Transliteracy, Customer Services and the Future of Reference

Last week I had the pleasure to speak to the LACONI Reference Services Section at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago.  I wanted to share my presentation here.

Framing Transliterate Learning Through Inquiry and Participatory Culture

From Buffy Hamilton’s blog, she includes a works cited document if you’re interested in doing more reading

My presentation at AASL 2011 that outlines how an inquiry driven, participatory learning centered environment is essential for learning experiences that honor and privilege transliteracy.

Works Cited:

Berger, Pam. “Student Inquiry and Web 2.0.” School Library Monthly 26.5 (2010): n. pag. School Library Monthly. Web. 23 Oct. 2011. <http://www.schoollibrarymonthly.com/articles/Berger2010-v26n5p14.html&gt;.

Fontichiaro, Kristin. “Nudging Toward Inquiry (AASL 2009).” American Association of School Librarians National Conference. Charlotte, NC. Nov. 2009. Vimeo. Web. 23 Oct. 2011. <http://vimeo.com/7715376&gt;.

- – -. “Rigorous Learning with 21st-Century Technology.” Vermont Dynamic Landscapes Conference. Burlington, VT. May 2011. Kristin Fontichiaro. Web. 23 Oct. 2011.
<http://www.fontichiaro.com/uploads/2011/VT-rigor-web.pdf&gt;.

Harada, Violet. “Self-assessment: Challenging students to take charge of learning.” School Library Monthly 26.10 (2010): 13-15. Academic Search Complete. Web. 23 Oct. 2011. http://proxygsu-sche.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=51003266&site=ehost-live >.

Mathews, Brian. “What It Takes To Become A Scholar: Helping Students Scale the Taxonomy.” The Ubiquitous Librarian. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 26 Sept. 2011. Web. 23 Oct. 2011. <http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/theubiquitouslibrarian/2011/09/26/what-it-takes-to-become-a-scholar-helping-students-scale-the-taxonomy/&gt;.

Stripling, Barbara. “Assessing Information Fluency: Gathering Evidence of Student Learning.” 21st Century Learning in School Libraries. Ed. Kristin Fontichiaro. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2009. 166-170. Print.

- – -. “Teaching Students to Think in the Digital Enviornment: Digital Literacy and Digital Inquiry.” School Library Monthly 26.8 (2010): n. pag. School Library Monthly. Web. 23 Oct. 2011. <http://www.schoollibrarymonthly.com/articles/Stripling2010-v26n8p16.html&gt;.

A reasonable objection to transliteracy

'Disagreement' by cabbit, on Flickr

A legitimate criticism

‘Transliteracy.’ Is it a bold new concept or the current enfant terrible of librarianship? It’s no secret that transliteracy has a polarizing effect, with the past year’s worth of commentary ranging from uncritical acceptance to critical analysis to dogmatic skepticism, and everywhere between. Obviously, this blog leans towards a more positive approach to transliteracy, But, what of the objections to the concept? Are there substantive concerns that we should be addressing, or is it all just snark?

Given the novelty of the term, the enthusiasm of early-adopters, and the “almost-but-not-quite” similarity of transliteracy to other “literacies”, it’s only natural for librarians to be skeptical. Unfortunately, this skepticism frequently manifests itself as snarky comments on Twitter, false analogies with Library 2.0, or obsessively pedantic linguistic prescriptivism. Some critics hammer away at style rather than substance. Others object to any nontraditional uses of the word “literacy” or the prefix “trans-“. Yet others lament that librarians would be interested in a concept that doesn’t come pre-packaged with a precise, committee-approved definition and bulleted-list of standards, objectives, and outcomes. And, my personal favorite, the red herring that we’re just confusing our patrons. These are all common objections to transliteracy, but they don’t amount to much more than impassioned rhetoric.  (Of course, there’s also a lot of empty rhetoric in support of transliteracy, but that’s a topic I’ll save for another post).

However, there is at least one really good objection to transliteracy as it is currently being applied by libraries, namely, that the concept of transliteracy is redundant…it’s already covered under existing information literacy standards. As Meredith Farkas wrote several months ago,

“The way librarians and other instructors teach information literacy instruction has grown and changed in response to the changing information ecosystem…And while there are librarians who don’t change the way they teach, that’s just being a bad instructor. It has nothing to do with information literacy instruction somehow being insufficient.” (12/21/2010)

So, existing information literacy standards already have mechanisms in place to cover transliteracy. Moreover, any real or perceived failures to meet the stated goals of transliteracy (communicating across media, reading and writing across platforms, etc.) are failures on the part of lazy librarians who resist change, not on information literacy. So, why do we need some new, faddish term when we already cover the same concepts under information literacy? I think this is a fair criticism, though I’m not convinced that information literacy already covers transliteracy. So, here goes an attempt at addressing this legitimate criticism of transliteracy. I have two responses…

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Possible with Transmedia – free webinar

If you’ve read any of my work or seen me talk, you know I’ve referenced Interactive Fiction projects like The Amanda Project and Skeleton Creek, so I’m very interested in attending this free webinar hosted by StoryWorld on Transmedia.

“They might be called cross-platform stories, transmedia projects, branded entertainment, or even alternate reality games, but, whatever you call them, at the heart of these new forms of entertainment is engagement across platforms. It’s hard to believe that the earliest “extended” experiences are now at least a decade old, and it can be difficult getting a handle on the full scope of what’s already come in the world of transmedia storytelling.”

Read more at DigitalBookWorld.com: What’s Possible with Transmedia: Case Studies in Successful Projects (WEBCast 7/27) | Digital Book Worldhttp://www.digitalbookworld.com/2011/what%e2%80%99s-possible-with-transmedia-case-studies-in-successful-projects-webcast-727/#ixzz1RwqU0WYZ

The webinar will be hosted by Michael Andersen, owner and senior editor at the Alternate Reality Gaming Network (ARGNet), and claims to lead attendees “through a tour of what’s possible with alternate reality games, cross-platform strategies, and transmedia storytelling.” This seems to be worth checking out for those of us who work in public libraries. And hey, it’s free – what have you got to lose?

The StoryWorld Conference + Expo is in San Francisco from October 31 – November 2, 2011 is not free, but sure does sound interesting!

“Be part of the first major gathering of industry leaders to come together for the purpose of exploring new business models, partnering across media boundaries, and building new revenue streams by changing the way consumers experience narrative.”

Wonder how many libraries or librarians will participate?

Posted in Education, Transliteracy, Webinars. Comments Off

Collaborative Transliteracies in Open, Mobile, and Online Learning by Thomas P. Mackey, Ph.D

This is the keynote address presented by Thomas P. Makcey at the Transliteracy conference*  sponsored by SUNY FACT2 and the SUNY Librarians Association.

Articles referenced:

found via Transliteracy and Metaliteracy

*No one who writes for the Libraries and Transliteracies Project was involved with or present at this conference.

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