Thanks to Jill Hurst-Wahl at Digitization 101, I was made aware that today is Blog Day 2008.

For those unfamiliar with Blog Day (and I’ll admit I was until Jill made me aware of it!), the idea is that bloggers all around the world find other interesting blogs and share them with their readers by making a post about them. Here are the instructions:

  1. Find 5 new Blogs that you find interesting
  2. Notify the 5 bloggers that you are recommending them as part of BlogDay 2008
  3. Write a short description of the Blogs and place a link to the recommended Blogs
  4. Post the BlogDay Post (on August 31st)

Jill kindly posted about my blog and I’m posting about another 5 to spread the blog discovery.

I have tried to choose blogs which I think may interest readers of Joeyanne Libraryanne but broaden the horizons to include blogs outside librarianship. Having said that, my first blog to mention is another librarianship blog!

  • Thoughts of a [wannabe] librarian – this is a new blog written by one of my fellow distance learners. It covers technology developments of interest to libraries but looking at things from a public library point of view rather than an academic library point of view.

As well as librarianship, I am interested in teaching and learning. From the age of 5 I wanted to be a teacher and although I have since changed my mind, one of the things I most enjoy at work are teaching sessions and producing support material.

  • Blogging IT and EDucation – Blogging IT and EDucation is written by Emma Duke-Williams, a lecturer at the University of Portsmouth. She shares an interest in elearning and using technology to support education and posts some really interesting posts about new resources and developments which she thinks could be used to support teaching at University level. I enjoy hearing about things from an academic point of view and Emma’s blog is a great example of this.
  • Oh, what a tangled web we weave – I posted recently about the Library 2.0 to Library 3D talk I went to; Oh, what a tangled web we weave is Kim’s blog. His primary interest is in webometrics but he is also interested in Web 2.0/Library 2.0 and Second Life. He is a lecturer in Finland and it is interesting to read his posts about the current and potential uses of technology to support learning.

As you may have guessed from my posts about Google Calendar, and ToodleDo and ToDo – productivity and anything to ease the process of getting things done is another interest of mine. My iPod Touch lives with me to help me organise my life. I enjoy reading LifeHacker, but I decided to find a new productivity blog to read (and recommend).

  • Simple Productivity Blog – includes lots of great posts on general advice for improving productivity as well as reviews and recommendations of software, and tips on simplifying your life.

Just to show I’m not a complete technology geek, I thought I’d choose one of my favourite “fun” blogs as my last recommendation to check out.

  • Stuff on my cat – as the proud owner of two kittens (if you’re interested there are photos here), I started subscribing to some cat related blogs a few months ago. Stuff on my cat is pretty self explanatory blog (yes it really is pictures of cats with stuff on them!) but has occasionally caused me to laugh out loud. Our kittens found fame earlier this year on I can has cheezburger so I keep an eye on that one too.

That brings an end to my 5 recommended blogs for Blog Day 2008, I hope you found them interesting and if you know of any other blogs you think I may be interested in please feel free to recommend them in the comments. 🙂

I’ve received confirmation that I will be attending Internet Librarian International 2008! I won’t be attending the full conference but will be there on Friday 17th as I’m particularly interested in the Information Literacy track.

I’ve always really wanted to go to ILI, particularly with it being held in the UK, so I’m really pleased that I’m able to go this year. It’s the 10th Anniversary too, as recently blogged about by Brian Kelly (who unfortunately isn’t able to attend this year).

I’m sure I’ll be blogging about my experience (hopefully on my new Acer Aspire One if I can find one soon!) and I’m hoping it will give me some useful information and ideas we can adopt to improve our information literacy and e-learning practices at work.

Is anyone else going? Let me know if so, it would be great to meet others from the library blogging world whilst I’m there. 🙂

Over the summer we have been debating the issues around Academic Library Blogging which I thought I would share. I’m also hoping the post and any comments may help consolidate my ideas also as I keep changing my mind about what should be the purpose and content of our blogs!

Currently we have an Electronic Resources blog (which is linked from our website but I think is primarily aimed at library staff), other specific project blogs (mainly hosted on internal software and password protected), communication blogs (again, password protected) and 5 subject blogs. The subject blogs have been set up by their corresponding subject librarians and contain a variety of content from Learning Centre updates (such as changes to opening hours etc.) to useful subject resources the subject librarian has come across online. The frequency of posts varies; some average around one post a week, others one post a month or less.

At the beginning of the summer break (seems like yesterday but was actually almost 4 months ago!), we decided it might be a nice idea to combine some of the subject blogs which cover similar subject areas (e.g. the Science areas and the Engineering areas). This would mean less duplication of posts and the ability to share resources which may be useful across different subject areas. So I found out about how we could use categories within WordPress to create different RSS feeds for the different subjects within one blog, set up a rough blog, and imported the content of each of the blogs.

I then started thinking about how the majority of people are likely to use our blogs. From looking at the stats on Feedburner (we use this to allow users to subscribe by e-mail), it seems that more people use the e-mail subscription than the RSS subscription. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to set up e-mail subscriptions for each category feed, and I was also concerned about how confusing it would make it for the user if they had to work out which subject to subscribe to and whether they wanted RSS feed or e-mail. We would end up with about 10 different subscription options which really isn’t ideal. Although it would be great to get people using RSS feeds (this is something I would really like to encourage, particularly with our staff and researchers to help them keep up-to-date in their area of interest), in reality this is not going to happen in the short-term.

As well as the practical issues, we were a little concerned about how the blog would be managed with so many administrators and whether we would need to agree to a style of writing and a recommended post frequency (we didn’t want to see hundreds of posts on one subject and only one or two for another). There were also concerns that those physically visiting the blog may find it very confusing. My main concern when considering things like this is always that it makes sense from a user point of view and I just wasn’t convinced that this would. If we had all subjects on board and everyone was familiar with RSS feeds and using categories to filter posts on the blog, it may work, but for now I’m not convinced.

Despite us deciding against the joint blog for now, it was a very useful exercise as it really made me think about the purpose of our blogs. In my mind there are two primary reasons for the blogs as they stand at the moment:

  1. To disseminate information about Learning Centres – events, new services, opening hours, news etc.
  2. To share information and recommended resources relating to subjects

I would also like to encourage discussion on the blogs but this is something we haven’t managed to achieve yet so they are primarily one-way communication channels (commenting is available but not widely used).

In my mind, I think there is definitely a need for both these applications, but I’m not sure they should necessarily be combined. I think in the future I’d like to see a departmental blog to keep all users notified about Learning Centres (a sort of “newsy” type blog), with additional subject blogs as necessary. This would eradicate most of the duplicate posting as the subject blogs could stay focused purely on the subject material and not the general information. It would also mean that students (and staff) across all schools would be able to subscribe to the Learning Centre blog whereas currently we only offer it to certain schools depending on the librarians, their familiarity with the technology and their willingness to blog.

How has anyone else decided to approach blogging in academic libraries? Do you have an ingenious solution which I haven’t thought about? Please let me know in the comments if so. 🙂

Whilst we’re on the topic of library blogging, I wanted to share a brilliant quote from Phil Bradley recently on the LIS-Bloggers mailing list:

If you can’t think of what to write, then not only should you not have a weblog, you shouldn’t have a library or a job. Your library or information centre should be fascinating – what new resources do you have? What are members of staff doing? What plans have you for the future? What about administrative details, like changing opening hours? Any interesting queries that you’ve had? What about the resources that you find on the net that would be helpful for your users? What about a site of the week, resource of the month, client of the year? What about photographs of interesting collections, or covers of new books? Surely it’s not a question of what to write about, but more a problem of what NOT to write about?

This certainly gave me food for thought, as I’ve often heard staff wonder what they can blog about and worrying that they might set up a blog and then not know what to post about. I’ll be remembering to bear all these uses in mind next time someone says they don’t know what they can blog about, thanks Phil!

Just a short post to share a great article passed on to me by a web designer friend.

William Hicks (no relation to the comedian as far as I know!), a web designer and librarian at the University of North Texas outlines how useful libraries can be, even for those who work almost entirely on the web.

He includes some great real-life examples of when a library might be able to help you with your work and why it could benefit you to visit your local academic (or public) library. Obviously, this is aimed at an American audience but I’m sure many readers of Digital Web magazine will be UK based so I hope they will realise the same applies in the UK. I particularly like his summary:

I hope I have demonstrated that libraries may be worth returning to if they don’t currently receive any of your attention. Many large institutions have nothing but their patron’s, and often society’s, best interests at heart.

We have a few regular visitors at our academic library; some who come to use our PCs, others who come to browse our collections or ask for our help with an enquiry. Some of my most interesting enquiries have been from visitors who are particularly passionate about their research area which is great.

I am often found complaining about how people don’t realise how valuable their library can be to them, but I’m such a hypocrite in two ways; firstly, I never really realised it myself until I worked in libraries and secondly, I’m not doing anything to change these ideas. I know it may be quite a big task but maybe I should be doing more small things to make people realise just how useful their local academic library can be in this age of information. Certainly got me thinking anyway, how can we promote our services and change the public opinion of libraries?