Friday, 27 August 2010

Final thoughts

Wasn't it only a couple of weeks ago that we had the launch party at the Judge?? How time flies. I read through my previous posts just to remind myself of what I said and I seem to have promised to investigate quite a few Things for the new academic year. Oh dear, time is not on my side. However, if they can't be achieved by then, at least I have had a taster and can come back to investigate further.

Here are my thoughts about some of the Things (with links to my previous posts):
iGoogle - I still use it to gather all my favourite sites together and I will continue to do so.
Google Calendar - this is now being used by the Cambridge Librarians CamTools User Education group (which I'm a member of).
Flickr - I want to explore this further & add pictures of the Education Library for a possible virtual tour.
Slideshare - I will be looking at this over the next few weeks for inspiration for library inductions!
Podcasting - When I have the luxury of more time (ha ha), I would love to dabble with podcasts.
Facebook - still on the peripheral and tempting me after seeing how other libraries use it, but is this just a duplication of information which is already available and yet another site to maintain?
LinkedIn - I'm not planning to use this, but it's good to know what other professionals are using it for.
Twitter - Our Library has an account, but I won't be using it for myself.
LibraryThing - Fun to set up, but not particularly useful for Education as we have lists of new books available on CamTools.
Zotero - I now understand how this works!

A wide range of Web 2.0 technologies have been considered for Cam23. With all the possibilities, it's very easy to rush into using as many tools as possible to connect with our readers. But there has to be a balance between keeping up with what our readers are using to access information, and providing the information they need. I have mentioned CamTools in just about every post, but it really does help us to provide resources to all Education students. And as Faculty students are registered onto the Library CamTools site when they start their course, we have a captive audience! Saying that, I hope this final post doesn't make me sound blinkered or set in my ways. I have enjoyed looking at the Things and I've relished the opportunity this programme has given me to think 'outside the box' and to see what potential each tool may have for the Library service and for me as a professional. I wanted to do the following during my Cam23 journey:

1. Work with other colleagues within the University
2. Learn more about Web 2.0 technologies
3. Discover what tools could be used to improve services to readers

With confidence, I can tick all 3!

And to finish, here's my pretty Wordle:

Thursday, 26 August 2010


The freedom of the wiki

I don't need convincing about how useful wikis are as we've been using them in association with CamTools for several years now and I love the freedom of editing something and then making it live straightaway! At Education we have developed the wiki facility on CamTools as an intranet to host the majority of library resources, which means we can provide tailored information for readers. This is particularly useful for part-time & distance students who are not based in the Faculty. It's something we couldn't do with the existing Library pages as:
a) we are restricted by the software available
b) the pages have to conform to a particular design and format
c) we have to wait for pages to be approved by the IT team before they go live

List of course sites on CamTools

We have created wiki pages detailing Library resources & information for each course taught in the Faculty. Because of the flexibility offered by the wiki, we're able to change information and add links whenever we need to.
We're currently working on pages for 2010-2011 - the first group of students, MEd Herts, arrive on Friday 10th September:

Library information on CamTools for MEd Herts distance students

We've also been compiling reading lists for PGCE courses - see the one for Art & Design students below:

Reading lists for courses

These reading lists link through to the Newton catalogue, as well as scanned articles, so students just have one place to access material for assignments.

Wikis have improved the way we can make information available to readers, and they have given us the freedom to design pages in a way we hope students will find clear. Long live the wiki!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Podcasting & YouTube

I've been thinking about how useful a podcast might be for the Education Library, especially for the detailed Online Research Skills sessions we run. Would students find an audio visual demonstration much more appealing than a slideshow? Our powerpoint presentations are uploaded onto the Library CamTools site for students to look at, and going from the site stats detailing the number of times they were downloaded, this has been fairly successful.

The Library tour podcasts at Goldsmiths Library and the audio pods from the University of Aberdeen are useful for new readers who use large libraries I had a quick look to see if the UL has one but wasn't able to find anything on the web pages. Education isn't a particularly huge Library so we wouldn't do a podcast for orientation purposes.

It was fun to look at some of the YouTube links that Andy listed - I loved the L-Team! Goggle vision from the University of Liverpool does a nice view on Google v. databases - might be looking at this again when we come to do our sessions. And as for the Lady Ga Ga video - well, there's not much to say really...

As has been demonstrated by some of the above examples, podcasts and YouTube can be used to market library service to readers as it's another way of communicating to students, and is potentially useful for those who study on distance courses. We have 2 online courses running at the moment and students only attend sessions in the Faculty once or twice a term, so perhaps a Library podcast highlighting the wealth of electronic resources available at a distance would be helpful. As mentioned in the Podcasting in academic libraries article:

"Many libraries produce podcasts as an outreach method for distance education students, who are often unaware of available library services and unable to take instruction classes."

This is something I would like to pursue further, but as the new academic year is fast approaching, this will sadly have to wait until next year...

Google docs


I've just returned from a couple of weeks in Brittany and am now catching up with the remaining Things before the deadline!

I have come across Google Docs when buying e-tickets, and have accessed Google Docs throughout Cam 23, but hadn't created one before. So before I went on holiday I created a doc to send to my colleagues at Education which turned out to be a lot easier than I thought - here's a screen shot:

The idea of having a 'virtual' document which can be shared & accessed by anyone in any location is very clever. I'm not sure yet how we at Education can use Google Docs as we have a shared network whereby all documents can be accessed by staff (though not simultaneously). However, it is useful if you want to share information with professionals in other Cambridge libraries and stops an endless stream of e-mails between people.

I had a quick look at Zoho Office Suite as suggested by Kirsty, but I would probably stick to Google Docs for now.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Marketing with social media

Marketing in Libraryland...

I looked at how the Orkney Library & Archive have embraced social networking such as Twitter and Facebook, and have also created a blog so that their users can keep up to date with services. And with users based on different islands, this must be very useful.

This quote from the Illinois libraries blog made me think:

"Social media serves as a place to enhance our relationships. Since we’ve already established trust-worthy relationships with our patrons inside the library, it’s only natural that we use social media enhance our relationships with patrons virtually."

It also mentioned how Library staff were given their own social media card to hand out to readers, which included their name, job title, e-mail, plus Twitter, Facebook and other social networking accounts they had. We use CamTools as a platform to back up what we say at inductions and online research skills sessions, as well as outline in detail the nitty gritty of being a member of the Library service. This also extends the Library from a physical collection to an electronic resource which can be accessed from anywhere at any time.

We have to market the Library service in different ways to different groups because of the diverse range of students we serve. For example, distance and part-time students do not attend regular sessions in the Faculty (& PGCEs are away on Placements during Lent & Easter terms) compared to full-time undergraduates and MPhils, therefore we promote the online resources to these students over the physical collection.

Social networking does offer new ways of learning and this is an area we are starting to explore through Twitter, and maybe Facebook...


I did a search on the universal catalogue for Saxon history and added some of the results to my folder in Zotero. I also did the same search in JSTOR and Google Scholar and here are the results in my folder:

Zotero is taught by Faculty academic staff within research skills sessions and to date the Library hasn't been involved in running sessions or providing documentation for readers. We occasionally receive enquiries about it, and if they are not able to find information on their CamTools sites, then we would direct them to information available on the UL Library Toolbox.

I enjoyed this Thing! At least I have had hands on experience with it and if I do receive any enquiries from research students, I can talk about it with confidence!


I've had a look at the profiles suggested by Andy. LinkedIn is a useful tool for people who would like to network with other professionals, keep track of people's career progression and to move forward in their own career too.

I read Top reasons to use LinkedIn and people have used this site to get in touch with past & current colleagues, and for career opportunities. Is this site for Librarians? Well, I don't see why not as it's another social network to be a part of, except it's more professional in scope than social.