social innovations in school library

June 18, 2007

Tomorrow we will discuss with Ele Priidik of her future master study.
Initial idea is on my opinion very promising – to develop information using strategies based on social bookmarking that would enhance the use of school library in subject lessons. We were talking previously of two ideas:

Literature-suggestions and browsing: this would be the framework in which the compulsory literature books will be tagged in school library first by the librarian, and then in the following lessons the methodology will be worked out in which people should add more tags on the basis of what was relevant for them in these books (eg. in the book Gone with the wind..some might see the love story, the others history of South etc.) and enhance it also with comments. Then the eventual result would be the school library that suggests through the readers. This should develop the new kind of search skills and +

Research literature and storing: in this case the students would start working with their specific research cases in specific subject, collecting social bookmarks, sorting and reorganizing them accordingly into tag-clouds. This should develop new kind of organizing skills and +
It is not that clear yet what exactly we would do. There might be another interesting approach based on tagging the specific domain-related information-books at the library during making reports.

Ele’s task would be working out the methods and trying them out and evaluating in her school at Paide. For this she needs to investigate other similar approaches with social bookmarks, like Martin Sillaots or Riina Vuorikari propose in their weblogs.

Secondly she would need to develop the framework what are information analysis skills and how social software would bring in the need for different type of skills.
Today i read something interesting about telling that:

The efficiency of social tagging is decreasing.

This claim is based on entropy – a measure of the disorder of a system.

Would it mean that the nice social bubble like del.icio.us will be gone soon because of laws of entropy and there will be the next kind of information sorting/storing/analyzing method needed?

Would it mean that in the organization (eg. school library) the smaller closed systems should be used?

I can also think it might be useful to try out some social-bookmarking service that would be like open social school library project also in other schools.

Some comments about entropy in systems:
Entropy in unisolated systems can increase or decrease.
In an isolated systems entropy cannot never decrease…thus in isolates systems it can only increase.

There is also theory of entropy in information systems.

In information theory, entropy is the measure of the amount of information that is missing before reception. The definition of the information entropy is expressed in terms of a discrete set of probabilities. In the case of transmitted messages, these probabilities were the probabilities that a particular message was actually transmitted, and the entropy of the message system was a measure of how much information was in the message. For the case of equal probabilities (i.e. each message is equally probable), the Shannon entropy (in bits) is just the number of yes/no questions needed to determine the content of the message.

This is of course for Ele to decide and find out.
I can imagine that eventually some kind of hierarchy for evaluating the skills might be suggested besides methods. And..why not to introduce in the school library practice (which are usually quite small) the whole concept of folksonomies?

Then thirdly, Ele has to test out how her methods are applicable, describe them as cases and evaluate the cases on the basis of how they developed students’ information processing skills, and how they were effective as the social methods that enhance information access at school libraries.

We have not decided yet, which system to use for this study. On one hand del.icio.us seems to have many good functions and it is belieavable that people would use it anyway. But there are also shelfari and others…



  1. We decided with Ele that we will try to elaborate the Literature book examples.

  2. Hello Kai Pata, Ele,

    Sounds like an interesting research topic that you are picking up-I will try to keep my eyes open for this, too.

    Did you happen to see that we are organising a workshop on these themes at EC-TEL? Our call for paper is closed now and it looks that we got interesting contributions (http://ariadne.cs.kuleuven.be/sirtel). Would be fun if you participated, try making the trip!

    I also read about the Chi study on entropy, I think he missed the point of navigability when only focusing on using tags for information retrieval purposes. As important as they are, many people love social bookmarking sites for the fact that they can also navigate through “people” and “resources”, too, not only tags. So even if entropy grows, you can still find what you are looking for through your network of people, which narrows down your choice.

    Besides, I was wondering if ANY library system would not end up with an increased level of entropy when more items are added, but not more terms?



  3. Hello Riina,

    We have been aware of some of your doings because Sebastian Fiedler told me that your work is related to these interests what we want to try out.
    Ele is on her second year of master study now and we will plan and do this experiment at school. She has not done much yet, but i think it is very promising topic. The main is right now to pick a good medium for her school library ideas. If you know some freeware we are very open to try out. If we cannot find we will try with del.icio.us
    I didnt see that you are organizing this workshop. We are coming to EC-TEL with a paper about affordances (but probably only Terje Väljataga who is the first author will come). I have currently no funding for this trip but i am very interested of the papers you have selected to the workshop. Could you keep me informed?

    greetings, Kai

  4. […] by Sebastian Kruk et al., which was very much technically supporting what we would like to do in the study of making school library 2.0 practically happen in one master […]

  5. […] by Sebastian Kruk et al., which was very much technically supporting what we would like to do in the study of making school library 2.0 practically happen in one master […]

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