Environmental Scan

For this artefact I have chosen a project I am currently finishing off at the moment. We were asked to carry out an Environmental Scan over a period of at least 5 weeks pertaining to issues a digital library could face. I really struggled with coming up with an idea due to this subject not being my favourite. My idea actually stemmed from a reading I did for this class concerning user centred design. The entire notion intrigues of including the user in the design process and just how often they are not. I decided to look at social tagging as an information retrieval system to be adapted by digital libraries and am really proud of my research on the topic.

The hardest part of this project was the research aspect. Usually I deal with journal articles but for this we had to maintain an active eye over the likes of forums and blog posts, twitter and Facebook. This wasn’t easy as you can imagine there are not that many people talking about the subject at hand. It really forced me to scavenge around and find snippets of info and follow leads and end up in places I never initially intended. I would say I’m very good in normal circumstances of putting together research for a paper but this was an entirely different approach. I didn’t have a clue really what went in to incorporating such a system at all and it’s all too easy to think if someone tags something it will be easier to find in a search. To understand this topic I had to go much deeper and beyond my comfort zone in to an entirely new area. The aspect of learning it from peoples opinions in real time was fascinating and in truth it gave me a far better understanding then I could ever have amalgamated from reading endless journal articles.

In order to move forward it would be silly to think this is the best approach because of course I read some articles and they hold so much knowledge that they are vital. Also a lot of projects don’t lend themselves to this approach but if I could even adapt parts of it I think future endeavours will reap the benefits. It is important to keep an open mind and know knowledge can lie anywhere you just have to dig and be willing to look in places you may have previously thought were not of any use.

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