Monday, 14 March 2011

Stardate 04585.00 - Reflecting on 23 Things

I have thoroughly enjoyed both running and participating in Warwick's 23 Things programme but boy does it feel good to cross the finish line. For my final post on this blog I want to share my 23 Things journey...

Fast Mini /// by Bleuchoi, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  Bleuchoi 

How it all began
Before I arrived at Warwick I had been part of the team running the 23 Things programme at Oxford. One of my actions after that course ended was to summarise our experience in an article. I submitted it to Ant Brewerton, the then editor of Sconul Focus and it was published last month. Shortly after our programme ended I came for an interview here and remember talking A LOT about social media and 23 Things. It obviously didn't put them off; I got the job and the rest as they say is history.

When I finally started at Warwick one of the first projects I had was to adapt the 23 Things programme for the library. I felt in a good position to do this with the ability to draw on my experience from Oxford, and having watched how Cambridge had taken that and improved upon it. My aim therefore was to make it even better!

I worked on a proposal for Warwick's version of 23 Things with Ant, which he then took to the management group for approval. With this signed off it was down to me to make the programme a reality. The first and most important task was to assemble a crack team of bloggers. The next stage was delegation; running a 23 Things programme alone would be a massive job, but with each individual in the team taking responsibility for one week's worth of things it becomes surprisingly manageable. The final stage of preparation was to set up the team blog.

Gaining momentum
Once the preparation for the programme was sorted there was really only one thing left to do - drum up some interest among library staff. Our programme was due to start at the beginning of Term 2 in January so we sent out a couple of messages in the Library e-Bulletin before Christmas. Then, we had the honour of kicking of proceedings at the Staff Open Day on the first day back in the new year. We did a short presentation introducing the programme, followed by a workshop to get staff thinking about their use of social media and its place in libraries.

There were a few things on my mind at this stage. First and foremost was what the take-up would be like. Time and timing is always going to be an issue with any training course you run, but the feedback I was getting suggested that the timing of our programme and time committment required each week would mean that large sections within the library would not be able to take part. There was no going back however and all I could do was wait to see how many people registered. In the first week 25 participants registered, and I was happy with that, but by the time registration closed in week 5 we were up to 44!

What I will miss when the programme is over
One of the great things that came out of the 23 Things programme at Oxford was the sense of community that developed among the participants. This is definitely the same here. There seems to be a buzz about 23 Things wherever I go; I hear people talking about it within their teams and in the staff room. In the corridor people approach me with glee to let me know exactly where they're up to and what thing they're currently tackling. I'll miss that when it's over.

I will also miss the blogging. Not that I'm going to stop completely but this will be my last post here. I made the conscious decision to set up this blog solely for the 23 Things programme. I'm really pleased with how it has developed and feel satisfied to leave it on this post. What I will miss is having prescribed things to blog about each week. I'm pleased that some participants on the programme have found a love for blogging as a way of processing their thoughts on a topic. I do hope to see some continue their blogs after the programme ends.

What I have learned
Being a seasoned social media user there was only one tool on the programme that I was coming to completely blind - Diigo. It was something that I wanted to explore as an alternative to Delicious but knowing it was coming up as one of the things I held back. There has been a mixed response to it among the other participants, but I for one am completely sold and once I've tidied them up will be importing my Delicious bookmarks.

What I think I will take away from this programme that is of greatest importance is an understanding of how other people think about social media. I am an early adopter, a digital native, a digitalist, and social media is a large part of my home and work life. Sometimes it is difficult to appreciate how other people approach and evaluate these tools. Reading about their experiences through the participant blogs helps me to gain perspective.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Stardate 04535.00 - SlideShare

I use SlideShare in three ways:
  1. as a place to display and share my presentations
  2. to view other people's presentations (in a similar way to how I use YouTube for videos)
  3. for inspiration, to gather ideas for slide design
Here are a couple of slide decks that I have favourited recently.

The first from Katie Birkwood is a great example of slide design and library advocacy:
The second from Sacha Chua stresses the importance of social networks for smarter working:

Stardate 04535.00 - Google Docs

How do you work on a document with another person, or group of people?

If you're all working on the same network, you might save a copy on a shared drive so everyone can edit the master document. That's fine, but what if you're not all working on the same network? In this case you're probably going to send the document as an attachment so everyone can work on it locally.

Neither is an ideal solution. With a document on a shared drive only one person can edit it at once. With multiple versions being sent back and forth over email it's difficult to keep track of which is the most accurate and up to date.

There is a new way - online collaboration.

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  weconomy book 

Weconomy: un cervello di cervelli by weconomy book, on FlickrFor thing 21 we're looking at Google Docs, my online collaboration tool of choice. I honestly do not know how I worked before Google Docs. I use it for my work as the Web Officer for the Business Librarians Association. I used it to write my Guardian article with someone I had never met. And 23 Things depends on it.

The beauty of Google Docs is its flexibility. You can keep a document private and use it to access your files from different computers. You can share your document with one or more people so that they can view and edit it too. Or you can make the document public to share with the world!

I have been vague in my use of the word document, as that's the other great thing about Google Docs. You can upload or create a text document, spreadsheet, form, or presentation.

Google Docs and online collaboration is the future of work.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Stardate 04530.00 - Wikis

Wow, it's week 8 and as far as I am aware this is the first LOLCat on the programme...

WIKI by kbaird, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  kbaird 

Enough about cute cats, what about wikis? Wikis are great for collaboration and user-generated content. My main experience with using wikis is from my time on the Oxford University Library Services Web 2.0 Working Party (what a mouthful). We created a wiki to provide guidance for librarians at Oxford who wanted to develop a social media presence for their library.

I have also added my own content to various projects that use wikis to collate participant information:

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Stardate 04490.00 - Creative Commons

I think Creative Commons (CC) licenses are one of the best things about the social web. Their purpose is to "maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation" and in this they whole-heartedly succeed.

I rely on other people licensing their work under CC licenses and therefore I try to help others in the same way by having CC licenses on my blog, photos and slides. It's so easy to choose a license and grab the code to embed it on your site - I'd encourage anyone who has ever used content licensed under Creative Commons to share alike and add a license to their own content.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Stardate 04485.00 - YouTube

For thing 19 we've been asked to find a library related video on YouTube and share it via our blog. For me one isn't enough so here are a few of my favourites.

What is the Future of the Library?
For anyone struggling to overcome outdated ideas of what a library is, or can be...

A Vision of Students Today
I'm sure many of your will be familliar with Michael Wesch's video 'A Vision of Students Today'. It was made in 2007. This year it got a remix, and there is a growing number of videos using the VOST2011 tag to show us how today's students learn...

The Librarian Song
And just for fun, because everyone has their favourite librarian song, here's mine. It's THE Librarian Song...

Monday, 21 February 2011

Stardate 04480.00 - Flickr

I have been looking forward to this week the most out of all on the 23 Things programme and this is because of Flickr. I'm quite a keen photographer, although I get told off because my holiday snaps rarely have any people in them, and I find Flickr invaluable for storing and sharing my photos.

As a blogger I also find Flickr invaluable as a source for images for my posts. Alongside a great tool called ImageCodr which checks the copyright restrictions and generates the code to allow you to embed and correctly attribute Flickr photos.

For the rest I will let photos tell the story. Below are two slideshows of my photos. The first is of a set I took on the day Newcastle's new City Library opened. The second is of the photos that I have taken which are my favourites.