31 May 2012

Thing4: Postscript on Storify

I found a use for Storify today! I hoped to harness the power of Twitter by throwing out a request:

(Icon from Iconfinder)
"Any (other) HE librarians out there teaching social media / managing your online presence skills? To students or staff? (Please RT!)"

I was fortunate enough to get a load of RTs and the information started flowing in. Even though I use Hootsuite which is pretty good for controlling the stream of Twitter, I felt a little panic at keeping track of what I was learning. So I remembered Thing4 and went over to Storify to store the replies I got:


One thing I found is that now I am trying to add some extra tweets and all my requests time out. I find that using Twitter once the US comes online can be frustrating in terms of searching or viewing older tweets etc. Just need to get it all done in the morning!

28 May 2012

Information Overload?

Image by Khalid Albaih on Flickr - used under CC licence

I picked up this on Twitter last week (sorry - can't remember who from...)


It created very mixed feelings in me. I could relate instantly to the "perpetual sense of 'missing out'" - the more you engage in social media, the more it gets it hooks into you. I find it particularly difficult as I work part-time so I'm always missing out on the first part of the week (I work Wed/Thur/Fri). It means I'm never going to be a consistent tweeter and often I miss out on news stories that come out on those days as they've sunk way down my stream by the time I get to work on a Wednesday. As will all the other down-sides of working part-time, I try to cultivate calm acceptance (2 days off a week are great)!

The main conclusion - "To be clear, information overload is a symptom of over consumption and the inability to refine online experiences based on interest and importance" - this got me narked initially. I felt a bit bludgeoned by that statement as I *do* experience information overload sometimes and I don't like being told it's all my inability! Seems to me, this is HARD - it relies on a constant editing process of selecting and learning new tools, refining your sources / feeds and critically engaging with them. It's not like just picking up your daily newspaper of choice.

It's up to every individual to decide how important social media is to them, and it won't be to everyone. I do see it as a vital source of information and I believe - as an information professional - I ought to be evangelizing (in a focussed, relevant way) to others about it too. This means I'm keen to take part in social media sessions here for researchers and students and I'll try to keep on top of social media sources for the subjects I support.

I also think that "refining online experiences" is a key digital or information literacy skill. I think this is something we should be able to teach or advise on as librarians. So I try to educate myself in how to do it as much as I can. That's an ongoing process and sometimes seems very uphill. And that's where CPD23 comes in. :o)

25 May 2012

Thing 4: Twitter, RSS and Storify

Twitter Bird Sketch by Shawn Campbell on Flickr, used under CC licence - ta!

I've been on Twitter for some time now as @rscsam. My moniker (there's a word I don't use very often) is related to my old job which isn't ideal but I can't get my head around changing it. I have a separate personal account - which I rarely use - dating again from my previous job when we were told not to say anything political during the general election as we were on government pay. That proved too hard to bear! I keep my personal account as it has a separate non-work-related bunch of stuff that I follow - local news & councils, music stuff, friends and family. My work account is an invaluable source of library-related information, ideas, news and trivia. I do use it more for listening than tweeting and I think I ought to make more effort to have a conversation now and again. I've watched and learned from How Not to Tweet! I've never used Storify, because I've never had a reason too yet, but I'm sure it's a great tool. I'm going to keep an eye out for a reason to use it...

Now I hate to gripe...but I'm going to anyway! I do struggle with the whole tweeting from conferences thing sometimes. Your feed gets swamped for the duration (although there are clever tools to weed out hashtags e.g. some mentioned here) and often it can be all soundbites with no substance. I want stuff I can USE. When people tweet links or examples of people / places doing something interesting that you can follow up then that's superb. My other pet peeve is paper.li : usually random stuff in an irritating format. I'm sure it's great in the right hands but it's just not for me.

For current awareness, I'm finding there's a real tussle going on for me between RSS and Twitter. A lot of stuff comes through on Twitter and then I find it duplicated in my RSS feeds. However, particularly being part-time, I just can't keep up with Twitter enough to rely on not having missed something vital. I use Google Reader and have a set of folders dividing up my work feeds (library blogs, Welsh library stuff, subject-support related stuff, information literacy stuff, learning technology etc.) and my personal ones (news, art blogs, music blogs, pretty pictures on Flickr, archaeology feeds, vegan recipes, green stuff). I manage my feeds quite closely and get rid of one if I find too many posts just aren't interesting me. I think you have to be ruthless or it becomes unmanageable.

My best RSS feeds?
For work, the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog has been going great guns lately on academic research-related stuff. Personally, I always enjoy the feisty Heritage Action blog for the latest on heritage issues - there's an ongoing investigation into the trashing of a prehistoric stone row by a wind farm on Mynedd y Betws which is almost visible from my front room on a good day (I don't mind wind farms but I do like stones). Epic Fail! and the gentler Win! used to have me howling with laughter but I couldn't keep up so they've been axed!

16 May 2012

Thing 3: Personal Brand

The whole personal brand thing seems unavoidable so I'm not going to quibble it. What I've not thought through is what exactly I'd want to convey...something to think about on the walk/drive home tonight.

I've done a bit of Googling myself but I'm confused - presuming that Google is "personalizing" my results in its own particularly irritating way, I'm guessing what I see may not be what you see? A quick Google using a different browser where I'm not logged in gave different results... I try to keep up with Google's tricksy goings-on by reading Karen Blakeman's excellent blog, for example this post here.

Anyway, my Google Profile came up for me before anything else so I've just done a bit of tidying up on that. I didn't realise replies on Ask Cymru were on the web but one of mine comes up. Twitter links feature quite heavily too, as does LinkedIn which I really need to revisit as I'm still not totally sure what I'm doing on there. Some links come up from a local history website I did a few years back on the road in Swansea where I used to live and which I'd pretty much forgotten about! This blog comes up on page 4 - not bad for two weeks old I suppose!

Checking images specifically, the first one of me is an old one from the RSC Wales blog I used to maintain but I guess there's no harm in that - at least I'm younger and smiling. It was also rather nice to find some more old pics from my RSC Wales days - that was quite a visible role and we got out and about a lot so I guess the evidence will linger on for a while.

My conclusion is that there's not much I'm bothered about people seeing but I'm not really presenting any kind of coherent online presence. I'm pretty new to this so maybe I'll try again in a year's time and see how I fare then?

11 May 2012

Getting Published: Session for Postgrads

The highlight of this week was our fully-booked session for postgrads on Getting Published. I felt a little out of my depth in this one as I've not done it before and I have zero publications to my name. Luckily we had a fantastic academic come along to give his experiences of the whole process along with plenty of tips and advice. Quite rightly, he got highly praised in the evaluations. You can't beat hearing from someone who's actually done what you're trying to do. (I'm trying not to harbour a sense of abject failure that I never published anything from my PhD!)

The librarians then covered the following:

  • Where to publish? Included a hands-on looking at Journal Citation Reports and Scimago / Scopus.
  • Open Access (my bit) - a quick overview with some useful resources
  • Copyright: including making sure you look after your own Intellectual Property and also not infringing anyone elses...
My bit was a little tricky as our institutional repository is not yet fully operational and that's kind of a cornerstone of open access. Hopefully this time next year (if we run it again) Cronfa will be all systems go.

I learnt a lot from listening to everyone and also am now fully up to date on Open Access which is useful knowledge to have. You can't beat the worry of imaginary questions to get you swotting up on something....

9 May 2012

Thing 2: Being a Social Blogger

It's POURING here in Swansea this afternoon!
Well I soon discovered I could spend all afternoon happily reading all the CPD23 blogs...had to rein myself in! I'm not usually much of a commenter unless there seems something that glaringly needs to be said but I enjoyed feeling part of the CPD23 community so therefore with a licence to be a bit more chatty.

My most useful finding was courtesy of Veggie Haggis who shared the 12 blogging mistakes to avoid post. These struck me as extremely sensible suggestions and I'll try to take note...
I soon realised I ought to set up my Blogger profile properly to be public so I've done that now too.

Thing 1: Blogging the start of CPD23 2012

I've been reading about CPD23 for a couple of years now and delighted I can finally take part, hopefully at the same time as everyone else as I like the idea of sharing ideas and comments and having the momentum of that to keep me going. I'm dead keen on all social media / web 2.0 and have my little set of tools I use to keep my professional life ticking along. This is my chance to think about some alternatives, to see what others are doing, to think about the bigger picture, how everything fits together, to pull everything together perhaps - and I'd like my blog to be something I keep on and use on a regular basis. Time will tell!

The other angle for me is that I believe we should be able to educate our students (and staff) in how to use all this kind of stuff - it's all part of Digital Literacy, having the skills for 21st Century living, making sure they know how to use some handy little tools to make life/work/study easier or more fun. Doing CPD23 will be a great opportunity to be a student myself and I hope to learn a lot from that too!

2 May 2012

CPD23 2012

Just signed up for CPD23 2012! Nervous about time commitment, excited to be taking part! Roll on next week....