Sunday 15 August 2010

Wordle - I have been waiting for this one!

I have been waiting for this one, and not just because it is the end of 23 Things! I have been dying to play with Wordle and I hope that the finished image looks good!
I have liked and disliked some of the Things in equal measure. I will be using Zotero in the again since I am already finding it very useful for keeping track of my references. Other favourites were SlideShare and YouTube. I think that these could be the way of delivering presentations in the future since they enable people to see/hear the content without having to organise a time and place where they can all get together.
Things that I was not so keen on include Doodle and LinkedIn. This is more down to personal preference than there being anything wrong with them. I think that there are better ways of scheduling meetings and LinkedIn just doesn't seem appropriate for me right now.
I think that Web 2.0 could certainly be a way for libraries to maintain contact with their users. In fact those that don't use at least some of the tools run the risk of being left behind. Users will have grown up with this technology and they will expect libraries to use it. I think that it should become a major part of ongoing professional development and that none of us should give into the temptation of 'leaving it to someone else'.
I have really enjoyed 23 Things overall and I feel like I have learned a lot. I am now more confident with using Web 2.0 techonology and would at least know what a user was talking about if I was asked a question. Although I am not really in a position to be implimenting any of them in my current job I will continue to monitor changes and in the future, who knows!


I start this week with a confession: I use Wikipedia all the time! I know that makes me a bad librarian but sometimes it can provide a very useful starting point.
I always thought of Wikis as just something like Wikipedia which was for mass usage rather than something that could be used for a library. However, this weeks Thing has shown me that it does have its uses. I take the point that email can be a slow way of organising things and Wikis could be a way of speeding up collaborations. When librarians have a project to organise it could save a lot of time and duplicated effort. I suspect that some librarians who are just getting used to email will take some persuasion before using wikis though!
I especially liked the idea of the online book club mentioned in the SlideShare presentation. I think that this would work well for public libraries that offer this kind of service to their users, especially for users who might find it hard to make the meetings such as mothers of small children.
I am not so sold on the idea of using wikis for user guides as I think that they could be open to abuse. I am sure that some students would think that it was hilarious to send new users on a wild goose chase around the building looking for the photocopiers or something. Until security has been improved I am not sure that this would be the best use for wikis. As the picture shows, ANYONE can edit them!
(Image credit: slava)

Sunday 8 August 2010

Podcasting and YouTube

I really like the idea of podcasting. I think that the library could use them as introductions to the different departments or even the library as a whole. This would be especially useful for somewhere like the UL which has many departments of interest to different users. I have said before that I don't think users take much notice of newsletters or leaflets and podcasting would be another way of introducing them to the services. Maybe an introduction to the Reference Department or the Official Publications Department showing who they are and what they do. So many MP3 players are equipped with video now so a short video introduction could be made to each department for users to download when they needed. They could then take this with them when they visited the department. I think that users don't ask the obvious questions because they don't want to look stupid so this could be used as an alternative. This could also work for non-video podcasts. I would also like to see the library newsletter turned into a podcast format so that users can listen on the go.
Linking podcasts and YouTube videos to events at the library would be a good publicity move. This would give users who cannot physically get to the library a chance to see things such as the recent Sassoon exhibition at the UL. Maybe in the form of a virtual tour? This would certainly raise the library's profile.
I listened to the Goldsmiths podcasting tour which is similar to what I had in mind. I think it could be quite entertaining to watch all these new students walking around listening intently on their ipods! Hopefully this would encourage users who seem to have an aversion to asking for help/taking library tours to actually use the library during the year rather than just the two weeks before their exams!
(Image credit: D'Arcy Norman)

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Google Docs

Google Docs seems like a really great idea. Users can share documents and access them from anywhere with Internet access. I have often had the same problem mentioned in the video - keeping track of multiple attachments can be hard. It does make me wonder whether the author can see the edits that are made to the document or whether they just appear? I am sure the answer will become obvious after a little play.
I think that I will be making use of this one in the future. It seems a little too good to be true though so I am wondering if it will show its bad side eventually! It could be a good way to get documents like how-to-guides out to users. It could even be used to send such a document out to a selected group of readers and get feedback before the official release. I am sure that more uses will spring out at me the more I use it but for now I am really liking this one!
(Image credit: ifindkarma)

Sunday 1 August 2010

Marketing with 2.0

Using Web 2.0 in your library is a marketing feature in itself. By using modern technology we are helping to dispel the image of dusty librarians and even dustier books. Students want to use the latest technology and if we can use it to then we must be doing something right. It also helps to reach out to the users on a platform that they are familiar and comfortable with. If they won't come to us then we have to go to them!
I agree with the main blog post that these new technologies should be seen as opportunities and not threats. Although they can be scary things to get to grips with I think the end results will be worth it.
I am not really in a position to actually implement any changes at the library so I will play fantasy librarian for a moment. If I was in charge, in addition to a bigger office, I would take the opportunity to get the library out there in as many ways as possible. Setting up a Facebook page would be a priority as would adding a LibraryThing page. I like the idea of the social media cards. Users seem to latch onto one or two particular librarians and this would be a good way to stay in contact, if the librarian is happy with it of course! I would start small and build up to using more social sites but I think that establishing am online presence is important.
(Image credit: Lawrence OP)


I am not completely in love with this tool but I am well on my way to a lasting relationship!

Being a student I am finding it hard to keep track of my references (I know, terrible!). I can be at work cataloguing a book and find something really interesting that might be relevant for an essay or just browsing on the internet. I tend to save my links to whichever computer I am on at the time or write them down on scraps of paper for later use. Of course, this means that I spend a fair bit of time running around after the references at a later stage. Needless to say, anything which helps with this problem seems like a good thing. I am disappointed that it can't be run with Internet Explorer which is the browser which I normally use but that is easy to fix. I will be playing about with this one in the next few weeks.
I think that this would a good application to make users aware of since it has the potential to save so much time (and late nights trying to locate that missing piece of paper). I also really like the idea of creating a list for users where you can add notes about the material. It seems like an excellent way to get users using sources which they might not otherwise consider. It can also be adpated to reading lists for specific courses (which people no doubt already do).
At last, a reason to REALLY love this Web 2.0 thing!
(Image credit: Chocolate Geek)