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Archive for June, 2010

La caverne aux livres

Image by gadl @ Flickr, click for original.

I think Flickr is awesome. It’s probably my most visited website (yes even more so than my email). I’ve been using Flickr to organise and share my photography for several years now, and I haven’t found anything that beats it. It’s easy to tag and group your photos into sets (you can even group your sets into collections if you want to be super organised!) You can also send your photographs to groups which collect photographs on a theme. I also enjoy how social Flickr is, you can add other users as contacts, follow their photostreams and comment on their work. I recommend taking some time to browse through Explore, and look at the most interesting photography from the last 7 days.

Image by Thomas Hawk @ Flickr, click for original.

Before Cam23, I’d never used Flickr to look for Creative Commons material. I think it’s a great idea to make it easy to search for material you can use, and the Creative Commons icons on these photos gives a clear breakdown of how exactly you can use the images, something I had found a bit confusing previously.  I think a Flickr site for our library would be a nice way to display photographs from events and of displays.

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I was going to use a picture of the blue twitter bird for this post, but the urge to post a cute bird Pokemon prevailed.

I’ve got a twitter account for my hobby blog, which I’ve used for a while. I don’t update it as often as   I’d like, but when I do it’s usually to tweet about pictures I’ve posted on Flickr (as you can link the two together by using the ‘blog about’ function on Flickr).  I’ve installed the twitterfeed on my iGoogle, and I’m going to try one of the desktop clients at home. Hopefully by exploring it a bit more, I’ll find more and more benefits and uses for Twitter in libraries.  My Cam23 tweets can be found over here and I’ve added a shiny new ‘Follow Me’ button to my blog page.

I found twitter became more interesting and useful as I added people to follow.  It’s a good way to get information, especially when people post links to blogs/websites of relevance. I like how easy it is to follow cam23 related tweets by using the cam23 hash tag. I also like the social aspect of Twitter, it is a fun way to have conversations and discussions, as well as being a good method of sharing information.  We have a Twitter feed for the Education Faculty Library, which is mainly used for updating about opening hours.

A bit about Tags…

A lot of the websites I use (or have used in the past) incorporate tags. Tag clouds and lists are one of the first things I tend to look for when I find a new blog, as I find them really helpful when I’m looking for information about a certain subject. As a result I’ve tried to be consistent in my tagging for this blog. WordPress has a tool which suggests tags you have used previously and your most used tags, which helps to use the same ones rather than making up new ones all the time! I wish my approach to tagging hadn’t been so haphazard on other sites.  I can rarely find what I’m looking for in my own Flickr photographs through the tags, so what hope does anyone else have?

(Pokemon image from Bulbagarden)

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This is the first time I’ve used Doodle (well, it’s yet another tool I’d never even heard of before Cam23), and it was a far better experience than I had predicted. It’s very simple to set up and uncomplicated to use. I like the way it gives you some hints about how to get the best results whilst you are building your poll. Although I found it easy to use,  I’m not sure how much I would use Doodle for meetings within our library.  However, I would certainly consider using it if I were trying to organise a much larger meeting with people outside of our library. I’ll probably give some of the other suggested tools (meet-o-matic and Tungle.me) a go just to see how they compare.

Next up is  Google calendar! I haven’t been using a calendar of my own recently, as most of our library schedule is available through our CamTools site. However, I’ve been using Google Calendar to schedule when to do particular tasks (as well as stuff outside of work)  and it’s working well! It’s less fiddly than my phone calendar, and the email updates are useful.  The calendar is fairly simple to use and I’ve added it to my iGoogle page. As Emma-Jane mentioned in her entry about Google Calendar, I could see it being useful to our library during Michaelmas Term when we have lots of new groups of students coming in to register.

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I’m incredibly impressed by all the Cam23 blogs so far!  Since the blog roll has become so vast,  I’ve used Girl in the Moon’s shared feed to add all of the blogs to Google Reader. I only have 300 posts left to view until I’m caught up ;D

I chose WordPress to create my blog, as I have used Blogger previously and wanted to try something new (well that and I was wooed by the pretty layouts).

Overall, it’s been going pretty well.  As a site, I find WordPress to be well presented and easy to navigate. Writing blog entries is simple as you can either use a visual editor (lets you easily add pictures, format text and add links) or an HTML editor (if you feel brave and want to fiddle about with code). I’m lazy, so I write mine in the visual one. The site saves in progress posts automatically, which is really useful. It also has an option to schedule a post for a specific time. I’m trying it out with this entry, so If you can read this, it’s worked!

I’ve found reading peoples Cam23 blogs really interesting. Not only is it great to see whether people like the tools or not, I like seeing how what people have been using them for. I’ve just got to be brave now and comment on a few peoples blogs!

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I ♥ RSS (Thing 2)

Well ♥ may bit a little much, but I do like RSS feeds.

RSS feeds have always been on my radar, but I’ve never really looked at how to use them. Now that I’ve learnt a bit more about them, I’m kicking myself for not using them previously!

I follow a fair amount of blogs (both work related and non work related) and RSS feeds are the perfect way of keeping up to date with all of them in one place. Originally I just added feeds to a tab on my iGoogle, but it became harder to keep track of as I added more feeds. So I started to add feeds to Google Reader instead. For me, Google Reader took a bit of getting used to, but it’s quickly becoming a firm favourite. It’s easy to add and organise your feeds, and the format doesn’t distract you from reading the entries. I like that entry updates appear next to the blog titles making it easy to know which blog has updated, and that you can ‘star’ entries that you want to return to at a later time.

Now that I’ve started using them, I can see how they would be useful to library readers for updates on library news and stock. I’m going to start looking for more RSS feeds to add to my iGoogle!

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I have to admit, despite being a self-confessed internet addict I’d never even heard of iGoogle before looking at the 23 things list. I must have been living under a different internet rock.

After signing up for iGoogle, I set about adding gadgets and gizmos to the page (after the inevitable 20 minutes spent trying to pick a theme).

What do I like about iGoogle? I like being able to make separate tags for different purposes. I can keep all the useful, work related gadgets in one tag, and the distracting ones in another (whether I can resist clicking on to it is a different matter). I like that the gadgets can be rearranged easily by dragging them around the screen.

I’ll talk about Google reader and rss feeds in my next blog but I found adding them to my iGoogle page really straightforward. I’ve added both the COPAC gadget and the Cambridge library widget, both of which I’ve used and seem to work pretty well.  My favourite gadgets so far are TwitterGadget and My Flickr, which I think are pretty good compact versions of the orignal sites.

I’ve set iGoogle as my home page, and I’m hoping I’ll come to use it more over the course of Cam23 and find out if it saves me time, or if I get too distracted by shiny things. We shall see!

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Ready, Steady, Go!

Hello!

Welcome to my blog for Cam23.  This isn’t my first experience with blogging, but I must admit I’ve never really got the hang of it. I’m hoping by posting here I’ll get over a few of my blogging hurdles!

I have used a few of the tools mentioned on the 23 things list. I’m completely addicted to using Flickr for uploading hobby photos and exploring photography. I like Twitter too, and lazily use Facebook.

I’m curious to see how web 2.0 can be used successfully in libraries, which is why I signed up for Cam23!

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