Thursday, 26 August 2010

My final post

Wow, it's the end of an epic Cam 23 journey. My favourite 'things' were Flickr, LibraryThing, YouTube and Twitter. I also really enjoy using Wordle, although technically that wasn't one of the 'things'. The only one I disliked was LinkedIn, and the others all populate a happy middle ground.

I use many of them in my everyday life anyway, and now our library is starting to use more and more of them too. I think Web 2.0 is definitely changing libraries and it has been great to be able to learn about the different social media options available. It is important to keep on top of new developments so you can always provide a top-class service for your readers.

Thanks for this interesting and unique opportunity. That's all folks!

That wiki thing

I typed 'wiki' into wikipedia (a.k.a. the font of all knowlege) and this is what it says:
"A wiki ( /ˈwɪki/ WIK-ee) is a website that allows the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor. Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used to create collaborative wiki websites, to power community websites, for personal note taking, in corporate intranets, and in knowledge management systems."
Wikipedia is useful but not 100% accurate, I often use it to find information or an explanation of something as it is quick and easy to navigate.
As for using wikis in library work, at the Education library we have our own wiki, which we use to compile information and lists. Particularly useful is a 'things to do' section that has a list of tasks that need to be completed. Colleagues can cross things off once they're done and it's all in one place so there's no confusion.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Podcasting & YouTube

I've listened to podcasts and visited YouTube before so I know my way around them already. The majority of podcasts I have downloaded to my iPod have been film-related and I mainly use YouTube to look at new movie trailers, so it was good to look at them both from a professional point of view to see how they could be of benefit to libraries.

The library podcasts that I listened to and viewed all seemed very useful and informative. I wouldn't use podcasting myself, as I'm more of a writer than a talker, so personally I'd be more comfortable using things like Twitter and Facebook. However, for those who have the gift of the gab, I'd imagine it could be a new and fun way to market your services to readers.

I'll leave you with Monty Python's 'Gorilla Librarian' sketch, which I found on YouTube:

Google Docs

I haven't used Google Docs before but I found it easy peasy to get the hang of. It's so simple to use and such a helpful tool that it makes you wonder why it wasn't available before. I think it's a really useful way for people to collaborate on projects as you only have a single document rather than multiple ones so you are never unsure as to which version is the current one. I also like that you can share different types of documents, like presentations, spreadsheets and drawings. I used it to create the fantastic(!) stick-man picture shown here, which I then sent to a colleague.

Sharing your piece of work with others is super-fast too, just enter their email address and they will receive a direct link to it. I think it could be really useful for librarians as a way to work together with colleagues on joint projects. As that meerkat off the tele says: "Simples!"

Friday, 13 August 2010

Social Media Marketing

So, marketing our libraries services using social media. Doing some research online, I found that companies and organisations are unsure as to whether this is a worthwhile venture. A selection of their arguments against social media marketing include:
  • It doesn’t generate profit
  • It can be unpredictable
  • It is too easy to become addicted and wastes time
Some of the points in favour of it are:
  • It increases website traffic
  • It is both free and entertaining
  • It gets the message out faster to a huge audience
For libraries, I think it's important to connect with your readers and to be able to inform them of your services. The new avenues of social media enable you to do this and because they are so popular, I think they're a really useful way to interact with and update people.

From zero to hero: here comes Zotero

Well, after initially struggling to find the Zotero icon (my Firefox persona is quite dark so I couldn't see it!) I managed to get to grips with using it. I wish I had this when I was doing my university degree, as it would have made referencing a whole lot easier. My system of writing down references, losing them, having to look back through everything I'd consulted, before finding them again, seems a bit daft now...

I think Zotero would be of great use in the library for constructing reading lists for the students. It would make this a quicker and easier task. It has also been really helpful to learn how to use it because we sometimes get asked about it and now I'll actually know what people are talking about! Thank you Cam 23 =)

Friday, 23 July 2010

LinkedIn: Facebook for the American businessman

(Must stop thinking of Link from the Legend of Zelda video game whenever I see the word LinkedIn.)

I watched this YouTube video for a simple explanation of what LinkedIn is all about;

I have to admit, I'm not a big fan. It seems like the social networking market has become totally dominated by Facebook, leaving all others in the dark. As a result, there aren't as many people on these other sites, so it's hard to find anyone you know. LinkedIn doesn't look as easy to use an
d seems mainly populated with American businessmen. I'm not sure what the benefits for libraries would be, if more people jumped on the LinkedIn bandwagon then maybe it would be more worthwhile taking part. As it is, I don't think there would be much of an audience to inform and keep in touch with. I'd need more convincing on this one I'm afraid.


Facebook. The social networking phenomenon. It has recently reached 500 million members worldwide (8% of the population) including more than 25 million Brits - that's one in three!

I signed up for Facebook in my first year at university, to keep in touch with friends from school when we all went our separate ways. It's good for that purpose but, like Twitter, it does stray into the realms of "I'm eating breakfast" and "Can't wait for the weekend" at times. I will always be grateful to Facebook for reintroducing me to a friend who has now been my boyfriend for two years. We first met in a few lectures at university but lost touch and then I saw he was a friend of a friend so I added him and we got together =) I don't use it as often as I used to now because I never seem to have time but I still upload my photos for my family and friends to see.

I think it's a great way for libraries to inform their readers of news, i.e. opening hours, events, new acquisitions, etc, especially as such a large amount of people are now using Facebook. It's easy to use, has a good layout, and is a fast, simple way of getting information across. A downside that has been in the news a lot recently is the privacy. Personally I don't find it a problem, it's all down to common sense. I only add people I actually know as my friends and I don't include any information I don't want people finding out. So there it is, another positive Thing!


On to Things 14 and 15: LibraryThing. I enjoyed uploading a few of the titles in my collection onto the website and thought the layout was really nice, especially the 'Your books' tab;

You can see pictures of the covers of the books, the author, title, the tags you've given them and the ratings. I think LibraryThing is
a really good idea. You can see which books are recommended for you based on the ones in your library, you can read reviews by other people, and you can see whether your books have won any awards. I imagine it's extremely time-consuming though if you have a lot of books. You can see from looking at the tag cloud what most of your books are about;

I think LibraryThing is a good idea for book fans wondering what to read next or wanting to interact with like-minded people. I think it would also be good for small libraries but would be a mammoth task for large libraries to upload their collections. I like the widgets you can use to display books on a website, and it's a great idea that libraries can integrate data from LibraryThing into their own catalogues. All in all, that's a thumbs up for LibraryThing, now I'm off to add more books!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Time to reflect

12 Things down already! I've enjoyed the Cam23 experience so far and I feel more confident about my knowledge of Web 2.0 technologies. The Things have been very informative and well described.

According to the VARK questionnaire here, the Cam23 activities have suited my style as it said "You have a very strong Read/Write learning preference". At the bottom of the study strategies handout page it also said "You like this page because the emphasis is on words and lists. You believe the meanings are within the words, so any talk is OK but this handout is better. You are heading for the library." I'm already there! How spooky.

I would definitely be happy to recommend Flickr to a colleague and maybe a few of the other Things if I thought they'd be relevant. I hope to continue my enthusiasm as I approach the downhill slope of the next 12 Things and slide towards the finish line.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Delicious bookmarking

Well, the name doesn't give anything away about what it is. Delicious is in fact a social bookmarking website where you can keep all of your websites in one place and organise them with tags. I kind of get what it's about, but I'm still not totally convinced that it's worthwhile. So I'm going to sit on the fence for now. What I don't like is that it seems a bit pointless really. You can already store websites in your 'bookmarks' menu, or just search Google for it - quick and easy.

Maybe I feel this way because I don't visit a huge number of websites, if I had loads, then maybe I'd feel the need to have a place where I could organise them effectively. As for the benefits for libraries, I think that it could be quite good to have a page where you could direct readers to useful websites, however, we already have a page in our 24hr Library section for our part-time students called 'Useful Links' that provides this function anyway. So, not jumping up and down cheering for Delicious just yet, but not totally against it either, think I just need a bit more convincing.

Slideshare: for sharing slides

Slideshare; a place where you can, quite simply, share PowerPoint presentations with others. I definitely don't think it's something I would use personally, but I can see how it could be useful for libraries.

At this library, we already upload presentations to students' CamTools as a reminder of what was said to them at their inductions. As these are specific to this library I don't really see how others would find them that useful, maybe just for inspiration if they are stuck for ideas when creating their own. Also, presentations are by nature concise, just using keywords and pictures to get a point across, usually relying on the person giving the presentation to provide more detail on the various points, therefore quite often these presentations are lacking in-depth information.

I did find some good presentations on Web 2.0 technologies and I think Slideshare could come in quite handy, it would just be a matter of trying to direct readers to the site and convincing them of its benefits.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Picture perfect

I enjoyed searching Flickr's vast image bank again. I have used it previously when looking for pictures and found it very useful. I have my own camera but don't use it often enough so I don't have my own account. I'm taking it with me on my holiday to Cornwall soon so maybe I'll upload some photographs, if they're any good! I tend to use Facebook for family and friends photos, as it's easier to share them with everyone.

Using the keyword 'books' I found this cute picture of a cat seemingly in charge of running a bookshop! :) Credit goes to 0olong;

I had a look at the recommended photostreams from local photographers and also the libraries that are using Flickr and I thought the pictures were really impressive and could be a useful way of promoting and publicising. Our deputy librarian has been inspired and has made it her summer project to create a virtual tour of the library, which I think is a really good idea.

Away from libraries, I also found Flickr to be a fantastic place to find some really beautiful scenic pictures by budding photographers.

Above is a photo of St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall by midlander1231, which I'm hoping to visit on my holiday. What a magical image! He has taken lots of other wonderful pictures of Cornwall so I have added an RSS feed from him to my iGoogle page;

Now I can flick through beautiful pictures from my homepage, which is very convenient. I liked Things 9 and 10 and can see how Flickr could be useful for libraries. I thought learning about Creative Commons was really helpful as well, because sometimes it's difficult to know whether a certain image can be reproduced or not. Now I know where to search if I'm looking for an image to use elsewhere.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Tags and Labels

Tags (known as 'labels' on Blogger) are words you can use to describe the content of a particular blog post so that you can organise your information and people can easily search through your posts. You can add a label cloud to Blogger, which shows all of the tags you have assigned. So, if people are interested in a particular topic they can just click on the tag and they will be taken to the blog posts that have been assigned that tag.

Unlike cataloguing library books, there is no right or wrong way to tagging, it is all down to personal preference. I like tagging because if you have a large amount of information (or pictures, as you can also use tags on Flickr) it enables people to find what they are interested in more easily. They are like subject headings that take you directly to a list of everything that is relevant. Quick and easy to use, they are definitely a positive thing in my book!

Tweet tweet

I was initially sceptical about Twitter when there was a big buzz about it - it just seemed similar to the feature on Facebook where you can tell everyone what you are doing...and no one really cares. "Just eating a bacon sandwich", "Listening to my favourite song", "Going off down the pub later" - that side of Twitter I don't find very appealing.

I wondered if it could be used to keep in touch with friends and family, but you can't really say all you want to in 140 characters. So I was left pondering what the benefits could be.

Then I started writing my film blog; reviews, articles and features about cinema. I wanted to find somewhere where I could interact with like-minded people, share my thoughts about movies and let people know when I'd posted something new on my blog. Twitter was the answer. Short, sharp, to-the-point tweets with interesting tidbits and links to pictures or more in-depth articles elsewhere.

It can be of great use to organisations and people with something to say, a way to provide their 'followers' (those who are interested in them)
with information. It could be of benefit to libraries that want to find a way to interact with their readers and let them know about opening hours, events, changes, acquisitions, etc. Saying that, I realise Twitter is not for everyone and there are those who loathe it. I don't think it should be used begrudgingly because only when people are positive about it and make an effort, will they be able to see the benefits.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

The amazing adventures of Doodle and Google (calendar)

Okey dokey, next up are Things 5 and 6. To be honest, although I found both Doodle and Google calendar really easy to use, I don't think I'll be using them, simply because I don't schedule and attend many meetings, or have much to put on my calendar. There are a grand total of eight people working in my library, so if we have a meeting, we can either email each other...or sometimes we just talk (dun dun derr)! I can see the benefits for a larger organisation or if people from different libraries wanted to get together though. As for the calendar, our deputy librarian already produces a really useful weekly sheet that we can refer to via CamTools so I'm not sure it could be used to great effect. Perhaps in our busy periods in Michaelmas term when there are lots of library inductions for new students it could be of help then so we know what is taking place on which days. Here is a screenshot of my Google calendar with a fake meeting scheduled! :P

A post about blogging, or a blog about posting

So, I have visited a few of the other blogs involved in the Cam23 programme and they all look really great. Everyone seems to be really getting into it and enjoying exploring the different Web 2.0 tools. I think it was a good idea to take part in something like this in order to extend our knowledge of things our readers may use day to day so we can help them and maybe promote our services in different ways. Also, I will probably use some of these things personally at home - for example, RSS feeds. A short and sweet post this time, so I will leave you with a picture of Johnny Depp to enjoy, just because I can!

RSS feeds feed me knowledge

I think RSS feeds are a really good idea. Being able to view new content from your favourite websites all in one place is both quicker and more convenient. Because people in general have become very lazy, I also believe this would be a better way to get information across to the masses, as they are much more likely to quickly add an RSS feed than to constantly keep visiting your site on the off-chance that a new update has been posted. I have added the RSS feed for the 23 Things Cambridge blog and also the feed for all of the Cam23 blogs.

Something I have just discovered but am excited about is Google Reader (see screenshot), a better way to keep on top of all your feeds. It is much easier to see which sites you have subscribed too and you can also 'star' interesting posts that you want to refer to later. I think it's definitely something I'm going to be using more often in the future.

I also thought the further reading for Thing 2 was very interesting, listing ways in which libraries could use RSS feeds to their advantage. I think they could be utilized very effectively in order to keep people informed and updated.

Indeedy iGoogle

I'm really glad I discovered iGoogle through this Web 2.0 programme as it's really useful, both for home and work, as a place to keep all the web pages you visit in one place. This is great for lazy people like me because all of the information can be there right in front of you as soon as you log in. I have two separate areas on my page; home and library stuff. My homepage has BBC news, weather, IMDb (I'm a big movie fan) and even a virtual wolf called Oz! ;) On my library stuff page I have a 'children's book of the day', Copac search and RSS feeds for libraries and the 23 Things blogs (which I will talk about more in my next post). I like that you can have a different theme for each section, as it was really hard to decide which one to pick, so now I can have two! I have a starry sky with a full moon on one and Johnny Depp on another (see screenshots) :D

Thursday, 10 June 2010

My first post!

Welcome to my thingymeblog! Here I will be blogging about the Cam 23 Things. I have used Blogger before although I wouldn't consider myself an expert in it, I also have had a dabble on Facebook and Twitter. I hope Cam 23 will enable me to extend my knowledge of Web 2.0 and learn how it can be used for work as well as play. I'm looking forward to reading other people's views and opinions on how successful it could be for libraries. Right, let's get started!