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Libraries, social software and distance learners: blog it, tag it, share it!

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Describes a recent project funded by the University of London to explore how social software or web 2.0 technologies can enhance the use of libraries by distance learners. LASSIE (Libraries And Social Software In Education) involves a team of librarians, learning technologists and archivists. The project first conducted an extensive literature review, which is available online. (Secker, 2007) The literature review provides an overview of key social software and explores the current implementation of these tools by libraries. It also considers the key issues in supporting distance learners’ use of libraries and whether social software might provide solutions. The literature review was followed by several case studies to explore specific types of social software in practice. These included the use of social bookmarking for sharing resources, social software and online reading lists, blogging in the library community, the use of social networking sites and podcasting for information literacy support. LASSIE will be completed in December 2007 and a final report with results from the case studies and an updated literature review will be made available from the project website. One of the successes of the project has been to establish a project blog, which provides the project team with an opportunity to reflect on progress, but also to gather opinions from others in the field.

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