Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Yet Another Thing: LibGuides

LibGuides are an excellent resource for library information. I took a LibGuides course in March, and found the WYSIWYG web-editing format clear and straight-forward to use. Some excellent LibGuides have been prepared for the Oxford Libraries, including those by Angela Carritt and Ollie Bridle at the Radcliffe Science Library. Mine was rather silly (it was rather too close to teatime by the time I finished), so it remains unpublished, but it was still a good exercise in the how-tos of using this software.

Things 15 & 16: Exploring Twitter

I have had a Twitter for almost a year now, and really enjoy using it to receive quick news updates and also to connect with friends and colleagues. All Twitter updates must be written in a maximum of 140 characters, which makes it quite concise. It is possible to "follow" people or institutions and organisations of interest, and to make "lists" of regularly-followed users. I have made several lists that I follow, with regular news updates for science news, librarians and libraries, the arts and philosophy.

Searchable terms can be indicated with a hashtag ("#"). To send tweets directly to another Twitter user, one simply adds their Twitter name with "@" in front of it. It is also possible to send Direct Messages using the Direct Message feature, then, these tweets are not visible to other followers.

One problem that I have with Twitter is that it is quite easy to confuse social and work tweets, so I always try to keep my tweets professional whenever possible.

If you would like to read some of my latest Tweets, or follow me on Twitter, you can find me here:

Things 13 & 14: Social networking: Facebook in libraries and linkedin

I have had a linkedin account for sometime now, and have recently updated it to reflect my current position and career interests. I have also been able to link with some colleagues and friends using this service.

Although I no longer have a Facebook account (I am a very shy library trainee, and prefer to use  the quick newsflashes provided by Twitter to the often overwhelming newsfeeds generated by Facebook), many libraries do. Lauren and Ruth set up and maintain a Facebook account for the Social Science Library at Oxford, and many other libraries at Oxford also use Facebook, including the LawBod, the RSL and Nuffield College Library.

Ruth, in her 23 Things blog, discusses some of the pros and cons about Facebook in libraries.

Things 11 & 12: Podcasting and YouTube

My trainee project will involve making an induction podcast for the RSL, presenting new readers with general information about the library including how to search for, and borrow books, in addition to highlighting research resources available at the RSL such as the RSL Research Skills training courses. I will be using Captivate software to essentially convert a PowerPoint presentation into a podcast which will also be uploadable to YouTube. Unfortunately, though, unlike the wonderful induction "silent film" for the Social Science Library (see video below), I am not allowed to include anything remotely silly. It all has to be *very serious*. Perhaps this is because I will be highlighting research resources at the RSL, and everyone knows that scientists are all *very serious*...

Ah! YouTube! Source of much entertainment whilst waiting for the PCR experiments to finish in the lab, or (occaisionally) while working late rota on the circulation desk at the RSL (although not too often!). YouTube is also a useful resource for educational videos, and a great way to disseminate library information, as this induction video about the SSL at Oxford shows:

More Things: An Aside about LibraryThing and SlideShare

With so many web 2.0 applications in use by librarians and libraries, it was probably not a great leap of the imagination to create an application like LibraryThing, which is a social networking programme for cataloging and sharing books. I recently gave a presentation on LibraryThing as part of the graduate trainee explorations into web 2.0 and social media applications. I find LibraryThing to be very useful, and also a source of much inspiration, as I am able to browse my friends' libraries in search of further reading material!
It has also successfully been implemented by libraries around Oxford such as the Vere Harmsworth and Nuffield College Libraries, where it is used for showcasing new accessions. My LibraryThing presentation can be found here on my SlideShare page:

I have also recently "discovered" SlideShare, a platform for sharing presentations. I have uploaded my LibraryThing presentation and a recent presentation that I did for a Philosophy of Mind course through the Continuing Education Department at Oxford University. SlideShare is often used by librarians to present information. Here are some examples of SlideShare from various librarians, including the biochemistry subject librarian (RSLBioChem) at the Radcliffe Science Library. Here is a "meta" presentation on presentations by Ned Potter, (AKA: the Real Wikiman) from his SlideShare page.

Things 9 & 10: Social Bookmarking and Tagging with Delicious

Delicious is a social tagging and bookmarking site which can be used to share websites and links of interest.
I have used Delicious to set up a list of useful web resources in botany and plant biology for the Sherardian Library. The account for the Sherardian Library can be found here (Plant biologists, please take note!):

I first heard about tagging from a friend who used a university-based website to tag his photos in order to share them with friends. You can see some of his photos here:
including some of one of my favourite cities, Paris!

Tagging is a non-hierarchical method of adding metadata to files. It creates folksonomic tag clouds which can be used to find further information. Although tagging is very helpful, it can also pose problems, as there might be inconsistencies in the keywords used and a lot of variation is present.

I have added numerous contacts to my network for my Delicious account with the Sherardian Library, including several librarians from the RSL (RSLBioChem and RSLForestry), some college libraries such as Nuffield and VHLib and also the LawBod.