A couple of weeks ago I attended a very interesting talk given by Kim Holmberg, a PhD student from Finland who is supervised by one of our lecturers at Wolverhampton. The talk was part of a series by the Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group.

Kim’s background is in information science and webometrics but he also has an interest in Library 2.0 and what he calls Library 3D (libraries in Second Life and similar).

The talk introduced the concept of Library 2.0 which was great to see as I’m sure some of the people present had probably never heard of it. Kim tended to focus on public libraries but it was great that someone not from a typical library background was so enthusiastic about the participatory potential of Library 2.0. 🙂

He then went on to talk about Second Life and how libraries could use Second Life. I’ve embedded a copy of his slideshow for anyone interested:

Coincidentally, earlier that day I had been involved in a discussion about Second Life and thought it might be time to at least join up and see it for myself. So many talks I’ve attended recently have mentioned or demonstrated Second Life and up until very recently, I still hadn’t had a go myself. I’m off work this week so decided to take the plunge and have a look around.

It took me a shocking amount of time to decide upon a surname but in the end I settled for Joeyanne Quandry. If anyone is in Second Life please feel free to add me, I’m not sure if and how I will use Second Life yet but I’ll certainly be giving it a try so please add me so I have a friend to talk to!

I had a look at Talis Cybrary place and searched for the CILIP area but couldn’t find it. I did visit Sheila Webber’s (Sheila Yoshikawa in Second Life) InfoLit iSchool space and added her as a friend but unfortunately there was no one there when I visited. I’ll have to try to go along to the next Information Literacy event they have.

My feelings so far are that it could be a different way to do things and make them a bit more fun, but until we get the majority of people using Second Life and feeling comfortable with it I think it’s difficult to achieve things. Potentially a different avenue to explore though, I know there are quite a few academics who are really enthusiastic and I can definitely see the benefit for distance learners like myself (I wonder if Aberystwyth will set up an area for it’s Information Studies distance learners in the future?).

Is anyone aware of academic libraries in the UK currently using Second Life? I know John Kirriemuir has researched academic use of Second Life in the UK on behalf of Eduserv, his final report is on my “to read” list. His Ariadne article is interesting, I’ll have to check out some of the places mentioned in the article next time I explore Second Life. Any other places I should visit?

Thanks to a post by Nicole Engard, I have added the Facebook Blog Networks application to my Facebook page and registered ownership of Joeyanne Libraryanne.

Facebook Blog Networks is a way to display on your Facebook profile which blogs you own, author and read so that others can find interesting blogs. It also means that each blog registered on there has it’s own page where the feed is displayed (once you have enough fans!), and where readers have the opportunity to review and leave comments about the blog as you can see in the screenshot below (click for larger image, select All Sizes and then Original)

Facebook Blog Networks

If you do add the application on Facebook (or already have it) please add my blog to the list of those you read. It would be nice to see if any Joeyanne Libraryanne readers are on Facebook. 🙂

One of my interests in Web 2.0 technology is using tools to improve productivity. It’s the reason I love RSS feeds so much, I’m a fan of anything that can help save time or improve productivity in both my working life and life on general. When I bought my iPod Touch in December I was keen to integrate that to help increase my productivity which it did to an extent but it had the distinct disadvantage of requiring wifi to do most things. The release of the iPod Touch software 2.0 and the App Store has changed all that though…

To-do lists using ToodleDo and Todo

I’ve always been a fan of the good old to-do list and although I’m not a GTD advocate (mainly as I don’t know too much about it!) I do enjoy finding out about new GTD tools. ToodleDo has been a firm favourite of mine for a while now, I’ve tried the popular Remember the Milk but I personally prefer the simplicity of ToodleDo. I have it embedded in my Pageflakes homepage so as soon as I load my browser at either work or home I see my to-do list. It’s particularly useful at work but I do also use it to help me organise my home life and studying too. I was also using the slim version of ToodleDo on my iPod (see screenshot) which was great when I was at home or work and therefore had wifi access, but I was unable to use it when out and about as it was all online.

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ToodleDo Slim

Luckily, that has now changed thanks to Appigo’s Todo application (NB: site seems to be down at the moment but it has worked for me in the past). The main page of my Todo app currently looks like the image below with details of my lists and the number of tasks in each (as an aside, you may have noticed I am loving the ability to take screenshots from my iPod!).

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Screenshot of the main page of my Todo app

When you go view the All list it lists all of your tasks in order of due date. I’d like to see different ordering of tasks (e.g. priority as it also uses priorities when you set the task), and Appigo are hoping to add this in a future release.

It synchronises with my ToodleDo account which means I can now update the list on my iPod whilst I’m away from the Internet, and then sync when I get back. I can also use the web version still and then update my iPod at the end of the working day. It might sound like such a simple thing but this really has helped me in the way I work, particularly as I often spend my time on the bus in the morning planning my day. Another neat feature (purely aesthetic but it makes it look nicer!) is that you can choose a different way of marking tasks complete. In the screenshot below you can see I’ve opted for a pretty boring blue tick with faded task at the moment but there are lots of different options available (including a DONE stamp across the task which is quite satisfying to look at!).

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Screenshot of my current list of tasks for Study

The ToodleDo team and the Appigo team are both great at listening to user feedback and acting on it too, so I really do recommend them both if you work using to-do lists and want to access it on the web or on an iPhone/iPod Touch.

Blogging using the WordPress iPhone app

The other thing I tend to do on the bus is jot down ideas for blog posts or even write whole posts. As a get around for no Internet I had been writing them as e-mails (you can write without Internet access), saving them as drafts, and then sending them when I got home. Then I’d have to jump on the PC, copy the text, paste it into WordPress, and add any links and images I needed. So I was delighted to hear that WordPress were releasing an iPhone app and I have been eagerly awaiting it’s release. It’s finally here, and it’s great (I wrote most of this blog post on it). At the moment it’s tricky to add in links or formatting as the HTML tags are on the third keyboard on the iPhone, but for just getting the text down and working offline it’s great. You can then add it to the drafts folder and edit it on the PC. It could do with more functionality (e.g. links, ability to adminstrate comments etc.) but I’m sure that will come in the future.

Other productivity tools

Those are the main things I use with my iPod (in addition to Microsoft Exchange which I use for email and calendar) but on the web I also use:

  • PageFlakes homepage as mentioned earlier
  • Google Calendar (I use this at work to promote sessions as mentioned in an earlier blog post)
  • del.icio.us to store useful bookmarks
  • Bloglines (I currently use the Beta version) as my RSS feed reader, which also has an iPhone optimised version but although it looks pretty is very basic so I don’t tend to use it often

I’ve also dabbled with online document creators such as Google Docs, Zoho, Buzzword and Blist (there are probably more of these I have forgotten!).

I’m always keen to try new tools, are there any other useful productivity tools you love which I haven’t mentioned? How do you manage your time and organise your work?

I upgraded the blog to WordPress 2.6 last night – extra features in the latest WordPress include version history (could be useful for me as I tend to write a few drafts before publishing my longer posts), press this (a bookmarklet you can use to blog about websites etc.), picture captions, theme previews, and Google Gears support.

Upgrading is always a scary experience as I’m terrified I’ll lose my content (I didn’t actually do it myself this time, Chris helped me). Although all seemed fine initially, I soon realised that the front page was working but the individual posts weren’t showing (the message “Sorry, no posts matched your criteria” was displayed).

After a bit of investigating (i.e. Googling!) this morning, we found it is a known bug affecting anyone whose permalink includes index.php. Thankfully, the solution is simple. Details are given on the WordPress website but basically the easiest way to solve it is to add values into the category and tag fields in the permalink options page (the values can simply be the words category and tag). That should hopefully fix it, it did for me.

Apologies to anyone trying to view posts last night, but it should be back to normal now.

ticTOCs logo

As a regular user of RSS feeds (I currently subscribe to over 150 feeds and check them daily), I am keen to encourage others to use them.

We have started trying to encourage students to use an RSS reader to keep up-to-date via our information skills sessions and I would like to try to promote them to researchers and academic staff also. There are a number of useful academic blogs as well as news feeds and feeds for new items in journals.

I was therefore delighted to see Joe Hilton and Roddy MacLeod’s article in the latest edition of SCONUL Focus detailing their ticTOCs project.

Taken from the ticTOCs website:

The ticTOCs Project is piloting a free service where researchers, academics and anyone else can keep up-to-date with scholarly journal Tables of Contents (TOCs)

What a great service! ticTOCs currently has 7,742 journal Tables of Contents which users can sign up to receive updates of in their ticTOCs account. Ideally I’d like to see everyone familiar with RSS feeds and using RSS readers but for those who only want to use it for journals ticTOCs is an ideally starting point. Let’s hope it raises the profile of receiving feeds to keep researchers up-to-date.


Visit mashed library

There have been a number of library related unconference recently, in the USA, Canada and Australia to my knowledge. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, an unconference is basically an informal conference with a broad theme which is driven by the delegates. I’ve always thought these events seemed like a great idea so I was very excited when Owen Stephens suggested on his blog that maybe we should have an unconference event for mashed libraries in the UK. As you can see from the number of responses he got in the comments, it seems there are quite a few people interested in such an event, and so Owen has set up a ning page to collaborate ideas and try to get things organised.

If you are interested in attending or helping organise the event, please join and pass the link to anyone else you think might be interested. You don’t need to be highly technical to be involved (I’m certainly not a coding expert!); anyone with an interest in library technologies is welcome.

I’m really excited about this so I hope there are enough people interested to make it a really useful event.