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!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

LibraryThing, Facebook and Linkedin

Onwards and upwards and this week it's time to look at LibraryThing (catching up again!), Facebook and LinkedIn.

My thoughts on LibraryThing

The world's largest book club, social cataloguing for books. I can definately see the possibilities of LibraryThing and how it can showcase new acquisitions, but I think it's possibly got more uses for individual book lovers, book groups or small libraries and collections. It's a possibility students may go to LibraryThing and use it as a tool to view recent acquisitions or read a review of a particular book in the library, but I don't know how many would actually be bothered to do this. Seems like a fun site though. Who doesn't like books, or talking about them - it's a perfect place to do just that and get recommedations for further reading. In terms of ease of use, I had the opportunity to use LibraryThing on my job swap and found it quite easy to navigate. So all in all, a resource to come back to when I need to read a review of a book (if I don't go to the usual haunt Amazon first...) or if I suddenly feel the urge to be super organised and want to keep track of everything I read.

My thoughts on Facebook

I first became aware of Facebook at university about 4 years ago and have probably had a profile since about then. I don't use it as much as when the craze first kicked off, but I do use it quite a lot to keep in touch with friends scattered in various places in the U.K and other countries. It's also great for sharing photos (although I do really like the Flickr option since exploring it). Before facebook, I used to have a myspace, a sort of rubbish version of fb. I just tried to log on to it to make some comparisons but sadly couldn't remember my password (damn! was quite looking forward to reading some cringe worthy 17 year old exchanges between myself and my friends). The only thing that lets facebook down is the privacy issue, the 'I'm sacking you because you have put details about how much you hate your job online so that everyone can see' issue, or even worse, the divorces, the murders (!) triggered by something that has been read on facebook or a 'relationship status' change. Facebook certainly don't make it easy to make your profile private, or your photo albums, or your personal info (it takes a lot of hunting around to do!) but if you are worried about privacy issues, it is do-able. My profile is private and only those I choose, i.e. my actual friends I know in person (not all of those in my the networks I'm a part of) can see my photos/posts on my wall etc.

I've taken a look at the facebook groups (or 'pages') for the various libraries in Cambridge. I have to say, I do quite like them, although as LottieMSmith puts it so brilliantly in her blog post, there is a wariness when considering the "'dad at the disco syndrome' where we try to impress the Youff with our Kool FB pages." You're never going to get every student joining the group (obviously), but I think it's quite a personable, friendly way to get the message across to those who do decide to join up. Also from setting up groups and events on facebook before, it's really quick to do and easy to maintain.

My thoughts on Linkedin

From looking at the further reading, Linkedin has been around since the time of myspace. "LinkedIn is not your teenager’s MySpace. LinkedIn is not your great aunt’s Facebook. LinkedIn means business." My professional radar was pretty much non-existent at 17, so thats why my thoughts on Linkedin probably used to be "I don't really know all of its uses, but my dad has one, so it's probably a bit boooooring." However, it has caught my interest over the past year, and now from looking at a couple of the example profiles and seeing how it all works, it seems to me like it is the opposite of facebook and may prove to be useful for professional development, just like I found twitter to be. Facebook = for fun, for friends, for non work time. Linkedin and twitter = for professional purposes, networking, contacts, knowledge, etc.

Follow that reader answers

Very late handing in my homework. Here are my answers for our quick fire round newton follow that reader optional extra test! Phew!

1. WN 18.51.1
2. X Not held
3. X Not held
4. WS 18.115-1-2
5. X Not held. Held at UL AT c203.c.7121 (We do have a paediatrics version at WS. 18.65.1-2 but that's the closest we get)
6. WS 18.76
7. WS 18.92
8. WS 18.86
9. X Not held
10. WS 18.125.2

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

YouTube love

I confess. I'm a total YouTube addict and I know the reason why. It all hails back to the late nineties...say 1998. I'm 13 and my sister and I are absolutely obsessed with the top 40 chart on a Sunday. Not even the thought of double physics on a Monday morning could stop our complete and utter joy at this 'event of the week.' We were so obsessed with listening from start to finish that once we even refused to come downstairs for our Sunday dinner (oh there were tears that day!) Anyway the point is, we would sit there and obsessively record on our cassette player the singles each week from the chart. We'd then play this tape back, again and again, all week, until the next Sunday. Surviving on pocket money could only get you so far, one single from woolies and that was it, all gone! But with the beauty of the cassette tape and the sony walkman...the world of tragic 90's tunes was my oyster.

With YouTube it's like a shiny version of the sony's's online...and you don't have to wait 6 days to listen/watch anything new. Most of all though, you don't have to keep jabbing at the 'record' key really quickly and then rewinding it back a million times during the week (and it was at least a million). Before I knew things like Spotify existed, it was YouTube all the way. At uni when I was a poor student, it was great for watching music videos or random plays of songs I just really couldn't be bothered (or liked enough) to download properly. With YouTube I also get to watch dodgy recordings of performances I don't have the chance to go and see...look up a tutorial of how to...well do just about anything. YouTube can also save your sanity when somebody records over the season finale of your favourite tv series (I mention no names...)

But the number one reason why I love youtube:-

There are some completely crazy videos out there. So you definately have to use your own judgement and weed out what you want from what can be sometimes quite frankly, the utterly bizarre.

"This is a liiiiibrary." Well Cookie Monster, if you came to our library, you might not get any cookies but there is definately a chance you might get some cake!

I wonder what would happen if all the Cam 23ers vlogged, instead of blogged?

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Follow that reader...

This week we're having a little break from 'things' and doing a follow instead. This afternoon we have been following reader registration (that's an 0, not an O...and a 5 not an S) and then we got to pretend we were readers ourselves and test our basic skills out (and our memories!)

Can we remember how to do a double sided photocopy, add printer credit, scan a document and log onto the wireless network? 'Simple!' I hear you cry! Why are we all wasting our time bothering with that? Answer? It's a valuable refresher exercise. If you're working from the 'other side' of the desk, there's a chance you might forget how to do these tasks or not quite be up to scratch. And how embarassing would that be if a reader asked you how to do one of them and you didn't know...or possibly even worse, making an attempt and failing...(the binder and several 'Sheila, I'm getting in a right mess!' moments spring to mind)

So I've brushed up on my double sided photocopying and am now up to speed with enlarging and shrinking documents (hopefully I've got the knack!), logged onto the wireless network numerous times throughout the past two days whilst working away in the 'cage' on the far side of the library and scanned in a document as well (see above).

Finally...I took on my arch enemy...the binder. I'm really forgetful with this piece of equipment especially while readers are patiently waiting to bind their work and my brain turns into goo. However, I've now had a good practice with it so hopefully I should be able to wow anyone who comes in next with my fantastic binding skills! Watch this space!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Slideshare and Delicious (again!)

Slideshare. Well 23 Things just keeps throwing useful resources out there at me! I've had a good hunt around several presentations that have been shared by others on a few topics which we've already looked at over the past few weeks (Twitter etc) I like how you can browse by 'events' and 'categories' as well and I also found some slideshows from old lecturers. If you can't be there in person, sharing the slideshow is surely a good second option.

Now I'm going to have a try at embedding a slideshow...let's see if this works....


And as for a bit of 23 Things crossover that has worked in my favour...I'd like to lead your here to my post on Delicious which was my thing 10 for the Med Lib 23 things but can now also be my thing 12 for Cam 23 things :-)

Testing out wireless access on the library laptop

Dear reader,

After a long, hot and interesting day spent at the open day over at the UL, here I am back in the lovely Medical Library wirelessly writing to you from the library laptop. Logging on was simple as abc and it's always good to practice the things that readers will be asking you how to do! (I better get brushing up on my binding skills...) As an inquisitive young lady (I did get mistaken for an 18 year old many times over the past two days afterall...woohoo!) this is definately something I don't like to happen...the not knowing the answer to an enquiry I should know the answer to I mean. So brushing up on basic skills in a practical manner like this is always a plus. Also it's quite nice to be blogging away from the desk...although I think I'll be happy to get back to the air conditioned office in a minute :-)

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Oooh the iPod touch.

Thing 14 and this week we got to play with our library iPod touch and have a good hard think about how mobile technology works. Well...we all had great fun playing with all the applications and I think we agreed a lot of them would be very useful (in particular maps and access to the internet on the go). In our inevitable fast moving world where everyone is so much more go-go-go, the applications have the potential for students, researchers and the like to look things up quickly, watch videos, renew their books and do a whole manner of other things (nearly anything you could think of I think...) much more speedily than before...and it fits in your pocket and you can do this anywhere! Still not convinced if I'd prefer an iPad over an iPhone or Touch to be honest for this very reason (isn't it just a giant version of the small, cute, iPhone?)

The general concensus in the team was the Touch was a handy little thing indeed...although it did take a while to get used to the touch screen but we all seemed to get the knack of it in the end. What will Apple come up with next, I wonder?


Monday, 28 June 2010


thank you kalandrakas
Flickr. Not something I've really used before, apart from randomly and always when I want to find what I would term an 'artistic' sort of image. Or a completely silly one (as you can see above with the dogs chilling in the sunshine) I tend to have always opted for googling images when needed. Whilst I still view Flickr as a more creative option and google images more like bang! what I want straight away, it was still handy to explore the 'creative commons' option in the advanced search. Perhaps I should do a Flickr v. Google images over the next week or so and see which one scores up the highest when it comes to practicality.

Google docs and PB Wiki

Two useful tools explored this past week for the Medical Library's 23 which I have never used before (Google Docs) and one which I've used already in the past (PBWiki)

Here's my try at creating a 'picture' on google docs. Saving and sharing a document was really easy - I liked this option and another bonus was your work saved automatically..great for forgetful types or if you have to rush away from your computer screen! So all in all, another great one for collaborative working and also when working on the go!

I've used PBWiki for group work before and it's great for uploading files and sharing ideas. It's also really easy to see what changes have been made, by who, and when they changed them...and this was always a perk when doing 'group work' tasks at uni and making sure people had pulled their weight! ;-)

We used a wiki in the last library I worked in and it was met with a bit of scepticism. But after a while, everyone found it to be a really good 'jargon buster' for all those terms and acronyms you sometimes weren't sure of.

It often went a bit like this: You've received an email from someone with a phrase and you don't know what it means and there's nobody to ask? (I remember not having a clue what 'kick it in the long grass' meant but maybe that's just my naievity...) Look it up on the wiki! You're not sure on what 'official' line to take is when responding to someones elaborate reasoning as to why they can't pay their library fine? Look it up on the wiki!

We've already used it for staff meeting agenda contributions over here..and I think being able to share other colleagues wealth of experience and knowledge of certain subjects is really valuable. When people move on, their knowledge will still be documented and of use those left behind..and I should imagine it would also make the hand over of a job role not quite so nightmare-ish. It seems a shame that often when people leave a workplace they take all their know-how and skills with them...but with something like a wiki they can easily leave some of it behind!

Friday, 25 June 2010

The Big Conversation in Cambridge...a few random thoughts

Here are my two cents on the conversation I attended earlier this week about the future of the information profession and about how we see CILIP's current and future role. As mostly a quiet observer, it certainly gave me food for thought and a lot to mull over. Other notes can be found here here here here here and here (phew!)

Firstly, it got me thinking about the wide diverse role of the information professional and about the stigma attached. I know from personal experience that not a lot of people actually know what we do. "What do you need to do an MA for when all you do is stamp books?" We've all heard it. So, are you proud to say you're a librarian? Furthermore, does it even matter how we're labelled? Could CILIP do more to promote our profession, or more specifically, what we actually do? I think that this is also the responsbility of the library team itself and also the organisation you're working within. It was clear from those that attended and their wide range of experiences, that we all do a variety of different things, not neccesarily just in a traditional library setting. Does CILIP successfully represent this? In job adverts we're information specialists, information officers, information architects, librarians, foi officers, records management leaders, knowlege management managers and a whole range of others...we certainly do seem to have a lot of hats. Does that matter? I think it does. Understandably, I should imagine it's probably quite a complex job, but it was felt that CILIP didn't always quite cover the bases for everyone and could improve upon this. Can we justify paying the money for membership, if we're not actually getting anything professionally out of it?

In reference to the 'Where will be in 10 years time' question then, I think the only thing I can be sure of is that it seems to me like in some workplaces it's a constant battle to justify the library's existence and one that we'll probably have to keep fighting. From my research for my dissertation, I found that librarians were real value-adders and moreover interpreters for the workplace studied (the Civil Service) as a whole. However, there was an over-riding impression that senior members of staff failed to recognise this. Remarkably, one of my interviewee's told me that the only time a senior member of staff would be interested in the library would be if it was making actions to shut it down to save money. Ho-hum! It always seemed ironic to me that those senior to me sometimes failed to recognise the value of librarian’s transferable skills when such an effort was being made to enhance professional skills for the organisation in the first place. But anyway...

Another interesting point was why do we need recognition? How important is chartering? The overall majority felt that chartership was a worthwhile process and that the 'status' gained quite possibly helped to secure future roles, especially in certain sectors in this competitive job market. I have been thinking about starting to charter this year as I can see the benefits. But again, it comes back to that niggly value and money thing...thing with CILIP is, what do we actually get for our money and is it worth it? For example, some of the courses that come up in my emails do look like they would probably help me to develop certain skills I'd really love to get a chance to have a stab at. As a student, I could say that CILIP was great value for money. But as someone who went to university in London for 3 years, then worked there for 1, then went to university again to gain my MA (CILIP accredited ;-), once I've paid up for my CILIP membership fee's, I certainly don't have a spare 370 quid knocking about to spend on a course rated 'good to excellent' by 90% of those attending (I should hope so!) I understand these are my own life choices (nobody forced me to go to university, infact I was quite willing to...) but for me (and for the majority in the group I think) it was felt that events held by special interest groups were of much more value for money. I will certainly be looking out for more of them to attend in the future. Other things like my job swap with Emma have really been valuable and things organised within Cambridge, such as the brown bag lunches, are also great. Maybe in the future I might be able to attend a CILIP course (and of course, I can't really comment on the content as I've never been) but at the moment, my other options will do nicely for me.

So, I agree that it would be great if events by special interest groups/regional branches could be promoted more effectively and that emails could easily be sent back and forth etc (this seemed to be a problem). I think the importance of talking to others in the profession, networking and generally keeping on top of things adds great value to what we do, so it seems a shame that CILIP seem to fall short. We also talked a lot about the magazines and their value and the general concensus was that there was no need for two of them. Some other comments were the maze of the CILIP website and that this could be improved drastically.

Friday, 18 June 2010

The art of tagging (Thing 8 Cam 23)

I mentioned a little bit about tagging when blogging about the Med Lib Thing 10.

I've now tagged all of my posts - my most vital and useful tags being MedLib 23 things and Cam 23 things.

A click of a button and I can now see all of my posts for each one...maybe this will help to keep the crossover confusion at bay!

After reading the suggested article, I found a nice little table that somebody else has created (their full post here) whilst browsing the Delicious shared bookmarks on the matter. It's taxonomy in the red corner v folksonomy in the blue - who will win! The overall glaringly obvious seems to be that tagging within a blog can be more personal and easier than cataloging a book (less rules to adhere to!) Anyway, the table seemed to sum it all up quite nicely compared to my frazzled blogging brain. See below!


Accurate (if done well)
Compliance must be forced
Hard to add to
Centrally controlled


Less reliable
Rewards but doesn't force compliance
Easy to add to
Democratically controlled

To tweet or not to tweet...(Thing 7 Cam 23)

Twitter. It seems to be like marmite amongst the Cam23 bloggers - you either love it or you hate it. I resisted joining up to it for a long time for several reasons, which I'll list below. I was mildly curious about it but didn't really feel the need to join up or see the point. But about a month or so ago I decided to join up and see what all the fuss is about and I discovered it can be a really useful tool for keeping up with what's going on in the profession.

Why I didn't join Twitter for aggeees.

I thought it was going to be another Facebook.

I already have a facebook account and for a while joining Twitter to me seemed as if it would be much the same thing. Did I really want to join another site where I'd become mildly addicted to scrolling down a list of people's statuses about the things I don't neccesarily need to know? ("I'm just out the shower and I'm now walking to my car." "Down with the vuvuzelas facebook group - please join!" "I'm in a complicated relationship with XYZ")

But as Library Wanderer points out in her blog post

"If you go onto facebook, the status box asks you the loaded, personal, subjective question: ‘What’s on your mind?’, and the response could feasibly and honestly be anything from itchy nose to the allegory of Plato’s Cave. But Twitter, in a manner vaguely reminiscent of Nessa in Gavin and Stacey, asks you ‘What’s happening?’. The difference is nuanced, and I may be being a bit overly semantic, but it’s still there. Twitter isn’t necessarily about me. Thank goodness!—I had a very boring breakfast this morning." (please follow this link to read in full)

Twitter is really not like Facebook at all. I'm sure it has the potential to be and if I wanted it to be it could be. What I've found is that first and foremost, Twitter has been most useful when keeping up with those "in the know" within the information profession, not just your mates from school. It's also great to keep up with and follow conferences and various events/debates (on the spot as it happens!) that I wouldn't actually have any idea about otherwise.

I didn't get the craze or fully understand why everyone was so obsessed with tweeting. It goes back to the Facebook misconception. It was only through joining Twitter that I realised what it was all about and that's why I'm glad I signed up and actually tried it. I still only tweet here and there but Cam23 seems to have prompted a flurry of communicating with other participants - surely this can only be a good thing.

You can read a great post about the other reasons why Twitter is valuable at Isla's blog here. As Isla so rightly points out, Twitter isn't going to go anywhere anytime soon. Google Replay sounds like it'll be sticking around and you'll be able to virtually time travel and read the first ever tweets created. So be careful what you say! :-)

A few things I've done in order to improve my short Twitter life.

1. A Twitter cull. At first I was a bit mad and followed anyone who looked vaguely interesting. After a while though, I realised it's really not possible to follow a million people and still get something from it, unless you are constantly reading down the list of updates, something which with all the running about I do in my job I can't always manage to do. This also applies to following celebrities... I do have the odd person I find interesting added onto my twitter (who can resist the odd bit of celebrity drivel?) but for me overall, I like to keep my twitter for professional and networky purposes. This is just my personal preference.

2. Explored other ways of using Twitter. For some reason after I came back from my week's holiday, the Twitter interface was driving me mad all of a sudden. I felt like I couldn't follow anything properly. After reading Niamh's post on how to use Twitter without using the Twitter interface, I thought I'd give JournoTwit a try and so far so good. Everything is now organised in columns (my private messages, mentions, news, statuses and retweets) and it's made it so much easier to keep up with what actually is going on!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

A bit of doodling and google-calendaring...(Things 5 and 6 Cam 23)

I've used Doodle twice before (both times since going to the Cam23 launch)..I'd never heard of it before. The main plus I've observed with Doodle is that it gives you the ability to organise any kind of meeting (be it for professional purposes or a friendly gathering) all without the "so when are you free?" cycle that unavoidably crops up sometimes when organising over email or the telephone. It's simple. You create a list of possible dates and a list of possible times and then email them to the participants where they then fill out which dates and times they can/cannot do. You're then left with a really clear list of who can do what and the best time which would suit all (or the majority). While in the past I've used Outlook to schedule meetings within a team, Doodle seems to be a great idea for organising meeting up with those not using Outlook and/or you have a range of dates to play with. It beats a lot of 'umming' and 'ahhing' anyhow! I also took a brief look at Meet-O-Matic but it didn't seem to perform so swishly so I think if I do use this kind of tool in the future, I'll definately stick with Doodle...I think I should start making a poll everytime I go to dinner with friends (we're all incredibly indecisive when it comes to choosing a restaurant).

I'd never used Google Calendar before as in both my current and prior workplace, I've used the calendar on Outlook and that always seemed to work pretty well. Again though - the major plus of Google Calendar seems to be that you can access it easily on the go, from your phone or from home. Like Gmail and all other Googley things, the calendar is well set out and easy to navigate. I especially like how you can make a task list and add other calendars. Also, a theme which seems to be occuring with me, it looks pretty! Much prettier than Outlook. I'm still a bit of a fan of the paper diary to be honest, but that's just me. I can see how Google Calendar could have the potential to be effectively used and I'd happily use it at work if we weren't already using something else.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Bookmarking the Delicious way (Med Lib 23 Things)

Delicious (adjective) - 1. Highly pleasing or agreeable to the senses, especially of taste or smell.
2. Very pleasant; delightful: a delicious revenge (ooh!)

Thing 10

So after trying out Delicious a few times now and from using it in our starter session, I think I quite like it, I am pleased and it's definately my favourite of all the options we've tried. I think I may even continue to use it to bookmark if I can remember to. Not only does it appeal to the nosy person within ("how many other people have found what I find interesting and oooh what else do they find interesting...etc etc") I can see it being really handy for work purposes and for easy access when using another computer from the one your browser favourites are saved to (frequently possible in a library, what with enquiry desk duties) It's also useful but not in a distracting 'arghh where is the personal/work boundary' way that I found iGoogle slightly to be.

I don't think my bookmarks are the tastiest bookmarks on the web at all but I can see how social bookmarking can (in the words of the site itself) lead to the best websites 'bubbling up.' Also, how great would it been to have discovered this as a student?! I'm asking myself why did I never use anything like this?! It would be such a good place to save links for essays or project work...and look at other resources which others have found useful at the same time.

Bonus round! I found that reading around what other people had tagged on Delicious about tagging and folksonomies to be quite an efficient way of getting a general gist of the whole thing and some interesting articles cropped up. I have to admit that taxonomies and the like had me slightly running for the non existent Loughborough hills at first whilst I was studying (although having to construct a thesaurus on fungi was much much worse) but in the end the whole thing does have its er...useful uses! I will now stay quiet on the subject as I think there's a Cam23 crossover somewhere...and I also have a journal article I need to find before home time. Oh and of course, there's the plotting of my delicious revenge...

Catching up....Things 8 & 9 (Med Lib 23 Things)

Welcome to the world of bookmarking, our theme for MedLib 23 Things week 5. Presenting thing 8 and 9...onwards and upwards!

Thing 8

Here's a screenshot of my saved bookmarks.

Thing 9

Bookmarking at the NHS MyLibrary proved to be very useful and again, I could see how if I was a NHS employee this particular function of the site could really benefit the way I interact with the site and carry out my work. Especially in regards to saving time and keeping myself organised (things we all want, right?) I particularly liked how you could put summaries next to the links...useful little reminding tool indeed.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Back to le blog!

Argh. I'm back after a week away on my hols and I've come back to find there is a lot of catching up to do. As I'm participating in both MedCam23 and Cam23, the list of 'things' seems to be piling up! However, I must pass on my virtual thanks to Girl in the Moon who created a feed where you can follow all the Cam23 bloggers. My Google reader is now much more efficient and I'll be logging in there from now on to try and keep updated with everyone's blogs and leave a few comments here and there. Great idea!

First things first, I had a little play with the design of my blog, added the Cam23 banner made by this clever person and drooled a bit at the photo of Isla's cake on Emma's blog. It's safe to say that the cakes are going down very well over here!

Now onto blogging things 8-9-10 for and things 5-6-7-8-9 for 23 Things Cambridge....let the blogging commence!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Real Simple Syndication - was it?

This week we were asked to explore RSS feeds. RSS is something I've used in the past but for some reason tend to dip in and out of. I used to avidly use Googlereader but logging in today I noticed that for some reason I must have decided to neglect it at some point over the past two years. I have no idea why! For the past couple of months I've been saving any interesting blogs I find into my favourites bar and then clicking on them randomly whenever I feel the need. Now I'm thinking about it, this is both (a) time consuming and (b) makes following posts more difficult than it really could be if you remembered about the simplicity of RSS! I think my favourite option of the three tested was definately Google Reader. One of my favourite things about it is that it marks the posts so that you know when you have read them (just like emails)

Thing 5 To the right you can see 'Thing 5'

My virus troubles last week prompted some good advice from Emma about using Firefox so this was my browser of choice.

Thing 6 - My google reader (starring all of you lot!)

Thing 7
- My NHS MyLibrary RSS reader. I can see how this could be a really good resource for NHS staff as its just one place where they can search for journal articles, keep on top of current health news items etc.

This task has been a great reminder of just how 'simple' RSS can make things! No more trawling through the favourites bar for me then...

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Thing 4

Thing 4 proved quite troublesome to me as whilst searching Google blogs on the enquiry desk I somehow managed to click on a link that then gave the computer a virus...panic! So 23 things can now also be credited with teaching me a lesson about being careful about what links I click onto! If anyone has any other tips about avoiding viruses (apart from the obvious about having updated anti-virus software) I'd be interested to know!

Drumroll and here is my 'thing 4' found via searching Google blogs... - a blog following all MP blogs/tweets and general political drama. (I did originally have something a little more fun but after the virus experience I decided to stick with some snoozy safe politics)

Monday, 17 May 2010

Thing 1 and 2

So our first task was to create an igoogle id and personalise our pages which proved to be quite fun. To the right you can see my igoogle page and what my work tab looks like. It looks slightly boring with just the newton widget and the calculator so far...if anyone has any suggestions of what to add, let me know!

To the left you can see my 'personal' tab on igoogle. It did include a tab with penguins roaming about and also another one with a game...but I found this a bit to distracting!! I think that could be one of the potential downfalls of igoogle and perhaps an interesting discussion point. When does a work sort of tool become a 'not so work' type of tool? I think it would be very easy to cross that invisible boundary. Which I guess is a big plus of using the separate tabs as you can keep work/personal separate or do as you choose. So maybe I'll consider re-adding my poor orphaned penguins!

I also had a look at pageflakes and netvibes - again interesting tools and I can really see the advantages of using these, especially when in a situation where you are using the same computer (enquiry desk etc) and you don't want to lose any of your bookmarks. I personally preferred netvibes..although I'm not entirely sure be continued!

The start of 23 things.

Hello! and welcome to all. This is my first post as part of the 23 Things programme which staff are currently undertaking at Cambridge Medical Library.

A very brief history of Jenni's web 2.0, 23 things 24 year old life so far...

As an 80's child (legwarmers anyone?) I think I've probably always been exposed to some form of computer (probably first beginning at school and then at home) and then I.T lessons at school from about 13. However, I.T still wasn't compulsory at my school about 10 years ago. I think those who wanted to do it at GCSE had to take the classes in their lunchbreak and after school! (Guess who doesn't have GCSE I.T...) So it's quite interesting to see how quickly things have moved on...and how they are constantly moving very fast!

My impressions on 23 Things so far and what I'm looking forward to the most

Some aspects of the 'web 2.0 world' come fairly naturally to me whilst some of it doesn't. Even when looking at the outline of the 23 things programme, I don't really think I used things like google scholar and google advanced search to their potential when I was at university a couple of years was just plain old google. Infact I think I was one of those students who *shock horror* didn't really even understand the concept of what a journal was at first. Or a library catalogue! (I think in my first two years I just went to my subject section, browsed, and hoped for the best!) This is one of the reasons why I think it's really good we're doing the 23 things...
as things move so fast, I'm looking forward to becoming more 'information literate' so I can any answer questions about certain topics more effectively whilst on the enquiry desk...or anywhere!

Over the last couple of years I like to think I've got to grips with things a little better than my school days. I've even recently joined twitter! (although I'm still getting used to it)

I'm most looking forward to exploring the use of googledocs, delicious and podcasts as these are things I haven't ever used much before. Also I'll be really interested in the ebooks week as I had to write an essay on the the pros/cons of ebooks and google books in particular last year... perhaps I'll attach it here when we get to that 'thing' and those of you suffering from insomnia can have a good will be sure to put you to sleep!