How many things? Only 23.











Well now, I’m almost done here, just two more things to go. Here’s one I should have done a few weeks ago, but was a little bit busy at the time.

Thing 17 is all about presenting, looking in particular at Prezi, but also Slideshare for tried (tired?) and tested Powerpoint slides.

Let’s start with the positives, cos I’m feeling relatively happy. I’ve been using Slideshare for a wee while (a year or so?) and it’s been useful to have somewhere in the public domain where I can place public talks I’ve given to groups of people, or talks at conferences etc. I also found out that it can be used to host documents as well, which I did for my sample business case for requesting a social media presence. I like being able to see how many people have viewed or downloaded my presentations in Slideshare.

One of the few downsides is that in order for someone to print or download a presentation in Slideshare they need to have an account. My line manager has cottoned on to the fact that I have an account and now sends me emails asking me to download and email him this or that presentation or print this or that one for him. Not a problem for me, but a bit of a barrier for the general user, especially if I’m off on my hols for two weeks! Another slight downside is mainly a problem within where I work as I can’t upload into Slideshare, so I have to email myself the .ppt to home and upload it from there, which is not really a problem as I also have to email it home if I want to put it on a memory stick to take to the conference/workshop anyway…

If you take a look at any of my presentations you’ll see they’re all a bit dull, and a bit samey. They break most of the presentation/powerpoint ‘rules’. And most are on the same sort of topic (CyMAL, libraries in Wales). I’m not sure if we have a Very Fixed rule in work on .ppt but we do have a template we’re meant to use. I try to liven it up with videos and images where possible, and I hope my presentation style is such that people aren’t bored in my talks. (Although seeing students texting or checking their smartphones during a lecture is very disconcerting. Am I (a) that boring, or (b) are they that important that they have to check for messages every 5 minutes? Wouldn’t have happened in my student days, I can tell you, not least because we used pen and paper to communicate … )

I’ve been wanting to liven my talks up for a while and have seen Prezi in action during the last couple of years, so Thing 17 was a great opportunity to finally make myself give it a whirl. But oh dear me what a disappointment! Although to be fair, it’s not really all Prezi’s fault. For some unknown and inexplicable reason, Prezi LOOKS like it’s working on my computer in work, but is infact, not working at all. It merilly let me do hours of work on my presentation but failed to point out that it wasn’t actually saving it! So, I go home at the weekend, all excited about showing my partner my new Prezi, and we log-in, and there’s nothing there! Oh the disappointment. And frustration. later, after repeating the work, it happens again so I ring the IT people in work but as it’s a 3rd party application they can’t (won’t) support it (ie won’t investigate what the problem is). I look at online forums (fora), and others seem to have the same problem – it cannot save. The suggestion of copy & paste into another tab just does not work. Prezi offers no explanation of why it’s not saving some prezis. We noticed at home that the version I was viewing in work was different from the one we accessed at home. Why? Is this a browser thing?

Anyway, I tried, I failed, but I had a bit of fun in the process. I think Prezi will be useful to get away from a boring linear talk and to present ideas more graphically. However, unless I’m allowed to do them all at home, and if I can ensure that I don’t give myself motion sickness in the making (playground roundabouts, lifts in buildings and being swung around in a ceilidh all give me sea sickness), then I will return to Prezi.

I looked at a couple of the resume (CVs) in Slideshare, and they looked fun. Nice idea.

Oh, as an aside – the name. I was chatting to a fellow librarian at a conference and I mentioned that I liked so-and-so’s Prezi – they thought I was just being uber-cool in calling the presentation a “prezi”. And at home my partner said ‘Shall we look at the prezis now?’ and I immediately thought we’d got presents for each other. What a disappointment. (Especially as my Prezi wasn’t there – see above.)



Thing 15 is all about talking the talk: attending seminars or conferences, giving presentations and even organising such events.

Attending events
I’m fairly lucky in my current job as I am able to attend some events, workshops, conferences etc as part of my job. This includes ones in Wales and further afield (within reason). I’m allowed to attend the CILIP Wales conference every year as well as one or two other ones, often subject specific. However, like many library services we are facing reductions in budgets so have to really evaluate the benefits of all the various conferences and events out there to choose the most appropriate one/s. My job role means that it’s quite important that I attend events in Wales when possible, such as the Welsh higher education’s annual colloquium, although I haven’t been able to attend for a couple of years because of clashes.

I find the benefits of attending the events in Wales for me is primarily catching up with people and making new connections, or passing on information about what I and CyMAL do. Often at Wales events CyMAL has funded quite a few of the projects that are in the conference programme, so I often don’t learn ‘new’ stuff, but it’s good to see how the projects are doing and how the are received by delegates.

Recently I attended a conference virtually – it was being held in London but was also being live streamed. Amazingly our technology coped with this and I found it useful to keep one ear (using headphones) on the conference and work at my desk doing other things at the same time. When a speaker or session come on that was of greater relevance I listened with both ears. It saved a lot of travel, expense, and didn’t contribute to global warming!

I noticed a Digital Shift virtual e-books conference coming up so may ask if I can ‘attend’ that, although not sure of the whole EDT / GMT time difference thing… I’m not watching it at midnight!

Since having a library blog for my work I’ve tried to write up some sort of useful summary of the conferences I’ve attended. I try to avoid just going through the programme speaker by speaker, summarising their points, but instead pick out key themes or stand-out discussions – see my posts on CILIP Wales 2012 and 2011, and the CILIP Scotland 2012 conference.

The biggest conference I’ve attended is IFLA when it was in Milan – myself and an external colleague were there to pick up an award (Wales won 2nd place in the IFLA marketing award in 2009) and I was just astounded at the size of it – about 3000+ people I think. I was glad that a colleague had said it was ok to get up and leave sessions whenever you wanted or join other sessions late – everyone was doing this although I found it quite unsettling at first. On hearing the size of the ALA one though (25,000) my mind just stops comprehending how a conference can be that size. It’s bigger than the whole town and uni where I live and work combined! The Special Library Association annual conference also sounds epic, and I enjoyed reading Simon Barron’s four blog posts on it – they all show just how surreal such a conference is.

Speaking at events
Again, I’m really lucky in my job with this, as I get invited to give presentations at workshops, events and conferences in Wales and further afield. Reflecting on this, I wish I’d kept a record of all the talks I’ve given in my current job so far! I’m also invited to the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth University annually to give a few lectures to the students. My talks are often on CyMAL in general, the Welsh library scene, or they may be on a specific topic e.g. the Welsh libraries marketing programme. In the last couple of years I’ve given presentations at the Forum for Interlending conference in 2010, the Northumbria International conference on performance measurement in 2011 on our use of SROI, and was even guest speaker (!) at an event in Scotland in 2011.

As a former p/t lecture I’m sure I make many cardinal sins with PowerPoint, but I’m making small changes each time. I’m looking forward to learning about Prezi in a future Thing. I liked the concise and visual presentation about rules you should never break by Ned Potter which was one of the suggested links in Thing15. I must also learn to embed fonts in PowerPoint.

You can see some of my more recent presentations on my Slideshare account.

Organising events
I’ve not organised a whole conference, but I have organised day seminars/discussion days in Wales or workshops, day meetings etc. My main lessons to note from these experiences are: to order plenty of hot drinks and water; to triple check they can cater for vegans (personal self interest here…); to choose a room that doesn’t have heating problems (hot or cold),  build in ‘slack’ time to allow for over-running, plan long breaks (15mins is not enough, especially as most people find the break times the most useful!), and never EVER allow people to over-run.  When I’m giving a presentation I try never to over run either – I think it’s discourteous, annoying and unnecessary!

Following the CILIP Wales conference this year there’s been some general chatter about a possible mashup event in Wales – as yet it’s not progressed beyond some email exchanges, and it’s clear from my input in the discussion that I’m already over-planning or complicating what a mashup event should ‘look’ like. My librarian tendencies to organise are peeking out!

In summary, I realise that I’m very fortunate in my current job role in many aspects of professional development in that I have the opportunity to do things that are possibly more limited for other people. They probably have more relaxed Powerpoint template rules though…



et cetera