Monday, 26 October 2015

Tell Us What You Think

Congratulations if you have finished all 23 Things! We hope you have enjoyed the course as much as we did. We know it was difficult to keep up with the schedule while navigating your work and personal life so we applaud you for staying with it to the end.

Now that you are finished we would love your feedback. We think we might run our course again in a few years, but there is always a 23 Things course running somewhere in the world. We would love to know how we did, where could we improve, what worked and what didn't. 

Even if you started the course and don't plan to finish it, or you've been following the course but not blogging about it we would love to hear from you.

Please take a few minutes to complete our feedback form. It's completely anonymous so you can be totally honest with us!

Here's the link to the feedback form.

Monday, 19 October 2015

A Follow-up to Video and Mobile Things

I recently had cause to work on a video project. The end result was quite satisfying, but the journey was a bit rough. I thought that I'd share the experience with you, as it is an example of bringing a few of the Things together for a real-world use.

What I wanted to do
The project was to create a video tutorial for setting up a piece of land surveying equipment. The exact details are not that important, but picture a tripod with a very expensive optical instrument on top and you'll get the idea. The issue is that most textbooks make a very poor effort at describing exactly how to do this. It is a very hands-on procedure, and the best way to do it is usually only learned by doing it for yourself. In an effort to help my students to understand the steps in the procedure, I decided to make a recording of me doing the set-up. The plan was to edit it on YouTube, to include annotations, and make it public. It didn't go exactly as planned.

What I did first
I used my iPhone to record a full take of me setting up the equipment (I did the setting up, and a colleague did the camera work). The take included close-ups and wider angle views of what was going on. I then packed all the equipment away and started again. This time I took about half a dozen shorter clips of various close-ups. The plan was to edit these together to make a coherent story of how to carry out the procedure from start to end.

What I did next
I uploaded the video clips to my PC and opened them using Windows Movie Maker. I attempted to piece together the clips in the right order, including making duplicate clips to add-in where certain procedures needed to be shown a second time. I found that the software was not as easy to use as I expected, and after a short while (perhaps an hour or so), I gave up. I went back to the clips on my iPhone and had a play around with the iMovie app that was on there. What I found was a real eye-opener: it was far easier to piece together the edit on the phone than it was on the PC. I was able to add a title and end credits, and use slick looking transitions (such as swipes and cross-fades) between the clips. As I was not interested in adding a voice-over, or using the original recorded audio on the video, I muted all of the clips and added a music soundtrack (available in iMovie). At this stage, I was feeling very pleased with myself!

Where it went wrong
After getting the edit about right, I uploaded the video to YouTube. I did not make it public right away, as I wanted to add annotations to the video. The idea of using annotations rather than a voice-over was that I wanted the video to be easy to use "in the field" by students: I felt that if they could pause the video and read some instructions it might be more usable than listening to instructions. Also, I was conscious that perhaps audio-only instruction may not suit a viewer with hearing difficulties. As there was no voice-over, I could not add automatic subtitles. Instead, I had to go through the video and add annotations manually. This was not a difficult process, but was time consuming. To give this a bit of context, the video is about 5 minutes long, and adding the annotations took about an hour. When I was happy that the annotations and video were working well together, I made the video public. That's where it started to go wrong!

When I viewed the video on YouTube on my phone, I noticed that the annotations did not appear. The video and the music were working, but the written instructions were missing. I did some investigating, and it turns out that there is no way to display annotations on a YouTube video when it is being viewed on a mobile device. This was a big issue, as I had thought that most students would be using their smartphones to view the video while out and about. I quickly took the video out of the public domain.

How I fixed it
I went back to iMovie on my phone. The version that was on there had no annotation, just video and music. I found a setting that allows you to add titles to any video clip, so I went through the entire video and recreated the annotations that I had added on YouTube. This took longer than on my PC, as the screen was smaller and I had to be a bit more careful with my typing. However, after just over an hour, I had annotated the video on the phone. I then uploaded it to YouTube. Because the annotations were part of the video file coming from my phone, I did not have to add any text on YouTube. The video basically came as a finished product off my phone. The annotations were now visible on the video regardless of what device was used to view it. Result!

Wrap up
So there you go: a combination of video and mobile apps for a real-world application. What did I learn? 1. That my phone is an excellent piece of hardware for capturing video, and it has excellent software for editing movies. 2. That YouTube has a serious limitation regarding annotations. Sum up: Apple 1, Google 0

If you want to see the end result (and I realise that the exact content may not seem very relevant to you), have a look at the video below.

(Photo from

This "Follow-up" Thing was written by Wayne Gibbons, Lecturer in Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway, Ireland. 

Friday, 16 October 2015

Application for Completion Certificate

Application for Completion Certificates closed on the 30th of November 2015. This blog will remain live with all of the modules available if you wish to complete our course in your own time or with colleagues.
All of the Rudai 23 team are very active on twitter and Linkedin if you need to get in touch with us. You will find links to our bios on our home page,

Monday, 12 October 2015

Thing 23: Making It All Work Together

Welcome to the final thing in our 23 Things course! Can you believe that you're on the last one? I would like to take this opportunity to say congratulations for reaching the end! Hopefully it also means the beginning of a new venture for some of you also.

We have looked at such a wide array of tools over the last few months that you might be feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. Are you wondering how to stay on top of all this new information that is suddenly flooding your twitter feed? Do you keep forgetting to check in what's happening on LinkedIn? Or perhaps you're feeling inspired to venture into the world of social media marketing.

In this blog post we are going to look at some social media management tools that will hopefully help you to keep in touch with the social media networks of your choice in a time-efficient manner. We will also look at ways that you can share content via your social media channels and increase your online presence.

Social media management can mean more than one thing. It can be simply the act of having all your news feeds sent to one handy location so that you can read them all in one place. It can also mean using a tool to aggregate and track content for the purposes of sharing it through your own or your institution’s social media accounts.

You will be pleased to know that we have already looked at a tool that allows you to view all your social media news feeds in one place in Thing 8 Curation Tools 


With Flipboard you can integrate your own social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ into your Flipboard feed. The images below demonstrate how to link your social media accounts to your Flipboard account so that they appear in your Flipboard feed. This can only be done through the Flipboard mobile app however, not the desktop site.

Once you have added the accounts of your choice they will then appear on your Flipboard homepage as a topic. You can flip the content from your feeds into magazines as you would anything else on Flipboard or share your items to other social media accounts.

Because Flipboard is a public platform there are certain restrictions to some of the content that is viewable from tools such as Facebook. 


Hootsuite is a powerful social media management tool that allows you to track several social media accounts from one place. Hootsuite can integrate with Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, Wordpress and Instagram.  It includes features such as cross posting from one account to another, posting to more than one account at a time, keyword searches, and scheduled posts. These features are useful if you plan to manage more than one social media tool as part of a social media campaign. I often use Hootsuite when I am at a conference to track the hashtag for the day or when I am taking part in a twitter chat. 

The free version of Hootsuite allows you to add three social networks to your feed and if you chose to upgrade to the paid version you can add up to fifty social networks. To add a social network click on your profile picture and then click on 'add social network' on the bottom left of the page. You will then be prompted to input your log-in and password for that account. 

The image below shows my Hootsuite dashboard. I currently have three twitter accounts that I am managing- the Rudai23 account, my own personal account and a literacy account on it. As you can see each account is separated by tabs. You can then separate each account into streams of your choice. In the Rudai 23 tab I have chosen the home feed, a feed for any tweets that we are mentioned in and a feed for the hashtag for #rudai23.

I can add a stream for each element in my twitter account, the home feed; messages; mentions; etc without it eating into my limit of '3 social networks for free' . With Facebook or LinkedIn however, each element is considered one social network. For example if I choose to add my Facebook home-feed and a facebook group feed perhaps, that is considered two social networks. This is the only drawback to the free version.

Hootsuite Dashboard 

Advantages to Hootsuite

While Flipboard is visually more appealing for browsing your social media newsfeeds, Hootsuite goes one step further and allows you to read and share content and also write original content. The scheduling option means that you can prepare a day's worth of posts to be published at regular intervals of your choice. Unlike Flipboard, your Hootsuite dashboard is only viewable by you.
If you are planning to enter the world of social media marketing in order to raise the profile of your library or institution then a tool like Hootsuite will definitely make it more manageable.

Creating and Managing Content

If you plan to increase the amount of content that you share on your social media accounts in order to raise your profile or connect with a wider audience online then there are tools to help you source and organize your content.

Google Alerts

Google alerts  is a useful tool for sourcing articles online that are related to topics of your choice. It is very straightforward to use and you can set up alerts for any keyword search of your choice. Google will then deliver articles related to your searches straight to your email inbox.


Buffer is a useful tool for sharing content that you discover on the internet to social media platforms.  It integrates with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Similar to Hootsuite, Buffer allows you schedule a list of posts to be published at intervals of your choice.

Buffer also integrates with most web browsers so that you can install a 'buffer button' on your bookmarks bar. This makes saving to buffer possible with just one click. If you use Feedly you can share blog posts to Buffer from within the Feedly app.  Buffer also has an excellent mobile app that makes scheduling and managing content while on-the-go effortless.

Unlike Hootsuite you cannot view any of your feeds, it is purely for the purpose of scheduling new content that you wish to share with your followers.

An example of sharing via Buffer

Your Task for Thing 23 Is

Try integrating one or more of your social media accounts into your Flipboard feed.


Set up a Hootsuite account and add one or more of your social media accounts to your dashboard.


Try linking your Buffer account with one of your social media accounts and scheduling a post.

Write a reflective blog post about your experience with social media management. Do you use any other social media management tools? Do you find it difficult to keep up with all your social media accounts?

And most importantly!

Give your self a big pat on the back for completing 23 modules. We are very aware of the commitment required to complete the tasks, write the reflective posts and keep up with your other work and life commitments as well. If you have reached this point of the course should be extremely proud of yourself!

Thing 23 was written by Niamh O'Donovan, Library Assistant with Galway Public Libraries, Ireland.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Thing 22: Mobile Things

We have come a long way. From the days when a mobile computer looked like this, and when a phone only did one thing (remember actually calling people to talk?), to a time when we don't even consider it to be ground-breaking anymore to have an internet enabled, wireless mini-computer in our hand. Like most technologies, mobile devices have become smaller, more clever, and importantly, more affordable. In this Thing, I will share my thoughts on what I consider to be very useful tools for your mobile device, whether that is a smartphone or a tablet.

The Office of Communications (OFCOM) recently described the United Kingdom as a "smartphone society", where smartphones are now the most popular devices for going online, overtaking laptops which had been the most popular means up until 2014.

90% of people aged between 16 and 24 years  and 50% of people aged between 55 and 64 years own and use smartphones in the UK today. 

So with all of this technology not just being "out there", but actually being used, it makes sense to look at how we can use and tap into this technology in libraries. The good news here is that a lot of the tools that you have seen so far in Rudai23 already have mobile counterparts. You might wonder then, if you already know about these tools, why look at the mobile device versions? Why not just stick to using the versions you can get on your laptop/desktop? Well it comes down to one simple reason: convenience.

Your mobile device is probably something that you have to hand most of the time. Got a few spare minutes, or are a bit bored at yet another meeting? Whip out your smartphone and check out the latest tweets from @Rudai23. Far more discreet that bringing your desktop computer with you to the meeting. Found an interesting early edition of a rare book? Take a quick snap of it with the camera that is built into your device and let everyone know about it by sharing on instagram/facebook/twitter/flickr, or even all four of them at the same time. Far more convenient that taking out your digital camera, grabbing the snap, digging out the download cable, transferring the photo file to your computer and then uploading it to the various services. The end result is the same, but your mobile device will get you there more efficiently and conveniently.

Right now I'm going to cut a corner: If you own a smartphone or other mobile device, to go to the application store for your device (either the App Store, Google Play, Amazon Appstore, Windows Phone Store, BlackBerry World.....or others depending on what device you own) and have a look to see if you can find an application for some of the tools you found useful in Rudai23. For example, you might look for some or all of the Google Apps (e.g. Blogger, email, calendar, Google Drive, Google Slides, Hangouts, etc.), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Prezi, LinkedIn......and there are many more. The chances are that if you think some tool is interesting enough that it should have a mobile app, then someone has already thought of that and made one. Have a good browse, and come back when you're ready.....

When you checked out your app store, you probably noticed the scale of the number of apps available. There are hundreds of thousands of apps out there, in varying degrees of quality, of course. For that reason, I am not going to attempt some kind of mega-review here. The best way to find apps that are useful to you is to simply download a few and try them out. However, I will take this opportunity to tell you about one new app and one piece of mobile hardware that you might find interesting.


The app I'd like to share with you is called "Gum". The app performs a very simple core function:  it allows users to scan a barcode (it can be any barcode on any product), add a comment to the scan, and then share the scan back to the Gum database. This means that anyone who has the app and scans the barcode will see your comment. The website for Gum can be found at this link, and it is a great place to look if you want to know more. To read about how this could be used in the context of a library, have a look at this blog post by The Library Voice. I think you will find it interesting reading.

One thing to consider with this app is that it does not seem to be curated or edited in any way by the developer. Nobody seems to be monitoring the comments, so for example there is potential for age inappropriate comments to get published. 

Gum is available for free from the Apple App Store. We have been in touch with the developers, and we were told that an Android version is in the pipeline but that they are focusing on iOS until the app has become well established.


Imagine you are a library user and as you walk into the children's library you get a notification to your smartphone informing you about the events that are on in the library that day. Story time is at 11:30am, then there is a music workshop at 12:30pm, and the local Coder Dojo are doing a demonstration at 3pm. All of that arrives with a (hopefully quiet) beep and a notification flashing up on your phone. How cool would that be? Well, the good news is, the technology is already out there to do just that.
Essentially the hardware is a small bluetooth transmitter called a beacon which transmits messages to any device that is enabled to recieve bluetooth messages from beacon devices.  Library's can use it to send messages about overdue books, requests or library events and borrower gets the notification via bluetooth to their phone. 

It is almost effortless on the part of the library (the notifications do have to be entered into the transmission details) and completely effortless on the part of the borrower. There is, however, a cost associated with purchasing the transmitters. A basic set up with 5 or 6 transmitters would cost about €150, so they are probably not something that you personally will want to go out and buy. However, they have some very strong use-cases in libraries, as you can read in this article in the Library Journal. If you can see potential in this technology, maybe it is something you ask for the next time budgets are up for discussion.

Your task for this Thing

Option 1: If you own an iPhone or iPad. Download the Gum app and give it a trial run.  Scan the barcode of the book you are reading at the moment, or the last book you read, and leave a mini-review for others to read. If you have a copy of The Fault in our Stars by John Green (ISBN 978-0-141-34565-9) or Game of Thrones  by George R.R Martin (ISBN 978-0-00-754823-1) try scanning the barcode and see what happens.

Option 2: Write a review for any mobile app that you like, although it should be an app that you have not already written about on Rudai23. If you are already using the app for work, let us know how and why you are using it. If you are not yet actively using the app, maybe explain why you think it has potential and how you might use it in the future.

Option 3: If you don't own a smartphone or tablet. You might be interested to know that there is another online course similar to Rudai23 which focuses entirely on mobile Things. It is called "23 Mobile Things", and you can find out more about it at this website. Take a look at the course and some of the blog posts.

Write a reflective blog post on your experience with one of these three options. How do you feel about using your mobile phone for work purposes? Do you have a beacon in your library or do you think it is too much like marketing and an invasion of privacy? Would you find the 23 Mobile Things course useful?

Thing 21: Mobile Things was written by Wayne Gibbons, Lecturer in Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway, Ireland. 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Thing 21: Creating Infographics

We have all heard the phrase, ‘a picture says a thousand words’ and I’ll wager that we have all been struck by an image that we have seen that conveys and explains something complex in a very easy way. That’s infographics.

Graphs, pictures, diagrams and even timelines are infographics and more and more frequently they are being used as a marketing tool on-line and in the media. They are a useful way to convey data in an easily readable and digestible format that is also visually pleasing.

Infographics have evolved over time to become not only an efficient way to convey information but also as an art form. Often the design and layout of an infographic is just as important to message being conveyed as the content or data within.

International campaigns such as UNESCO International Literacy Day use infographics to highlight important world issues.

Many conferences today offer the opportunity to present at poster sessions and an infographic is the perfect way to present you project or idea to a large audience in a short time-frame.

Creating infographics is a skill however that takes a bit of practice. We are lucky that as Information Professionals, we already have the data and the skills to categorise it and make it easy to follow. All that is left to do is to work a bit of magic to make the data come alive visually.

Thankfully there are a few free online tools available to us to make the last part a bit easier. In this post I am going to recommend two: and Piktochart and Piktochart 

 Both web tools are very similar so it will be down to personal preference as to which one you chose to use. Both provide the option to create for free and also to upgrade to a pro account.

I use the free version of which allows me to download my creations as a jpg or a PDF.  The free version of Piktochart only allows users to download their creations as jpgs, you have to upgrade to download as PDFs

I have a paid subscription to Piktochart and that allows me to use many more features including a wide array of themes and fonts. I can export the images that I create without the dreaded watermarks that are a feature of many trial or ‘standard’ free packages.

Example of a good infograph. Source

 How to produce a ‘good’ infographic

 A good infographic should stand out because of its simplicity and its ability to communicate a simple message in a very clear way. Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating infographs:

 Infographics are better when they are simple so resist the urge to load up your poster or image with additional information that would be better in a separate infographic

  • Create an attention grabbing headline for your infographic
  • Know your audience and tailor the content like you would do in a presentation
  • Keep it simple - highlight key items in your data rather than displaying everything
  • Cite the sources of the data used in the infographic and check your facts
  • Keep it fun by using distinctive colours and illustrations

How to recognise a ‘bad’ infograph 
Example of a bad infograph. Source

  •  A cluttered layout with very little space
  • Clashing colours 
  • No obvious 'flow' to the order of the information or text
  • Too much text, and too much information appearing on one infograph 
Here is a link to a handy do-it-yourself on Infographics originally shared by The Daring Librarian. 

Many of us write reports that we know could be presented in a more appealing way. Using infographics as part of your presentation or to highlight some incredible achievement in your library could be the key to getting much needed funding at budget time.

Whether you are an experimenter, an educator, a connector, a creator or a beacon, why not try using some infographics next time you know your report needs some more vibrancy. Your readers will welcome the change and you will be proud to have used one of these new tools in your work. Demonstrating your proficiency with the latest technologies can often be the thing that gets you noticed at work.

 Your Tasks for Thing 21 Are:

Consider a report or something that you’re producing at work, or for your local community. Do you think an infographic would better represent the data? What impact would this have on your audience?


Try creating your own infograph using the free templates that come with one of the web tools mentioned. Pick an easy topic such as the stats from your blog or something fun like what you would do if you won the lottery.

Write a blog entry describing whether these new tools for presenting data are any more useful than the traditional combination of Excel and Powerpoint. Have you seen infographs used in an interesting way in libraries?

Take a look at our Pinterest board for Thing 21 Infographs for more ideas and futher reading.

Thing 21 Infographs was written by Michelle Breen, Librarian at University of Limerick, Ireland.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Thing 20: Presentations

Presentations are as normal as meetings nowadays and are useful tools for the communication of information and ideas to team members, colleagues or a wider audience. Of course the quality of presentations has generally improved with advances in technology, people speaking without notes and almost in a sense performing.  But the importance of presentations shouldn't be overlooked, communicating your ideas and data needs to be done with clarity and professionalism.

Thing 20 aims to give you a brief overview of presentation style, tips to create a more professional presentation and finally touch on the technologies that can enhance your presentation and thus increasing your profile within your Organisations or Communities.

While technologies have advanced, the different forms of presentations have remained similar and can be classed in four distinct types:

  • The exposition: this is a data-reporting presentation, clarity is most important.  Think about company results, investor presentations where there is no room for error or interpretation.
  • The showpiece: used for a major announcement, perhaps the result of personal experience like a charity led visit to a foreign country, climbing Mount Everest.  These presentations are designed to engage and inspire you.
  • The conversation: This one is used to document a 'work in progress' or a creative project that is been developed.
  • The sales pitch: the sales pitch is a continuation of the conversation but with an ending styled for a sale or purchase. This goes further in that it actively asks your audience to purchase your product or sponsor your program. Very important to note - if you don't ask for a sale or sponsorship you won't get it'
Presenting is a wonderful experience that you will only discover if you remember a few core truths.

Your Audience
You should know your audience and your subject.  Research your audience, who are you presenting to? What are their interests? From a library perspective, is the presentation for senior managers who are interested in your projects technology or are they more interested in your literacy work within the project?

Your Story
Know your subject, this can't be emphasised enough. If you are unsure about any part of the presentation this will shine through no matter how fancy your slides or video footage.

Most importantly, before you even look at what type of presentation or technology you are going to use write your story.  Do not be tempted to start with your presentation slides and work backwards.  I deliberately stated story because this really is what a presentation is all about.  It has a beginning, middle and end and the importance of having a continuous flow to your presentation will make it successful.

Once the story is written it is time to look at the software.

For the software we will look at two examples - PowerPoint and Prezi. 

PowerPoint was invented some 20 plus years ago and has been adopted by most businesses throughout the world. Microsoft claims that over 30 million PowerPoint presentations are given every day! As with all software it has its' advantages - it is easy to use, has a wide availability and now has an online version.

Poor example of PowerPoint
Disadvantages include the expense if you don't have access to it, the online and full versions are not the same and some would argue that it is dated in design. 

PowerPoint is easy to use, but very hard to use well. Some tips for developing your presentation with PowerPoint include:
  • Choose a simple scheme and stick to it.  Do not mess around with fonts and  colour schemes as this just wastes time
  • Do not type your script on screen and then read it out to your audience
  • Do not have complex charts - use a number of simple charts is preferable - think of your audience
  • Do not get obsessed with the pictorial side of things, focus on the story and the pictorial side will develop
Good example of PowerPoint - simplicity
Another software option is Prezi which is online and most importantly is free to use.  Presentations can look very modern and professional and your work is saved automatically which is a great bonus.
The difficulties arise as it can be confusing to work with in the beginning, it's not as user friendly as PowerPoint and there may be issues when trying to work offline.  Where PowerPoint allows users the option to use too much text, Prezi can allow you to create presentations that would be more distracting to your audience but again, it's all about awareness and building your presentation correctly regardless of the software.
This handy tutorial on Prezi might assist you in getting started.
Another option that is similar to PowerPoint is Google Slides, which is available online and is free to use.  It has limited options in relation to format and design but it is very user friendly.

Example of Prezi
Something that should also be looked at is Slideshare, which has the option to sign in with your LinkedIn account and can be used to keep your network on LinkedIn informed of your presentations. It is basically a slide hosting service, run by LinkedIn, who purchased the site in 2012 but also hosts supporting documentation, videos and webinars. You can view the presentations by subject and this might give you some inspiration for your future presentations.

Option 1 -  Select a topic that you would like to give a presentation on and create a presentation of no more than 6 slides using PowerPoint, Prezi or Google Slides.  Share your slideshow and thoughts on the process in your blog.

Option 2 - Think about a presentation that you have given. If possible share the slideshow on your blog and your thoughts on how you planned, created and gave the presentation.  What worked well for you? Was it a case of nerves and you didn't deliver it as well as you would have liked? What there anything you would change?  Perhaps take the opportunity to offer advice to anyone who is planning their own presentation.

Resources for the post:

I've used lecture notes from my Masters plus the following books:
'Perfect your presentation: deliver confident, high impact performances' by Steve Shipside, 2006
'Brilliant presentation: what the best presenters know, do and say' by Richard Hall, 2011
'Successful presenting in a week' by Malcolm Peel, Teach yourself series, 2012

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Thing 19: The Legal Side of Things

For the purposes of this blogpost I have referenced legislation from a variety of countries to illustrate the legal principles behind intellectual property and copyright. This blogpost is not legal advice and should be treated only as a signpost towards some pertinent pieces of legislation. Please check the copyright and intellectual property legislation for your own country in order to fully inform yourself on this topic.

Working in the information world, one thing we all need to be aware of is our legal responsibilities. The terms “Intellectual property”, “Copyright”, “Creative Commons”, “DRM” and “DMCA” are terms that we need to understand in order to:

  • educate our clients about their rights and responsibilities regarding materials they access and/or borrow,
  • share our own works in a manner which supports free and open movement of information,
  • comply with any contractual or organisational obligations we may have.

You will notice that in my opening paragraph I have used the term “works”, not “work”. That is because I am referring to intellectual property, rather than the completion of tasks. Intellectual property is defined by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) as “creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.”

To every cow its calf. To every book its copy

A (short) History of Copyright

According to legend, the Irish invented copyright law. In the 6th century, a monk named Columcille secretly copied a book belonging to a monk named Finnian. On discovering this, Finnian accused Columcille of theft and brought him to the king for judgement. King Diarmuid (the judge before whom they appeared) ruled that, in the same way that every calf belongs to the cow that birthed it, so each copy is a product of the original book and consequently belongs to the owner of that book. Hence copyright law was born.

Copyright came into existence in England (with consequences for any country under British rule) in the 18th century with the creation of the Statute of Anne in 1710. The invention of printing had seen a rise in the number of printers and book publishers, many of whom printed and reprinted texts without the knowledge or consent of the original authors. The publishers and printers made fortunes while the authors were unable to support themselves. The Statute of Anne remedied this by granting authors”the sole right and Liberty of Printing such Book and Books for the Term of One and twenty Years”. During the copyright term, only the creator is entitled to publish, reproduce and benefit from their work. However, once copyright expires then anyone else may make use of the content.

Copyright duration was subsequently extended, but as copyright is a legal concept, the time periods for which copyright apply vary depending on the country, the type of content, the date of creation and the type of author (individual or corporate). In the US for example, lobbying by global corporations has seen the copyright period extended so that some works are protected for over 95 years from date of publication or 120 years from date of first creation.

As time progressed, copyright has extended to include not just the printed word but also lectures, literary, dramatic or musical work, records, film and (later still) computer programs. In addition to protecting the rights of individuals, additional obligations were imposed on publishers. Section 15.1 of the Copyright Act, 1911 required the delivery to the British Library of a copy of any book published in the United Kingdom.

Changing Copyright For a Changing World

In 1967, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) was created via a mandate of the United Nations as a global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation. In 1996, the countries involved in WIPO agreed the WIPO Copyright Treaty which recognised the changes - economic, social, cultural and technological - which had taken place globally and attempted to create new rules under which artists and creators would be able to protect their rights.

As technology evolved, so did the attempts to prevent copyright breaches. Global corporations began implementing digital rights management (DRM), placing coding in software and hardware which would prevent alteration or copying of content. More recently DRM has been applied in cars, mobile phones and e-books. In 1998, in recognition of the increasing threat posed to commercial interests by online copying, streaming and sharing, the US passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) This legislation criminalises those who avoid Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions, can be used to force takedown of websites and provides “safe-harbour” protection for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who are hosting challenged content. Other countries, including Ireland, have similar legislation. While DRM protects rights holders, it also has significant potential for abuse and organisations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Defective By Design are active in lobbying for its elimination.

From a library point of view, copyright and copyright restrictions impact everything we do; the content we make available (for example, journal and e-book licensing restrictions), Inter-Library Loans, (restrictions on sending PDFs), photocopying, use of our public access computers and the content we make and share to educate our patrons and ourselves. “Fair use” or “fair dealing” provisions which allowed for the use of copyrighted material for educational purposes or personal research have historically been of some value. However, photocopying an image to stick to a page which will be displayed in a school might be acceptable under fair use, but scanning that image and uploading it as part of a blog or wiki project could potentially be a breach of copyright because it contravenes the creator’s right to be the sole publisher of that content.

Technology such as digital rights management can prevent multiple users from accessing an e-book at the same time or prevent readers transferring books to their preferred e-reader, forcing them instead to download additional software or to use particular devices. However, recognition is still given to necessity of allowing libraries and archives to behave in ways not permitted to individuals, for the sake of cultural or educational activity. WIPO has created a number of videos examining the limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives which apply in member states.

Creative Commons

As copyright restrictions became more onerous, educators, librarians, technologists, legal scholars and others came together in 2001 to establish Creative Commons, a non-profit organisation, set up with the intention of facilitating sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Creative Commons have created licences which enable a content creator to allow others to use their work in a number of defined ways including permitting them to alter, or build on, an original work to create something new without requiring explicit consent. There are a number of different licence types.

  1. Attribution CC BY 
  2. Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA 
  3. Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY-ND 
  4. Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC 
  5. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA 
  6. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND 

Each of these licences allows a different level of permission from the original content creator. It is important to note that Creative Commons licences do not eliminate copyright. They build on it, enabling a “some rights reserved” approach rather than the traditional “all rights reserved” which copyright applied. You can read the full details of each licence on the Creative Commons website. I will give you a brief summary here:
  • Attribution. This licence requires that the content creator is credited for their work, so if you use a photo in your blog, include the creator’s name and any link to their personal website or the website where their content is hosted. You should also specify if you have adapted the content in any way. Creative Commons provides some examples of what a good attribution looks like.
  • Attribution-ShareAlike requires that you attribute the author as above and that any content which you create is shared under the same licence so that others may subsequently use your work to generate their own new content.
  • Attribution-NoDerivs requires attribution and prohibits you from distributing the material if you modify it in any way.
  • Attribution-NonCommercial allows you to adapt and share the content as long as you attribute it and as long as you distribute it for non-commercial purposes.
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike allows you to adapt and share the content as long as it is for non-commercial purposes and you must licence any adaptation under the same terms as the original licence.
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs requires attribution of the creator, that the content may only be used for non-commercial purposes and that the content cannot be altered in any way. No cropping, no changing, no adding a logo or text or anything else.

The Creative Commons movement has become so successful that “creative commons” has entered the English language as a way to refer to items licensed in this manner. Websites like Flickr and Opsound allow users to upload content with a Creative Commons licence so that others can then use this content to build new works. It is a useful search term to use when trying to source content for presentations or displays.

When you create your own work, be that a photograph, a blogpost, a graphic, or an audio or visual recording, you should also consider whether or not you wish to licence it under a Creative Commons licence. Creative Commons has a handy decision tool on their website to help you select the licence which is most appropriate for your needs.

Public Domain

Another option to consider when sourcing or licensing content is Public Domain. Public Domain content is content which has either passed out of copyright, or where copyright entitlements have been forfeited. So, for example the works of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and others are now enjoying a resurgence in popularity because companies such as Amazon and Kobo made them freely available in digital format as an inducement to encourage readers to make the transition to e-reader, while organisations such as Project Gutenberg made them available as a public good. Public Domain content can be used by anyone for any purpose. Some creators now choose to make their works Public Domain immediately, as a contribution to society. The British Library released over 1 million images on Flickr under a Public Domain licence in 2013, making them available to remix and reuse without obligation. Pixabay is a website which which makes public domain images available for use for free with the option, when you select an image, to buy the creator of the image a cup of coffee.

Organisational/Contractual Obligations

Before you start licensing anything you have created, first consider when and how you created it. Then take a look at your work contract and the legislation regarding items created in the course of your work. Intellectual property created in the course of your employment may in fact belong to your employer and not to you!

In Ireland and the UK, copyright legislation holds that any work made by an employee in the course of employment belongs to the employer, unless otherwise agreed so check your employment contract to see where you stand. In the USA, the Bayh-Dole Act grants the government the right to practically use any invention or patent created where federal funding has been granted. WIPO has a useful leaflet on IP ownership.

You should also consider any other organisational policies which may apply to your works. For example, does your organisation have a social media policy which limits or prohibits your use of the social media in a work capacity? How about your home life? Does it prohibit you mentioning where you work on your social media profile? Do you need to include a disclaimer on your blog or Twitter or other profile indicating that your opinions are your own and not reflective of the organisation you work for?

Your Task for This Thing Is:

  • Write a blog post about the possibilities/issues/concerns which this post has raised for you regarding the content you have personally created in this course. 
  • Write a blog post about a website (other than Pixabay, Flickr or Opsound) which offers Creative Commons or Public Domain content and what it has to offer information professionals. Discuss how easy, or difficult, you found it to use and any issues you encountered in applying the necessary attributions. 
Include two images in your blog post which are public domain or creative commons and attribute them appropriately.

Legislation References
Additional References

All images used in this post have been sourced from

Thing 19 was written by Caroline Rowan, Health Services Librarian, Dublin. 

Monday, 21 September 2015

Thing 18: Communicating through Photographs

Photographs have been used to tell a story since they were invented; most of us find stories more interesting and alive if they include photographs or illustrations. Humans are very visual creatures 
and a large percentage of our brain dedicates itself to visual processing.

In Thing 18 we are going to look at how libraries can tell a story or start a conversation using photographs. The two applications we are going to look at are probably the most well know of photo- sharing apps; Flickr and Instagram.

Canadian based independent enterprise Flickr was launched in 2004 as a web game that shared photographs. The developers quickly realised that users were more interested in saving and sharing photos online than the game they were developing, making Flickr one of the first social networking sites – social photos! Remember this was in the days before Facebook and Twitter, and we were still sharing printed photographs!

Yahoo saw the potential of the site and acquired it in 2006 for $35 million. As Facebook and Google became more popular Yahoo allowed access to the site using Facebook and Google IDs, which was great – one less password to remember! However in late 2014 Yahoo revoked this method of access and you are now required to use a Yahoo ID to log in. So if you have a lapsed Flickr account you will have to contact them directly to regain access or open a new account. One thing I don’t particularly like about Flickr (apart from not being able to use Facebook or Google to sign in) is that you need to provide them with your mobile/cell number to complete registration.

Flickr is considered to be the world’s leading photo-sharing site, with approximately 112 million users in over 63 countries, and the average number of images uploaded daily is around 1 million. Take a look at this article if you would like to see  some more interesting  Flickr stats.
Japanese Print:
Library of Congress

Flickr is easy to use, reliable and now has a pretty nifty mobile app with its own camera and filters. More importantly however, Flickr has an amazing creative commons search facility which allows bloggers and publishers to find attributable images for free. It also allows millions of people to see and share your photographs – your visual stories.

Flickr and Libraries

Flickr was originally designed for individual users, and it wasn’t until 2010 that they changed their community guidelines to allow businesses, non-profits and other organisations to have an account, though lots of organisations and businesses were already signed up!

Most libraries set up Organisational Pro accounts, which allows a team of people to post to the one account and allows for continuity through staff changes. Check out Dublin City Libraries on Flickr, you will notice that they are members of four or five groups.  Groups are a great way to start visual conversations around a common theme. 

As with all social media, check your organisational/institutional social media policy before setting up an account. Become familiar with Flickr, both the web based and mobile app before formulating a library Flickr policy. Take some time to decide whether to use the free account which offers a terabyte of storage space, or, pay for a Pro account, which is approximately €45 annually and offers unlimited storage.

Tips for using Flickr:

·         Organise images into topic specific groups.
·         Tag, tag, tag so that other users can quickly and easily find your content.
·         Community engagement: encourage library users to upload and tag their photos of library events        and exhibitions, so that they are easily searched.
·         Share images from library, campus and community events.
·         Photograph rare and fragile items in your collection rather that scanning them.
·         Create a collection of images that teachers can use for lessons or lesson plans.

Tame the Web blogger Michael Stephens wrote an excellent post in 2008 about libraries using Flickr, he gives some great tips of how to use the application, check it out here.  The cost for a Pro account has gone up since 2008, but not by that much, so it is still good value for money!

Museums and libraries are participating in ‘The Commons’ which is a project that catalogues and shows off hidden treasures. Flickr started The Commons in conjunction with the Library of Congress back in 2008.  Members of the public are actively encouraged to comment on and tag the images. As of now there are over a hundred participating organisations including the National Library of Ireland. and the British Library.

For the serious photographers among you, Flickr also provides lots of metadata about the images. This is one of my favourite photographs that I took when our new library was being constructed right outside my office window. When you click on the link and scroll down you will be able to see when it was taken, what type of camera was used and all sort of other interesting information! 

Instagram is a photo sharing application that allows users to take a photo, apply a digital filter, and then share it on various social networking platforms. It was developed in San Francisco in 2010 and is optimised for mobile use; you must download and sign into the mobile app before you can access Instagram via a web browser. Unlike Flickr you cannot use this application without a smart phone or internet camera and mobile app.

As with Flickr, Instagram had an immediate popularity, with over a million users within two months of launching, and by 2011 there were over 150 million uploads and 10 million users.

Facebook took note of its popularity and proceeded to purchase it for $1 billion in 2012, since then it has gone from strength to strength, adding hashtags, new filters, high resolution photographs and optional borders to name a few!

Again, before embarking on opening any organisational or institutional social media account check your organisations social media policy, and put procedures for use in place before opening an account.

Instagram and Libraries

Instagram is seen as a fun, young app, it has an immediacy that perhaps Flickr doesn’t have yet. The New York Public Library is a great example of how libraries can use Instagram. They introduced a favourite author competition using the hashtag #LibraryMarchMadness, whereby the library selects two authors and asks followers to comment on which one they prefer, the one with the most comments goes through to the next round.

Check out the National Gallery of Ireland's Instagram account. They use Instagram to publicise their collections and events.

Want to show off your new acquisitions? Take a quick snap and share it via all your social media platforms. Stage your photos so that they are fun, or even cryptic! Add filters and download Instagram overlay apps – these are really good fun and there are lots of free and paid ones available. Take a look at this photo I posted on our Rudai23 Flickr earlier, I overlayed some text on it using a paid app called 'Over'.

Tips for using Instagram

·         Post regularly, at least once or twice a week – remember you are easily forgotten on social           media.
·         Use hashtags# to share and find content.
·         Have weekly or monthly specials; post something from Special Collections perhaps, that                     wouldn’t normally be publicly available.
·         Show what goes on in the background, most people don’t know what goes on behind the scenes          in a library – let them have look at what you do and how you do it.
·         Engage with comments, and replies, don’t just post the photo, start a conversation.

As you can see Flickr and Instagram have their differences, but can be used towards the same end, to engage, market, publicise, and participate in a visual conversation.

I haven’t shown you how to open an account with either of these applications, because by this stage of the course you are pretty adept at opening new accounts, setting up profiles and deciding privacy settings, but if  you have any problems please do contact us via Twitter or Facebook group.

 Your task for Thing 18 is:

After Thing 17 Reflective Practice, I thought I would give you an easy task this time!
  • Open a Flickr account, search for a library account and download a photo to use in your Thing 18 blog post (make sure it is under a creative commons license and attributable).
  • Open an Instagram account, find one or two library accounts and start a conversation by commenting on an image or two.
  • Think of how you could use either or both of these applications in your library.

Take a look at our Pinterest page Thing 18 Communicating Through Photographs for further reading.

 This post was written by Christine Jordan, Senior Library Assistant, St. Patrick’s
College, Drumcondra, Dublin

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Thing 17 Reflective Practice

Eye - M.C. Escher


Congratulations all for getting this far. I hope the catch up time last week helped. Thing 17 is our final reflective practice. 
Thing 6 introduced our first reflective practice. We asked you to view other participant’s blogs and get a sense of the developing community, while taking the time to catch up with the tasks.
Thing 11 went deeper into reflection by asking you to look at your progress to date, assess your time management and view your support network. 
However, believe it or not, every blog you write is a reflective practice. These blog posts keep us updated on your progress with the current Thing, your thoughts on it and any problems or successes you encountered. We just didn’t want to scare you away by calling it a reflection! So armed with this information, you may wonder if you have been doing it correctly? As stated at the beginning, to achieve your CPD certificate the quality of your writing or the look of your blog is not being assessed. Rather, verifying that you attempted each Thing and updated us on your progress is of importance.  Reflective writing is something that takes a bit of practice and there are many articles and books written on the topic, I hope to give you an overview here, along with some guidance and examples.
Reflective Practice can be defined as the capacity to reflect on actions so as to engage in a process of continuous learning (Schön, 1983). We chose to use a reflective practice blog as an assessment tool as it matches the format used in the original 23 Things. Furthermore, Kinsella (2001) argues that action without reflection leads to meaningless activism, while reflection without action means we are not bringing our awareness into the world. While completing a task such as creating a screencast showcases your skills, writing a reflective blog post allows you to record the process. This process includes difficulties or successes encountered,  your impression of the task and how you might apply it to your library setting.  Up to this point,  you were not asked to reflect deeply on your blog entries and this was perfectly acceptable, until now. Thing 17 invites you to attempt deeper reflection. 
To help with our reflective writing, many models of reflective practice exist. The Gibbs model of reflection (1988) was recommended on my UCD MLIS course, so I suggest that we use the same model here.

Gibbs, G. (1988) Learning by Doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Further Education Unit, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford.

Using the Gibbs model: stages of reflection

We have to begin somewhere, and a description of what happened sets the scene for our reflection. The following reflection is on a superficial level:
‘’I created a screencast in thing 9, you can view it here. I found it difficult to begin with, but after some help from a colleague I created a good screencast that I am proud of”. 
This is sufficient for the course and informs us that you have completed the task. However, there is no reflection on how screencasting will be used in your career or why learning to use the tool was beneficial to your CPD. 
To enhance the process, we need to consider our feelings. Was it a negative or positive situation? Did it work and how did I feel about that? What was the end result? For example:
“I created a screencast in thing 9, you can view it here. I was worried about creating this podcast as I hate the sound of my voice and am not confident about using the equipment. I was afraid I would make a mess of it, it would go live, I wouldn’t be able to stop it and everyone would hear me swear. However, once I read the instructions again, I realised that this could not happen. I was in control of when I released the recording, if at all. I didn’t actually have to speak on the recording as I could use subtitles, type on screen, and use the mouse as a pointer. After some experimenting with the tools, and trying a few options, I realised my voice didn’t sound too bad at all. With some help from a colleague, I created a good screencast that I am proud of.”
We now must go further and analyse the impact and outcome of the task. Can we apply any learning theory to the situation? Did we have all the skills necessary to complete the task or was it a steep learning curve? If you had previous knowledge of other applications would this have helped? Did you get any help? Would help have made the task easier? What did you learn and what changes would you make if faced with the task in the future? 
 “I decided to create my screencast on using our institutional repository. I thought that might be easy as I run our repository and I pretty much know all there is to know about it, but making the recording wasn’t as simple as I thought. I didn’t think I needed a script as I knew all the information, however I kept forgetting some points while recording and would have to keep stopping and re-doing the screencast. I also stumbled over a few words, spoke too quickly and took too long to find certain links. I was so confident in my knowledge of the repository that I overlooked the task at hand, which was to learn about the screencast tool.  Two hours passed and I still hadn’t produced a publishable screencast. I recalled from my masters course that peer learning and collaborating is a valid and important learning lesson so I finally consulted my colleague who had previously created some libguides and she gave me some great pointers. I took some time to write a script and tested the functionality of the repository to ensure everything worked as planned. After this, I practiced reading my script aloud and began recording using the screencast software. ”
Finally, for the deepest level of reflection, you must assess what you would do if you had to repeat this task or something similar, what progress you have made and how your views and opinions of the task have changed. It is the deepest level of reflection. Ask yourself, what did I learn? In what way has it assisted my learning? Could I have applied this task to a situation in the past? Where could I use this knowledge in the future?
“Having completed the task, I now realised that I was worrying too much at the start. I must have confidence in my abilities. I had never used a tool like this before, but I run an institutional repository, so I have a skillset to complete these tasks and it was not too technical. I read the Thing quickly without really understanding the instructions. On reflection, if completing a similar task, I will re-read the instructions and make sure I have a clear understanding before I begin, therefore eliminating unnecessary anxiety. I also took the focus off the task on hand and tried to create a comprehensive guide to our repository in my first draft, which made the project a lot bigger than it should have been. I wasted hours trying to perfect a product when I should have been getting a feel for the software and trying out something new.  I now have a good grasp on screencasting, and have made a mini guide. I will apply the knowledge learned and attempt to make a more comprehensive guide to the repository. I feel this will be a good use of my time and will create a useful resource that I, and my institute, will be proud of. Once I have created something I am proud of, I will showcase it to my manager and perhaps share my experience in our next team meeting. I think it will reflect well on me and my manager will be impressed! ”
Photo by Cesar Astudillo

Hopefully these examples illustrate the difference between superficial reflection and deeper reflection. There is no right or wrong way to write reflectively. However, learning to write reflectively will equip you with the relevant ethical and analytical ability to augment your practical experience (Howatson-Jones, 2010). Atkins and Murphy (1994) state that the skills to write reflectively comprise: self awareness, description, critical analysis, synthesis and evaluation. As educated information professionals, we have these skills, it is just a matter of learning how to apply them effectively. 
Many practicioners believe ‘learning by doing’ is the most beneficial approach, without any need for self reflection (Edwards and Thomas, 2010). However, while learning by doing is a major component of this course, Schön, (1987) advocates for written reflection. Through reflection, emphasis is placed on learning by questioning and investigating, which leads to further understanding  (Smyth, 1992). Day (1999) recognises the link between reflection and factors such as professional health, competence and the ability to exercise professional judgement. Therefore, becoming an effective reflective writer is essential. 

Your task for thing 17:

  • Write a blog entry describing how you could use reflective practice in your library experience. 
  • Look back at your previous blog entries from 2-16 and choose one to re-write. Implement Gibbs model of reflective practice, remembering to consider the questions suggested. 

References and further reading:

Atkins, S. and Murphy, K. (1994). Reflective Practice. Nursing Standard 8(39) 49-56.
Day, C. (1999). Researching teaching through reflective practice. In J. J. Loughran (Ed.), Researching teaching: Methodologies and practices for understanding pedagogy. London: Falmer
Edwards, G. and Thomas, G. (2010) Can reflective practice be taught?, Educational Studies, 36:4, 403-414.
Howatson-Jones, L (2010). Reflecting writing. In Reflective practice in nursing. Exeter; Learning Matters p. 120-121
Kinsella, E. A. (2001). Reflections on reflective practice. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(3), 195-198.
Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books. 
Schön, D. A. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner: Toward a new design for teaching and learning in the professions. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 
Schön, D. A. (1992). The reflective turn: Case studies in and on educational practice. New York: Teachers College Press.

Smyth, W. J. (1992). Teachers’ work and the politics of reflection. American Educational Research Journal, 29(2), 267-300.

Thing 17 was written by Stephanie Ronan, Information Professional at the Marine Institute, Galway. 

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