Comparing Database Platform Features for Sharing, Bookmarking, and Exporting Bibliographic Data

A few weeks ago, I created a video outlining some of the challenges of bookmarking and sharing database sources to services like Tumblr and Scoop.it.  After exploring options for exporting database information source bibliographic data to services like EasyBib and NoodleTools for the last two weeks, I realized that not all vendors provide this information (nor is the integrity of the data always flawless—more on that in a future blog post).  I thought it might be helpful to create a chart and something visual to compare the features of the databases we use most frequently at The Unquiet Library-–if you use any of these databases, you might find these resources I’ve created helpful as well.


I’m probably most frustrated by the fact that there are huge gaps in the consistency of sharing/citation tools (not to mention the design and organization) across Gale database platforms and that some databases for K12 (like Student Research Center from EBSCOhost) don’t offer ANY of these options for students.  It’s difficult to pitch the value of database resources on “authority” alone when the search interfaces and sharing/posting/exporting options are so vastly different and confusing to young learners.

Why does this matter?  Take a look at these skills in the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner:

  • 1.2.2 Demonstrate confidence and self-direction by making independent choices in the selection of resources and information.
  • 3.1 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners.
  • 3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use, and assess.
  • 4.1.6 Organize personal knowledge in a way that can be called upon easily.
  • 4.1.7 Use social networks and information tools to gather and share information.

If database platforms aren’t consistent in basic features for sharing, bookmarking, and exporting bibliographic data, students will experience greater difficulty in utilizing these resources as they create personal learning environments and utilize contemporary curation and bookmarking tools (as well as social media tools for reflection and discussion of learning/research experiences).  I’m trying to teach our students how to harness the power of tools we have readily available and to be transparent, reflective networked learners, yet the inconsistencies outlined below make that charge much more challenging as we try to teach skills like those from our AASL standards and processes for taking control and responsibility of their learning.

As we try to incorporate these social media and cloud computing tools for organizing information, sharing information, and creating content, we as librarians must be vocal in letting our vendors know our expectations so that the databases can better interface with these tools for learning and navigating and managing the information landscape.  What features are missing or are problematic with your favorite databases?

Creating Conversations for Learning: NoodleBib Assignment Dropbox as Formative Assessment, Part 2

A few weeks ago, I composed a post about the possibilities of using the NoodleBib shared assignment dropbox feature as a formative assessment for evaluating working bibliographies and notecards.  Now that I’ve completed two research project “checkpoints” using the shared assignment dropbox, I am happy to share that this formative assessment has been successful in:

1.  Gaining insight into the selection of information sources by students and to help them identify gaps in sources they may be overlooking that could inform their research.

2.  Helping students identify and understand the mistakes they’ve made in the citation process and working with them to correct the entries.

3.  Seeing what students are doing really well with their notetaking skills and providing positive feedback while identifying areas of weakness and then engaging in a conversation for learning with the student by sharing strategies for tackling those “challenge” areas with notetaking skills.

My roles in facilitating these formative assessments included:

1.  Setting up the shared assignment dropboxes.

2.  Teaching students how to share an assignment and confirming I had received the assignments from each group.

3.  Taking the time to evaluate each group’s bibliographic entries and notecards while providing feedback.

4.  Keeping a spreadsheet of general notes for each group’s work and noting patterns in what students were doing well and common problems I saw in student work.

5.  Sharing my findings and notes with my co-teacher, Susan Lester, and then the two of us working together with groups to address challenges I identified through the formative assessment; in addition, I enlisted the assistance of students who were demonstrating specific skills in an exemplary manner to help peers on an “as needed” basis.

I love how easy it is to evaluate bibliographic individual entries and the accompanying notecards for each source cited in one screen.  All you have to do is log into your account, scroll down to the bottom of your project lists page, and then open a student project (which for these assignments, were collaboratively created lists for group research projects).  You can then click on “Bibliography” to access the bibliographic entries and accompanying notecards on one screen; you can then enter custom comments for each entry, and for the notecards,  you can compose custom comments or use a comment from the pre-existing database of notecard comments.  You can see when each entry and notecard were created as well as time/date of any revisions a student may have made.  Take a look at how easy it is to work with the interface in the screenshots below (please note student names have been removed to protect their privacy).

Figure 1: Bibliographic Entry Comments

Figure 2: Comments on Electronic Notecards

I absolutely love using the shared assignment dropbox for formative assessment of student work and using the feedback with students to initiate or sustain conversations for learning.  Here are a few features I’d suggest to make the shared assignment dropbox in NoodleBib even better:

  • add the ability to message a group or comment on overall project
  • add the ability for teachers and librarians to create their own banks of custom comments to both the notecards as well as bibliographic entries
  • add a spellchecker on the teacher/librarian side to spellcheck comments
  • add the ability for the librarian or teacher to “like” a student bibliographic entry or notecard (a la Facebook style)
  • add the ability to create threaded discussions Facebook or new Google Docs discussions style so that students and the teacher and/or librarian can engage in a virtual discussion about the feedback provided (think ramped-up commenting!)
If you haven’t tried the shared dropbox in NoodleBib, I encourage you to give it a try as a way to embed yourself in the classroom with teachers and students as part of your collaborative partnerships and to participate meaningfully in assessment of student work.  If you have tried the shared assignment dropbox as formative assessment, what features did you like, or what enhancements would you like to see added for 2011-12?

NoodleBib Assignment Dropbox for Sharing Student Work and Formative Assessment

If you haven’t tried the electronic dropbox feature in NoodleBib/NoodleTools, check out my tutorial on how you can set up your own teacher/assignment dropbox and enable students to share their Works Cited list, notecards, and a Google Document associated with a project list with you and/or multiple teachers (wonderful for teacher and librarians to BOTH provide feedback!).  I see this feature of NoodleBib as a way to provide specific feedback to students and as a formative assessment tool for learning to use with students.

What would make this feature even better is if students could respond to the teacher feedback and/or have some type of commenting feature similar to what is in Google Docs to track conversations and feedback for learning–perhaps this will be a future enhancement?  While I’ve provided feedback on print copies of Works Cited lists and electronic notecards and assisted with the editing of student papers using the discussions and commenting features in Google Docs, I’ll be undertaking my first effort at collaborative electronic assessment using this feature next week with Susan Lester as our Media 21/Learning 21 students hit their first Works Cited/ notecard checkpoint this Friday, April 1; each group is working on a collaboratively constructed project in NoodleTools (see Chapter 6 in the NoodleBib guide under “student collaboration”), and each member of a collaborative project can see all feedback provided that Susan and I provide.  I’m looking forward to the process and listening to student feedback on how this method of formative assessment works for them once we return from spring break in mid-April!

Written instructions are provided in the NoodleBib Users Guide in Chapter 6 under “Sharing Projects” and “Teacher Instructions”; student instructions are provided in this chapter as well.

New ALA Learning Post: “Documenting and Sharing Your eReader Program Practices”

http://alalearning.org/2011/03/08/documenting-and-sharing-your-ereader-program-practices/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ALALearning+%28ALA+Learning+Round+Table%29

Documenting and Sharing Your eReader Program Practices via kwout

Check out my new post at ALA Learning! In this post, I outline my approach to sharing our library’s eReader program practices and why sharing those practices matters:

Because we are all pioneering and forging this brave new world of content delivery, it is important we share our practices with our eReader and/or eBook programs–what is working, what is not—with others.  The act of sharing our ideas, materials, and practices can be empowering for those who are just starting an eReader or eBook program while helping us to be more purposeful in our own programs.


Coming Out Party: The Debut of the Libraries and Transliteracy Blog

It is with tremendous excitement I share the debut of a brand new blog today:  The Libraries and Transliteracy Blog. Through this group blog, Bobbi Newman, Tom Ipri, and I will be working hard to  share information about the new literacies, digital literacy, media literacy, 21st century literacies and transliteracies with a special focus on libraries.  We will be providing you an organic “reading list” of resources related to transliteracy;  our blog also features a Twitter stream of the latest Tweets related to transliteracy.  You may subscribe to the RSS feed for our blog through your favorite feed aggregator or information portal; we also offer the option of  email updates.

Please help us celebrate and spread the word of this new resource with your colleagues!

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