Thursday, September 01, 2016

Visual Guide to Web Libraries - Take a Look

I've been building a web library since 1998 that now has more than 2000 links to information people could use to better understand where more volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs are most needed, why they are needed, how to build them and how to keep them operating from year to year so their are great programs reaching k-12 youth in every high poverty neighborhood.

Most people are overwhelmed by the amount of information, so I've looked for ways to visualize the library for more than 15 years.

Today I found the graphic above on a Digital Promise web site which contains 12 categories of information that educators, policy makers, media and others can use to become better informed on issues of Digital Learning.  The graphic is from this video, which provides an overview of the library and how to use it.

It starts out saying "Have you ever looked for research to improve the design of your program...." Take a look. It's full of information.

What frustrates me is that I've not been able to find the talent and dollars to do as good a job showing the information in the Tutor/Mentor web library that I started building even before going on the Internet in 1998.  I started using concept maps, like this, to outline the web library in 2005.

Then, in 2009, interns from South Korea, via IIT in Chicago, created this animation, to show the information in the library. The voice over was done by a Public Interest Fellow from Northwestern University, working with us at the same time.

Run your mouse over each node, and you'll hear a description of information in the web library. Double click and you go to the library or article being described.  Since this is about 7 year old, some of the links are broken, and I'm no longer part of Cabrini Connections, so it needs to be updated.

However, it's still a valuable tool, just the way it is.

In 2003 I found this quote by Mr. Tim Wilmot. Chief Knowledge and Evaluation Officer, Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation. I  have had it on my web site since then. It shows why it's important to have web libraries like mine.

"When nonprofit and community leaders share ideas, insights and information in ways that promote social impact...knowledge-sharing can improve organizational effective; When we share what works and what doesn't... it results in accelerated learning, less reinventing the wheel, better service, and measurable results.

I keep adding new links to my web library every week. And, as the video from Digital Promise shows, there are better ways to share this information than using Flash animation.

This is just one of many examples of how the financial crises of 2000-2011 limited my ability to attract talent to build, update, and share this information so more people would find and use it.

Newspaper headlines keep showing that the problems the Tutor/mentor Connection was created to help solve in 1993 are still not solved in 2016. Thus, the information I host in the Tutor/Mentor web library is still an important resource. (I have just added a link to the Digital Promise web site).

Who wants to help me do this work?

If you're a business looking to engage a volunteer team, or a university that wants to engage students and alumni in an on-going project that benefits, students, faculty, the university, its alumni and its community, the Tutor/Mentor Connection is a project you should adopt.

If you're a person with great data visualization and communications skills and are looking for a project, this is just one  of many where you might offer your time and talent.

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