Friday, 10 August 2007

Blogs in Libraries

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a few librarians who said they would like to get into blogging but couldn’t see what use they could have in a library setting. I had a similar conversation again this week which made up my mind to post an entry in my own blog about where to start.

3 Sources of Ideas:

First of all, as an introduction read chapter 3 of Phil Bradley’s book “How to use Web 2.0 in your library” probably not available in all good bookshops but can be purchased via Facet Press – just get your Cilip membership cards out for that discount. Phil covers the obligatory “what is a weblog?” bit but then places it in a library setting. Here he describes the publicity angle of a blog: promoting exhibitions, events and new stock.

The beauty of this medium is that you can use your smaller displays to easily tie in to wider and much larger events on the net. Similarly, one of the conventions of a blog, the comments page allows your readers or students to let you know exactly what they think. If they make recommendations for new stock, they are doing half of the work for you!

Secondly, I would recommend Week 1 of “Five Weeks to a Social Library”. There are plenty of presentations here but if you only watch one I would recommend Anne Welsh’s screencast “From Writer’s Block to Library Blog”. Although Anne writes from a very specific point of view as information officer at DrugScope, she talks about very universal themes. This presentation gave me loads of ideas. Her basic theme is to think about the things we do anyway and just do them differently. All we are doing through our blogs is repackaging what we already do but in a way that makes it more interesting to us and to our audience.

Thirdly and finally, I would highly recommend you read Roddy MacLeod’s guest article (there’s another idea for you!) UK Library Blogs - What Do We Think We're Doing? on Brian Kelly’s UK Web Focus. Roddy’s university, Heriot Watt’s Library produce a blog called “Spineless?” (gedditt??!!). Halfway down the article Roddy lists the purpose and suggested posts for the blog. There are loads of ideas here.

Make sure you also read the comments to Roddy’s article. Again there are plenty of ideas and encouragement, particularly from Phil Bradley (that man again!). Those who worry that they need to get everything right first time will be put at ease by Phil’s comments.

If anyone has any other good places librarians should start, or ideas librarians could put in practice, please feel free to comment.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Blogger v WordPress

Aren't I the clever one? No sooner do I get to grips with Blogger than I'm off to WordPress to set up a new blog. What is the difference? Well Blogger is much easier to use - a child of 46 can quickly set up and run a new blog. As for WordPress, well I had to get my partner to lock me in my study for a weekend and not open the door until I had cracked their conventions and applications. I emerged into the sunlight on Sunday afternoon, dazed but happy.

The beauty of WordPress is that it allows you to place your articles in categories. This immediately counteracts the reverse chronological order of postings which you are resticted to on Blogger. I mean it would be a pretty poor library that arranged its books purely in the order of their acquisition.

Returning to Blogger after several days with WordPress, everything seem pretty basic - I suppose it is the same for a child having to play with Duplo after being set free on Lego. Having said all that, I really like Blogger. It doesn't put you off or assume anything and surely that is the real beauty of Web 2.0, that the content is the important part not the technology.

Anyway if anyone is interested in the goings on in further education in Wales and beyond my website is available here.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Web 2.0 book

Phil's book arrived through my letterbox last week. As you would expect, it is packed with explanations of the various elements which make up Web 2.0 and loads of hints and tips as to how these applications may be applied to libraries. I will be using this book in conjunction with the Five Weeks to a Social Library website which has already had enough publicity from me. Copies can be bought from Facet Publishing. It also gives me an excuse to add my first picture to my otherwise dull-looking blog.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

I've started dipping my toe into the ocean of social bookmarking. Jason Griffey has an excellent introduction to in the Five Weeks to a Social Library - week 2. There are a few ways of following the lectures on this site but my preferred method is to download the talk in mp3 and then follow the presentation slides. Jason's talk (it lasts over an hour) is slow to start but the last 25 minutes or so is packed with useful information.

Inspired, I set up a delicious account for my library or LRC (as we call them in further education) and have started to tag the websites catalogued on our OPAC. It even works for journal articles we've catalogued from our datasets such as InfoTrac.

Now that I've got this far, I don't know what to do next with it. No doubt Phil Bradley will have a few pointers in his book "How to use Web 2.0 in your Library". Unfortunatley for me, social bookmarking doesn't crop up until Chapter 6 and I'm only on Chapter 3. Come to think about it, I'm still on week 2 of the Five Weeks to a Social Library and I'm sure I started that last February!

Friday, 4 May 2007


How do you keep up to date with all these blogs? Answer: Bloglines. If you have a few favourite blogs to which you keep returning, Bloglines will help you. You simply tell it what your favourites are and it then informs you when your favourites have been updated. No need to spend time checking up on your favourites.

If this is for you there is a fantastic, easy to follow instruction guide on using Bloglines at this link I would show the URL but it would take up two thirds of this blog. Soon you will be dropping in terms like RSS feeds, aggregators etc. into conversations at (admittedly very dull)parties.

I've been using Bloglines (thanks to this instruction) for over two months now and it has rapidly become my most useful page on the net.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Social Libraries

In my quest to become the Prince of Web 2.0 and King of Library 2.0. I have discovered an excellent resource called Five Weeks to a Social Library. The course was run in February 2007 for a few lucky worldwide candidates. However most of the resources are still on the website and can be viewed or listened there. Of course, there is no social interaction with the candidates as the course has now finished - and guess what part was supposed to have been the best! To be honest, it sometimes feels like entering a room long after the party has finished - but by looking at the CDs you can still make out what people were dancing to.

Still, I am enjoying discovering the wonders of Web 2.0 via the course, even if it has taken me five weeks just to get to the end of week 1.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Web 2.0 Parody

I give in! No sooner do I try to get to grips with Web 2.0, than I discover that some bright sparks are already so accustomed to it that they are making parodies of it. Having said that, it is well observed and at times very funny.

I haven't come across this blog before but it seems full of interesting things so I think I'll subscribe to it.

Friday, 30 March 2007

Chartership blogs

Blogs really do work! Since I started this blog, I have recieved e-mails from librarians interested in Charles Leadbeater's book on Web 2.0 and physical space (see link on the right of this page). Most respondents are currently undergoing the process of chartering, so I thought it would be a good idea to include their chartering blogs on my blog. If anyone wishes me to include their blog on becoming chartered, I will be happy to oblige, thus increasing our little community.

Sunday, 25 February 2007

Web 2.0 and physical space

Reading December's Update last night (Saturday - how sad is that!) gave me food for thought. Under the banner of "Creative Collaboration" the article, "Overdue author asks us what we think", Charles Leadbeater states:
"Do not design the office around the executive offices but around places where people congregate, mingle and talk: cafes, open workspaces, libraries.
Workspaces should be designed to promote collaboration, self-organisation and interaction."
Placing this in the further education context is quite interesting. My own college has devoted most of its resources to improving the state of its classrooms. Whilst this has been very effective, the communal spaces such as the canteen, common-room and LRC have seen little in the way of expansion. Leadbeater, argues that these physical spaces are going to grow in prominence. Web 2.0 developments will have an impact on physical space and how people work. Leadbeater is currently working on a book on this theme and is inviting people to comment and collaborate on it prior to its publication. You can read more of his fascinating insight at

On more mundane matters I have an idea for a blog in work. One of the problems of having part-time staff is finding a convenient time when we are all in work to pass on information. At the moment I find I have to explain things 5 times over and normally I miss someone out. If I create a blog on the college's intranet, staff should have no excuse about not being informed of the latest developments in the LRC. Of course, it will be meaningless to anybody else (not unlike this blog then) but at least everyone will be informed.

Friday, 23 February 2007

In the beginning was the word...

...or so says the Bible. Speaking as a failed Marxist, I'd have to disagree with the first line of the Good Book. What a bad start.
Anyway, I've been meaning to start a blog for some time now. Thanks to Sangeet Bhullar at WiseKids, I've been pressurised to join the 29squillion other bloggers in the world.
I'm a librarian living in Swansea, UK. I'm trying to make sense of what is known as Web 2.0 I didn't exactly get on-board Web 1.0 (whatever that may have been), so Web 2.0 will present some difficulties for me.