Once I got Gettin’ Bloggy With It out of my na na na na nana head I set my sights on our Wiki creation assignment. I have used PBWiki before. I maintain a collection development Wiki for the instructors in my four departments to be able to find ideas for purchases they’d like to make for library collections in their areas. Here is that site: http://sscsocscicollections.pbwiki.com/ It was an easy way to build a site and it has acted as mostly that – meaning I have not had anything collaborative go on. I made a Wiki for the NEASC committee I was on a few years ago and we collaborated successfully.
So, for this assignment I decided to try something new to me and try Google Sites. I am aware of all that the Google has to offer for tools, but have not had time to experiment much and I would really like to learn. I started by watching a couple of YouTube tutorials – no Lee Lefaver that I could find, so I tried to go with most recent (since things change all the time) and preferably someone who’s from an edu, library or reliable tech site/company. I was able to get started with some of the basics these videos covered.
I found that Google Sites is pretty easy and intuitive. It offers convenient, customizable URL (if yours isn’t taken – my first choice Library Land was). It offers a lot of template options and editing is easy (much like Word). I am often afraid to experiment with templates when it comes to the Web – when making a flyer in Microsoft Publisher sure – but for a living, breathing website it is a lot harder for my brain to know what will work ahead of time as far as layout, organization and look. I like that Google Sites offers different types of pages to make up your site: Webpage, Announcements, File Cabinet, and Lists. This makes it easy to add content. I was able to select a notebook page background that gives the page a little flavor without taking away from readability like some backgrounds can. Other pros include: “Help” was helpful when I needed to delete a page, images were easy to add, pages are easy to add and edit, files are easy to upload. Here is the link to my Wiki created using Google sites for this assignment: https://sites.google.com/site/fitzbrariansguide
Cons with Google Sites – I don’t like that the name of my site in all caps on the home page but there doesn’t seem to be an option to fix that. I also do not like the font of the headers, but I can only seem to change the font in the text boxes. (I could look more into whether there are ways I missed to make these two changes.) I created a page and decided I wanted to rename it. I was able to do that, but I (thankfully) noticed the URL address did not change to reflect the change so I had to delete the page and redo it. Also, the collaborative piece is not up-front. While it starts out as public, you have to add people under share and decide whether they can edit. This would be manageable with a single class or two or just library staff, but not so easy for what I want to do with it – collaborate with the faculty of four departments. That is a lot of e-mail addresses to add. Also, depending on the page type chosen, the location where collaborators would input is not necessarily obvious (besides comment boxes), so unless they were already familiar with Google Sites it might be hard to get a lot of back and forth.
I created it to be a collaborative site with the faculty that I work with in my four academic areas. It is meant to focus on electronic resources and opportunities for collaboration available through the library (therefore different than my collection development Wiki). It can be a place to announce new electronic resources and get immediate feedback or questions about them. A place for how-to’s to be posted and for faculty to ask for ones to be created. For instance, I am working on one on how to embed Films on Demand videos into Canvas. It would also be great if it could be a place where instructors share assignments, lesson plans or experiences that successfully integrated info literacy, library resources and/or library instruction – therefore encouraging the sharing of ideas and collaboration.
Image from: WikiMedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HNL_Wiki_Wiki_Bus.jpg