited to speak at the Davies Forum).

david silver said...

nice extension, ivan, i agree.

you/we should come up with a brief list of examples of what using technology to enable readers to learn in different ways looks like or can look like.

Kathy said...

Thought your students might be interested in the David Rumsey Map Collection at
He does incredible things with making his many historical maps available and has a 1876 map of Golden Gate Park. There are many other great maps of California there, as well. Plus, it's really cool to see what he's done. He even has historical maps in Second Life.
Kathy Kerns, Stanford

Kathy said...

Also, try searching the Online Archive of California's image collection at

david silver said...

kathy - the david rumsey collection is incredible. within minutes, i found three excellent maps of golden gate park (the next site of study for students enrolled in my digital journalism class) from the last 1800s, including these two.

likewise, the online archive of california's image collection generated all kinds of goodies when i searched for "golden gate park" (not to mention 31 images generated from a "victory gardens" search, including this beautiful garden outside of santa ana library.)

thanks, kathy, your suggestions are hugely helpful - my students and i will surely use these two sites when we return from spring break.

Kathy said...

Great! These also show the sorts of things librarians are doing these days. Both sites involved a lot of librarian labor.

Anonymous said...

David--A colleague of mine at Stanford mentioned that you were gushing about "gleeson gleanings". We truly value you as a library/librarian advocate! Thanks for sharing what you presented. --Locke

debbie malone said...

Thanks for the promo for Gleeson Gleanings! and for all the great ideas generated by yourself and your students and Ivan . . . I am intrigued by the concept of technology enabling learning and how Gleeson Library can utilize blogs, wikis, slideshare, etc. to help students, faculty and others do that very thing. I await, with anticipation, your list "of examples of what using technology to enable readers to learn in different ways looks like or can look like."

Molly said...

Thanks for coming to see us, David! It is inspiring to see your class projects!

Your students might also be interested in this website: All the Saints of the City of Angels: Paintings and Stories by J. Michael Walker, which has an interactive map, featuring artwork depicting streets in Los Angeles named for saints, details about the physical exhibit (February-September 2008), a calendar of events (tours to poetry readings), and more. In English and Spanish. From the Autry National Center.

Molly Molloy, Information Center, Green Library

david silver said...

locke and debbie - thank you!

molly - the All the Saints Map is incredible. next week, i will show this to my students in both digital journalism and digital literacy. thanks for the suggestion and the comment.