Saturday, March 13, 2010

Information Literacy: A Practical, Everday Skill

About a month ago, a friend of mine invited me to join him in a triathlon. That sounded like a good idea, so the next morning I got up early and went to the gym to swim. Of course, I was pathetic, which did not surprise me. My swimming skill at the time was more on the level of a beginner than an intermediate. Another friend saw me swimming and invited me to train with him for this triathlon, which I gratefully accepted.

From the beginning he talked about how difficult swimming had been when he had first started a year earlier. He also mentioned that he had gone onto YouTube to learn more about swimming techniques, how useful that had really been, and even supplying some basic keywords for the search.

Now I had heard that YouTube had become more of a reference resource, but I just have not used it much for anything more than entertainment or library-related videos. Like many online search engines, when I began typing in "swimming technique" it supplied with numerous other search options, such "swimming technique freestyle," "swimming technique butterfly," "swimming technique for beginners," "swimming technique breathing," etc.

One thing I really like about these videos is that they automatically include captions, which is really nice for catching all that the "instructor" says. The audio is not always the best, considering that many of the YouTube videos are created by amateur cinematographers.

Like other social networking sites, you may add your own comments to critique or praise the video. As a beginner, I have enjoyed some of the following videos on the subject of swimming technique as found in my Delicious account under the tag "swimming."

By the way, several people think I'm crazy for wanting to compete in a triathlon; they believe I need to start practice the word "No." We have even had some mini-workshops on this skill in our core reference meetings. : )

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