Monday, 22 August 2011

Thing 23 - the Last Thing!

I rather preemptively seemed to have completed this final Thing last week in my reflection, so my main task will be adding this blog to the UK Librarians wiki. However, I did mean to add that I think the Thing I have taken most to my heart is Twitter. I think that I forgot to mention it last week because it feels so normal now. It really is such a good way to stay up-to-date (although you do need to take some tweets with a pinch of salt).

I started this process by saying I was embarking on 23 Things to learn new skills for work and home and I can definitely say I have achieved this!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Evernote and a bit of Reflection

I am using my innovation time this week to get started with Evernote. I have mentioned in a previous post that I thought it would be a good way to surgically detach me from my notebook, as it is accessible from any computer. This is particularly important now that we rotate between the School of Health Sciences sites. I therefore created an account and sat down to flick through my notebook to see what I wanted to add. However (and this is not actually a bad thing), I found that most of the stuff I had jotted down when I started was now automatic and I didn't need any more. But there were a few things that only crop up occasionally that I would want at my fingertips. I like the fact that you can tag your notes. The main problem I have with my notebook is finding where exactly I wrote a particular snippet of information. I also feel that desperately leafing through a notebook is not very professional looking. I will definitely be adding to and maintaining my account.

I'm glad I took part in 23 Things. It has raised my awareness of what is out there, some of which I have adopted straight away (Google Reader for following blogs) and some I will keep in the back of my mind for when the occasion arises (Prezi). It has also raised my awareness more generally, for example, I am going to add a picture to this post to make it more interesting. Admittedly, it is a bit random but there is a connection to the picture in the last post and in fact the ladybird elephant from Week 3.

I think when I do things from now on, I will think more about the different ways they could be achieved and look out for any novel approaches.

I have also enjoyed blogging but I don't know if I will keep it up, as I don't know what I would have to talk about!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Things 21 & 22

Looking at the homepages of the main search engines, there doesn't seem to be much between them. They have similar options i.e images etc (although Ask does have fewer) and also all have a UK only option. Ask and Google do seem the only two to have an, or a least an obvious, advanced search option. I do find Yahoo too cluttered and prefer the cleaner pages of the others. I was intrigued by the visual search offered by Bing but unfortunately I am not sure if it would be useful unless I was trying to put a face to a celebrity name. I was however not disappointed by Ask's 'Dress up Jeeves':

Results wise, for the search I did, Yahoo, Ask and Google retrieved very similar results but Bing missed the key one I was looking for (I replicated a search I had done for real recently). I do have a bit of an aversion to Bing, sometimes my searches seem to default to this engine for no reason and the results never seem to be what I am looking for! I was sad to see that Ask has ads at the top and it is quite hard to differentiate them.

All in all, I don't think there was anything worth changing from Google.

A search for my old name produced 243 results on Google vs. 24 for Google on Zuula. Admittedly Zuula did retrieve most of the results that actually related to me but missed one result that had been a pleasant surprise and an important find (second author on a paper from research I did as a vacation project at uni!). One thing I found with meta searches is not all search engines support the same functions. For example, I put my name in quotations to narrow the search and this meant that a couple of the search engines yielded no results with the quotation marks given as a possibility.

Cool Extra Thing

I must admit I have been doing the 'A Google a Day' this week, as a little challenge to myself and will probably continue to do so out of curiosity.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Things 19-20

Watching the YouTube videos suggested, and also some I found myself, allowed me to develop an idea of what I think works and doesn't work in this medium. I thought they were all entertaining but for me turning some of the points into a video seemed a bit over the top, I don't think it aided remembering the subject matter at all. I also found some seemed rather patronising. However, I thought the use of cards in the University of Sydney video to show both the need for, and the use of a search strategy, was inspired and made the concept very clear. I think my favourite of the ones suggested was the video from La Trobe University, as it was very professional but also avoided being too dry or boring.

Here are a couple of others I found:

This Wizard of Oz - a Tale of Library Circulation by Salt Lake County Library Services has surprisingly good special effects.

I am obviously drawn to this kind of video, as the other one I looked at was CLC Library Trek by clclibrary.

I think this one impressed me the most, it was clever, fun and their mnemonic ABC would help you to remember authority, bias and currency. It also seems part of a series and I think that would encourage students to watch others and learn more.

I think the main thing I learnt is not to just jump on the video bandwagon for the sake of it or to seem cool. However, some things like searching the catalogue are much easier to follow with the visual and if such videos are available through something like YouTube then people can access them easily for reference. They also help brighten up a blog too!

I decided to subscribe to the 'Best of Chris Moyles' podcast, as I have heard his team mention it on the radio for ages and never quite got round to it. It therefore seemed a good way to complete Thing 20 and also I miss most of the show these days so it allows me to catch up. The fact that I've heard about it for such a long time, makes me wary of its use because it does seem a bit outdated these days. Also, I understand that people learn in different ways but I think that the kind of topics that we would be talking about (for example, literature searching) would work much better being accompanied by visuals, or they could be very dry!

I set up a Grooveshark account and would like to share my playlist 'Sounds of the library' inspired by 23 Things:

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Thing 18

I like the fact that with you can access your bookmarks from any computer. I often feel a bit lost when I am on a different machine and don't have access to all my favourites. I also like the fact that you can tag these bookmarks. In a previous job, I created a directory of useful web resources and I wish I had been aware of then, as it would have been better than trying to create a linear list. This is the purpose for which most libraries seem to have used I particularly like the tag cloud option, both as a visual statement but also as the same information appears less overwhelming. I found that the University of Dundee allowed you to bookmark catalogue entries with

I am a bit behind so I have not explored diigo but I have come across a library using it in previous work. It was for exactly the same purpose as the others I looked at use del.icio.ius.

Also, unfortunately I have not had a chance to make use of Evernote but I have every intention to. This is because I currently have a notebook with information all over the place and I too sometimes struggle to read my own writing! Being able to access my notes anywhere and not having to be attached to my notebook will be advantages as well.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Information Assistant HE

I am capturing my day as Thing 17 and also as part of the Library Day in the Life Project.

I am helping out at a different site today. I start off my day by doing my share of the shelving, having a little tidy as I go along too. I then use the time before I need to be on the desk to run an eye over the journals they have here and claim any issues that have not been received. This leads to tidying up some of the schedules as well. It is pretty quiet at the desk at the moment so in-between checking in returns and helping people locate books on particular topics, I catch up on Twitter and my Google Alerts. I am of course also writing this blog!

I am going to use my lunch break to go to the main site and pick up my season ticket loan cheque, which I am a bit too excited about!

The first hour back on the desk was non-stop! I think there are exams today. There has been a lot of books returned and also some frantic printing. The books I added to the catalogue and processed earlier are awaiting quality checking.

My last task for the day has been to start amending a couple of database guides I have written. This is after feedback from our Subject Librarians.

Soon I will be off to catch the Tube.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Thing 16

Slideshare, yet another Thing I was not previously aware of. Again it seems a good idea, especially for getting a taste for what you think works as a presentation, and also for catching up on a conference that you were unable to attend. The presentations do seem rather sedate having spent last week playing with Prezi. However, I do think there is a place for both. I think a Prezi seems more enticing on a blog or website than Powerpoint but can't help feel it would be less appropriate for something serious.