Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Whim of a Hat...the wilderness year

Sooo....last post June 18 2010. Rather a gap between Things. This tellingly coincided with the end of term, and my return to a life of my own rather than evenings spent languishing in the UL until 10pm. I did potter on with a few of the Things, but a refresher course (and more disciplined blogging) will be character building, I'm sure.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Thing 6 Google calendar

I used google calendar (and google spreadsheets) as a member of a society, and it was extremely useful for seeing what events had been arranged for when, and by whom. In general, online diaries are great for institutional organisation - in Reader Services, it's a really quick way to check information for readers about event details, or the programme of Research Skills sessions. We use online intranet diaries in our department for arranging rotas, booking leave, and registering events and meetings, so using this as a 'work' calendar would lead to a lot of doubling up (tripling, in fact, as we also have a desk diary! There are definitely benefits to being able to see the 'bigger picture' in a physical diary.)

I already have this function on my gmail account, although I have to confess to being a paper diary person, so I never really update it. I've dutifully added some events just now, though :) The calendar sharing option is interesting - I would have to be careful about making sure some events are kept private, to avoid letting people know exactly where I'll be when (ie out of my house!)

Thing 5 - Doodle

As we already use doodle in our department to arrange meetings, I tried a snack poll instead. Important info, I thought, so that we can issue Mr H with a shopping list. So far, we're agreed that cake trumps jelly babies, but there are still votes to be cast...

I noticed from the comments that some people set up reminders - can you only do this if you pay for subscription?
After posting that, I've realised I've got comments on my other posts, which has made me very excited :) It is nice to know people are reading!

In other news, I had real trouble following beauty_school_dropout's instructions on attaching the banner, and on reflection think it might be to do with the layout I'm using. The instructions were clear, but I couldn't find the tabs labelled as they should be, and then it told me the gadget was broken. I managed to do it eventually through saving the image onto the computer. A good opportunity to find my way round this programme, anyway...
A quick note on comments. Having a look round the 23 Things Blogs, most comments seem to be helpful, and, in some cases, quite charming (I've enjoyed the doodle posts especially). I'm finally getting this community thing, and losing the sense of blogging to myself!

At the other extreme, online blogs for national newspapers seem to attract outrageous comments. Whilst people who record their responses to a particular viewpoint are understandably partisan, it amazes me that some are apparently happy to parade the fact that they are ill-informed. For some participants, the comment function enables them to join in the conversation, playing the flamboyant devil's advocate role that flies in the pub, but not the online forum. Others approach it in a more journalistic fashion, including facts and statistics to support their opinions, which seems more appropriate (many responses to the blogs about library strategy that I've looked at fall into this category, happily!) I wonder why someone would bother to read, for instance, a Guardian blog (it's not like you can't anticipate the political standpoint!) then post a comment complaining about left-wing liberals and their views? That is not political engagement, it is knee-jerk defensiveness. I know you can be condemned by your own comments in this context, and therefore they shoudn't be deleted by a moderator unless they are directly offensive, and I admire the Guardian's approach. However, as a naturally cautious person, it makes me nervous that people are happy to splurge themselves into a comment box without taking time to consider the subject - it implies the same level of involvement as 'liking' a facebook post. I suppose that's part if the instantanious nature of blogging...but I think I'm too uptight (or well-mannered??) to dive in!

I guess part of the role of an 'information professional' is to contribute to the process - I was particularly heartened when I read G Greer's last blog-moan about the UL: someone had left a dramatic comment about how the library should stop being an enigma and open it's doors to the wider world, and a public-spirited librarian goddess followed it up with the friendly advice to check our admissions pages!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Screen shots, belatedly

Having fallen very behind with the programme, I will try and accelerate through the Things I've missed over the weekend (in between football BBQs). The students seem to have thinned out a bit today, so I have at least got time to put up the screen shots of my igoogle pages. They may seem a bit sparse, but as I share computers, I can't set it as my homepage. There is an unfortunate temptation to play pacman endlessly if I leave the page open at work, so I've tried to segregate sober items from the things like lolcatz that I really shouldn't be caught messing about with if I wish to be taken seriously.

Here is my library page
igoogle must be experiencing an increase in interest in books images during this programme...

...and the forbidden pages. Love those penguins.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Thing 3

What is a late-late duty for if not finally getting round to actually writing something on this blog? I've spent a few hours messing about with this site and decided that it's just not as pretty as I'd like. I've set up another on WordPress, which seems to create a much neater layout. Given that I'm mostly doing this in the library, and the WP tutorials require sound, I'll stick with this one for the duration of 23Things, and try and work my way round WordPress on the side. I haven't had any problems with the Cam23 instructions, beyond getting in a muddle when the links don't open in a new window (I've adopted that crazy Dad technique of littering up the desktop with three separate windows open at once).
I'm slightly worried that this process is already causing me to drivel on, and to tell people who aren't interested What I Reckon [nb i tried to embed a Mitchell and Webb sketch here, and failed - will work on that!]

Anyhow: what am I hoping to get out of this? I recently took part in the Arcadia survey which shocked me out of my contented belief that I am fairly web literate. I am in danger of adopting the same approach to the web as I do to mobile phones, and realising that not caring *how* it works may not be the best way to get as many benefits as possible out of it. In terms of what I am happy with, I have been tootling along with facebook for years, and whilst I frankly despise twitter as a social medium, I appreciate its potential for instantanious information delivery. I love RSS feeds, and the concept that a part of my job I dislike (shelving then removing 1000 new books once a week) could potentially be radicalised by a shiny, user-friendly information point with continually updated data makes me very happy :) I do worry that in embracing web technology such as online tutorials and networks, libraries risk making the experience of the arts graduate student even more lonely than it already is, but that is a subject for another time (I have a tannoy announcement to make). Screen shot next (very happy with my Totoro themed dashboard!)