Second in the two-part series on Semester 1 (Autumn 2014) of library school. For my previous post explaining generally about the course, click here.
This module was called Hypermedia for the Information Professional and introduced hypermedia, e.g. the web and digital technology. Tech skills was a key component that I wanted to do in this qualification and I was mostly satisfied with this module. We covered web design and learned basic web mark-up (XHTML and CSS). This part was ok and I think it definitely helped that I had a bit of knowledge of code already. I found the course material very lacking when completing the assignment which was to write code for a simple, two-page website. This deficiency was due to the content itself and the interface for the teaching material which was a kind of animated, power point type thing. I ended up watching videos on Youtube to solve various problems I encountered when creating my website. One of my “ah-ha” moments was watching a video of a guy talking through and creating all the elements for a basic webpage (sorry can’t give you a link, as I was a bad library student and did not note it down and now cannot find it again). This video made something click for me mainly because of the presentation. It was his voice over explaining the concepts and what the guy was doing, and then there was a split screen video with his text writer window open where he was inputting the code, and then the other side of the screen was the webpage itself being updated in real time, so you could see the effect each bit of code had on the page. As quite a visual person, this method really helped me understand because you could both see and hear what was going on. Anyway I got there in the end with my little website but I think this is a topic that’s best to learn by doing rather reading about about it and it would have helped to have a live person to ask all my questions.
We also looked at usability and information behaviour, both subjects I found absolutely fascinating. I ended up referring back to this material and the sources in later modules quite a lot. For the SEO (search engine optimisation) portion, the main thing I remember is reading through Google’s SEO guide for web developers. A very helpful document with practical advice on how to improve the SEO of your site – an important concept for library websites to understand since most people start an information search on a search engine rather than the library website nowadays! Social media was another area we studied. The set textbook, Managing Social Media in Libraries by Troy Swanson, was excellent and it’s on my list to finish reading.
I think each of the topics we covered in the module could easily have been an entire module in itself…which leads me to say that the main downside to this module was that there were really too many topics under the hypermedia umbrella to cover in one semester. It was very much an introduction, which is fine, but I would have appreciated more time and more depth.
Image: “html tattoo” by webmove available on Flickr CC license https://flic.kr/p/DiXiL.