Assistive Technology

Somehow I lucked out! I had no idea what technology I would propose for my final project. Then I happened across this comment to an article on The Daily Beast:

Prelingually deafened children raised using ASL or another of the signed English systems (which keep trying to force ASL to be more like English) have roughly a 10% success rate at reading English (or any other traditionally spoken language) on grade level above the 4th grade. Reading the writing of the average Deaf adult is like reading an English paper written by a foreign student, as they are both writing in a foreign language. Imagine being raised speaking English and only ever learning to read in Spanish. Some do remarkably well, but the odds are stacked against them. It’s extremely hard for them to succeed in standard high school and college courses when they are not fluent in English.

(emphasis mine)

I (like many, I imagine) had no idea! Because I wasn’t sure about the reliability of the source, I did a little more research and found better sources that back up the statement. So, I’ve found the topic for my technology proposal. I don’t want to say too much until it’s done, but I’ve got some good ideas, and I’m kind of excited! 🙂

Online Security Brochure

My instructor asked if she could share my online security brochure, so I’m releasing it here under a creative commons license.

Best Practices for Online Security and Avoiding Identity Theft (.doc)

Best Practices for Online Security and Avoiding Identity Theft (.pdf)

Creative Commons License
Best Practices for Online Security and Avoiding Identity Theft by Joanna Conrad-Pacelli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

A fellow student also asked for a copy of my power-point on setting up an email account. I’ll have that up here soon, too.

SecurityTango.Com

Security has come up in a couple of courses this week. (202 seems to parallel 105 more often than not) And I’ve mentioned this site in two different course discussion boards. So I thought I’d mention it here, too, because it’s such a good resource.

I’ve been following the instructions on SecurityTango.com for years to keep viruses and spyware off my computer. Nick Francesco not only walks you through the process step-by-step, he also points you to the free software resources necessary to do the job. He breaks the tango down into the Windows Waltz, the Linux Lambada, the Android Allemande, and the Macarena, depending on which operating system you’re running.

Finished the session early this week!

Go me! Now to get caught up on that physiology.

Um, website usability. Very important. I wonder what kind of feedback my library gets on its website. I know the reference desk has been fielding calls for a week because the evergreen catalog’s been down. That’s not very usable, is it? But I’m wondering about things like the teen club pages or teen and kids book recommendation blogs. Are kids using them? I wonder if anyone has thought to try to figure that out?

Go Interview a Librarian

OK, I’m gonna gripe here a little bit. This post isn’t directed at this class in particular, and not even necessarily at the program as a whole. Because I wonder if the different instructors in the program know what assignments their peers are giving out. But I’m having some difficulty with one aspect of the program that was kind of unexpected. Let me ask some questions:

Do you know how many times I’ve been asked to interview a librarian this semester alone? Do you know how many libraries are within a ten mile radius of my house? NOT THAT MANY. I’m within walking distance of THREE different public libraries and that still isn’t enough.

So here’s a dilemma. In light of the fact that I’ve had to request, oh, about 20,000 librarian interviews this semester, what’s the right way to go about it?

Reference librarians are there to help you find information. Anyone can come up to the desk and ask a question. It’s part of the job of being a librarian, to answer questions and provide excellent customer service. Of course, different librarians have schedules to keep and might be busy with other things at certain times. Generally, my instructors have urged students away from the reference desk, to set up formal meetings.

It seems to be a really big imposition to keep asking people to set aside time to talk with me – as opposed to just stopping by the reference desk. But can a librarian flat-out turn down such a request? Is it safe to assume that the answer is going to be yes? That doesn’t seem to be a fair assumption. So far, I haven’t come across anyone who has refused to answer my questions. But if they AREN’T specifically a reference librarian, how much should I expect these busy professionals to help me out? I keep thinking, and worry that they’re thinking, too, “Isn’t this what the reference desk is for?”

I mean, I’m taking an anatomy and physiology course, too, and I haven’t once been asked to go interview a doctor or a nurse about how the human body works. I guess the difference is that librarians are about sharing information. Isn’t there a responsibility for the patron to show some limits? I’m starting to feel like I’ve crossed a line.

Anyway…that’s all for now. I’ve got to go schedule another librarian interview.

Universal Design

Let’s see, this week was about assistive technology and universal design. Generally, I think libraries could do a much better job with this. I don’t think that assistive services are integrated enough to qualify as “universal design” in most libraries. For instance, if the elevator’s there, but you’ve got to hunt it down, while the stairs are right by the front entrance, that doesn’t seem very “universal” to me. If you have to ask the librarian for the screen magnifier that she pulls out of her desk, instead of just swinging it around from the side of any computer monitor like a sun visor on a car windshield, again, I wouldn’t call it universal design. I can’t recall ever being in a library that I would say employs these principles. I think it’s one of those ideal buzz words or catch phrases that everyone would love to promote, but few organizations rarely obtain.