Saturday, April 01, 2006

GIS Discussion Boards out of the Library

Starting this Summer, our library will begin experimenting with topical discussion boards that anyone on campus (and possible off) will be able to participate in. The idea is that this will help to increase scholarly communication (and information literacy) among students, staff, and faculty, and therefore bring us all together.

Well, the initial pilot project will be a GIS-topic discussion board. I think this will be fantastic. Presently, any student not taking a GIS course who wants assistance has only one place to turn to...the library. Now, this is great as it is my job responsibility to provide such assistance. But when I sit back and think of students helping other students, well let me tell you it almost brings a tear to my eye. Seriously.

Currently, information regarding GIS news/activities is sent out via the list. For the life of me, I cannot convince students to subscribe. Most subscribers are faculty and staff with an interest in GIS. I am of the belief that this is not unique and that student participation in traditional university-run email listservs are low. Therefore, I am convinced that student participation will be so much higher if we change the medium to a discussion board system with public rss feeds.

I know this is improbable, but I like to daydream about one day sending information about a spatial dataset we (the library) are interested in acquiring and hearing immediate and widespread student feedback. We shall see, eh?

No comments: