Thursday, 19 August 2010

The end is nigh!

I've made it to the end! There was a point about a week ago when I thought I wouldn't be able to finish, but after a lot of perseverance I've got there.

The most useful thing I've learnt about has probably been Zotero, as it has applications for both the Education library and my own work. I also enjoyed learning how to use things like Flickr and Slideshare, as well as LibraryThing. Out of everything my least favourite was Twitter, but that may be because of the prejudices I already held against it! But I'll definately be using Zotero again.

Perhaps the most significant thing I've got out of this though has been the impact of social media on modern library services. I think that it's important for library services to at least be aware of the pros and cons of social media, even if they don't actively use such a platform. Libraries just need to find out what works best for them.

As a library we will be taking quite a lot from the 23 Things programme. We are thinking about the possible use of Flickr, Delicious and Facebook to help bring web 2.0 technologies to our readers. But at the very least we are now aware of just how much there is out there!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


My main experience of wikis up until fairly recently was Wikipedia. I was always taught to approach wikipedia with caution and it was a banned source at uni. But recently it seems to have got a lot more reliable, although you still need to approach it with caution.

At Education we use a wiki on our staff CamTools site to list jobs to do, make notes and lists, etc. It's good in that we can all edit it, adding things and crossing them off when necessary. Wikis in general are a good way of larger groups exchanging ideas and information. I suppose that in many ways it's similar to Google Docs, as users can share and edit information. It certainly saves a lot of hassle sending emails with attachments back and forth!

Podcasting and YouTube

I have been looking at videos on YouTube for a few years now and to be honest I never considered that it could be a useful tool for libraries. I've always looked at music videos and silly presentations that we did at school. It's good that anyone can shoot their own videos and upload them, but you can get an awful lot of tat. But I think it's the same for most user-generated content on the internet.

I think YouTube could be a really useful tool for libraries. The ability to upload presentations and tours of the library would be handy to help students familiarise themselves with a new system, although there could be a bit of overlap if you already have similar things uploaded onto sites such as Flickr and Slideshare. It's probably just a case of finding what works best for you though.

Podcasting is something that I've always meant to look into a bit more. I know my dad has managed to download quite a few podcasts to take on holiday with him, but I've just never got round to it. I'm not sure if it's something that would be that useful to us as a library, although I'm sure it works well for other larger libraries. I'm just not that sure how we would use it. It's good to spread the message and make sure information is available to as wide an audience as possible, but you could spend so much time making presentations and podcasts that you end up with no time for your readers.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Google Docs

Now that Eastenders has finished I can continue this evening waging war on the things!

In the absence of any imagination when faced with creating a document to share using Google docs, I went for a cute picture of an axolotl. They're just so cheerful!

I can see that Google docs can be useful if you want to share a document with a variety of people and allow them to edit it. Everyone is familiar with Google these days and it's fairly intuitive.

I'm not sure how much we would use it as a library because we have just started using the shared network to edit documents and share them with each other. But if we ever had the need to share documents with others outside the network then this would definately be something to remember.


So, I've come to realise that the only way I'm ever going to get to the end is to do a few of the things at home. I promised myself I wouldn't do this, but I'm also determined to finish, plus there's nothing on telly and I need to familiarise myself with my new (and very shiny) laptop.

Marketing.... hmmm.....

The scope for marketing with social media is huge, as we have seen with previous "things". As a library we already have a Twitter account that has quite a few followers, and we have been making efforts to promote it. I guess that having a Facebook page might also be useful, but it's just another thing to maintain when we've got other things to do.

I think it's important therefore to select very carefully the avenues down the social media route you want to travel. There's no point putting all your efforts into a site that is not used that widely by your readers because then who's going to see it? But at the same time you don't want to think "Well I might as well cover all the bases then..." because you'll end up with hundreds of sites to maintain and it'll get boring duplicating information. I'm sure we've all got far more interesting and important things to be doing....

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

I like Zotero!

Zotero could be one of the most useful things we've looked at so far. I always wondered what the logo at the bottom of the browser was for and now I know!

I think it could be really useful for us as a library. It could be used to compile reading lists on the courses pages of the Library CamTools site, and as you can choose which referencing style to use it could all be formatted to the same style. We also occasionally have students asking us about referencing systems and how to use Zotero, so now I will be able to show them how to use it.

From a personal point of view I will definitely be learning how to use Zotero to it's full potential. My method of referencing was always a bit haphazard and although I am organised I did have a tendency to misplace the bits of paper that I'd written the references down on. But with Zotero I could keep them all in one place!

Thursday, 22 July 2010


I'm not a fan of LinkedIn so far. And I hadn't heard of it until today. To me this is just another social networking site for you to put your details into, and how many social networking accounts does one really need? It's certainly not as user friendly as Facebook (although my dislike for LinkedIn hasn't reached the same levels as Twitter) as it's very clunky. There aren't as many users on this site either, so I've struggled to find people I know. And it does seem to be mainly American.

I think the benefits for libraries are extremely limited at the moment. It will probably take a while for the site to become more widely used and therefore more useful to libraries. But I can't see it happening that soon.