Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Stop posting

OK, stop posting (about Cam23 at any rate). Your time is up! Cam23 is officially closed. The project team will now pass among you (well the blogosphere) to work out who has completed the course so we can prep for the Grand Closing Ceremony. Congrats to all finishers!

If you have not yet completed the feedback survey we'd be very grateful if you could please do so now.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

You Can Do It!

For all those people desperately trying to meet the Tuesday 10am deadline, this is just a quick post of encouragement to say in motivational speaker style-y: You Can Do It!

Yes everyone else might be enjoying the glorious Bank Holiday weekend weather (!) and you're sat inside tapping away, but think of the wonderful certificate or the voucher, and if that's not enough for you, consider the feelings of life-affirming marvellousness you'll experience when you cross the finishing line.

See you on Thursday...

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Communication meeting - action points

Thanks to everyone who attended the communication meeting at Selwyn College today and particular thanks to Sarah Stamford for hosting and preparing a draft document on current communication channels (which it is important to stress is not complete) which helped kick-start the meeting. Several people who could not attend in person, followed and contributed to the meeting via the chat-room on the CamTools Cambridge Librarians site. Your voices were heard thanks to Lyn Bailey's efforts on your behalf.

I don't propose to minute the meeting here, but instead relay the main action points that arose from discussion, but first a brief summary:

There was general agreement at the meeting that while Sarah's document confirms that many communication channels exist most of us are confused about what each are for, who can take part in them and where to find this information. The bottom line, as Libby put it, is: "Where do you go for key information in the Cambridge library world?" We were all particularly concerned about new starters in libraries or newly promoted personnel who don't currently receive the information they need. There was also agreement that library assistants often miss out on communication that would prove beneficial to them. There was also discussion about how protected the communication should be - with strong advocates of both password and non-password access. We also discussed: concern about reliance on blog/social media provision of information as these platforms aren't for everyone; the fact that 'bottom-up' intiaitives can be very valuable; issues of ownership and expectation, the value of multi-platform communication, the benefits of informal (and face-to-face contact) versus formal communication, the ongoing role of the Cam23 blog (agreed that it should remain as a reference source), the worth of the current CamTools site, and equality of access.

Action Points:
  • A digital version of the communication channels document will be made available to all Cambridge library staff via a centrally accessible Libraries@Cambridge page. This will include details of what each channel is for, how to access it, who is responsible for it etc. Action: libraries@cambridge team
  • Exploration of the possibility of instituting a mechanism whereby new library staff starters recieve a form pointing them to the information they need, or perhaps simply to one relevant URL. Action: Lyn
  • A new forum for communication could be a plenary session at the annual conference. Those unable to attend the whole event could hopefully attend at least this one session. Action: Ed and conference organisers.
  • Alternatively there could be an end of June event for ALL staff at which we'd get together to share/discuss developments across Cambridge. Action: This idea was raised as a possibility but no-one was assigned to take this forward at this stage.
  • The CamTools platform could be utilised more fully, but this is dependent on individual take-up and proactivity. Action: Everyone
  • Clarification is being sought on qualification for receipt of the LIB-LIST and UL-WARNING mailing lists. Action: libraries@cambridge team
  • Departmental/faculty librarians are considering meeting on a regular basis as the CCLF do. Action: Libby
  • The Libraries@Cambridge team want everyone's input on what should go on the Information for Librarians pages that are currently being updated and revised. Please contact the libraries@cambridge team with your ideas and suggestions. Action: Everyone.
  • A search box will be added to the libraries@cambridge pages to make it easier to find information. Action: libraries@cambridge team

Clearly these actions are just a starting point and they don't preclude other intiaitives from growing up such as special interest groups or the creation of wikis or blogs for specific events or programmes: Cam23 and TeachMeet being excellent examples of what can be achieved.

There is a definite will to improve communication but it requires everyone's input for it to succeed, so please pass on your ideas and support to all those people/bodies listed against the action points above.

Attendees: If I've missed something important, please do add it as a comment to this post.
Non-attendees: Feel free to add your thoughts too!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

And now the end is near...

If you have participated in the Cam23 programme (regardess of whether you have finished it) we would like you to provide your feedback via this Cam23 survey so that we can establish how well the programme has been received. Thank you!

N.B. If you have not already signed up to attend the Grand Closing Ceremony next Thursday then you need to do so before 10am tomorrow morning (26 August). If you miss this deadline please email Kirsty separately.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Communication meeting

The communication meetin, referred to below, has now been arranged for Thursday 26th August at 11.00am in the Walters Room at Selwyn College.

Although the meeting time has now been fixed, if you've not already signed up for this via the Doodle poll (http://www.doodle.com/9qdtxh2a3h4ia8p3), it would still be useful to know (via that same mechanism) if others plan to attend.

Thank you and apologies to those of you unable to make it. Hopefully the outcome of this meeting will be communicated widely, if it isn't it would rather defeat the object of the event!

Stay of execution

Here at Cam23 HQ (there isn't actually a HQ but I very much like the idea of one!) the project team have decided that it would make sense to extend the completion deadline to 10am on Tuesday 31st August, so that those who need it can use the long weekend to complete the programme. We hope this helps those trying to catch up. We need to be strict about this end time so that the project team has time to check that everyone has blogged about each Thing before the certificates are created.

If you haven't done so already please sign up for the Closing Ceremony here and vote in the Red Carpet Blog Awards here.

N.B. Our FAQ page on this blog previously gave an incorrect end date of 20 August - apologies if you've been frantically aiming for that! Also I've heard that some of you are working towards a November closing date which I'm afraid is a new one on me. Can you please email me if this applies to you?

[Executioner mage: Roel Cancio]

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Communication problems?

Last week I posted what was intended to be a rather innocent final Cam23 post to my blog, unaware of the strong reaction it would provoke, or the number of comments it would receive (currently 56!). A good dollop of controversy and difference of opinions aside, something potentially beneficial has come out of this blog discussion (and previous discussion over at Aidan's Blurtmetry blog): a shared will to get together for a non-proprietary meeting open to all CU library staff (regardless of rank) to talk about the communication problems and issues that currently cause each of us concern.

The meeting may enable those seen as 'in the know' to share the current avenues and options available, and for everyone to discuss possible ways forward (including evaluation of existing platforms and potential new ones). All anyone need bring to the meeting is an open mind and a willingness to see things from each others perspective. We also need to be realistic that this meeting cannot be a panacea, but simply a means of opening dialogue.

If you want to be a part of the conversation, then provide details of your availability here:
N.B. its unlikely that we'll be able to get a time when everyone is free so we'll have to go for the best match. Can anyone volunteer a meeting room?

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Red Carpet Blog Awards - Nominations needed!

Voting is now open for the prestigious Cam23 'Red Carpet Blog Awards'! Nominations are sought for the:

1. Best blog name.
2. Most entertaining blog post.
3. The blog you've enjoyed reading the most.
4. The Cam23 participant who has provided the most peer support.
5. The Cam23 participant who you feel has 'been on the longest journey' i.e. learnt the most from the programme.

The voting form is available here. Get voting now! All nominations received will be considered by the Cam23 Project Team and the winners will be announced during the Grand Closing Ceremony on Thursday 2nd September. (If you haven't already signed up for the Grand Closing Ceremony, don't delay! The RSVP form is available here.)

We look forward to announcing the winners and celebrating the end of Cam23 in style with you all on the 2nd September!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Thing 23 - The last post

Welcome to the final Thing!
It's almost time to wrap up 23 Things Cambridge, so now is your chance to reflect on the course.

After completing Thing 23
You will have .... finished! Time to party!

But first ...
We'd like you to check the list of 23 Things and make sure you have blogged about each one, preferably with evaluation of each Thing either for libraries or your personal and professional development.

Now think about the course overall...
Which Things did you find most useful, or thought-provoking?
Which didn't you find useful at all?
Which have you persisted with?
What about Web 2.0 and social media? How do you think they are shaping library services?

Gather your thoughts together make your last post - and in the spirit of Jerry Springer, please use the tag 'final thoughts' ...

Now for a bit of fun creating a word cloud with:

1. Go to Wordle and click on "Create".
2. Paste in the URL of your blog, click submit and watch for the result (this may take a few minutes, especially if you have posted lots). You can restrict the content to a single post if you prefer: just enter the specific URL of that post, rather than the general URL for your blog.
3. You can play with the display using the toolbar at the top until you are happy with it, but don't navigate away from the page or you will lose it. If this happens, just re-submit the copy.
4. When you are happy with your word cloud, simply take a screenshot of it, save it as an image format, and upload it to your blog.

What now?
The 'Grand Closing Ceremony' will take place in the Watson Gallery, below the Sidgwick Museum, on Thursday 2nd September at 5.30pm.

All Cam23ers are welcome regardless of whether you've finished, although there will only be certificates and vouchers for finishers. You will need to register your attendance

The prestigious 'Red Carpet Award' winners will also be announced at this event. These will be chosen by all of you - watch out for the survey later this week.

If you've survived the entire 12-week course - congrats. Only one blog post to go.

Next time

Thing 22 - Wikis

Welcome to Week 12 and Thing 22!
And so here we are at the penultimate Thing. Fear not if you are behind the game, as you have until 27 August to complete the programme. Plenty of time.

After completing Thing 22
You will have considered the value and applicability of wikis to library services.

What is a wiki?
Until I started researching for this post I had thought that wiki stood for 'What I Know Is...' but apparently it's a Hawaiian word for fast or quick. To use it in a sentence: 'that Hula Girl is really wiki'. The first wiki, the WikiWikiWeb created way back in 1994 was named after Honolulu airport's wiki wiki shuttle bus (opposite). The difference between WikiWikiWeb and other websites of the time was that it was the first one through which you could alter and comment upon someone else's text. Its creator Ward Cunnigham has said that wikis: 'invite all users to edit any page or to create new pages.. and involves the visitor in an ongoing process of creation'. In recent years, retaining this same basic premise, they have became widely adopted as collaborative tools used for information sharing and project work.
For much more on wikis visit Wikipedia, which is of course the most successful and best known wiki of them all. There is neither the time nor the space here to discuss the merits or otherwise of Wikipedia, but there can be no denying that part of its popularity and endurance is due to its wiki functionality.

Which wiki software?
In terms of wiki creation, PBWorks is widely regarded to be the best software currently available, for which basic workspaces are free to librarians. In the weeks leading up to this year's Business Librarians Association conference, the organising team (of which I was a member) used a PBWorks wiki to great advantage (the principle advantage being a vast reduction in email).

What are librarians using wikis for?
Librarians are currently using wikis for a variety of purposes: to produce staff manuals and subject guides, to manage projects, and as Intranets. For a list of library wikis and uses visit the Library Success Wiki. It's also well worth a look at LibraryWikis, a wiki all about wikis used in libraries. Another useful resource is Anna Laura Brown's Wikis for Libraries site.

If you're still not convinced about the value of wikis, or still don't understand why they're unique, once again I heartily recommend a video in the 'In Plain English' series:

The following PPT on Slideshare is also a useful resource:

Cambridge Librarians TeachMeet Wiki
A wiki is currently being used to promote an excellent initiaive called TeachMeet which will be held on 27 September. This is an opportunity for librarians to share their experiences of teaching and technology. You can come along to this event to chat, meet new people, or give a seven minute talk, a two minute nano presentation or lead a conversation. Make sure you check out the wiki for more information and, better still, to sign up to present.

Library Routes Wiki
A very worthwhile wiki project which has caught the imagination of many librarians recently is the Library Routes wiki, which is an ever-updating list of librarians who have blogged about how they got into library work and how their careers have developed, providing links to their blog posts. One of the purposes of the project is to give some much needed information and context to new professionals. If you feel so inclined it would be great if some Cam23ers could contribute to this worthwhile project. My own contribution is here.

Completing Thing 22
To complete this Thing, blog about your own experience of wikis in library work. If you don't have any experience yet, blog about a wiki that you have seen and liked, the potential value of wikis, or a specific project for which you might consider employing a wiki.

Next Time
Hold on to the furniture, it's the final Thing..!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Thing 21 - Podcasting and YouTube

Welcome to Thing 21!

After completing Thing 21

You will know more about podcasting, have viewed some fun library content on YouTube and considered the value of the audio-visual medium to librarians.

What is a podcast?
A podcast is a pre-recorded audio or video broadcast that has been published on the web which can be subscribed to and downloaded via RSS. Podcasts can take the form of interviews, discussions, comedy routines or one-person commentaries. Some are very professional, others less so. As everyone is making them these days they cover all genres and subject areas. If you have a long commute, regularly go to the gym or want something to listen to in your free time then you might want to think about downloading some podcasts.

The Common Craft Show's Plain English video clearly explains in 3 short minutes what podcasting is all about and is far more interesting than the additional paragraphs of text I could have written:

How do I listen to a podcast?
By downloading them to your iPod or MP3 player, or by listening to/viewing them directly on your PC. If you already use Apple's iTunes software go to the Podcasts section of the iTunes Music Store. Alternatively you might want to use a service like Odeo which allows you to play podcasts from their web pages without downloading.

Where else can I find podcasts?
The BBC, The Guardian and The Times all provide popular podcasts. You might also want to try searching some podcast directories, such as Podcast Alley, Podcast Ferret or Get a Podcast.

Library podcasts
Many libraries are now using podcasts to give their users audio tours of their libraries, regular radio show-style updates about new services and developments or as a way of reaching students who missed workshops or lectures. Library associations are also podcasting on the future of libraries and new technologies. Check out the following:

A useful, if US-centric, list of podcasting libraries is available on this Podcasting wiki

Although not regarded as podcasting proper (even though podcasts can refer to video as well as audio, and you can subscribe to contributors) it felt wrong not to tie YouTube into this Thing, for a bit of light relief if nothing else. I'm sure I don't need to explain what it is, so instead I'm just going to point you to some of the best library-related videos out there at the moment - all of them funny and worth a look. There's a good chance you will have seen at lot of these before but hopefully some of them are new to you...

My Top 3:
1. Romance of the Living Book

2. Study like a scholar, scholar

3. A Plagiarism Adventure

Highly commended:
Tour the Library
Librarian Lays Down the Law
Goggle Vision
Ninja Librarian
Librarians Do Gaga
The L Team
Social Science Library Tour
The Librarian (music video)
Blogs, Twitter and Library newspages

If I've missed some that you like, why not add them as a comment to this post?

TED videos
Back on a more serious note, if you've not discovered them yet, a quick shout out for the fascinating range of video lectures on the TED website.

To complete Thing 21
Blog about what you thought of the library podcasts you listened to/viewed. Might you start subscribing to podcasts or consider podcasting yourself? Or alternatively have you got an idea for a library video to go on YouTube? What do you think about using the audio-visual medium to reach library users?

Optional extra: Creating your own podcast
One of the best known pieces of free software for recording and editing podcasts is Audacity. Audacity allows you to create some technically impressive audio recordings and you don't need anything more than an in-built PC/laptop microphone. However, if you really get into this podcasting lark you probably want to invest in some equipment. Why not give it a go and if you like the end results register it on iTunes or another podcasting service?

Further Reading
Podcasting in Academic Libraries

I crowdsourced some of this material via Twitter. Thanks to everyone who contributed.

Next Time
We'll be wooking at wikis...

Thing 20 - Create a Google Document and share it.

Welcome to Week 11, Thing 20!

After completing Thing 20...
You will have created an online document and shared it with one or more of your Cam23 colleagues.
What are Google Documents and how are they relevant to libraries?
Google Documents (or Docs for short) is a tool that allows you to share work online. This work can be documents, spreadsheets, presentations and/or drawings, which you can upload from your PC or create from scratch within the tool. The benefits of using Google Docs are outlined in the following YouTube video:

Google Docs can therefore be useful to librarians for:
  • Collaborative working (e.g. on projects) with colleagues from other libraries.
  • File storage especially if they work across different sites and/or PCs.
Step-by-step instructions

1. Using the username and password for your Google account (the one you created when you signed up for Blogger) log on to Google Docs. (If you don't have a Google account, instructions on how to sign up for one are here)

2. Click on the 'Create New' button beneath the Google Docs logo and then decide whether you're going to create a document, spreadsheet, presentation or drawing.

3. Depending on your choice, you'll now be in a word-processing, spreadsheet, presentation or drawing area. Enter text or data as appropriate and use the formatting toolbar to format your work. N.B. Detailed support pages are available from Google.

4. When you have finished creating your masterpiece, click on 'File' and then 'Save'.

5. Now share this document/spreadsheet/presentation/drawing with another Cam23 colleague. Click on the 'Share' button in the top right hand corner of the screen and then select 'Sharing settings'. Enter the e-mail address of the person you would like to share this item with in the 'Add people' box and decide whether you're going to allow them to edit or simply view it. This person will then receive an e-mail containing a direct link to the item.

Optional extras

1. Google Docs can also be used to create forms (such as the one you filled in to register your Cam23 blog as part of Thing 3). Try building a form and send it out to your colleagues or students.

2. Take a look at some alternatives to Google Docs such as the Zoho Office Suite

Next time...
You'll be exploring podcasting...