Sunday, January 31, 2016

Thing 23: Making It All Work Together

Thing 23: Making It All Work Together

Screenshot of my Hootsuite account from

This final module is especially well situated. What better way to end this course, where we tried so many new applications, than with advise on how to manage them all? To really engage with Rudai 23, I gave everything a go and actively thought of ways in which I could use the applications in my library. The changing nature of this profession means we have to move outside of our comfort zone and constantly make ourselves relevant. These tools are what current children and students are using at a basic level. It is essential we are familiar with their workings and try to integrate them as much as possible. What may seem like an effort for us, will just be normal service delivery for the students. Traditional learning methods have evolved. In order to reach the new audience, library service needs to keep up. Student's books are being replaced by iPads, teachers are grading from electronic assignments, even at a primary school level. Applications to assist this process are constantly being developed.  If we can use CPD courses like Rudai 23 to stay ahead of the game, our libraries will be innovation centres. Children, parents, students, researchers and academics will be, indeed are,  coming to us to see how the latest trends and applications are being applied. 

As evident in this course, with all these new applications there has to be a system of management. With so many log-in codes and passwords to match a multitude of accounts, a single sign-in system and interface seems the most reasonable of requests. Although, because so many of the applications are delivered by different designers, a single free system doesn't seem very likely. Of course, in any given library, it would be impossible for a single librarian to keep active and involved in all of the applications mentioned in this course. The idea is to dip in and out of them when you need them and just use the tools that make your job easier, not more complicated. For me there are a few core tools that I use on a regular basis, such as Twitter and Google Apps. I use LinkedIn and Facebook less regularly, but like to keep an eye on the accounts. So these are the tools I'm focusing on when I think of social media management. 

I haven't gotten it all figures out yet, but I do use Hootsuite
I love when Hootesuite goes to sleep!
I set up an account a couple of months ago, on advise from Niamh, to manage the Twitter accounts I have admin access to. Currently I have access to four professional accounts and my own Twitter account. Although Hootsuite only let's you add three accounts, as Niamh pointed out, you can have various streams in your news feed. I have added my account, the @WRSLAI account and @RNIreland. The other accounts I can add a stream to. So whenever there is activity on the account, it will appear in the stream. I can then just log in and react to that as necessary. It would be nice to flip between them all, but I guess these applications have to make money somehow! However, when I am at a conference for one of the other accounts, I just temporarily delete one of the current accounts, add the relevant one and then reinstate the account when I am done. Regarding switching between accounts while in the Hootsuite application, it is important to ensure that you are tweeting from the correct account, you may forget that you have switched handles. The various accounts have different audiences. I was at an @Iamslicorg conference, tweeting from the account, reminding participants to vote for the new secretary, and I accidentally tweeting this message from @WRSLAI. Not a crisis, but the information was only relevant to members of IAMSLIC. You don't want to annoy your audience with unnecessary Tweets. Also Niamh and I discovered that two people cannon manage the same account using Hootsuite. Niamh had @WRSLAI in her Hootsuite account and when I added it to mine, it disabled it from her account. However, I think Hootsite is great, especially for keeping an eye on hashtags at conferences as highlighted by Niamh. 
I will give Flipboard a go at integrating my Linked and Facebook accounts and see how I get on. 

My home screen
Feedly has been a life saver for moderating this course. I had over 20 different active bloggers to moderate for Rudai 23. I had the list of their blog titles and it would have been impossible to keep checking all 20 blogs each day for a new posts, especially when people were blogging in totally different patterns. I opened a feedly account and added the URLs for the blogs. This took a little effort, but was worth it in the long run, saving hours and keeping me constantly updated on my participants. The names of the blogs appear on the left and in the right news feed, it highlights any new posts I haven't marked as read. Genius! I can see how it would be great to moderate various library blogs also. When browsing the web I come across excellent library blogs, but may forget to check back to this. I can now simply add to my feedly account and their new posts will pop up. Feedly gives you a few paragraphs of the post and then the option of clicking through to the website or blog. I love it!

....and yes, I will now give myself that pat on the back, yipee I've just finished Rudai 23 :) 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Thing 22: Mobile Things

Thing 22: Mobile Things

I don't have an iphone, but I was still intrigued about, it sounds great. I will have a look at it on my husband’s phone later. However I checked out the website to see what exactly it was. It's different to book catalogue apps or Library Thing, in that you can add a comment to any bar code in the world!  I could see how this would be practice in food stores. I'm thinking specifically about living in Asia and looking at items on the shelf and having absolutely no idea what they are. If I could scan the bar code and someone had left a message giving the English name and how it's used in Asia that would be brilliant, it could really spread amongst the ex-pat communities. I know there are translation apps, where you can scan an item and it will translate it for you, but this is more about insider tried and tested tips! So yes, thumbs up for, please hurry up and get an android version. My only worry about books is that people would Gum spoilers. It wold be really annoying if you we enjoying a book and happened to half way through and someone spills the twist. You'd have to be weary of that. But I guess until I try it properly, I won't know.

To date, Twitter is probably the application I use most for work. But I have definitely blogged about my affinity for Twitter and its use at work conferences, message dissemination and the like. However the task was to talk about an application I haven’t mentioned before, this is a difficult one as I’ve probably mentioned all my favourite applications. Of course the Google apps are brilliant, especially the mobile versions, but I even wrote the post on Google so I definitely can’t write about that! Apart from Twitter and Google apps, I mainly use my desktop for library related applications. I just find the bigger screen easier to work from. But not to be defeated on this one, I went over to the12 apps of Christmas’ …almost a big mistake. I got lost on the site again! DIT has done a fantastic job. 

One of the apps recommended is CamScanner. Sometimes it’s such a hassle to go to the photocopier and scan in a document, it’s then saved as a pdf, which mightn’t be as easy to insert into documents as a photo and it can be annoying. To overcome this, I often just take a photo of something with my phone and share it from there. For example, on the front cover of this month’s Inshore Ireland publication, the cover photograph was taken by one of our Marie Institute staff. I simply walked over to the shelf snapped a photo of it and shared it on our Intranet congratulating her and advised staff to pop into the library and pick up a copy (anyway to get them through the door!). However, there are limitations to this, while I can make edits with some photo apps on my phone, I can’t annotate them, share them as PDFs and do all the great things CamScanner promises. I am won over by the description of this app and am definitely going to give it a go. One use I can immediately see is for our archive collections. Some of our books are so delicate, I can’t use a photocopier scanner on them, and don’t want to move them unless completely necessary, but with CamScanner, I can take photos, even in low light, edit them, add notes for researchers about availability & use and add to the website or tweet. You can see below that the 'raw' photo needs some cropping and straightening and sorting out, it looks much better in the publication itself, but this is just a teaser for staff to come see it!

Thing 21: Creating Infographics

Thing 21: Creating Infographics

This is the results of my first attempt at using Each month or quarter I send the CEO and directors of the MI a report on our publications in our Open Access Repository- OAR.  It's usually a very official looking word doc with links to the publications and stats and has had the same format for a few years.

So this quarter I decided to try something different to tie in with module 21.
I made this report on Tuesday and although it could be better, as a first attempt, I think it looks ok.
I created the pie and bar charts in Excel and copied them into the template. Usually the top 10 most viewed items are presented in a table with figures and links. I'm not sure that this bar chart works very well. I think I will have to play around with it for the next report. The speech bubble figures at the top are normally just one line sentences and the 3 most viewed items are another table, as is the top 10 country views. So I really tried to shake things up with this Infograph.

The report is also placed on our Intranet for any staff members to read and see if their reports have made the top ten this month. I think because it look so different to the usual report, the staff may take a few moments to read this. I am also full of inspiration for the January report. I'm considering putting in head shots of authors who have submitted new publications to OAR or whose articles are in the top 10. It should hopefully have the effect of encouraging all researchers to let me know about their publications and give me the post-prints to upload to OAR!

I found pretty easy to use, however I have used similar applications before, so I had an idea of how I could manipulate and edit images to suit my needs. The learning curve was pretty easy for me. For example, the computer screen on the infograph had an image of a bar graph that couldn't be edited out. However, I went into shapes, found a black round edged rectangle, scaled it to the size of the screen and layered it on top of the picture, I then changed the colour to cream and added a text box on top of this and inserted my text. It sounds a bit long winded, but I have done it for images before, so it only took me a minute. I can see how it could be a little frustrating at first, but the more you get used to using these types of applications, the more you can see a crossover and build up your skills set. I'm looking forward to trying out the applications again and making a better job of the January report. This is due next week, so no rest of the wicked!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Thing 20: Presentations

Thing 20: Presentations

Last week I delivered a presentation at a Data Workshop in the Marine Institute. My presentation was on Open Data: Publications and Citations. I was given a one hour time slot. Yes, I was a little daunted by the prospect! I'm fairly knowledgable about Open Access and publications at this stage, but open data are a new area for me. I am quickly learning though, as I am a member of our new Data Working Technical Group at the MI. Which is where this data workshop came from and my being booked into a one hour time slot to discuss OA possibilities, licences, DOIs and the likes.

From experience, the only way to get over nerves for a presentation is by being prepared and knowing my stuff inside out. This was an important presentation for me, as it's dealing with a very hot topic and a chance to really showcase to some important researchers the value of the library. Some of these researchers have never set foot in the library during my time or haven't really thought about the library or librarian in a role other than dealing with books and articles. 

I spent any spear time I had researching the topic and writing down key notes of information that I thought would be helpful. I don't have a lot of spare time as I only work a 25 hour week, so this took a couple of weeks. But when it came to putting my presentation together and creating the slides, I felt I really knew my stuff. Therefore I wasn't overly tempted to clutter my slides with lots of information and tired to stick to good advise about keeping the slides minimal, adding a little humour, using pictures if I could, and generally using the slides as a prompt to the audience not to me. A lot of these tips came from a TED talk presentation book that I read along with experience of both giving and listening to presentations in the past. Apparently only 10% of what you deliver in a presentation is remembered by the audience three days later, however, if you add a visual aid such as a picture this figure increases to 65%. That's a pretty impressive retention rate for just adding an appropriate picture. 

I wish I had the time to incorporate all of this advise to my presentation. When it came down to it, I was still putting the remaining slides together the night before. It was an incredibly busy week and I was down to the wire, having to finish the presentation at home. Thankfully I knew the material, so it wasn't a case of having to learn the presentation off, but could just talk freely about each point. That said, I still wouldn't advise this. Try to get your slides finished a few days before hand is my advise. If the data manager insisted on having the slides the day before the workshop, I would have had them ready. So it's also about time management and prioritising. 

The presentation went really well, as it was a workshop I encouraged participants to interject with questions and comments throughout and it was more of a round table discussion. I was surprised by the interest it generated and I honestly thought I would be finished well before the hour was up, but we actually went over and I had to rush the last slide/area. So while being overly prepared is a good thing, again remember to manage your time well. While I think its the most interesting topic in the world and everyone should be enthralled by my every word, no doubt there were people listening wondering would they ever get to lunch. I could have curtailed discussions sooner, especially the ones that went off topic, but at the end of the day, it was a workshop and if the discussion amongst the data people organically flowed, it was a difficult one to stop!

However, due to the sensitive nature of some of the data and future MI proposals, I can't share the presentation here, but I can add a few of the generic slides:

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Thing 19: The Legal Side of Things

Thing 19: The Legal Side of Things

I found this module to be an excellent and informative one. While I am aware of copyright and CC licences, it's always great to get a chance to refresh your memory.

I manage an institutional repository and it's sometimes very difficult to navigate all the instances of copyright from publishers. Recently a researcher asked me for help with the copyright surrounding a paper she had just published, stating she was so confused that she wasn't even sure if she was allowed to read it! There is an excellent resource called Sherpa/RoMEO found at which I default to, to find the open access options available for a particular journal or publisher. But even this resource doesn't always have the answers and often the journal itself has a vague clause sometimes stating an embargo of between '12-48' months. Well which is it?! I then have to refer to the author's contract or write to the journal for an answer, which they often send me the link to the vague page again. It can be very frustrating. It's an extremely complicated area. 

In 2013, the Irish Copyright Review Committee published a report which recommends the establishment of a Copyright Council of Ireland and recommends improvements to the position of copyright users amongst others. With their continued work, I hope that the copyright system in Ireland will be easier to navigate and use. 
A copy of the report can be found here:

For this module's task I have used Google Images. Once you enter the search item, in this instance I searched for 'library', the results pop up along with the usual Google tabs at the top. If you click on the last tab 'search tools', a further image menu appears. Click on 'Usage Rights' and you have a few options to filter your search by. I choose 'Labelled for noncommercial reuse' and most of the images that appear are from Flickr, wikicommons, wikipedia or pixabay. 

This image is marked as :
CC0 Public Domain
Free for commercial use
No attribution required 
This image sourced also through Google Images links to Flickr and is from Texas State library and Archives Commission and is licensed through CC-BY  Some rights reserved

Monday, January 18, 2016

Thing 18: Communicating through Photographs

Thing 18: Communicating through Photographs

For thing 18 I decided to concentrate on Instagram. In previous posts I have used Flickr images so I have already completed this task, however I have never embedded an Instagram picture into my posts before. The task was to set up an Instagram account, search for a library account and make a few comment. Although I know about Instagram and I actually set up an account some time last year, I never actually use it. I see on tweets that people link to their Instagram account and I never really figured out why, why don't they just take the photo in Twitter? But I now see that Instagram has alot more going for it that just a file space for photos. It's another social media format and a place that you can tell visual stories from. 
I like the suggestions that Christine makes about using Instagram to tell what's happening in libraries, to showcase new collections and the behind the scenes looks at what happens. I could definitely see the use of Instagram in libraries. However, I feel more inspiration is necessary. So I began an Instagram journey. I looked up various library accounts and on opening the National Library of Ireland's Instagram account I was met with this amazing photo that I thought I would share. 
The Marine Institute does not have an Instagram account and this might be something we should look into as it is a great means of showcasing visually what's happening. If the communications team are under too much pressure to keep up to date with the current social media tools undertaken by the institute, this could be something I could consider managing for the library and the institute as a whole. With the gorgeous images created by our scientists and staff of marine and associated life, there is a wealth of information to share. 
Looking forward to exploring Instagram more and using the phrase 'I'll Instagram that'
 at some stage!

Thing 17: Reflective Practice

Thing 17: Reflective Practice

As the author of Thing 17: Reflective Practice, I did a lot of reading around reflective practice. From my reading I know that there is an enormous benefit to using the reflective practice model and I think this is probably reflected in the blog post itself. 

I can definitely see how it could be used in my library, particularly as I am a sole librarian. I do not have anyone overseeing each of my tasks and I make most of the devisions involving the library, or make a business case to the directors for a new project, direction, budget or big money spend. Before I present such a case I have to be certain it is right for the library and truly believe it is the best decision.  This involves some reflection. I want to evaluate all the consequences and foresee any difficulties with certain projects before they go live. I reflect on this particularly as I am working alone. In the Rudai 23 blog post, I outlined how you could use reflective practice after the fact, below I outline how I can implement the Gibbs cycle of reflection before a task.
Gibbs, G. (1988) Learning by Doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Further Education Unit, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford.

It is difficult to reflect on a project before it has even started, but I reflect on my decision, to ensure I am making the correct one. I have to consider, 'What's Happened?', what decision have I proposed and what will be the outcome of this? Next I have to look at my current situation,  my 'Feelings?' am I deciding on this programme now because I am being pressured by researchers who have a deadline, or is this the best long term plan for the library? If I go ahead with the proposal, what will the outcome be? How can I 'evaluate' its success? How will it reflect on me and the library itself? Here it seems fitting to 'analysis' the facts. Could I ask a colleague in a similar library for their opinion on the product or programme? How did it work for them? Would they recommend it? Have they an alternative suggestion? Although I am a solo librarian I am not alone. I have a great network of colleagues that I can phone or email for advise, also within my organisation there are many people I can talk to who can offer advise, even if it is not library related. The 'conclusion' I apply before a project, is the final decision I make and the report I put to the directors, having included all the steps above. Finally the 'action plan' is implementing the programme or project and getting to grips with the new software or task I have recommended. 

Then of course once the project/task/budget etc has been implemented, I can use the cycle again to reflect on how I did. Often, I find that I might reflect on decisions without actually writing anything down so I must make an effort in future to take this step.
I think another great use of reflective writing would be after any training course I undertake. As Caroline Rowan mentioned in her attending conferences module; a few months after a conference it is difficult to remember everything that happened and unless you make some sort of notes, it may be difficult to learn from the experience. 
New year's resolution: write everything down!