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

1 comment:

  1. It's usually possible to import calendars from other programmes to Google Calendar - see http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/topic.py?hl=en-uk&topic=15285 - so if you really want to make the switch it can probably be done!