You can now explore the British Library’s Virtual Books collection via their online gallery:

Explore the British Library here

DART-Europe is a partnership of research libraries and library consortia who are working together to improve global access to European research theses. DART-Europe is endorsed by LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche), and it is the European Working Group of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD).

The DART-Europe partners help to provide researchers with a single European Portal for the discovery of Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs), and they participate in advocacy to influence future European e-theses developments. DART-Europe offers partners a European networking forum on ETD issues, and may provide the opportunity to submit collaborative funding applications to achieve DART-Europe’s vision for ETDs.

DART-Europe is resourced through partner contributions.

Partners support the following principles:

  1. DART-Europe will encourage the creation, discovery and use of European e-theses, and will maintain a central Portal for e-thesis aggregation and access.
  2. European libraries and consortia are invited to contribute metadata to the DART-Europe Portal. Contributors will determine the terms and conditions under which their metadata are contributed.
  3. DART-Europe welcomes the contribution by partners of resources to support the management, discovery, usability and preservation of e-theses, and to further the aims and objectives of DART-Europe.
  4. Partners will designate one representative to act as a contact for DART-Europe, and will nominate at least one representative to participate in the DART-Europe email lists.
  5. DART-Europe welcomes offers from partners to host DART-Europe Project Board meetings, as occasion demands.
  6. Partners will help to secure DART-Europe’s status as an international network of excellence in information, expertise and resources relating to ETDs.
  7. DART-Europe will be administered by UCL (University College London) and governed by a Board consisting of representatives of partner organisations. The constitution and Terms of Reference of the governing Board will be determined and from time to time reviewed by the Board.

Educause released their report on how undergraduates use technology. They ask students about the technology they own and how they use it in and out of their academic world.

They also look at how skilled students believe they are with technologies; how they perceive technology is affecting their learning experience; and their preferences for IT in courses.

 In addition to studying student ownership, experience, behaviors, preferences, and skills with respect to information technologies, the 2009 study also includes a special focus on student ownership and use of Internet-capable handheld devices.

Some of the “m-learning” findings include:

  •  fewer students have desktops, preferring laptops instead
  • Two-thirds have computers that are two years or less
  • more than 90% use their university or college website weekly
  • more than 40% said they contribute to video websites and wikis while more than 30% contribute to blogs and use podcasts
  • VoIP is use by one-third of students
  • 9 out of 20 students use social networking sites as individuals, this drops to 2 out 10 that use social networking as part of their course
  • about half of students see themselves as early adopters of technology
  • 80% of students feel they are confident about their online searching skills

 You can download the full study, key findings, roadmap and survey instrument from the Educause site.

I like this series of advertisements from Capital Magazine:

Worker+BLK.preview

It’s now or never if you want to invest in real estate.
Before you begin listening ask yourself who’s talking.

Emir+BLK.preview

The electric car has no future.
Before you begin listening ask yourself who’s talking.

Butcher+BLK.preview

Fish are becoming very overpriced.
Before you begin listening ask yourself who’s talking

Here’s the detail on the campaign:

Advertising Agency: Young & Rubicam Paris, France
Creative Director: Les six
Art Director: Sebastien Guinet
Copywriter: Josselin Pacreau
Asst. Art Director: Julien Hérisson
Aired: June 2009

Perhaps we should also have one like this, as students are forever predicting the demise of libraries …

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… actually the future is not so far off. I really don’t like talks about libraries of The Future (note the capital letters). It’s as if The Future is some far-off land where librarians who are young, hip and in the know can go if they are really, really good but older librarians will never see this nirvana.

A bit dramatic maybe, but I saw the video below on lostmoya‘s blog  Burned at Both End. It’s JISC‘s video on what the library of the future will look like.

The whole issue of The Future will be the land of plenty – plenty of digital technology is a continuing debate here in South Africa as well – but I agree with the student in 3:44. Globally libraries are very much a hybrid system and we still use paper-based resources and we’re doing a-ok. Bandwidth (while plentiful in the West) is a serious hindrance of libraries in developing countries and before this is sorted out going completely digital with our academic libraries is truly the stuff myths are made of.

I find the student’s perception of the library and librarians to be quite accurate – sad, but accurate – as they believe librarians will disappear bec “I can check out my own books” and “find stuff on Google” as if issuing material is what librarians do and Google is the #1 reliable source of information!

But I like this quote:

Google doesn’t create information, doesn’t catalogue or classify information, doesn’t store information. It’s only a gateway. Information is provided by other people.

Yup, the Library of The Future will be one with PEOPLE, people!

So while lostmoya‘s always imagined librarians of The Future to look like this:

terminator-librarian-wh40k.

(from here)

I think librarians will look like this:

library future

(the images are from MSOffice and represents a certain blah-ness of images available!)

vader-fail

I’ve (almost) always worked in the Higher Education sector of South Africa and I find this report from University World News very very disturbing:

A shocking results of pilot national benchmark tests revealed that:

  • only 7% of first-year students are proficient in mathematics
  • only25% are fully quantitatively literate
  • less than 50% have the academic literacy skills needed to succeed without support

What are they teaching our kids at school!? How on earth can you go through 12 years of schooling and 75% of students are quantitatively ILLITERATE?

The rest of the report was just too depressing to read on a Friday, maybe I’ll be able to stomach it on Monday….

EducationPortalComLogo.jp

I’ve discovered Education-Portal.com today and while I’m familiarising myself with the content and gems in the portal I stumbled across a posting that seems to fit what I’m trying to do at work (and for free no less!)

The post is question is called Don’t Pay for Technology: 25 Freebies for Students and here they are:

Document Creation

  • Zoho Office – Zoho Office is an amazing suite of web-based productivity and collaboration tools. The suite includes free email, a word processor, a spreadsheet tool, a presentation creator and more.
  • OpenOffice – The OpenOffice suite of tools can do all of the same things as the pricey Microsoft Office–for free.
  • Adobe Buzzword – This free Adobe product is an online word processor that works just like a desktop processor–perfect for students who write academic papers and reports.
  • Google Docs – Students can store, share, collaborate, and edit documents online with this free Google app.
  • Primo Online – Primo Online is a free online creation service that allows users to create free PDF files. Primo supports a wide range of file types.

Research and Writing

  • Schoolr – This meta search engine combines other academic search engines to make research faster and more efficient for students.
  • Diigo – Diigo is an awesome tool for student researchers. It allows you to highlight and annotate specific portions of web pages. Highlighted info can be shared with other people and accessed from any phone or PC with an Internet connection.
  • Ajax-Spell – This free spell checker makes it easy for students to catch misspellings in their writing.
  • WordWeb – Designed for Windows users, this one-click thesaurus/dictionary works off-line but can also be used to look up words and information online. The free version of WordWeb can define a word in almost any program and provide information about the word’s root, pronunciation and synonyms.
  • BibMe – BibMe allows students to cite sources and create bibliographies in a snap. This free bibliography maker auto-fills info for you in MLA, APA, Chicago, or Turabian formats.

Online Storage and Collaboration

  • ADrive – Offering more than 50 GB of free storage, ADrive is one of the best places to upload and store files online. Files can also be edited online and shared with anyone who has an Internet connection.
  • 4 Shared – This online storage site offers 5 GB of space to users who sign up for a free account. You can upload a single file or an entire folder. 4 Shared accepts music, videos, photos and more.
  • ZenBe – ZenBe eliminates the need for bulky and lengthy emails by offering students a place to meet, collaborate and chat online.
  • Scriblink – Scriblink is a free white board that can be used to collaborate with other people online. It includes a chat window and the ability to save, send, or print whatever was created on the board.
  • Mikogo – Mikogo is a free screen-sharing tool that simplifies online collaboration among people who aren’t sitting in the same room. It can be used to instantly share whatever is on your computer screen with someone else–works with up to 10 people.

Study Help and Web-Based Learning

  • Mindpicnic – Mindpicnic is helping to revolutionize the way students learn by providing free courses and study materials online.
  • VerbaLearn – VerbaLearn is a great place to practice and learn English vocabulary. Students who are preparing for standardized tests like the SAT will especially enjoy this site’s vocabulary-building resources.
  • Livemocha – You don’t have to invest in expensive courses, books or CDs to learn a foreign language. You can do it for free on Livemocha, the world’s first free social language learning site.
  • ProProfs – ProProfs makes test prep easy and fun. The site allows students to make free quizzes and tests (complete with colors and images) that can be taken online.
  • Flashcard Exchange – Students who use Flashcard Exchange can create, study, print and share web-based flashcards on any topic. More than 400,000 students have benefitted already.

Miscellaneous Tech Tools

  • AVG Free – One of the most trusted anti-virus programs in the world, AVG Free provides anti-virus and spyware protection for Windows’ users. AVG is easy to install and is used by more than 80 million people.
  • Soshiku – Designed specifically for students, this free web app makes it easy to budget your time and stick to a schedule. Soshiku also notifies you about due dates on assignments.
  • Creative Pro Office – Although this web-based project management system was created for business professionals, it has many features that would be useful to students.
  • Billeo – Billeo is a free web browser for people who want to track their finances and make online payments. Features include a built-in bill pay assistant, shopping assistant and password assistant.
  • Mojo – Mojo makes it easy to sync, share, and listen to music online. It can be used to share iTunes libraries and much more.

There are currently over 20,000 original articles and videos proudly displayed on this site.

What’s Education-Portal.com about?

It is a resource hub for students and working professionals to research career paths, degree programs, and schools within their chosen disciplines. This was accomplished by a dedicated team of experts including educators, librarians, college counselors, career counselors, and journalists to provide practical information in both written and video formats. There are currently over 20,000 original articles and videos proudly displayed on this site.

I like free stuff and I like educational stuff so I simply love free educational stuff! Go check it out.