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EDITOR'S NOTES: Engaging the Reader … and the Learner

By David Hoffman - Posted Sep 1, 2008
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Jump ahead right now to page 21 and read the margin quote introducing Stephen Abram’s Pipe­line column for this month! What? Don’t want to? OK, I’ll tell you what it says … at least the part of it that caught my eye for purposes of this column.

Stephen is talking about what he calls "This 2.0 Stuff’ in the column, and we pulled out and displayed prominently in the margin this comment: "Why 2.0? Because it offers the first real opportunity to use technology to go beyond search, storage, and retrieval and actually engage with readers in a scalable way beyond our walls. …"

It strikes me that we’ve been packing recent issues of MMIS with articles on "this 2.0 stuff," always with the sense that they’re current and useful. But Stephen’s statement crystallizes, for me at least, why this is the case. It’s 2.0 technology’s capacity to engage readers … or, more broadly, learners … and further, to let learners engage each other that make it so important.

2.0 Stuff in This Issue

That’s why library automation companies are trending toward providing aspects of social networking in their products and services. Read what Auto-Graphics, Follett, SirsiDynix, Mandarin, and the not-for-profit Fish4Info have accomplished in this regard in Barbara Fiehn’s cover story, Social Networking and Your Library OPAC! (p. 27).

And it’s interwoven into the tactics and examples for Adapting Social Networking to Address 21st-Century Skills (p. 10), Tim Di­­Scipio’s story discussing what he terms social learning networks.

Kelly Czarnecki is also in this issue with Part 2 of her long article on Virtual Environments and K–12 Education: A Tour of the Possibilities (p. 12), all about … yup … engaging learners and having them interact with each other in educational environments in cyberspace.

Even Mary Ann Bell’s Belltones column is all about engaging the learner and letting learners engage each other, although you wouldn’t know it from the title: I’m Mad and I’m Not Gonna Take It Anymore! (p. 37). She’s mad that so many districts still block access to sites and technologies that enable that kind of engagement, and she’s gonna do something about it!

Read on. We hope you get engaged.

David Hoffman , editor

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