Sunday, 31 December 2006

Long time no blog...

Hands up everyone who thought I'd abandoned the world of blogging - another blog started and left to wither! Last couple of weeks went something like this - last post on 11 Dec, temperature of over 100 on 12 Dec, visit to NHS direct website and GP 13 Dec and general feeling miserable and sleeping for rest of week; mad rush of Christmas present buying delayed by previous week's illness; annual visit to mother's house WITHOUT INTERNET ACCESS! By the time I got back online a couple of days ago I had over 500 posts to read on my Bloglines account and serious internet withdrawal :O)

But I'm back now and hopefully here to stay so stay tuned, I'm off to explore the blogosphere again...

Monday, 11 December 2006

Technorati Claim

Decided it was time to join the Technorati world and "claim my blog"! Not sure what effect this will have but here goes...

Technorati Profile

Sunday, 10 December 2006


Thanks to philb who kindly left a comment on my last post recommending Furl .

Furl describes itself as a personal web file and allows you to archive individual web pages, tag them and search your archive. It is similar to in that you download a link to your toolbar and then click to add pages to your Furl archive or "Furl It". I'm not sure if they are meant to be complementary or competitors but I think I'll be using them together to keep a comprehensive file of my web use. allows me to bookmark sites that I find useful and tag them, see how my tags compare to others and see what other users have bookmarked in a similar field. Furl allows me to finally get rid of those saved posts on my Bloglines and to stop printing out or saving individual articles that I may want to read in the future. I think it will be a really good way of keeping a list of articles I have read - may be able to use this as proof of some professional reading for my CILIP certification. I'm also going to try saving details of books I have read or want to read by saving the entries from Amazon or library websites.

Once I've tried some of this out and archived some pages I'll post a link to my Furl archive so everyone can see how I've got on!

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

My 2.0 Experiments

Tonight's project was investigating and LibraryThing and both sites were truly fascinating.

Since getting my broadband up and running at home I have been pushing my little Mac Mini to the max checking out all those mysterious sites which were heard of but never seen (at least not at my workplace!). Blogs, RSS feeds, wikis, podcasts, vidcasts, photo sharing - "social software" "web 2.0" "library 2.0", it was time to play...

Here are my thoughts so far on what I've tried and tested...

This was my first real venture into the 2.0 world. As we are unable to download anything at all onto our work PCs I wanted an RSS reader that I could access from anywhere. Bloglines has certainly transformed my online experience although it has given me indigestion a few times when all the blogs I subscribe to get updated at once with really interesting posts! Now I check my RSS feeds at least once a day and can even sort them into folders like my email. I also have my blogroll from Bloglines showing on my blog here (over on the right there) and it updates here when I update it there.

The more blogs I read the more I looked at links to Flickr. I don't take a lot of photos but I did enjoy uploading some of my favourites and I always enjoy looking at other people's photos. There is so much more to Flickr that I haven't even looked at yet like groups and forums.

Blogger My Blogging tool of choice! I tried a couple of others but this was the simplest to set up and just start blogging. I'm on the Blogger Beta version so there are some bugs and new things arriving but I'm certainly blogging and you're reading it here!!

MySpace The one that most people have probably heard of! Although I'm probably the target age group etc I have to say that almost no one I know uses this site! I mostly joined up because one of my favourite bands Cato Street Conspiracy moved there and I thought I'd investigate. So far I have found my younger sister and someone I went to university with 10 years ago - not exactly a social hub... On a more practical note this site is blocked at work as we have the same filters in place as the schools and MySpace is very firmly on the dodgy list in the UK. Think it may be sometime before we have a MySpace presence as excellent as Denver Public Library over here.

PBWiki Peanut Butter Wiki - as a peanut butter addict I had to use this as my first attempt at creating a wiki. Mostly I used it to plan with the idea of an interactive staff manual for my interlibrary loans department and it was simple and easy to use. Before I knew it I had a wiki that worked and would be really useful, no more carrying round notes or uploading PDF files to an antiquated staff intranet. I'm really interest in taking the staff wiki idea forward... watch this space! Tonight I used for the first time but I doubt it will be the last. I'm always finding things at home and then wanting to look at the website at work (or vice versa) and I also use PCs on the enquiry desk at work and can't remember the website address of every bookmark on my desk PC. I do not have the memory of an elephant!! was so easy to use that I can't believe I didn't try sooner. Originally I was put off by mentions of Google toolbar and downloading toolbar buttons (not approved of at work!) but I have no Google toolbar and adding bookmarks to is as easy as adding them to my browser. Haven't looked at anything else on the site yet, just added some bookmarks and tagged them to see what happens but I'm looking forward to having a play.

LibraryThing Another site that I"ve heard a lot about but never looked at. Now I have a pile of books on my desk that I have "catalogued" and I'm very excited by this site. I don't imagine I'd use LibraryThing for some of its suggested uses - if I'm in a bookshop and can't remember whether or not I own a copy of a book then I don't own it and don't need to look at LibraryThing on my mobile to check my home catalogue! But imagine being able to check your local library catalogue via a mobile phone. LibraryThing is so much friendlier than most library OPACs I've seen and does everything new LMS suppliers offer and more. Working in interlibrary loans I've looked at most public library OPACs in the UK and a good number of the academic ones as well, none of them make me want to stay and look around once I've found the book I want. LibraryThing does.

I did plan to include a jargon free guide to these sites as well but this post is already too long so this is the end, for now...

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Topeka & Shawnee - mailing requests to readers!

I'm really interested at the moment in direct delivery to readers - to their homes or offices.

Netflix for Library Books by Tame the Web referred my to the exciting service offered by Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. They don't shout about it on their website but placing a hold on a book on their system means getting that book mailed to your house AS DEFAULT! If you don't want this you can request a phone call and pick up the item at the library. There is no premium rate for this service and the options for returning the book include - in person to the library, to the drive-by book drop box in their car park and to a number of book drop locations in the city (these are not libraries, the one I looked at was a petrol station!).

Much more details on how it all works and what it costs is available in David Lee King's post on The Missing Piece of the Library Netflix Model including some interesting comments and questions.

This is a fascinating example of direct delivery in a public library setting and is my favourite example so far. Now I'm on the lookout for more...

Cell Phones Permitted

Polite Cell Phones Permitted Had to put this on the blog as I had trouble finding the original image and may loose it again! Posters that permit rather than prohibit - I like it...

Posts I Have Saved part 1

My list of posts I have saved to read later or the magic posts that made me hit the 'Keep New' button...

Phil Bradley's post on 11 Things to Do in Tescos One of those posts that you just 'have' to forward to your friends on a Friday afternoon :o)

Phil Bradley's Surrealism Stalks the Library This should be required reading for senior management when they try to sell RFID as the ultimate way to "free up" library staff!

Random and cold medicine-induced thoughts on screencasting From Information Wants to Be Free - unfortunately I am one of those mentioned folk who hadn't heard of screencasting but having followed some of the links I'm really interested in seeing whether we could use this for staff training.

Phil Bradley's post on Internet Detective" Promise this is my last Phil Bradley link for today! Links through to the Internet Detective site which is not just a great example of teaching HE students how to use the web for research but also an interesting reminder of just how confusing the web can be to anyone trying to sort fact from fiction!

Library Delivery 2.0: Delivering Library Materials in the Age of NetFlix A TechEssence.Info post on library delivery in the web 2.0 era. Particularly interesting for me as I work in interlibrary loans and am looking for ideas about end user delivery. Always good to think about what the Amazons of the world have to teach us in libraries.

Meme attack! Sorted science fiction Velcro City Tourist Board is one of my favourite blogs at the moment, although some of the Sci-Fi is beyond me it did prompt me to read and thoroughly enjoy Ursula LeGuin's Dispossessed recently. Now this post makes me want to go and make strange towers from the books at work tomorrow!

Book Review: ‘The Dispossessed’ by Ursula le Guin And here's the book review by Velcro City Tourist Board.

Ok this is taking some time so part 2 may have to follow tomorrow (I keep getting distracted by clicking on links!) - to be continued...

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Library Music Video

Came across this video on YouTube just now which has cheered me up after a long day at work. It's a brilliant library version of Madonna's "Ray of Light" by St Joseph County Public Library staff and now I'm sitting in my lounge grinning!
Watch it and you'll see what I mean...
Ray of Light St Joseph County Public Library version

On a more serious note, half the people who have commented on the video now want to work in that library - what an amazing way to recruit staff, CILIP take note!

Friday, 24 November 2006

Online Treasure Trove

Did you know you can access a huge amount of information online via your local public library website? Despite working in a library I rarely investigate our online resources and have recently been amazed by just what I can access. Our current list includes NewsUK, Britannica Online, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford Reference Online, Oxford English Dictionary, Grove Music Online, Grove Art Online and The Times Digital Archive. Might not seem like a long list but each resource has a multitude of other searchable resources linked to it. For example the Oxford Reference Online includes Bilingual Dictionaries, quotations, maps, and pretty much every subject dictionary that you can imagine OUP publishing. Some titles that have caught my eye include: A Dictionary of World Mythology, the Oxford Companion to Shakespeare, A Dictionary of Contemporary World History, The Oxford Companion to the Body, A Dictionary of Writers and their Works. Now this is starting to sound like an OUP advert so bear in mind that this is just an example of what is linked to each resource. NewsUK includes a searchable archive for national and regional newspapers including The Times from 1992, The Guardian from 1992 and even the Wigan Observer from 2002!

This is an amazing resource and is available free to most people in the UK via their local library website. How many people know that it exists? How many people use it? I'm sure most people looking for information use Google and Wikipedia before they logon to their library website. But have you even heard about this resource in the news? In your local library? If we can't advertise the library service via a resource like this what hope is there for library marketing?

Sorry about the rant but when even the library staff don't realise what they have...

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Qwerty Warriors

Just been catching up on all those blogs I've been meaning to read and discovered something terrible! Actually it's a great game which involves shooting aliens with your speed typing skills - but this is terrible because it's addictive and now I will never finish reading those blogs... Check it out if you dare Qwerty Warriors

Public Library Blogs - 1st search

Not much luck so far! A Google search returned a few academic libraries and specialist libraries but no public library blogs in the UK. Plenty of US public libraries came up on Google and on a Bloglines blog search but nothing closer to home. A couple of articles referred to Gateshead Public Libraries but looking at their website it looks like the blog has gone - certainly no sign of an RSS feed or an ability to comment on news items listed.

I did find an online article by Ian Winship in Update's May 2004 edition which looks at using weblogs in libraries - Weblogs and RSS in information work but this again only refers to the Gateshead project.

Are there really no UK public library blogs out there???

Ann Arbor District Library

Before coming across any UK library blogs I thought I should mention the one US library that has been all over the Library 2.0 news. John Blyberg of Ann Arbor District Library recently won a the Talis competition Mashing Up The Library for his Go-Go-Google-Gadget. Ann Arbor's homepage consists of a library blog which simply and effectively gives library news, event information and other interesting library posts. The Shifted Librarian referred to this as the Perfect Library Blog Example last year and it will be interesting to see how it compares to any UK blogs I find.

Public Library Blogs

It seems that the US public libraries are way ahead of the UK when it comes to Web 2.0 activities. Whenever I see an exciting reference to a public library blog or wiki or a library using an RSS feed to publicise their books or events it is always based in the US! Is this just the location of the blogs and news sites that I use or a reflection of UK libraries' attitudes to new technologies? With this in mind I'm on a blog hunt - are there any libraries in the UK using 2.0 technology??? I'm off to find out...

Phil Bradley's Website

Now I finally have a broadband connection up and running at home I can try out all those sites that didn't really look work related at work! First port of call when trying to figure out blogs, wikis and anything other web jargon has always got to be Phil Bradley's Website. Especially useful are all the articles in the "I want to..." section and the huge amount of information on different search engines - all tried and tested. Phil Bradley also writes an excellent column every month in CILIP's Update - a monthly journal for library and information professionals in the UK. Thank you Phil!!

Folkestone Beach

Folkestone Beach
Originally uploaded by swashford.
I've just had my first go at uploading photos to Flickr. This is my favourite photo - for the authentic touch you really need the smell of the fishing boats behind me (I'm the shadow on the wall!).

Friday, 17 November 2006

Cato Street Conspiracy

Another great set from this band last night at the Railway Inn in Winchester. Poorly attended but those who missed it really did miss out. Check out their website - Cato Street Conspiracy - if you enjoy good rock by talented blokes!

Info Junkie Arrives

The First Post...

Couldn't decide what to blog on - far too many interesting things in the world. Think I'm addicted to information, hate not knowing about things and at least like to know where to find the answers!

Therefore, this is the birth of Info Junkie

Looking for info on:
Libraries esp public libraries and interlibrary loans
Good information websites
Book and book related websites
Family History
and anything else that catches my eye

Discoveries will be listed here...

My Blogroll