Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Library Christmas Day 8

On the 8th day of Christmas my library gave to me:

I is for: images; imagination; inclusion; individual study; information; information commons; information literacy; information services; innovation; inspiration; inter-library loans (borrowing things from other libraries); and the internet.

Previously, libraries gave to me:

T is for:  trusted places, teaching (support for teachers /schools), teaching (librarians teaching) and teenage reading;
C is for: crime fiction community memory, careers information, help with my CV, and classics;
U is for: the unexpected, support during unemployment, universality (open for all) and uplifting experiences;
D is for: discovery, democracy and digital literacy;
O is for: open for all, opportunity, online resources and outreach;
R is for: reading, reading groups, recommendations, research and relaxation;
P is for: personal development, political literacy, power and photocopying.

With thanks to the excellent for the images and concept. Reused under CCBY

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Library Christmas - day 7

On the 7th day of Christmas my library gave to me:

T is for tablet computers (e.g. iPads); teachers (supporting schools); teaching / training (librarians teaching); teens; toys; treasure hunts; trusted. Previously my library gave to me:

C - crime fiction, careers information, community memory, classics and help with my CV;
U - understanding, unemployment (support during), and the unexpected;
D - democracy, databases, downloads and diversity
O - open for all, opportunity and outreach
R - research, relaxation, reading groups and recommendations
P - personal development, partnerships, political literacy and power.

The Library A to Z comes from LibraryAtoZ  and materials can be shared from this site under CC-BY license.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Library Christmas - day 6

On the sixth day of Christmas my library gave to me ....

C is for careers; carers services; childminders; choices; classics; coffee (relax with one); collaboration; colouring (fun sessions for children); comics; community; community cohesion; community memory; competitive advantage (for businesses); council information & services (access to); crafts; creation; CVs.

Previously, my library has also provided:

U for uplifting, unexpected and understanding;
D for dance, databases, downloads and DVDs;
O for online, open to all, opportunity and outreach;
R for research, reference books, reading and recommendations;
P for power, photocopying, picture books and political literacy.

With thanks to and Josh Filhol for the images and concept.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Library Christmas - day 5

On the fifth day of Christmas my Library gave to me.... Five gold rings ... Well kind of...

U is for understanding; unemployment (supporting job seekers); unexpected; universal; universal credit (support); unlimited; uplifting.

My library just keeps on giving, because it's also provided me with:

D for DVDs, databases, downloads from those databases, digital literacy and discovery;
O for online, open to all, opportunity and outreach;
R for research, reference books, recommendations and relaxing;
P for power, political literacy, picture books and photocopying 

Images and concept from / Josh Filhorn.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Library Christmas - day 4

On the 4th day of Christmas my Library gave to me....

D is for dads; dance; databases; democracy; Dewey; digital literacy; discovery; diversity; download (things that the library buys); dry; dvds; Dyslexia / disability support.

My library also gave to me:

O for old (and young), opportunity, outreach and online;
R for research, rhyme-time, reading and recommendations;
P for partnerships, political literacy, papers and power

You know the score now ... Images from the fantastics / Josh Filhol.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Library Christmas - day 3

On the third day of Christmas my library gave to me ....

O is for old (and young), online, online databases, open to all, opportunity and outreach.

My library also gave to me:

R for reading, recommendations, research ... And re-living my childhood - rhyme-time
P for political literacy, partnerships, power and personal development.

Images and concepts courtesy of / Josh Filhol, shared under CC-BY-4.0

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Library Christmas - day 2

On the second day of Christmas my library gave to me....

R is for reading; recommendations; reference books; references; relaxing; reminiscence; research; resources; retirement; rhyme time.

It also gave to me ... P is for partnerships, power and political literacy
From / Josh Filhol image re-use licensed under CC-BY-4.0

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Library Christmas - day 1

On the first day of Christmas my library gave to me:
 P is for paper; partnerships; personal development; photocopying; photographs; pictures (accessing images); political literacy (enabling people to find out about politics in a neutral way); power; printers.

The Library AtoZ is available here and are licensed for re-use under Creative Commons 4.0 CC-BY-4.0. The images are by Josh Filhol

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Information sharing from a Government perspective

CILIP Cymu Wales Conference 2014 - image with thanks to @CLICLibraries 
At this year's CILIP Cymru Wales Annual Conference I was delighted to provide a workshop session on sharing of information to the internal and external communities of the Welsh Government.  This posting summarizes key points and discussions within the session.

The session considered:
  • Welsh Government (WG) as an information sharing organisation and how effectively it fulfills this role;
  • How WG Library & Archive Services (L&AS) works hard to maintain the comprehensive archive of WG Publications, making these easily available through the Publications Catalogue;
  • Considers a small project expanding the type of information included within the Publications Catalogue, and how this prompts reflection on characteristics of poor and effective information sharing.

The slides from my presentation are available in SlideShare (and see below). The session was designed to be participative, with the aim of gaining feedback from delegates about the WG web site, and the Publications Catalogue. The key points  were:

1. WG publishes in excess of 750 formal publications p.a.. L&AS captures on average 770 titles p.a. and manually adds these to Publications Catalogue. We publish policy documents, consultations, guidance information, some research and statistical information, in addition to documents about the performance and activities of the WG.

The Catalogue is available via the Welsh Government web site > About Us > Freedom of Information. The direct link is .

Awareness of the Publications Catalogue was low, but those who did know about it had found it increasingly difficult to find after  changes to the web site structure in Summer 2013.

2. The catalogue contains information from the times of the Welsh Office (1965 - ), although some older materials are also included.

3. More recent catalogue records include document file attachments which include Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PDF files etc. We have supplemented some records for older materials with electronic full text provided from document scanning projects, and through documents retrieved from the web archives. Some of the scanned outputs may be in image format only, and therefore will not be text searchable. Excepting these image files, the catalogue provides options for searching for keywords or phrases from the attached document files.

4. Where electronic versions of documents are not linked to the catalogue then an online request can be made. The WG First Point of Contact Centre (FPCC) also welcomes enquiries by telephone or email. The FPCC is open Monday - Friday 08:30 - 17:30 and contact details are provided here.

5. Participant feedback indicated that it can be difficult to locate recent publications and information within the Welsh Government web site. Several people recommended using general internet search engines to locate recent Welsh Government information.This matches the experience of L&As.

6. Our experiences of using the various web archives for retrieving older information about publications has been mixed. Web archive snapshots, particularly of older versions of the site are limited with:
  • a lower frequency of snapshots taken, including some significant and long gaps of coverage missing;
  • limited scraping and capture to the full depths of the site. Many Web Archiving services only effectively scraped the top 3-5 layers of a site. The WG site often extends far deeper than this, with a consequence that much information is missing from the Web Archive.
  • no available keyword or phrase searching available within the web archives. Successfully locating information in the web archive is dependent either on having the original URL, or by navigating the site to the appropriate page. As previously indicated the complex structure of the WG site means that this is difficult, time-consuming and with low likelihood of success.
7. The appeared to be low awareness of Web Archiving services, especially in the context of retrieving old Welsh Government materials. Appropriate Web Archive services in this context are: 

8. Because of the limitations with web archiving services L&AS are experimenting with expanding the remit of the Publications Catalogue. We are piloting including Freedom of Information Request responses and Ministerial Decisions. The inclusion of this information within the Catalogue will provide a useful and more complete historical resource for Welsh governmental information.

However, our Publications Catalogue still doesn't adequately function as a full archive for our publications. Digital continuity issues have yet to be resolved. In light of this we continue to maintain a paper-based archive of publications too.

9. As a result of experiences of this pilot project, the barriers and enablers to effective information sharing were suggested to be:

The session reaffirmed for me:
  • The need to raise the awareness and of the Publications Catalogue;
  • To continue to advocate for a higher profile for the Publications Catalogue within the WG web site, and for improved "findability" of WG publications generally within the site;
  • How boundaries between the roles in the information profession are blurring. The context of this example demonstrates how librarians may also need to be champions for improved access to information, responsible for archiving information and digital continuity, in addition to the traditional roles of identification, capture, resource description, storage and retrieval. I wonder if these challenges are also true for colleagues working in other sectors?
I will welcome your comments, or requests for further information in relation to this session or the activities of the WG L&AS more broadly.

I am extremely grateful to CILIP Cymru Wales for this opportunity to facilitate a session at Conference, and for my attendance throughout the day. 


Sunday, 27 April 2014

LibCampWales - summary of IT session

LibCampWales gets underway with session pitching
I pitched for a session yesterday at #libcampwales inviting attendees to share their favourite IT service, program or application. This is my take on what was a lively and informative session. Thank you to everyone who shared and contributed their knowledge. I learnt a great deal.

My tip - Need to make infographics? Try PiktoChart  This enables you to easily create infographics really quickly. The free site has a reasonable range of starting icons and a couple of useful templates. It's easy to position the icons with accompanying text boxes and titles. In the free version your infographics can be saved and exported as a JPEG file, or shared on the web. A subscription service offers greater range of icons, design templates, and export options. Piktochart also enables you to create reports, presentations and banners (posters).

DropBox - tag line "your stuff, anywhere" . A cloud storage option that allows documents, files, photos, presentations etc to be accessed and synchronised across different devices and platforms. On the move and need to access a document drafted on your home PC? Not a problem if you have uploaded it to Dropbox you could view the document via your smart phone. The free version comes with 2 GB of storage. Other similar options to consider are :

  • Google Drive  "One place for all your files"  Start with 15GB of Google storage – free
  • SkyDrive  from Microsoft -also known as OneDrive. Start with 7GB of cloud storage.

Cloud storage may enable you to share documents with a group of people. This may even be a route to enable collaborative working on specific files?

Evernote Worthwhile re-visiting Evernote, it  has developed beyond the simple web page clipping / scrapbook service. Evernote is now an online note pad, allowing you to attach files, synch files between different devices, share and work collaboratively.

Augmented reality - how sci-fi is this. Use augmented reality to help explain how to use a photocopier, provide visitor information on location, or to enhance the experience. "Thanks to Aurasma, , every image, object and even place can have its own Aura. Auras can be as simple as a video and a link to a web page or as complex as a lifelike 3D animation. Use the Aurasma app to unlock Auras and share the experience with friends. Or get experimenting and use the simple tools within the app to create and share your own Auras".
 a App augmented reality app. See Aurasma in action on a £10 note :

 If This Then That. A tool that saves you time by synching your activity between internet services. Taken a photograph on your mobile device? Then set up a "recipe" in ifttt to have the photo saved to your DropBox. Posted a new blog entry then let ifttt post a tweet about it, and to make an entry on your LinkedIn timeline. Ifttt could also be used to help you archive and manage your contributions in social media.

We talked about the security concerns of using these cloud based platforms. Many employers won't permit their staff to use these tools because of these concerns. On a personal level you may also feel wary about linking a variety of platforms together and enabling mutual access and posting. There was also some concern about the way these services monitor and track your use of the web. It's Your call on this, but it is certainly something to consider.

Some felt that they wanted to find out about app development, and that they would like to experiment in this area. One suggestion was Code Academy   regular online lesson explaining basic coding, with suitable "homework" tasks enabling participants to gradually develop their coding skills. The Academy appears to build coding skills in a structured and logical way providing a sound basis for developing and embedding knowledge.

Several participants indicated a desire to experience online learning through a Mooc  (Massive Open Online Course). Some participants had completed a MOOC: like any distance learning these require a great deal of commitment, but benefited greatly from engagement from participants through discussion  in an associated online space.

Prezi  Presentation programme that allows zooming or flying through your presentation, incorporating images or video. This cloud based service allows you to work between platforms, share your presentations, and work collaboratively with colleagues. Noted as being far more dynamic and captivating than PowerPoint, but be cautious about not inducing motion sickness in your audience!

We also talked about IT solutions in wider use:

  • Chromecast - connect the Chrome to your TV and via your wifi connection, and with initial intervention from a device, view content from BBC I-player, Netflix, YouTube. You can also use the device to screen cast from your device
  • Spotify  - "music for everyone". Pick your own music, share playlists, get track suggestions from your friends.
  • BloomFM "The music app. is the all-in-one music app with 22 million tracks. Borrow music to play offline, free streaming radio, plays your music downloads.
  • Shazam is a mobile application that recognizes music and media playing around you. Shazam is the best way to discover, explore and share the music.

Also mentioned:

  • WhatsApp Messenger - "a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia and yes, those phones can all message each other! Because WhatsApp Messenger uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing, there is no cost to message and stay in touch with your friends."
  • 2048 maths puzzle. Apparently addictive, mobile phone game.

I repeat my thanks to all who attended this session, for sharing their experiences and knowledge so freely. I will be checking out these tools further!