There are many things I love about my job, but around this time of year each year you can usually find me with a big smile on my face. We’ve just finished Fresher’s Week and despite being physically and mentally shattered, I feel great.

This year I was involved in helping with a number of library tours and teaching sessions introducing students to our Learning Centres. We spent a lot of summer preparing for the sessions as they were a group we hadn’t had much contact with in the past. We were trying new techniques (we used Captivate to support the teaching rather than PowerPoint or doing it live, and a mock reading list as a question sheet), and despite some hitches (mainly that the database we were using appears to have a concurrent user limit of 3 and some of our sessions had 40 students!), it went well. We got feedback from all our students and although we haven’t properly analysed it yet, I have read some of the comments and they are generally positive.

Lots of students said thank you as they left and it always makes me so happy, I’m employed to help people and it’s the part of the job I enjoy most. I do enjoy doing the back room technology work and producing e-learning materials, but my favourite thing is contact with students via teaching sessions and staffing the enquiry desk.

I had another happy customer earlier today, her face lit up when we managed to find what she wanted and she was able to borrow it – such a small thing but it really made my day.

What do you love most about your job?

As part of my study school week in Aberystwyth we had Dr. Jane Secker, Learning Technology Librarian (such a great job title!) at LSE, as a guest speaker to talk to us about the adventures of LASSIE (Libraries and Social Software in Education). I have been following the LASSIE project with interest since last summer when the initial literature review was published – for those that don’t know the project looked at social (Web 2.0) software such as online reading lists, social bookmarking, blogging and social networking, and specifically how they can be used to support distance learners. During the course of the project however, it became evident that these services can also benefit full-time and part-time students as many choose to study from home.

Jane’s talk was extremely interesting for both people like myself who are familiar with social software, and also with beginners who may not have even heard of the term before the talk. I’ve mentioned before that it surprises me how little Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 are discussed on my course, so it was great to have the talk – there was a lot more talk afterwards and I didn’t feel quite so strange talking about how great Library 2.0 initiatives can be!

I’ve included a copy of Jane’s slides below or you can listen to the talk alongside the slides here.

Lassie Aber Final

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: libraries social_software)

The LASSIE reports are all available on the project website (they are very practical in nature and make interesting reading). Jane has also published recent articles in both Program and ALISS Quarterly.

Something which I found particularly interesting was how valuable Jane had found the project blog and that although it was set up for the project she still regularly blogs there and finds it very useful – I can certainly relate with that, blogging has become part of my life now and I regularly find myself thinking “Oooh, I’ll write a blog post about that”. 😀

Jane did mention that they were hoping to expand on the original LASSIE project and I certainly hope so, their practical approach to problems faces by academic libraries in the UK I’m sure will be of value to many other institutions.

The post below was actually written on Monday but I’ve been without internet access (shock horror!) and haven’t been able to post it until now:

I’m currently sitting on a train to Aberystwyth with hundreds of sheep around me (it never fails to amaze me just how many sheep there are in Wales despite living here for three years!), playing with my new gadget.

I’ve been after a new laptop for a while now and kept telling myself that I would save up and get one when I start my dissertation. My previous laptop is over 6 years old now, and as much as I loved it, I’ve hardly used it since I left University, choosing instead to use the desktop as the laptop just isn’t fast enough (it also has less storage capacity than my iPod Touch!). I have also been fortunate to be able to borrow laptops from work when I have needed them and have been using a work one throughout my course which has been great.

But I always thought I’d get one when I started my dissertation to keep everything on one portable machine which I could always have with me. I’m on my way to my dissertation study school now so it was time to get one. Thankfully, laptops have come down in price massively over the last couple of years and more recently there has been the boom of “Netbooks” – extra portable laptops.

OK, so they’re designed mainly to access the net (hence the name) but some of these machines have some great specs. The one I went for in the end, an Acer Aspire One A150-BW has 1GB memory and 120GB hard drive and runs XP (I may be a bit of a geek but I’m not hardcore enough to move to Linux yet!). At just under £300 it’s also very reasonably priced and the portability is a huge plus point (it’s also very pretty – I went for white):

Despite concerns due to lack of stock, I managed to order one on the phone last week which arrived on Wednesday. 5 days later and I am officially hooked, it’s a great little device. I’ve got Adobe Creative Suite running on it and have used PhotoShop and DreamWeaver with no problem at all (apart from the fact that the DreamWeaver editing screen is a little cramped!). It’s got a trial version of Office 2007 although unfortunately doesn’t include Outlook. I’ve just spent about an hour and a half working on my latest assignment in Word 2007 – some reviews have criticised the Acer Aspire One due to battery power but with wireless disabled it lasts a good 2.5-3hrs which is plenty for me as I’m usually near a power supply anyway. It does run down quite quickly with wireless on, you might only get 2hrs out of it then. They do however have a larger capacity battery should you need it.

The size of it still amazes me, it fits into my little rucksack no problem and is so light too. The keyboard is I believe full sized, and I’ve certainly not had any problems with it which I know some other netbooks have been criticised for. The mouse buttons are to the left and right which takes a little getting used to, but I’ve adjusted to it very quickly.

All in all, a great little device and I can’t recommend it highly enough if you are after a capable machine which is portable enough to carry around without an extra bag.

I was checking my blog stats recently when I noticed that some people had entered my blog via del.icio.us (or delicious as it’s now known!). I then remembered that I still hadn’t got round to adding the ShareThis option to my blog which I had intended to do when we re-designed it.This post outlines how I have added the options to share directly from the Joeyanne Libraryanne blog or from the feed viewed in a feed reader.

Sharing from the blog

ShareThis enables readers to share interesting posts with their social media or with particular people they think may be interested. As the eagle-eyed of you may have noticed, I have now added ShareThis which you can see at the bottom of this post (if you’re viewing it on the blog).

I installed the ShareThis WordPress plugin and then registered with ShareThis so that I could customise it. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to customise. I decided to use the options for saving to social web services (such as delicious, Google Bookmarks, Facebook, Friendfeed and Digg), posting to other services (including Facebook, Twitter and other blogs) and e-mailing to others:

ShareThis

The interface is really nice to use and it’s very easy to adapt from the admin side too. I’ve checked in the admin panel this morning and am pleased to see that it has already been used to e-mail posts to others, save to delicious, Google bookmarks, and Facebook and also to post to another WordPress blog.

Sharing from the feed

This is all well and good but what about the majority of blog readers who rarely actually visit the blog site and read posts via a feed reader? I was hoping ShareThis would show up on the feed but sadly it doesn’t, however I noticed that Pegasus Librarian amongst others had the option to share from the feed. Closer inspection showed me that people were using FeedBurner to create these options for them. I am already a user of FeedBurner (it manages my e-mail subscriptions), but hadn’t realised it had this option. I have since enabled this feature (called FeedFlare for others who weren’t aware of this) so if you are reading this via a feed reader you should see the options to e-mail this post, save to delicious, or share on Facebook:

FeedFlare

Seeing as I am a supposed supporter of “Web 2.0” it’s taken me a long time to enable the “social web” aspects of Joeyanne Libraryanne. However, with these two options, there’s no excuse for not sharing my blog posts now! There are certain ShareThis options I didn’t select (otherwise the box almost filled the screen!), but if you use a certain service that you would like to see added to the list of options please let me know in the comments.