Thursday, 28 June 2007

Parallel Session 6A - Information interactions in community and society

Finally - time to blog!!! It's a pity that it's the last day! I will over the next few days go back and write about some of the other sessions, but issues from this one are buzzing at the moment.

Lynn Connaway (OCLC)'s paper Focusing on change: connecting to both Millennials and Baby Boomers looked at the results from 2 collaborative projects she had been a part of, looking at different information preferences of the 2 groups. Among the most striking perhaps was the fact that the younger group of Millenials - the "Screenagers" (a digitally-native group who can't remember life without computers) think that "email is for old people".

Just falling in the the category of Millenial (albeit the older cohort) by the skin of my teeth, I find this topic really interesting. The ideas from the paper resonate with Martin Westwell's keynote on Tuesday, which I can safely say blew away the vast majority of those in attendance, and ideas from the first plenary. As an active Bebo user for about 18 months (tried myspace, didn't like it), I am a bit torn by the "Geography Teacher at the 6th Form Disco" analogy. I can see the value of getting in where people are so that we are visible, but also that we might turn people off by doing so.

I registered with facebook yesterday morning following Martin's revelation that "this is where all the kids had moved on to". I've also been following a long discussion on various social networking issues on the AoIR discussion list, so experimenting with the site has been on my mind for a while. Perhaps surprisingly to most readers here, the first thing that happened was that I was "poked" by my mother!

My mother (now 59) is also active on bebo, initially through myself and my younger sister, but has also begun to use it. She is a Chemistry academic, and also runs an well-used departmental bebo page for both current and former students. So I don't think that social networking sites and young people's spaces need be a Library and Information no-go area, we just need to make sure that anything we do is not a tokenistic gesture, as they'll see right through us.

The abstract is located at , and the presentation should also be available shortly.

Grant Campbell also presented some very thought provoking preliminary ideas about the possibilities of designing information systems for those suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Hearing from various angles that the profession are constantly "playing catch-up" with new technologies, I feel that this is an instance where we very much can and should take the lead - there's something here that we finally have the head's up on, and if we start now this could be an extremely valuable development.

No comments: