INF506 Evaluation and Reflection

Assessment item 4 – Assignment 3: OLJ/Evaluative report – Value: 50%
Due date: 09-Feb-2015 Return date: 02-Mar-2015 Length: 1500 words (+/- 10%)




The learning experiences in INF506 have provided opportunities to redefine my approach to the social networking [SN] technologies used in a professional capacity because of developments in knowledge and skills that assist in evaluating and creating tools that facilitate online participatory cultures. The use of social media in our society is becoming ubiquitous among young people and technology is playing an increasingly important role in their socialisation (Ahn, Bivona and DiScala, 2011). Foth, Forlano, Satchell and Gibbs (2011) highlight that there are in turn, more opportunities available for information professionals to foster cultures of community participation through engagement and INF506 has provided opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills needed for a pragmatic application of social networking and innovative information policies in my profession. An evaluation of social networking applications and related literature has highlighted the ubiquity of social networking technologies in learning environments and their affordances of co- creative, collaborative educational settings for workgroups, communities and organisations such as those central to Library 2.0 (Hay, 2010). INF506 has provided valuable learning experiences for me as an educator who seeks to provide learners with online resources that are adaptable, viable and sustainable for their digital identities during technological change.

When critically evaluating the information skills demonstrated in this course it is clear that significant improvements have been achieved. The first OLJ Assessment Item 1 – Social Networking (Hocknull, 2014) outlined the benefits of social networking for the informational and collaborative needs of diverse groups, communities and organisations that share interests over the Internet through social networks. Further research and study of the literature related to social networking facilitated the development of innovative social networking tools on an internally hosted project (Assignment Two) using features and functionality afforded in the Mahara Web 2.0 e-Portfolio application within my organisation. Seeking to address the aim of providing a social network environment for Year 9 and 11 students to collaborate and co- create meaningful historiographical discussion was a valuable learning experience. The creative use and effective evaluation of Mahara’s social networking features in Assignment Two has also been identified as an area for further development so that new social media technologies and Web 2.0 tools can be integrated and allow greater theoretical applications that are guided by participatory policies.

Another significant component of the learning process in INF506 was developing a knowledge and understanding of Library 2.0 because researching the course literature for the Designing Effective Library Websites OLJ (Hocknull, 2015_a) provided another valuable opportunity to evaluate the significant relationships that Web 2.0 tools have to play in the future of library and education environments. Coherent evaluations were made of Library 2.0 websites that sought to cater for different audiences through segmentation and the development of participatory cultures through the affordances of Web 2.0 tools such as blog and social networking/ media applications. Further independent research beyond the core subject materials also provided an opportunity to investigate the use of innovative Open Source Library 2.0 resources such as SociaLib (Governor, Hinchcliffe and Nickull, 2009; Mitropoulos, Dimitrios Baltasis, Rodios and Douligeris 2014).

Information professionals need to have a practical understanding of how social media policies are implemented and how they relate to their organisation’s future (Arendt, 2009; Odden, 2012). When critically evaluating the level of understanding about information policy demonstrated in my OLJ’s there is evidence of improvement in the practical aspects of guiding policy toward a participatory direction. An understanding of the social, cultural, educational, ethical and technical policy management issues has been demonstrated within a participatory context in the Social networking and information policy OLJ (Hocknull, 2015_b).  Bryson (2007) argues that information professionals have an important role to play in creatively resolving problems arising from technological change through the use of innovative approaches. The learning process in INF506 has focused on creative and innovative uses of social networks in education environments and Library 2.0 but it has also been guided by constructive theories of social capital (Bourdieu, 2011) and participatory culture (Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robison and Weigel,2006).

As the ubiquitousness of technology increases and change becomes more apparent to older generations, the knowledge and skills that have been developed during the learning process of INF506 will provide a framework for navigating toward positive and constructive outcomes for social networking use in my organisation. I look forward to applying new social networking technologies and their features with equitable and ethical approaches to enhance and redefine classroom experiences toward a more socially engaged future.



When researching the history and future direction of Web 2.0 for my second post in INF506 What is Web 2.0? (Hocknull, 2014_b) there was a moment of social enlightenment. The story of Aaron Swartz’s experiences with authority is something that every information professional should be cognizant of when addressing issues within their organisation (The Documentary Network, 2014). The legal matters of Aaron Swartz’s case may never be resolved because of the complex nature of overlapping international, national, state, local and human boundaries, however the implications of his experiences should not be ignored. I was determined to keep the story of Swartz in the back of my mind as I undertook the INF506 learning process and I feel that it has help me significantly to contextualise the knowledge and skills that have been learned in a more considered and ethical direction. So with this new principle I set forth determined not to let my desire to boycott JSTOR academic articles hinder my research efforts on social networking for information professionals.

After reviewing the literature in INF506 Modules, I became interested in the developments of Web 3.0 technologies that concluded Module 6 because Aaron Swartz wrote several articles about the semantic web and Wikipedia (Swartz, 2002, 2006, 2013). An immediate challenge for me at the time was to relate Web 3.0 technologies to the social networking features of the Mahara Web 2.0 application that was the focus of Assignment Two. Integrating Web 3.0 features into Mahara’s social networking functionality was too difficult to achieve technically, but suggestions for future investigation were proposed and the learning experiences assisted in developing ideas and principles relating to social constructionism and the participatory culture that is afforded by Web 2.0 technologies. Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robison and Weigel (2006) outline the stories of Richardson, Lawver, Ross, and Meeter who as young technology enthusiast achieved similarly amazing feats to those of Aaron Swartz. Examples of participatory Internet culture are growing because of the ubiquity of social media, however the variety of social media technologies does pose a challenge for information professionals and policy development. It is difficult to navigate a path forward as an information professional when young people can demonstrate such affinity with technology and in the case of Swartz an impressive combination of social justice. In fact the case of Swartz has forced me to question my philosophies regarding truth in my role as an information professional.

One of the most rewarding learning experiences in INF506 was the research into and reading of literature about authentic information in a socially networked world because it is often an issue with students who are seeking to carry out research at school. It is easy to get caught up in the technicalities of information policy that seemingly regard corporate commercial interests over the common good of freedom of information. Arendt (2009) highlights the international complexity of information policy issues when overtly referring to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights to define privacy policy issues for organisations using social media. In this complex multi jurisdictional environment, it is always too tempting to copy another organisation’s social media policy in detail to avoid the considerable effort needed to construct one’s own. Understanding the issues surrounding Swartz’s social advocacy for information freedom may help information professionals in their quest to develop innovative policies with regard to local and foreign entities while remaining authentic in ethical integrity. The Open Library project’s collaborative policy developments with the Internet Archive (2014) are an example of innovative solutions to complex issues related to information policy.

I feel strongly that local organisations have an important place for information professionals to work as part of a team in guiding policy development related to social media and networking. This localised culture is fundamental for the stability of cultural and social capital (Bourdieu, 2011; Bryson, 2007) that young people need to activate the meaningful reality of their participation in digital environments such as social networking. Social capital can be valued and rewarded through participatory digital knowledge networks such as those found in social networks. A more open culture of knowledge sharing and creative problem solving may help to resolve complex social dissonances resulting from a lack of information.

The convergence of social and cultural issues, technical knowledge and skills with the story of Aaron Swartz during the INF506 learning process has made this subject so much more meaningful for me this summer. The number one point for my next policy document is: #watch The Internet’s Own Boy (The Documentary Network, 2014) where at the age of 12 Swartz designed one of the first information social networks called and the story starts there … (See figure 1).




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Arendt, A. (2009). Social Media Tools and the Policies Associated with Them, Best Practices in Policy Management Conference. Utah Valley University, November. Retrieved from:


Bourdieu, P. (2011). The forms of capital.(1986). Cultural theory: An anthology, 81-93. Retrieved from:


Bryson, J. (2007). Chapter 10: Policy making. Managing information services: A transformational approach (pp/125-130). Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate e-Book.


Foth, M., Forlano, L., Satchell, C. and Gibbs, M. (2011). Preface in Foth, M. (Ed.). From social butterfly to engaged citizen: Urban informatics, social media, ubiquitous computing, and mobile technology to support citizen engagement. MIT Press.


Governor, J., Hinchcliffe, D. and Nickull, D. (2009). Capturing Web 2.0 Knowledge with Patterns and Architecture. in: Web 2.0 architectures (1st ed.). Sebastopol, Calif.: O’Reilly Media.


Hay, L. (2010) Shift happens. It’s time to rethink, rebuild and rebrand. Retrieved from:


Hocknull, I. (2014). Social networking. Retrieved from:


Hocknull, I. (2014_b). What is Web 2.0?. Retrieved from:


Hocknull, I. (2015_a). Designing effective library websites. Retrieved from:


Hocknull, I. (2015_b). Social networking and information policy. Retrieved from:


Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. and Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Retrieved from:


Mitropoulos, S., Dimitrios Baltasis, G., Rodios, M. and Douligeris, C. (2014). SociaLib: a collaborative digital library model platform using Web 2.0. The Electronic Library, 32(5), 622-641


Odden, L. (2012). Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing. John Wiley and Sons.


Swartz, A. (2002). The semantic web in breadth. Retrieved from:


Swartz, A. (2006). Who writes wikipedia. Retrieved from:


Swartz, A. (2013). Aaron Swartz’s A Programmable Web: An Unfinished Work. Synthesis Lectures on The Semantic Web: Theory and Technology, 3(2), 1-64. Retrieved from:


The Documentary Network (2014). The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (CC available). [VIDEO] Available:


The Internet Archive. (2014). Internet Archive’s Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Copyright Policy.  San Francisco, CA. Retrieved from:

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