Thursday, 28 July 2011

[Cam23 2.0] Thing 11

One of the interesting things about doing Cam23 2.0 (and CPD23) is how my use of the Things has changed from going from working in a library to, well, not.

Things I don't like

Let's get off to a positive start!  I don't really get on well with iGoogle, I have given it a shot but it doesn't fulfil a need for me.  I also don't have a need for Pushnote but I think that it is good to be able to comment on any webpages you want to...I just don't really want to.

Things I liked when in Cambridge

Fraught Twitter
I did like Twitter for keeping up to date and in the loop.  I found it difficult to keep on top of and that is definitely the case now that I am at home and out and about and not at a desk with a computer.  It is just not feasible for me to check it so it has fallen by the wayside now that I am home.  I do see that is it useful for keeping in the loop while at work etc. but I am quite enjoying being away from the constant stream of discussion, which can, at times, be pretty oppressive.

Things I love

Love love love
Google Calendar is great for both work and personal life as is Doodle.  RSS feeds I find really helpful and am trying to click on blogs more often so that I get to see the backgrounds etc. that each person has selected since this can really change an interpretation or feel of a post.  I am going to get the Evernote app for my new Mac so that I can use it at uni and I am going to work out how to do Screenshots and casts too.

All in all the experience so far has been very positive and it is great that the program has not only highlighted Things of use for libraries but also for personal use and for study aids.  It is going far beyond the remit!

P.S. Apologies for pictures maybe being in strange places but it is quite different using a Mac for copying and pasting pictures and positioning etc. so bear with me!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

[CPD23] Things 8 and 9

I appreciate that my blog posts have been less than interesting recently, shamed as I am by the likes of Helen!  I have had a rather hectic few weeks but am now finished at St John's (sob) and have left Cambridge (even bigger sob) and have dumped all my belongings in my parents' dining room (big exasperated sob from my Mum). 

Being at home means that my contact with the internet is limited but my contact with gardening and chores vastly increased.  So, bear with me.  Here are some photos of my garden to brighten this post up:

View down my garden to greenhouse and fields leading to the River Clyde beyond
Big lovely tree that blossoms yellow and has bright red leaves
I have actually written both of the blog posts for this week's Things so am not new to them.  I have also had a look at the Things as part of Cam23 2.0 and have blogged about them here and here but I will endeavour to give you something new.

Google Calendar

I love Google calendar and I never thought that I would prefer a computer based diary to my paper one.  That is not to say that I have got rid of my paper one...I have just bought a new academic year diary (I cannot wait for the day when I can buy a grown-up January to December one) since I like to be able to flick through and count weeks in an old fashioned sort of way.  Also, Google Calendar does not have colourful polka dots on a brown paper background.  I definitely find that GC is much more useful and called for when I am at work and, basically, not at home.  I realised where my love of organisation came from when I mentioned to my Mum this morning that I might be going bowling next Tuesday and she scrambled for the diary.  I commented that it wasn't definite to which she retorted that that was why it was going in in pencil...those who know me may understand me a lot better now!!


I liked Evernote from the start.  I don't know if it was the Desktop interface, the ease of combining different media or just the elephant but I took to it easily.  As I have said previously, it is not of much use at the moment but I can see it becoming invaluable on my Masters when I predict I will be juggling journals, articles, websites etc.  I think that there is a lot more to it than I experienced but no doubt that will all be discovered with use.

I am not sure that I have given you anything new so I will add a photo of my cat covered in muck, yawning and sitting in her basin full of soil (which she obviously prefers to her nice soft bed) to make up for it.

The Other Missy Lee

Friday, 22 July 2011

Last Week in Cambridge Cramming

My time in Cambridge is drawing rapidly to a close and, as it does so, I am realising that I only have a few days left to do all the things I have been intending to do all year!
Learning to teach

So, first up was a tour of the Cambridge University Press by my landlady, who is high up in the Corpus.  One of the main points of interest (other than the fantastic lunch) was the English Language Teaching department in which materials are produced for the teaching of English as a foreign language.  What was great though was that each set of material is specifically developed to suit those learning the language.  People who speak different languages will learn a language very differently depending on their native grammar use.  The Corpus conducts rigorous testing of students in each country and analyses the errors in order to tailor the teaching materials to suit those students specifically.  Native Spanish speakers in South America, for instance, will have made different errors to Spanish speakers from Spain and so their teaching materials will differ. 

Not much printing is carried out on site with it being much more economical to print abroad, where many of the materials will end up anyway.  Everything is contained on the site in South Cambridge and some 800 staff work there.  The facilities are excellent and CUP was similar to OUP, which I visited last year under the guide of their head archivist.  CUP did not have archives and I am still unsure as to what happens to all of the drafts, criticism and proof-reading once a book has been published.  Something to investigate further!

Ward Library
Next up was the Perne at Peterhouse.  My colleague, Allen, works 3 days a week at St John's and 2 days at Peterhouse as a rare books cataloguer.  Firstly he gave me a quick tour of the college, which is the oldest and smallest in Cambridge and is beautiful with its own deer park in the heart of the city.  The Ward Library is the undergraduate library and was, in a word, stunning.  It resembled a lawyer's office with shiny wood, plush carpets and emerald leather chairs.  There is one full time member of staff and one who works school terms.  What is surprising about the Ward is that the stock is not on Newton.  This appears to be due to the college's outlook and may change in the near future.  Undergradautes get used to this set-up quite quickly but informing graduate students of the fact that Peterhosue does in fact have books can be somewhat more of a challenge!

The Perne Library contains c.5,000 rare books, many of which are from Perne's own collection.  Allen is making his way through them cataloguing on SirsiDynix and publishing them online.  Readers to the library are rare and there is no outreach as there is at St John's.  This college had a very different feel to it and it emphasised the fact that Cambridge colleges are by no means similar and when I come to choose courses for my Masters I will need to consider carefully what sort of librarianship I wish to go into.

Great St Mary's
I can't write this post without mentioning my wonderful last Speakeasy at the Man on the Moon with the Cambridge Lindy Hoppers - they had a jam for me and I got squished senseless at the end in a massive Lindy hug - I will definitely miss it!  I have also managed to climb Great St Mary's, tea in hand, and get marvellous views out over Cambridge.  I will add to this by climbing John's Chapel tomorrow, bouncy castle bouncing, unlimited candy floss and free punting at my leaving party (thinly disguised by college as the Quincentenary Staff Garden Party).  Charlotte and I have also visited Benet's for the last time in a wee while.  Never fear, people of Cambridge, I will be back, probably with a new found love of waffles and hopefully wielding an MS in Library and Information Science in my sweaty mit!

[CPD23] Things 6 and 7

Networking has always been one of those buzz words that I have been a bit scared of.  I have, over the past year, however, realised its uses and that it does not have to be deliberate targeting of individuals for conversation.  I believe that it is much more beneficial to be an outgoing and friendly individual and make contacts in a more natural manner than having a clear 'aim' in socialising.  I, for one, dislike those people who can be identified as 'networking' from a mile off and just want to get their name known and to hang with having meaningful conversations with people.  That may help you up the career ladder but you'll get a certain reputation on the way.

So, after that minor rant, on with the Things.

Online networking

I am already very active on Facebook as a means of keeping in touch with friends whom I have met in several different places and have difficulty in contacting otherwise.  I do enjoy seeing how people are all related to each other and recently a friend of mine from Oxford came up as being 'in a relationship' with someone I met on summer school in Greece - it never ceases to astound me how small the world is...well, we are talking the 'Classics' world, which is distinctly smaller than many though perhaps not Cambridge!  I don't use Facebook professionally since I like to keep my personal and professional lives separate.

This is entitled 'laptop lightening' - I thought they were just sparks
I have used this week as the prompt I needed to start a LinkedIn profile.  I agree that it comes quite high up in the Google results and it is a great way to get your CV out there.  I have started making connections but I am, as yet, a little unsure about what connections are and who it is acceptable to connect to.  I agree with Annie when she said that it is best to have a well-updated online presence rather than a presence everywhere.  I am even realising this now as I finish my traineeship (today is my last day - sigh) and have to go round changing current job etc.

I have just joined LISNPN and I am not sure what it is all about. I keep getting e-mails but am a bit busy to follow them all.  If I had more time I would look into it more and I imagine that it is a very useful network to be involved in.  I wish that I could have gone to the New Professionals Conference and will endeavour to do so when I return from my masters in NY.

Face-to-Face networking

Now this I sort of prefer.  After only a year in Cambridge I know many librarians by face especially due to the Library@Cambridge conference and my regular attendance at the Cambridge Libraries Group events.  I also attended many Arcadia Seminars and obviously the tours and visits as part of my traineeship were invaluable for introducing us to others in the profession as well as giving an insight into other institutions.

As I progress in my career I hope to become more involved in local professional networks (but it is difficult though when you know that you are leaving imminently for another country!).  I have already signed up to be a volunteer at the CLRC Unconference in Syracuse, NY in September as a means of getting myself out there and meeting others in the profession (I am banking on my distinctive accent to help make me memorable!).

Since I am moving to America, I see the importance of online networking afresh.  I hope to keep up my participation in Cambridge based discussions and will keep up reading blogs on my RSS feed.   I am intending to blog while over there not only for my fellow students but also for people back in Britain and hope to draw comparisons between the the countries and approaches to librarianship.  It will be particularly interesting to keep up with the other Cambridge trainees and see how our courses compare and how we can help each other.

Would people like to hear library and information science comparisons?
I do see the benefits of online and face-to-face networking and I am relatively new to it.  I would like to think that I am laying the foundations for a successful professional network and I hope to continue this while away so that when I come back it will feel like I have never been away!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

[Cam23 2.0] Week 5, Things 9 and 10 and Extra Thing 4

I would like to say that I am an organised person.  I certainly was termed one while at university and my college son still regrets lambasting 'those people with colour co-ordinated timetables and loads of stationery' when I first met him.  Little did he know that he was describing me to a tee.  So, organising week on Cam23 2.0 is wonderful!

I'm not quite this bad with my pens...but some Belgians are
Google Docs

This is one of those things that I was a tad dubious about using to start with (I'm sure you're starting to see a theme in my approach to new technologies).  BUT it has been incredibly helpful over the past year and I have used it a lot.  My use spans docs concerning choreography for the ADC dance show in which the Lindy Hoppers performed, script of the video I made for a scholarship application, Lindy volunteer and teaching spreadsheet, Cam23 2.0 and CPD23 minutes and participants, work announcements and my own personal PDFs.  This is one of those tools, like Doodle, that easily spans the personal and professional worlds. 

I think this was the one
I like the live input since it means that distant people can be accessing the doc during a meeting and see what is being amended and contribute themselves.  This also reminds me of the ancient chat thing that my brother used - ICQ, where the person you were chatting to could read what you typed as you typed it...sometimes not a great idea.

I would say that I have found it an issue to share docs with people who do not have a Gmail account.  Especially when I get invites sent to my Hermes webmail and then have to get people to send the invite to my Gmail account instead.  Apparently all one needs is a Google account in order for this all to work...I have no idea if most people have one of these or not (I suppose we all should since we have been doing iGoogle etc.) and so I don't know how problematic this is in the big bad world.


I have written the Cam23 2.0 post for this and so it is obviously not new to me.  I am not really sure about how this tool will progress or whether it will become more insightful.  Presumably the more people, who use it the more useful it will be but since it is still in beta, I think that there is a lot of work to be done.

I found the article interesting since I hadn't considered the views of online businesses concerning what was being written about them and cannot be vetted.  Surely the freedom to express views is a good long as they are true.  There is no way that slander can be deleted or taken back unless it is taken up with Pushnote itself...thus adding a third party and complicating the issue.  There are so many fora on the web, though, that negative and slanderous comments can always be made and I don't think that Pushnote is making the situation any worse!


Again, I wrote the post and so I haven't had much exploring to do this week.  I really like the concept of Evernote and think that it would be very helpful for researchers and students but its immediate use in a library context is a bit lost on me.  I certainly think that I will use it next year when I am at uni and juggling articles and websites and think that it will become invaluable.  I wish I had known about things like this when I was writing my thesis last year!  I prefer to use the desktop layout, which automatically syncs with the web and keeps my 'homepage' up to date. 

(Strangely, I like the elephant icon, it is one of the few icons on my browser that doesn't offend me)

This is not something I have tried nor am likely to try at the moment.  I can see the uses, especially in a library context with sharing of photographs etc. with enquirers and this would work at John's, in particular with the Biographical Office but it is not something that I need now.  I also agree that the formatting of Google Docs can be annoying but, as yet, I've not really had an issue with it - I tend to be contributing to docs already there or writing pretty simple ones myself, for which the formatting isn't really important.
I don't have anything to put in my box

I think that Evernote is probably more up my street since I don't have the need to share is rare that I share things and, if I do, it tends to be with my family for whom even e-mail is a bit complicated!

Friday, 15 July 2011

[CPD 23] Thing 5 is a reflection week.  I have just discovered, however, that this is not as much of a skive as I was expecting!

The Thinker (and this photo has reminded of the trailer for Project Nim that I saw last night at the cinema - looks interesting)
Reflection on events

I started this blog in the hope that it would encourage me to reflect on the various trips and visits, to which the trainees were treated.  I am mostly of the mindset 'how does this compare to John's?' when considering what to write and this is reflective practice of a sort.  The time involved really is surprising and, in theory, reflecting on several aspects of an event and what went well/wrong/interestingly is great but, in reality, you can only reflect for as much time as you have.  I can see reflection being helpful when dealing with training events, events within the library or conferences but it is when it comes to reflection on personal performance that I struggle. 

Refelction on myself

Not me...but a bald man
Borton's 'What? So What? Now What?' seems pretty sensible and is a good simple structure to get you thinking about the topic.  I liked Judith's link to Seth Godin's view of evaluation.  I am with the Dog-eared Librarian concerning self-reflective practice at school.  I found this utterly useless for many of the same reasons.  It would probably have been far more productive to get someone else to evaluate my work.  I tended to work hard, do well and have nothing to say in evaluation apart from 'maybe I should get less distracted by my cat.' 

When it comes to professional matters, I am not one to blow my own trumpet (something my Mum puts down to being Scottish...not sure about that one) and focus on my shortcomings and weaknesses a lot.  I possibly also overestimate other people's competence.  All of these mean that reflection can be a bit of a minefield but I hope that continued focus on it along with more professional development reviews at work etc. will make my viewpoint more realistic and productive. 

Putting it into practice

I am trying hard with CPD23 as well as Cam23 2.0 but the combination of the two is quite taxing!  My main bugbear is Twitter but I am trying more with that.  I am not posting more but I am reading posts more thoroughly and following more links, which I am finding pretty rewarding.  I am much preferring the Hootsuite layout though I don't like their Facebook feed, which is just way behind updates (perhaps that's just me) but since I use Twitter for professional matters and Facebook for personal, I want to access them at different times so Hootsuite's shortfall is not really an issue.

Technophobe no longer
I am really enjoying getting to read lots of blogs, which I didn't know about before and am finding it useful to compare my experiences to those of others.  I am quite surprised at how similar my views and experiences are to many people's - quite encouraging since I thought that I was a bit of a technophobe prior to these programs!  Sometimes upon reading other blogs I realise that I have been too hasty to pass judgement on something and should have given it more of a chance.  So, it is safe to say that I am learning a lot from this program but you definitely need to put in a lot of effort to get the maximum benefit.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

[Cam23 2.0] Week 4, Things 7 and 8 and Extra Thing 3

Since I wrote the posts for the Cam23 2.0 blog this week, I don't have much experimenting to do!  I'll give my views on them nonetheless!


I began using Doodle pretty much when I came to Cambridge, almost a year ago.  I'm with Annie in that It is invaluable for organising events whether professional or personal and its simple nature makes it straightforward and easily understood (much like TeuxDeux, which is a wonderful invention and should be used by all!)  I agree with Gareth when he comments on the possibility of replying as anyone, this does seem open to problems.  Also, I have done several polls where my options have been bigger than usual but as long as the people replying realise that there is a sort of concertina going on it is fine (a tad unwieldy though, I admit).

Google Calendar

GC brings order to the chaos
Again, I have been using this for about a year and would be lost without it.  We now use it as work as well since there are 3 distinct 'offices' in John's library (Working Library, Old Library and Biographical Office) and we were operating 4 paper diaries (the librarian had his own since he is also president of the college).  This obviously led to problems, miscommunication, double bookings and difficulties when taking phone calls.  So, Google Calendar was proposed and we are getting on swimmingly with it.  A few members of staff do not use it since they don't exactly embrace technology but that can be easily dealt with by others in the office.  My own personal Google Calendar has taken over from my paper diary, which I now find I fill in retrospectively.  I would get rid of it entirely if I was able to get GC on my phone and when I was away from a computer.

Extra Thing

I have had a look at this and managed to put it on my Google Reader without trouble but, shocking as it is, I don't actually borrow from any University libraries apart from John's.  We don't use UL cards for borrowing and so we have a different system of checking loans, which is not compatible with this widget and doesn't have a widget of its own.  The plan is to transfer over to UL cards soon (hurrah for the graduate trainees of the future who, therefore, will not have to spend the first few weeks making c.300 library cards, cutting out the pictures and laminating them! 

I can see this being a handy device for students though...they need all the help they can get when it comes to handing books back!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Library within the library

Easter term's Brown Bag lunch discussed this article (p.56-65) and the concept of separate libraries combining to make a new form of institution.  The libraries in question were the State University of San Jose and the San Jose Main Public Library and they opened together as the Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Library in August 2003.  As Becky pointed out, the article was written by an academic librarian at the library and so her view may be slightly biased, although perhaps it will be more insightful.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr Library entrance

Biggar High
I was particularly interested in this discussion since my local library merged with the local school library to create a joint council-run venture.  What is strange, however, is that there is a glass wall partitioning the school area from the public area.  This may, of course, be necessary for the protection of the children (or perhaps the public going by some lunchtime school children's behaviour).   Biggar library and Biggar High School both have the same librarians and the customers can choose from the same stock.  This appears to be a similar set-up to elsewhere in the country and must stem from the council-based funding.

In San Jose, however, there is more integration and the library actually has an entrance facing the city and an entrance facing the university.  This, no doubt, is to increase inclusion, an issue raised when we considered how this format would be received in Cambridge.  We felt that there may be a Town vs. Gown issue as there tends to be.

We touched on several interesting points such as the importance of the geographical positioning of a joint library and whether that could affect the users.  We also considered the benefit of having the specialism of an academic library together with a more general public library since many books can be too general for academia but too specialised for public use and so would fit perfectly in this amalgamated service.  The funding structure may prove an issue here, however.

I was particularly interested in the point that funding may be more readily available for an institution labelling itself as 'Higher Education' rather than 'Public Library.'  Depending on regional councils and their structure, libraries can lose out on funding due to their educational counterparts and so this joint approach may prevent such issues.

Info desk
 Jenny came up with an important point: the differences between public and academic staff.  We tend to choose between the two fields and mostly stick to our choice.  So, what is it like combining the two at a general info desk?  The clientèle, types of questions, variety of questions and level of detail expected in the answers would all be different to what the librarians were used to.

The conversation led onto the accessibility of libraries in Cambridge and whether they are open to members of the public or merely accessible for members of the university.  This is particularly topical at John's since we are currently in the middle of the first of two Quincentenary weeks and have hundreds of alumni swarming all over the college.  They are managing to find their way into all nooks and crannies of the library and they are very welcome but it is somewhat of a shock to the system for me since I am used to trying to keep the library free of non-students.

I feel that I have written way more than enough on this subject and I still haven't covered all that was discussed.  It really was most interesting, especially since there were librarians present from all kinds of libraries and backgrounds all with their own individual take on the issues.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

[Cam23 2.0] Things 5 and 6

Strangely enough this week I have found the unknown Thing far easier than the known Thing.  My work computer will not allow me to use LightShot and so I will have to wait until I am home and quickly find, it, use it and blog it before Darwin Formal!


I am, unfortunately, one of those people who 'Ctrl+Print Screen', pastes into Paint and crops it and uploads it to my blog.  My computer science friend recently visited me in the library while I was doing this and was appalled by appalled that he wouldn't offer an alternative!  Needless to say, I love LightShot!

Tintin, whose museum I am visiting tomorrow in Brussels!
I found it a bit confusing to start with because I don't really know where the shot is when I have highlighted it and where it is 'uploaded' to and I ended up having to open it and then save it to my computer and then upload it to my blog like a picture file - not sure if that is what I am meant to do but that was the only option I could go for...please enlighten me if there is a more straightforward way to do it!  Even with this it is still so much quicker and better quality than what I used to do!


This is a wonderful idea.  If only I had a microphone and a presentation to do I would love it even more!  I have put together a wee video of my usual BBC viewing...and yes, it is as thrilling as it sounds.

Look, it even has a tractor!  This was very easy to do and I was surprised at how slow you had to use the mouse.  What was particularly good is that the mouse is highlighted on the video (though not while you are recording hence I was a little concerned that the mouse was a bit difficult to see).

This would be an excellent tool for those who teach students or demonstrate databases etc.  This is a massive step forward from Screenshots in Powerpoint for example and this would facilitate teaching students much better.  I have made many leaflets for the library over the course of my year here and have struggled with Screenshots and Paint and arrows and speech bubbles...a video with running commentary would be much more useful and could be uploaded to the library website.  Which would you prefer?

Our library's Newton catalogue guide


I think that it is blatantly obvious (even without sound) that the video gets the point across a lot better and is actually a lot quicker and easier for us to make!  (Not to mention all those rainforests saved).

So, yes, I am a big fan and bring on an opportunity to use it!

[CPD23] Thing 4

Current awareness encompasses rather a lot!  Thankfully I have already encountered all of these (not least due to the Cam23 2.0 program for which I have already blogged about Twitter and RSS Feeds and have written the blog post for the Pushnote Thing).


My new calmer outlook
Please see my Cam23 2.0 post.

As I have said many times before, I have been very slow on the uptake of Twitter because I was massively dubious about it.  I spent most of my afternoon, however, trying to enthuse my work experience student about Twitter and shocked myself with my own enthusiasm!

I find it difficult to dip in and out of Twitter and need to follow it constantly to get the most out of it.  Following on from my 'messy' comments below I have had a look at Hootsuite and am happier with this layout since I can control how much I see.  I also have my Facebook on another tab and this set-up seems to suit me better.

I found Annie's tweeting lists very useful and have since started following a few more.  I tend mostly to follow librarians or libraries or library related feeds but I have a few other ones such as Stephen Fry (obviously), Jimmy Carr, Jimmy Nail (perhaps a heck of a lot less obviously) and a few others.  I wholeheartedly agree with Jen when she says that she is much more professionally aware due to Twitter...I even am and I don't Tweet that often.

RSS Feeds

Again, have a look at my Cam23 2.0 post.

I have been using Google Reader for a while now and am a big fan.  I like having all of my information, news, photos, articles and blogs together and automatically updated.  I have compartmentalised my feeds and have realised just how many library blogs I am following!

Further to my dabbling in Hootsuite above I discovered that I can send my Google Reader shared items to a separate tab on there too.  Now, I have never shared items on Reader but I could and then I would have them all in the one place with my Tweets!  Find out in this helpful article how you can go about linking Hootsuite to Google.


Mr Fry
I had never used Pushnote until it came to writing the blog post for Cam23 2.0 (will be published week beginning 18th July).  It is still in beta and presumably this is why it is not widely used.  Annie was my only Facebook friend using it!  Since this Thing has been put up though more have joined and I am now following several of my Twitter friends.  I agree that it is difficult to see how this will progress but I will definitely watch this space.  Surely anything backed by the Frymeister can't be bad?!