Tag Archives: libraries

NNELS: A New Model for Accessible Library Service

Reviewed By: Jennifer Bousquet ,Sonia Botello, Robyn Brown

Link to article: https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/ijidi/article/view/32194

SP 19: INFO 275
Open Access Research Assignment
Jennifer Bousquet
Sonia Botello
Robyn Brown

Synopsis

The thrust of the 2018 article “NNELS: A New Model for Accessible Library Service in Canada” by author Kim Johnson, is that the visually-impaired public are chronically underserved in Canadian libraries. Johnson offers an overview that that describes a shortage in readily available material for individuals who have impairments that prevent them from reading traditionally printed materials. Johnson asks the question: “How can a public library provide a rich and diverse collection that meets the needs of its entire local community, including those with print disabilities, when so little of the published material is accessible?” (Johnson, 2018, p. 114). Johnson suggests that a new solution is being created by the The National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS). NNELS is a digital library with a mission to change traditional print materials to more accessible formats. Johnson makes the point that it is less costly and more efficient to create accessible materials to begin with, rather than after publication of traditional printed matter.
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind was historically the primary resource for Canadians who needed these types of resources, and the library system in Canada has relied on the Institute to provide them as a default mechanism. NNELS is meant to empower all partner libraries to create and distribute materials themselves for print-disabled patrons without having to refer them to the Institute. The new formats of materials include synthetic voice and live narration recordings.

Johnson cites “Looking Back, Rethinking Historical Perspectives and Reflecting upon Emerging Trends,” as a thoughtful piece that examines how disability has been viewed in Canada as a medical problem, then transitioned to being seen as special needs/service model and the experience of being treated as “other,” and currently towards a movement with disability advocates fighting for equal access.

Core research question
Although Johnson doesn’t pose explicit research questions, there is a challenging tone to the article itself. Clearly Johnson feels that the print-disabled community in Canada has long been disenfranchised due to a lack of materials available to them in the public library system, and that something like NNELS is long overdue. Johnson sees the NNELS as the new frontier in building a more robust catalog for print-disabled patrons. With an “Accessible format collection and service, NNELS represents a professional practice that not only responds to the users’ needs but also builds on inclusivity and empowerment.” (Johnson, 2018, p. 115).

Method
The researchers did an in-depth examination of NNELS in order to determine what kind of services it provided to people with print disabilities. The paper also looks at the history of accessible services to build up evidence to support their assessment of NNELS. The author’s examination of NNELS looks at what services are provides, how it provides them, and how these services benefit users. Real-life testimonials from users and examples from different libraries in Canada where the NNELS model is in use are included.
Findings and conclusion

The researchers found that NNELS provides an effective, user-driven service that takes into account the needs of the people it serves. They determined that part of the reason the NNELS is so effective is because it treats the users as customers who can demand a higher level of service, rather than clients who must take what is offered to them (Johnson, 2018, p. 116). They further this user-driven ethos by encouraging libraries to provide direct services to patrons (i.e. on-the-spot transfer of material to discs) (Johnson, 2018, p. 118). This empowers the libraries and validates the patron by not making them go through another agency to obtain the material, which would mean jumping through more bureaucratic hoops. Additionally, NNELS calls for a participatory model that allows community members to become involved by making recordings of popular materials (Johnson, 2018, p. 118).
Johnson concludes that NNELS will actually prove to be most effective when it paradoxically no longer needs to exist. The services that it provides should be included in libraries’ collections from the beginning, rather than users having to request them via a special service. Additionally, the material should originate as accessible material and not have to be reformatted (Johnson, 2018, p. 119).

What American libraries can learn from this research
To provide better services for the print disability community in America, American libraries can follow the example of Canada’s National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS). Assistive technologies are not always useful for patrons, because most of the time the book they want is only available in print (Johnson, 2018, p. 114). This becomes a problem for library users with print disabilities. Yet, in Canada, the NNELS and Canadian libraries unite and develop accessible versions of printed material for print-disabled patrons. Once the newly formatted book is created, the material becomes part of the NNELS collection and is available for other print-disabled patrons (p. 117). American libraries can learn from and follow the footsteps of the NNELS to create various formats of books for the community.

One method the American libraries can do that the NNELS does is to develop audio versions using an on-demand model. Although audio books continue to be made, not all titles are available. The NNELS, however, has people from the organization and staff from libraries record books. If a book is being requested immediately, the NNELS will use synthetic audio to create the book quickly. Another method American libraries can take in is to create electronic versions of printed books, or they can make changes to e-text to make the text more user-friendly (Johnson, 2018, p. 117). Other ways the NNELS helps the print-disabled community are developing the books into PDF, DAISY, EPUB, electronic Braille, and other formats that best help the patron (National Network for Equitable Library Service, n.d.). American libraries could consider applying the formatting methods to other printed material as well. This includes material such as “medical information, instructional booklets, provincial library legislation,” and other informational material requested (Johnson, 2018, p. 117).

While the NNELS has an emphasis on using CD recordings as a delivery method for print-disabled patrons, American libraries may be able to apply their practices while possibly updating the technologies used. Canadian libraries seem to have an expanded awareness of this user segment that American libraries would benefit from, and consequently improve upon on our own options for providing more reading material for visually-impaired patrons. Some ways include adding voice-activated prompts to locate material in the catalog and using synthetic voice for e-books.

References
Johnson, K. (2018). NNELS: A new model for accessible library service. The International
Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion, 2(3), 114-120.

National Network for Equitable Library Service. (n.d.). Library Staff Homepage. Retrieved from
https://nnels.ca/library

Demographic Variables and Academic Discipline as Determinants of Undergraduates’ Use of Electronic Library Resources in Federal universities in South-west, Nigeria

Reviewed By: Amy Budzicz, Joanna Delgado, Keith Chong

Link to article: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/2164/

Synopsis

Ebijuwa and Mabawonku’s study seeks to build on existing research that suggests that electronic library resources are underutilized in Universities throughout Nigeria. While previous research suggests that the low usage of electronic resources is caused by a number of factors including a deficit in technology literacy, and user attitudes, this study examines other potential factors more closely, using opt-in descriptive survey research to look for discrepancies in electronic resource utilization based on the factors of age, gender, and academic discipline. The study claims that age is the most prominent determinant of electronic resource usage, though it notes that the vast majority of respondents were between the ages of seventeen through twenty five years of age with a mere 1.7% of respondents being twenty nine or older. The results are compared in the study’s literature review to the findings of similar research written by information scientists in the United States, Malasia, Chile, and various other countries and for the most part seem to corroborate the existing findings; that age, rather than gender or academic discipline, is the demographic that can be used to predict electronic resource usage most consistently.

Core research questions

The research questions of Ebijuwa and Mabawonku’s 2019 study examine whether the usage demographic usage statistics of electronic library resources correlate to variables such as age, gender, or academic field of study of undergraduate students in federal universities in South West Nigeria. It questions existing studies and research, that focus on why universities report low usage of electronic library resources (including wealth disparity, low levels of technology literacy, and over all user attitudes), and asks whether there are other factors that contribute to this lack of technology adoption.

Methods used

This study surveyed six federal universities in Southwest Nigeria, comprised 140,351 undergraduate students. To narrow the survey pool, the study broke down the number of responders by looking at specific academic areas, and specific departments within those areas. Observing that academic disciplines were common among the six schools, the study was able to categorize academic discipline into 12 departments from 4 subject areas. These were Arts: English, History, Philosophy; Engineering: Electrical and Electronics engineering, Civil Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering; Science: Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics; and Social Science/Humanities: Economics, Sociology, and Psychology. The study comprised of an opt-in survey which resulted in 30,516 respondents. Only 5% of respondent submissions were used in order to narrow the study further, leaving a sample size of 1,526 students. Each of the 1,526 students received a questionnaire asking questions of discipline, age, gender, and types and reasons for using Electronic Library Resources.

Findings and Conclusions

According to Ebijuwa and Mabawonku, age is the only factor that played a consistent role in the findings on whether or not age, gender, and academic discipline affects undergraduates use of electronic library resources. For example, patrons using the library were mostly between the ages of 20-22 years old using electronic library resources for class assignments, projects, scholarship opportunities, research, online applications, and personal use such as, news and email, etc. Gender and academic discipline were not affected because of inconsistent results. For example, “Okiki and Ashiru (2011) who found in their study more male (53.82%) than female (46.18%). However, the result obtained in this study contradicts those of Ukachi (2013); Ebijuwa (2018) whose studies had more female than male students” (Ebijuwa & Mabawonku, 2019). Another interesting finding is that there was no consistent pattern between undergraduates using electronic library resources and the number of different disciplines. For example, “Faculty of Science used E-journals, Ebooks, CD-ROM databases, OPAC and E-thesis more frequently than the faculties of Arts, Social Science and Engineering” (Ebijuwa & Mabawonku, 2019). At the end of this article, researchers recommend six different ways undergraduates can improve the use of electronic library resources. For instance, library staff should encourage, recommend, and promote toward undergraduates to use other electronic library resources instead of just prefer one over the other.

What can be gained by American Libraries?

Although the scope of this study was relatively small and focused on usages statistics of undergraduate students, their recommendations are applicable internationally, and across all manner of user demographics. Ebijuwa and Mabawonku make the recommendation that library staff can increase electronic resource utilization by encouraging users to explore all electronic resource options rather than using the same resource every time, and suggest adoption of “various motivation strategies to promote the use of electronic library resources among the undergraduates.” They further recommend that wireless should be available to undergraduates across campus rather than at libraries or specific buildings alone; which can be taken a step farther by public institutions as a recommendation to make free, easy access wireless available in all manner of public spaces to ensure seamless and equitable access.

Additionally, if the results of the study are extrapolated to user populations in general, and age tends to correlate to low electronic resource usage, then libraries need to consider how to bolster education for older patrons using electronic resources. More research should be done to examine demographics that correlate with low usage of electronic resources in American public libraries and how library systems can create and promote electronic resources for everyone.

Reference

Ebijuwa, A. S., & Mabawonku, I. (2019). Demographic variables and academic discipline as determinants of undergraduates use of electronic library resources in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/2164

The Intersection Between Cultural Competence and Whiteness in Libraries

Reviewed By: Shelley Carr, Kristina Cevallos, Karen Chacon, & Rachel Dunn

Link to article: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/culturalcompetence/

Article Synopsis

In her article, “The Intersection Between Cultural Competence and Whiteness in Libraries,” Fiona Blackburn (2015) examines her experiences working in Australian libraries and the implementation of cross-cultural provisions as evidence of privilege and the predominance of “white culture” in libraries in Australia. While this article provides examples of services designed for culturally diverse communities, Blackburn focuses on evaluations of her experiences as a white librarian in Australia in regards to personal understanding and development of cultural competence, especially the influence of white privilege, whiteness, and “white culture.” The article acknowledges the predominance of white workers in the LIS field as well as the dominating bias toward Western ways of assessing, accessing, and organizing information. Though considering her personal experiences at multiple information organizations, Blackburn asserts the importance of cultural competence, which is defined by Overall (as cited in Blackburn, 2015, para. 17) as:
the ability to recognise the significance of culture in one’s own life and in the lives of others; to come to know and respect diverse cultural backgrounds and characteristics through interaction with individuals from diverse linguistic, cultural and socioeconomic groups; and to fully integrate the culture of diverse groups into service work, and institutions in order to enhance the lives of both those being serviced by the library profession and those engaged in service.

With this definition of cultural competence in mind, Blackburn examines this topic from the perspective of an Australian librarian, and also refers to supporting literature from U.S. LIS professionals who support the practices of cultural competence. In commenting on the importance of cultural competence in library and information organizations, Blackburn encourages a global awareness of whiteness and privilege in the LIS profession.

Core Research Questions & Methodology

As Blackburn describes her journey through librarianship in Australia and her growth and interest in cultural competence, whiteness, and intersectional librarianship, she seeks to answer a few questions. What is cultural competence in the context of librarianship? What is the connection between intersectionality and cultural competence in addressing whiteness in the library? And, how can librarians and library workers approach cultural competence in a primarily white workforce within a predominantly white industry with awareness of power and privilege? Blackburn explains her reasoning by way of her personal experiences as a librarian in Alice Springs, and elsewhere in Australia, and referencing existing scholarship on cultural competence, intersectionality, and diversity in libraries.

Blackburn uses her own experience as a “56-year-old, tertiary-educated, female Anglo-Australian librarian” (Blackburn, 2015) to seek answers to her questions regarding cultural competence, intersectionality, and whiteness in libraries. She notes that working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been her main source of learning about cultural competence and addressing whiteness in the library, but cultural competence goes far beyond just working with Indigenous peoples. Her awareness of her own culture (her whiteness) is her starting point on the journey to becoming culturally competent. Blackburn links together her personal reflections, professional experiences, research, and conversations with librarians as a method to form her conclusions.

Findings and Conclusions

Blackburn’s experience in Australia showed her that there were only a handful of librarians and libraries providing services specifically for Aboriginal people. For this reason, Blackburn focused on building greater engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Blackburn’s goal was for people to see their culture reflected in the library in order to build stronger connections between patrons and their library. This would require more of Blackburn’s colleagues to step in and help create that culture of support, inclusion, and engagement in all nine branches of the library system in which Blackburn worked. From her own experiences, Blackburn found that members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities must be actively incorporated in their libraries’ programs and services in order to support library staff working together to create a culture of inclusion in that library. Once patrons are aware that library services and staff are focused on meeting their needs, patrons may attend engagement activities and library programs more frequently. Blackburn mentioned how some library staff resisted these new ideas due to not having enough time to connect with members of the community and not wanting to add any extra tasks to their workload. Blackburn asserts that once those new connections are built, library staff can focus on maintaining the relationship as the library patrons continue to come to the library.

As support for her arguments, Blackburn introduces the concept of intersectional librarianship which, “recognises the interactions between any person or group’s multiple layers of identity and the marginalisation or privilege attendant on each” (Blackburn, 2015, para. 30). Library staff members need to learn to become allies and active participants in change, which cannot be accomplished in a one-day training session. LIS professionals need to recognize their own biases and privilege before they can become allies to any group. Librarians must focus on understanding the challenges patrons may be facing and what necessary steps are required to mitigate these challenges.

Applications in the United States

The United States could stand to learn from Blackburn’s experiences with the Aboriginal populations in Australia and how the library spaces she worked in were able to support and include the voices and experiences of their patrons. By creating spaces where the patrons could see themselves reflected, connect with their culture, and inhabit a neutral space, they were able to foster engagement with the Aboriginal community and increase usage by that group. The United States could stand to improve inclusion and respectful interaction with Native Americans and other underserved populations by creating inclusive reflective spaces and deeply considering how whiteness comes into play within libraries.

White librarians in the United States could benefit from examining their own “whiteness” and white privilege in the context of the LIS profession after reading Blackburn’s article. Through this awareness and understanding, librarians in the United States can build upon their cultural competence and expand on the inclusion of diversity within their library services. Blackburn’s focus on building engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and her work with Libraries ACT lend some insightful findings that would benefit any library. However, the conversations Blackburn notes in her article give interesting perspectives on how libraries are seen as “white places” and are not as culturally inclusive as they could be. These conversations heighten awareness of cultural differences and what should be taken into account when designing services for diverse populations.

For example, often librarians are busy promoting their own services/programming and forget to work in collaboration with their colleagues for the overall success of that library. In addition, library staff should be mindful of cultural inclusion when designing services for groups that are underserved and seek to include those groups across all library programs and services. In some cases, librarians promote Black History Month or LGBTQ only for one month and forget to incorporate the concept for the rest of the year. In order for patrons to feel a sense of belonging to their library, this should be highlighted throughout the year, and included in collection development decisions and program planning.

U.S. libraries could observe the global practices of international information organizations and draw from their experiences in order to better design services for diverse populations. In her article, Blackburn references examples from U.S. LIS literature which support the inclusion of cultural competence in navigating interactions with diverse populations. Not all libraries in the United States practice cultural competence within their community, with whiteness being privileged in library and information spaces, making it especially important that LIS professionals in the country work to better serve the diverse populations of their community and nation. Based on Blackburn’s examples, U.S. libraries could potentially promote similar services to Native Americans, although regional differences would require more contextual adaptation. By practicing cultural competency by way of awareness of whiteness and privilege in ourselves and our libraries, libraries in the United States can better serve their culturally diverse communities beyond the basics.

References

Blackburn, F. (2015). The Intersection between cultural competence and whiteness in libraries. In the Library with the Lead Pipe, December. Retrieved from http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/culturalcompetence/

Overall, P. M. (2009). Cultural competence: a conceptual framework for library and information science professionals. The Library, 79( 2), 175-204.

THE QUEST FOR DIVERSITY IN LIBRARY STAFFING: FROM AWARENESS TO ACTION

Reviewed By: Erika Contreras, Kelley Presley, Jentry Larsen, Sarah Conner, Thomas Fassett

Link to article: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2016/quest-for-diversity/

Despite the best efforts of the information community in recent years, demographic diversity amongst librarians remains a major opportunity that has yet to be effectively solved. The first step in the journey towards diversity is accepting the lack thereof, followed by the formation of a concrete action plan that will lead our industry to substantial reform. The fact that 88% of the nation’s librarians are white is grossly disproportionate to our country’s actual level of ethnic and racial diversity (Vinopal, 2016). There are several key areas that must be evaluated in further detail in order to effectively problem solve the egregious lack of diversity in the library profession, including but not limited to the definition of diversity, underlying factors behind the absence of diversity, possible implications, a path towards awareness and action, and future directions for research.

Vinopal (2016) states that a diverse library staff can better serve the patrons in their community. Diversity is reflected in a library staff in different ways, including age, gender, race, ethnicity, staff with disabilities, etc. The definition of diversity varies from organization to organization, but when one is able to express what they believe diversity is and set a specific goal for achieving it, they are more likely to be successful in their attempts. When a library staff accurately reflects the diversity of the community it serves, it helps to foster social inclusion. (Vinopal, 2016) Emphasizing the role that each librarian takes in empowering the community helps them recognize their impact and feel more valued and less like a statistic.

There are many reasons that contribute to the current lack of diversity in library staffing, such as the level of schooling required to obtain librarian positions. Individuals from low income families have a much lower graduation rate than their peers that come from greater socio-economic backgrounds. The disparity in staffing can also be seen in other ways. One such example is that more people that are white hold a librarian title, while those from other racial or ethnic backgrounds more commonly hold other titles, like library assistant (Vinopal, 2016). Staff members that are a part of the majority group often lack awareness of the subtle discrimination or simply ignore what they see, thus failing to improve the lack of diversity problem.

When measuring diversity, there are several underlying biases that one must be aware of. Vinopal (2016) examines the use of ClimateQUAL: Organizational Climate and Diversity Assessment. This measuring tool reveals a collective ignorance of the dominant group with their own bias and privilege. This is an assessment of staff’s perceptions along with their library’s commitment to diversity with the policies and procedures that are put in place. Vinopal (2016) explains that the idea of racial preferences in residential neighborhoods and how the dominant culture prefers housing in a not so diverse area. This idea can help people imagine a predominantly white workplace and how that affects the work culture. Employees that are in this particular group are less likely to report racial microaggressions or any other related matters that happen at their work. Therefore, the way underrepresented employees are treated cannot be fully explained because it is not fully discussed in the workplace. The measurement tool can help reveal these biases and lack of awareness that some individuals may have in the library setting, which can in turn help ease their diversity woes.

There is a large and rich body of research that relates to diversity in the workplace. This can assist in examining suggestions to move forward while looking at the pros and cons of these choices. The path from ignorance to making a positive impact can be a steep learning process. Vinopal (2016) notes the IAIT which is research on social cognition based on concepts and stereotypes. Once this information is collected, the group can start on a critical analysis of these assumptions that happen in the workplace and why such behaviors exist. This way, the workplace can start creating a culture that is aware of such biases and starts to challenge the status quo. An important aspect to moving forward is also having a leader who is able to encourage their team to foster a desire for change in the workplace.

Vinopal (2016) remarks that library leaders must leverage their position to enact new policies and programs to show that the library is committed to diversity in action rather than merely talk about it. Actions speak louder than words, and libraries must follow suit. Some of the ways Vinopal (2016) suggests library leadership can begin to make our profession more open and inclusive are: Bias Awareness and Valuing Difference, Name the Problem, Mission and Follow-through, Data Collection, Recruiting, Mentoring, and Pay for Work. Each one tackles biases inherent within the system that must be addressed in order to make library staff more diverse. Open and honest dialogue with staff on a regular basis about discrimination and bias, concrete diversity plans in place, targeting recruiting in diverse communities, mentoring early career librarians in underrepresented groups and paying for qualified interns can all help turn the tide and create a more diverse library staff. These steps and others must be taken once and on a regular basis if lasting change is to occur.

Research on the lack of diversity in library professions has not been widely studied in the LIS literature, and is a subject that most certainly requires further investigation. Vinopal (2016) argues that while there is still much to be studied, these areas are ones that certainly require further investigation: Data on Diversity, Organizational Processes, Attrition and Avoidance, and Leadership. Researchers must look at what can be further studied about underrepresented groups in order to offer insight, the organizational structures are biased and how can they be improved, what the reasons are that minority librarians leave the profession, and how library leaders can positively affect change in their libraries. These are just a small fraction of the answers that are needed in order to understand how libraries can create a more open and welcoming environment to librarians and library staff in minority and underrepresented populations.

While there are many factors that play a role in the lack of diversity, there are just as many reasons to foster diversity in the library. Vinopal (2016) states, “Our professional library associations affirm a commitment to creating diverse workplaces so that we may better serve diverse user communities, and even support democracy.” One of the essential functions of not only the public library, but most all libraries, is to serve the community and provide access to a whole host of resources. By fostering diversity within libraries, we can reach a wider patron base and create better communities. While the lack of diversity in library professions is not widely researched, it is still important to understand the need for diversity and how it affects the profession and the communities that libraries serve. Creating diverse library communities is a goal that we as library professionals must pursue with vigilance and persistence.

The Right to Read: The How and Why of Supporting Intellectual Freedom for Teens

Reviewed By: Sarah Pace, Emily Phillips, David Fournier, Elysse Fink

Link to article: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2014/the-right-to-read-the-how-and-why-of-supporting-intellectual-freedom-for-teens/

Synopsis
It is not news that teenagers are developing and exploring their world. In her article, The Right to Read: The How and Why of Supporting Intellectual Freedom for Teens (2014), Emily Calkins shares her opinion on what perspective libraries ought to take concerning the intellectual freedom of teenagers:

“It’s not that caregivers should stop being involved in their children’s’ library use and
reading habits when their children reach adolescence. There may be times, however, when a young person wants or needs information to which her guardian might want to restrict access. Because of the developmental needs of adolescence and libraries’ commitment to intellectual freedom, libraries should support the intellectual freedom for teenagers rather than the right of guardians to control their children’s intellectual lives.”

Libraries have intellectual freedom in mind and in their very hearts. This fact is evident based on the ALA’s very own Library Bill of Rights. So it is that teens should be afforded the same rights. During those tumultuous years of adolescence, one is becoming sexually active and should be offered fair and honest information regarding the ins and outs of sex. This is just one example that highlights Calkin’s larger point–that information ought to be free and open to everyone and that a person or entity has no right to censor information. Sure a parent can discourage materials in their own house, but they cross a line by saying that other teens/adolescents cannot have access to this information thus limiting that groups’ intellectual freedom.

Method and Unanswered Questions-
Calkins is concerned in this essay with the ability of librarians to assist young adults in a time of personal growth. Establishing self-sufficiency and independence is a crucial rite of passage for young adults. Challenging and questioning the beliefs of their family and culture is an integral part of this, and is not something that can easily be done at home with parents watching their every move. Even more so, teens’ intellectual freedoms are limited when parents censor their information pursuits, so they must find a place in which they can safely fulfill that need.
Calkins only briefly touched on how “young adult” and “adolescent” are defined, footnoted at the end of the article. A first unanswered question would be to explore that concept more thoroughly from a psychological standpoint, as well as an informational one. Are the information needs of a 12 year old different than an 18 year old? How can the library acknowledge and support this difference?

Second, Calkins discusses library policy in regards to protecting the privacy of adolescents, suggesting several variations of library card policies and how they affect access. Are teen’s accounts private, or do caregivers have access to information about their teen’s check-outs? If so, then how are teens supposed to feel protected? A possible solution to this is an honor system collection by providing access to materials to teens that don’t need to be checked out with a library card. This allows teens to take out what may serve their information wants and needs without intimidation and embarrassment. The legal ramifications of these policies for the library, with regards to a minor being able to be the sole party responsible for an account which may have financial liabilities are not discussed. This is not a deal breaker for being able to offer young adults full privacy, but it is a very real legal reality that the library needs to be able to deal with.

A discussion of how to have conversations with parents regarding the privacy of their teens was also missing. Discussing these issues with the staff was brought up, but many of the suggested policies will greatly anger some parents, especially as these policies directly contradict their parental rights with most other institutions and may come as a surprise. How to approach these conversations in a calm, professional manner, with talking points on how to best support the library’s position, or at least resources on how to prepare for this would have been helpful.

A similar question, how do we talk to adolescents about their privacy rights in ways that are relevant and which connect with the realities of their lives was missing. Young adults will not read a policy brochure that lists their rights, and many of these ideas may be very foreign to some. How do we open this conversation in a meaningful way?

Conclusions
Calkins concludes by acknowledging that the theoretical side of intellectual freedom is often the easiest part; librarians agree not to censor materials and leave the decision-making about who can or can’t read something up to the patron or their guardian. But not wanting to leave it at that, Calkins outlines practical suggestions on how libraries can practically support intellectual freedom for teen patrons, beginning with due diligence: research and familiarize oneself on the library’s policies regarding minors. Next review the collection to see if it includes materials for a variety of patrons. Go a step further and train staff on intellectual freedom. Other creative (albeit not fully researched) suggestions put forth were to develop an “honor system collection” for Teen Self Help titles and to partner with community organizations to promote intellectual freedom and access to information. Relatively simple steps for a librarian that could make a huge difference in a teen’s life.

A critical take on OER practices: Interrogating commercialization, colonialism, and content

Reviewed By: Nichole Bonaventure-Larson, Bryan Duran, Mia Faulk, Ursula Lara, and Carlee Osburn

Link to article: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/a-critical-take-on-oer-practices-interrogating-commercialization-colonialism-and-content/

Article Synopsis and Core Questions
Sarah Crissinger’s 2015 article is concerned with critiquing Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Access (OA) in relation to commercialization, colonialism, content, and the changing landscape of the university when it comes to adjunct versus tenured faculty. In her critique, Crissinger address issues of labor, the corporatization of higher education, oppressive learning formats, imperialism, and technocratic discourse around development and the information poor in the context of OER and OA.
Sarah Crissinger’s 2015 article is concerned with critiquing Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Access (OA) in relation to commercialization, colonialism, content, and the changing landscape of the university when it comes to adjunct versus tenured faculty. In her critique, Crissinger address issues of labor, the corporatization of higher education, oppressive learning formats, imperialism, and technocratic discourse around development and the information poor in the context of OER and OA.
While libraries around the country are pushing for free resources such as OER and OA, Crissinger urges librarians to pay closer attention to contextualizing content rather than just collecting content in what can potentially become an educational “dump”. Crissinger (2015) writes, “A learning object with relevant context, an application that is not culture-specific, and the capacity to be truly localized and understood is more important than a learning object that is simply free.” At the same time, as universities are increasingly relying on part time / adjunct faculty who are urged to contribute to OER, an issue of labor inequality arises. Since unlike tenured faculty, adjuncts are not compensated for their research but instead by the number of classes they teach.

Answering Research Questions
Crissinger uses existing critiques of OER and OA by Drabinski, et al. (2015), Cheney (2015), Shirazi (2015), Winn (2012), Burkett (2000), and Christen (2011), to answer her research questions. She determined it was best to explore OA along with OER considering they both share similarities that allow lessons learned to be applied to both. Crissinger uses critiques to explore the issue of labor, the tenure structure, and the unwillingness of universities to fund projects they are willing to promote. Crissinger analyzes critiques that explore oppressive learning formats, economic and social inequality, the “information poor” and the digital divide. Through these critiques Crissinger can reflect on OER practices.

Findings and Conclusions
Per Crissinger, access to OER is not the be all, end all. Simply increasing one’s access does not make them more knowledgeable or eradicate a digital divide. Social and global inequality cannot be reduced to a simple fix and access to OER. “Free and unrestricted access to OER is just one step in improving education, not the primary solution. Librarians are apt to do the integral work of reframing and complicating the OER movement. Our extensive understanding of copyright, instructional design, and discovery, combined with our interest in social justice, makes us natural leaders for helping others understand why Open Education matters” (24). Increasing the number of adjunct positions results in change to the labor system and the continued commercialization of higher education since adjuncts are paid per the number of classes they teach rather than the research they produce. “We must think critically about whether our open work is doing the social justice, political work we envision it doing. If we fail to ask these questions, we risk endorsing programs that align more with profit than with access” (10). Taking into consideration the goal of many academic libraries is to further the mission of their universities, we must consider how the marketization of OER compromises our ability to do the work we claim to value. “The politics of our campuses or leadership can limit how loudly our voices carry within our institutions (Acccardi, 2015). Still, our critical perspective is needed now more than ever” (Crissinger, 24).

Unaswered Questions and Future Research
Crissinger proposes some interesting further research at the end of her piece, but even these ideas did not touch on the potential for further research raised by her article. One of the considerations she mentions is the consideration of how librarians can better determine if an OER resource is one which provides good information and content, with context, or if it is not. This could be further expounded upon through research into a universal guide or standard set. Additionally, Crissinger discusses encouraging open pedagogy on campus. Crissinger (2015) states, “if faculty on campus are not integrating open pedagogy into their classrooms, it can be more difficult for librarians to do this as well.” Are there ways to combat this besides increased advertising and teaching? Would inclusion of OER in academic goals from an administrative position be possible? Lastly, one of the arguments mentioned, but not touched on, is the inclusion of a broader range of creators in the OER sphere. Crissinger (2015) quotes, “‘content creation…on the Web is currently heavily dominated by the developed and English-speaking world.”. How can librarians help to encourage the development of use of OER that is more inclusive, as well as more contextually focused and not an “information dump”? Is this a librarian’s role, and if so, how could this kind of expansion better serve the purpose of OER and academic research in the long run?

Answering Our Own Questions
Unfortunately, these questions are not easily answered. However, conducting further research on OER and OA would be a good starting point and may help to find the answers to our questions. Incorporating other viewpoints, ideas, and examples of how librarians are creating, sharing, and using OER/OA may help illustrate what their role is in promoting inclusion amongst contributors in the OER/OA sphere. Additionally, we can find the answers to our questions by doing what was suggested earlier; asking those questions aloud and as often as possible. We cannot expect to find answers and meet the challenges of OER/OA if we are not engaging in open and constructive dialogue with our peers and colleagues around the world. It is only after we have asked our questions aloud and engaged in collaborative dialogue that we will be able to give concrete answers, and move forward with making OER/OA accessible to everyone without devaluing information, the work of OER/OA contributors, and its content.

References
Crissinger, S. (2015, October 21). A critical take on OER practices: Interrogating commercialization, colonialism, and content. Retrieved from In the library with the lead pipe: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/a-critical-take-on-oer-practices-interrogating-commercialization-colonialism-and-content/

Developing Voice in Digital Storytelling Through Creativity, Narrative and Multimodality

Reviewed By: Grace Song, Avery Campbell, Anna Johnson, Carla Axume, Millie Jones

Link to article: http://seminar.net/index.php/volume-6-issue-2-2010/154-developing-voice-in-digital-storytelling-through-creativity-narrative-and-multimodality

Synopsis / Summary (article’s core research question)
In this study, Monica Nilsson explores how digital storytelling has the potential to significantly alter the way children develop literacy and creativity, communicate experiences, explore new meaning and knowledge, and express themselves. Digital storytelling, in this context, is defined as “a multimodal narrative text comprising pictures, music, speech, sound and script.” Nilsson’s research revolves around a nine-year old boy, Simon, who struggles with reading and writing. When given the opportunity to express himself through digital stories, Simon becomes deeply engaged, which Nilsson argues is because digital storytelling became the trigger for his interest in literacy.
In her research, Nilsson explores this core research question: What impact does digital storytelling have on children’s ability not only to master structural writing techniques, but also “communicate experiences, explore new meaning and knowledge, and perform self-representation and self-expression,” and by so doing develop, “real voice” in their writing?

Research Methods Used
In her research, Nilsson analyzes Simon’s digital stories using multimodality and visual analysis. Machin (2007) defines multimodality as a way to express that “the way we communicate is [not done] by by a single mode…” but rather by a combination of visual, sound, and language (p. x). “Multimedial approaches systematically described the range of choices available and how they are used in context… [and] therefore describes the grammar of visual communication” (ibid. p. ix).
For structure in her analysis, Nilsson uses the three basic requirements of semiotic modes of communication: ideational (“states the affairs of the world” – e.g. yellow stands from sunlight or warmth), interpersonal (“represents and communicates the social and affective relationships towards what is being represented” – e.g. yellow stands for happiness), and textual (“about the coherent whole, genres, and how parts are linked together” – e.g. a color for headings to “show they are of the same order”) (Nilsson, 2010, p. 5).

Findings and Conclusion (of the article)
Digital storytelling provides many opportunities to engage students in different multimodal forms of learning, as in the case of Simon, who was effectively able to learn to read and write through digital storytelling. Although literacy is traditionally understood as learning to read and write, Nilsson describes literacy as “drawing conclusions, making associations, and connecting text to reality.”
From this study, Nilsson found that Simon was learning “interpersonal meta-function,” referring to the interaction between producer and receiver, as well as “textual meta-function,” or the linking of parts and their composition. All of this was possible through digital storytelling. Additionally, Nilsson found that Simon’s digital stories were not “randomly assembled images, music, speech, captions and sound,” but rather “consciously, creatively, well reasoned and well crafted composition(s).” Digital storytelling also furthered Simon’s understanding of literacy as a social and cultural activity.
Nilsson concludes that though digital storytelling is a different process for learning to read and write than traditional methods, expressing, creating meaning, and communication still hold the common value of both and provide a significant way of learning that helps overcome learning challenges.

Questions
As our group considers digital storytelling and the ways it supplements education-related research, we have several questions relating to both the article and digital storytelling in general.
One question regards teaching theory. How can digital storytelling be assimilated into school environments, but not forced upon students? Or should it be assimilated in such a way that students need to complete a graded digital storytelling assignment? In today’s education world, there are many thoughts on the different types of learners and standardization. Should digital storytelling be encouraged for those who are interested and naturally more creative, or should it be used to bring out the creativity of those who may not at first be interested?
Another question for consideration is how can digital storytelling be used in libraries? As libraries are constantly changing and adapting to newer technologies and ideas, librarians will need to provide programs and opportunities for patrons that optimize learning and engagement with library resources. How can digital storytelling be a part of this? As many educational researchers are now putting a great emphasis on early literacy, it is pertinent to consider how technology can be a part of digital storytelling in libraries, too?

Final Thoughts / Conclusion
When considering using digital storytelling in schools, but not forcing it on every student, optional or extra credit assignments may be considered. This option may replace traditional assignments for students who have kinesthetic learning styles, or who are simply interested in exploring a new learning method. Conversely, mandatory digital storytelling assignments are intriguing because they could help students unlock untapped creative potential, unrealized through traditional learning methods. Adding a digital storytelling element to school curriculums would help students think and express themselves in new and creative ways.
Digital storytelling can also help children and youth, like Simon, who attend their local library. The library provides another place, as well as additional resources and materials, for children and youth to effectively learn and become literate. As Nilsson’s argues, libraries promote literacy in children and youth by providing them a place to find their voices and connect to the texts they’re creating.

References
Machin, D. (2016). Introduction to multimodal analysis. London: Hodder Arnold. Retrieved from: https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=mwZfDAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=%22Introduction+to+Multimodal+Analysis%22+Machin&ots=84X_VkGPpt&sig=WedPbytmGnWOQJfqxOiZPs8CQZE#v=onepage&q=%22Introduction%20to%20Multimodal%20Analysis%22%20Machin&f=false

Nilsson, M. (2010). Developing voice in digital storytelling through creativity, narrative and multimodality. International Journal of Media, technology & Lifelong Learning 6(2). Retrieved from: https://doaj.org/article/17d2a778143742a78fe9f9d517b92e4d

Welcoming the Homeless into Libraries

Reviewed By: Connie Lin, Haylee Lederer, Maria Haga, Rebecca Heine

Link to article: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2010/welcoming-the-homeless-into-libraries/

Why should libraries help the homeless, and what efforts have been made to serve the homeless population?

In her article Welcoming the Homeless into Libraries, Kim Leeder addresses issues inherent with library attention to the homeless community. The reality is that aside from providing a warm, dry place with restrooms, libraries are not doing much else for the homeless. Though in 1990 the ALA approved policy #61, Library Services to the Poor, the adoption of the policy’s intent has not been carried out as universally as expected; however, there are some existing services that have proven beneficial. Leeder mentions the partnership between the Free Library of Philadelphia and Project H.O.M.E., as well as the partnership between of the San Jose Public Library and the San Jose State University Library. Both have developed services aimed directly to the homeless, resulting in a more well-rounded representation of the services libraries make available to the general public. As public libraries are designed to provide resources and make information available to the public, the homeless community should be included in their efforts.
Leeder uses qualitative data and secondary sources to explore ALA’s stance towards services for the homeless and positive initiatives libraries are taking towards their homeless patrons. In particular, she focuses on specific articles of case studies that succeeded like the Free Library of Philadelphia’s H.O.M.E. Page Café and the Lawyers in the Library and Social Workers in the Library programs at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San Jose. The article consists mainly of paraphrases or article quotes describing efforts those libraries are making towards supporting the homeless through partnerships with local organizations.
While doing research on homelessness, Leeder realized that homeless populations often appreciate and take advantage of local libraries. Not only do they provide free restrooms, they also offer the homeless a safe and warm place to get off the streets, while allowing them to explore and connect to the world around them. However, despite the homeless being the most vulnerable population of library patrons, they are often the most discriminated against. Leeder found that several U.S. libraries employ policies that can be seen as “anti-homeless”; her examples being policies against: “offensive body odor, bathing, and sleeping.” Not to mention the almost universal library rule of needing an address and an ID or driver’s license to check out books or access library resources, all of which excludes the homeless from utilizing the library. She points out that most libraries simply just tolerate the homeless, when they actually have the power to do so much more.
A question Leeder asks in the article is, “Have I ever helped them or has my library been doing anything to help?” and further research might focus on answering this question in regards to staff attitudes towards the homeless. Research might focus on staff bias towards the homeless and what potential ways can help in shifting attitudes. In addition, Leeder also explores only two different examples and it would be interesting to see further research from libraries across the nation on how many libraries have implemented programs/services directed at the homeless. It would also be interesting to see what effect these programs have had and if there are ways to to refine them to make them more effective.
For me, the ending question is one of balance. We can train librarians to recognize their own bias, implement programs to help those disadvantaged, and be a genuinely good resource, but one topic barely commented on is that this will not change the rest of the public’s perception of the homeless. Thus, how do we balance the needs and rights of the homeless while not alienating the rest of the library patrons?
There are no clear answers to this; anyone who has worked in a public library has likely seen these tensions arise.
Perhaps a possible solution lies in breaking the stigmas that homeless people are the victim of. Because they are dirty or smell, or look “suspicious”, much of the public and even library staff members are automatically programmed to put themselves on the defense. As Leeder discusses when she references the book Breakfast at Sally’s, there are instances where the homeless are very normal people that have come across a period of bad luck in their lives or they have made some bad decisions to lead them where they are in that particular moment in time; however, that does not mean they do not have the potential of doing well. The main character in that story was basically abandoned by his family, which led him to his homelessness. When libraries partner with other community organizations to address the homeless population, I think they have to look for ways to empower the homeless and work to incorporate them back into society. This might mean giving them support in finding housing or job training, and so on. The more that libraries embrace the population and truly provide the services needed, the more the surrounding community will become comfortable with the projects and the reasons they are being put in place.

Using Open Source Tools to Create a Mobile Optimized, Crowdsourcing Translation Tool

By Molly Sherman, Jared Fair, Nicole Josephson, Dee Ann Huihui

Link to article: http://journal.code4lib.org/articles/9496

Article synopsis and core research question(s):
One of the main questions Oregon State University Libraries and Press (OSULP) described in this article was the need for a cost-effective solution to publish books in local languages and dialects using crowdsourcing. OSULP intends to create a tool that will benefit children ages two to five years old, while still allowing older children to benefit as well. OSULP found that children are taught to read later in their lives and in some cases, such as in Busia, are taught Swahili up until about third grade and then are taught in English from then on. With so many dialects, it is difficult to find a tool allowing for many dialects to be available.

This article discusses how to find or create a tool allowing for users, initially in Africa, to vote on the correct dialect of children’s books in order to make them available. With creating a tool such as this there are many aspects that must be considered such as the tools simplicity of its interface and usability, is there the ability to access it offline, what are the screen limitations, how quick can users vote, can users edit the books’ pages to add a new translation, and also the need for a system that takes the highest voted sections and combines them to create a completely translated text. OSULP created their tool in GitLab in order to keep the tool and its beginnings open only to their staff; hoping to later release it through GitHub for others to tailor it to their own needs.

Methods used to answer research questions:
In addressing how to create a tool that allows multilanguage translation in promotion of literacy for children in Africa, the following methods and applications of practice were used. First a network of libraries called Maria’s Libraries came together with OSULP to discuss technologies for consideration in a resource poor environment. It was decided that the testing methods would be delivered by mobile device interactions through a website using the following open source libraries: Wink Toolkit and Globalize3. Language translations were accessed as multiple database entries into an application called Ruby on Rails.

In creating this crowdsourcing platform the goal was to have a gateway tool for enabling users to translate folk tales and existing children’s books into their own languages and dialects. This practice was implemented with a simple interface offering a choice of languages. A username and password approach for users along with icons symbols and a voting process were part of a simple user setup. In order to support the most accurate translations of single languages and dialects, user abilities were set to allow for new dialect identification.
The following items were also included in the method design:
· Tablet Computers for easy interactivity.
· A simple interface utilizing language choices.
· Display carousel of books marked for translation.
· Easy navigation between book pages.
· A User voting process for each translation.
· A User editing process with original translation comparisons.
As part of the methods used, a voter incentive process based on comparison of translations was set as default. The simultaneously experience for users is to see all translations that have been made and be able to make the most accurate choice.

Findings:
As the article assigned to us; Using Open Source Tools to Create a Mobile Optimized, Crowdsourced Translation Tool, was not written within a standard format for academic literature and captured only the first phase of an ongoing project, the findings were less formal and more linear than might be expected.
That said, the project explored in this article found that there were three vital parts that presented significant problems and needed to be addressed: administration; additional crowdsourcing and offline functionality.
The administration woes were two fold: 1) the participants were unable to use the interface to upload stories that contained both images and texts, and, 2) the administrators had no ability to override the participants intentions and this fault left them open to “poisoned” or unreliable records.
Additionally, without further crowdsourcing, many users were unable to recommend new languages and dialects for stories or books to be translated into, rendering some of the work inaccessible.
Finally, authors also suggested that without improved offline capabilities the stories and participants work would be greatly diminished.

Conclusion:
The broad, main intent of this project began as an attempt to help literacy in Africa. They discovered that their tool and research were relevant beyond this intent. Indeed, it held exciting potential to do much more; “We are very excited about the possibilities of the usefulness of the platform as a way of publishing books in lesser-known languages or in regions where dialectic publishing is cost prohibitive.”

Unanswered questions you have and what future research might address:
After reading this article, there are a few questions that could be addressed. There is the potential to build a database of sub-dialects with this technology. Will the text be available for export after local translation has taken place? If enough members of a community participate in the translation process and if the texts could be exported into a central database, the potential for published works in each sub-dialect increases.

Will the translations move across the geography in a wave, so each new area has the closest possible translation available from neighboring villages? Or will each linguistic geographical area begin with the same base text? The linguistic preferences of each user will be remembered and set as the default when they log in, but once a book is translated into a specific dialect, will the rest of the tablets in the same geographic area automatically set their defaults to that dialect? Can a mother and child share default settings, while maintaining their own accounts?

What are the consequences of exposing sub-dialect communities to the written text of other areas? Could this tool be used to encourage the building of a shared national language? Are there possible negative consequences of this action, such as the diminishment of local dialects? Are there cultural and ethical questions that must be asked before proceeding? Future research could address the cultural shifts that will take place as a result of introducing written texts for early readers in local dialects to areas that have not previously experienced it.

A thoughtful attempt to answer your own questions:
The authors’ stated purpose of fostering early literacy in order to prepare children for school success raises the question of how this tool will actually support students entering classes that are not taught in their local language. One possible solution to investigate may be designing the product as a bilingual tool that displays the stories with text in multiple languages simultaneously — for example, in both the learner’s local language and the official language. In addition, the anticipated use of this product in language studies programs leads to the question of how it may be used to facilitate aural learning. In this respect, further development and enhancement to consider may be the integration of programming that allows contributors to upload audio recordings of translations along with text. And finally, considering the product’s potential as a tool to increase literacy, aid in language learning, and enable wider access to multicultural children’s literature, additional research and development is justifiable. Few things are free, however, and one must ask how future R&D is to be funded. Using the tool itself as an example, perhaps the answer lies in crowdsourced funding.

Using Open Source Tools to Create a Mobile Optimized, Crowdsourcing Translation Tool

By Kira Painchaud, Molly Sherman, Jared Fair, Nicole Josephsen, and Dee Ann Huihui

Link to article: http://journal.code4lib.org/articles/9496

Article synopsis and core research question(s):
One of the main questions Oregon State University Libraries and Press (OSULP) described in this article was the need for a cost-effective solution to publish books in local languages and dialects using crowdsourcing. OSULP intends to create a tool that will benefit children ages two to five years old, while still allowing older children to benefit as well. OSULP found that children are taught to read later in their lives and in some cases, such as in Busia, are taught Swahili up until about third grade and then are taught in English from then on. With so many dialects, it is difficult to find a tool allowing for many dialects to be available.

This article discusses how to find or create a tool allowing for users, initially in Africa, to vote on the correct dialect of children’s books in order to make them available. With creating a tool such as this there are many aspects that must be considered such as the tools simplicity of its interface and usability, is there the ability to access it offline, what are the screen limitations, how quick can users vote, can users edit the books’ pages to add a new translation, and also the need for a system that takes the highest voted sections and combines them to create a completely translated text. OSULP created their tool in GitLab in order to keep the tool and its beginnings open only to their staff; hoping to later release it through GitHub for others to tailor it to their own needs.

Methods used to answer research questions:
In addressing how to create a tool that allows multilanguage translation in promotion of literacy for children in Africa, the following methods and applications of practice were used. First a network of libraries called Maria’s Libraries came together with OSULP to discuss technologies for consideration in a resource poor environment. It was decided that the testing methods would be delivered by mobile device interactions through a website using the following open source libraries: Wink Toolkit and Globalize3. Language translations were accessed as multiple database entries into an application called Ruby on Rails.

In creating this crowdsourcing platform the goal was to have a gateway tool for enabling users to translate folk tales and existing children’s books into their own languages and dialects. This practice was implemented with a simple interface offering a choice of languages. A username and password approach for users along with icons symbols and a voting process were part of a simple user setup. In order to support the most accurate translations of single languages and dialects, user abilities were set to allow for new dialect identification.
The following items were also included in the method design:
· Tablet Computers for easy interactivity.
· A simple interface utilizing language choices.
· Display carousel of books marked for translation.
· Easy navigation between book pages.
· A User voting process for each translation.
· A User editing process with original translation comparisons.
As part of the methods used, a voter incentive process based on comparison of translations was set as default. The simultaneously experience for users is to see all translations that have been made and be able to make the most accurate choice.

Findings:
As the article assigned to us; Using Open Source Tools to Create a Mobile Optimized, Crowdsourced Translation Tool, was not written within a standard format for academic literature and captured only the first phase of an ongoing project, the findings were less formal and more linear than might be expected.
That said, the project explored in this article found that there were three vital parts that presented significant problems and needed to be addressed: administration; additional crowdsourcing and offline functionality.
The administration woes were two fold: 1) the participants were unable to use the interface to upload stories that contained both images and texts, and, 2) the administrators had no ability to override the participants intentions and this fault left them open to “poisoned” or unreliable records.
Additionally, without further crowdsourcing, many users were unable to recommend new languages and dialects for stories or books to be translated into, rendering some of the work inaccessible.
Finally, authors also suggested that without improved offline capabilities the stories and participants work would be greatly diminished.

Conclusion:
The broad, main intent of this project began as an attempt to help literacy in Africa. They discovered that their tool and research were relevant beyond this intent. Indeed, it held exciting potential to do much more; “We are very excited about the possibilities of the usefulness of the platform as a way of publishing books in lesser-known languages or in regions where dialectic publishing is cost prohibitive.”

Unanswered questions you have and what future research might address:
After reading this article, there are a few questions that could be addressed. There is the potential to build a database of sub-dialects with this technology. Will the text be available for export after local translation has taken place? If enough members of a community participate in the translation process and if the texts could be exported into a central database, the potential for published works in each sub-dialect increases.

Will the translations move across the geography in a wave, so each new area has the closest possible translation available from neighboring villages? Or will each linguistic geographical area begin with the same base text? The linguistic preferences of each user will be remembered and set as the default when they log in, but once a book is translated into a specific dialect, will the rest of the tablets in the same geographic area automatically set their defaults to that dialect? Can a mother and child share default settings, while maintaining their own accounts?

What are the consequences of exposing sub-dialect communities to the written text of other areas? Could this tool be used to encourage the building of a shared national language? Are there possible negative consequences of this action, such as the diminishment of local dialects? Are there cultural and ethical questions that must be asked before proceeding? Future research could address the cultural shifts that will take place as a result of introducing written texts for early readers in local dialects to areas that have not previously experienced it.

A thoughtful attempt to answer your own questions:
The authors’ stated purpose of fostering early literacy in order to prepare children for school success raises the question of how this tool will actually support students entering classes that are not taught in their local language. One possible solution to investigate may be designing the product as a bilingual tool that displays the stories with text in multiple languages simultaneously — for example, in both the learner’s local language and the official language. In addition, the anticipated use of this product in language studies programs leads to the question of how it may be used to facilitate aural learning. In this respect, further development and enhancement to consider may be the integration of programming that allows contributors to upload audio recordings of translations along with text. And finally, considering the product’s potential as a tool to increase literacy, aid in language learning, and enable wider access to multicultural children’s literature, additional research and development is justifiable. Few things are free, however, and one must ask how future R&D is to be funded. Using the tool itself as an example, perhaps the answer lies in crowdsourced funding.