It is very important that the teacher librarian is able to identify the range of different information needs which students in the school have. These differences may occur because of age or level or socio-economic background. The teacher librarian, of course, cannot work in isolation on this and will need to discuss the variety of information needs which exist both within and between different classes. Identifying information needs is a complex process and one which the teacher librarian may wish to do in detail but s/he may be put off by the amount of time a student information need survey might take. Students are part of the school community and one way to start identifying information needs is to begin a ‘Community Profile’,


Community Profile

Community profiles are broad, covering needs and resources and the whole range of issues affecting communities.  The community is involved (Harding, 2007, p. 4). 

A comprehensive description of the needs of a population that is defined, or defines itself, as a community, and the resources that exist within that community, carried out with the active involvement of the community itself, for the purpose of developing an action plan or other means of improving the quality of life of the community (Harding, 2007, p. 5). 

Identifying needs and resources (Harding, 2007, p. 6):

·        assets

·        underutilised resources – why? How can they be used more effectively?

·        Potential resources

·        Formal and informal skills

·        Formal and informal networks of support

·        Emphasise assets, not deficits

Active community involvement: A profile that is undertaken with the full cooperation and involvement of the community is likely to result in a fuller, more comprehensive and accurate description of that community and, as such, form a better basis on which to build an action plan. Involvement in producing a community profile can also be one way in which a community can become empowered through the development of skills, confidence and awareness of issues (Skinner, as cited in Harding, 2007, p. 8).

The aim of the community profile must be to act as a catalyst for the improvement of the quality of life of members of that community. Moving from the identification of needs and resources through the community profiling process to the production of a local action plan which identifies issues, priorities and actions to be taken, sets goals and targets and proposes a means of monitoring their achievement is an important next step (Harding, 2007, p. 8).

The audience will influence how the finished product is produced and is key to effective communication (Harding, 2007, p. 8).

Values (Harding, 2007, p. 9):

·        Underpin approach

·        Respect for the community

·        They must gain something positive from the experience beyond the information being collected and that they do not feel that the profile is something that is being ‘done to them’.

·        Build confidence, skills, capacities, a better sense of own potential

·        Views must be listened to and incorporated

·        The design of the project should reflect their concerns

·        Information is collected with sensitivity and confidentiality is maintained

·        Adhere to principles of equality by not giving undue weight to some groups or not representing others

How do you think a community profile might be useful when providing resources and services to students?  

A community profile would be useful when providing resources and services to students by (Harding, 2007, pp. 6-9):

·        Identifying needs and resources within the student community

·        Identifying underutilised resources – reflect why?  And how can they be better utilised?

·        Identifying potential resources

·        Using the information to write an action plan which addresses student needs, the allocation of resources, use of resources, and resource needs.  The plan should identify issues, priorities and actions to be taken, set goals and targets and proses a means of monitoring their achievement.



Australian Library and Information Association/Australian School Library Association [ALIA/ASLA]. (2001). Learning for the future: Developing information services in schools (2nd ed.). Carlton: Curriculum Corporation.

Harding, J. (2007). What is a community profile? Retrieved October 2, 2013 from



Digital reference interview

Issues in digital referencing (Janes, 2008):

·        Contending with the vagaries of licensing agreements – how much of text can be sent via email?

·        Appropriate and high-quality training materials

·        Web forms were developed to replace the reference interview

·        Staffing levels and expectations – does the physical reference desk also do digital referencing simultaneously?

·        Marketing of digital reference services

·        Referring questions on to a collaborative service was not favoured by librarians = defeat

·        How to incorporate it into library services and how to develop it so it’s not one-at-a-time service

·        Not readily accepted by all staff and clients

The mission of digital referencing is: to be incorporated not only in the institutional framework of libraries but also, and more crucially, in the mindset of its staff and the information lives of their clientele.

Definition of a reference interview. How would you describe it?

A reference interview involves asking the right questions to narrow and guide the search for information that meets the user’s needs.  By modelling the right questions for students to ask during research, TLs will assist them in making the right decisions and looking in the right places when gathering information.  Use the reference interview as proof that that’s what adults and librarians do when searching for information.  So they know it’s an authentic process and skill.

Many reference questions, when first put to a librarian, will be vague and unformed. Before directing the user to the likely source of information to satisfy his/her apparent need, the teacher librarian should find out:

·        what information is really required

·        how much information is required

·        at what level.


Janes, J. (2008). An informal history (and possible future) of digital reference. In Bulletin, ASSIS&T. Retrieved October 1, 2013 from



Pathfinders are lists of resources which librarians put together for their users. Valenza (2008) suggests that today’s pathfinders in school libraries should be in the form of a wiki and provides reasons such as ‘Wiki pathfinders allow you to link with ease. Link to your style sheet, your other wikis, to specific websites, to media in all its glory and all its formats, to e-books, audiobooks, wikibooks, subscription databases, etc. (If not for my pathfinders, my e-books and my databases would go unused!)’

 Ten reasons why your next pathfinder should be a wiki

What are pathfinders? (Valenza, 2008)

Pathfinders lead researchers through information jungles. They make sense of the huge variety of information buckets.

They can suggest keywords and tags and call numbers. They can suggest books and journals to browse. They link researchers to critical readings, websites, blogs, wikis, portals and databases. They suggest strategies for searching and for documentation.

They make sure that student researchers know about the very best tools in their information toolkits. Pathfinders allow us to intervene in ways that offer learners the independence they crave.

Why pathfinders should be wikis!  (Valenza, 2008)

·        You can decorate wiki pathfinders by uploading beautiful, public domain images / copyright free images

·        Wiki pathfinders allow you to link with ease. Link to your style sheet, your other wikis, to specific websites, to media, to e-books, audiobooks, wikibooks, subscription databases, etc. (If not for my pathfinders, my e-books and my databases would go unused!)

·        Wiki pathfinders allow you to easily upload documents. Your pathfinders can now host your presentations, handouts, rubrics, organizers, and models of student work.

·        You can easily create a wiki index to keep track of your growing collection of wiki pathfinders.

·        Wiki pathfinders are organic. You can edit them anywhere, on the fly, whenever you discover a new resource.

·        Wikis require no knowledge of HTML code. My favourite wiki creation tool is Wikispaces for teachers. The folks are Wikispaces give teachers free, ad-free wiki sites. Just remember to click on the button that identifies you as a K12 educator to remove the pesky ads.

·        Wikis are collaborative documents. Wikis allow you to invite individual collaborators (teachers or students or mentors or experts). You can easily track edits and changes. (It’s all very 2.0.)

·        Wikis will allow us to build together if we choose to.

·        And, speaking of 2.0, wiki pathfinders are the ultimate illustration of exploiting new tools for authentic and highly useful purposes. Our wiki pathfinders might just be another opportunity to showcase the work of the critical efforts of teacher-librarian in the 2.0 educational landscape!


What is a pathfinder? 

A Pathfinder is a guide to locating a range of suitable resources that may be online and/or offline. It guides students through these resources for a specific subject area or topic to achieve a successful learning outcome (Hayes, 2011).

Teachers use pathfinders when students need to locate resources in the library or on the Internet to achieve specified learning outcomes within or across Learning Areas (Hayes, 2011).

In a school, a Pathfinder may be prepared by teacher librarians in consultation with teachers to support students researching specific topics set by the teacher to achieve a number of identified outcomes (Hayes, 2011).

It is a path guiding students as they navigate the complex world of the information age.  It provides a starting point, a launching pad (Kuntz, 2003).  It’s available 24/7 (Kuntz, 2003).

Pathfinders can be used as a tool for TLs to share their vision and mission with staff and students (Eisenberg, as cited by Kuntz, 2003):

·        To teach essential information and technology skills

·        To guide and promote reading, books, media, and technology

·        To provide information and technology services, systems, resources, and facilities

The intent of a Pathfinder is to present a selection of resources—print, electronic, and non-print (Kuntz, 2003).

Students can create their own pathfinders.  Information and communication skills identified in Learning for the 21st Century, published by The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, include “analyzing, accessing, managing, integrating, evaluating and creating information in a variety of forms and media.” These skills are integral to developing a pathfinder. Depending upon the instructional goals of the pathfinder assignment, you may assign a simple list of resource citations or require a variety of media formats and annotations. The pathfinder may be the final product or just a step in the research process, either way the students are locating, evaluating, and managing the information to meet a specific need. Students think critically (Thibault, n. d). 

Like other collaborative information efforts students use online, a pathfinder collection will model the process of building information, a process that is increasingly dynamic. The idea that student work may contribute to a resource base to be utilized by many classes over the years helps to create a non-competitive atmosphere where information is shared and everyone comes out a winner. Collecting student-created pathfinders is a good way to launch a knowledge commons at your school’s website. Besides, encouraging students to create a product worthy of sharing in a print or web-based format will improve the end product because the students are writing for an authentic audience — their peers (Thibault, n. d).

Assigning students to develop a pathfinder pay assist with time management because it will require students to locate the available sources early. If materials are only available at other libraries or in microforms, the students can plan their project timeline accordingly. An additional benefit of getting sources early is students have time to adjust their theses if the sources don’t support their stance (Thibault, n. d).

If the goal is to teach students to be discerning information consumers, then the pathfinder may include opinions or ratings — when a student explains why they chose a resource for this assignment, they are demonstrating understanding of the evaluative process (Thibault, n. d).

More on benefits of students creating their own pathfinders see


What can you link to your Pathfinder?

·        Blogs (Hamilton, 2010)

·        Wikis (Hamilton, 2010)

·        Widgets for databases (Hamilton, 2010)

·        Useful apps (Hamilton, 2010)

·        Google Earth (Hamilton, 2010)

·        Books from the library (Hamilton, 2010)

·        YouTube clips

·        SlideShare where you’ve placed a PDF of books available from the library (Hamilton, 2010)

·        Web resources (Hamilton, 2010)

·        Google Books (Hamilton, 2010)

·        Travel sites (Hamilton, 2010)

·        Travel series (Hamilton, 2010)

·        Wikipedia articles (Hamilton, 2010)

·        Links to movie databases such as Clickview (Hamilton, 2010)

·        Online encyclopaedias (Kuntz, 2003)

·        Magazine articles (Kuntz, 2003)

·        Community resources (Kuntz, 2003)

·        Links to interactive bibliography assistance sites (Kuntz, 2003)


What can a pathfinder contain?

·        Keywords (Kuntz, 2003)

·        Helpful hints (Kuntz, 2003)

·        Plan of action (Kuntz, 2003)

·        Appropriate materials at a variety of ability levels (Kuntz, 2003)

·        An effective Pathfinder provides a short, descriptive list of relevant, developmentally appropriate Web sites (Kuntz, 2003)

·        Links to interactive bibliography assistance sites (Kuntz, 2003)


Creating a Pathfinder

By using a basic template, students and staff can rely on the consistency of format and become confident information consumers. A common template also makes it easy for those less comfortable with creating Web pages: They can copy and paste from a word-processing document (Kuntz, 2003).

·        An effective Pathfinder provides a short, descriptive list of relevant, developmentally appropriate Web sites.  Briefly describing the content of each site listed helps students to develop their information-seeking strategies (Kuntz, 2003)

·        Web sites are dynamic and subject to change, so Pathfinder creators must regularly check all links for functionality and appropriateness, replacing them if a more pertinent, useful link is available (Kuntz, 2003)

·        Google Docs is an online publisher that allows online publishing (Lamb & Johnson, 2006-2011)

·        Use Wikispaces, PB Works, Zoho are wiki tools.

·        LibGuides is a subscription service which provides tools which assist in the creation of pathfinders (Lamb & Johnson, 2006-2011).


Resources/Ideas/Useful Links for Pathfinders:

Valenza’s Spartan Guides: Databases & Pathfinders

Australian Primary

Pathfinder Swaps

Libguides by Australian High School

The pathfinders for worldwide information.  Fantastic

Annette Lamb’s Site – some good links, many dead


Share your thoughts about the usefulness of pathfinders. Forum Posting

Pathfinders are very useful tools for students because they:

·        Can be accessed 24/7 (Kuntz, 2003)

·        Guide students through useful resources (Hayes, 2011)

·        Provide research advice, strategies and hints (Kuntz, 2003)

·        Provide a starting point for research (Kuntz, 2003)

·        Provide links to authoritative, accurate, useful sources of information at varying levels selected for them by the TL (Kuntz, 2003)

·        Teach essential information and technology skills (Eisenberg, as cited by Kuntz, 2003)

·        Guide and promote reading, books, media, and technology (Eisenberg, as cited by Kuntz, 2003)

·        Provide information and technology services, systems, resources, and facilities (Eisenberg, as cited by Kuntz, 2003)

·        Develop skills in information and digital literacy when students create their own pathfinders (Thibault, n. d)



Hamilton, B. (2010). Touring an unquiet library research pathfinder.  In YouTube.  Retrieved on October 1, 2013 from

Hayes, D. (2011). What is a pathfinder. Life in the library. Retrieved October 1, 2013 from

Kuntz, K. (2003). Pathfinders: Helping Students Find Paths to Information.  In Information today, inc.   Retrieved on October 1, 2013 from

Lamb, A. & Johnson, L. (2006-2011). Pathfinders: Pathfinders creations and collections.  In Electronic materials for children and young adults.  Retrieved on October 1, 2013 from

Thibault, M. (n. d). The student pathfinder.  In Learn NC.  Retrieved on October 1, 2013 from

Valenza, J. (2008). Ten reasons why your next pathfinder should be a wiki.  Retrieved October 1, 2013 from



CONCEPT MAPS: What information literacy skills are students learning from developing concept maps?

Through the use of concept maps students are learning how to gather information by identifying and using key concepts and their relationships as search vocabulary to find relevant information (Chung & Neuman, 2007, p. 1515).

Students are learning to organise their information through the use of concept maps.  They identify relationships, parts of a task, the purpose and possible sources (Chung & Neuman, 2007, p. 1514).  During the search process students can return to concept maps, add to them or modify them.


FORMULATING QUESTIONS: What is the best way to teach students how to develop their own questions?

Provide students with background knowledge about the topic, as this makes it easier for them to formulate questions (Herring, 2010, p. 221).  Model how to write questions for different topics.  This could be done using a concept map.  Take advantage of natural curiosity, especially when using topics the students have selected themselves, by asking “What would you like to know?”

USING EFFECTIVE RESEARCH STRATEGIES: What other ways can TLs encourage students to develop search strategies?

TLs must gain an awareness of the developmentally appropriate databases available for the research tasks they are going to face (Valenza, 2004, p. 39).

Create research challenges: ask students to explore provocative questions – to compare, evaluate and invent rather than paraphrase (Valenza, 2004, pp. 41-42)

Reward the use of scholarly resources or the use of high-quality sources from reliable databases and journals (Valenza, 2004, p. 42)

Provide scaffolding for students.  Help students develop organisers for data collection and restructuring.  Eg, Venn diagram or matrix for comparing and contrasting data; a timeline or flowchart may aid analysis of an historical event; concept map will help with brainstorming subheadings or arguments supporting a thesis (Valenza, 2004, p. 42).

Create Online Pathfinders. Pathfinders are blueprints for student research. Pathfinders may suggest keywords, databases, special search engines, directories, call numbers, and multimedia resources—any special advice necessary for success on a specific project. Project rubrics should heavily value the suggestions of the pathfinder (Valenza, 2004, p. 42).

Create an Appropriate Search Tool Page for General Student Research on Your Web Site. Make tools easily accessible to stduents. On this page, link students to the more powerful advanced search screens of the search engines you’d like them to use (Valenza, 2004, p. 42).

Ask Students to Annotate Their Works-Cited Lists. Annotations are metacognitive activities that force and value critical thinking and careful selection. In an annotation, the student should consider authors’ credentials, relevance of the source to the project, how it compared to other sources, and how it informed his or her knowledge. Include criteria for evaluating annotations in your rubrics (Valenza, 2004, p. 42).

Use Formative Assessments to Check Student Progress. Collect organizers, outlines, source cards, note cards, tentative thesis statements, and pre-evaluate. It’s too late to assess at the end. Assessing the process throughout the project has the greatest learning value (Valenza, 2004, p. 43).

Teach students how to:

·        Know what s/he is looking for (Valenza, 2004, p. 39)

·        Makes search choices (Valenza, 2004, p. 39) – where to search.  Search tools can be organised into clusters or genres.  Different tools are more effective for different tasks.

·        Recognise holes in research to fill. Immerse students in a topic so they begin to note the experts and books that people cite repeatedly.  They examine others’ bibliographies (Valenza, 2004, pp. 39-40). 

·        Evaluate sources of information – author’s credentials, relevance, timeliness, bias, credibility, accuracy and reliability.  Free hosting services are likely to raise red flags.  Museums, universities and other respected institutions are good (Valenza, 2004, pp. 39-40)

·        Evaluate a works-cited page (Valenza, 2004, p. 39)

·        Use search tool options (Valenza, 2004, p. 39)

·        Use advance search screens for greater searching power.  They allow to limit results by date, field, media format or file format. Using Boolean operators and how to filter problem words (Valenza, 2004, pp. 39-40)

·        Search using the three main types of searching: keywords, subject/topic, and field searching.  Keyword searching: Enclosing phrases in quotation marks to ensure those words stay together, or including and between words that absolutely need to be included in results.  Topic or subject searching is generally the best strategy when a student is searching one broad concept. Searchers can browse through a standardised set of subject terms and subheadings to focus their search as suggested by the structure of the database.  In some cases, keywords may be searched within designated fields of a database.  For instance, looking for a keyword in a title or abstract, might be more meaningful than looking for that same keyword in an article’s full text (Valenza, 2004, pp. 40-41).

·        Think about a query.  When a student learns how to construct a query, he or she knows how to formally pose a question to a search box, making use of its syntax, or special language (Valenza, 2004, p. 41)

·        Recognise quality work.  Plan, use mind tools, be persistent, fussy, recognise when to consult an information professional (Valenza, 2004, p. 41)

·        Devise a plan, which includes time management – allowing enough time to refine, organise, analyse, draft, conclude etc (Valenza, 2004, p. 41)

·        Look for information patterns – categorise information, compare, timeline, thesis, debate, presentation requirements (Valenza, 2004, p. 41)

·        Recognise suspicious URLs.  Free hosting services such as AOL and personal sites should raise red flags and inspire questions.  “K12” in a URL may tell you that the source may be the product of someone else’s sixth grade class (Valenza, 2004, p. 41)

·        Track down the source of the material. “Follow the breadcrumbs” (Valenza, 2004, p. 41)

READING FOR INFORMATION: What are the best ways to teach students to be critical readers (i.e. not just users) of websites?

Emphasise with students the need to evaluate web sources anytime they are reading on the web.  Employ a web evaluation model such as RTU (Readability, Trustworthiness, Usefulness) by Baildon & Baildon (2008).

What should we be advising students to look for on websites e.g. the difference between opinion and evidence based information?

As above, teach the use of a web evaluation model such as RTU (Readability, Trustworthiness, Usefulness) by Baildon & Baildon (2008) across the school.  This will assist students in being able to assess the authority, reliability, currency, bias and authenticity of a site, which is important when the Web contains misinformation (Kuiper et al., 2005, p. 293; Barcalow, 2003).  Comparing the information a site provides with the information provided by other sources is one important way to determine trustworthiness through RTU (Zhang & Duke, 2011, p. 137; Pozen, 2002). 

Students need to be advised to look at the menus, links and search capabilities of websites for information and to verify the sources of the information (Kuiper, Volman & Terwel, 2008).  They can be advised to look at author credentials, URLs, sponsorship of site, and bibliographies to assess quality of site and sources of information (Valenza, 2004, pp. 42-43).

The modality of terms used will assist in identifying opinion, fact, bias, or balance.  Is an argument built, is it an exposition, report etc.  Knowledge of text types will assist in this area too.

Devising a plan, a concept map or providing some other organising structure or scaffold will assist students in critical reading as they will be able to evaluate the usefulness of sites or information in regard to their research needs (Baildon & Baildon, 2008; Harris, 2010, para. 2).


REFLECTING ON WEB USE: How can we teach our students to be reflective web learners?

Incorporate reflection activities into inquiry based pedagogy and other searches.  Share search techniques among students who participated in the same activity/search (Kuiper, Volman & Terwel, 2008).

What should students be asking themselves after they have completed web searches?

·        Did I find the information I was looking for?

·        Did it take a long time or a short time?

·        How else could I have found the information?

·        What was a more effective way to conduct my search?


How can we encourage students to learn from their own searching?

Through reflection on what worked and what didn’t.  During planning, get them to identify what strategies they will use, reminding them to reflect on what worked/didn’t work during previous research activities.



Baildon, R., & Baildon, M. (2008). Guiding Independence: Developing a Research Tool to Support Student Decision Making in Selecting Online Information Sources. Reading Teacher, 61(8), 636-647. doi:10.1598/RT.61.8.5 Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.

Barcalow, T. (2003). CARS checklist. In Evaluating websites.  Retrieved on August 19, 2013 from 

Chung, J. S. & Neuman, D. (2007).  High School Students’ Information Seeking and Use for Class Projects.  Journal of the American society for information science and technology, 58(10):1503–1517.  Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.

Harris, R. (2010). Evaluating internet research sources.  In Virtual salt.  Retrieved on August 19, 2013 from

Herring, J. E. (2010). School students, question formulation and issues of transfer: a constructivist grounded analysis. Libri: International Journal Of Libraries & Information Services, 60(3), 218-229. doi:10.1515/libr.2010.019.  Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.

Kuiper, E., Volman, M. & Terwel, J. (2008). Students’ use of Web literacy skills and strategies: searching, reading and evaluating Web information.  Information Research, 13(3). Retrieved on October 1, 2013 from

Kuiper, E., Volman, M., & Terwel, J. (2005). The Web as an Information Resource in K-12 Education: Strategies for Supporting Students in Searching and Processing Information. Review Of Educational Research, 75(3), 285-328.  Retrieved from Charles Sturt University.

Pozen, V. (2002). Teaching  web information.  In An educator’s guide to credibility and web evaluation.  Retrieved on August 20, 2013 from

Valenza, J. (2004). Thinking and behaving info-fluently. Learning & leading with technology, 32(3), 38-43.  Retrieved on October 1, 2013 from  

Zhang, Z., & Duke, N. K. (2011). The impact of instruction in the WWDOT framework on students’ disposition and ability to evaluate websites as sources of information. Elementary School Journal, 112(1), 132-154.  Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.


Social bookmarking can be seen as an excellent example of sharing in the web 2.0 world, as it allows individuals to upload their own bookmarks to an external site, and also allows others to see those bookmarks and add their own. Bookmarks can also be annotated – an additional feature.

Social Bookmarking (O’Connell, 2006, p. 48):

·        Many contributors

·        Full access to bookmarks from anywhere

·        Links are shared for public use

·        Structure defined by tags defined by contributors


Looks very ‘busy’ to me.  There seems to be a lot going on on each page.  Delicious introduced tagging (Hargadon, 2007, p. 20). can be used to track websites, annotate websites, and add keywords (tags) to categorise information, rather than bookmarking websites on your own computer, ordered only by folders.


I’ve been using this intermittently.  I prefer organising links in my Livebinder.  Much easier for me to organise.  You can import delicious and other bookmarks, but you can also update those other services using diigo.  You can highlight passages and leave comments on webpages for other diigo members to see, which is good for commenting on student work.  It lets you send an email or blog poast directly from a webpage, automate a daily blogpost of your bookmarks with comments, or create a blog or site widgets with your bookmarks (Hargadon, 2007, p. 20).


Looks like a great tool for setting up links to websites for different subject areas (Morris, 2011). Easy to use and according to the founder (Morris, 2011) inappropriate ads have been blocked from site.

Here are some other possible uses for Sqworl (Morris, 2011):

·        Create a webquest for students.

·        Put together a collection of links to resources for students such as this cyber safety Sqworl from Pam Thompson.

·        Create a class/individual Sqworl of links to books read over the year.

·        Create a personalised homepage for yourself or your students with links to sites you visit regularly (email, weather, news etc).

·        Create a Sqworl of websites for students to use at home to practise a certain skill (eg. multiplication games or spelling activities)


I love! because it is clearly set out, easy to use, timeline is clear and a visual is provided with each posting/link.  It provides a space for you to comment on your own links as well as a space for others to comment.


It has an amazing archival feature: all bookmarked sites are archived, so you can retain access to a site’s material even if the site no longer exists or has changed.  You can rate sites on Furl.  Using its rating system it personalises links and topics, and tells you about other members whose similar usage patterns might make their links a valuable resource (Hargadon, 2007, p. 20).


Tags are a means for individuals to organise and describe resources in personally meaeningful language and classification schemes.  Students and teachers can sort, organise and manage information online for personal use or for groups of users.  They also enable the formation of unexpected connections with others sharing similar interests.  Tagging highlights the need for supporting students with information literacy strategies that are multi-modal and collaborative in nature (O’Connell, 2008, pp. 58-59). 


RSS feeds assist students to subscribe to journal collections, media sites, the library’s blog, book lists, photo collections, videos, podcasts and so on.  Provide students with training in


Hargadon, S. (2007). Best of social bookmarking. School Library Journal, 53(12), 20. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.

Morris, K. (2011). #45 Sqworl.  In Teaching generation. Retrieved on September 21, 2013 from

O’Connell, J. (2008). School library 2.0: new skills, new knowledge, new futures. In P. Godwin & J. Parker (Eds.), Information literacy meets Library 2.0 (pp. 51-62). Retrieved from Charles Sturt University.


The development of wikis in schools by teacher librarians, teachers and, in some cases, students, has led to an increase in school-based learning resources. The ease with which a TL can create a wiki means that the TL can be seen as a creator of learning resources, as well as a provider.

Wikis (O’Connell, 2006, p. 48):

·        Usually many authors

·        Structure determined by content and users

·        Usually objective

·        Internal and external links

·        Reflects interest of contributors

·        Immediate

·        A very simple, editable database of shared knowledge

Many organisations are creating their own wiki, either for their internal knowledge management, or note taking or making a collaborative knowledge portal or to make a community website. Visitors can easily contribute to your website and add their content on a particular topic so as to enhance the value of your web pages with their personal thoughts, learning and experiences (Mishra, 2010).

Wikis are collaboratively created web sites. They involve young authors in selecting, evaluating, revising, editing, and publishing information and ideas. A wiki uses web-based open-editing tools to provide an easy way for multiple participants to enter, submit, manage, and update web pages. Wiki-based systems are popular because they are simple to install and contributors do not need special software. The word wiki comes from the Hawaiian word for “quick” or “fast,” meaning that a collaborative team can quickly construct a web site (Lamb & Johnson, 2007).

Emphasis is placed on authoring content rather than simply viewing existing information. Wiki environments may be text based or can incorporate graphics, audio, video, and animation. Users make changes by selecting from options and filling in forms on a web page. Authorized users can add and delete links, pages, and content. In some cases, a moderator approves changes before they are posted. Most wikis also provide a way to track changes and view earlier versions of pages (Lamb & Johnson, 2007).

According to Brian Lamb (as cited in Lamb & Johnson, 2007), wikis have five characteristics that separate them from other social or collaborative technologies:

·        Unique: Wikis provide an opportunity to share original content in niche areas. Wikis can link to existing information beyond the scope of the project.

·        Collaborative: Wikis are designed to be free, open spaces for sharing, multiple contributers creating a project as a virtual team.

·        Open editing: Anyone can add anything to a wiki at anytime.

·        Simple coding: Even young children can learn to create and edit pages using the web-based forms. In most cases, the tools are similar to a word processor.

·        Evolving: Wikis are in a constant state of change. Consider ways that young people can build on the work of other students or other classes.

I’ve seen some examples on Wikispaces which looked good.  They were clearly set out and displayed student work.

Hauser (2007 p. 8) recommends seedwiki. 

Wikis can be used for (Lamb & Johnson, 2007):

·        Books discussions for students (Hauser, 2007, p. 8)

·        Brainstorming (Hauser, 2007, p. 8)

·        Educational technology discussions with other district TLs (Hauser, 2007, p. 8)

·        Writing lesson plans (Hauser, 2007, p. 8)

·        Collaborative writing, creative works, poetry, artwork, short stories

·        Critical evaluations and reviews

·        Comparisons

·        Collaborative research

·        Journal or notebook.  Organise information

·        Portfolio

·        Portal – the starting point for a topic/subject

·        Resource aggregator – like a bibliography, mediagraphy or pathfinder, it can be used to organise links to other web sites, blogs etc

·        Study guide

·        Virtual conference

·        Create a shared database of knowledge and information (O’Connell, 2006, p. 47)

·        Create class projects (O’Connell, 2006, p. 47)

·        Students need to understand (Lamb & Johnson, 2007):

·        Audience

·        Don’t use Wikipedia as a source, go to primary source of information

·        Use links on wiki pages

·        Create a pseudonym for use on wiki

The value of a wiki is the ability to create a shared database of knowledge and information. Students can use a wiki to create projects or develop a class resource pool. It can also be used as a promotional or developmental tool. A good example is the Teacher librarian wiki. There are many wiki that have been created to be websites, to distribute information, to build community, to develop knowledge and participation. It demonstrates the productive and participatory value of a wiki in a professional library setting.


Hauser (2007, p. 47) recommends Audacity and LAME, which converts audio files to an MP3 format.  LAME can be downloaded from Audacity. Podcasts can be published on a free podcasting hosting website such as Switchpod.

Ideas for student Podcasts (Hauser, 2007, pp. 47-48):

·        Interview visiting authors, teachers and other students

·        Record announcements

·        Practice foreign languages

·        Record their own stories or poems

·        Record comments during excursions

·        Discuss topics taught in class

·        Share work (O’Connell, 2006, p. 49)

·        Display knowledge and enthusiasm to peers (O’Connell, 2006, p. 49)


Brisco, S. (2007). Which wiki is right for you? A close look at the top three software choices.  In School library journal, 33(5), 78-79.  sdghsdh NOT YET

 Hauser, J. (2007). Media specialists can learn web 2.0 tools to make schools more cool. Computers in Libraries, 27(2), 6-8. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2007). An information skills workout: wikis and collaborative writing. Teacher Librarian, 34(5), 57-59. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.

Mishra, S. (2010). 10 free wiki software platforms or wiki engines.  In Internet techies.  Retrieved on September 21, 2013 from

O’Connell, J. (2006). Engaging the Google generation through Web 2.0: part 1, Scan, 25(3), 46-50. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.



Blogs (O’Connell, 2006, p. 48):

·        Usually single author

·        Sequential entries in reverse order

·        Personal.  Reflect the thinking of the blogger, whether professional or personal

·        External links

·        RSS feeds (Really Simple Syndication)

·        Easy and quick way to post on the internet


Blogs can be used in education (edublogs, 2013):

·        Reflection on the learning process

·        Publishing work

·        Collaborating on a unit of work together

·        Share materials, news, downloads, links and more

·        Facilitate online discussions and collaboration

·        Create a class publication that students can easily edit and publish to

·        Use as a newsletter for the class and for parents

·        Class can share work and thoughts

·        Share lesson plans

·        Learn to integrate videos, podcasts and other media

·        Respond, receive and give feedback or gather information

·        Create a website

·        Communicate with students, parents and colleagues (Hauser, 2007, p. 8)

·        TLs can set up their own blog to announce new products, books added to the collection or other news.

·        Administrative tool (O’Connell, 2006, p. 47)

·        Research source (O’Connell, 2006, p. 47)

Also, what might be the problems a teacher librarian would face in maintaining a school library blog? We’ll discuss this on the forum.

·        Regulating comments from challenging students

·        Keeping on top of replying to comments – a continuous job until the research project is completed

·        Time in maintaining, promoting and consistently using a blog.  Of course, a blog might only be useful for the life of a particular unit of work


Hauser (2007, p. 8) recommends WordPress, Blogmeister or edublogs.



Edublogs. (2013). Ten ways to use your edublog.  In Edublogs.  Retrieve September 21, 2013 from

Hauser, J. (2007). Media specialists can learn web 2.0 tools to make schools more cool. Computers in Libraries, 27(2), 6-8. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.

O’Connell, J. (2006). Engaging the Google generation through Web 2.0: part 1, Scan, 25(3), 46-50. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.