Social Scholarship in Action: Social Media as Authority

Two terrific resources that support my belief that we must tap into emerging sources of scholarly and/or credible information have come across my Google Reader in the last 24 hours.  As a high school librarian, I am very interested in the concepts of authority and emerging forms of social scholarship, but I am also intrigued by these ideas because they will tie into my first unit of study in August for my Media 21 Capstone project.

Here are two must read/see/watch resources:

Thanks to the “Free Technology for Teachers” blog, I was alerted to this powerful video by Clay Shirky on TED Talks called, “How  Cellphones,  Twitter,  and Facebook Can Make History”—while his video is not about the current events in Iran, the very principles he discusses apply.  I will be showing this video to mine and Susan Lester’s students come August!

My First Netvibes Research Pathfinder: Iran Election and Riots 2009

While the mainstream media has been slow to pick up on the coverage of the historic Iran riots in reaction to the latest election results, social networks are brimming with the latest news.  Check out my new Netvibes research pathfinder portal to get the latest scoop on the Iran riots, including You Tube videos, Flickr photos, Tweets, delicious bookmarks, and Google News.

I have been using Pageflakes for these kinds of pathfinders, but since I am moving to Netvibes for my Media 21 project, I thought it was time to create a pathfinder for The Unquiet Library using Netvibes.   Thanks to Mashable and the ReadWriteWeb for their information and for alerting us about this developing situation.   Let me know what you think!

SIRS Researcher Goes 2.0!


After taking a look at the “teaser” video, I am extremely excited about major changes coming to SIRS Researcher, which we here access through GALILEO. The new version will be known as SIRS Issues Researcher, and highlights of the sleeker and more robust version include:

  • Essential research questions
  • A more comprehensive look at an issue, including its historical origins and impact on today’s society
  • More emphasis on the “whys” instead of the “whats” of an issue
  • More emphasis on the global impact of an issue
  • More international information sources
  • More multimedia, primary sources, and statistical data [charts, graphs]
  • More search enhancements
  • Topic/subject/keyword clouds and maps
  • Social bookmarking options (YES!)
  • Notetaking organizers
  • Citation generators
  • New critical thinking modules to help you as students better analyze the issue
  • More global and diverse perspectives
  • An audio read aloud option
  • Print and nonprint sources
  • Article translation into 10 languages
  • Correlation to state and national learning standards


These changes should be in place when we return to school in August!  In the meantime, check out these great “sneak peek” resources!

Reflections on Resources for Current Events and Controversial Issues Research

PollDaddy is a fabulous tool to do fast assessments as to which resources students find most helpful in a research pathfinder.  We have been engaged in a two week research project with our 10th graders (more to come on that this weekend!), but here is how they voted as to which sources they found to be most helpful and informative for their current and controversial events research:

As you can see, our Gale Opposing Viewpoints database (thank you, Cherokee County School District for providing this for the high schools!), was the clear winner; the print books (we are blessed to have roughly 300 of the “Opposing Viewpoints” style books [which include similar imprints from other publishers, including several with a 2008 and 2009 copyright date!]) were second.

This data is helpful in two ways:

1.  I can provide this kind of data to justify the expense of our GALE Opposing Viewpoints subscription database.
2.  This data shows that our investment in the print books on controversial and current topic is justified.

If you have not tried PollDaddy, consider using it with your students to get their feedback on the resources you incorporate into your pathfinders you create for research projects!