Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rudai 23 : The End

Its over now what do I do... 

Now that Rudai 23 is all over I'm panicking a little as to what I do now! It has been a big part of how I spent my time over the last few months! 

Over the past three months I have really enjoyed this course. I have learned and engaged with technology and software most of it free that I didn't know about or failed to see its relevance to my work. This was the first course that I completed was done entirely online and self motivated. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning about online tools and these days all jobs require some knowledge of whats out there. 

I have been asked before in interviews did I write a blog and until this course I never saw the point. I always saw it as a self-promotion tool and it was only for academics to put their views out there. I never thought of it as a record for yourself of your attendance of seminars and a way of keeping notes as bits of paper can get lost copy books can get put away and not used ever again! Although so can blogs.. I hope I'll use it again if only to remind me what I attended and who spoke. So I still can't see myself being a regular blogger. I'm just not that interesting!

I found Rudai to be well structured and timed one or two things every week. It was challenging but fairly spaced. The team was always on hand to provide help and guidance (bit of self praise here I know) but so were the other participants which provided an almost classroom environment. There was lots of engagement on twitter and commenting on other peoples blogs which allowed for a growing of networks and a sharing of different viewpoints. 

I couldn't pick a favourite thing from Rudai as I enjoyed doing them all and could always relate them back to a workplace setting where they would be useful. In my last employment for example I could really see the usefulness of infographics. They would have been a great eye-catching method of displaying the dry facts and figures that make up inventory's and registers. What I liked also was the fact that the course wasn't only about learning new tools. It cover areas of responsibility such as advocacy, copyright and to your own profile as a information professional. 

I would like to give a big shout out to Naimh and the rest of the Rudai gang and saw thanks for putting this a really great course together. 


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Rudai Twenty three : Making it all work together

Social media management

I ignored Flipboard as its strictly a mobile app and went straight to Hootsuite. I had heard of it in passing before but never knew what it was or how to use it. 

I tried out sending a scheduled post to twitter and then tried to send a post across my Facebook and Twitter accounts. They both worked. I can really see the usefulness of this app for organisations. It would be make the handling social media aspect of work much easier.  Events can be advertised across a wide spectrum and reach many more people than would say an email or poster. 

The scheduled posting on twitter is something I came across before at a conference. The speaker had prearranged tweets to sent during her speech. I found this a bit odd. I see this better used to send out reading material or examples after the conference. 

The only thing I would say about it is that for personal social media accounts it can be difficult to invoke permission of access. Which could be a security risk for your data. For work organisations such as a library's this may not be too much of a problem. 

Hootsuite is a great way of managing your organisations social media output at a reasonable price. 


Monday, October 12, 2015

Rudai twenty two : Mobile Things

Apps and Stuff

I have not given much thought about apps for my windows phone as it was a budget buy for my personal needs. On reading the post I had a good look at what kind of apps were out there for windows phone users. I was always told that there were only a tiny number of apps being made for these devices and that the quality was inferior to android or Apple. I can't testify to the quality of the opposition but the quantity and quality here seems great. 

The ones that stood out to me and were free that I would be tempted to download for my phone if it had a bit more power were:

  • Code writer which supports 20 file types
  • Winzip
  • Lastpass a password management tool
  • Evernote touch
  • Camscanner whoch allows document scanner and sharing 
  • Collaborate
All these got good reviews and reasonably high download rates. I think I'll wait till my next phone till I download these as they tend to be for windows 8 and above and my little old windows 7 and even older PC wouldn't be compatible.

The Bizarro 23 things like Rudai 23 but different..

I took option three as I don't have an iphone or tablet and couldn't borrow one for the others tasks though they did look interesting. 

The 23 mobile things course looks very similar to rudai23 in that it covers much the same ground. I would say though this one is the superior course it does seem a good deal more detailed and how-to. The post I chose to investigate was thing four Maps and checking in.

They recommend the user to explore google maps as we did too. I said before in a post that I don't trust google maps that much as they can be up to a kilometre out. I use HERE maps which are a windows phone app they are quite good but it no longer works on my phone since the last upgrade. 

The post mentions "checking in" functions on Facebook and other software. I have a problem with this in that I dislike being tracked by multinational companies. I feel by giving this is giving them access to downtime when I should be offline enjoying the company of friends not giving even more information to the likes of Google or Microsoft. Strangely this isn't mentioned in the post or comments. 

The post mentions some apps and uses for these GPS tools such as geocaching and wayfinding. Third level institutions and maybe large secondary schools could use geocaching in their library induction as a fun way of getting the students used to making their way round the library. The post also mentions Wayfinding while I can see this being useful for finding WiFi spots I can't see it being used to find books or items in the library. The stock is labelled 000- 999 it's a easy system as it is. I would fear for the student who could navigate it. It also smacks of technology for technology sake. 

Readar is an app developed by Librarything which tells the user of library's and bookshops round them in an area. This does seem a great way of reaching a interested audience. Foursquare also gets a namecheck. This is a search engine app that allows users to search for businesses in city's around the world recommended by the locals. I searched for coffee shops in Dublin and got a good number of names. I did observe however that they predominately based on the south side of the city.  This is probably because clientele in this part of the city is wealthier and will have a greater chance of owning an up-to-date smart device and use apps such as this more. What does this mean for businesses and institutions outside these areas? Is it worth their while investing a presence for the apps if they're not going to picked up? 

23 Mobile things also seem to have a very good pintrest page. I looked at there pins for thing 4 and it was impressive. It give links to more detail and updates to the software and applications mentioned in the post. 

I am in my mid thirty's so I could be showing my age in the fact that I dislike and don't get the attraction to sharing my details online and I dislike being tracked by faceless machines. I don't really understand why people are so willing to give up valuable information about themselves which data mining companies will make money from for perhaps a cinema ticket? If they're lucky..

Overall I really liked how they wrote up the posts and used pintrest to supplement the information being given. I prefer Rudai23 though! 


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Rudai twenty one : inforgraphics

Charts and posters for blogs

I have used piktochat and and have tried another cavna. I normally enjoy making this type of stuff posters headers etc. I have done it before designing a logo and headers for an accountants firm. I found this task quite hard however. During the task crashed quite often or just froze when I tried to do something. I also found the free version fairly limited in images and some of the templates were not that useful or easily adaptable. The site pixabay however did have a massive amount of vector images for use for free and these could be loaded up onto the infographic without much hassle. 

I also seemed to have a problem logging in I used the same password and username for both packages but could never seem to be able to log in to piktochat. In saying that I found this package easier to use and it seemed to have a lot more offered in its free version. But easyly did offer a save as PDF which makes things look more professional.

I liked the fact that you could construct graphs and charts in piktochart and import information into a poster. While in the chart could not be altered so easily. It seemed to be set at four comparables. 

When I had difficulty choosing a topic when planning my infographic. I wanted to keep it library related and a lot of my early attempts were appalling. I suspect the two I have posted are good examples of a bad infographics but I am glad I tried it out. 

The first one I constructed in It is a just a lot of facts about the famine in Ballinasloe. I tried to saved it as a PDF.   But I could not get it to embed here for some reason. All I got was a white empty box. So I saved it as a jpeg and inserted it as an image. it can be viewed below.

Here is the piktochat infographic it is about my rudai blog visitors

I have embedded it in the blog post. I think its a bit too big for it. Overall I think infographics are a great way to display large amounts of information in a concise way. They offer an alternative to reports with large amounts of text that would take longer to read.  

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Rudai Twenty : Presentations

Addressing the crowd

Bilbo's Birthday

I dislike making speeches or giving presentations. In small groups I am able to speak well and get my points across but in rooms full of people I get quite scared. I am quite a shy person so I used to introduce myself loudly not quite shout out my name but not far off. This helped me get rid of some of the nerves I was feeling. Getting the tone of voice is difficult and keeping it mixed so that I didn't have a monotonous drone. Linked to getting the voice right is the timing problem explaining the issues in the allotted space can take a some practice but sometimes it can be even worse to finish before time.  In my experience I did speak far to fast. 

In many of the presentations or lectures I have attended for work or pleasure I have found that many don't know how to give good presentations. In one instance the speaker proceeded to read his 10,000 word thesis in a 1 hour 30 minute lecture that was only meant to be forty minutes. In another on cataloguing the speakers slides were so badly designed that I could not read them. The background and font colour were clashing and the images were fuzzy. I would be critical of his speaking style as he took a complicated topic and made even more so. 

My experience of giving presentations were in my third level and post graduate education. Here I used the first three types listed the the exposition, the showpiece, the conversation. The sales pitch while I have not completed one I have taken part as a member of the audience. A company did give the library where I was employed an overview of a new system that they were trying to sell us. It was an online presentation which had a voice over and slides followed by a phone conversation. 

Putting together your speech is a time consuming job. It has to sound natural and flowing all the points leading into and on form each other. It is a less forgiving than anything written. Similar to podcasting knowing your script is vital. 

Building slides is hard what do you put on them? pictures is permission needed?, are they focused properly? Bullet points have recently been spoken against. How much text is to much? I have only used PowerPoint. It is useful but I agree that its strengths can be its weakness in that too slides can be over busy with words and pictures. I have never used Prezi and when I looked at the site the cost was quite a lot a €10 a month. 

I have included here in this post a mini Pecha Kucha presentation I did for the Digital media production for the MLIS. It was on the volunteer library myself and other set up in the local village. This was a 3 min lecture with timed slides that moved every 20 sec or so with musical interludes. This type of presentation works better with lots of photos and little text unfortunately the library had been damaged by flooding and I got no photos of the library itself so had to take lots of the village instead. Looking at it now I can see lots of errors and things I could have done much better. The text and the colour scheme could have been better selected as they don't really match. It was a difficult process speaking for 20 seconds on a topic of the photo/slide then moving on to the next. But it is suprising how much you can fit into 20 seconds. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Rudai Nineteen : The Legal side of things

                         Anonymous [public domain] , via wikimedia commons




I first came across copyright connection to libraries in the MLIS when I audited the publishing module. This was interesting but very dry as it was full of legal history and jargon. The lecturer actually hated some of the copyright laws especially the lifetime of some copyright restrictions on works. The example they used was James Joyce whose grandson was still living off the proceeds. They were a publisher themselves 

Caroline's great blog post condensed and updated a lot of the information on photos creators rights. As a librarian I am familiar with attributing correctly when quoting from articles or books but only lately has it sunk in that I should be just as rigorous when it came to photos. 

Throughout my education I am not sure I accredited pictures I used for projects thinking that if they were on the internet or published I could just use them freely. For this course I have been very careful to use either getty royalty free images or pixabay images. 

I have worked in an institution who had several large photographic collections of local historical interest. Using Creative Commons licensing would be a way of promoting themselves and still maintain ownership and ensure the safety of their collections. 

A question I have though if you are involved in the preparation of a work for a body who will in turn own the rights to the work can you mention it in interviews or your CV?   

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Rudai eighteen : Communicating through photographs

Say it with Pictures

I will not be setting up a flickr account. I don't want to give Yahoo! my phone number. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and MSN doesn't have it (to my knowledge though they are sneaky) so no. Also I have enough passwords to remember as it is. I can't set up an instagram account as I have a windows phone and I couldn't do it on google play on my laptop.  

So doing the tasks this week has been tough. 

Looking up some instagram sites such as New York, San Francisco, and Boston libraries it reminded me of Pintrest. The New York library site tended to be full of pictures of people holding books over their face or people holding their favourite book or witty photographs. I loved National Gallery of Ireland site it had lovely photographs but not much interaction from the patrons. The comments are very few on the any of the pictures. 

I can see the use of this in libraries especially in holding events for children and teenagers. It could be a great way of getting young patrons to interact and be inspired by the novel they have read. It could be used for Christmas events such as the polar express program to interact with the children and publicise the event. 

Although I didn't sign up to Flickr I did use the search facility. I used it to find some photographs of my hometown which were very old, possibly Victorian and they included now demolished buildings which is great for an amateur historian. It also includes details about the photograph and you can interact with the owner or poster of the image. These would be a brilliant way to showcase a collection and aid researchers. The drawback being you must register.