Monday, 27 July 2015

Thing 7 : Podcasts

Welcome to Thing 7 which is all about Podcasts - we will cover what is a podcast, discuss a little about choosing a topic, what equipment and software you will need and how to compose and publish some basic podcasts. We will also introduce you to some podcasts created by libraries and for librarians.

What is a podcast?

Podcast is a amalgamation of the words iPod and broadcast.
A podcast is an audio file made available through the internet for download to a computer
or portable media player. It is usually part of series of episodes which are are uploaded
on a regular basis. The subscribers of the series then receive new episodes automatically.

Creating a Podcast 

What type of broadcast is it going to be?

A typical podcast is between 10 - 50 minutes long so planning is essential.
What kind of programme do you wish to have? Where is it going to be based? If
you are planning an outside broadcast then you'll need different equipment such as
special microphones. Is it going to be an interview?

What to talk about?


You must be comfortable about your chosen subject. It should be something that you feel passionate about, something that you feel other people need to or would like to know about. It should also be something you can talk about without lots of pauses or "amm" "umms" or "you knows"  thrown in.

On average people speak roughly at 100 - 160 words per minute which comes to about 15 pages of writing if your are planning a 30 minute broadcast. If you are speaking about a complex or unfamiliar subject then the words per minute could be reduced. This may take some practice.

It is advisable to have at least four episodes made before publishing your first podcast. This gives you some breathing space for preparing the next installment. It also gives your audience and you time to get to know each other, they can decide whether they want to listen to you anymore and you will not delay them by having late postings. You may also be getting feedback at this stage.

Don't have anything to talk about? Interview someone who does. Record a literary event in your library ( with the speaker's permission of course).

Here is an example of an  Oral History Series of podcasts produced by Wexford County Council, Ireland.

What Equipment/Software to use?


Most mobile devices come with a sound recording facility and an inbuilt microphone which will provide a reasonably good sound recording. You can easily record some audio and upload your recording to a host or to your Google Drive folder or your computer using a mobile phone.

If you're planning to record an event, a live interview for example with lot's of background noise, it might be better to invest in a good microphone and a digital audio recorder. This will store your recordings on a memory card. You can then upload the recordings to your desktop pc just like you would do with digital photographs.

If you feel the need to edit your recordings then Audacity is a good choice. Audacity is a free, open source audio editing software which you can download to your desktop computer. It is very intuitive and easy to use. You can download Audacity for free here. Audacity will allow you to export your audio files in MP3 format which is the standard file format for listening to and sharing audio files.

If you think your recording doesn't need any editing then you can skip this step.

Hosting Your Podcast

Now that you've created a recording the next step is to make it available for people to listen to. There are a number of options for hosting your podcasts but for today we are going to look at Soundcloud.

SoundCloud is described as a 'social sound platform' and is basically the same as Youtube but for audio files. With a SoundCloud account you can follow millions of people, musicians, radio channels and podcasts on a vast range of topics. You can also create your own SoundCloud channel and upload your podcasts recordings for people to listen to.

The following image shows the very straightforward steps to signing into SoundCloud and uploading an MP3 file.

I uploaded a file from my desktop computer. Soundcloud is also available as an app for mobile devices and it's very straightforward to upload audio to it from your phone. You can sign up to SoundCloud for free here.

Sharing Your Podcast

The next step is to share your recording and let people know it's there. There are a few ways that you can share your podcast, either via your social networks like Twitter or Facebook, in an email, or as an embedded link in your blog post.

The following image shows the steps for sharing your podcast and embedding your podcast into a blog post.

And here is the embedded recording that we uploaded - don't judge us! We were a bit stuck for material the day we wrote this blog post.

Listening to Podcasts 

If you feel that creating podcasts is not something that is relevant to your job right now then we can recommend a few worthy podcasts to listen to instead.

You can easily listen to podcasts on a mobile device through iTunes or android apps such as Stitcher or on a desktop PC using headphones. 

Here are some worthy library Podcasts to listen to:

Circulating Ideas - Created by Steve Thomas. This podcast is unique in that it is created for Library Professionals and is an excellent CPD learning resource. Steve interviews noteworthy librarians about the work that they do and is excellent at discovering and highlighting new and innovative library projects.  He and his team also visit library conferences to interview delegates about projects they are presenting and also to get feedback from them about what they are getting from that particular conference. If you do one thing this week listen to this podcast.

Longform Podcasts  - a weekly podcast interview with a non-fiction writer or editor.

Serial - A 12 part thriller based on true events which was one of the most listened to podcasts in 2014.

Your tasks for this week are: 


Try creating a recording and uploading it to your SoundCloud account. Then embed it into your blog post.


Listen to one of the podcasts mentioned in this article

Write a blog post about your thoughts on podcasts. Are they relevant or used in your Library? Could you use podcasts as an educational tool? Can you recommend any good podcasts to listen to?

Further Learning 

Hosting your podcasts directly from your blog can be tricky but it is possible. Here is a detailed step by step article  from Brian Grey on how to host your podcasts through a Blogger blog. It might seem daunting at first but if you follow the steps carefully it is possible.

If you have a self-hosted Wordpress site (the one that costs money) then you can install a plugin to host your podcast.

The advantage to doing this is that you can submit your podcasts to iTunes via an RSS feed thus reaching a wider audience.

Check out our Pinterest page on Podcasts for links to more podcasts and articles.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Registration is Closing Soon

This is just  a quick post to announce that registration for our course will be closing on the 7th of August. The course schedule will continue as normal, but our registration form will no longer be available.

If you have not registered but are thinking of doing so then you must do it before this date.

Don't worry you can still do the course without registering.

If you decide not to register, but still wish to do the course you can. This just means that your blog will not be included in the blog list of participants and you wont receive a certificate at the end of the course.

If you know of anyone that is thinking of registering for the course please let them know about the closing date.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Thing 6: Reflective Practice

You have probably noticed that we have a few modules on the course called Reflective Practice.

We have included these modules in the course as an opportunity for you to catch up if you're falling behind and also take stock of how you are progressing in the course. Reflective blogging is an important element to this course.

In Thing 2 we asked you to ask yourself some questions and reflect on how you came to the point in your career that you are at today.  How did you feel after you wrote your answers? Justified in your career path, empowered by the work that you do, or questioning where to go next perhaps?

We believe this is a very effective way to learn and also to identify areas for discussion and further exploration. I personally will be looking forward to the reflective blog posts as an opportunity to see what everyone else is thinking.

Here is an article from one of my favourite bloggers The Daring Librarian on Reflective Blogging 

You will still have tasks to complete in these modules but hopefully you wont find them as time consuming as the other modules' tasks. 

Today's task is to:

  • Look at the other participant's blogs
  • Leave a comment on a few blog posts 
  • If someone comments on your blog reply to it. 
  • Write a blog post about what you thought of the other participant's blogs - did you find yourself identifying with the other bloggers or surprised by what they had to say? 
You can find a list of the blogs to the left of this page. Or you can visit our Delicious page for a full list of the blogs also.

Good Luck!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Thing 5: Online Networks

What is an Online Network?

Juliette Powell (2009) illustrates a simple and straightforward definition of social media as;

a community in which individuals are somehow connected—through friendship, values, working relationships, ideas,

What examples of online networks are available for Information Professionals?

In Thing 3 we looked at LinkedIn as an example of a professional network. There are other, less formal options that don't require you to have a perfect CV or an extensive profile. In this post we will focus on two of the most popular social networks worldwide : Facebook and Twitter. 

Our first example is Facebook, which according to

  •  is the name of a social-networking service and website, launched in 2004.
  • allows you to communicate with (a person) or search for information about (a person) by using Facebook.  
Most of us are pretty familiar with Facebook by now. You probably either love it or hate it. For those of you who are not familiar with a Facebook profile page the following image outlines a few features to get you started.

What else is there to Facebook other than keeping in touch with friends?
Click to Enlarge

There are many opportunities to use Facebook in a professional way, you just need to tap into this professional community so see how it works. I am going to highlight two.

Facebook Groups

There are hundreds of library - related groups available on Facebook which you can join. Groups give you a lot more to engage with, like discussion boards, recent news & member listings which keeps you in touch with the people that interest you. They can be useful if you are looking for inspiration or advice for a library project or want to share something that you are particularly proud of. A good way to search for professional groups to network with is to check out what groups your professional connections already follow.

Here is an article from with a list of Facebook groups for Librarians to get you started.

Facebook Pages 

Facebook Pages are similar to a web-page or blog. Most businesses, organisations and Libraries have their own Facebook Page. It's a free and easy way to promote your organisiation and engage with your community. Following a Facebook Page is great way to keep up-to-date with developments in the library world. When you 'like' a Facebook page, the updates will appear in your Facebook newsfeed. Watch out for the dreaded Facebook alogrithms though. If you don't regularly 'like', 'comment' or 'share' posts from a particular Facebook Page, it will stop appearing in your newsfeed.

Bobbi Newman has an excellent article here for Facebook pages, and her blog is a wonderful read.

Our second example is Twitter.

 Twitter, I love Twitter and urge all of you to tweet, tweet, tweet.

Twitter is defined as:
  • an online social networking site, launched in 2006
  • it enables users to to send and read 140 character messages called “tweets”
  • when someone engages in sending these tweets they are known to be “tweeting”
It might seem odd that communicating in sentences the length of a text message or less could be so effective and addictive but it is. Twitter is a great way to share snippets of information, link to a blog post that you've just written, connect with other delegates at a conference or ask for advice from your peers. The trick is to follow the right people to ensure that you're twitter stream is full of tweets that you find interesting.

Sign up for a new twitter account here and follow the simple instructions on screen to create your profile.

The following image shows my personal twitter profile.
Click to Enlarge

Next step - follow some people. Here is an article from Matt Anderson about twitter Librarians to follow to get you started.

I am going to look at the following three aspects of Twitter in depth, as I find they are a really good way of getting down and dirty with Twitter.

1. Lists - Lists are an opportunity to get involved with groups of people with similar interests. You can create a list yourself or subscribe to one. They are a useful way to separate tweeters that you follow into chosen categories.

There are many Library lists on twitter. However please note: Lists are not a way to send Tweets to a select group, just to read them. We have started compiling a few lists on our own twitter account, one of which you can see here. Take a look at our twitter profile for our other lists.

Have a look at the people you follow on twitter, click into their profile and see what lists they have and subscribe!

2. Twitter chats - What is a Twitter chat I hear you say.  A twitter chat is where a a group of twitter users, so that is you, yes you, meet at a designated time, on twitter,  in order to discuss a certain topic.

As you can see from my bio, I am part of @uklibchat which is a Twitter chat held every month and we discuss certain library topics. During the chat a new question is posted every 15 mins or so (depending on the length of the chat), and tweeters respond by tweeting using a dedicated hashtag.

Check out this article for further information on how twitter chats work.

3. # - hashtags are a powerful tool for such a small icon. Adding a hashtag to your tweet means other twitter users will find your tweet if they search for that hashtag. All twitter campaigns, international events and even television programmes have their own hashtag. Hashtags are also really good to use when following a twitter chat or  an online course such as this one- #rudai23.  I have used hashtags # when doing a MOOC and it is a great way to connect with the other people on the course. Twitter chats will usually have a dedicated hashtag. If you partaking in a twitter chat always use the hashtag when tweeting so that the other participants see your response and the chat organiser can collate all the tweets in a storify afterwards.

Once you've joined twitter search for the #rudai23 hashtag to see what's been going on with the course so far.

Your tasks for this week are:

  • Join our Rudai23 Facebook Group and introduce yourself
  • Follow a Facebook Page that you like. 


  • Set up a Twitter account if you don't already have one (contact me if you need any help, via twitter @shivguinn) 
  • Follow our twitter account @rudai23
  • Send a tweet using the #rudai23 hashtag
  • Find a list you like and subscribe
Write a blog posts about your experience with Twitter or Facebook. You can chose one or both tools this week. What do you think of this new professional side of Facebook? What new people or groups have you met, would you use Facebook in a more professional way or do you still prefer the social and fun side? Connect with @mariamernagh on twitter, she's compiling a list of Rudai 23 participants.

We are having a Rudai 23 twitter chat on Sunday the 6th of September from 8.30 - 9.30, please join in.

 Further Learning

Check out our Pinterest board Online Networks for more articles on the topics covered today. 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Thing 4: Google

I know, I know, as librarians we are always saying that there is a world outside of Google…and Google doesn’t always have the answers. Well in terms of a communication and applications tool, rather than a reference one-stop-shop, Google is pretty amazing.

I am a fan.

Getting started

To fully use the Google tools, you have to open an account. You may have one already if you chose blogger for your blog, or if you have a gmail email account. Otherwise, follow this screencast from Thing 1 to get started.

Now that you have an account, lets take a look around. Go to the Google homepage and sign in on the top right. Click on the nine square boxes in the top right of the screen to find applications. Here you will see the most commonly used such as Gmail and Youtube but you can change them around to suit your needs. Click on 'more' and then 'even more' to see the full range of Google products.

Click on your profile photo and 'My Account' to alter your privacy settings. I took some time here to go into My Account and turned on all the privacy settings until I was familiar with how everything worked, I also added my photo (remember Thing 3!). After that I felt safe to explore without worrying that my photos will end up in a Google search!

Google +

To begin with, let’s take a look at Google+. What is it? It’s a social communication site, similar to Facebook and Twitter, but works with circles and layers, based on your interests. On the home tab you can customise your profile, add information about yourself and add people to your circles.

You can create circles for acquaintances, family, following & friends. So when you post those cute baby photos, you may just want to limit their viewing to your family circle.

It works the same way for posts or updates you receive, your library colleagues will be interested in Rudaí 23 and your family may not, so you can customise everything. It is worth playing around with this and also to explore communities. In communities you can choose exciting topics to following and receive updates into your feed. You can also search for specific communities such as ‘library’.

Join our Google+ Community here.

The idea of Google+  as a social network is brilliant but it has struggled to compete against Facebook. Google have been threatening to close it down for a  while (they have a habit of doing this, remember Google Wave, Picasa, Reader anyone?), which can be off-putting,  but it's still there for now.


Gmail works like all emails, and includes useful features such as calendar integration and 15GB of storage. You can also get a professional email from google, such as, for a fee, which includes spam protection, no ads and 30GB of storage.


The cool thing about Gmail is that it is integrated with Google Hangouts. This is a video chat and instant message service. It has all the best parts of Skype, Whats app, SMS and Viber all rolled into one and you do not need to download any new apps to use it, you already have access to this through your Google account.

On the bottom left of your email homepage you will see the contacts icon and the Hangouts logo . The contacts icon lets you see who from your contacts is on Hangouts. Click on the person you want to chat to and a chat box appears. When you are instantly messaging that person, you can see a video box, click on this and it will take you to a video chat, the same as a Skype call. You can invite up to 10 people to the conversation.

You can also use Hangouts through your Google+ home page. On the Home tab, scroll down and select Hangouts, chose the contacts that you want to invite to the conversation and send them the link. Here I am calling Niamh through Google +.

When Niamh answers, you can see her in the large screen and yourself in small on the bottom right. You can turn off the video option if you do not want everyone to see you. I am on a PC so I need to have a headset with a microphone attached and a webcam set up, while Niamh is on her phone so she is using the integrated webcam and microphone.

Many of our libraries are working on a tight budget these days and cannot afford expensive videoconferencing software for conference calls or on-line training, so this is an excellent free alternative.


Take a look at Liboncon - an annual virtual library conference held using Google Hangouts here. This is a unique way to hold a conference as it promotes more discussion and engagement rather than the passive speaker/listener role that we might be accustomed to.


Hangouts-On-Air is a free screencasting version of Hangouts that allows you to conduct online training and record everything happening on screen.

This is an invaluable education tool to have in any library; it’s easy to use, and very similar to Hangouts.

This is a fun brief video on how hangouts work.

And this is a great training video on everything to do with Google hangouts and Hangouts-On-Air

Google Photos

Last year I got an android smart phone, and a new baby. I linked the phone to my gmail account, and used this primarily for my emails to make my life a bit easier.
As you can imagine, many photos were taken of the new born and some weeks later (or maybe months, it’s a blur) I logged into my Google account on my pc and was both surprised and thrilled to see all my photos backed up.

Where I had taken 20 almost identical photos of the baby slightly moving and smiling, Google had put these into a movie, so she’s animated and it looks like a video clip. An ‘assistant’ alerts me when a new movie, photo collage or feature has been created every time I sign into Google.

I take hundreds of photos on my phone which are automatically saved onto Google photos. That must make for a very jumbled up collection of photos - you would think.

Google Photo categorises your photos based on their content. If you search your photos for ‘food’, it will show you your photos with food it them. That’s right, you have not added a #food tag to your photos, Google just knows! It also offers you search category options, it’s eerily smart! Google as photo cataloguer!

Google Photo also allows you to do some basic editing to your pictures.

This can be very useful for conference photos, instead of posting 50 photos of the full day; you can post one video link with a compilation or movie of the speakers and attendees.

Google for Work

That’s a lot of the fun stuff, but Google also does the serious stuff that you can use for work.

You can create virtually any type of document on Google which work seamlessly with Microsoft or Apple software.

I have used Google forms for registration for our annual library association seminar for the last two years and it has worked fantastically well and I will be using it again next year, if that’s any encouragement!

For collaboration and storage, in my opinion nothing beats Google Drive.

We are using Google Groups while running this course- but more about that in Thing 16- Collaboration Tools

Your task for thing 4:

  • Open a google account and set up your profile in Google+. You can keep this totally private so nobody can view it if you want. Play around with the communities and add your interest.
  • Have a Hangout chat with one of your contacts and see if you can also have a video chat. Once everyone is on hangouts, we will try to have a group hangout in the next few weeks.
  • Try Hangouts On Air 
  • If you have time, explore the other features of the Google apps mentioned above.

In your blog, with hashtag #thing4, let us know how your Hangout went. Nobody to hangout with? chat to us! What do you think of Google now? Did you know these features existed? Have you learned anything useful from this post? I hope so. Looking forward to reading your blog posts to seeing how you got on.

Here is a link to Niamh O'Donovan and Stephanie Ronan's Google+ profiles. Let's connect.

This post was written by Stephanie Ronan, a Rudaí 23 contributor and Librarian at the Marine Institute, Oranmore, Galway, Ireland.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Thing 3: Your Professional Brand

Brands are big business and they are everywhere. Whether it is The Book of Kells, The Web Summit or Electric Picnic, each of these brands has something in common; they are well known. You either know what they are or can easily find out.

The iconic Book of Kells at Trinity College is a must on a trip to Dublin and in the internet technologies sector; the Irish based Web Summit really means something. Anyone between the ages of 18 & 34 in Ireland knows what the Electric Picnic is all about. These are high profile brands and all are commercially reliant on brand recognition for their continued success and profits.

So are individuals any different? Do private citizens need a profile, or a brand? Why is it important to have a brand? I believe we all need a brand, to be known for something, and to be visible online in a way that best represents us professionally. We need to have an online CV, a summary of what we want people to know about us, our story is our brand and we can and should control it.

Are you in control of your brand?

Img src:


Your Photo

One of the first things that recruiting managers do when faced with a list of applicants for particular roles is to search for the candidates name on Google. An interesting exercise for you to do would be to Google yourself in incognito mode (follow the steps here). This is what a prospective employer or work colleague will see if they search for you.

Are you happy with the results you see? Have you got an inappropriate or out of date profile photo on your online profile(s).Photos from your college days or wedding photos where you are perhaps not looking as professional as you’d like are not the best choice for a professional profile.

Take a good quality selfie, use your workplace photo or ask a friend who is good with a camera to take your photo. When you’ve got an image of yourself that you like, save it in your My Pictures folder on your computer and use it for all of your professional online profiles e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc.

Your Name

You use it every day but is it really you? Are you Mary Kelly at work but Mary Hennessy-Kelly, or Mary Hennessy on LinkedIn and Twitter?
How will people know for sure that it’s you, the same Mary that is applying for this job, that did a great project or led some innovation that the world needs to know about?
Using the Google results that you got when you searched in incognito mode, make a list of the sites on which you have a profile. Log into each service and make sure that your name appears consistently on each one. With a consistent name and that smashing new photo your online brand is starting to look better already.

Your Online CV

There are lots of different websites where people show off their CVs online. One of the largest, most well known, with more than 364 million members in over 200 countries, is LinkedIn.
If you haven't already signed up to LinkedIn, this week’s task is to do that. Once you've signed up you will be guided step-by-step through the process of filling in the rest of your profile. Now that you know your online name and have a great photo you are half way there.

Dust off your CV and use this as a starting point when filling in your employment history. You can list projects and major achievements, qualifications and informal training as well as skills. You can also input links to any online work or articles that you are responsible for.

A LinkedIn profile goes far beyond the traditional CV - this is your brand, your chance to dazzle.

Here is a link to an infographic from Link Humans which illustrates all the elements to a LinkedIn profile. You can also view this on our Pinterest board.
Two elements of your linkedin profile to consider carefully are your professional headline and your summary.

Your professional headline will appear when someone searches for you on Google. Think carefully about this – you don’t have to use your job title. Select keywords that really represent you. If you are a cataloguer, but you don’t want to be associated with cataloguing in the new roles you are seeking then don’t put cataloguing in your professional headline.

Your summary is a way to convey who you are, how you got to this point in your professional career and where you expect your career to take you next. Make sure you are accurate with the information you post on your profile; it has to match what you would submit in a traditional job application.


Now you are ready to start networking. You can easily reach out to colleagues, or to the Rudaí23 people, to start making LinkedIn connections (friends). Be careful about sending connect requests to people you don’t know – consider how they will react. Here are links to the profiles of some of the Rudaí23 collaborators on LinkedIn:

Michelle Breen
Stephanie Ronan
Niamh O’Donovan

LinkedIn Groups 

Another powerful networking tool available on LinkedIn is Groups. Take a look at the groups that your work colleagues are members of as starting points. Limit yourself to three or four groups to begin with as there can be a lot of news coming through from discussions in these groups.Eventually you should aim to share articles or opinions on the groups but for starters, it’s OK to just join up and watch from the wings.

Some recommended groups for you to join include Social Media in Libraries and the CILIP group and of course our own group Rudaí 23. Some groups are closed and you have to request to join them. Don't let this deter you, this is usually just to avoid spam requests.

Your Professional URL 

When you’re happy with your profile the next step is to take a look at your public profile and create a public URL. This is beneficial for two reasons:

  • You have a ready to share personal URL that you can add to all job applications
  • You come across in a professional manner, dedicated to presenting information well by having a customised URL that showcases your work experience and skills

The option to edit your public profile and URL can be found underneath your profile photo. When you click on the settings wheel beside the URL you will be shown what your profile will look like to other LinkedIn members. Here you can edit your URL so that it contains just your name and also decide which parts of your profile you want to remain visible.

About Me

Another way to achieve a public URL and get your own webpage is to set up an About.Me profile. This is also free and can be set up in a matter of minutes. One of the features of is the option to create a shareable business card which you can share with other users at networking events. Take a look at our contributor Wayne's profile here.

Online networking sites such as LinkedIn are free advertising for your brand in a very large and busy shop window. To develop your brand and get your online profile in good shape follow the tips above. LinkedIn and About.Me are free and essential tools if you are looking for work in libraries, or any sector.

Your tasks for Thing 3 are:

  • Create a LinkedIn and/or About.Me profile page
  • Develop your professional brand by adding a photograph and some information about yourself
  • Join the Rudaí23 group on LinkedIn and introduce yourself
  • Write a blog post about your experience with Linkedin or and your professional brand. What's your professional brand all about? 

This Professional Brand post was written by one of the Rudaí23 collaborators, Michelle Breen, a librarian at the University of Limerick

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Thank You!

Image via

It's been an education

We've been enjoying so much reading the first few posts about why or how people arrived at the information profession as a career choice. Everyone has taken such varied paths. Some interesting questions have popped up that we might pose for discussion on one of our network forums or as part of a twitter chat.

Thank you to everyone that has signed up and contributed blog posts so far. We are learning too. 

We will try our best to comment on as many posts as possible as you progress through the course. There's nothing worse than the feeling that nobody is listening.

We've uploaded all the blogs that have registerd  for the course so far onto our Delicious feed and on the sidebar on this blog. Is your blog there? Check to be sure. Hopefully we haven't missed anyone, leave a comment on this blog post or email us if we have.

Good News

We also have a new element to the course- based on feedback that we've received, we are now offering the facility to apply for an extension to the completion date if you have other commitments. Spread the word amongst your colleagues.

Keep Blogging!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Thing 2: Writing Your First Blog Post

The Hardest Part is Getting Started

The hardest part is getting started

Earlier this week we discussed blogging, what it is, how it works and a few different blogging tools that you can use. Now it's time to start putting your 23Things learning into practice and write your first blog post.

Your task is this: Write about how/why you became a librarian.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got about writing was from Helen Fallon of Maynooth University. She said "Leave the editing till later!" What she was talking about was the fact that many of us get so hung up on writing a perfect first sentence or first paragraph that we never make it past that. We write and re-write and then we get disheartened and then we give up.

A blogpost can be even more intimidating because not only is it a new way of expressing yourself, it is also a very public way of doing so. It is claimed that most people fear public speaking only slightly less than death and blogging is, in its own way, a type of public speaking. However there are a few things you can do to help get yourself started with this week's task.

Limit yourself to just 15 minutes writing for each of the following activities. 

Yes, you read that correctly. Set a timer on your watch or phone before you sit down and know that when the alarm goes off you have to stop what you are working on and walk away. You have a whole week to do this task, break it into small chunks.

Pretend you are interviewing your favourite author/actor/celebrity. Write a list of seven (7) questions you would ask them about how they ended up in their chosen career. Remember you only have 15 minutes. Don’t overthink it.

Now, ask yourself those questions about your career as a librarian. Write down or type out your answers. Again, take no longer than 15 minutes.

Remove the questions and redraft what you have written so that it makes sense without the questions being there.

Imagine that you are a reader who doesn’t know anything about your or about librarianship as a career. Would what you have written so far give them a full picture of how and why you became a librarian? Is there anything you have left out? Make any changes you think are necessary to what you have written to ensure that the reader isn’t missing anything.

Post what you have written to your blog.

That's it. In a maximum of 1 hour and 15 minutes (if you take 15 minutes for each item) you have written your first blog post.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started!

Thing 2 is written by Caroline Rowan, a Health Services Librarian based in Dublin, Ireland.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

How Did We Do?

Our first module is now live and we'd like some feedback. 

How did we do? We are learning so much from this course and finding our feet as we go just like everyone else.

We're delighted to see so many registrations already. There are one or two things to consider when registering for the course.

Did you include your blog URL when you registered? 

It's OK if you didn't. You need to read the first module to learn how to set one up. Now that the first module is live you can set up your blog and submit your blog address.

The reason we have asked for your blog URL is so that we have a list of all the participant's blogs. We have made this list available publicly on a Delicious feed so that you can see who else is participating and look at the other participant's blogs. If you don't want your blog to be publicly available that's fine. We will need some way to view your blog posts at the end of the course if you want certification, but we can come back to that when we need to.

Did you submit a work blog or the blog address of your institution?

It's up to you what blog you would like to use for the course. Just remember that the blog posts that you will be writing as  part of this course will be of a personal, reflective nature and perhaps not suitable for your institution's main blog or target audience. It might make more sense to set up a personal blog and use that.
The authors and/or other participants of the course may wish to leave comments and open discussions on your blog posts, so a personal blog rather than an institutional one will allow for this sort of useful engagement.

If you have registered but you haven't submitted the URL of the blog that you plan to use during the course please do so as soon as you can. 

Here is the link to our Registration Form

If you have registered you can view the Delicious feed of all the blogs submitted so far here. We have added tags depending on the details you added in your registration form. This will help you find others working in the same field as yourself. If you don't see your blog, please let us know and we will add it.  You can either email us or comment below.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Thing 1: Blogging

"A blank screen, he's got a blank screen!"

A common starting point for us all in the world of blogging is a blank screen. And possibly a blank expression. Well, don't worry, we've all been there, and I'm going to walk you through the whole process of starting a blog from scratch. By the end of this post, you will have seen some "how-tos" on creating a blog, writing a post, following other bloggers, and most importantly, you'll have seen that it's pretty straightforward when you get stuck in.

So, what is a blog anyway? It's many things to many people, but where the word comes from is a combination of the phrase "web log". Many users initially saw blogs as a way to keep an online journal (or log) of their lives. The uses have since expanded, and now there are many forms of blog, but they all involve a user writing a "post" and publishing it to an online tool. The user can choose to keep the blog private or leave it open for anyone to see. For those that go public, there is the option to gain followers/fans, and there are even cases of bloggers making a living out of their writing. The benefits of sharing your blog include opportunities for others to engage with your posts, to share ideas, and as a support network.

What do you need to do to get started?

Firstly you will need to decide on which blogging platform you wish to use. There are many out there, and each has pros and cons. What is common to all platforms is that you will need to create an account to use them. You can think of this in terms of when you were setting up an email address for yourself: you could choose from Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, Vodafone, etc. They all essentially do the same thing, but there are a few to choose from. Well, it's the same with blogging tools. I'll go through some of the options in the next section, to help you decide which one you want to use.

Which blogging platform should you use?

This will come down to personal choice, really, but to help you decide, I'm going to introduce you to a few options.

The three platforms that I have tried out in the past are Blogger, WordPress and  Tumblr.

Blogger Pros:

  • Owned by Google, so if you have a Google account, you already have Blogger
  • Completely free
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Offers basic analytics

Blogger Cons:

  • Hosted by Google, so if they ever shut it down, you could lose your blog
  • Some templates look a bit dated

WordPress Pros:
  • Blogs can look very professional
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Free (but limited) version available 

WordPress Cons:

  • Free version has the same risk as Blogger (if the host ever shuts the service down, you could lose your blog)
  •  You may find that you have to pay for the "nice" parts that come free with other providers

Tumblr Pros:

  • Very well suited to blogging on a mobile device
  • Media-centric, although you can post just text
  • Clean and modern look

Tumblr Cons:

  • Blogs tend to not look as professional as Blogger or Wordpress
  • Analytic tools are not as in-depth as Blogger or Wordpress
Tumblr has become a well loved micro-blogging tool by librarians. Just search for the hashtag #tumblarians to get an array of librarian humor and real librarians sharing their workday lives.
The best way to decide which one suits you is to have a look each of them online. I have also added a link in the "Want to know more?" section below, which goes into a bit more detail about each of the platforms.

My thoughts on the three platforms.

Unless you are willing to pay for hosting to set up your own WordPress site (which can look VERY professional, but costs money), then Blogger or (the free version of WordPress) are your best options. Tumblr is fine, and arguably has the best mobile app (iOS, Android and Windows) of the three. However, it doesn't have the same administration tools as the other two. Blogger is a bit easier to use for a beginner but doesn't look as fancy as WordPress. If at a later stage you wish to transfer your blog into a self-hosted website using the full (paid) version of WordPress, then you can easily export your Blogger blog to WordPress. So, it is up to you to balance the pros and cons and decide which platform suits you best. Any of these three will work fine for Rudai23.

Which blogging platform do I use?

Personally, I have been using Blogger for years. I tried moving my two blogs to WordPress a few years ago (I thought they'd look nicer), but what I found was that they were no longer showing up in search engine results, so I switched back to Blogger. If I had been using WordPress from the start, I would not have had this problem.  I had created a "track record"  and had gathered followers through my Blogger sites and so it made sense to leave them there.

Another BIG reason why I choose Blogger is that it is completely integrated with my Google account, so everything is really smooth: I can link my Google Calendar, Drive, Photos, Google Plus and YouTube stuff to my Blogger blogs very easily. They all work well together because they are all part of the one account. So there you have it, I use Blogger. By the way, you may have noticed that the Rudai23 blog is also created using Blogger!

If you decide to go with WordPress (or any other platform) for your blog, that is absolutely fine.  When you have created your blog, its URL will be shared to other Rudai23 users, and we will be able to work with you no matter what way you decide to go. However, for the purposes of sharing a tutorial with you, the next thing I am going to show you is how to get up and running with Blogger.

Getting started with Blogger

There are only a couple of simple steps involved in setting up a blog using Blogger.

1. Blogger requires a Google Account. If you do not have a Google Account, you can watch the video below to see how to set one up. If you already have a Google Account, you can skip this step.

2. Create your blog. The video below shows you exactly how to do this. In this video, you will also see how to publish a post, which is the basis of "Thing 2"

    That's it! You're now up and running with your blog! The set-up and posting steps for other platforms like WordPress and Tumblr are broadly similar to the videos, and if you want to use either of those platforms instead of Blogger, they are very easy to set up.

    Your Tasks for Thing 1:

    If you've been looking at the links and working through them as you read this post, you may have already completed most of the first Thing! If not, all you have to do is:
    1. Choose a blogging platform
    2. Create your blog
    3. Complete our registration form, including the URL for your blog.
    Writing your first post will be coming up in Thing 2.

      Want to know more?

      Blogging, and the finer detail of how to use your chosen blogging platform, is something that you will get better at with practice. One of the best ways to find out how your chosen platform works is simply to experiment with it. Have a look around at the settings. Play around with the themes. See if you can figure out how to add images to your posts.

      As a helping hand, I've put together a number of short video tutorials. You can look at these now, or you can come back to them later on when you want to explore some of the more advanced tools in Blogger. The videos can be found at the following links:

      For a more detailed comparison between the three blogging platforms outlined above, have a look at the following link. It is about a 10-15 minute read.

      Check out our Pinterest board Bloggers That Rock for some inspiring librarian bloggers.

      Thing 1 is written by Wayne Gibbons, an Educator and Social Media enthusiast. 

        Thursday, 2 July 2015

        Some Things Before We Get Started.

        There's only a few days to go before our course begins and we are all itching to get started on here at Rudaí 23 Central HQ.

        We have a few handy tips for you that may help with time management and getting through the course without it impacting on your life too much.

        Blogging for Breakfast Anyone?
        All of the blog posts will be published at 1am GMT. Hopefully, wherever you are in the world, this will mean that the current Thing will be waiting for you when you wake up.

        We also have a Google calendar of the schedule of the course. This is publicly available if you want to search for it in Google calendar. It's called Rudai 23. You can also view it at the bottom of this page, or you can input the calendar into your own calendar.

        Here is a link to the calendar in ical format.

        Copy and paste this link into whatever calendar product you use. Here are some simple instructions for adding it to your Google calendar. 

         Work Offline
        Once you have your blog set up you can easily submit your blog posts by email.

        Here are some simple instructions on how to post by email using blogger. Obviously this only works if you chose to use Blogger as your blogging platform. 

        Here are similar instructions if you chose to use Wordpress as your blogging platform.

        Please feel free to comment on this or any of our blog posts if you have questions or thoughts about the course.

        Looking forward to meeting all of you online next week! 

        Google Hangouts On Air

        The Calendar of Things