Sunday, 27 April 2008


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Friday, 25 April 2008

Promoting Online Resources

025.04: Michael's blog: Full of BS

Head over to 025.04 Michael's blog for a great practical idea - using a video loop of online resources on a projector in the reference library to promote the resources.

Public libraries in the UK have a fantastic range of online resources available - Encyclopaedia Britannica, Oxford Dictionary of Natinal Biography, Grove Dictionary of Art and a whole lot more. I recently discovered that many of these 'general reference' tools aren't available in academic libraries so they're a great resource for students and the general public alike! I particularly like the Oxford Reference collection which includes gems like The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations - where I found the perfect quote for my mum...

A hardened and shameless tea-drinker, who has for twenty years diluted his meals with only the infusion of this fascinating plant; whose kettle has scarcely time to cool; who with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and with tea welcomes the morning.

"Johnson, Samuel" The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. Ed. Elizabeth Knowles. Oxford University Press, 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Southampton Libraries. 25 April 2008

Monday, 10 March 2008

Tree in the Wind

Tree in the Wind
Originally uploaded by swashford
Today was rather windy!

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Direct Requests from Information Wants To Be Free

2.0 and don’t even know it | Information Wants To Be Free

Great post from Meredith over at Information Wants To Be Free about an innovative idea for getting books posted direct from Amazon to distance students for their requests. It's worth reading the post and the comments as well as it seems the idea isn't unique. An innovative way to deal with the problem of delivering information to distance students and I'd be interested to know how many other places are doing something similar.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Libraries and Flickr

Flickr: The Commons
Thanks to The Shifted Librarian for highlighting this new project which brings together Flickr and the Library of Congress. There are links to more information on the Shifted Librarian post but my favourite part is this quote from the Library of Congress blog post My Friend Flickr: A Match Made in Photo Heaven

"We want people to tag, comment and make notes on the images, just like any other Flickr photo, which will benefit not only the community but also the collections themselves. For instance, many photos are missing key caption information such as where the photo was taken and who is pictured. If such information is collected via Flickr members, it can potentially enhance the quality of the bibliographic records for the images."

The Flickr Commons pilot is limited to the Library of Congress at the moment but Flickr are looking for expressions of interest from other museums and libraries. They are also asking Flickr users to get involved and tag some photos so that they can gauge the interest in the project and see if it is worth continuing. Even if you're not interested in tagging I recommend heading over and having a look, some of the photos are fascinating!

My favourite use of Flickr by a UK public library at the moment has to be Plymouth Libraries who use their account to show pictures of their new library and events alongside archive pictures of library history. They also show the adventures of Bookstart Bear who appears to have travelled around the world at least once! Unlike a number of library Flickr accounts which seem to have started and then faded away, Plymouth Libraries post new photos regularly and give a real feel of what is happening in their library. They even use Flickr tools to illustrate links to their book reviews. As far as I know this is the only UK public library regularly updating and using a Flickr account in this way but I'd love to hear about any others...

Friday, 11 January 2008

Tech Tips

In case you haven't already come across them, Michael Stephens has posted his Tech Tips for Every Librarian over on Tame the Web. The articles were originally published in Information Today and cover subjects such as using Meebo for IM, Flickr for library marketing and Netvibes & RSS for an info-portal. Go have a look... right now!

Wiki Wonders

An interesting post by Meredith Farkas We have wiki has prompted me to write a little about the wikis I've experimented with over the last 6 months. Back in June we needed a tool to collaborate on the training for our new LMS. It needed to be easily accessible by all of the trainers and allow us to share thoughts on the material and programme without sending hundreds of emails round. I was pleasantly surprised when a wiki was suggested and we ended up using pbwiki as it was very easy to set up and had a WYSIWYG editor that anyone could use. We then demonstrated the wiki at the end of the training sessions and opened it up to all staff to ask questions and add their own thoughts. Although it then gathered dust for a couple of months while the LMS was delayed it was then resurrected when we went live and again had a need to share information and answer questions that everyone could see. Now things have settled down, we're getting used to the LMS and the wiki has gone quiet again but the great thing is that over the last few months nearly every member of staff looked at the wiki for information and a number of people have had a go at adding information. Six months ago most of them had never heard of a wiki! The lessons I've learned from this so far include... not calling a wiki a wiki unless you want to spend a lot of time explaining what a wiki is; spend some time setting up pages and writing a useful front page so that people can jump straight in and start typing; use a wiki for people to ask questions and then not only can everyone see the answers but you can also search for them easily when you need to update the information; use a wiki with WYSIWYG editor as any amount of HTML is hugely offputting!

The second wiki I'm involved with is a conference wiki set up for our annual Forum for Interlending conference this year, Interlend 2008. As our conference committee is spread from Scotland to the south of England we are only expecting to meet a couple of times in person and last year the amount of emails we used to organise things was incredible. As my email client is not great at searching I spent a lot of time saying "I know I read that somewhere..." and sending and receiving information that had already gone round at least once. So far we have used the wiki to plan out the conference programme, discuss and share information on possible speakers and create a list of questions and answers about the practical aspects such as costs and transport. Next week we plan to open the wiki up to delegates so that they can see the programme develop and share their thoughts and questions on the delegates' page and I'd like to have an update blog that people could read via RSS or on the wiki. Anyone interested in seeing the conference wiki in action after next week can email me for the password.

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