Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Revisiting Nonfiction RA

I mentioned in my note to Burgin's Nonfiction Readers' Advisory that one of the reasons I read it was a practical one. Our university offers two Reading classes, which are basic skills classes. Every semester so far, I get some students from those classes looking for "a good book to read." The book cannot be a novel or fiction. As a result, one of the projects I started working on was a list of nonfiction works. I am not quite sure what I will do with the lists at this point. I made two lists: an annotate list and a second list of additional titles. The list features books that we have at our campus library. I did not include books in the other campuses of our system because these students usually want a book in their hands right away. As I did my search for items, I found many titles I wish we had, so I may be placing some orders soon.

As for the lists, one idea was to simply put them at the Information Desk for the other librarians to consult them if they need a little memory jog. My other idea was to add the list(s) to the library guides we offer, and let the students and other readers help themselves. I am sure there are other recreational readers out there who would appreciate such a list. While I was writing the draft for the annotated list, I had another idea. What if I made the guide into a wiki? That way, the list would be easy to modify and to add new titles over time, maybe even add brief review notes on items from other readers, and it would be online. The catch for me, so to speak, is that I may not have the space on our pages to do it (I definitely need to investigate this option further). While I could just used a Web-based individual account, I am not sure if I am ready for that step, not to mention the possibility of linking from our Web pages to something that may not appear as "official." Then again, considering that getting my own space on the campus servers to even put my own webpage up, which I have been wanting to do since I arrived here, has basically been an uphill battle (All I want is the space. I already know how to code basic pages and how to transfer materials. Heck, with good tools, I don't even have to code.), basically creating my own things outside of the system and giving the students links in my BI sessions and consultations is very appealing right about now. At any rate, I may create an account for one of those free wiki services anyhow, since I have been wanting to experiment with this. We'll see how things move along. For now, I may just make the list available locally somehow, and I will try to find some time to experiment.


Mark said...

I think the wiki idea is a great one Angel, especially if you are having troubles getting the basics you need.

I do agreee with the concern over it being "unofficial," but I doubt that is a major obstacle.

I do use a few different wikis. We have an "unofficial" GSLIS wiki here at UIUC that we're trying to grow. We have an official one (just a few weeks old) in our Instructional Technology group for maintaining documentation and the like. And this semester there will be a few classes testing the official wiki for class purposes; some have used the "unofficial" one in the past.

I got one of my distance classes to use the wiki last semester. Besides having our main class page, we started a bibliography of all those things mentioned in class that we recommended for each other.

I say give it a try and good luck!

Angel, librarian and educator said...

Mark: Hey there. Well, the little red tape is always something that will remain with us it seems. You have to (well, you don't have to, but you know what I mean I hope) to give some more details (links, so on) to have a look. Good to hear it is working for you. I recently listened to Meredith's talk on the topic, and I found it very exciting and interesting. I think I may jump in yet. Best, and keep on blogging.