How many things? Only 23.

[Why have I waited so long to do this Thing? Well, I wanted to spend some time on it, and see if it would be possible to use these things in work, but I kept on running out of time, and in the end I found out they aren’t possible anyway, so I’ve finally written the blog post!]

Sharing your work is great (not in a plagiarism, can-I-copy-you at school sort of way), but sharing documents if you’re working on something with a group of people, possibly remotely from each other as well. (Thing 13.)

Unfortunately, in work, Google Docs/Drive is disabled, and we cannot install software like Dropbox onto the thin clients. Although there are occasions when I would like to make a document available virtually for a select group of (external) colleagues for their edits, it’s currently not possible in work. Internally, an electronic records management system was introduced last year so now we can view all documents and edit them, from one central place, which is much better than before.

I don’t really do home working so I don’t really need to work at home on a work document, so having Dropbox at home wouldn’t really help anyway.

I actually looked into sharing documents online about a year ago, not for my job/work, but for my yoga life. I have a range of typed handouts I wanted to make available to anyone, and looked into a number of different options, including Dropbox and Google docs, but the one I liked most was It is simple, free, uncluttered, doesn’t require installation, can be accessed from anywhere and does all that I needed. (Admittedly it’s not really designed for multiple-author editing.)

You can see my minus profile here, and download any of the yoga handouts you want!

And whilst I have used various wikis, I’ve never created one. Not really seen the need to do that yet.

This thing is all about library careers – how you got into librarianship in the first place (roots), and your library career path (routes). The rue is my own which I added because I think things sound better in threes.

The roots project wiki website with other library roots stories was down when I was writing this two days ago, but I will look at it later as it’s back again.

View of exterior of Grantown on Spey library

Grantown on Spey library, where it all started. I particularly like the turret.

When I was a wee bairn my Mum would take me to the town library where we lived (Grantown on Spey, Scotland). This summer I went back there and walked past the library but couldn’t go in as it was closed for the afternoon. We left Scotland when I was under two, and I grew up with Leominster public library in Herefordshire. We’d go every week and would get the maximum number of books. Sometimes I would have read them all by the end of the weekend! The lovely staff there allowed my sister and I to progress from the children’s cards (three brown tickets) to the adult’s (six white tickets) when we were still teenagers – it was great to have six books a week each!

When I was under 10 my sister and I played libraries. Yes, I know! My parents made us the slips of paper for the front, and we had a date stamp with red ink. We had a good collection of books and I fondly recall playing libraries. I had no plans for the future at this stage.

Later (much later), I did a week’s work experience in Leominster library. (Do schools still do work experience weeks? I went to the Centre for Alternative Technology for my second one.) And then when I was 17 I got a Saturday library assistant job at Leominster library. My sister had also worked as a Saturday library assistant. I worked there for two years whilst doing my A levels, and I distinctly recall, on my last Saturday before setting off for the dizzy heights of university, one of the staff asking me if I thought I would go into librarianship. Despite enjoying the work I said ‘no’. I can’t remember my reasons, but I didn’t see it as my career. Not that I had any clear career in mind at all!

So, I got my degree, using lots of libraries in the process (I was in Oxford – I frequented at least 6 that I can recall, and I joined the public library) and finished my degree in June with no idea of what I was doing or where I was going. I got a temping job for a bit and then applied and got a library assistant job at Lincoln College library in Oxford. It was a two year post and I enjoyed it. As I wasn’t one of the official graduate trainees in Oxford I didn’t take part in their programme, though my manager did get me onto a couple of the talks. For the second year she managed to persuade those who ran the scheme to allow me to join in fully, so I attended the seminar programme and visits as an imposter and made some friends, some of whom I’m still in touch with. At some point during these two years I must have made a decision to go into librarianship because then I applied to do a master’s degree.

I completed my Master’s degree in library and information studies at DIS (or, DILS as it was back then) at Aberystwyth University, and then have had a roundabout route to where I am now. I was interested in research and consultancy and one of the lecturers (Prof Hywel Roberts) asked me to be the research assistant on a couple of short-term projects which lasted about 4 months. One was looking at the new establishment of Re:Source in England (remember that? MLA precurser) and if there was scope for a similar organisation overseeing museums, archives and libraries in Wales. And the other was with an inter-library lending scheme in Wales (Cydfenthyca Cymru – Interlending Wales). The significance of these two projects is that I am involved with both of them still, 12/13 years later.*

The research work finished and I then got a part-time job working with the lovely Honno Welsh Women’s Press. Still in the book world. I did marketing, the website, sales data (creating lots of Excel charts!) and other bits and bobs. To make up my hours I also started picking up some part-time research work in DIS for different lecturers. Then, I had a conversation with Hywel Roberts and he suggested I look into research properly and advised doing a PhD. So, I got accepted onto the new Research Training Master’s degree that the department was offering, completed that, and then completed the PhD (under Dr Geraint Evans). I also did a small amount of lecturing in the department as well. I didn’t have a fixed view as to what would happen once the PhD ended, but, one week in the summer as I was writing up the thesis, a job was advertised for CyMAL: Museums Archives and Libraries Wales, a new division of the Welsh Government, that had just been established a year earlier in Aberystwyth. I applied, and got the job. Jobs are relatively rare in Aberystwyth, especially library/book/research related ones, so this was excellent timing.

As of two days ago (21st Sept), I will have been in post, as Libraries Development Adviser, for seven years. This seems remarkable, and slightly strange. Especially as I am now a civil servant and the one job I knew I definitely did NOT want to do was to be like all the other Oxford graduates and go to London and work in the civil service (or management consultancy, finance or other ‘city’ jobs.) Oh how I laughed for the first few months in my job, every time I remembered I was actually working for the government!

Do I regret anything so far? I miss working in an actual library sometimes, the daily bustle and dealing with all the customers. And I actually miss shelving books. I have had to stop myself when I find myself re-shelving misplaced books in my local library when I’m browsing the shelves.

Sometimes I feel I’m becoming less in touch with what’s important to real librarians. I have thought about doing a week of library visits in Aberystwyth, spending five days with a different librarian each day. I could go to a school library, hospital library, public library, university library and the National Library. All in Aberystwtyth! I would also like to go back to Leominster library and say “Look, I am working in librarianship, sort of. Thanks to getting my library career off to a good start!”

I am aware of the Library Day in the Life project, but have not contributed in the past. Maybe I will if it rolls around again. Although I’m not a librarian in the real sense, it could still be interesting to show what I do as I think there’s some level of uncertainty as to what CyMAL ‘does’ other than award grants.

*The Welsh research led to the establishment of CyMAL. The interlending work I now deal with is with CatCymru and various inter-regional schemes which CyMAL funds. Full circle.

Well, isn’t 23Things fabulous? I needed to make my first ever screencast, and that very week the thing to learn was … screencaptures! Prior to this I had seen a couple of screencasts in the making, and also taken part in a RSC Wales lunchtime bytes webinar on making them, but hadn’t made one myself.

Both Thing18 and the webinar focus on Jing, but Thing18 also mentioned a few others including Screencast-o-matic. The downside of Jing (and some others?) is that it requires downloading and installing, which is not possible where I work. Screencast-o-matic is not only free but also allows you to make your screencast directly, with no installation required (although you can install a version if you wish).

So, the exciting thing is that I made a trial screencast of only 30 seconds, and then I made a full feature length (15mins!) screencast! And I’ll tell you for why. Links are at the bottom of this post – either read the whole thing or skip to the bottom!

The request

I was contacted a few weeks ago by colleagues who run a knowledge information management course for my organisation. The forthcoming module was on communication and they were covering social media and asked if I would be able to give a 15 minute presentation on this, in Cardiff. Now, here’s the thing. I live in Aberystwyth which is 4.5 hours from Cardiff by train – so I would be spending 9 hours on a train (well, 4 trains), for a 15 minute talk! I suggested that this wouldn’t be the most effective use of my time or very sensible and so offered them a screencast instead (at which point I’d never done one before but I sounded confident in the email…!) They agreed and told me the two learning outcomes they wanted me to cover in the 15 minutes.

So then I set to learning how to make one.

Trials & tribulations

The path to making a screencast doesn’t always run smoothly. Screencast-o-Matic requires Java plugins, which aren’t installed on the work desktop so I had to use our non-networked laptop with WiFi. The WiFi kept dropping so I would be in the middle of recording my screencast flicking from website to website and then would have to re-enter the WiFi password every so often. I prefer using Firefox and set up all my websites I was going to visit (Twitter, my blog etc), as tabs in Firefox, only to find that Java plugins had been disabled for that browser on that laptop and I couldn’t find out how to enable them – I looked everywhere! So then I had to open up IE (groan) (but luckily we had two browsers on the laptop), and open up all the tabs again. Oh, I’d also had to send myself an email to my ‘home’ email with my powerpoint slides which I was using as a base for the talk, because we can’t use USB pens in work to transfer files (and I haven’t investigated online storage – I know, that was Thing 13 which I haven’t completed yet).

Anyway, the actual process of making the screencast was fantastically easy and very exciting. I recorded one version just using the inbuilt microphone of the laptop, but my line manager got very excited about it all and the next day brought in a headphone set with microphone and I recorded a second version of my talk. The quality of that version was much better so I would recommend using an external headphone/mic set if you’ve got one.

Having taken part in a webinar on screencasts I knew it was all in the planning. So I had a rough narrative and had already set up my powerpoint slides as a guide. I’m not someone who likes to read a script word for word so each version I made was slightly different in narrative, and in some places you can tell I’ve wandered slightly off track, but it’s not bad!

I haven’t experimented with all the functionality of Screencast-0-matic such as captions and notes, but maybe will do that when I do another one.

Saving the files was relatively easy. I initially saved the talk as an .avi file onto the laptop. However, as I wanted to have an online version I then had to upload my final version into Vimeo as you can’t upload a video into Screencast-o-Matic if you saved it locally and finished the session (closed everything down) and didn’t upload into Screencast-o-matic at that point. I think you can both save it locally and upload it within one session, but not if you have left their website or turned your computer off. I think you also need to create a free account if you want to upload to their site.

From what I recall doesn’t have a search facility so you can’t try and find your screencast, you have to use the url link they email you.

I know my presentation screencast is long, but that was the length of the slot they wanted me to do. Luckily 15 mins is also the maximum length of screencast you can do with so it was ideal.

Top tips

1. Have either a rough outline of your talk, or a full narrative if you prefer that.
2. Use an external mic/headphone set to record your voice, but don’t have the mic too near to your mouth.
3. Try to keep your screencast to under 5 mins – we have short attention spans theses days, and it also makes it quicker to upload!
4. Check you have all the technical requirements on the computer of choice before starting.
5. Best not to do it when on WiFi unless the connection is very stable and doesn’t keep dropping.

The evidence

Ok, as a reward for reading right to the end (you didn’t skip bits did you?), here’s the 30 second one which I uploaded directly into Screencast-o-matic. And here’s the 15 minute talk on social media and organisations which I uploaded into Vimeo. Feedback welcome.

As you can tell I’m very excited by this and am planning what I can do for my next screencast!

Update – the training session has just taken place and the organiser has emailed to say “feedback was very positive” and “the screencast worked very well as a media channel and think it inspired the trainer to use it for future events”.  Yay!

I do one of these directly, and t’other indirectly (Thing 16 advocacy and getting published).

I’ll start off with what I can and do do. I enjoy research and writing and although I don’t have much time in my current job to research and write pieces for publication, I try to do one a year. In the last couple of years I’ve written a paper following a conference presentation (publication forthcoming), co-written a chapter for an IFLA marketing book (publication forthcoming), written an article for Ariadne (available here), and also researched and written a report on Web 2.0 (as it was called back in 2010) and Welsh libraries, which is available here. I also turned my personal business case for requesting a social media presence into a generic one for public use and it’s on my slideshare account. I was also asked to do a guest blog post for Voices for the Library on the Welsh libraries and social media research.

I wish I’d kept a record since I started in this job of the articles I’ve written – I used to try an keep a ‘rolling CV’ up-to-date with this sort of information but have let it slide for a while. Must try harder.

Having said that I can’t do advocacy officially, I think several of my day to day activities could be classed as low level promotion for libraries anyway eg my library blog and my Twitter account.

But in general, advocacy is not really an activity I’m allowed to get involved with within my job. I work for the Welsh Government in the CyMAL division, which is doing many wonderful things for Welsh libraries (call me biased…), but isn’t meant to undertake any advocacy work itself (it would be advocating to itself…).

However, quite a few of our library grants are for things that include elements of advocacy, including the whole marketing strand, the SCL Wales development officer who has produced several reports in recent years on libraries and X (digital divide, reading, modernised libraries, health one is forthcoming) etc. The minister responsible for libraries in Wales has also met the WI and Unison regarding their recent campaigns so there’s two-way communication going on here in Wales.

The Wales marketing campaign also undertakes lots of different activities from press releases, an annual campaign, staff training, social media presence, promoting the e-books pilot in public libraries through a railway poster campaign etc. There’s also a staff toolkit with lots of resources, as part of the library portal. You can read more about the marketing programme on my library blog.

Internally within the Government I also try to promote libraries where I can. We work with colleagues in the education department to ensure libraries are included in their reading and literacy campaign messages for example, and I got a reading & libraries news item onto our intranet homepage and it had a click-through rate of about 10% which is pretty good for a quiet week in August! In social media discussions I’ve had in the government I also promote how advanced libraries and librarians are in terms of technology and social media – yes you guys are! I’ve no problems at all at challenging stereotypes, shouting about libraries or speaking up for our profession.

In terms of what I do in my private life (I’m aware many of the campaigners behind some of the UK library advocacy campaigns do it all in their spare time) I do ‘arm chair’ advocacy, responding to consultations etc generally by written communication. As the post noted, we need to find the type of activity that we are comfortable with and able to achieve.

Glossing over the lateness of this post, I’ll dive straight into the Thing. Thing 12  was all about reviewing how social your social media use is.

I’m going to be very honest about myself here – I don’t appear to be that social in social media. I’m wondering if it’s because most of my social media usage is in work and I have quite firm views on work and home lives being separate.

I have no problem putting my views in my blogs, or in comments, or joining in discussions, whether they’re my work or my personal views – I don’t lurk, but I’m just not really that good at mixing, networking, making new friends, etc. in an online environment.

Having said that, I have got ‘Twitter friends’ who are people I vaguely know only through Twitter.

I thought I’d create a list of my socia networking / media profiles (or those I can remember) and see what I use them for:

  • Slideshare – library job
  • Scoopit – library job
  • Twitter – library job
  • blog – library job; yoga teaching; library training; (3 blogs)
  • RSS feeds – 2 accounts:  library job and home (both still private)
  • Delicious – has mix of library & personal (all still private)
  • LinkedIn- personal
  • – yoga teaching (handouts)
  • Photobox – personal, restricted to invite only
  • Goodreads – (forgot about this – then saw someone has clicked on the link from this blog) – just personal, but, I’ve only 2 friends on there…

I’m not on Facebook.

Hmm. LinkedIn is quite the odd one out – I’m on there, sort of connecting with people, but not in a very active way. Other accounts are more ‘passive’ eg upload and leave (slideshare, Other accounts I could open up and be more social (eg parts of my netvibes and delicious accounts), but I’ve been saying that for 2 years.

I’m quite happy with the status quo though – I don’t want to spend 24/7 on social networks (and I don’t have a mobile device for that anyway) – I’m happy being social (just in case this is coming across as ‘don’t even THINK about talking to me’), but in small amounts, in certain settings.

I want to be there, available for library staff (or yoga students with my other hat) so like using social media for that, but like to keep it slightly at arms’ length. Everything in moderation.

I’ve pondered this Thing (on mentoring) for a week, partly as I didn’t know what I’d write!

In my current role as Libraries Development Adviser for Wales I’m not working as an actual librarian (*klaxon alert* imposter in the room!). I’ve been in the current role, sans mentor, for almost a shocking seven years. I’m not sure where I’m heading, and I suppose a mentor could help me with that, but from what field would I look for the mentor?

If I wanted to return to working in an actual proper library I would probably need to find a mentor who is in a senior position in a library service (which is ok, as I know lots of them through my job).

But if I was going to go in a different direction (e.g. communications? marketing? research?) I would be better placed looking for someone in those fields.

Through the performance management plan system we have in work I do have to include a career section in the form, and training needs. We are also now working to a nine box grid system, and depending on where you are placed in the gird, different training and development opportunities could be offered. Mentoring is listed as one of the opportunities. But I haven’t really looked into it because I’m kind of happy in my current role and not sure where I’m going to be in 5 or 10 years.

Ultimately, my career path could go wildly different if I forsake librarianship for yoga and become a yoga teacher full time and run off to the hills and set up a retreat centre. That’s my little personal dream shared!

Whilst cogitating this mentor thing I remembered I have some current and former experience of mentors. I’m learning Welsh and have a Welsh mentor in work – a lovely girl called Menna. She’s very good with me and we meet up every fortnight. My division in work has a mentoring scheme for learning Welsh and each year we agree how often we’ll meet, what we’ll do (chat, translate a short email, do stuff that I need to work on etc). I have returned the benefits as I passed on some information which will be useful for her career.

In the yoga world I would consider the tutor who taught me on my teacher training course to be a mentor, and another yoga teacher (who was not only my first ever yoga teacher -other than my Mum! – but also the one who did my final class assessment) and I  have also kept in touch in the last couple of years to share, chat, pass on information etc. In fact, in her most recent email she put “… it’s all part and parcel of us each helping the other when we can. ” That sounds really nice to me. I’m also part of a yoga group locally and whilst none of the other teachers are formally a mentor we all help each other and share information.

And then there’s my supervisor during the PhD process who was a mentor. He helped, supported and advised me, and I did ask his opinion on two jobs which were advertised on the same day – one of which I got!

And going even further back, another former lecturer from DIS (or DILS as it was for me, or CLW if you’re older) advised me to return to research (I was doing a p/t job in a lovely publishing company, and p/t self-employed research work for lecturers in the department) formally and do the research training masters’ followed by a PhD. So I did. And this is where I am! I also worked for him (Prof Hywel Roberts) in my first job on completing the masters’, as a research assistant. I am still in touch with him now so I guess I could approach him informally for advice, should I know what I wanted to ask!

Given that work had blocked Evernote, I looked at it at home. The IT people did say that if, after looking into it at home, I could see valuable ways of using it in work I could apply to get it unblocked.

However, after giving it a go, I have decided it’s not quite right for me right now (sorry Sharon and Sam!). I created notes, tasks, a diary entry (which didn’t look like a diary to me), clipped a picture and had a nosy round. However, I can’t quite see how it would save me time and effort at work or at home.

If I’m at home I don’t tend to use an electronic device to remind me to do things – I save urls in the bookmark bar if I’m keeping them to view for later, and if I come across something suitable for work I just email it to myself which is one click. I can understand that you can save things into Evernote, but, I’d have to then remember when I was in work that I’d got something in Evernote for X project or for so-and-so.

I can appreciate that if you’re researching something you can clip and save all the things you need to in one place and sub folder in Evernote, and you could be typing up conference notes into one folder. But, for me, if I’m researching something when I’m in work I’ll be saving information into a Word document. And I don’t do much research at home. I also don’t always have an electronic device with me in meetings or conferences so tend to use pen & paper for note taking. In some conferences I have used the work laptop to make conference notes, so I could have used it then I suppose. But I can’t see how that would be massively different from just typing the notes into Word.

I can see that if I had a mobile device which was always on and had the widget for that then it could become more useful. But for now, it’s something I’ll leave on one side.

A by-product of doing this thing though, was using a sneak-around system that means you don’t have to create an account just to try a web service out. I was recommended to use Bugmenot – you go to the website, type in the website of the service you want to try, and it gives you a trial login and password. So you can get in, see all the functionality, give it a go, but haven’t had to sign up or create an account. Genius!

{July 4, 2012}   Awaiting Evernote (Thing 9)

I’ve had to put Thing 9 on hold (Evernote) as I can’t access it in work as it’s classed as a banned site. I’m discussing this with the powers that be.

I could of course look at it at home and consider if it would be useful for me. Judging by some of the other blog posts on this, and the eulogising from friend/colleague Sharon Crossan, it could be really useful. But then, if I do look at it at home and decide it’s going to be v.useful for me to help organise my work and make notes in conferences, gather info about topics, remove the need for emailing myself links etc, but it remains blocked in work, it won’t be that useful will it?


Current awareness. All about keeping current. How we ‘do’ current awareness in the library world has changed over time, naturally, possibly because librarians are often quite early adopters of new technology. About 15+ years ago current awareness would probably have meant subscribing to email lists and reading library journals and magazines, and looking at various (web 1.0) websites.

In the last few years though, current awareness means we can be aware of current issues at a much quicker pace: journals come out only every so often, yet a tweet can be sent in seconds and a blog written in minutes. As ever, there’s good and bad about the changes – today probably most people feel overloaded by all the stuff they should be keeping up with. But it’s not so much information overload, as filter failure said Clay Shirky. Or, not utilising settings and tricks on Twitter, RSS feeds etc. (Or even, not using librarians to select and sort information for us…!)

So, Thing 4 (hang on, I’m getting there!) is all about current awareness and specifically Twitter, RSS feeds and Storify.

Among some people I’m an old hand at Twitter, having been on there for 2 years in a professional capacity. Compared to other people though, that means I’m just a wee bairn! I certainly don’t have followers in the 1000s. I joined Twitter after seeing it in action in various conferences and hearing different speakers extolling its virtues.

But my relationship with Twitter varies. Sometimes I check it very often and think it’s great, other times I barely check it once a day. I have found and passed on to colleagues many a useful snippet, link to blogs or articles or reports etc, or found out about things that we may have missed otherwise. Yes, there is a lot of ‘just missed the bus’ or ‘urg, just spilt my tea’ whitter and waffle on there, so you either decide to stop following those people who don’t generally tweet stuff that you find useful, or you just skim through and ignore it.

Two attitudes I’ve tried to adopt when it comes to Twitter may be useful for other Twitter people (Twits?) – they should help with the feeling of  ‘OMG how do I keep up with all this?’. One is to treat it like a conversation in a room. If you go into a room and there’s huddles of people chatting to each other, you don’t go up to each one and ask them what they just said just now, and what did they say 5 minutes ago, and what did they say 30 minutes ago? You select one group, or one person, you chat to them, then you move on (if you’re good at networking. Or, you just stand in the corner sipping your drink and think ‘I hate networking’!). Twitter is the same. Look at it for 5 minutes, see who’s saying what, check any lists you’re subscribed to, then move on. What happened on there 30mins ago or 3 hours ago MAY have been relevant, but you are unlikely to have the time to find out. If it’s important it’ll probably reach you in another way.

The second tip (from Phil Bradley) applies to social media/networking in general. Do not feel you have to be on every channel all the time. We don’t contact all our friends all the time. We may ‘phone one friend one weekend, we may write a letter (a dying art form, but my parents and I exchange letters every week) to another friend twice a year, we may visit someone once a year. But we don’t try to keep in touch with all of them all at once, using all channels of communication. So, we don’t need to be on all the social media channels all the time. Dip in as and when, and use different ones to communicate with diferrent people.

In re-looking at Twitter this week I’ve decided to unfollow a few people, updated my private list of ‘daily ones to check’ (useful if pressed for time), and also looked up some of the lists recommended in the 23 Things blog post.

And coincidentally, I picked this up on Twitter from @lisajeskins the other day: all the handy Twitter abbreviations you might need, and then some!

RSS Feeds
I’ve been using these for quite a while – years. Possibly since 2007-08? But, there is definitely room for improvement as I know I’m not maximising on its potential. I started using RSS feeds with Netvibes and am happy with that. I initially set up one for personal use, then a work one (but it turns out I never shared it – it was/is still in beta…), and also one for my yoga persona. This public yoga netvibes page was my cheap and easy way to have a ‘website’ without needing to faff with uploading webpages to a server etc etc. But since April 2011 I moved over to a blog instead for my yoga life.

But, interestingly, whilst at home I look at my feeds on Netvibes almost every night, at work, I barely look at them all week, or month. This happened after I signed up to Twitter for my library work. Several of the people I was following were the same ones as blogs I was following, and then time is pressurised etc etc, I ended up only looking at Twitter. So I can’t really say which library blogs I find most useful or visit the most even though I’ve got stacks of them in my Netvibes page. I used to keep a list of Welsh library blogs, but I haven’t updated that for a while. In general my RSS feeds have got really unwieldy, lack organisation, and I’m certainly not making the most of the technology. Also unfortunately in work the server/connection seems really slow so it takes forever to load the Netvibes page and then it’s is a bit cronky.

I really want to get back to reading blogs for my current awareness so I need to sort out my Netvibes pages – here’s a link to my public one, if you want to see the state it’s in! I think I want to: create a public ‘home page’ on Netvibes which will pull together my blogs, Twitter, slideshare accounts etc, and I also want to have feeds for the blogs I follow, maybe divided up into different categories. There’s also probably quite a few blogs I haven’t added, so it’s going to take a bit of time to refresh all this.

Now, Thing 4 instructions recommended using Google Reader. But here’s the thing – I don’t like Google (I know, probably irrational) and don’t want to sign up to a Google account. I’m happy with Netvibes so I’m not going to bother which Google Reader for now. Call me stubborn, but I don’t care!

Ok, here’s another confession. I don’t really get Storify. I thought it would be like a story (start, middle and end) but the ones I’ve seen so far seem to mainly be a collection of tweets from conferences. Maybe I’m being too literal about this? Maybe I’ve not seen the right ones to convince me yet? I clicked on ‘create a story’ anyway, and my work browser is not supported by them, so I can’t do it anyway! Ha!

Other current awareness tools I use
I subscribe to various JISCMail lists (28, it turns out!) – I find them useful to keep an eye on different library sectors or aspects of library world. As my job is an all-over library adviser I do need to know about most aspects of librarianship. Although Phil Bradley has commented in several recent presentations at conferences that he no longer finds them useful, I utilise the daily digest function so that I only get 1 email per list per day (and some lists have messages only once every few weeks, so I often only get about 5-8 JISCMail emails a day). In Wales the LIS-WALES is the best way to reach a large number of librarians. I was also taught a trick of seeing who / how many people subscribe to each list – I can no longer remember how to do this though! Oh, and on Netvibes you can put feeds to JISCMail lists on your page so you check them from there, and you don’t even have to be subscribed to a particular list to have its feed on your page.

I would like to experiment with Just this week my line manager and I were discussing ways our organisation could utitlise social media (it’s only me doing it at present – I’m just SO advanced…). I reminded him not to start with the tool (see my blog post on that) but to start off with what we want to communicate, to whom, why etc. I mentioned I was going to be looking at and we got quite excited about that idea! I like the look of it much better than Storify. [Update – since writing this I’ve just had a play with and think it’s going to work! I might produce a ‘magazine’ on it next week.]

Well, I thought I’d start off in Wales so checked out fellow 23Thingers on the Delicious account, and currently there’s a small select band, some of whom are yet to populate their blogs. However I did find a fellow librarian and friend hiding under a green stone, another librarian I know in Aberystwyth (Nia) and a library student at Aber Uni. I then left Wales and skimmed the list of 23Things particpants and saw Veggie Haggis and had to click on that one, being notionally Scottish and vegetarian (vegan) myself.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll explore the list in more depth to see else who’s around – I may know some more people!

I feel a teeny bit of an imposter for not working in libraries myself, unlike the small selection of other 23Thingers that I looked at, however, for my job I stay up to date with many topics including marketing, social media, library research, online stuff, information literacy, e-books, buildings/space, workforce develompent, impact and evaluation, and so on. But if we start getting into the nitty gritty of people describing and sharing about creating an online learning object or linking reading lists to the catalogue from the VLE I’m going to come a little bit unstuck!

Back to the blog-o-sphere though. The library blogs I follow  are many and various and I use Netvibes RSS feeds to manage them*. I try to follow quite a lot of the Wales library blogs, as well as the Scottish Libraries blog and many others eg Digital Shift. Annonyingly, my Netvibes feed is slow and cronky on my work computer so I don’t end up looking at as many library blogs as I used to. At home I follow various yoga, feminist and eco blogs – yep, I could fit in a stereotype if you want!

*One day I’ll finally get round to creating the public display feed thingy which means other people can see what feeds you subscribe to, and make it public somewhere on this or my work library blog. I’ve been saying that for a year+.

Thing 2 – Done

et cetera