Frequently Asked Questions

What is '23 Things'?
23 Things is a self-directed course designed to introduce University of Cambridge UL, faculty and college library staff to Web 2.0 technologies. The aim is for staff to spend a little time each week over 12 weeks exploring online tools for communication, promotion, and new ways of working. Throughout the course the practical application and relevance of the tools to the library setting will be explored. The programme will run from 24 May to 27 August 2010.

Why participate?
23 Things is designed to help you become familiar with new and developing technologies, which will be useful not only for you and your career but also for the library you work in.

How much time is involved?
Each week you will be guided to actively explore two new Things. We expect that you will spend at least 1 hour exploring that week's Things. However, you may decide to spend more time engaging with some of the tools you discover.

What support and guidance is available?
  • The 23 Things Cambridge blog will direct you each week to which Thing to explore and when.
  • The Cam23 team can be contacted via this blog, and will be available at a number of drop-in sessions if you need face-to-face help. However, because the programme is designed to create an online community where participants support and share information with one another, we encourage you where possible to seek assistance from other participants.
  • Be prepared to be resourceful and to find a colleague who can act as your 'buddy' so you can support each other throughout the programme.
What do I need to bring to the programme?
  • You will be expected to blog about each Thing - as a form of reflective practice and a way of sharing your experience with others. This is also the criterion for completion. (Don't worry - you will be shown how to set up your blog as one of your first Things!)
  • You should ensure that your line manager is happy with the time commitment involved, even though the time required for each Thing is quite short. You can explain that this will benefit your Library in the long run by feeding back into the service you offer!
  • The most important thing for you to bring is an open mind. Be prepared to approach the programme positively: when it comes to blogging about each Thing, evaluate the tool constructively and share your opinion as to why you do or don't like it.
What will I get out of the programme?
  • A broader knowledge of the Web 2.0 and social media tools at your disposal and a confidence to exploit them.
  • Provided you blog about each of the 23 Things, a certificate and a gift voucher will be presented to you at a special closing ceremony (at a venue TBC).
  • The experience of 23 Things participants at other institutions has essentially come down to that old adage: 'the more you put in, the more you get out'. We fully expect that both you and your Library will benefit from your participation.
How do I register?
  • The programme is set to begin on 24 May, a day on which you may also wish to attend our after work launch event/drinks reception at Judge Business School. On that date or soon after you should read the blogs posts for the first 2 Things and follow the instructions provided.
  • In Week 2 you will be instructed on how to create a blog. It is at this point that you will formally register for the programme by providing your blog details to the Cam23 team. Your blog is a record of your progress through the programme and after registration it will be listed under the 'Cam23 bloggers' heading in the left-hand menu opposite.
What about my summer holidays? What if I join the programme late?
  • Don't worry, the programme is intended to be flexible. Just catch up and blog on the Things you missed on your return.
  • In the same way, you are free to join the programme and register your blog as late as mid-July, provided you have the time to work through and blog about each of the 23 Things before the programme end date of 27 August.
What about privacy issues?
  • Some of you may feel concerned about using some of the tools during the programme due to privacy issues. You are very welcome to use a screen name on your blog that does not identify you personally and you may even choose to use a pseudonym when registering for a specific tool. Having said that, the Cam23 team doesn't want to be prescriptive about this issue as we don't believe it is our place to be, but we would hope that you don't see the privacy issue as a barrier to completing the course and fully exploring all 23 Things.
  • How you choose to manage your online identity is one of the programme's learning experiences and you should gain an insight into what does and doesn't work for you personally as you work through the 23 Things.
  • It is worth noting that 83 members of Oxford University library staff completed the 23 Things programme there without any adverse privacy issues arising.
I already blog, do I need to create a new blog for 23 Things?
No, only if you want to. You're very welcome to continue to use your regular blog when posting about the 23 Things.

I'm not a member of library staff at Cambridge University or a Cambridge College. Can I still follow the programme?
Yes, you can, however we would not register your blog and you would not be eligible for the completion certificate/voucher or to receive support from the project team.

Our 23 Things programme is based on the original 23 Things programme at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, USA and the more recent Oxford University 23 Things programme