Wow, what a day! I really enjoyed Library Camp UK 2011 yesterday, and wanted to jot down some quick thoughts from a personal perspective whilst it’s fresh in my mind.

Sarah points out the next session

One of my sessions - really enjoyed the conversation at this one

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Tomorrow I’m joining 174 other people interested in libraries at the first Library Camp UK. I’m hoping it’s going to be a little more civilised than the photo above – at least it should be drier as it’s indoors. It’s being held in Birmingham so I don’t even have to travel far (although getting up early on a Saturday will be a bit of a shock!). Read the rest of this entry »

I attended a really interesting session at the Handheld Librarian online conference on managing organisational Twitter accounts. The session, Doing more with less: What to do with your 140 characters, was presented by Donna Ekart from Kansas State University library (@kstatelibraries). As I’ve been using Twitter since 2007 I wasn’t expecting to learn a lot from this session, but I picked up some really useful tips so I’m glad I attended.

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I’ve recently been trying out a new case* for my Kindle, one that also came with a light. Reading on my Kindle is mainly done in bed as I’m trying to get to sleep, so it’s important for me to be able to hold it comfortably lying down and be able to read it in the dark. I do have a bedside lamp but I’ve been wanting to try a Kindle light for a while; partly so that it is less distracting for my partner as I wouldn’t have to have the bedside lamp on, and also as when I stay in hotels it’s sometimes not possible to read as there is no bedside lamp.

The Tuff-Luv Spark Kindle Case with Light (Purple) is a funky looking case; I love the colour and the feel of the leather is really good. The light is very compact – you can store it within the spine of the case when the case is closed so it doesn’t take up any extra room.

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Found out about a great resource today which you can use to get an iPhone version of your blog (found via Ned Potter).

Bloapp is a tool you can use to create a customisable mobile version of your blog (great for institutional blogs although the customisation is a little limited). I followed Ned’s instructions to create a mobile version of the Joeyanne Libraryanne blog as shown below:

Joeyanne Libraryanne on Bloapp

Joeyanne Libraryanne on Bloapp

If you’d like to read my blog this way, you can download the Bloapp app to your iPhone (it’s free) and then scan in the QR code below.

Scan from within Bloapp to add Joeyanne Libraryanne

Scan from within Bloapp to add Joeyanne Libraryanne

It’s a really easy tool to use – I’d recommend giving it a go as it really does take about 30 mins – 1 hour (depending how much customisation you need). Great idea for library blogs – though of course it will depend on Bloapp’s success as to whether people use it. If you want to create your own for your blog or your library’s blog, follow Ned’s comprehensive guide.

Handheld Librarian V

Handheld Librarian Online Conference V (click on image to go to website)

A couple of weeks ago I attended my first full virtual conference – Handheld Librarian Online Conference V – yes, they have held five of them already! I’ve attended webinars before and tracked numerous events online that I have been unable to attend in person, but this was my first fully fledged online conference. It was really good value for money ($45), and although it meant working through the evening (due to time zone differences the conferences was 4 – 11.30pm in UK time!) it was definitely something I would do again. The software (Adobe Connect) worked really well, there were very few sound problems (ironically, the only ones I experiences was when the keynote speaker from Mashable was presenting), and the fact that is was all online meant that you could join in all aspects of the conference, including a virtual exhibition.

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an SMS message from the catalog

from misterbisson on Flickr

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was invited to present a session at the 2011 Colleges of Further and Higher Education (CoFHE) conference last month (Staying positive in difficult times: Maintaining quality services). My session focused on mobile technologies. I probably spend about half, if not more, of my online time on mobile devices – usually on iPhone or iPad. I use a lot of different apps for various different purposes – document creation and editing, emailing, blogging, photo management, planning travel, time management and more. But how can we utilise these technologies in libraries? Many of our users (and staff) already have mobile devices, so it’s useful to consider how we can use these to support the library service.

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To do list by dmachiavello on Flickr

To do list by dmachiavello on Flickr

One of my resolutions this year was to integrate the GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology into my work and home life. I’m a bit of a productivity tool geek, I’m always downloading a new to-do list or note taking app on my iPhone or iPad to check out.

My journey with to-do lists has taken me down a long and winding road. I was an avid fan of good old pen and paper (and to-do list notepads and post-its!) for a number of years, dabbled with using Microsoft OneNote a few years ago, and started my online discovery with Toodledo in about 2007. It integrated with my start page (Pageflakes at the time) and I could use it on my iPod touch; I really liked the fact I could access it from anywhere and keep it updated. So much so in fact that I blogged about it. After a while I got fed up of Toodledo (let’s face it, it’s functional but pretty ugly) and wanted to see what all the fuss was with Remember The Milk (RTM), which had been growing in popularity. This is a really simple, yet feature rich customisable service and a lot of people love it. I used to be one of those people and had a pro subscription for two years.  Read the rest of this entry »

Mobile text polling with PollEverywhere

Mobile text polling with PollEverywhere

I am delighted to be speaking at the 2011 CoFHE Conference next month on mobile technologies in libraries. My interest in mobile technologies largely stems from my own experimentation with various different mobile apps and thinking about how they can be applied to a library setting. I’ve blogged previously about some mobile library apps (and played with many more on my iPhone/iPad), discussed some of the potential uses of QR codes in the library (which have been popping up in lots of places since I blogged about them), and talked about the way I supported enquiries using mobile devices. Over the past few months I’ve been collecting various emails, blog posts and articles on mobile technology use in libraries to share during my presentation, but I’d like to open it up further to get some more practical examples to share during my presentation.

So, what cool stuff have you been doing in your library with mobile technologies? Or what would you like to try? Do you have any links to blog posts or articles about innovative things libraries are doing with mobile technologies? Please add your comment below or tweet @joeyanne using #cofhemobapps. Looking forward to hearing from you!

 

A little while ago, I read an article about oMbiel‘s mobile app for universities, CampusM. I’d hear about it on Twitter, and the University of Sheffield’s recent implementation, but the article in Talis’ Panlibus magazine gave more context into just how much information was available in the app.

I thought I’d find out more, and was able to get a copy of the app from the App Store on my iPhone. Of course, I’m not a member of the University of Sheffield so many of the features I cannot use, but a brief overview of the features are shown on the homescreen:

University of Sheffield campusM startup screen

University of Sheffield campusM startup screen

The Directory, Course Details, and Library sections require a login (understandably!), but I’ve been able to access the Locations section (useful if you are visiting a University – can see potential here for use on Open Days), and I was really impressed by the functionality. Not only can you view a zoomable map within the app, you can also view each building on the campus map, on a Google Map or even get specific directions (again using Google Maps). You can also add a building as a favourite, which could be particularly useful if you are on campus a lot and need to use computers, as one of the killer features for me was being able to tell how many free PCs are available at any one time directly from the app (see screenshot – earlier this afternoon there were 37 PCs free in the Library!). You can also check printing facilities and again find where they are located either on the map within CampusM, or on Google Maps.

Location page incl. free PCs

Location page incl. number of free PCs

Most of this data was already available from the University of Sheffield, and is not difficult to implement, but what’s really great about CampusM is that it brings all that data together in one neat, easy to use application. I’ve watched the YouTube video demoing the key features of CampusM, and I wish I was a member of the University of Sheffield so I could give it a go! The library section looks particularly easy to use, which is promising for future app development.

There seems to be a lot of interest in developing mobile apps for Universities, MIT recently released an iPhone app which includes GPS tracking of campus buses, something I’d be particularly interested in as I use the campus shuttle buses to get to and from work every day! I believe oMbiel are currently talking to a number of Universities about developing a CampusM app for them (I noticed mention of a further event earlier today), so I hope to see more in the future, I do love mobile apps!