Thing 23 – Making It All Work Together

 

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I can’t believe it’s all over. Rudai 23 was a fantastic experience and I learnt so much from it. My first experience with social media was Bebo, I even had a My Space account but that was short lived. I’m not sure why I took the plunge and finally gave in to Facebook in 2008 and that was pretty much the only social media I used until I did the MLIS and particularly the Rudai 23 course. As social media has become an integral tool for both work and my social life, it can sometimes become over whelming. I’m still struggling with the 140 character limit on Twitter.

I have only recently started using Hootsuite so I haven’t yet fully integrated it into my routine but it is an invaluable resource. It’s always difficult to post content at the optimum time when you do it manually but with Hootsuite I don’t have to worry about it, I can schedule all the notifications in the morning and spend more time engaging with the content and the users.

Thank you to everyone on the Rudai 23 team, it was a fantastic experience and I hope you can run this course again.

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Thing 22 – Mobile Things

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The task for Thing 22 is to review mobile apps that might be useful in the library world. The one they recommend reviewing is Gum but unfortunately it is not available for Android devices. The only apps that I use on a regular basis that might be some what useful for collaboration in the workplace that hasn’t been mentioned so far is Whatsap or Viber.

For a long time I used Whatsap for sending text messages and Viber for making phone calls, but a few months ago Whatsap added a call feature so I probably use that app more often. Peoples views on social media vary, if someone has a smart phone they might have preference for Facebook over Twitter or vice versa making it difficult to find a common social media platform to communicate on while working on a project. A solution to this is using an instant messaging app like Whatsapp or Viber to communicate during the project as they don’t require as much personal information in order to sign up.

Image from here.

Thing 21 – Creating Infographics

The task for Thing 21 is to design an infographic and write a reflection about the process. Prior to starting Thing 21 I thought that the most difficult challenge so far was making a video but I think creating an infographic was definitely the hardest things I have done so far. The reason why it was so difficult was because I found it difficult to find a free template that matched the content I wanted to share. In the end I went with a timeline template from HubSpot but if this was something I would have to do on a regular basis I would definitely invest in a subscription to a site with a wide variety of templates.

In November 2015 I wrote a blog post about presentations in order to complete the requirements for Thing 20. This infographic is a visualisation of the strategies I use with some tips on how to present at conferences and will hopefully encourage more people to take on the challenge.

Presenting at Conferences

Thing 20 – Presentations

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CILIP Ireland/LAI Joint Conference 2015, Belfast.

The task for Thing 20 is write about the process behind giving a presentation. During my undergraduate degree presentations were a key component of the assessment criteria and I was pretty brutal at delivering my presentations but that was OK because no one was particularly good. My first experience at presenting a paper to an audience outside of my class was a pretty traumatic experience. I lacked a lot of self confidence at that point and with a red face I rushed through reading my paper word for word and not making eye contact, I’m pretty sure the audience could hear a tremble in my voice. It took a few years to get over this experience but working as an English language teacher helped me to develop the confidence needed to improve my presentation skills.

Presenting at a conference is easy because in general the audience is kind as they are there to discuss your topic and learn from your experiences. The hardest part about presenting at a conference is having the self belief and confidence in your own abilities to do it. But like in most new skills you develop making mistakes is an important part of the learning process and even though I was so embarrassed when I presented at my first conference I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as I imagined.

The first LIS conference I presented at was the CILIP Ireland/LAI joint conference 2015 in Belfast. This was also my first time to do a poster presentation. The hardest thing about a poster presentation is to be OK with not writing much text and let the images do the talking. As you can see from my poster its not an award winning poster by any means but I developed a lot of skills working on this project and feel more confident about designing posters for forthcoming conferences.

As it was my first time to design a poster presentation I looked at lot of other examples and read lots of blog posts and tips on how to design a poster using MS PPT. Once I got the format right I had to go through the difficult process of editing the poster content. Less text is always better but as you can see from this blog post sometimes it hard to limit the text to in and around one hundred words. If you are feeling shy about presenting for the first time a poster presentation is definitely the best way to gain confidence as everyone presents at the same time usually during lunch so its a relaxed atmosphere and you feel less pressure.

This is a link to my poster:

Helena Byrne CILIP-LAI Poster

These are some websites I found useful:

LAI CDG

UCD

University of Leicester

Thing 19 – The Legal Side of Things

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The task for Thing 19 was to become more familiar with copyright restrictions and how they apply to libraries. Prior to studying the MLIS I worked as an English language teacher and infringed on all copyright restrictions related to images on a daily basis when developing materials for my lessons. This was pretty standard practice for most educators. However, last year there was a significant change to the copyright laws to include exceptions for non-commercial educational purposes. I read some articles about this around the time it was announced so I was pretty confident in my understanding of these exceptions but completing this task showed me that my understanding was a bit ropy and that I still had more to learn. I came across a really good article on the Copyright User website that outlined clearly how the exceptions for educational purposes can be applied.

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A good solution if you are not sure which images to use is to search for images with a creative commons license. Thing 19 demonstrates the benefits and usability of the creative commons license.

Image one sourced from here.

Image two sourced from here.

Thing 18 – Communicating Through Photographs

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The task for Thing 18 is to set up a Flickr and an Instagram account in order to explore ways of communicating through photographs. These are two of the most popular forms of photograph based social media platforms that can be used to curate photographs. Its taken me a while to get around to writing up this blog post because although I can see the benefits of using these platforms in a library they aren’t relevant to what I was doing and I didn’t really want to set up personal accounts. However, I didn’t want to give up on this task and after exploring my options I gave into setting up an Instagram account as it was near impossible to view profiles with out having an account.Most public institutions that use Flikr have set there profiles as public so they are easy to view without an account.

I only have my Instagram account a few weeks now and at first I found it quite difficult to use but I’m staring to get used to it. At first I was planning to use my account to get over with Thing 18 and then delete it but I’m starting to get used to it and might keep it for a little longer.

Flikr and Instagram are both very different platforms, one is practical and the other is trendy but using a combination is a great way to form connections with clients and potential clients of a library. Flickr is a better option if you want to curate images on line as you can set up different folders. The National Library has uploaded large amounts of its collection onto Flikr which has proven as an effective way to crowd source metadata on its photograph collection. From a users point of view Flikr allows clients to access the collections with out needing to be on site making it easier to access and also assists in preserving the original documents.

Image from here.

Thing 17 – Reflective Practice

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Reflections in November on the River Boyne, Ireland.

As I mentioned in Thing 6 I’m a big fan of reflective practice and I find using Gibbs Reflective Cycle the most useful out of all the models that have been developed. I originally set up this blog to complete a component of one of my MLIS modules and in my very first welcome post I outlined my past experience with reflecting.

The LIS sector is a dynamic field which is why reflecting on what we do and why we do is essential to maintain personal and professional development in order to provide a better service to the clients. In my last position I developed lots of new skills working on a project that I had very little experience on. Because I learn’t a lot of new skills quickly its hard to remember all the steps I took to complete  the task. However, after taking a break from the project for a few days it was like starting all over again and it would take me a bit longer to get into the swing of the project. I finished this project two weeks ago and even though I said I was going to write up the steps involved in the project I haven’t done it yet. I will do it but by letting so much time go before reflecting on the project it will make the task more difficult. As it was pointed out in the Thing 17 post, like most people I learn by doing and In my personal case oral reflection works best for me but there are sometimes when you just have to write it down for it to really sink in.

Thing 16 – Collaboration Tools

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Collaboration is an important element of any project and lots of different apps have been created to make it easier. I have just completed a Masters in Library and Information Studies (MLIS). Most courses require students to complete a research project in the form of a thesis as the final requirement of the course, however in UCD they require students to complete a group project called a Capstone. The purpose of the Capstone is to work in a team to solve a real world information need. I worked with a group of six people from all over Ireland. We used Google Drive for sharing documents, Skype for conference calls and sharing screens while creating files, Facebook for sharing files and updates in a secret group and Doodle for scheduling meetings. Using these collaboration tools made the communication and work flow process so much easier to manage and contributed to the success of the project.

As a group we only used Doodle once or twice but it is an excellent app that allows you to quickly poll what the best day and time is the most suitable for group members to attend a meeting.

Image from here.

Thing 15 – Advocacy for Libraries

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Library services and buildings are always under threat which is why its important to have a continuous advocacy plan in place. Almost all the workshops I went to mentioned advocacy for libraries but they are preaching to the converted. Presentations like this should be made at conferences for other audiences within the broader community sector such as education and community development. While studying the Masters in Library and Information Studies (MLIS) its amazing how so many people from other professions were convinced that libraries had no future and they were surprised that I wanted to specialise in that field. As a student I had to act as an advocate for the profession.

All libraries are important, but public libraries play a vital role in informing the general public on a whole range of issues. Which is why an attack by governments on public libraries is an attack on everyone’s right to information. In the UK and particularly in London so many public libraries are being closed because of the market value of the property and the millions that could be made by property developers if the land was privatised.

The key to any advocacy plan is to have a broad range of supporters from all backgrounds which is why its important to gain support for advocacy campaigns from various community and professional bodies.

Image from here.

Thing 14 – Augmented Reality

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As Niamh pointed out on the Thing 14 blog post, like most people I thought augmented reality sounds cool but I didn’t really know what it was or how it could be relevant to libraries. This blog post was really informative and really helped to change my perspective on the benefits of using an augmented reality app. Currently I don’t work with clients so I just reviewed the different links suggested on the Rudai 23 blog. I also searched Google images for this posting and most of the results came from articles outlining the benefits for the marketing places on the street and for retail chains, particularly supermarkets. I haven’t downloaded any apps for my phone yet as I’m running out of storage memory but I think its something that everyone will be using shortly to navigate their way through streets or supermarket aisles. Thus, I’m not suprised that libraries are starting to apply it to their regular services.

Image from here.