Thursday, July 28, 2011

Selecting from the information hose pipe

"It's like drinking from a hose." (urban dictionary) "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." "Try something new for 30 days."
These are comments, questions and responses that connect (in my own mind at least) information overload. And not just information, but information management tools that are overwhelming in quantity and diversity.

On Monday I went to a class at the NYPL for social studies teachers and school librarians about primary sources, social studies teaching, and the internet. We looked at materials created by and with the library, we practices creating maps on Google Earth that linked historical pictures from the NYPL collections to locations on the map. We practiced creating Voice Threads with images from the NYPL digital gallery.

Finally - and most pertinently, perhaps - we talked about the "Is it worth it? test." Does technology allow you to do something you couldn't do before? Does it allow you to do something better? I also added, Does it make it easier?

I spend a tremendous amount of time each week looking at things that people I trust or "follow" recommend on the internet. The tools that I love and speak either to me or that I think would be meaningful to a particular group that I work with, I post or talk-up. Some make it to my Portaportal site, some are important enough to go on my home library page, some get a mention on my Facebook page, and some might get a mention here.

Just because I mention something doesn't mean that everyone should try it! Even more importantly, please don't think that everything I mention is right for you! Each person is the final filter. They choose what to explore, what to try, and finally what to use. Each of us only uses a few tools or applications with any frequency. The trick is finding what works for you.