Stimulate your brain :)

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Mustn’t forget to put in a title today :) I just get so excited by some of the things I find for you that I completely forget simple things like titles!

Today I have found something that I think is a really good idea. Don’t know about you but I often get a sort of writers (or even thinkers) block, especially first thing in the morning, so it’s great to find something that can deal with that. There is a site called, 750words.com where you can go and write 750 words on anything. It’s all completely private, it’s not like a blog or Twitter. It just helps you to get all the morning, muddled, mess out of your brain so you can get going properly – you might even find the answer to some of the questions you have. Great!

I also have a couple of research things for you. You don’t have to be doing your PhD to look at these they are very useful even if you are just beginning. I’ve mention Mendeley and Zotero before and if you get along ok with those that’s fine but different people have different needs and I thought you might like to try Quiqqa. All of these programmes do similar things in slightly different ways – they manage your papers, your references, help you connect with other people interested in the same/similar subjects – all in all very helpful stuff.

Finally I must give my friend’s new book a plug. If you’re not sure about how or when to use social media in your research/academic work then have a look at this book written by Shailey Minocha and Marian Petre and published by Vitae Innovate, the research organisation. The title is a bit posh, “Handbook of social media for researchers and supervisors Digital technologies for research dialogues” but it has lots of good advice in it – go on have a look :)

Ways of communicating

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I don’t know how much all of you are into metadata but I just had to bring you this smashing little video from some guys at Ghent University. These three guys make metadata sound really interesting (well of course it is).

Now this is one for our budding researchers doing their PhDs. I keep trying to convince them that they have to get out there and get their names and their research known. This short but sweet post is from the Mobilize this! blog which is, “A research impact blog from Canada’s knowledge mobilization network”. I just have one question – how on earth do you keep 70 people in a pub sober enough to have a discussion?!

Carrying on with our theme of Communication for this post. JISC fund lots of interesting things, some of the funding comes under the heading of Digitisation and Content. One of the things JISC funds, which comes under e-Content 2011, is the Cataloguing of Kays (Body Image in 100 Years of Kays Worcester) which has nurtured the World of Kays website in the bosom of the ILS family. Go and have your say on the Your stories page and upload a pic of your granny in her new frock :)

You see my little chickadees you have to get out there and get noticed :)

Return of the blogger

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Hi everyone I have returned from my hols completely refreshed – I expect this feeling of wellbeing will have worn off by the end of the week so I won’t be blasting you with happiness for long :)

Before I started my holiday I attended a really interesting conference at University College London (UCL) – The Fifth Bloomsbury Conference on e-Publishing and e-Publications. There was a great mix of people there, publishers, authors, academics, librarians, archivists, etc, and some fantastic speakers. I’m just going to pick out a few of the speakers as examples but I could have chosen any of them. The first person who comes to mind is Professor Dave De Roure from the Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford. Dave was talking about the online sharing of tools, data and methodologies. Do have a look at the Digital Social Research blog, the Digital Humanities @ Oxford site and the myexperiment.org site. They are all sites about sharing data and workflows in the Humanities – shows you what can be done if we put our minds to it.

I’ve mentioned Mendeley before in a previous post but it is worth mentioning again. One of the speakers was Jason Hoyt who is Chief Scientist and Vice President of Research and Development at Mendeley. To describe the amount of documents they process Jason said that Mendeley processed the same number of documents in 24 months as Web of Knowledge did in 5 years. Mendeley now holds over 100 million documents and is the largest crowd-sourced database in the world. An excellent way to find, share and publish research papers.

That’s all for now I’ll write more about the conference tomorrow.

Preparing for annual leave

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Catching up on everything today. Trying to make it all shipshape before a have a little time off, which is why this blog is a little late going out.

Just as a parting shot before I go I thought I would leave you with this post from Scott’s eLearning Library. I think you should read Scott’s article (if you haven’t already) and his links to Karl Drinkwater’s post and SCONUL article. There’s plenty out there now telling us about how badly the traditional publishing services are doing but the academic world in the UK still seems to be trying to manage with paper based books. Please, please let me know if anyone knows if this isn’t true. Even our ebooks tend not to be produced on standard ebook platforms! This is a technology that is here to stay, I used to read quite a lot of paper-based books but since I downloaded Kindle to my iPad I have read far more books. As Scott says, with a leather cover on my iPad it is just like reading a good book – and I don’t get the eye-strain I used to either.

I’m not saying we should do away with books completely. I love old books – I love them because they were works of art, the covers are beautiful, the typeset is beautiful – let’s keep them as works of art, encourage people to create books from hand-made paper, and gold-leaf the lettering on the spine. Books and eReaders should be used for different purposes. I don’t know anyone who would rather lug round a great pile of books rather than an iPad. If lecturers could do their marking on an iPad instead of having to print everything off because the screens on laptops and desktops are so awful I’m sure they would choose to do so. And just think of all that re-shelving ebooks could save :)

I’m away until 18th July so just keep talking between yourselves until I get back :)

Picking through the pieces

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The news from ICANN should start to make our lives a lot more interesting. As I’m sure many people know by now, come January 2012 there are going to be lots more variations of the well known URL. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will allow a far broader range of URL endings than those we are currently familiar with. I just bet the Librarians will love teaching that now :)

I had a little wander through Twitter this morning. Stopped to read a few things in #infolit, caught up with what went on at the i3Conferenc in Edinburgh. Read through what was happening in #Coadec – yet more discussions but that’s not a bad thing. Then riffled through #medialiteracy and found something that I thought could be quite useful. The American, Project Literacy Amongst Youth (PLAY) blog posted an article about the Microsoft, “techtopian view” of learning and teaching. They provided this very useful checklist to use whilst viewing a film they had posted.

That’s it for today – more tomorrow. Just off to a webinar :)

Librarians turn

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I’ve been trying to think what I chat about for a few days for the librarians (knowledge managers) – I’m not sure which term people prefer these days – can someone let me know which term I should use? I think I’ll try starting with some online resources of one type or another – let me know if there is something you’d rather look at.

I’ve been looking at a few online courses, Open Educational Resources and online content (there’s a nice little discussion about OER and online content). This MSc on elearning from Edinburgh – well-known and worth looking at – got me thinking about what is it that the ILSs of this world contribute to this sort of program. Are librarians constantly involved in these courses or do they do a load of work during the set-up period and then stop? I think this is a question worth asking ‘cos it can really change the way we/you work. I know there’s all the technical set-up to organise but I’m thinking more about finding resources and providing knowledge management support. Look on the left of the screen at Resources and Programme Environments.

Under Resources there are the usual, Programme Handbooks, Support Contacts, Course Application Form, and e-learning journals. Under Programme Environments there are, WebCT, Course Blogs, Wiki – Holyrood Park (PBWorks), Second Life – Holyrood Park, Student Mail Service (SMS), University of Edinburgh Library, MyEd. Of course these aren’t exactly the same as ours but we do have all these facilities – Blackboard, blogs, wikis, Second Life, Library and SOLE. If, as I expect, we do move closer to this type of learning how much of this will librarians be involved in and what will be the role they fill?

Sorry have to go and meet a special person from the library :) I’ll be back next week.

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