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"I call it the library suit. See this pocket? That's for your library card. See this pouch? Loose change, in case you've got any fines!" Otherwise known as a 23 things Cambridge blog.



Updated: 2018-03-06T17:31:31.161-08:00

 



1 Comments

2010-08-28T08:14:32.877-07:00




This is the end...

2010-08-28T08:03:39.188-07:00

I can't quite believe I reached the final thoughts stage - I didn't think I would for a while there! I feel 23 things has been really useful for me, as I have had to properly reflect on how technologies could be used for library work. I think this is something that will I try to continue - partly because thinking about how and why things are done is a good way to possibly see how things could be improved, and also because I imagine the world of Web 2.0 will keep expanding and I'd like to keep up-to-date as much as possible. I did find the weekly pace quite hard to keep up with (I've only just properly caught up in the last few days!) and I think seeing people's reflections as you go along rather than before I'd even got to that thing would have been good. If I had to go back and do it again I would make sure I kept up initially to take advantage of the many interesting opinions and reflections weekly rather than in big chunks!So having explored all the lovely shiny things that have been introduced - my final summary:Getting the worst out of the way first: the thing I really didn't like There was actually only one thing that I did not get on with at all and really couldn't see the point of, and that's iGoogle. I know many people do use it regularly but I have never looked at my iGoogle page since the first few weeks of Cam 23 and it actively annoyed me when I was using it. I much prefer Google to be the clean and un-distracting search box it now is on my homepage. I like being able to decide what I want to look at when I log onto the internet, rather than passively viewing whatever pops up on iGoogle. Things I will keep an eye on and possibly use again, 'but':Google calendar: Does exactly what it says on the tin, but I currently have no need to use it. I will file it away into 'things I might need one day'.(Ditto Slideshare, LinkedIn and Google docs).Blogging: I've loved having the opportunity to read the other Cam23 blogs, and will continue to read some, but now the programme is over I don't think I will be blogging anymore. I like the reflective writing side, but I don't like the sharing my thoughts so publicly. It doesn't fit in with the sharing/ communicating/ linking side of Web 2.0 but I would consider writing reflectively blog style posts for myself in the future, but won't be posting them to the internet! Things I liked and would use again:RSS feeds: useful to keep up with sites I'm interested in as well as having a lot of potential for library users to use as a way of keeping up-to-date with their subject area. Doodle: Simple way of organising meetings/making group decisions. Love the fact it doesn't need a password as well. Tagging: Although I used sites where tagging was an option, I'd never really used them myself before. I find them helpful when trying to find information though so will continue using them. Flickr/Creative Commons: I had used Flickr before starting 23 things, but the Creative Commons section was new to me and is a fantastic source of free images.Delicious: I have already started saving my links in Delicious, and there are lots of ways links could be organised by librarians using the site to provide useful resources for users. LibraryThing: Not sure whether I will actually manage to find a helpful or relevant way to use this, but I like the community aspect of discussing books, and being able to nose around people's reading habits. Also I think the catalogue display is rather good!Podcasting/YouTube: Trying to get information across in an entertaining way is always a good idea!Wikis: Brilliant way to create and edit shared resources. And I think more useful as a distinct internet resource than Google Docs - which is more like traditional computer programmes with some features for collaboration tagged on. The top threeTwitter and Facebook: OK I admit it I liked these before I started 23 things, but doing the programme has allowed me to think about their use in libraries mor[...]



Wiki world

2010-08-27T05:11:55.602-07:00

I have to confess I think Wikipedia is amazing. I am aware of the problems, I know it is unreliable or at worst downright inaccurate; it will never replace proper research. But it is also gives a list of past Neighbours characters, with biographies, which in my book means it can't be all bad. It is also so ubiquitous that I have to say I've ignored the possibilities of other types of wikis, although I have used them successfully for work. The graduate trainees have a wiki on CamTools to manage the Catalog website, this works well: we keep an up-to-date rota and list of changes that need to be made, and a list of who's done what each week.

I was excited to read about the Library Routes Project on this week's Cam23 blog as I hadn't heard about it before. Reading about other librarians' career histories is really interesting for me as someone about to start working towards my library school qualification. I will definitely be exploring this in more detail! Also the wiki format seems part of its success; people provide their own information, hearing the many different voices is what makes it so interesting.

Also the different things wikis could be used for had never really occurred to me before. I really like intranets: I think it is often useful for staff to be able to access more detailed information that wouldn't be put on a library's main site, and a wiki could so easily be set up for this purpose and could be kept up to date easily. I can see a lot of potential for using wikis when you want to create long running, constantly changing and collaborative resources and projects.



Trying not to get distracted on YouTube

2010-08-27T04:33:01.032-07:00

I have been so looking forward to these things as I am a big fan of both podcasts and  YouTube - although strictly in the distraction/time wasting/laughing until I have a stitch sense. rather than with my 'might be useful for libraries' hat on!

I used to have a long commute and the podcasts of various comedians - Jon Richardson, Adam and Joe and David Mitchell - which were a brilliant distraction as well as an excellent way to see the strange looks you get on trains if you giggle randomly in public places.

I have also been interested in the potential of pre-downloadable podcast guides to museums or places - although I have to say I've never actually been organised enough to download one to my ipod before visiting! The British Library has something like this for their collections. I can see how a podcast guide to a library could be useful - say if someone misses a tour they could walk round the library whilst listening to the audio guide. Although I'm not sure how organised users would be about actually downloading them. It is just another way of getting information across which might appeal to people more than other methods, and as such is worth experimenting with.

I think YouTube could have more potential for libraries simply because it is more engaging than podcasts - also YouTube is more thoroughly web-based, whereas I think podcasts are often downloaded (although of course you can listen online too) - this means a library guide video, for example, could be accessed anywhere with an internet connection - in the library on joining, in a user education session, or from home. And when done well library videos can be both entertaining and informative. Like this one:


(object) (embed)



Googling docs

2010-08-26T09:14:09.558-07:00

I was quite interested in the potential of Google Docs as friends have been finishing dissertations in the last few months that I've read through, so I was interested in something to make the sending/ editing/ resaving/ resending process via Word and email easier. Overall I was fairly impressed with the functions provided - especially in tracking the changes made to a document. There is also the advantage that the files are stored remotely so in the event of a hard drive explosion your documents are safe. I can only see the collaborative aspects working better than Microsoft Office when there are more than two people working on a document. So, in a similar way to Doodle, Google Docs is a brilliant way of solving a very specific problem - that of allowing a large number of librarians to work together. I don't think the software is as good as Microsoft Office to use though, so for working with just one other person (proof reading a friend's dissertation) I'll be sticking to Word!



Marketing men

2010-08-26T05:16:27.100-07:00

When people think of marketing they associate it with advertising more than as an essential part of the work of the a librarian. Which is a good excuse for a picture of Don Draper from Mad Men.


Now I've got that out of my system I can talk about libraries! For me the modern librarian has to 'market' the service in the broadest possible sense - if marketing is providing the right services and making people aware that we are providing these services - which is surely part of what librarians should be doing every day.

Web 2.0 can help with marketing simply because it provides so many new outlets for contact with users, or potential users. A significant number of the things we've looked at so far can be used in this way. Facebook and Twitter are brilliant ways to keep in contact with people and tell them about new services, or remind them or services they may have forgotten about - surely marketing by another name.

The opportunities to connect with other librarians that Twitter and professional social networking like LinkedIn are also useful to see what other people are doing: sharing ideas and getting inspiration.

Also the possibilities of things like Delicious, RSS feeds and Zotero to help students are - in the right situation - an excellent opportunity to show how good library services are. Someone who is struggling with referencing, for example could be pointed in the direction of Zotero (or, in an ideal world, given training) by a librarian, and given a positive experience of the support librarians can provide.

Finally the Creative Commons on Flickr seem to me to offer a brilliant way to improve more traditional forms of marketing (posters etc.) as wonderful images can be found and used easily and for free. This is more interesting and professional looking which again hopefully gives a better impression of the library.



Referencing made easy!

2010-08-25T12:10:46.987-07:00

Oh my word - I fear I'm a little bit in love with Zotero! I haven't had much experience of referencing software in the past. I had a play with Endnote towards the end of uni, but as I had already made reference notes for my dissertation by the time I'd discovered it, I never did more than having a quick look and think 'what a good idea' and then promptly went off and graduated and left the world of essay writing behind me.


I do, though, remember the sometimes feverishly last minute referencing sessions (it always seemed to take longer than I thought it would) at essay deadline time - something I hope not to repeat at library school. So basically, Zotero to the rescue! I did have to download Firefox specifically so I could run Zotero which is frustrating - as many people have pointed out, plug-ins for other browsers would be handy. The fact that I can see immediate applications for Zotero in my own studies suggests it could be useful for other students and therefore is useful for librarians to be aware of when supporting students.

Browsing and then saving references on the one screen is brilliant - no need to flick from window to window. Obviously it means you have to have Zotero installed on the computer you are using. This is the only really annoying feature of Zotero - you can't log into the website and then manually add a reference to your list. I can see this being frustrating if working from a computer elsewhere - you have to make notes of the reference to add to Zotero later. Delicious could be used for links in the meantime though.

Transferring references to Word works well, although you do have to check the referencing, but simply copying the references still saves so much time in comparison with entering them manually. I also looked at Mendeley in comparison to Zotero and in many ways it works in similar ways although trying to link it to Word created a few problems. It felt a lot less straightforward than Zotero because of this, Zotero was download and go, which is all part of the reason I'm slightly in love!



LinkedIn

2010-08-24T07:01:16.898-07:00

LinkedIn sounds like an interesting idea - professional social networking is surely something to be explored when personal social networking like Facebook is so popular. It was all fairly easy to set up although it seems quite difficult to initially start networking as it covers all industries. The people LinkedIn suggested I should link to weren't that relevant either, as they were people I know personally, and their industries range from health care to volunteering management - so not hugely library related! This might be because I've only recently started working in the profession so don't have a large contact base to start from.

I've recently joined the newly launched LIS New Professionals Network, which is also designed for professional networking - but is focused entirely on new professionals within the information and library field in the UK. It shares many similar features with LinkedIn - discussion groups and networking for example, although it has less emphasis on the CV/profile element. I think for me at the moment LISNPN is more helpful because it is more specific and relevant, although I will probably try and keep my LinkedIn profile up-to-date and explore it more in the future.



I'm Face-bookin'

2010-08-24T05:49:19.751-07:00

Aah so I've finally reached Facebook - which I'm a keen user of. I know all the arguments against Facebook: the privacy concerns, the copyright issues, the general confusion of my parents about why anyone would want to put so much information on any type of website.

I am still, however, a fan, I probably log into Facebook more than any other website. This is partly because, aside from my mobile, Facebook is the main way I keep in contact with people - sharing photos, organising events and sending messages.
That I conduct and organise my social life through Facebook is a bit lazy - although at least I can be comforted with the fact that, as Facebook's popularity grows and grows, I'm definitely not the only lazy person in the world! Facebook's popularity is of course what makes it a useful tool for libraries - it is the easiest way to connect to students via the web simply because so many students use Facebook.

The library I work at recently set up a Facebook page which has been quite successful fairly quickly - after one email saying we had a library Facebook page, about 60 people 'liked' us.


This page is now used to let people know about small pieces of library news. It's an advantage that the followers of the page have opted themselves in, so although we don't want to pester them, they are obviously happy to receive a bit more information about the library than they get from emails. It's also probably easier for them to get news about the library this way, especially, if like me, they log into Facebook frequently. Facebook would never become the main way a library contacts users: a lot of people wouldn't 'like' the library and therefore wouldn't see the updates. And despite its popularity there are still a lot of people who don't use Facebook. For those who do though, it is a handy way to provide more information about the library, if they would like it, in an informal way, and on a site they are familiar with.



Library Thing-ing

2010-08-23T08:19:29.197-07:00

I love the idea of LibraryThing - lots of people sharing what they love to read in a giant community is a brilliant way of creating connections between books, highlighting trends in reading habits as well as being an excellent illustration of what people are actually read. I have used the site before as I started to catalogue my own books a while back to stop myself buying multiple copies of things - although I clearly don't have the commitment as I only managed to add a bookshelf or so last time.

Things like the 'tbr' (to be read) tag reveal surprises about current reading habits - Johnathan Strange and Mr Norrelll is the top book waiting to be read on LibraryThing - beating War and Peace by a long way which surprised me (although actually I've given up on both). This could of course be because LibraryThing is based on books owned more than books read - so people list unread books on their shelves rather than all time ambitious tbr books. As a borrower from libraries I was relieved to find you can list books as 'read but unowned'. The whole point of creating a list of books for me would be to show your personal reading habits and history, rather than just a history of my impulse buys in Waterstones 3 for 2!


 
 



Using LibraryThing within libraries is of course a completely different matter. LibraryThing is not designed to be a library catalogue for institutions, the focus is more on personal libraries  - although the advantages of such a low cost, easy access cataloguing system for small libraries who can't afford other software are obvious.

I was very interested in looking at the features of LibraryThing for Libraries on the High Plains Library District catalogue. This offers some of the key Web 2.0 features of LibraryThing as an addition to a full library catalogue. I can really see the benefits of this for public libraries. The user created reviews, tags etc make it feel a lot more friendly and interesting. I'm not sure how useful it would be for academic libraries where users are often after specific books for specific research or subjects rather than browsing and reading for pleasure -although this obviously does happen in academic libraries too!



A breather

2010-08-19T09:30:26.692-07:00

And I have finally reached reached Thing 13! It feels like it has taken quite a while to get here - I don't seem to be able to do a thing for half an hour a week, it takes me much longer to try out and then write up each new bit of internet loveliness.

Looking back to the start of 23 Things I said that I wanted to see how Web 2.0 tools that I've already used could be applied to libraries - and to discover some new tricks. I have certainly done the latter - I love the Creative Commons section of Flickr, something I've never really come across before. Delicious also has the potential to become really useful as I start at library school - helping me keep a track of any interesting articles I read.

Hearing about people's different ideas on how tools could be used in libraries has been a really interesting part of the programme so far: as well as coming up with some ideas of my own!

I am hoping to discover some more new tools before the end of 23 things as so far I have been familiar with quite a few of the things (aside from Delicious and Slideshare).



Mmm Delicious

2010-08-02T11:12:23.742-07:00

Apart from the fact that whenever I see the word 'Delicious' I think of the Mexican town my housemate comes from (best place name ever: Delicias in the state of Chihuahua!)


frameborder="0" height="350" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&q=Delicias,+Chihuahua&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Delicias,+Chihuahua,+Mexico&gl=uk&ei=5fNWTLCpFMq6jAfDtOnCBA&ved=0CB4Q8gEwAA&z=12&ll=28.183333,-105.466667&output=embed" width="425">

I was also quite excited to explore Delicious as from what I'd heard I thought it could be very useful in libraries.

This is true to some extent - I love the ability to create lists of, and share, useful links, I can see Delicious being a really helpful resource when trying to get useful links out to library users. I liked the fact that you can update the list constantly - keeping links up to date without changing how users access the list of links. As more and more resources become web based Delicious could have an important role to play. I also liked being able to add descriptive tags to links.

However, I'm not so sure about the usefulness of social tagging on Delicious for libraries. Being able to create an authoritative list of resources seems to me to have the purpose of helping students avoid clicking the first hit on Google approach to research. The social tagging on Delicious is no doubt brilliant if you're trying to find out more information about subjects of interest but for academic research, like so much of Web 2.0, it is only as good as the people doing the tagging and should therefore be treated with slight caution because of this.



It's all in the presentation

2010-07-23T10:43:43.173-07:00

Powerpoint (or Keynote for Mac users) is really nifty, it's even helped win an Oscar whilst raising awareness of climate change with Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. I would argue for the usefulness of being able to access slides after presentations, perhaps after a user education session in a library, as I would do during my degree. Most lecturers used Powerpoint and then posted their presentations on our VLE. These ranged from the very useful (bibliographies and quotes) to the useless if you weren't actually in the lecture theatre variety - one lecturer used to illustrate points about Victorian literature with Lolcats, generally with no captions, you just had to be there. And unless you wanted to write an essay on Lolcats, you really couldn't skip those lectures. Although actually I would love to write an essay on Lolcats, but not if it meant failing my degree. Even without Lolcats, Slides that included lots of information or references were incredibly helpful for revision: so yay for slides!As a free way to share presentations Slideshare feels easy to use and there is a lot of library related stuff out there. It depends on how the slides are designed again though whether it is worth looking at presentations without sound - this epic presentation on Social Networks from Paul Adams of Google is a brilliant example of how  slides alone can be understood if the information is presented in the right way. The Real Life Social Network v2View more documents from Paul Adams.But as Helen points out it might be better if people posted presentations with sound when the slides don't explain everything, but that is more complicated - as a simple way of getting a resource out there Slideshare does exactly what it says on the URL.  And to make up for the mammoth presentation above, here are some easy on the eye library pics.Beautiful Libraries in the WorldView more presentations from Paulo Izidoro.[...]



Visual distraction

2010-07-22T10:57:00.311-07:00

Flickr is the kind of thing that I can accidentally spend hours on - I get slightly addicted to looking up places I know, or events I've been to. I like the fact that it almost acts as a visual Twitter, although not quite so up the moment, getting many different perspectives on large events if people are kind enough to upload pictures and then tag them. You can find such specific images on there - you can see my childhood home in the distance here for example:
(image)
With thanks to orangeaurochs.
There were even some images of paternoster lifts. My department at university had to be reached by a paternoster, which always used to break down on essay deadline days. There are a surprising number of lift-fanciers out there posting (working) paternoster videos on YouTube. I was pleased to see on Flickr that the one in Sheffield has similar technical problems to 'my' paternoster.
(image)
With thanks to iwouldstay.
Saying all this, however, I do think there are better ways of sharing pictures without the collective, social, elements of Flickr. I know Facebook has been mentioned by a lot of Cam23 people as the most effective way of sharing photos online, and I do certainly use this to upload photos of people who are also on Facebook. I prefer Photobucket or Picasa though if I want to show albums - with less of the community/tagging available on Flickr - to people without Facebook accounts or that contain pictures of no interest to my Facebook friends.

Where Flickr becomes invaluable to libraries though is in the simple copyright rules of the Creative Commons agreement. I hadn't come across the Creative Commons element of Flickr before and it is really useful to have such a large source of copyright friendly images - I can imagine when doing presentations, user education or library marketing materials in the future it will be a really handy resource.



You have been tagged

2010-07-20T11:58:33.061-07:00

I was really interested reading Clay Shirky's piece about tagging and classification as I'll be learning classification on my LIS Masters next year and I so it was interesting reading a discussion about it.

Firstly I would say tagging (in the Shirky sense, used on Flickr) is something I feel is definitely useful - the internet is anarchic and user defined - tags reflect this. And like the internet tagging can be both brilliant and awful because of this anarchy. Looking at the tag cloud on Flickr for example


it's easy to see what people like taking photos of: weddings, parties and beaches, often using Nikon or Canon cameras. The tags become more useful when searching - a picture taken with a Canon camera of a wedding held on the beach for example would be the ultimate 'average' Flickr photo!

I don't quite see why Shirky is so determined to put this kind of organic tagging in opposition to more traditional library classification systems however - they are both categorising things but in different ways, and for different purposes. Library classification systems for physical libraries are there to make searching and
browsing easier - just as tags do on the internet. I would argue both types of classification - rigid and fluid - have their place.

I had flashbacks to the literary theory module in my degree and semiotics - words and definitions are difficult to pin down - different words can have different connotations to different people. Tagging reflects this:  if you're looking for something not recognised in more structured systems then a user defined tag allows flexibility. This multitude of meaning can also be incredibly problematic and frustrating if you want to find something specific quickly within a structure - this is why classification systems developed! I don't see any reason why the two approaches can't co-exist in organising information. Just like I feel I can quote Wikipedia and defend traditional classification systems!



What is the point of Twitter?

2010-07-18T11:23:58.539-07:00

Well there is no way I'm going to be able to answer that one in a single blog post, but as this is a question I always get asked about Twitter I thought I should at least try - at least so I have a good answer next time it happens!

I love the collective feeling of Twitter - although this unfortunately can mean the Fail Whale makes an appearance more regularly than one would like, especially during the World Cup.


Twitter is a place where people share major news stories, and therefore sometimes where we first hear of major events, as this article from India Knight in the Sunday Times about the death of Michael Jackson and the Twittersphere illustrates.  I followed election night on Twitter which was fascinating: from the culty number one trending topic of 'Long Legged Cleggy Weggy' from the comedy show Russell Howard's Good News to more serious comment on the results coming in to the standard of political debate offered on TV - on Twitter I could get a running commentary as well as a lot of humour and irreverence.

This was why I initially got into Twitter - but I have become more and more impressed about the uses for library networking in the last few weeks. #hashtags make it really easy to follow things like #cam23. Following librarians means I hear about important library news stories instantly - such as the KPMG report which suggested cuts in professional staff in public libraries among other things - and can follow the reactions of librarians. This is a really invaluable learning tool for someone at the beginning of their career like myself. I can now get an idea of what's being said at conferences without actually attending - I followed Tweets from the CILIP New Professionals Conference 2010 from other graduate trainees who were there: a brilliant way to get ideas and information immediately and from miles away. I feel Twitter keeps me better informed and part of a larger community of librarians which is fantastic, and unavailable anywhere but Twitter. 

Collective jokes and news, sharing information and being part of a network of librarians - this is the point of Twitter for me!



Google Calendar

2010-07-08T01:39:51.253-07:00

I am big fan of online calendars for work - shared calendars which allow different staff members' annual leave or meetings to display without lots of date copying makes life so much easier. In my current role we have a shared calendar within the library,  which can be accessed online, on which staff meetings, leave, or library wide events such as computer upgrades are noted. The Mozilla Thunderbird calendar has similar functions to the Google version including colour coding and reminders (see below).




I did have a play around with Google calendar for 23 things specifically and although I had a few issues with its usability, which I know is because I regularly use an almost identical system so I'm trying to do things the Mozilla way rather than the Google way, if I was using Google all the time I'd soon get used to it.

In terms of use for libraries: having a free resource to create sharable calendars could clearly be useful although at the moment in our library I can't see many applications for it as we have our own internal version.



"A doodle. I do doodle. You too. You do doodle too."

2010-06-25T02:41:34.732-07:00

I have to confess it - I love Doodle, in fact I love it so much I quote from the Buffyverse to introduce it.

I was introduced to it by Delve and Discover a few months ago as a means to organise a meet up of around nine people. It is a brilliant tool if you need to find out when people can do, rather than actually organising the whole meeting/event which can be done alongside Doodle with emails, texts and perhaps even a good old fashioned chat!

Not having to enter a password is key to this of course - anyone with an internet connection can be included with Doodle, rather than anyone with an internet connection who is willing to register. It takes about two minutes clicking to select when you can attend, which you can edit later if plans change. I also like how entirely user determined it is - you can enter attendees as couples or multiple names and can select a number of different times when initially setting up the event. I had a brief look at Tungle.me and it was handy you could log in through a different account password - such as Twitter, you still have to log in which makes the process more complicated. Similarly, with Meet-O-Matic, although you can set up a meeting without logging in you can't use the advanced options such as selecting multiple times of day.

The genius of Doodle is its simplicity in solving an annoying but small problem. I can't see Doodle ever taking off for organising meet ups with one or two people but when trying to get big groups of people with lots of other commitments together it is hugely useful. I really like it when technology makes things easier and Doodle does that.



Blog blog blog

2010-06-21T10:59:09.740-07:00

When I originally logged into my Google account at the start of 23 things, I had a brief moment of panic where I decided the internet is definitely a BAD THING whose purpose is to hold embarrassing information to be rediscovered later in life. And not just those photos on Facebook that make my face look 'squishy' in the words of one of my friends. I found a blog I kept back in the day, otherwise known as around 2004. I don't think it's quite as bad as The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, but I still wanted to make sure I had removed all trace of teenage confessions from public view before releasing more of my 'blogging' on the world.

(image)
My old blog pretty much had the purpose of a diary - a way of keeping up with friends, sharing photographs etc. before Facebook made all that easy. Writing a blog for 23 Things - which should have some sort of point and content rather than just musings - is hopefully going to be more useful (and also hopefully won't, in six years time, be hideously embarrassing, although there is still time!).

I find Blogger fairly user friendly, especially when just writing posts: automatically saving drafts every so often is a brilliant feature which anyone who has ever lost a long email through a bad internet connection or accidental page refresh will appreciate. I also love the new template designer, which allows lovely background images - there is no rhyme or reason why I chose cliffs, except I like them and having a picture of the tweed library suit from the Mighty Boosh would have been a bit too psychedelic for me! The template designer also makes it easier to change things like post layout and where the gadgets display on the page.

I now just need to start this blogging malarkey properly and get up to date with the things!



RSS-sssssssssss feeds

2010-06-14T10:56:55.085-07:00

As the news came in last week that snake numbers are declining worldwide, I couldn't resist making my blog title reference this!

I have used RSS feeds before, having set myself up a Google Reader account a few months ago. This was mostly to scan for stories about libraries in the news and following interesting librarian blogs before my library school interviews so that I could keep an eye on any news stories they might ask me about.

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I particularly liked the way you could make an RSS feed of keyword searches on the BBC news website, which is a brilliantly lazy way of looking out for interesting news stories. I love that little orange square! Although when I went to have a play for 23 Things I noticed that the BBC search doesn't support this any more. If there are any wonderfully teccy people who know how to save keyword searches on sites that don't have the magic orange square I'd be really pleased to know about it.

(image) Since going to my interviews I have to say that I haven't looked at Reader that often. I find that it is easy to organise different feeds and look at the ones of interest on Google Reader so I can just dip in and out. I was excited that I could subscribe to all of the Cambridge 23 Things blogs at once though - thanks to Girl in the Moon! I really like being able to scan all the blogs and being able to see which ones I have looked at although I'm unfortunately not going to have anywhere near enough time to read them all properly!

My instinct is that RSS feeds could be usefully utilised within libraries, in certain situations. I like the feature to be able to create a feed and then share it with others - this could be of use for collecting relevant feeds together for researchers, although obviously they would have to happy to get a RSS reader (or iGoogle or similar of course) themselves. It is essentially a very logical way of collecting together information which will be of use and/or interest on the net. This won't replace actively searching for information, or browsing, which can throw up unexpected items of interest, but is a useful addition to other research methods.




iGoogle, I get distracted

2010-06-14T07:18:00.872-07:00

I had used iGoogle before - I assume the nice little button saying either 'try' and/or 'new' caught me in the right mood. Never having logged in again since my initial play I felt I should give a bit of time to explore it properly.So I created a general homepage adding Twitter, Facebook, email, news headlines as well as retaining some of the standard gadgets like Google Maps.I was also a little bit too excited on discovering that the theme I'd selected (of penguins) could be complimented by little animated penguins on the main page. I felt this was a good thing even though I can't really explain why.I think this may be the problem for me of using iGoogle, it seems very high tech and convenient to be able to check social media and email in one space, but, for similar reasons as why I don't Tweet on my phone, I don't actually like that level of permanent distraction.I also felt the gadgets themselves didn't work that well - I haven't been able to remove the 'dark shadow' (which sounds lovely and Gothic) off the Facebook gadget. Clicking through from the gadget sends you to the mobile interface, which isn't as clear as the regular Facebook display, so I would then just log into regular Facebook to see whatever it was that caught my attention, which rather defeats the point. The Twitter gadget worked a lot better although, as Library Wanderer points out, the delay in updates still makes the main Twitter site the best way to follow what's happening.Although I didn't like using iGoogle at home, I felt having a launch page at work might be more useful. I really liked the ability to create multiple landing pages so set up a 'Library' tab. To this I added the COPAC search box, as suggested by 23 things and which I wouldn't have though of searching for myself, a currency converter, a few RSS feeds and Google Translate. This seems to make more sense than the glowing lava lamp of distraction that is my main page, as having these things on one page should save time.Again though I had problems with the gadget on iGoogle not working as well as the main page - looking something up on the map gadget, for example, you couldn't click through to Google Streetview. I found this quite annoying and again sent me back to Google maps proper, as I love being able to see where I'm supposed to be going as well as having the map.I think perhaps I'd be more inclined to carry on using iGoogle at work if some of the gadgets were improved, on the whole though, moving penguins on my homepage are a stage too far for me![...]



Going all 2.0 for 23 things

2010-06-01T10:45:35.853-07:00

My previous web 2.0 experiences have almost entirely been based on the important business of chattering and generally keeping in touch with friends and family: on Facebook and blogs, following events as they happen and sharing the news on Twitter, exchanging photos with my extended family via Flikr and commenting on friends’ videos on Youtube.

As a current graduate trainee I’m really eager to see how some of these technologies might be usefully utilised in libraries – which 23 Things Cambridge will nudge me into thinking about.

I do think that web 2.0 has a role to play for modern libraries and modern librarians. This is partly because it has become such a big part of day to day life for me: I check Facebook more regularly than any other website, it acts as not only my main personal email account but also as an addition to my diary (helpfully reminding me of friends’ birthdays and events). I can’t see why Facebook and Twitter, or something as yet unimagined which may ultimately replace them, will ever stop being used when so entertaining and handy.

How and when these technologies can be valuably used in libraries is another question, and I’m hoping to develop my skills of judging whether the tools I’ve used already can be helpful in a professional context, as well as (hopefully) discovering some new ones.