Monday, 23 August 2010

Eee - books!

This week we have been rewarded with yummy macaroons (delicious!!) in the staff room so I thought I better shake a leg and finally finish my e-books post!

I had a play with finding e-books on Newton...I used Literature Online a few years back but it was good to get a thorough refresher and have a nose at what Cambridge has to offer. Also interesting to have a browse through NHS e-books and see what they had in comparison. Lastly, I had a look at the most popular book as of yesterday on Project Guttenberg - "How to analyse people on sight" (Ooh er). Then I looked at "The tale of Peter Rabbit" to see how the quality of the illustrations differed to looking at them in paper format (answer = quality was good!) However, whilst I have used e-books in the past and would continue to be quite happy to dip into using them for work purposes, I don't think I'd like to read a book for pleasure on an e-book device. I think the novelty would wear thin for me. E-books are great if you haven't got access or time to nip into the library for the physical copy of the book. E-book readers and kindles are quite tempting but I think I prefer to read novels etc off-screen, for now! Although one would be handy on the move and would save me space on the bookshelf...anyone care to lend me one so I can try it out ;-) ?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The finish line

So it's the end of 23 Things as we know it. Well, sort of. I'm still going to be continuing my Medical Library 23 Things so my ramblings shall continue for a while yet. I've just realised that I never actually posted a reflection post halfway through (thing 13) so hopefully I'll make it up for it now.


It was always much harder to get back into the swing of 'things' if I'd taken a few days off or fallen behind slightly. Having the time to explore things thoroughly (especially for some reason about midway through) has sometimes been a stretch, but I'm not complaining! The programme works well because you can dip in and out of things, go back to them and 'top' up knowledge of things you might have already explored previously.

Despite the fabulous Google Reader that allows me to have up to date feeds of everyone in the Cam 23 programme, it's impossible to follow every blog to the last detail and comment on every post. Unless you actually are a super human. Which I'm not.

It's kickstarted Cambridge library discussion over our blogs, twitter and lots of interesting meetings and future events have sprung up from it. I've had some really interesting conversations face to face in the workplace and met some more lovely people in the Cambridge network. It's been fascinating to observe how some people really take to one thing, but others hate it with a passion. Whatever floats your boat eh?

Things I'll keep using

Google calendar and docs - I even recommended using Google calendar to somebody else who isn't a 23 thinger and they're now using it. Bonus point.

Wiki's - Fantastic for collaborative work.

RSS feeds - Be gone millions of stored useless favourites.

Flickr - A strong contender to Google images.

Doodle - Brilliant!

Youtube - My heart belongs to you

Twitter - For professional purposes

Blogging itself - It's been fun!

Things I'm glad to have been introduced to and want to improve my knowledge of

Zotero - I plan to look at Endnote again and maybe also Mendeley

Delicious - Despite my initial enthusiasm, I've sort of forgotten to bookmark. Anything. Note to self - Must get 'bookmark to delicious' stamped onto my brain.

Things I might use, or maybe not so much

Slideshare - Useful to be aware of but not sure how much I'd actually use it.

iGoogle - I dip in and out of all depends whether I remember to log into it.

Facebook - I knew it inside out beforehand, but having discussions and contemplating on the professional and personal uses during 23 things made me realise how much time I waste using it. I've locked down my settings even further and deleted many more people I just don't even know that well. So instead of embracing this 'thing', I guess you could say that 23 things has made me shy away from it.

Thank you to everyone who organised Cam 23 and to all the fellow bloggers - I've enjoyed reading your posts! See you at the wrap party :-)

Wordle: Untitled

Podcast outcast

I don't really listen to podcasts really, but I can see how they have their uses. They appear to have many more 'official' and professional uses tha youtube (my youtube post can be found here) I used to listen to podcasts on long plane journeys and I can imagine that they have the same beauty that sky plus now has for me, in that you can save up your episodes and then watch/listen to them when you want to, wherever you are. As the little video I watched proclaimed "when it comes to podcasts, showtimes don't matter."

I listened to a some podcasts on the BMJ site and these are the perfect example of a podcast that's interesting and informative and I can imagine these being popular with health professionals. Out of curiousity I then listened to a Medical Library podcast that I found on the University of Aberdeen website. Here, I got introducted to all of the friendly staff members and they gave me a tour of the library in podcast form. Whilst they spoke clearly, I'm still not sure whether I'd rather listen to this than actually have a face to face tour. To compare, I then listened to the library tour from the Goldsmiths library complete with funky music. In contrast, I was quite impressed with this walk round guided tour and would happily listen to this in order to familiarise myself to the library (whether I would think to download it in the first place is another question altogether...)

Docs and Wiki's part 2

I can happily direct you here for my previous post on Thing 20 (Google Docs) and 22 (Wikis) for the Cam 23 Things programme. The MedLib crossover is now paying off!

Since writing that post at the end of June, I've continued to explore and use Google Docs on and off. I'm really glad I was introduced to handy. As for Wikis, we're now using pbworks for our staff meeting agenda and also for the summer UL quiz. As I said in my previous post, I still think wiki's are great for collaborating together to form a wealth of knowledge. The Library Routes wiki is another good example of this.

Social marketing and this is a job for Zotero...

Just had a play with the snazzy little reference tool that is Zotero. First thoughts are that it's easy to download, it's free, it works with in real time and I'll say this again - how come I never knew anything like this existed when I was at university? Answer - I was probably to busy typing or writing my references up by hand (and saving, saving and double saving) that's why. I I wasn't quite as bad as one of my friends friends who had never been told word count existed (and yes, she did literally count every single word she typed...) I think, similarly to Emma, I only came across Zotero when I was already writing my final piece of work, so perhaps that's why I was hesitant to use it (along with my 'if anything goes wrong and I lose all my references and have to sit here and type out my stupid bibliography again, it will be the end of the world as I know it' mentality). It would have been great to have had the opportunity for a proper training session on something like Zotero, or EndNoteWeb at the beginning of my studies and then I would have been able to use it with confidence throughout the years. Confidence with referencing is the key really...I better stop talking now before memories of nightmares about accidentally somehow plagiarising spring up. I'm glad I've come across Zotero now and can get to grips with it though. Really like that ref tools have their own easy to find place in the library toolbox as well.

As for marketing or social marketing to be more specific, I agree that a solid strategy for getting the message out there effectively should be at the core of our day to day work. I've already blogged about my mild skepticism towards library's having facebook pages, but then I also feel it's worth having one if it's used in the right way (Contradictory, me?) As part of my M.A., we had to undertake a marketing project relating to a certain aspect of the university's current library service. It was one of the best modules of the whole course, really interesting. One of the problems my group identified when doing this project was that the message wasn't currently getting across to as many people as it possibly could, in the wide range of formats available. It was very hit and miss. I agree with Isla on this one (go here for her post) :-

"It’s not so much what tool you use, so long as it reaches people and it does the job. So newsletters can still be posted round if that’s what will reach your audience, but email’s might be more effective, and an email with a link to a blog might reach the people you email and also more people who’re not on your list but who stumble across it. Having a twitter account in the library will catch as many people as it alienates or confuses, but if you only use twitter, you’re really missing a trick."

I also really liked the idea of social media cards to better communication. I've never really thought about it in much detail, but it's really true that if you feel you have a personal or professional understanding with someone, you're more likely to ask them for help. Pretty obvious really.

Friday, 6 August 2010

The journey of a journal

Well I'm skipping forward a few 'things' to talk about the 'Follow that Journal' breather we had this week (I girl guide promise to catch up on my missing 'things' asap!)

It was interesting to learn about journal selection in more detail, especially about the evaluation process, the consultation commitees involved and the scoring of points. The points system seemed a bit complicated but I was assured it was the best method to use when figuring out the top ranking journals so things are done fair and squarely. Lack of money seemed to be the constant challenge.

It was also interesting to notice the subtle differences when it came to checking in the serials between how we do it and how it's done at the CSL. Most notable one being they have a snazzy little machine that prints off their labels whilst we (Well not me personally) have to do all the hard work ourselves! Ah, it's a hard life.


Friday, 23 July 2010

Maps are fun!

I think it's safe to say that the maps task has been a bit of a hit around here. From looking at the both google maps and open street map, I now know I live about 25.3 miles from work which is about a half hour car journey, a 7 hour walk or 2 loooong hours on public transport...that will be due to the age old '1 bus every fortnight' timetable that seems to have been operating around my village since I was about 10 years old then.


I've used google maps a lot before to help me navigate my way to places. I find it really useful that as well as the typical street names, google maps points out handy landmarks and restaurants so that when I'm walking along and suddenly spot something, I know I'm on the right track. Open Street maps also seemed to use this kind of feature well. Street View is brilliant and also mind boggling how it is actually even possible although it does have the potential to be a little bit creepy...I zoomed into my sisters bedroom window but you couldn't see anything so I think we're safe for now!

The Tim Berners Lee video was really interesting to watch and just goes to show that it really is brilliant what you can do with these map mash much potential for so many things!

Afterall, I can now calculate my imaginary cab fare in New York (it's going to cost me 39 dollars to get from JFK to New York Public Library), find the cheapest petrol in my area and even avoid a disease outbreak...thank you maps!