Friday, 30 September 2011

Robots in the library? Whatever next...?

CLRC Unconferece
Yesterday I attended the Central New York Library Resources Council Unconference on the topic of library space and place.  This was a round table event attended by librarians from academic and public libraries, Professor Hurst-Wahl from the iSchool and an architect interested in designing libraries.

We covered so much ground that it would be very impractical to write it all down here but I intend to focus on a couple of the points, which I found most interesting.  As my first conference in America it was interesting to sit back and observe the differences between Cambridge libraries and the academic institutions over here.  For example, everyone was very impressed that Michael Poulin of Colgate (not the toothpaste) managed to hit 85% of his freshers with library information - compare this with almost 100% in Cambridge with specialised subject tours given by staff who were knowledgeable in that field.  This means that the Cambridge students had an opportunity to get to know one of the library staff and feel like they had a welcoming point of contact if they needed assistance over their time at the college.  I am realising more and more that I (and indeed the students at John's) was rather spoiled back in Cam!

Colgate University

Mike Poulin gave a short presentation (this conference was a bit like the TeachMeet in Cambridge) on the renovation of Colgate University Library.  They have recently installed LASR (Library Automated Storage and Retrieval), which is also used at Missouri Kansas and Chicago Universities, but was originally designed as a system for storing and retrieving frozen turkeys.  You can view a video demonstrating the working of the LASR on the link above and if it looks familiar then that's because it is on the front of this month's Library Journal and the article can be read here.  Pretty interesting stuff.

LASR Retrieval by Ellbeecee, on Flickr

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  Ellbeecee 

What I found particularly interesting, and indeed it caused me to prick myself with my free conference pencil, was the fact that class marks are really redundant in this new fangled technology.  All of the Dewey books are in the LASR storage but they are not shelved by class mark but by size.  This is ok, I thought, they must be in class mark order within size but no.  When a book is returned to LASR it is assigned to the nearest bin with space thus the books are totally random and will not return to where they came from.  So what is the point in the class mark?  The books are not on the shelves to be browsed so why assign one?  The only use that was mentioned in discussion was that this can still be used to show the subject and can be used online to show relationships between items but then, subject headings assigned in cataloguing can do that too - is this the beginning of the end for the class mark?  I sure hope not since I have become rather attached to the labelling machine at John's.

Flippancy aside, this is a very different way of running a library.  Mike pointed out that students are more keen to read books from the LASR since they get to order it up and the books are brought to the desk for them while looking on a shelf is extra effort.  This sounds distinctly like a return to the old forms of libraries where the books were out of bounds and it was up to librarians to fetch them for members.  An interesting development.

SUNY Geneseo

We had a brief discussion about the Milne Library at Geneseo and the ethos of community that the library exudes.  The study rooms can be booked out to all sorts of student societies from work related groups to yoga.  This allowed the library to become a hub of activity and several university departments are keen to be affiliated with or work in the library.  This is apparently chiefly due to the librarian and his personality. This is all fine and well but what happens when he is no longer in charge?  A personality is not enough to maintain an ethos once that person has gone.  How can we use architecture as a means to bring a community ethos into a building?  Should this ethos be part of the 'mission' of the library?  Would that mean that staff to come would be as successful in implementing it as the original librarian?  I suppose you don't know until you try.

So those are a couple of the topics that stuck out to me and below I have added a few points to outline the other subjects that we touched on, all very compelling but there was just too much to write here!


  • entrances of libraries are not always obvious or welcoming (take Bird as an example) so librarians need to work on getting people into the building - related to this was a discussion of handicapped access, which should not only provide access but provide dignified access


Bird Library 『鳥』圖書館 by jiashiang, on Flickr
You will note that the entrance is under the level of the road
 - it feels like you are going down into a bunker

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  jiashiang 
  • libraries need to deal with criminals on parol who may use the library in breach of their parol terms
  • libraries as the 'Third Space' (see previous post)
  • librarians have to work with others in the community/university in order to provide best service
  • if libraries are to be in partnership then do they have to alter their 'mission'?
  • the need to design libraries with the library of 15 years in the future in mind i.e. lots of moveable furniture and no permanent changes so that the library is always ready to adapt without full renovation necessary
  • there will always be slight issues overcoming the differences between librarians and IT people - the differences do not need to be as large as we think.  Inter-subject courses in the iSchool are directed at combating this potential issue

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Is "Disneyfication of public spaces" the way to go?

This week in class we focused on space in libraries (hence Prof. Lankes' above quote...and yes, I will endeavour to quote him in every 511 post this semester).  This tied in very well with the conference I went to this morning, about which I will blog after this post (can you feel the suspense)!  It also fitted in well with Sean's spiffing post and I conclude that the culmination of all these space discussions means that it is very important concept to be considering in the current climate.

I am familiar with the term 'Third Space' from my discussion with Marilyn Smith, Petit Branch Manager but wasn't aware that there was such a debate attached to it.  The phrase was coined by Ray Oldenburg and refers to the third place after home and work/study/school.  Libraries have jumped on this bandwagon and defined themselves as the third place for their members.  I can fully appreciate this as someone who spent pretty much her whole undergraduate ensconced in the sixteenth century library of my college (Corpus, Oxford) - and, by the picture below, who wouldn't?

Corpus Christi College, Oxford Library
This library is the reason that I am at Library School and it wasn't for the books that I spent most of my days there but it was the community that the library engendered.  It was the hub of college life and made studying 'cool' with competitions for how long everyone could stay seated and concentrating with the first to get up the loser.  (Only upon writing that have I realised just how geeky my uni life was.)

But if the concept of libraries as a community space was prevalent in the sheltered and revered Oxford then it must work in less pressured situations.  Prof. Lankes brought up the proposed library in the Carousel Centre (which did not come to fruition) and this reminded me of Cambridge Central Library, which is situated above the main shopping centre just off the main market square.  This has been a great success for the library with footfall vastly increased and whenever you go in it is always busy.  But, I am not sure how well this would work if there was a bookstore in close proximity. It is incredibly handy to be able to pop in when you are doing your shopping and indeed you can deposit any unwilling male shopping-tag-alongs there while you shop 'til you drop.*  As you can see below, the library is above the shops:


We discussed the concept of making the library a piazza, an agora for the community and this is a great idea, especially when I consider the success of Norwich Public Library which is now part of the 'Forum' (an agora in Latin, wonderful!) that was built as part of the Millennium project in the city.  This houses the local TV and radio station, the library, the tourist information, restaurants and cafes and is in the centre of the city.  

The Norwich Forum complete with merry-go-round


My Norwich example also ties with a particularly interesting point in this whole discussion of the community space: the concept of partnerships forged by the library with other institutions in order to provide a more relevant service to the community.  We discussed this at length today at the conference when we were focusing on academic and public libraries needing to work together with IT services.  We can add to that facilities managers, who often control the library buildings instead of librarians.  Other partnerships can be with theatres, who put on plays that benefit from library/archival input with displays to support the performance.  It is through these partnerships that we can expand our knowledge of the community, our expertise, and our funds so we have to be prepared to get out of our libraries and tackle the challenges head-on in an informed and open-minded fashion.

* I can sense men getting angry at me already for that

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

E-books are like 'Ikea breaking into your house late at night to take their bookcase back’


IKEA EXPEDIT Goodness! by tomas carrillo, on FlickrAn interesting point that was brought up in class last night was the ownership of e-books and downloadable music.  This is not something I had actually considered since I am not in the habit of considering legal ownership of the things that I listen to or read. Perhaps this is because it is logically engrained in us that when we take a physical book out of the library it still belongs to the library because it is usually covered in their labels and funny plastic covering.  The issue comes when we receive information in different formats from the library or online sources.

Many libraries nowadays are providing e-books and music on CDs.  There are several online sites providing downloadable e-books too so what exactly is the ownership of these items?

Let's take the music in libraries first:

There is nothing to stop you from copying your own CD onto your own computer so that you can transfer it onto your iPOD etc. (note the emphasis on 'you').  This is legal since you have purchased the music and you are merely shifting that information from one medium to another and are not creating a new product.  If you were burning the CD onto the computer in order to give a copy to someone else then that is illegal.

In libraries, however, if someone takes out a CD and burns it onto their iPOD, computer etc. then they are acting illegally since they have created a new product for which they have not paid.

I do not pretend to understand the legality surrounding this but I think I have accurately covered the basics above...well, enough for me to know that I shouldn't be copying library CDs!  I feel that an image of Justin Timberlake as Napster founder, Shawn Fanning is completely justified.

The Social Network

What about e-books?

Well, e-books, as with music, are not owned by those who download them but are only licensed to be used by that person.  So when someone downloads a book they do not own that book but own the license to read it.  The Ikea quote above came about during a discussion concerning a particularly interesting and ironic story from 2009 concerning Amazon's Kindle and Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm.  These were made available for download via Amazon by a company who did not have the right to do so and so Amazon remotely removed these e-books from their customers' Kindles.  (They had sent out a warning e-mail so it wasn't quite as freaky as it could have been).  This highlights the lack of authority the user has over their licensed products and unnerving accessibility of Amazon to your data.  

Not sure how popular Big Brother is over here but it was big in the UK
Kangaroo by semuthutan, on Flickr
Sorry, Darren
Another point, rather unrelated, that was brought up last night was the effect that participants have on a conversation. Librarians cannot be passive components in the conversation between people and information.  The fact that the library exists, houses information, provides access to information all affect any conversations that take part involving the library.  Prof. Lankes pointed out that librarians are biased, everyone is biased since we are all human.  Everything affects a conversation whether intentional or not.  As an example he referred to the dead kangaroos on his feet which certainly affected the conversation for the vegetarians in the class.  Every part of Prof. Lankes will affect the discussion and every part of the room will.  Once we embrace this fact we will hopefully all become more open to participate in discussion and conversation with library members in the fight to "improve society through the facilitating knowledge creation in the community" (no extra points for identifying where that's from!)


Monday, 19 September 2011

[Cam23 2.0] Thing 23 a.k.a. The Last Thing

This program has been, in a word, 'productive'.  I am not going to say that it was wonderful since it has been jolly hard work keeping up with everything and trying to explore, evaluate and blog every week when there has been so much else going on but I can truly say that I am a much more rounded person for having completed it (well nearly).

I recall boring some friends of a friend on the way back from the opera in London in the early hours of a Sunday morning with tales of the Things and how useful they are to librarians.  Granted, one of them fell asleep but I managed to hold the others' attention and I have actually never shut up about these programs since coming to grad school since they are always relevant and, being involved in this and CPD23, has been invaluable in Syracuse so far.  I was told before I came that I would have to get my head round Twitter and start blogging, both of which have given me a head start and allowed me to have time to settle in without flapping about in a technology induced panic.

I have reflected a bit on the new tools I am using in another post.  One of the best things for me has been the use of Flickr and Creative Commons with ImageCodr and several people since have asked me how to get the references on pictures.

I have duly created a non-wordle of my blog:

Thanks to Annie for introducing me to Tagxedo - I much prefer it to Wordle!
An apple was the most appropriate shape I could find for New York 

Aside

I have discovered several different flavours of M&M's since I have been here - on top of our 'normal' and 'peanut', you can also get 'peanut butter', 'dark' chocolate, 'pretzel' and 'coconut' - the latter is very exciting!  So exciting that it warrants a photo and they even match Gaskell's 'A New Introduction to Bibliography' - it is less tasty, trust me.


[CPD23] Things 17 and 19

Prezi

I will start by discussing Prezi since I and my presenting partner, Daina, have just designed our very own Prezi.  I have been dying to get my teeth into a presentation with a Prezi since I have seen a few and heard so much about them and wanted to break away from powerpoints, which I feel like I have been seeing pretty much with unchanged format all my life (surely a bad thing in the technology world?!)

Prezi

So, our first Prezi experience went rather well and I would post it but we haven't yet done our presentation and I don't want the class to see it and ruin their surprise.  We found it very easy to use but my only criticism would be the difficulty in formatting text - we just wanted to put something in italics and, for some reason, this was impossible.  I felt like we were missing something simple but the formatting only took you to a scary colour/font/theme mishmash of choices, the keyboard shortcuts didn't work and there was no easy B I U to be seen anywhere.

Despite that slight glitch, we are very happy with the end product and I will definitely be using Prezi again.  I appreciate it when people say that not every presentation suits Prezi but thankfully ours follows a chronological structure so we could have a flowing chart.  What I also liked was the ability to plan the presentation on the canvas first - this is particularly helpful for those who learn and plan visually rather than in words.

Reflection


I am having a swift look through all of the things that we have been through so far and there a lot of them!  Obviously I am keeping up my blog and am very glad that I started it last year since it is now part of my homework for class.  I have never known a professor to order blogging homework but that is just what we have to do every week after class.  So, already having a blog and being familiar with putting my words 'out there' has made this part of grad school that bit more comfortable.
More Green Lakes - just wait for the
Fall pictures

Being at grad school has forced me to be more active on Twitter, since it is encouraged as a back channel for class and it is completely acceptable to be Tweeting about class while in it (I still find this a tad odd but on many occasions very amusing and often provides extension information concerning what is being discussed).

Personal brand was brought up in class the other day by Professor Lankes and I was thrilled to hear what I have learned on this program being taught at school!

RSS Feeds, Google Calendar and Facebook continue to be staples in my day-to-day life and, although I am not religiously using the referencing tools suggested here, I am experimenting with them and have learned a lot from them.

This program, along with the Cam23 2.0 one, have raised my awareness of issues greatly and I feel well-informed on my course and have even introduced classmates to several of these tools.  I never thought that I could be termed as 'someone in the know' and that goes to show that these online learning programs are fantastic opportunities to fiddle with new fangled technology in a supportive and structured manner with the chance to ask questions and read about how other people are using them.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

[Cam23 2.0] Thing 22 and Extra Thing 9

The end is nigh!

Wikis

I am going to refer you to Annie's post since she has summarised my only use of Wikis as part of the Cambridge graduate trainees last year.  I certainly found it useful (but perhaps that was because I was using it in conjunction with CamTools and anything that functioned well was a godsend).  Now I use Google Docs for group work and that works well enough that I haven't needed Wikis again.

Completely unnecessary image of gourds but they are VERY popular here

QR codes

I have gone technologically backwards since coming to America (I now have a flip phone with a real-life aerial!) so I have no snazzy smart phone with which to scan QR codes.  They are a great idea in principle especially if they are links to useful sources - they are particularly useful on posters or bookmarks in the library as Bird does here (please click here if you want to see the slight architectural change I have undergone since John's!)

Having said that though, if you have a bookmark then you will either have the information or the URL to the information so a QR code may not make the whole process quicker but QR codes on posters or billboards may well be more efficient.

Aside


I have now started golf lessons am expected to know what I am doing since I come from the home of golf...I am afraid it doesn't work that way!  The Festa Italiana was great today with amazing food and a rock and roll band to which I Lindied - it was great to get back into the swing of it (do you get it?!).



Despite being Downtown, the sunset was beautiful
In other news, I have selected my Pathfinder topic (basically need to create a subject guide with around 20-25 print or online resources for a student on any topic we want) so I have chosen Greek myth in sculpture (though I am jealous of someone's 'Superman' topic!).  I am mulling over topics for my special collections paper and am thinking of something along the lines of part publication or even the 'unions' formed by journeymen in the hand-press period.  My presentation on encyclopaedias for another class is well under way and we have produced a Prezi (how amazingly exciting!) so I am looking forward to wowing the class with non-PPT!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Unfortunately "netflix will not solve the problem of people who do not have a home"

NetFlix by alforque, on Flickr

This week in class Dr. Lankes came out with this true but slightly baffling statement.  (Netflix, for those of you readers from the UK is like LoveFilm.)  This statement tackles the issue of how libraries will deal with online providers of books, films and information in general and was brought up in a discussion of the purpose of different types of libraries.

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  alforque 

I would like to bring in a concept that I gleaned from thewikiman which involves a comparison of the old librarians and the new (i.e. us).  Before the internet and the advent of eresources and databases and all these new fangled exciting things, librarians were the keepers of the information and allowed access to those using the library.  Now, people can access that information themselves on the internet* (be it reliable or otherwise) and now librarians are required to evaluate the information and allow access to what they have vetted in the form of databases etc. to which they subscribe.  As Ned points out, people and reliable information may always be separated by librarians but we have transformed from being the 'gatekeepers' to being the regulators of the flow of information to the people.

Aida refugee camp by numerosept, on Flickr
I wasn't quite sure what sort of gate there was between people
and information so one with a big key seemed apt
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  numerosept 

It is becoming more generally acknowledged that librarians will become more and more indispensable in this digital age due to information overload and saturation.  It can be difficult to sift through information on the internet and find not only what is relevant but what is reliably sourced.  This is where librarians as a guiding force come in.  So, even if people have the internet in their homes and have the ability to research for themselves, librarians will always be necessary for guidance.

But, I hear you cry, what about the people without access to the internet?  Libraries are a wonderful resource for the community not only because they offer facilities such as the internet, online resources, newspapers, books, films, maps, events but also because they provide a 'safe haven' as I discussed last week.  When I worked in Lanark Public Library back in Scotland, by the far the majority of people who came through the door wanted to use the internet.  This could be because they did not have the internet at home, wanted somewhere quiet to study, needed to work on a project away from work so that it was not associated with them or for any number of other reasons.  The library provides the service indiscriminately and unquestioningly.

Computers by Valley Library (Oregon State University), on Flickr
A typical set up in many libraries today
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  Valley Library (Oregon State University) 

Another point that was raised in one of my classes this week was the companionship desired by members of the public from the library staff.  I sometimes felt like I was working in a tourist information more than a library due to some of our requests.  Perhaps this more encompassing role is the way libraries are going to go since they quickly and easily become the heart of a community and offer all of the typical and expected services as well as provide the more vulnerable of society a place where they can feel at home.

companionship by welshwitch36, on Flickr
Companionship (and baking!)
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  welshwitch36 

Libraries are far from just being buildings full of books and what I have put forth in this post are but a few of the functions of a library.  So, in answer to all those who think that libraries are dead, I challenge you to get all of the above from the internet alone.


*massive over-simplification I know, I will get to this in a bit

Monday, 12 September 2011

[CPD23] Thing 18

There are some interesting things on the go this week.  I have had a look at them before and so will cheat and refer to my other posts on them but I will also consider other ways we can use them and how they are for users.

Screencasts


So I considered this here (with apparently obligatory Tintin picture) and made a couple of short Jing videos.  I am still very much of the opinion that a video of this sort will be a lot more useful for new and old students alike when introducing them to the library than the typical leaflets.  The ability to post it on a library website means that it is accessible from anywhere and at any time.  As I have recently been discussing in class, everyone learns in different ways.  Learners can be visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or tactual and as librarians we must appeal to all in order to broadcast our messages to as wide an audience as possible (that sounds like we are looking for extra-terrestrial life but you get my drift).

Knitting by jenie212, on Flickr
Some people knit while in class since keeping their hands busy helps them to concentrate -
 maybe this is where librarians as knitters originates
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  jenie212 

So, having videos is an excellent way to appeal to the visual and tactual learners who like to learn by seeing and doing rather than merely reading.

Podcasting

This is not something that I have done or have the time to explore fully now but I will consider the use of podcasts.   I have, for a while, been jealous of these people who miraculously get ahold of whole series of programs or lectures on their iPods and walk about smugly listening to them (fair enough, smugness is probably in my less-informed head) so this week I am going to investigate podcasts for myself so that I too can be 'in the know'.

I have had a wee look at the Apple Store's instructions and have made extensive use of iTunes and I now have myself a nice collection of podcasts.  I have focused mostly on the BBC since these are programs that are familiar to me and I feel oddly attached to the BBC now that I am in America (where they do have BBC America but it is just not the same!).  I am looking forward to listening to them instead of the World Service when I go to bed (since I am 5 hours behind and so never manage to get Radio 4 at bedtime!).

BBC World by chiefmoamba, on Flickr

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  chiefmoamba 

Aside


I went to my first American football match yesterday in the Carrier Dome on campus for the second match of the season.




We were playing (and beat) Rhode Island and it is safe to say that I understood about 5% of the game.  I understand a fair bit more having played 'flag football' today and it felt like I was back at school in PE lessons.  I have been very surprised by the importance of university sports here - literally everyone turns out wearing orange in support of the team and there is a great sense of camaraderie.  If only the game were not 4 hours long and just more like rugby in general!

Friday, 9 September 2011

[Cam23 2.0] Thing 21 and Extra Thing 8

To-do list book. by koalazymonkey, on FlickrTeuxDeux

This week it is all about organising yourself and as some of you might, just might, have noticed, I am a tad on the organised side.  I have to start by saying that Suz changed my life the day she told us all about TeuxDeux.  I think that it is a marvellous invention, mostly because of its darned simplicity.  I use it every day and it is one of my staples alongside Gmail, Google Reader, Facebook and Twitter (and the BBC since I may not be able to see iplayer in the US but I can listen to Radio 4 - winner!)


TeuxDeux has stopped me from writing lots of things on tiny post-its and carrying them about with me.  The 'Someday' feature was very useful for long-term preparations for moving to America, which might occur to me at random times and not have an exact completion date attached.

I have had a wee look at Lino It which makes a lot more sense now that I see that it is two separate words and not just linolt (Becky's reference to lino also makes more sense now too!).  I do like the look of this since I am a big fan of post-its and indeed my Mum packed several pads in my first food parcel.  I use the sticky note feature on my mac and entitle them myself and, using that in tandem with TeuxDeux, which can be opened on any computer, I don't really feel the need to have another online account of my to-do list.  It does look cute though and the function of sharing with others is interesting.  I think, however, that if I was going to be working on a project with others I would rather have a more professional form of sharing information than a post-it website but that might just be me!


An interesting page has just popped up on my Google Reader and it is too much of a coincidence to pass over so have a look.

Reference tools

I have already gone into detail about my various feelings on reference aids in a previous post so you can bore yourself by reading it again here.  That post involves a picture of a statue adorned with bulls' testicles, not quite sure what I was thinking at the time of posting.

Aside

I think that I will make these wee asides a regular feature as they are a nice way of including tidbits of information about my time in America for those of you who are interested.  I went on another trip to the amazing Wegmans (made famous by Alec Baldwin no less) last night and purchased American biscuits (see the comparison to Commonwealth biscuits here) which come in a can, which pops when you open it - I don't think I have ever experienced something more processed.  They were delicious though, served as dumplings in a beef soup/stew.

Wegman’s by Adam Kuban, on Flickr
(you will need to have a Flickr photo until I take pictures myself, which I will, the peppers there are the size of my head)

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  Adam Kuban 

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Librarians "are the blender to the community's milkshake"

The above was a quote from our professor, David Lankes, in class (Introduction to Libraries and the Information Field) last night.

For the benefit of those reading my blog who are not MLIS students at Syracuse here is a brief explanation of what this post is about.  For one of my classes we have been instructed to blog about what we learn/discuss in class as a way of encouraging conversation among students and provoking thought.  Our teacher, David Lankes, has recently published the Atlas of New Librarianship (a satisfyingly square publication) and you can find out about it on its accompanying website and him on his personal website.

Polka Dot Milkshakes by jamieanne, on Flickr
You'll never look at the public the same way again
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  jamieanne 

So, how are we a blender?  This came up in the discussion of why we need libraries - a question that everyone reading this will have been forced to answer at some point in their lives by family, friends and strangers alike.

One of the main points of consensus was that the library gives a sense of community and a safe haven to those who need one.  It is, as Marilyn Smith, Petit Library Branch Manager, explained to me, thought of as the 'Third Place'.  The library is not work nor home but provides something in between and, as such, is an integral part of the community.

Another facet of the purpose of libraries is for education.  Obviously libraries are geared towards teaching, providing information, educating people in every part of knowledge available and they are responsible for equality and being intellectually honest (not unbiased, since, as Dave pointed out, that is impossible).  So libraries provide insights into new technologies (or indeed animals as one library in Northern Onondaga country is lending out a dog for 20 minute sessions at a time) and should provide access to information on all sides of a topic in order to encourage equality.

Blender With Ingredients by adpowers, on Flickr
Look familiar...that's right, it's your colleague
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  adpowers 

Libraries are also responsible for diversification* and this is where librarians as loud kitchen appliances come into play.   A library is somewhat of a melting pot (to keep the kitchen metaphor going) for people from all walks of life and provides them with a chance to broaden their horizons, learn something different, mix with new people within their community, take a dog for a walk or just sit and relax in a different setting.  It brings communities together and provides them with a centralised place for obtaining knowledge across disciplines and, in this sense, libraries are the churny bits that encourage diversification within a community milkshake (and we can also be pretty sharp churny bits if you consider some librarians' disapproval at late returns).

Mudslide Resin by boodoo, on Flickr
Scary librarians
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  boodoo 

But, the main point to remember is that all of these aspects of libraries are only possible because of librarians themselves.  As was pointed out, a library would not be a safe haven, a diverse learning environment or an education in technology without librarians.  Can a room of books be a library without a librarian to bring it to life?  I don't think so and I will strive to be such a librarian.

*Libraries are not just diverse in terms of their effect on the community but, more and more, they are having to diversify in order to survive.  A recent discussion has popped up concerning Post Offices and their potential place in libraries due to their role in the community - something common to the USA and UK.

Monday, 5 September 2011

[Cam23 2.0] Things 19 and 20 and Extra Thing 7

So there are quite a lot of things to get through this week and it is already Sunday (apologies).  The first week of class has been busy and hectic but ultimately successful!

Gliffy

I have been looking for a tool like this for ages so I am delighted!  It is very easy to use but is quite time consuming.  I, however, enjoy tinkering with floor plans and strategic maps so that is not a problem for me.   I have created a floor plan of my flat in Syracuse for those of you who have not had a personal Skype tour.
Courtesy of Gliffy
I have also played about with Wordle a fair bit and particularly liked Annie's blogiversary one!  I have had trouble saving them and putting them on my blog though and have had to resort to screenshots and then playing around with them in a document - I thought to myself, "there must be or should be an easier way to do this!"  And indeed there is...if you have a mac.  It is pretty similar to the screenshots only it is the mac version 'Grab' (pretty accurate really).  This is actually easier to do than screenshots on windows and I am very happy to be able to show you my Wordle for my blog below!

My blog's Wordle
Prezi

I have been interested in Prezis ever since I saw thewikiman's presentation at the Libraries@Cambridge conference in January.  I have watched the introductory videos and, I must say, it all looks very accessible. I like the way that you can plan the presentation on the blank canvas and gather ideas before actually committing to the presentation.  That may assist in brainstorming and be good for the more visual people.  

Many of the presentations I will be making at uni are in powerpoint form but I would love to try this on a project with fewer stipulations so, watch this space, classmates.

Slideshare

My only experience of Slideshare was as part of the Cambridge trainees' presentation at the above mentioned Libraries@Cambridge conference (having only been to 2 conferences, I do reference them a lot so that probably means that conferences are very important to your professional development - cue CPD23 Thing 15 plug).

I have used Slideshare to look up presentations, which I have seen but wanted to follow up on by having a look at references or hyperlinks.  At university, however, all of the presentations are posted on the Blackboard facility and so there is no need for an external tool.  I am sure that Slideshare will continue to be useful for presentation outwith the uni though!

Aside

Today I went on a hike round and swim in the Green Lakes, which were absolutely stunning.  I managed, at long last, to take pictures to rival everyone else's reflection pictures without resorting to flickr!  So, although I am a few posts late, here are some images to reflect upon.


Sorry, got a bit carried away but I am making up for lost time!  To top off this enjoyable morning, we had lunch at a vegan restaurant, Stronghearts, which serves the best milkshakes I have ever had - peanut butter and chocolate was a particularly good one so bear that in mind if you are ever in the Syracuse area!