Tuesday, 24 August 2010

oops - nearly forgot the wordle

.....................and we're done

Saturday, 21 August 2010

The good, the bad or the ugly?

Thing 23

Conclu'sion n. 1. termination; final result; decision; in ~, lastly, to conclude. 2. judgement reached by reasoning.........

Whilst concluding, or reaching final thoughts means the end of 23 Things, I fully expect that this is not the end of interest in Web 2.0. for myself or for others around the University. Two summers ago, following a June Library staff development day when Phil Bradley gave a presentation to library staff, a number of us met together a few weeks later (at the English Faculty because that is where a lot of good things happen!) for an afternoon of playing with Web 2.0 tools to see what might work in our libraries and what might not. You could say that was the beginning........, 23 Things another stage......, and I am sure that in a year or two's time there will be other collaborative ventures in Cambridge exploring these tools and others. We should collectively pat ourselves on the back - I think that overall we are more collaboratively minded, we are successful at grass-roots initiatives, and we are generally a pro-active bunch of librarians! Combine that with our wonderful 'boutique' , user-focused libraries and, even better, students who are filmed saying they love the libraries, and I think that should sell the Cambridge model nicely.

Taking part in 23 Things has been something of a roller coaster ride. A sense of being over-whelmed with work and 'other things' at certain points nearly scuppered the whole programme as far as I was concerned. It all took more hours than envisaged and I spent a lot of 'home time' as opposed to 'work time' for doing the Things. Some people might not liked to have done this; but although this is a slight red herring, I wonder whether we can now afford not to think about some element of professional development taking place outside the workplace in this day and age? In any case, I'm delighted that I persevered to the end, and feel pleased that I'm at this final point of evaluation. I liked the style of learning - bite-sized for the most part - and mostly easy to work through with options for doing more. There are some things that I would definitely like a 'proper' training session on especially when I think that they might be useful, but haven't got the time to figure out how to apply them. (Group libraries and Zotero spring to mind!)

So.....addressing the questions:

Which Things did you find most useful, or thought-provoking, or good? What do I say 'yes!' to?
  1. By definition anything that I currently use regularly is good (kinda figures!) - Facebook, Google Calendar, Doodle, Zotero, Flickr, Slideshare, RSS feeds, youtube
  2. I like Google docs, especially the registration form tool. SO easy to use and it amazed my Computer Officer with its simplicity.
  3. Am still keen to make use of LibraryThing for new accessions like CSL are doing but I just haven't the time to spend on it now.
  4. I am a convert to blogs - I started out with my blog called Head above the Parapet because it felt exactly like that. I'm not sure that I will continue blogging personally although I would like to think I would, partly because I am thinking of doing Chartership revalidation and this tool seems to be good for reflection. Along the way however, a blog - which we use for Library News - seemed the way forward for some parts of our website. I was especially inspired by the History Faculty Library in Oxford. So, the 'Learning Hub' has been born.
  5. Reflection - in general. It's good for the soul.....

Which didn't you find useful at all and is downright ugly? What do I say 'no' to?
  1. Podcasting. - see my blog on that to explain this one.
Which might I look at again, not bad enough to relinquish altogether? What do I say 'maybe' to?
  1. LinkedIn,
  2. Delicious
  3. Dare I say Twitter? I fell into and out of Twitter in the course of 23 Things and have actually stopped checking it now - though I suspect I will be back there in time if only because I am essentially a pretty nosy person and I want to see what is going on. But I really do wonder how people have time to distract themselves all day with Twitter. Maybe they don't get the number of emails that I do, which are distracting enough - or maybe their jobs are more monotonous than mine! I rarely do anything like the same type of job every day and suspect that I would find it difficult to process any more information than I currently do. Having said all that I do use facebook for distraction!!
Which have you persisted with?

I persisted with Google docs - to the extent that I used them as part of the Committee preparation but not again until I was able to apply the registration form for the film launch - and then all of a sudden I have found myself using more of the docs. Especially useful when working between home and the library and remote access to the work server is rather painful.

I played a lot with ppts in slideshare until I discovered that I couldn't get animations and transitions to work in ppts loaded to slideshare. I've discovered iSpring though and it's very simple and effective.

What about Web 2.0 and social media?

There are clear distinctions about how Web 2.0 tools get used. There are those that have been put to use in developing services to libraries and for the benefits of users, and there are those that are for the benefit of our personal skills improvement or for workflow improvement in our libraries. I am drawing some of them to our users' attention this October and as usual I will run Zotero/Endnote sessions to introduce students to this information management tool.

How do you think they are shaping library services?

Library services should be shaped by the users of that service and not by the tools. If the tools dictate what we do, then shame on us.

Thing 22 nearly there - it must be wikis

I haven't got anything against wikis in general. I find Wikipedia is great - all sorts of wonderful information - and of course we know that it might not be true as we are librarians and we know that sort of stuff. We tend to think that the 'yoof' don't. But, I'm not so sure. I think they know they are not 'supposed' to use it/reference it and still use it knowing full well that they need to verify their information. Child no. 2 has just finished her degree and confesses to countless times where she started her work with Wikipedia. I'm fine with that. After all I use Google a lot.

In the bumff about wikis it says that 'Librarians are currently using wikis for a variety of purposes: to produce staff manuals and subject guides, to manage projects, and as Intranets'. I thought that I honestly did not think that a wiki would add anything really extraordinarily good to our work flows for this type of activy. The only thing that struck me was that I could have used it for brainstorming for the current IT Training room project where those involved were rarely able to physically get together - myself, Computer Officer, EMBS electrical, EMBS maintenance, AV people, Furniture people, IT people. Most of the rest of the time we have a shared drive for documents, manuals, subject guides etc etc.

I have an account with PBwiki and have added information on to the TeachMeet wiki. Apart from that 'I'm good' - as they say over the pond.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Thing 21 Sense preference

I can honestly say that I have very rarely listened to a podcast! So I made myself do it and went to the JISC podcasts. I have nothing against audio in principle but I tend to end up doing other things at the same time and, whatever my official stance on multi-tasking is, I do not absorb information well when the primary method of information delivery is audio. Fine if it's music and potentially just background noise, or if I'm driving and Radio 4 is always on but these are exceptions to the rule. I will also confess that I have a paranoia about earplugs and don't own any of those player things so will not be downloading a podcast to listen to at the gym or while walking/cycling any time soon. I am well aware that this all makes me seem a tad old fashioned but I have now reached that age where I don't care too much.

BUT - take me to the visual and I'm all yours (so to speak). Given that I understand/learn best with visual stimuli I thought that the podcasting video was brilliant.

Youtube is loads of fun and I looked at all the suggested links and chortled my way through Andy's top 3. Can't say that I pushed the boat out and found any others but I have seen some great ones in the past.

The Cambridge Libraries film - 'The Perfect Desk' - will shortly be launched - a special meet for those who can make it on 7th Sept means that you can see it then, enjoy a drink and enter a prize draw for a £25 voucher. The film will be posted on the University's youtube site and available for the public to see!

As for using podcasting and youtube in the Library - well, we tried a film last year and just used the streaming media service which is part of the University to load it on, and that worked fine. Podcasts - well I won't say no if one of the staff are keen to do them, but bearing in mind the above, they are unlikely to be something that I will jump to do quickly myself.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Thing 20 Google docs

Done it.......

Enjoyed playing with the drawing doc though find Microsoft Publisher/Word easier to manipulate just because I'm more used to the package.
Good being able to share doc though and very much like the ability to edit and keep track of the editing with all saving to the same space. Am unlikely to use it much at work as we have a shared work drive that everything gets stored on and it works pretty well at the moment. BUT useful to know about this in case things change!

Friday, 13 August 2010

Little niggle about slideshare

Discovered that loading a ppt on slideshare with animations/slide transitions etc won't work. Bit peeved about this until I discovered iSpring which converts ppt with animations into flash video. It's free or you can download similar products for a trial, and inevitably there is a paid version available too. For a ppt lover this is a very easy solution....

Though now I just have the challenge of deciphering the html to embed in the blog...........................

Thing 19 This little pig went to market....

Good point about the difference between marketing and advertising. Advertising raises awareness of what you are and what you do but marketing is so much more that this. Understanding our users and their needs is essential in libraries.

Thinking about the services we offer in our library - different types of space, facilities, training programmes, website & Library blog, vle resources, resource fairs, circulation policies, self-issue, copiers/printers, and so on. All that we do should be based on knowledge of our customers and therefore meeting their needs but then also anticipating new things that they need and providing them almost before they are aware of it.

Creating content via social media has interesting associated problems. As is described in the 4Cs, content that is published via a context such as a blog can make connections which lead to conversations. BUT better take care that the throw-away comments made so easily on a blog are accurate and carefully researched! In the 'old' days publishing information about a display through normal printed methods would probably have meant a lot of care taken over content and accuracy of information and grammar etc. After all it cost money to print information. Blogs cost nothing to put together, apart from time. In all the 'easiness' of using social media we need to have at the back of our minds the potential for slips and mistakes, much more easily made.

Take the Library's blog post on Sir Wilson Harris. The display was a great idea and has attracted a great deal of attention, and was very ably put together by a work experience pupil. However, being made so public so quickly there were some issues that had to be resolved after the event which happily are all sorted out now. A small error on a facebook announcement, although encouraging comment, was something that shouldn't have happened (all my fault, I'll confess now). It's just too quickly done.

Still it's the speed of using social media that in itself is so appealing!
It's an interesting tension.

To comply with the 'to do' of this Thing we are going to make more use of a blog in our library, linked to our current website, in order to produce bite-sized online learning tasks. The context of the blog seems ideal for this - after all 23 Things has made use of blog technology extremely well for this very purpose - so we're going to give it a bash. I would also like to explore LibraryThing for new acquisitions.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Thing 18 Zoh-tair-oh

Mr Priestner is definitely wrong about how to pronounce Zotero.

The saga of' Zotero - promoting a tool to students to help them manage their information.
My Endnote and Endnote Web training sessions have faltered at the point where my own experience with referencing differed to that of an Arts student. I'm a social scientist and had never taught students who needed to use footnotes - which is what Arts students use in Cambridge. Imagine the frustration that the only way to use Endnote and footnotes satisfactorily together meant that a specially designed 'style' was required - I eventually discovered that UCS had created one; one which allowed a footnote to be edited as much as one pleased. I had been promoting Endnote Web but realised that this was even more frustrating for Arts students as they have minute, but essential changes to make to ANY style. Endnote Web does not allow self-editing of bibliographic styles. Students were not happy with making the changes to their footnotes/bibliographies at a later stage.

I had looked at Zotero before this but an English PhD student who was using Zotero enthused about it and I looked at it again and decided that it could be promoted alongside Endnote and give students an option. This tactic has gone down quite well and there seem to be those who will veer towards one or the other quite naturally. I have now taken to facilitating a session and, after putting the use of software into context, ask current enthusiasts to come and demonstrate what they do.

The distinct advantage of Zotero is that if you use it to cite-while-you-write you can edit footnotes as you go along! It is not so easy to edit the bibliographic style - at least you need a little bit of technie-ness to do this. It seems to be hard to find the ideal solution.

I am creating a Learning Hub for online 'help' for the Library and will include Zotero:

The Zotero guides at Georgia State University are excellent.

As for the other idea that I had - that of setting up a Group Library for Faculty reading lists - well, not sorted yet but I have 8 more days of Library closure and it's on the list to play with..............

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Are we nearly there yet?

The other day I was asking:

Yep - we ARE nearly there!

Thing 17 Chains

Well - here we are at Linkedin. Weird - set up my account a long time ago, have a profile of sorts and following a few groups, but clearly it's not something I spend lots of time with. Remarkably I remembered my login. Will play with the 'add applications' when I have a bit more time.

Am wondering why I feel rather ambivalent about this tool.......hmmm. Maybe it's information overload, maybe it's just that I have too many fingers in too many pies.......... ........and just can't manage another deluge of information?

ho hum

Thing 16 To fb or not to fb

My opinions on facebook for libraries are already out there in the ether - see UKOLN Guest blog - though 'Tilley' has been translated as 'Taylor'; nicer but less memorable and less findable perhaps??

I have read Jane Secker's article before as her work at LSE in general interests me. I was struck by the phrase in the article 'unfamiliarity with Facebook' as an issue with not engaging with the tool as a use for teaching and learning. Thinks that this is really the problem with any of the tools we're looking at. The more you do play with them, the more applications seem to be there. But also been thinking about time again, as this all does take time and there is a very real need for an ability to be able to scan something and make fairly quick judgements on whether this is might be useful or not and then to discard swiftly if you think it is not. As several of us discussed yesterday it is indeed all about time management.

Suffice it to say our Library has a Facebook site - we use it for fairly casual information - nothing so important that we need all our users to see it, but casual enough to attract a wide variety of people on to the site - from observers, to alumni, to prospective students, to current students and staff. It's fine by us. BUT this is really why we have an information delivery policy (see UKOLN blog).

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Thing 14 & Thing 15 A solution to the new books page

LibraryThing is something that I've looked at before and tried out. Liked it, easy enough to set up and get going with it :)

Unable to apply it satisfactorily a few years ago, I liked the use CSL is making of their site and that, combined with current discussion on changes we envisage on our website, am thinking that this is the answer to the 'new books' page.
Just thinking about whether to create new catalogues for each new batch of new accessions? Hmmm.

Thanks guys


Learning Hub

Discovered Picasa today - I am sure that someone has posted a link to it somewhere on the 23 Things blog posts but I fell upon it by accident and found that it did some of the editing I was looking for! So some attempts at playing with text and image....