Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Time for reflection

Poolepynten (Polar adventurer, June 2010)

Huge thanks to the team behind 23 Things Cambridge.  You provided me with an excellent map for my polar adventures.  I may have strayed rather far to the north (800 miles from the North Pole in June, in fact), but found my way back just in time!  It has been a rewarding journey.

So what did I find most useful?
I'm pleased to say that it was a mixture of Web 2.0 technologies which I already used regularly (such as blogging, Doodle and RSS feeds) and new 2.0 techniques which enabled me to work on various computers and still link to the same version of a document, bookmarks or RSS feeds (Google Docs, iGoogle and Zotero), plus techniques for working on the same document with different people (Google Docs and Wikis).

I also found it incredibly useful to learn more about Creative Commons licences when searching for images on Flickr.  This was perhaps my top Thing!

Not useful at all?
I have to admit to not finding Twitter or LinkedIn useful at all, and although I can see the attractions of Facebook to undergraduate libraries, whose readers are probably heavy users of social media, I have yet to see it's useful role within special collections.  I would estimate that the majority of the users of my two special collections are not users of social media, and still prefer emails and, if at all possible, to talk to me on the phone or better still in person. 

Nor have I continued to use Google calendar, but that is because I already have a very full online calendar/diary accessible to my colleagues in both libraries and the thought of starting again, when I am booked up well into 2011, is daunting.  I realise I may have to change, but hope someone will write a clever program to enable me to transfer all my data from one to the other.

Another Web 2.0 Thing which I liked very much but have not persisted in using was LibraryThing.  I found it extremely easy to use, but can't imagine ever having the time to catalogue my books at home and do not think I shall use it at work as I don't have sufficient time to catalogue all the Centre's books using Voyager, yet alone add them to LibraryThing as well.

So what have I persisted in using?
iGoogle, blogging, Doodle, RSS feeds, Zotero, Flickr, and embedding podcasts, YouTube presentations, sound files, or Slideshare presentations into blog posts, Powerpoint presentations and web pages.

I am still hoping to find time to check and tag all my bookmarks on Delicious.  I successfully imported bookmarks from the two PCs I use most often, but the checking and tagging requires time I have not had to spare.

Back in May I hoped that participation in the 23 Things would enable me to better understand the world in which my researchers/library users operated and thus help me go some way towards meeting their expectations. To this end, I think the programme has been most successful - so many thanks all round to the contributors who made this happen.

Web 2.0 and social media have helped soften the interface between researchers and librarians, an interface which we must endeavour to keep smooth.  With so many new communication channels open to us, we should each be able to get our messages across, and enable our researchers to reach us with their thoughts and queries.  I believe we should remain free to choose those channels which best suit our ways of working and those of our users. Variety and choice can be good things!

And finally ... my tag cloud!
Polar adventurer's Wordle cloud

Monday, 23 August 2010


A wiki with which I am already familiar, and promote via the Centre of South Asian Studies website, and via the SAALG blog is the Libraries & Archives in South Asia (LASA) wiki.  It  is a collaborative attempt to produce an up-to-date guide to libraries and archives in South Asia, to help academics and researchers planning to visit South Asian countries to do research. Each wiki entry contains basic information - location and contact information, basic access and collection information and a link to the institution's website when it is available. More detailed information, including maps, photographs, links to online catalogs, etc. are provided when available. So far the wiki covers Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It was produced as part of the Digital South Asia Library project at the University of Chicago, and it is hoped that the researchers using libraries and archives in South Asia will increasingly contribute to LASA, keeping it up-to-date and developing it into a major portal for South Asian research.

The National Archives (TNA) have also introduced a wiki, My Archives, which they have been marketing to archives and special collections outside the National Archives.  It is a useful tool for researchers new to their collections as it includes electronic copies of many of the paper guides held in reading rooms. Researchers are in turn encouraged to contribute articles based on TNA's collections, enhance research guides or add data to the National Register of Archives. TNA warns readers that it does not vouch for the accuracy of data included in My Archives - as it goes without saying that it would be an impossible task to verify the huge number of entries.

I raised the idea of a wiki some time ago with the Cambridge Archivists' Group who manage the Janus portal, as I am constantly receiving emails from researchers/members of the public who have additional data about collections we hold.  Most would, I am certain, be happy to post their knowledge on a wiki similar to My Archives.  However, TNA employs paid staff to manage the wiki - a luxury we can not currently afford in Cambridge.

I was very interested to link to the TeachMeet Cambridge wiki and see what is planned at St. John's College from 5-7pm on 27th September 2010.  All being well, I intend to lurk enthusiastically (category 4.iv involvement)!

Podcasting to an international audience

The Centre of South Asian Studies has published several audio and audio-visual podcasts on YouTube and, with the assistance of the University's Office of External Affairs and Communications, has also published them on the University's Video & Audio web-pages as a means of promoting our oral history and film collections. They have enabled us to reach a far larger audience than might have been possible had we only made them accessible via our own web-pages. One such example is a short documentary covering some of the linguistic highlights in the Centre's oral history collection, introduced by Mr Ivan Coleby, who digitised this collection.
For further examples, please see: http://www.sms.cam.ac.uk/collection/654115

On YouTube, do see A glimpse of India, in which Dr Annamaria Motrescu and Dr Kevin Greenbank discuss the Centre's film collection and you can view highlights from our 300 amateur cinefilms.

We have been delighted by the positive feedback - do read the Comments section after you have viewed the  podcast.
Our next project is to produce a longer audio-visual piece, again with the help of the University's Office of External Affairs and Communications, which we can use at conferences and open days.  Sadly this will not be ready until October, so I will not be able to use it at this September's Open Library day. 

Podcasting has enabled us to entertain and inform audiences across the world.  It works especially well for oral and film collections, but I am considering how we might use it to promote more traditional library collections.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Google Documents to the rescue!

Screen shot from my Google Doc of an air-sea rescue off the coast of Svalbard
('Airlift ascent' by Anders Lanzen, 5th  August 2010, Flickr, Creative Commons)
The YouTube video introducing this tool was excellent - I recommend it to anyone who hasn't already played with Google Docs - and I am most impressed by how simple Google Documents is to use, bar its peculiar unwillingness to insert any photographs I have taken and saved to My Pictures.  It insists they are not valid image files, yet will accept any images I download from Flickr Creative Commons and store in My Pictures. Most peculiar, as I've successfully used many of my own images on this blog.
I witnessed an air-sea rescue exercise off the north-west coast of Svalbard (aka Spitsbergen) in June 2010 when the ship I was a passenger on, MV Plancius, was asked by the Svalbard Coastguard to take part in the exercise (and given just 10 minutes notice, so as to catch us off guard and be more realistic).  The helicopter (same one as photographed by Anders Lanzen above) hovered low above us; the noise was deafening, it sprayed sea water into my face as I watched from the deck.  It was incredibly exciting to witness the bravery of the rescue team dangling from the rope above and the skill of the pilot, the propellers of the helicopter whizzing round just feet from our ship's mast.

I can imagine using Google Documents to compose letters and minutes sent out by the Steering Group of the South Asia Archive and Library Group.  Currently our Secretary produces the first draft of our conference minutes and then emails it out to the Steering Group for additions and changes before mailing to members or publishing on our website. By using Google Docs we could all edit them, (whether in Edinburgh, London or Cambridge) though we would perhaps need a system of agreeing the final version?  Also who would archive the final version?  Would we rely on Google for file-storage and back-ups, plus our website provider?    I look forward to experimenting with this new tool and finding answers to these questions.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Marketing via social media

Polar marketing with a sense of humour, Norwegian Meteorological Station,
Jan Mayen (Polar adventurer, June 2010)

Roughly translated this reads: Theory is when you understand everything but nothing works. Practice is when everything works, but nobody understands why. On this station, we combine theory and practice - nothing works and nobody understands why!

I plan to continue marketing special collections at the Centre of South Asian studies and RCS library via the SAALG blog and via RSS feeds, as well as via our web pages and catalogues, and at meetings, conferences and workshops. I have found online exhibitions a particularly good way of marketing the collections as people can link to them via their blogs, web pages, Camtools sites, Facebook pages and even tweet about them.   I hope to produce more joint exhibitions with academic colleagues especially.

I am also participating in this year's Open Cambridge/Open Library weekend, with a 'Glimpse of India' - an opportunity for the public to view photographs, art work and home movies shot in Indian 1911-1956, and listen to archive recordings in which men an women reflect on events and issues they experienced during that period.

The University's Press Office helped market our home movies, by assisting us in creating a promotional filmed interview.  I may also create RCS and CSAS photostreams on Flickr to assist with the identification of people and places on old photographs in the collections.

All the above tried methods have resulted in increased interest and use in our collections.  However it is becoming increasing difficult to cope with this increased use - the down-side of too much marketing at a time of budget restraint.

PS I have just heard that the RCS collections will appear in the credits of Who Do You Think You Are? this evening - tracing Rupert Penry-Jones' family roots to India - photographs from the Queen Mary photograph collection on India.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Zotero - an adventure in syncronization

My Zotero Library synced

I am experimenting using Zotero to create annotated bibliographies of resources held at the Centre of South Asian Studies.  I am creating 'collections' within 'My Library' for different courses.  I was especially impressed by the simplicity of downloading records from Newton (remembering to click on the permanent URL link first) and have added the Centre's classmarks to the Call number field (I used the Universal catalogue to check references, so often imported classmarks from other libraries in this field.).

It soon became apparent that the most useful feature of Zotero to me was its ability to synce files.  You need to create a user account for this to happen, but once logged in and preferences set to synce files, Zotero will syncronize my collections/Library on any PCs I use, so that I can add items to my booklists when working at the UL, for example, and then when I log in at the Centre (so long as I have changed the preferences for my account there too), find the additional entries fully integrated .

I have yet to use/migrate these bibliographies, and hope this will be as straight forward as creating them.

As with the other new software I have used doing 23 Things, working in two places really does double the amount of time you have to spend on each Thing, as so often you need to download the relevant software, and change preferences etc. on each PC.  Please consider running the 23 Things programme over a much longer period next year, as it really has been too rushed to explore ways in which we can use each Thing in our busy work schedules.  I have yet to look at all the links to uses Cambridge libraries have already made of Zotero, and have already devoted many extra hours to this software.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

LinkedIn or not?

Image captured in Pathankot, Punjab by
Chandrachoodan Gopalakrishnan,
 (Flickr, Creative Commons)

My experience of LinkedIn has been a frustrating one.  The Times of India recently published an article on a devastating fire at the photographic studio of Bourne and Shepherd in Kolkata, and the current owner's attempt to trace surviving historic images by the studio, known to be held in libraries and museums in the UK.  The RCS collections in Cambridge University Library hold over 500 images by Bourne and Shepherd so I tried to make contact with the Times of India special correspondent, Krishnendu Bandyopadhyay, who wrote the article.  I tried first to contact him via the newspaper and had to complete an online Letter to the Editor form, as there was no general email facility.  However, I also located him on LinkedIn via Google, so hoped to be able to make contact that way.  I signed up and opened an account (yes, another password required), but to my horror discovered that I could only email him if I upgraded my account.  Naively, I started to complete more online forms, only to discover that I would be charged monthly for the upgrade.  My experience of LinkedIn ended there, until today when I have briefly checked out the profiles of Libby Tilley, Andy Priestner and Sarah Stamford on LinkedIn.  I looked at their lists of connections, membership of Groups, but am not convinced that I shall use LinkedIn again.  I have found more relevant support from, for example, my membership of SAALG.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Cambridge libraries on Facebook

Vacation borrowing at the Marshall Library, March 2009   

I enjoyed viewing the video of vacation borrowing at the Marshall Library of Economics, March 2009, which is linked from the Library's Facebook page under the Boxes tag.  I must admit I would have expected it under the Photos tag, but that linked only to stills. It is a great way of showing how valuable the library is to the student community. I also liked the way the library has used Facebook to tell current students/researchers about its history and archives.

The Judge Business School Library uses Facebook to promote its electronic resources, with video tutorials and links to its Delicious bookmarks.  It also promotes new and recommended books using  Bookshare (also linked under the Boxes tag).

The English Faculty Library has used Facebook to promote a topical library exhibition, promoting the novels of Sir Wilson Harris, a Caribbean novelist on the 2010 Queen's honours list. Some of his novels form part of the Tasker collection donated to the University by Miss Joyce Trotman. The message is powerfully and simply told using photographs.

By contrast the Classics Faculty library uses Facebook to inform its Friends which new journal issues arrive, giving their classmarks.

Facebook can also be used to promote the latest gadgetry and software. The Cambridge Libraries page promotes the libraries widget, a device for iPhones, IPod Touch and Smartphones designed by Huw Jones, and links to a video showing how to use it. Ed Chamberlain awards it 5 stars in his review.

Finally, if you are a juice and cookies fan (sorry, not me!), then check out the Jerwood Library's Facebook page! They also use Bookshare Books to promote their new accessions and have added friendly photographs - all very inviting to new students.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

LibraryThing : a continuing adventure

I've started using LibraryThing to catalogue my collection of polar travel books.  I discovered immediately how important it is to note ISBNs or publication dates as well as authors/titles before you start to add your books as there are numerous editions of some classic tales from the Heroic Age of Exploration.

I am not convinced that I will use LibraryThing to promote new books at the Centre of South Asian Studies. I operate as a half-man band and consequently rarely have time to keep up with new publications and cataloguing, yet alone creating a separate catalogue in LibraryThing to generate book covers regularly. I can imagine LibraryThing being used in libraries with more staff, as ISBNs could be added whilst staffing an enquiry desk.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


Social networking for bookworms, by Aaron Rutkoff (Wall Street Journal, June 27th, 2006) succinctly outlines the history of LibraryThing and the roles played by its creator, software programmer, Mr Spalding and business partners, AbeBooks.com, who in 2006 bought a 40% share in the site.  It was the perfect introduction, which I followed with :
LibraryThing and the library catalog: adding collective intelligence to the OPAC,by John Wenzler (San Franciso State University Library) whose paper presented at a Workshop on Next Generation Libraries (September 7th, 2007) describes how libraries in the United States are using LibraryThing, including a helpful list of instructions for installation. 
I then looked at how Nuffield College Library and the Central Science Library are using LibraryThing but could not see any major advantages over our existing library catalogues.  Whilst the addition of a picture of a dust jacket might assist in locating a copy, the image does not show the spine, most commonly the only part of the cover visible on a crowded bookshelf and I failed to spot the linked library classmarks.  
However, I can imagine that pictures of dust-jackets/front covers would look good on a virtual display of new books, so look forward to learning how to do this next Thing.

Monday, 26 July 2010


Early morning reflections, Raudfjorden, June 2010 (Polar adventurer)
My 23 Things experience has been a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows.  The highs have included Creative Commons on Flickr and Delicious, the lows the new user names and passwords, Twitter and Yahoo's website.

I'm sure my skills and knowledge have improved, but not my memory for passwords!  Before embarking on 23 Things, I already contributed regularly to the SAALG blog, used RSS feeds from publishers such as Permanent Black, and to promote new acquisitions at the Centre,  and contributed to Doodle polls. Since June, I have tagged my bookmarks on Delicious, learnt more about Creative Commons licenses on Flickr, included photographs and a Slideshare presentation on my blog, have created an IGoogle page, complete with Google calendar and RSS feeds. I have found it useful having my RSS feeds in one place, but have not continued to use the Google calendar as I already have an excellent online calendar.  I plan to make most of my Delicious bookmarks public and add links to them on web pages I manage in each of my libraries.

On the whole I have found the method of learning useful, though at times I have needed more instructions, and could have saved time with more detailed examples to work through. I have probably become more competent but would not say confident - but that is a personality trait I have to live with!  My biggest bugbear has been the need to keep creating new user accounts and keeping track of all the new passwords and user names. I already had a huge number working in two places. 

How will I do things differently with the next 12 Things?  I will spend less time on each task.  I've averaged 2 hours per task, but Delicious has taken considerably longer (tagging hundreds of bookmarks on two PCs), and that's before I add and tag the bookmark/links I have created on my collections' web pages.  I also have hundreds more I have kept in email folders entitled Asian electronic resources, Australasian electronic resources etc, which I have been able to access easily from both PCs. Ideally, these too will also get added to Delicious.  Each time they have to be checked to ensure they still work and to determine tags. Since geographically I cover the whole world in my two library collections, this is no insignificant task!

May I recommend to the organisers of 23 Things (who have done such a splendid job in setting up the scheme in Cambridge), that a much longer period of time is set aside for this exercise next year? I was on holiday for 3 weeks in June and have never caught up.  I came back to huge backlogs of enquiries and work in each job (as expected), and simply have not had enough time to do the Things justice.  I hope I have concentrated on the Things I think will best help me manage my jobs, and understand my readers' needs, but time will tell...

The Thing I would recommend most to colleagues unfamiliar with it, is Doodle.  I have saved so much time (numerous emails) using it to organise meetings with colleagues from far-flung libraries and archives.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Bookmarking using Delicious

Humboldt penguin, photographed by Victius, 2009 (Flickr, Creative Commons)
I enjoyed looking through Emma Coonan's bookmarks on Delicious but found her Penguins tag rather misleading!  This is more my sort of penguin!  I like the way Emma has bundled tags - I can see I may wish to do this too.

My South Asia bookmarks on Delicious

Inspired by the use of Delicious at Stanford Green Library, my social bookmarking experience to date has been rewarding, bar having to join Yahoo, whose website is truly awful. (yes, yet another user name and password also involved). 

I successfully imported my bookmarks from my Firefox browser at the Centre of South Asian Studies into Delicous, tagged them all (I had several hundred, so this took some time), used the opportunity to check each of them, updating and deleting outdated ones and can now see these from my PC in the UL.  I decided to keep them all private for the time being but plan to make selections of them public (determined by tag) on web pages I manage during the summer.  When I have time (and this has been the biggest obstacle to me tackling the 23 Things so far), I plan to import my bookmarks from my browser at the UL and integrate these with my SAS bookmarks.  Some will simply duplicate existing ones, but many more will be unique to my UL/RCS work. I am hoping Delicious will spot the duplicates for me! Will it?

It will be extremely useful for me to be able to access all my bookmarks in one place.

I especially like the tag cloud produced and look forward to seeing how this will change when I add more geographical and Commonwealth links, and am hoping it might make a nice feature on my web pages.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

More thoughts on SlideShare and Flickr

I would recommend new users of SlideShare read the article posted by JISC Digital Media, Using SlideShare to share presentations.  It contains a useful  summary of the legal terms and conditions you agree to if you create a SlideShare account, and provides practical advice on best practice, using tags to enhance publicity and on privacy/setting permissions.  It also contains a useful link to Finding and using still images for use in presentations.  From this I located the following historic image, taken in Wellington, New Zealand in 1933, and made available on Flickr, with no known copyright restrictions, by the National Library of New Zealand 'on the Commons'.  It captures the scene at Pipitea wharf, where supplies were being loaded for the second Byrd Antarctic Expedition.
Pipitea wharf, Wellington, 1933
(National Library of New Zealand on the Commons)

Monday, 19 July 2010

Problem solved!

I doubt others will experience the problem embedding code I did, but in case you do..., the problem was that I had assumed that you could insert the code in a similar way to you insert a picture or insert a link.  I hadn't realised that you needed to move from the Compose screen to the Edit HTML screen and insert the code there.

2nd attempt at embedding


Georges Nijs (Flickr, Creative Commons)
This image of a large tabular iceberg was taken by Georges Nijs, and posted on Flickr with a creative commons licence.
I has hoped to embed the presentation by Dr Julian Paren in this post, but the only way I was able to publish it was directly from Slideshare to Blogger, as a separate post.   I would welcome concise advice as to how I could have achieved this as I have spent far too long pasting the embedded HTML code into my blog and failing, reading Slideshare Help screens etc. I was also prompted to create my own Slideshare account - which I did (yes, yet another password, licence agreement...).  Was this necessary to embed someone else's presentation into my blog?
Hopefully, by the time you read this you will have enjoyed viewing The World's last great wilderness (Antarctica) by Dr Julian Paren, Schools Liaison Officer, British Antarctic Survey.  Dr Paren gave this talk at the Royal Geographical Society, on 8th February 2001.
I hope to master the art of embedding presentations in my blog, and perhaps in future I will embed presentations from SAALG conferences into the SAALG blog.  Currently these are posted on the SAALG website
The University's Press Office embedded a YouTube presentation in their press release announcing the launch of the Centre of South Asian Studies' digitised film archive. The Centre's archivist, Dr Kevin Greenbank is interviewed with Film archivist Annamaria Motrescu. We have received very good feedback from the presentation.
I hope to be able to embed presentations into the Centre's Library web pages too, particularly some I have viewed relating to research skills, which may assist our MPhil students, plus the YouTube presentation on our cinefilms.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Flickr and Creative Commons licensing

Mike Thomson (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Timo Arnall (Flickr, Creative Commons)
I believe I shall find Flickr an extremely useful tool, and had not realised that you could search for reusable images under a Creative Commons licence without signing up and creating your own Flickr account. 

My memory of places and people is largely visual, with light and colour playing a very important part, so I have always valued paintings, maps and photographs very highly, and have enjoyed working in special collections where these records are highly sought after.

I located these two beautiful images of Longyearbyen on Flickr, searching for Creative-Commons licensed-content.  The top image of the colourful houses was captured by Mike Thomson;  the bottom image of wooden houses lit by the midnight sun was taken by Timo Arnall.

I am particularly excited about the possibilities of identifying images of unknown people and places in our special collections, as the Library of Congress have done so successfully.

Monday, 5 July 2010


Walrus, Poolepynten (Polar Adventurer, 2010)

How would you tag this image?  Would it be: Walrus, Poolepynten, Prins Karls Forland, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, northern marine mammals, Arctic wildlife, tusks, beach, or would you simply date it?  Obviously it depends on the level of your knowledge, interest and purpose.  

I found the essay by Clay Shirky, 'Ontology is Overrated' to be thought-provoking, and will take more interest in tags assigned to digital content.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010


Prompted by Emma's invitation to follow her interview on Twitter, I've finally joined Twitter. It seems hard to justify the time taken - reading Terms of Service and Privacy statements, thinking up yet another password -  and all this after having first created a new email account (as recommended in case I ever wish to Twitter in a professional capacity - hard to imagine currently...but this is a learning process).  I also had to download picture editing software onto my UL PC (I chose Picasa 3) to illustrate this blog as I'd previously been participating from my CSAS PC. Exhausting!  To makes things worse, I struggled to keep my first tweet to 140 characters...I need convincing that this is not all a waste of time.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Google Calendar

I have used a web calendar for about 10 years and consider it an essential time management tool, working as I do in two separate locations in Cambridge.  Colleagues at each library can check where I shall be working on particular days, see when I am available and inform researchers when I will be in.  It is especially important during the holiday season, when I sometimes need to change my regular work days to cover for colleagues' leave.  I do still carry a university pocket diary however, as I find this invaluable at home, on the move and in meetings.  

I have not used Google Calendar before, but have added it to my iGoogle page as a trial.  I dislike its weekly view because of the need to scroll down the page, whereas my current online diary (UL designed) enables me to view a week at a time without doing so.  I shall probably refer to it most in agenda mode.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Using Doodle to schedule meetings

As a member of the Sidgwick Librarians Group, I have contributed to Doodle polls which were used to organise group meetings and lunches, and have found them to be a useful tool.  I particularly like the ability they give individuals to add comments.  I plan to use Doodle software to organise steering group meetings for the South Asia Archive and Library Group, which with participants based in London, Cambridge and Edinburgh, working in a mix of academic, national and special libraries, can be difficult to organise.  I may even use the software to agree the occasional day's leave with my husband!

Has anyone managed to add Doodle to their own iGoogle page?  I have failed - the normal 'add stuff', 'add feed or gadget' route failed, and I could not locate the relevant Doodle software from the browsable list.  I am not likely to forget the URL however, so it is not a big problem!

Monday, 21 June 2010

Polar adventures

Cleits and cottages, St Kilda
(Polar Adventurer, 2010)
Norwegian base, Jan Mayen
(Polar Adventurer, 2010)
Jan Mayen (Polar Adventurer, 2010)
Raudfjorden, Spitsbergen
(Polar Adventurer, 2010)
Back in Cambridge after a wonderful Arctic journey - Svalbard and Jan Mayen, via St Kilda and the Faroes.  Spectacular landscapes - volcanic and glacial - great beauty, and silence.

Looking forward to returning to 23 Things and learning from colleagues' experiences - once I have caught up with my full In box of enquiries.

Monday, 31 May 2010


My blog, Polar adventurer, has been registered on 23 Things Cambridge, and it's fascinating to view the other blogs there and to see how individual each blog is. The choice of colour, style and images, give each a character of its own, irrespective of topic.

Creating (and removing) links on iGoogle to gadgets and URLs (News feeds, RSS feeds, catalogues, calendars, map search and translation software) has proved relatively simple, but I fear taking part in 23 Things will become increasing addictive and time-consuming!

I much prefer the clean uncluttered iGoogle home page to the personalised page(s) where you are immediately distracted by the image(s). I view my iGoogle home page as a filing cabinet. By contrast, my blog greatly benefits from the use of images and colour as a means of setting the tone and scene. I view Polar adventurer as my diary.

By far the most useful function of iGoogle has been the ability to view my RSS feeds in one place, and to navigate quickly between them.

Cam 23

I have been contributing to the South Asia Archive and Library Group blog since 2008. That was also created using blogger.com, and has proved a very useful means of keeping abreast with news and colleagues in the South Asian library, archive and museum community in the UK. We also maintain a SAALG website, to which we attach more substantial articles and conference presentations from our two conferences per year.

I am keen to learn via CAM 23 how a blog might benefit the users of my special collections. I am also anxious to keep abreast with the technology used by researchers using my collections. Whilst I don't expect to meet all their expectations (especially in relation to digital archives - many students assume that an archive is digital, even if it dates from the 19th century and comprises 50 boxes of papers), I do hope to better understand where they are coming from and do all I can with limited resources to improve their archive and library experience.