Saturday, 31 December 2016

Thing 15: Collaboration tools


Of the three tools described in the post, Evernote is the only one with which I was unfamiliar.  I have taken it for a spin, listing the roads one would use for a car journey from a Yorkshire place to a Berkshire place while adopting a selective approach to motorways. But I, like Librarian at Heart, know the value of "the very low-tech but aesthetically pleasing option of an actual paper and pen notebook".  I can whip out a notebook and pen quicker than I can do the login(s) necessary for reaching the Evernote app.  The notebook, being a stage removed from the online world, is a little bit more secure.  The "elephants graveyard of notes I can’t understand anymore" recognised by Research abc would, in a notebook, be likely to have at least the virtue of chronological order.

I hope my view does not sound too much like the claim, in a 1990s spoof, that undesirable results from a mythical Microsoft product were "a feature not a bug".

I will continue trying with Evernote and see if I get to like it any better.


I told of my enthusiasm for Doodle in the 2010 round of 23things.  I continue to use it today.  Doodle is not to be blamed for the user error of forgetting that anything requiring a Doodle poll probably needs more than a Doodle poll: a poll to set up a meeting will not necessarily ensure the meeting takes place, and is not a major action on the issue behind the meeting.

Google Drive

I use Google Drive extensively.  It is very helpful for the planning committee of an event, allowing details of venue &c to be circulated rapidly and acquire modifications and comments.  I'm not sure of the best answer to the data-protection questions that Google Drive can present.  Is there a place where private individuals can store things like a Christmas card list or address book online?

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Thing 14: Sourcing and using good images

Write a blogpost about reusing images and what you have done in the past 

I found myself nodding in agreement with Researchabc and Thelibrarianerrant, both of whom owned to a measure of restraint in the use of images.  I excuse my own lack of pictures, when necessary, by reference to television jokes about the Lord Privy Seal.

I have used images in the Haddon Library's PowerPoints for presentations at induction time and in the Alumni Festival.  I'm not posting these, as they would make no sense without the accompanying spoken text, but I can say that I've paid due respect to copyright, and enjoyed searching Flickr's Creative Commons area for images to use.

Find a really good picture that is shareable and embed it in your blogpost with appropriate credit

New Bridge by Cycling Man  CC BY-NC-ND
The picture shows Christchurch Bridge in Reading.  I haven't yet photographed this bridge myself, or cycled over it, but I have kinsfolk in Reading, and probably will do those things.

Write about how you found using the tools to find images and crediting the image itself

My exploration of the sites recommended in the blog post was unsystematic, with searches at different times for images of fire, demolition, rivers, cathedrals, and bears.  The picture I eventually chose for this blog was from none of those searches: I returned to the familiar Flickr Creative Commons area and looked for that specific bridge, a kind of substitute for pedalling a bike over it.

I hope the licence is correctly made.  It's not my first use of a CC licence, but as this post is an exercise, I looked at Creative Commons' own site for i's to dot and t's to cross, and believe I have done so.

Exploring the blog post's other recommendations was fun. I expect to use Pixabay, Unsplash, Morguefile, and Photopin again, next time I'm looking for pictures in earnest, and I may recommend them to friends making posters and church magazines.  I'm afraid I still can't see how to search Travel Coffee Book and New Old Stock, and am less likely to revisit them therefore.  I failed also with HaikuDeck; but PowerPoint, Open Office Impress, SlideShare and Creative Commons will between them probably do me what HaikuDeck would have done.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Thing 13: Creative Commons

My main use of Creative Commons licences, up to now, has been with regard to other people's work. For the 2011 round of 23 Things, I made the experiment of stitching a CC BY-NC-SA logo to a piece of artwork I embedded in my blog.  I expected then that I would be making more extensive use of such logos on artwork copied in the Haddon Library blog, but in fact I have not yet done anything of the kind.

For Alumni Festival presentations at the Haddon Library, however, I've made a point of seeking images first in the Creative Commons area of Flickr.  The reproduction has the CC keyboarded into the credits, even if the logo has been lacking.  And when readers have asked for images they can reproduce, Flickr CC is where I refer them.

I'm glad that the posts by other participants in 23 Research Things reflect a similar diffidence -- gladder still that the view is, for so many of them, "CC is great and now I've looked at it properly I'll use it more."  That's more or less what I said in 2011, I know, and I haven't used CC all that much more since then.  But I'm having to prove myself in a lot of areas at the moment, and greater mastery of CC licensing is clearly one that's worth it.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Thing 12: Presenting and sharing

The post for Thing 12 offers some helpful thoughts on presentation, independently of any electronic aids: think what exactly you're seeking to put across, who you're hoping to put it across to, what's the best structure for your message.  Indeed.  Those things are far more important than electronic aids, and may even lead you to decide that a given presentation should be done without electronic aids.  I follow public-speaking guru Max Atkinson on Twitter having first come across him, back in 2009, strongly disrecommending PowerPoint for facilitating presentation without skill.

I note that Max Atkinson's blog hasn't covered PowerPoint since 2011.  Has his influence led to public speakers being more skillful and restrained in their use of this tool?  It's only just occurred to me to ask on Twitter if people have noticed any such trend, and I have not set the Twitterverse ablaze thereby.

My subjective impression is that people are not using PowerPoint any less.  For the skill, I suppose I had better offer comparisons with my response to other media.  I can't recall a PowerPoint that frustrated me as much as an overhead projector presentation I remember from the 1980s (the presenter wrote her ideas on to the slides while speaking, and took each slide off before I had finished copying it into my notes).  But neither has a PowerPoint made me stand in the street and applaud (as a Carling Black Label ad once did, for its technique not its message) or moved me to tears (as an anti-drink-drive TV commercial once did, for everything).

My own offering is about washing up.  On my computer it has 5 slides, and on SlideShare, for some reason, slide 5 appears twice.  I'd better admit that I used Open Office Impress rather than PowerPoint, and perhaps there is some glitch between the open-source file and the other programs the upload led it through.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Thing 11: Communicating for free

The assignment this time is to nominate one YouTube video and one podcast and say why.

For a YouTube video, I propose the tour of Cambridge University's Social and Political Science Library, presented by Jenni Skinner. The SPS Library is a sibling of the library in which I work, and seeing what they could do, when they first loaded this video, inevitably gave me ideas.  In the Haddon, the ideas have so far come to nothing, but perhaps some day we might rise to the occasion.

For a podcast, I nominate a brief extract from David Hendy's documentary about BBC Radio 3: a recollection of continuity announcers Tom Crow and Patricia Hughes.  When they were active, I was in my teens, and much more drawn to radio than to television.  Podcasts are the 21st century's adaptation of that medium, and I can't think why I haven't explored them more.