Wednesday, April 14, 2010

CIL2010: 23 Things for an International Audience

Karen Hartman and Susana Wang - U.S. Department of State

184 Information Resource Centers worldwide with 455 staff members.  (There are more embassies than that.)  The libraries are for use by people of the country.  Each library is supervised by a local employee and staffed with 1-3 employees.  there are 30 Regional Information Resource Officers responsible for managing 6-10 IRCs.

Karen said she would liked have done 23 things 3-4 years ago, but in the government that was not "the thing".  but now there is a new administration and things are different.  IRC staff need to be on the cutting edge in order to maintain relevancy and importance to Embassies.  IRC staff train librarians, teachers and journalists on current information issues ans techniques.  23 things will help to narrow the digital literacy divide between tech savvy staff and those who don't actively seek to learn new technologies.

Karen notes that more than 700 institutions have done 23 things worldwide.

The State Department's 23 Things in on the intranet and with a Creative Commons license.  This was the first thing on the State Department web site with a CC license.  Several of the things deal specifically with technologies unique to their mission of outreach.  One of the things they included was SharePoint.  They also had a thing on webchats, books 2.0, SMS, and web site statistics.  The did introduce the topic of virtual worlds, but didn't have people enter a virtual world.

Everyone on IRC staff - no matter what they did (e.g., delivery) - were able to sign-up to do the program.  People that finished 23 Things received an iPod shuffle.

Everyone in the Department of State can see 23 Things and others have shown interest in it.

The blogs that participants create are private. They are only shared with other administrators, their IRO, and others that they choose.

Dept. of State is using Facebook!

125 participants.  49 completed.  15 people completed 1/3 or more of the things.

Why didn't people finish?
  • Not enough time - heavy workloads
  • Scheduled during a peak holiday time
  • Intranet problems

90% of non-finishers said that they plan to do the program again.

In Taiwan, the staff worked on it as a group and they all finished the 23 Things.  Working with others seems to help people finish.

Favorite things:
  • Creating and finding blogs
  • Online book catalogues
  • RSS
  • Document sharing
  • Mashups
Least favorite things:
  • Virtual worlds
  • Mobile web - had them look at their embassy's web site on a mobile web emulator.  Most sites looked horrible. BTW most of the world does have mobile enabled phones.
  • Mashups

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