Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Cam23 withdrawal symptoms

What, still no pictures of the closing ceremony on the Cam23 blog?

I'm chewing the (red) carpet in anticipation.... I've been checking the Cam23 site each day since last Thursday - that's a whole five days now! Oh, well I'll exercise a bit more patience for the photos of the award winners holding their "Oscars". Congratulations to them all for doing so well - and to all the other finishers too.

(Image from mimifroufrou.com)

Friday, 27 August 2010

I'm Loving Wordle!

Here's a Wordle of some of my favourite Cam23 'Things'

Wordle: Cam23

 Wordle: Favourite things
And another of non-Cam23 favourite things - for balance.

Thursday, 26 August 2010


Here's a Wordle screenshot of my blog. Not sure I've completely got the hang of Wordle yet. But it's fun to play around with it!


Or click on the image below to enlarge it!

Wordle: library Cam23 

I'm now looking forward to the "Grand Closing Ceremony". Bring it on!!

Look back in delight

Doing the Cam23 programme has been brilliant! It has opened my eyes to so many useful applications, and given me the push to try out things that I had heard about and never used, plus things I hadn't even heard about before (echoes of  Newt Gingrich's 'known unknowns and unknown unknowns'). It is great to have had personal experience of so many varied web 2.0 applications for two reasons: 1. I now have a great toolkit for communicating with the library users in a variety of ways; 2. I can now recommend relevant applications to students, researchers and friends as useful tools for their work.

Much of the time the Cam23 programme has been quite tough - simply because it was one more element to juggle in hectic days at work and sometimes after work too. Whatever happened to the long-awaited peaceful summer vacation (which was always something of a myth anyway)? Going on holiday for two weeks in the middle meant I had a mountain to climb when I got back, in order to catch up. But I made it and I'm glad I did!

1. Which 'Things' did I find most useful or thought-provoking?
 Actually all the 'Things' were thought-provoking and doing them exercised my little grey cells considerably! This can only be a 'good thing'!
  • I think blogs are great! Because we have had to blog all the way through, I feel really at home with blogs now. I have even persuaded my 77 year-old uncle to set up his own blog! I will definitely use a blog for our Old Library cataloguing project. I'm also keen to explore the possibility of using a  library blog to communicate with students.
  • Doodle is a useful tool which I have already used again to set up a complicated meeeting between a number of people. I can't beleive I never used it before Cam23!
  • Facebook is something we use a lot for the library already (we have a fan page for the Jerwood Library and one for Supporters of the Old Library). We will continue to maintain these  pages - they are a very nice, informal way of getting news out.
  • I'm new to Flickr and a fan! I like the surprising images that you stumble upon as you search - and creative commons means that you can use many of the pictures in library publicity etc.
  • Google Docs and Wikis are fun too - I like the way you can share your docs or wiki site with a group of disparate people (who might not necessarily be linked via our college shared drive). I'm already planning how I can use these both in my professional life and for my hobbies!
  • LinkedIn is something new to me. Now that I am registered I will use for professional networking in the future. 
  • Zotero: I will certainly promote this to my readers as a free, all-singing all-dancing replacement for Endnote. But I would love to go to a user education session on Zotero because I don't feel I've uncovered it's full potential.
2. Which 'Things' didn't I find useful at all? 
This category seems a bit damning! I thought most of the 'Things' could be useful in certain circumstances.

3. Instead, here's my list of 'Things' that I MAY use in the future: 
  • iGoogle: I can see myself using this when I have a computer at home. At the moment the computers I use at work all have shared drives (so there is no need for me to use iGoogle to organise things).
  • Google calendar: Again I can see myself using this when I have a computer at home. At present I use and like the shared calendar in Outlook Express and can see no need to change.
  • Podcasting: I think this is great for BBC radio programmes but I remain sceptical of the value of podcasting in the college library context.
  • Delicious: This could be useful for bookmarking websites to support scholars using our Old Library collections - something for when I've got a bit more time on my hands!.
  • Twitter: Although I find Twitter a bit bewildering (showing my age here!), I have got definite plans to use Twitter in Full Term as another way to communicate with the students.
  • YouTube: For that introductory film about how to use the library that I still haven't done yet.
  • Slideshare: For step-by-step instructions on how to access e-resources, how to check out books.
  • LibraryThing: This was fun on a personal level - but I'm not quite so sure about it's usefulness for the reading list orientated undergraduates. However, the ability to add comments to catalogue records is something worth investigating in the future. I'm hoping Aquabrowser will provide a great front-end for the Newton catalogue.
4. Which have I persisted with?
 All of the things in list 1 above ("Which things did you find most useful or thought-provoking?").

5. What about web 2.0 and social media and how they are shaping library services?
I'm a convert to web 2.0 and social media. A year ago I'd heard a lot about social media but only had a vague idea of what it was - how quickly things change! Library service is becoming much more informal and pro-active as a result of social media. Many online catalogues are becoming interactive, with opportunities to leave comments, more colourfull and flexible. We now have lots of ways of marketing our services that we never had before. It is also much easier for our users to communicate with us and to let us know what they want from the library. This means happier users and a service more tailored to their needs.

The Cam23 programme itself has created a virtual community of Cambridge librarians and is starting to break down barriers between professionals working within Cambridge's three tiered system (UL, faculties and colleges). The college librarians have a very good network and I have feel part of a very supportive community within the CCLF. In addition I have always found the courses and conferences run by the libraries@cambridge team provide excellent opportunities for meeting other librarians within Cambridge. However, the Cam23 programme has added another dimension of communicatiion and collaboration. It has been a real delight to read the blogs of such a diverse group of librarians. The Cam23 blogs show what a creative, witty, innovative and thoughful group we are - I'm lovin' it!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


I'm excited! Wikis have been around for ages (oh my, we're told they were created in 1994... that's the dark ages in terms of web 2.0) but now's the chance to really look into how they are being used in the library world. I use Wikipedia a lot - yes I know it is unreliable, but I find it really useful for a quick introduction to a topic. I haven't used wikis in my library work yet so I will blog about what I have seen and liked.

I took a look at PBworks and liked the idea of using wikis for "Patron service" (i.e. publishing information about new acquisitions). Currently we have the RSS feed for our new acquisitions but this only shows up cataloguing activity from the day before and some of this is re-cataloguing rather than new books. A weekly list of just our newest books would be much more useful to our readers, so perhaps we could use a wiki for this. The Grand Rapids Library has used it's wiki pages to create a very attractive "recommended reads" section, with images of book covers (once you get past the dry initial page of lists of links).

I've also logged onto the Teachmeet wiki site, which is great. It's like a Google Doc, but a website instead. I've added my name to the 'lurkers' section and resisted the urge to add pictures and change the start time to 5.15pm - there's no way I can get to the event for the current start time because I  am at my desk until 5pm!  The great advantage of wikis is that you can create collaborative sites, but the disadvantage is that  this can be open to abuse. That seems to me to be a problem with wiki pages - if you are allowed to edit the document, then you can edit WHATEVER you like. I've heard that Wikipedia spends a lot of time changing things back on controversial pages. So like Wikipedia, if you open up your wiki site to everybody, then you have to set aside time to monitor it.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Getting interactive

Wikipedia tells us that "A podcast is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication". The BBC uses the terminiolgy 'podcasts' for its audio material (Radio programmes) and iPlayer for its videos (TV shows).

I had a listen to some of the JISC podcasts and found them an excellent resource for information on library policy and initiatives. The benefits of audio podcasts is that they can be listened to like a radio programme while you are doing the ironing! They would also be great for getting library information across to students with visual disabilities.

However, in the context of a college library I think a video on YouTube would be a more useful tool - especially for library induction. I can't see students having the patience to sit and listen to an audio podcast of a librarian 'droning on' about how to use the library. So perhaps I'd better get out my new digital camera and figure out how to do work video bit of it...

I can see a really good future for tutorials on the web to introduce students to various applications (how to access ebooks, web of science etc.). The video on plagiarism from Bergen University Library is a great example of this! Closer to home, the Cambridge Libraries Film 'The Perfedt Desk' which will introduce the three tier Cambridge system to  new students is a fantastic step forward. I'm looking forward to seeing it!

Google Docs

Am I the Theo Pahitis of Cam23? I created a Google Doc to share with my Cam23 'buddy' and emailed an invitation to her to add her comments to the document - BUT she can't access it. I've tried emailing it to her again but the poor little doc is still all alone with no-one to share it! I was really worried until I read Aidan's post. At least I'm not the only one with sharing problems!

The principle behind Google Docs is really good, so long as other people can access them too. With that in mind I have now published my Google Doc on the web so that everyone can see it and edit it too! If you have any great tips on 'Moving house' why not add them here?

As with all new applications, getting the best out of Google Docs involves experimentation. However, there's lots of potential in this application for breaking down barriers between people scattered across the globe and for promoting collaborative projects. It's another tool for librarians to promote to their users to help them, organise their scholarly output: from organising conferences and meetings, to collaborating on papers