A leak or an invasion of personal privacy.

**disclaimer: this may not be eloquent because I’m slightly frustrated at the misplaced blame**

There has been a lot of discussion about the nude photos that made they rounds on the internet. The photos that created so much activity sites like 4chan, Reddit and Twitter has explosions of activity they almost crashed. 

It wasn’t a leak, it was a break in, full on robbery. Our choices define our destiny, but this can always be disrupted by other’s choices. Dr. John Armstrong states “Agency is the power that people have to direct their actions. Actions may be observable from the outside such as raking leaves, reading a book, or eating a sandwich, or they may be those which are entirely contained within an agent’s mind such as summoning a memory, focusing one’s attention upon a speaker, or thinking about tomorrow’s trip. All of these actions we can direct, but there are also actions, or perhaps ‘doings’ (to use a weaker term), that can happen without our direction or even against what we would prefer. When either of these circumstances obtain, we can be said to be acting involuntarily.” (Agency in Plato’s Laws, 2006)  

I keep seeing things written about the nude photos like “they shouldn’t have taken them in the first place” or “if they don’t want others to see them they shouldn’t have taken them”. My response to that is: Why? The photos were taken, this isn’t the crime here, the crime is the involuntary sharing of these private photos. 

Some will talk about disrespect, others may say stuff like it’s their own fault for taking the photo, but guess what, it isn’t. That’s like saying, because I bought a nice 60″ TV and left my blinds open for natural light I was BEGGING or DESERVING for it to be stolen. The fault lies in PRIMARILY in the person who decided it would be their right and enjoyment to publicly violate personal privacy. I don’t think there is a single thing wrong with taking a nude photo of yourself. It is in fact the ONLY time that consent is 100%. You are taking the photo of yourself. I’ve taken nude photos of myself; especially when I am feeling particularly awesome about my physique. Yes, I could do this in my underwear, and I have. I see no issue in taking the photo, in fact I see NO issue in sharing the photo, especially if I made the choice to share the photo (say you know like TheHusband cause we like to keep it hot and sexy like that). Again, this isn’t me confessing that I’m sending nude photos of myself to someone, it’s merely me expressing my thought on the matter, so don’t take anything out of context and think “Whitni is sexting or sending nude photos of herself to people!”

What I do, in my personal privacy is my choice. See there is that choice again. I (and I’m sure the celebs) don’t take these photos expecting them to be hacked and distributed. Like your home, we want nice things, we want a clean home and we like to admire our home; we take precautions to protect these things. As with many other things. Guess what, to hack the accounts that means the owners were ALSO taking the precautions to protect their goods. If you didn’t know the word hack means “use a computer to gain unauthorized access to data in a system.” They weren’t lying on the street with a free sign. They weren’t sitting in a cloud storage with a CC license (Creative Commons is a non-profit organization headquartered in Mountain View, California, United States, devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon *legally* and to share). 

I think so many of us are missing the point of this situation and we are essentially saying “You deserved this”. NOBODY deserves what happened, ever. Violation of privacy, zero consent given, and personal information shared with anyone and everyone willing and wanting to see. Are you getting my drift? This isn’t about taking the photo, this is about security. This is about abuse of power and abuse of knowledge. Those who hacked the accounts (abuse of knowledge), could have seen the photos, enjoyed the photos and then left but they didn’t. They chose to flood the internet. 

Our focus should not be on the subjects of the images, our focus should be on are we keeping our valuables secured from malicious hackers who if accessed could try and destroy our lives. Appreciate your goods, but keep them safe.

All I ask is be careful. Don’t be naive, protect yourself. Look at the larger picture before making claims and pointing fingers. STOP JUDGING! Just don’t do it. Taking a nude picture of yourself doesn’t mean you disrespect yourself. It’s risky (and risqué :-P) so again be careful and don’t be naive (showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment). Protect the things you want to keep private.

Learn & use the protocols for strong passwords (http://www.infoworld.com/d/security/creating-strong-passwords-easier-you-think-206865). Understand what cloud storage is, if you plan on using it. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_storage). Know your privacy settings on your computer (https://www.privacyrights.org/securing-your-computer-maintain-your-privacy) & on your mobile devices (http://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/home_users/Secure_your_mobile_phone_and_devices)

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Getting sponsored to attend a professional conference

Attending a professional conferences is something all Library students should work towards. Sometimes the conferences can cost a hefty price, fortunately as students you get huge discounts on memberships and with memberships you get discounts on conferences. Did you know that SJSU SLIS pays for your choice of the following professional associations (ALA, SLA, ASIST, ARMA international) Read about it here

Also,  plenty of counties, companies & professional associations love to sponsor some lucky individual (often a student) to attend these conferences. 

The San Diego Chapter of the Special Libraries Association (SLA-SD) is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for its 2014 scholarship. The scholarship is $1000 plus a one-year student membership in SLA-SD. (APPPLY HERE)

 

Web 2.0

The main idea to Web 2.0 is social networking, a form of collaborating and sharing information across the World Wide Web. This sharing of information takes place in the form of status updates on Facebook or MySpace, blog posts, tagging photos on Flikr or Pinterest. What comes with sharing information across the web is the opportunity for someone to judge it, comment on it, and share it with others.  As Meredith Farkas talked about Library 2.0 in 2007 at UC Berkeley she mentioned multiple times the use of comments as a  key  to better serve your patrons. (Watch Lecture) As information professionals we need to know how information is accessed so we can most readily accessible. Comments are a way to get in touch with what our users need, how they learn, and what they want. As Farkas said, letting your users comment is risky, they do not always say nice things about us and our resources but they allow us to learn how to be better librarians.

As Tim O’Reilly stated in a video clip, “The cardinal rule is that users add value”. Most of our users are social network gurus, they thrive through Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flikr, Twitter and blogs (Blogger, WordPress). We need to make ways for them to contact us through a platform they understand; this is why comment access is so important in our platforms. Our users need to know they are getting our attention to help better the library. Without users libraries could not exist in their true form; informational powerhouses.

Web 2.0 provides the ability to have these comments accessed. We can post questions to our Facebook or MySpace pages that allow the student to connect with us in their territory. Farkus gave an example of a school that used Facebook specifically to find out what students want in the collection and to recommend material to add. They posted questions on their library Facebook page and students answered; they left multiple comments recommending items they felt would be helpful to have in the library. The fact that students responded to questions posted in a status update on Facebook enforces the idea that it is important to be actively engaged in social networking.

We need to immerse ourselves in to social networking but one step at a time. As Farkas said often we are excited about the new technology and we want to implement it immediately without realizing the time it takes to keep up with it. It takes time and planning to keep up a successful and helpful blog. We can step out there and sign up for a MySpace page, Facebook account, Twitter account, Blogger and Wiki-page but if we do not have the time or knowledge to make use all these factions what good is it to us or our patrons?

Web 2.0 on the surface is invigorating, under the surface it is still invigorating but drenched in an overwhelming amount of information and options. If we can restrain ourselves from diving headfirst into a three foot pool of water we will be able to successfully incorporate social networking and productive use of comments into our libraries. Take the stairs; test the water before you take the plunge.

 

Collaborative Work

I chose to collaborate on the online application Zoho. I am glad I chose Zoho as it was an application I have never heard of before, unlike Google Docs. Zoho opened up my options of collaborating online. There are so many options with sharing information on Zoho, it is invigorating!
For example you can collaborate, as we did, on an excel sheet which is indeed set up very similar to a Microsoft excel sheet so it is not too complicated on how it is used.
Other applications include organization apps (calendar, planner, etc); you can even create your own Wiki.
I enjoyed the layout of Zoho and hope to find great use of it in the future.
If you are interested in checking it out yourself go to www.zoho.com. You can sign up through Zoho or you can log-in with your Google, Google Apps, Yahoo or Facebook.

Usability vs Accessibility

Usability accessibility blah blah blah they are all the same! WRONG!!!
Usability is a quality attribute that assess how easy a webpage, database, or website is to learn, use, and remember.

Jakob Nielsen defines it with 5 quality components:

  1. Learnability
  2. Efficiency
  3. Memorability
  4. Errors
  5. Satisfaction

You can read more about those 5 quality components in his article “Usability 101: Introduction to Usability

Accessibility on the other hand deals with how universal your content can be accessed. When I say universal I mean by multiple types of users: disabled, slow internet connection, mobile devices, visually impaired, hearing impaired, users using screen readers, users with language barriers, etc. Accessibility is important to think about when making your website usable. It is important for your website to give images alternate text so for example hard of hearing or users who use a screen reader to navigate you page will know what that image is the reader can only portray in text format.

Accessibility and usability go hand in hand; if your website has usability then is has accessibility but if it has accessibility does not always mean it is usability. You may have 50 images on one page that all have alternate text so screen readers can read the text but the page is not going to be easily viewed and most likely it will slow down the download of the webpage hence accessible but not usable. To have a successfully designed webpage it is important to incorporate both aspects.

As I mentioned above when you design your website there are multiple issues you need to consider. I have listed a few below

  • Alternate text for images
  • language translators
  • Graphic and multimedia sizes
  • Widget to increase text size
  • the ability to navigate with or without a mouse
  • Choice of colors for content text
  • the use of close captions on video

As I have discussed about accessibility and usability it is important to discuss cultural diversity among the internet. The internet is World Wide, it includes every culture that has established itself on this earth. When you create a webpage it is important to incorporate cultural differences in your design; especially if you are an internationally known business. In some cultures, as discussed in Elizabeth Wurth’s paper, “A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Website from High-Context Cultures and Low-Context Cultures” values are placed on family and friends where in others values are placed on relaxation and individualism. When we design our pages the images, colors, amount of text, type of images, color schemes and page conformity all need to be considered in regards to each culture. A good exampled presented by Wurth is McDonald’s. Not only do values differ but the way different cultures dissect a webpage varies. In a cultural comparative study of webpage perceptions it has been found that there is predominantly two ways of viewing a webpage, analytically and holistically. When viewing a webpage analytically one detaches objects from the page as a whole and looks at categories. Where is the holistic approach views the webpage as a whole. Ying Dong * and Kun-Pyo Lee (2008) found that Westerners use an analytical approach and East Asian use the holistic approach when viewing webpages. You can view their study here.

Wurth’s paper discusses predominantly the differences between High-Context and Low-Context cultures. North America is considered a low-context culture. Their values focus more on the individual rather than the group. Propositions like alone time and relaxation are heavily emphasized. Japan is considered a high-context culture which is the opposite of a low-context culture, values are focused on physical fitness, family and friendships. When building a website for the Japanese culture the types of imagery used should vary from the imagery used on a site for North Americans. Japanese are drawn to more graphics and less conformity on web pages. Each page may have multiple graphics with a vibrant background and be completely different from another webpage. Along with that the values advertised on the site will assimilate with human presence and relationships as those are values that are important in the Japanese culture. North American website would incorporate more text, webpage conformity in style and color schemes, relaxing images and less graphics.

Rancho Cucamonga: 3 Amazing Libraries unlimited possibilities

Five issues analyzed

I chose the following five guideline topics to analyze the Rancho Cucamonga library website because I feel that these issues are the most important when it comes to having spectacular usability on a website. A larger list of guidelines can be found at usability.gov The way a user learns to navigate your page can make or break whether they return. If your website is not pleasing to the user and is difficult to read due to excessive graphics, poor text use, inability to quickly scan lists a user will not want to use your site no matter how helpful the information is and will be less likely to remember it to recommend to a friend, a future user. For a brief listing of the guidelines I analyzed and the ratings I gave each point please click here.

Page Layout

Explanation

Rating: 4 stars

The page layout of the Rancho Cucamonga Library received a star rating of 4. The reasons being first the amount of white space is clean and pleasing for the eyes to read. It does not turn you away with its visual use of information. The text length is in paragraph format but it is not lengthy, but short and sweet. The page length is a little longer than I think needed, as you scroll down the white space increases drastically and this can be eliminated. As well as the length of the page, their is not scroll to the top or anchor that can take you directly back up you have to scroll. The most important items are at the top of the page such as the hours and location, services offered, catalog link and calendar of events.

Navigation Usage

Explanation

Rating: 4 stars

Navigating the homepage is very explanatory. There is a sequential menu located directly on the left side of the page in the sidebar. This menu expands on the necessary items giving sub-item options. There is a site map located in the breadcrumb area that allows you to track where you are and how you got there however I must point out that clicking homepage does not take you to the library homepage but the City homepage within which the library website lies. There site does not utilize glosses but there are no “Dead End” pages, which is beneficial for the user as they can go back to the previous page if they found that the page they were currently on was not the one they needed. One criticism I have for navigation is the way the database list is set up. Again their is no top of page anchor causing a tremendous amount of scrolling back and forth through the lists.

Text Appearance

Explanation

Rating:4.8 stars

The text use is consistent in format, same size, color and font unless needed otherwise. Although it is not black text on a plain background the use of the dark green fulfills the same need and follows the color scheme of the website. They utilize all caps for headings the rest of the text is in appropriate lowercase and capitalize letter standard. The use of bold text is sparing and appropriate. For example on the area for “Upcoming Events” the date is bold to distinguish that the following events happen on that date and the events are in standard text format. Using the calendar of events as another example the listing for the closest upcoming date is put at the top, to emphasize the importance of that date. On the homepage on the right side there is an automated feed that switches news feeds, the animation of the switch is often enough to catch your attention but not too often to annoy you. The animation of these items are important because they advertise different events going on with the library whether is is a new service or registration for upcoming events.

Graphics, Images and Multimedia

Explanation

Rating: 4.6 stars

There use of a logo on every page, it is the City’s logo of a bunch of grapes in front of a turquoise archway outline in a double border of purple and white. The use of the logo creates in the users mind the association of that logo with the City. The background is really simple the text lays on a white background while the entire library website has a background of two sets of books that sit nicely in the margins without causing distraction to the website content. On the homepage in the left sidebar there are three images to view virtual tours of their libraries and directly on the photo is says click for virtual tour but as you hover over the photo it gives text describing what the photo links to. The graphics the site uses are very pertinent to the webpage they are on whether it is a calendar for the calendar of events or a picture of the Library director on the Welcome page. The web pages load quickly which shows that the use of the graphics do not bog down the site.

Lists

Explanation

Rating: 4.8 stars

I came across a list of databases, that had clickable links and followed the guideline of reading in columns not rows, up and down. The top list is easy to scan quickly although not with bullets the spacing and alternating line colors allows for ease of reading. As you scroll down through the full list of databases the lists are with bullets and easy to read. I find that this list of databases makes the page incredibly long and the lack of ability to quickly scroll to the top creates a hassle for the user. Most of the lists found on the Rancho Cucamonga library site are completed with bullets on a clean background creating an easy reading experience.

Pride in my Work

Usability: an analysis

Because I take pride in my work I shall let my inner geek arise and show itself. Today I want to discuss Usability. Before I being my ramblings and confuse you beyond repair we will start with a definition.

Jakob Nielsen defines usability as the following:
“Usability is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use. The word ‘usability’ also refers to methods for improving ease-of-use during the design process.”

A website can be deemed usable or not by analyzing a great many areas of its content, which is why it is important to view some guidelines first. You can view a list of guideline topics at Usability.gov. I chose to address 5 usability issues with the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library website. Hope on board and ride with my down Usability lane.

My five issues:

  1. Page Layout
  2. Navigation
  3. Text appearance
  4. Graphics, images and multimedia use
  5. Lists

A view of my complete analysis of the website can be viewed here, for a brief list of points analyzed and their ratings  continue reading.

Page Layout: what are we looking for?

Okay, so we know we need to be aware of our page layout but what does that mean? What are we being aware of, how awesome it looks? Maybe but the guidelines we want to incorporate include: Content list

  • order of elements/  most important on top = 5 stars
  • text line lengths/ are they too long? = 4 stars
  • white space/ is it too busy? = 3 stars
  • item alignment/ is there a consistency? = 4 stars
  • page length/ am I scrolling to infinity and beyond? = 4 stars

Navigation: is it effective and efficient?

When we navigate a webpage we want to utilize the time we are there searching. Come on we are busy people we have places to go people to be…I mean see. Content list

  • Clickable page of contents on long pages/ is there one? = 4 stars
  • “Dead End” pages/ do they exist? = 5 stars
  • Navigation scheme/ do they conform? = 5 stars
  • Site Map = 5 stars
  • glosses/ is this where I want to go? = 0 stars

Text Appearance: visual consistency?

Our eyes do alot of work, we need them don’t make us lose them sooner than we have to. Content list

  • Consistency in format = 5 stars
  • Bold text/ sparing? = 5 stars
  • Familiar fonts = 5 stars
  • Black text on Plain backgrounds = 4 stars
  • Visual consistency = 5 stars

Graphics, images and multimedia: less is more

More often than not over abundance of hi-tech multimedia drives away all the hi-techy’s. Keep it useful not boastful. Content list

  • Logo/ is there one? = 5 stars
  • Simple background/ can I read your text easily? = 4 stars
  • Graphics used are meaningful and don’t bog down the page = 5 stars
  • Limited image use = 5 stars
  • Click-able images are labeled/ do I know where this image goes? = 4 stars

Lists: titles and introductions please

Content list

  • Order of elements/ most important on top =5 stars
  • Ease of scanning = 3.5 stars
  • Introduction/ do I know why there is a list? = 5 stars
  • Begin with 1/ 0 is a space waster = N/A, most lists were bullets not numbers
  • Style appropriate/ numbers are for counting = 5 stars