Monday, 31 May 2010

Thing 4 - Register your blog and explore other Cam 23 blogs

Welcome to Thing 4

After completing Thing 4...
Your blog (and therefore your participation in the programme) will have been registered and you will have learned how to add screenshots to your posts. You will also have begun to engage with other Cam 23 participants via their blogs.

Register your blog
Thing 3 was all about creating your blog. Now it exists you need to register it so that it can be added to the list of Cam 23 bloggers on the lefthand menu of the Cam 23 blog. All you need to do is visit this URL and fill in the details:

Blog on Things 1 and 2 with a screenshot
Your blog needs to record your progress through the whole programme so you need to take a bit of time now to write a post about what you thought of Things 1 + 2 and include a screenshot of your iGoogle page. It would be good practice over the 12 weeks to add screenshots, images, cartoons and other visuals to make your blog more appealing.

How to insert a screenshot
1. Maximise the screen (in this case the iGoogle page) that you want to copy and then hit the 'Print Screen' key on the keyboard.
2. Open an image/photo editing package on your PC and paste the image by choosing CTRL + V simultaneously or 'Edit' and 'Paste' from the package menu. (If you haven't got a photo editing package on your PC its definitely worth downloading a free one from the web - check out this list of the best free photo editors.)
3. Now save the image to a folder.
4. Add the image to your post by selecting the blue sky square icon above the post text box and browsing to the folder where you saved the image on your PC.
5. You will need to select how you want the image aligned and what size you want it to be.

Add tags
Don't forget to add tags (Blogger calls them Labels) to your post - Thing 1, Thing 2, iGoogle etc.

Get social
Blogging is much more fun and interactive if you receive comments on your posts, so now you need to visit a few Cam 23 blogs and comment away. N.B. You may have to wait for blogs to appear on the lefthand 'Cam 23 bloggers' list before you can go visiting - it really depends how speedy you are compared to everyone else. If someone leaves you a comment from a blog that you have not yet viewed then go and visit it and comment back. Cam 23 is not just about learning about how new technologies work but also about using them to network and share.

Blog about Thing 4
After you have spent a bit of time visiting and commenting write a post about this. You are now up to date with your blogging.

Feeling out if your depth with blogging? Need inspiration?

Don't worry if it takes you a while to feel comfortable writing blog posts and to find your 'online voice'. Below are a list of some excellent blogs produced by participants in the Oxford 23 Things programme which it may help you to visit for inspiration and ideas...

Optional Extra
There is a great list of blogging libraries and librarians on the UK Library blogs wiki. Explore some of these and add any blogs that you like to your blog by using a gadget (click on 'Customise' in order to see the available gadgets). Spend some time examining the differences between individual librarian blogs and blogs for library services or library teams. Might you consider maintaining a blog for your readers rather than sending out traditional newsletters or emails? What would be the benefits of this approach?

Further Reading
You may also want to have a think about the value of blog comments. Read Are blog comments worth it?

Next Time...

You'll be scheduling a meeting and catching up with some of your Cam 23 peers.

Thing 3 - Create your 23 Things blog

Welcome to Week 2, Thing 3!

After completing Thing 3...
You will have a shiny new blog to use throughout the programme to record your progress. You will also have begun to think about how you want to present yourself online via your blog and what makes for a good blog.

What is blogging and is it relevant to libraries?
Check out the Wikipedia entry on blogging for a perfectly acceptable definiton and brief history, then come back here. There are numerous blogs and bloggers within the field of librarianship. Many librarians pen individual blogs which they use to reflect on their professional experiences and to offer their opinions on the library world, while many libraries on the other hand maintain organizational blogs in order to promote services and enhance communication with their users. There are of course also many blogs written by people participating in 23 Things programmes at other instutitions.

Blogging during 23 Things
Blogging is a key element of the 23 Things experience which we'd like all participants to engage with. Every time you complete a Thing we ask that you blog about it. Your blog posts should aim to constructively evaluate each Thing, giving an indication of what you liked (or didn't like) about it. They should also offer the reader an ongoing flavour of your experience of the programme. It's worth mentioning that any blogs which contain posts which say little more than 'Done Thing 3' will not be eligible for completion as that is neither entering into the spirit of the programme nor the purpose of blogging.

Blog platforms
We have chosen to give instructions on creating a blog on the Blogger platform as its very quick and simple to get going on, however, you may choose to use the other main free blog provider WordPress instead. N.B. If you already have a blog, there's no requirement to create a new one for 23 Things.

Step-by-step instructions
1. Go to and sign in at the top right-hand corner with your Google account username and password. This will bring you to a sign up for Blogger screen. Some of the information may already be filled in for you (depending on what you told Google when you signed up for your account) but you will need to choose a display name and to accept the Blogger terms of service.
2. You now need to name your blog, and choose a web address (URL) for it. The address has to be unique so your first choice may not be available.
3. Now choose your preferred layout template for your blog. You can change this at any point for a different one.
4. Congratulations your blog exists. Simples!

Your first post
You now need to create your first blog post.
1. Click on the orange arrow that says 'start blogging' (if you have logged out and are returning, then click on 'new post' by your blog's name on your dashboard - the screen you see when you log in). This will bring you to the posting screen.
2. Enter a title for the post, and then type your text into the box. There is a toolbar at the top of the box which will allow you to format your text and add links and images.
3. Write something here about what you hope to get out of Cam 23 and your previous experience of Web 2.0 and social media.
4. When you have finished writing the post, type in 'Thing 3' in the labels box under the text box. You will need to tag all your posts with the number of the Thing being blogged about and any other descriptive words you want to use to help you find the post later on (just as we librarians add subject headings to catalogue records in order to help users retrieve books)
5. Click the 'Publish Post' button at the bottom of the screen, and your first post will be live.

Any problems?
If you got lost at all at any point above, I can recommend this Blogger tutorial (from YouTube)


Remember, you are required to blog about each Thing on your blog in order to complete the programme. You'll be blogging about Things 1 and 2 as part of the next Thing.

If you'd prefer to use WordPress for your blog then you will find this comprehensive tutorial by Chris Abraham very useful: Wordpress: Step-by-Step (from YouTube)

Further reading

Much has been written about the value of blogging. Check out the following:
Top Reasons Why I Blog by Larry Brauner
Why I blog by Andrew Sullivan
and for a view from one of our very own Cam23 participants:Why Blog? by Ange Fitzpatrick

To read about what makes a good blog post check out:
What makes a good blog post by Steve Wheeler

There are many bloggers out there who were initially sceptical about its worth (I'm one of them!) or fearful of publishing a blog. Read the post at the Totally Academic blog and at the blog about these respective issues.

I also suggest you have a look at this 'Blogs in Plain English' video:

Optional extra

Read this post about using images and then edit your initial post to add in an image or two.

Next time...
You'll be registering your blog, blogging some more and checking out other Cam 23 blogs.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Internet privacy: taking control of your information

Facebook has announced that it's in the process of simplifying its privacy settings in response to concerns from users about how public their information has become. Facebook is currently the media's whipping boy for online privacy issues, and while it's undoubtedly positive that attention is being drawn to this matter, it's simplistic to suggest that only Facebook offers a snare for unwary feet - or that social media and networking sites are only out to blazon your personal information all over the web.

The balance between the individual and the social network, whether on- or offline, is always a delicate one. The human urge to communicate is tempered with the ability to control to a very sophisticated degree which facets of our self, which version of the story, we reveal to others. What we choose to reveal depends on whether the recipient is a best friend, a family member, your manager, or the guy sitting next to you on the bus. And what the streamlined homogeneity of the online environment can cause you to overlook is that your status updates might be written with friends and family in mind, but - depending on your online behaviour and how public you've chosen to be - might be broadcast to the last two as well.

Concerned? Good! If you wouldn't tell the guy on the bus the problems and fears you'd only share with your best friend, your built-in human communication filter is working just fine. And there are two things you can do to make sure it works just as well in the online environment. Both of these things are simple and totally non-technical: what they rely on is your being aware that you can, and should, be in control of your online information. If you're aware of it, you're already in control.

The first thing to do is to click the button called Settings. There's one on every social site you come across, and it allows you to choose exactly how public you want your information, opinions, links and photos to be. Every time you sign up for or start exploring a new social website, look for the Settings button and take control over who gets to see what.

The second is even simpler, and like the first, it's a matter of personal choice. If you wouldn't stick that photo on your office door, don't post it on the internet ...

Monday, 24 May 2010

Thing 2 - Add the RSS feed of the Cam23 blog to your iGoogle page.

Welcome to Thing 2!

After completing Thing 2 you will have...
Added the RSS feed of the 23 Things Cambridge Blog to your iGoogle page and explored other RSS feeds.

What is an RSS feed & is it relevant to libraries?

RSS (commonly known as Really Simple Syndication) allows you to view new content from web sites, blog entries, etc in one place, without having to visit the individual sites. A fuller and more technical definition can be found on Wikipedia. Newspapers, major news channels (such as the BBC), and journal providers have RSS feeds available, to name but a few. Libraries also have feeds from their web pages, such as the OU and the British Library - some local examples can be found at the UL, Faculty of Education Library and the English Faculty Library.

Step-by-step instructions
1. Go to the 23 Things Cambridge Blog.
2. Under the Subscribe to 23 Things Cambridge heading on the left hand side, click on Posts
3. Select Add to Google from the list

4. Google will offer you 2 options - choose Add to Google homepage (you may wish to add to Google Reader at a later date).
5. You will then be taken back to your iGoogle page and you should now have a box called 23 Things Cambridge.
6. Find other RSS feeds which interest you, including some libraries, and add them to your iGoogle page.

Further reading
10 ways libraries can use RSS
What is RSS and how can it serve libraries?

Optional extra
Take a look at Google Reader as an alternative to managing RSS feeds. If you follow a lot of blogs this is a good tool for keeping up-to-date with them. The following video explains how it works:

Next time...
In Thing 3 (due to be posted Monday 31st May) you will be shown how to create your 23 Things Blog which you will use throughout the programme.

Thing 1- Set up a Google ID & build an iGoogle page

Welcome to Week 1, Thing 1!

After completing Thing 1 you will have...
Created a Google ID and your own iGoogle start page.

What is a Google ID?

Google ID helps you to personalise your Google experience by enabling you to customize pages and obtain more relevant search results. Once you have created your ID you will be able to use other Google applications such as iGoogle, Google Calendar and Google Docs (more on these later in the programme).

What is iGoogle & is it relevant to libraries?
iGoogle is a personal web portal created by Google for you to add and organise your favourite web pages, RSS feeds, gadgets and social networking sites (including Twitter and YouTube). Libraries are already promoting their services via iGoogle (have a look at the Cambridge Libraries Widget) to connect with their users.

Step-by-step instructions
1. To create a Google ID, go to (if you already have a Google ID, please log in).
2. Complete the form and click on I accept when ready.

3. To create your iGoogle page, go to and log in with your Google ID.
4. Click on the Add Stuff link to explore the various gadgets you can install - have a look at All categories on the left of the screen for ideas, as well as the most popular gadgets (Most users), what's new (Newest), or use the search box.

5. Type COPAC in the search box.
6. Click on Add it now - you will be taken back to your iGoogle page with COPAC added.

You can also organise your gadgets with tabs which can help you navigate quickly to your content, as well as help your iGoogle pages load faster.

1. To add a tab, click on the tab
Home on the left of the screen and select Add a tab.
2. Untick the I'm feeling lucky box.
3. Type in a name for your tab (e.g Library stuff) in the box.
4. Click on OK
5. Drag your COPAC box into the Library Stuff tab.

Feel free to add other tabs as and when you feel your page is getting too busy.

You may find this short YouTube animation a fun way of finding out how to set up and arrange your page:

Further reading
Read this post about Start pages on the Library 2.0 blog: Start pages as Library Virtual Reference Tools

Optional extras

If you already use iGoogle, have a look at Netvibes or Pageflakes to see what they may offer you that's different.

Next time...
In Thing 2 (available later today) you will be shown how to add the RSS feed of the 23 Things Cambridge blog to your iGoogle page.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Cam 23 starts on Monday

We've received several enquiries from potential Cam 23 participants concerned that they may have 'missed registration'. Fear not, there has been no registration as yet, that comes in Week 2 when (under guidance) you create and register your blog with us.

Others have emailed worried they can't take part because they haven't signed up for the launch event on Monday (after work) at Judge Business School. The launch event is not compulsory just a chance to find out more, ask questions and meet other participants.

The important thing to remember is to return to this blog on Monday when the posts about Things 1 & 2 go up on the site.

If you have any more unanswered questions please visit the FAQ page or come and ask them at the launch event.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Why are social media / web 2.0 tools vital?

This YouTube video examines the shift towards social media and highlights the importance of librarians 'getting to grips' with the web 2.0 tools. Another reason to participate in the Cam23 programme!


(Thanks to @ekcragg for bringing this to our attention.)

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

23 Things list unveiled

The list of 23 Things which participants will investigate throughout the 12 week programme is now available.

Take a look to see what we'll be covering!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Programme launch

Welcome to the 23 Things Cambridge blog! The programme will run from 24 May to 20 August 2010 and is open to all University and College library staff. Everyone who completes the course will be awarded a £10 voucher and a certificate of completion.

To find out more about the programme, why not:

and most importantly:

  • come and meet the project team and other participants over drinks and nibbles at the Cam 23 launch in the Judge Business School common room (below) on Monday 24th May! You need to RSVP (for catering purposes) at
Hope to see you at the launch party - if you can't make it, please feel free to contact a member of the project team (you can find us in the sidebar to the left).

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Password tips

A useful recommendation from the Oxford 23 Things programme was for participants to record their usernames and passwords somewhere discreet (e.g. a notebook) so as not to forget them. In order to keep your passwords secure, I thought I'd add two further suggestions that I've found helpful:

1. Don't use dictionary words or names: instead, take the initial letters of a phrase, proverb, or the first line of a song or poem. This makes your password memorable for you, but a meaningless jumble of characters for everyone else!

2. Rather than writing your actual password anywhere, write down a code word or clue for yourself that will trigger the poem or phrase you've selected.

General guidelines for creating a secure password are to use a mixture of both upper- and lower-case characters, numbers (instead of letters, if you like: e.g. zero instead of 'o'), and punctuation marks. Your password should contain at least 7 characters.