At Online Information 2011, I presented in one of the European Librarians Theatre panel discussions. The discussions are hosted by EBSCO and SLA Europe and bring together librarians from different parts of Europe to discuss a topic and the experiences within their country. My session, ‘Everyone is talking but is anyone listening?’ focused on social media. It was chaired by Sara Batts (see tweet below), and my fellow panelists were Katrin Weller and Dennie Haye.


I think the panel discussion flowed well – there was largely agreement across the board on a number of different factors, suggesting that libraries across Europe are at a similar stage with social media (the panel had representatives from UK, Germany and The Netherlands). There were some really interesting examples from my fellow panelists – one example of Yammer being used for internal communication (in an international organisation with staff dispersed geographically), and one example of Facebook being used by a University before students arrived to help answers queries and help them begin to make friends.

The main messages I took from the session were that libraries and librarians should experiment with social media to see what works, and should aim to understand more about their users as no two libraries will use social media in the same way.

You can see the tweets from the session at the #elt2011 hashtag (thanks to @WoodsieGirl and @EBSCOUK for such comprehensive tweeting!) and there is a write up of the session on the SLA Europe website.
As mentioned before, I decided to get  information for my section of the discussion via a brief survey – many thanks to those who gave feedback. The main themes emerging from the results of this are shown below. Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been asked to take part in a panel discussion as part of the European Librarians Theatre at Online Information next week titled ‘Everyone is talking but is anyone listening?‘. I’ve got some ideas from my own experience and conversations with others, but as I’ll be representing the views of the UK I wanted to open it out and ask you to help me.

If you work in a UK library, please complete the form below (or complete the online version) to let me know your views. The feedback is anonymous – though if you have something you are particularly proud of which you would like me to mention as an example of good practice – please feel free to include links in your response, leave me a comment on this post, or email me.

EDIT: Thanks for the responses, I have now removed the form as the panel discussion has passed.

Earlier today I gave a presentation at the Oxford Social Media 2011 event hosted by Oxford University Libraries. The brief was to discuss ways to market yourself as a librarian using social media, and rather than just update my previous presentation on a similar topic, I chose to change the focus slightly and concentrate on the marketing and personal branding side of things rather than the fundamentals of social media.

Read the rest of this entry »

CPD23 logo

CPD23 logo

Many readers are likely to have heard of the 23 Things staff development programmes (also known as Learning 2.0) which have been used in a number of libraries across the world over the last few years. For those not familiar – it’s an online self-discovery learning programme used to introduce library staff to some of the technologies relevant to libraries (particularly social media). It’s achieved via a reflective blog which serves as an introduction to blogging as well as recording progress on each of the 23 ‘Things’ thoughout.

In the UK, a number of public and academic libraries have run the programme, including Cambridge who did it last summer. Some of the Cambridge librarians loved it so much that they’re doing it again – in fact this summer they are running two versions! The first is a repeat of the initial programme, whilst the second is what this blog post is about – 23 Things for Professional Development. So what’s that then? Read the rest of this entry »

I was recently invited to present at a UKOLN Cultural Heritage event on using the social web. Ann Chapman facilitated the workshop which introduced people to the basics of social web and encouraged them to think about how social web could be used in their own organisation. There were attendees from libraries, museums, and archives and the small group size (less than 20 delegates) encouraged open conversation throughout the day. I attended the whole day, supporting facilitation in the morning and presenting my case study in the afternoon. Read the rest of this entry »

Just a brief post to highlight a new(ish) feature on blogs which you can use to link your blog posts to your Twitter account.

I talked about the importance of linking your online accounts at my talks at the New Professional’s Conference and the CILIP Open Graduate Day earlier this year, and at the time recommended using Twitterfeed to help you link your blog posts into Twitter. This is still a great service and works well with all RSS feeds, but if you just want to link your blog(s) to your Twitter account(s), you can now do it directly from your WordPress dashboard.

I was going to run through the process of doing this, but I found a great page on the WordPress support pages which includes screenshots for each stage, so rather than re-invent the wheel, here’s the link.

I’ve tested it out on one of my work blogs with our Twitter account and it works really well – you can edit the Twitter post from within the dashboard on your new post (in the Publish box on the right sidebar) and it posts almost immediately to your Twitter account after publishing the blog post. You can also use it with blogs with multiple authors and have just their authored posts going to their individual Twitter account which could be great for shared blogs.

Thought it was worth a blog post anyway, as it’s a somewhat hidden feature (well, I didn’t know how advanced it was anyway so thought others might not either!). At the moment this feature is just on blogs, but the developers have said they are working on a plugin to achieve the same thing on (self-hosted) blogs too.

Last week I did something a bit different – I was asked a few weeks ago if I could be interviewed for a podcast about social media, and was pleased to accept. It was actually for a social media module at University of Aberystwyth, so I was especially pleased to be involved as I had provided feedback from my course that it had been a shame this had not been covered during my Diploma.

Nicole Schultz (who also has an interest in social media) is responsible for developing the module and she came up with the great idea that it would be good to include podcasts from a number of different angles of social media. She has already interviewed companies who are using social media, a web designer, and other aspects of social media, but she wanted to interview me about my use of social media – how I got into it, what I use it for, and tips to pass onto other students.

It was great to meet Nicole (I also picked her brains about my dissertation, will post about that soon), and I really enjoyed the relaxed nature of the interview. It will be made available as a podcast for students studying the module and I think it’s a good way to practice what you preach and actually get students using social media during the module. The recording device was great too – really small and includes USB connection on device to download straight to PC. If I do some interviews for my dissertation I’ll definitely be looking into getting (or borrowing!) something like that.

Paper in typewriter listing Blog

I’ve recently co-authored an article with Christine Rooney-Browne for Refer, the journal of the Information Services group of CILIP, which has now been published in the Autumn 2009 issue. Refer offer some of the material from their journal online at REFERplus, and our article is available in pdf format, please feel free to read and let myself or Christine know what you think.

The article, “Blogging: an opportunity to communicate, participate and collaborate on a global scale”, is written primarily for reference librarians, although the majority of the material is general in nature. It was an interesting article to write; much of the material we already knew through our research interests and the fact that we both already blog ourselves, but it was interesting to research further into blogging and particularly some of the blogs written by, or for, reference librarians. We found blogs used internally for teams of reference librarians to assist each other in their work on the reference desk, reference blogs written about library services for the general public, and I also mentioned a personal favourite of mine, Swiss Army Librarian, which features a “Reference Question of the Week” – I always enjoy reading the enquiries he has had and how he answered them.

The process of co-writing the article was a new thing for me – we used e-mail and a wiki to communicate, and bought it all together towards the end in a Word document. I’ve also been trying out Google Wave recently though (feel free to get in touch if you’d like to add me as a contact), and I imagine something like Wave would make it even easier in the future to collaborate in such ways. It was good to bring our different knowledge and interests together in the article and I’m really quite pleased with the result. Many thanks to Christine, whom it was a pleasure to work with. 🙂

The latest issue of CILIP West Midlands journal, Open Access, is a special edition on Web 2.0. It contains articles from librarians throughout the region,and I was pleased to be asked to contribute. The editor, David Viner, asked if I could write about professional networking using Web 2.0 tools and I was happy to oblige – a similar article from the viewpoint of Amelia Luzzi, an information professional currently working outside a library is also presented which gives an interesting comparison. There are also practical guides for using Web 2.0, overviews of Web 2.0 projects within the region, and a look at the Semantic Web and Web 3.0.

CILIP members living in the West Midlands will receive a print copy of Open Access soon with their CILIP Update, but it is also available online for anyone to read from today. You can visit the website (previous editions of Open Access are also available from the Issuu account), or view the embedded version on here (trying out a new plugin!). Comments on the issue are welcome, although you do need an Issuu account first.

[issuu showflipbtn=true documentid=090922162331-2a5c24b80f344028931dbb532e75d3dd docname=open_access_october_2009 username=cilipwestmidlands loadinginfotext=October%202009%20-%20Vol.52%20No.%203 showhtmllink=true tag=library width=420 height=297 unit=px]

Hope you enjoy the special edition, I found the other articles really interesting and it’s great to highlight work going on in the region. 🙂

At the New Professionals Conference I presented at last week, I spoke to CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) representatives who mentioned the CILIP Network of Expertise and Interests. Seeing as I was talking about online networking, they seemed surprised (and I was fairly embarrassed) that I hadn’t heard of it before. I asked others on Twitter last week and was relieved to find that it wasn’t just me who wasn’t aware of the network. I decided to register, and thought I’d share a brief review of the service.

The network is not part of the Communities area of the CILIP website, and is not attached to the CILIP Communities login. This surprised me, and I was a little disappointed to have to wait a day to be verified before I could take a look at the network, despite being a CILIP member and already registered on the CILIP Communities website. Having said that, one thing I was pleased about was that registration is open to anyone, even if they are not a CILIP member (although obviously it must be approved before being accepted). On the flip side I see the argument that there needs to be incentives to CILIP membership, but for this particular purpose I feel the network offers more value if it is open to all (UPDATE: unfortunately, this is no longer the case – the network is only open to CILIP members, which is a shame but I can see the reasoning.).

It wasn’t completely clear to me before being verified (which took about 24hrs) what the network was for or how it worked – CILIP referred to it as a sort of LinkedIn but it doesn’t have many of the same features that LinkedIn does. On the initial registration email it mentions matching members so I did wonder if it recommended other members with similar interests to yourself (like online dating might do but obviously for a different purpose!) but it doesn’t seem to do that.

Now I’m logged in I have found the aim of the network:

The CILIP membership is rich in skill and experience. This site is for members to make connections, share experiences and learn from each other.

Here’s a screenshot of the service once you have registered and logged in (I have just used my own profile as I appreciate it is a private area, when you log in there is an alphabetical list of entries similar to mine):

CILIP Network of Expertise and Interests

CILIP Network of Expertise and Interests

You can browse all members alphabetically (at present there are 119 members), or you can use the search functionality to find people. One feature which I really feel it’s crying out for is the ability to list people with a certain interest (these are selected from a list when you apply for membership so there should be consistency). These interests are included in the main entry on the home page, and are listed on each profile (see mine below for an example):

CILIP Network of Expertise and Interests - my profile

CILIP Network of Expertise and Interests - my profile

I wish these were links to take you to a list of everyone who has included that interest, it’s certainly what I was expecting (maybe I’m too used to tagging technologies!). I couldn’t find an easy way to list people by their interests and this is something fairly basic which I really think the network should be able to do.

There doesn’t seem to be any way to create groups either, and it seems the only way to contact people is by email, there is no way to send a message within the network.

It has potential to be a useful service and is good to be able to find other members with similar interests, but it is fairly long winded to use and the information is minimal. It’s more like a directory listing than a network really as it doesn’t encourage communication on the network platform.

I know I’m coming across a little critical, and I do think there are a lot of enhancements which are necessary before it is a viable alternative for LinkedIn (and as Owen Stephens pointed out on Twitter, one of the great advantages of LinkedIn is that different professions are all represented therefore providing links outside the library profession as well as within it). However, it’s great to see CILIP trying these new ideas, and acting on developing new networking methods as they mentioned mention in their recent Draft Council Paper on the use of Web 2.0.

One thing I am confused by however is the lack of publicity about this service. I don’t know if it’s a deliberate thing to soft launch to try the service with small numbers, but it seems to have been around for a while, and I wonder why it wasn’t mentioned amongst the #cilip2 discussions earlier this year. The CILIP representative I spoke to last week wanted to promote the service, so hopefully I’ve helped raise the profile a little (I know quite a few others on Twitter have joined since I mentioned it last week).

If you’re interested in finding out more, why not apply online and let me know what you think – do you see yourself using the network?

UPDATE: I wrote most of this post last week, but since then the page has been updated. Discussion forums have been activated along with a note that the network is hoped to be incorporated into CILIP Communities shortly. I’ll keep the blog updated with any new developments.