Friction and Mystery
Open Source Software and Information Literacy
Sam Popowich, University of Alberta
- Fear, Uncertainy, and Doubt
- "Digital Natives"
- Expertise and Authority
- Black Boxes and Sandboxes: Library IT vs. Campus IT
- Information literacy: systems thinking
- Information literacy: code and algorithms
- Open Source and Open Standards
- Open Source Software as playground
- Making and Hacking
Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD)
- Reducing FUD is part of the library's mission
- Information literacy: reduce FUD with respect to information
- Identify, Locate, Evaluate, Use
- Focus on search strategies and content evaluation:
We tend to ignore questions of how information systems are
designed and built, what algorithms are used to index and
retrieve material, and how to evaluate the quality and
effectiveness of the information system itself, because...
- We assume younger people are "digital natives"
- It's not something we think is our role
- It's a lot to learn
- It's esoteric
- We tend to think there's something mysterious about
Expertise and Authority
- What is our role in terms of understanding and
explaining information systems?
- What is the requirement for learning new things?
- What is esoteric information?
Why do we treat information systems different from other
Black Boxes and Sandboxes
- Proprietary software
- No local ownership or control
- Someone else's problem
Campus IT vs. Library IT
A term from from user-experience and usability studies.
In general, a feature in a workflow that slows down or
obstructs the work.
Software designers and IT staff (and library workers) tend to try to reduce
friction as much as possible, but is this always good
Intentional friction can drive education by making
hidden details explicit, and by making users aware of
their (unconscious) work.
BUT... we don't really want to increase friction in our
public, production services (even if that were under our
Proposal: use open source software as a way of
teaching/learning about information systems.
*Because open source software is FULL of friction.
Information literacy: systems thinking
Information literacy: code and algorithms
Open Source and Open Standards
- They combine to allow you to find out everything you
need to know.
- Open Source: Languages, Programs, Tools
- R programming language
- Markdown, Reveal.js
Open Source Software as playground
Making and Hacking