Archive for August, 2013

No habla technology: What if you weren’t born digital?

Not only does the descriptor “born digital” refer to materials that originated in a digital form, but it also describes today’s kids!

175727163John Palfrey, an educator, scholar, and law professor, wrote a book by the same name—Born Digital—that examines how our future economy, politics, culture, and family lives will be shaped by the first generation of children born into and raised in the digital world. Their parents are referred to as “digital immigrants.” With school starting soon for some states and underway in others, this can be an issue for parents particularly, once homework assignments start rolling in.

Bobbi Newman, author of the “Librarian by Day” blog, has created a thought-provoking presentation that addresses, among other topics, the concept of this new transliteracy skill: “The ability to read, write, and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks.”

So how will we bridge the gap in technology fluency between the last “born analog” generation—the immigrants—and the first wave of digital natives?

We’ll turn to libraries for help, that’s how.

Libraries are offering programming, in some cases in partnership with schools, to offer classes designed to enhance the digital fluency of parents, aided by organizations like that provide a platform for sharing ideas and successes.

Arlington Heights (IL) Memorial Library will offer a series of classes in digital literacy for elementary and junior high school parents, using both the public library and school computer labs.
• Darien (CT) Library offers “Cyber Parents and Digital Natives: A Technology Series for the Modern Family.” Classes cover everything from teaching parents about Facebook, Twitter, age-appropriate apps, and recognizing technology oversaturation to “Little Clickers,” a class in basic computer skills, in which three- to five-year-olds learn alongside their parents or caregivers.
• The Franklin (MA) Public Library, in partnership with the local school district, has offered drop-in sessions in which parents can learn about Instagram, Snapchat, and other apps their kids are using. The instruction is provided by the experts—students!—and remember: it’s “BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)!”
• The State Library of Iowa suggests resources to help libraries start their own digital literacy initiatives.
• The U.S. Digital Literacy organization also provides a compelling overview of why offering such instruction is essential.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, ““Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn [the language] or leave the country.”

For those of us who are digital immigrants trying to learn the language of new technology: the clock is ticking!

Why Have a Social Media Policy for Your University Library?

Many schools, universities, and libraries are devising policies for faculty, and students, outlining acceptable use guidelines for blogs and other social media. In a time when the distinction between personal and professional realms is fading, it seems everyone has a Facebook or Twitter profile now, and a social media policy is a way to set some ground rules for your employees.  It provides a standard for how they will post content that could ultimately reflect on your organization.

What to include in a social media policy

First, take a look at the types of applications you have, like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networks, as you are devising an internal policy.  Look into establishing best practices for each, and suggestions for posting, since each is slightly different.

Courtesy of Corporate Legal Exchange.  Copyright 2012.

Courtesy of Corporate Legal Exchange.
Copyright 2012.

Here are a few basics to include in all social media policies:

  • A disclaimer. In all social channels, state that the opinions expressed are not representative of the organization as a whole.
  • Proprietary information. Don’t allow disclosure of sensitive information like financial details or private information about co-workers or clients/patrons, for example.
  • Copyrights.  Make sure your employees understand copyright and fair use laws regarding republishing protected content and sources.  While employees should be responsible, the company should also have a DMCA policy in place to ensure that any take-down requests are handled properly.
  • Respecting colleagues. Privacy of your coworkers is typically outlined in an employee handbook.  Posting photos, video clips, or information about them without permission should be highlighted in a social media policy.
  • Avoid being argumentative. Responses to someone’s opinion should be handled in a non-controversial professional tone.
  • Check your accuracy.  Ensuring that your posts are accurate and factual is paramount.
  • Use good judgment – what you put out there is out there forever.  The image of your library is archived permanently once online.  There are very few social websites that can completely eliminate your post from online searches.

Here are some university libraries’ social media policies:

–          Arcadia University: The College of Global Studies’ social media policy

–          Purdue

–          Ferris State University

–          Ball State University

–          Tufts University

TIP: It’s a good idea to assign just one administrator to manage all of your library’s social media posts, including the moderation of comments.

Practicing what I preach: The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent those of ProQuest.   And please consult with your own marketing professionals and legal advisors when creating your organization’s social media policy.