Monday, 31 August 2015

Thing 14: Augmented Reality

Augmented reality in use at the Museu de Mataro linking to Catalan Wikipedia.  img. src Wikimedia commons.


When the topic of Augmented Reality came up as a potential module for this course I got a similar reaction from more than one person - " Sounds great, though I'm not sure what that is, or how to use it".

Augmented Reality or AR is considered to be one of the next big things in mobile technology. This technology allows users to scan an object using their mobile device and access information connected to that object. The scanned image that appears on the screen comes to life with video, moving images, text or other enhancements.

When you see Augmented Reality at its full potential, it looks like something that belongs in a science fiction movie, but it's real, and becoming a much more common occurrence in our every day lives.

Here is an article citing some of the most popular augmented reality apps available at the moment. Google Goggles (not to be confused with Google Glass)  is probably one of the earliest augmented reality apps but like with a lot of Google products, it doesn't seem to have taken off. To get a true flavour of how Augmented Reality can be used as an educational tool, download Anatomy 4D (mentioned in the article above ) to your phone or tablet and visit their website here. Scan one of the images using the app that you just downloaded.


We're going to talk about two apps that are available for users to create their own AR campaigns: Aurasma and Layar.

I recently did a basic Augmented Reality project in my public library for our Summer Reading Programme. Last year we were lucky enough to have an Augmented Reality app from Solus to go with our reading programme and it got such a positive response that I felt we should have something similar again this year. Because we weren't partnering with the Reading Agency this year we had to do it ourselves.

Aurasma and Layar


Both apps are practically identical in the steps required when creating an AR campaign.
  • The creator (me in this case) uploads images to the Layar/Aurasma website
  • Chose from a range of items to add to your image such as video, web-links, phone numbers or images.
  • Publish you image on the provider's webpage. 
  • Users can then scan the same image in print format, using the AR app, and watch the videos or links appear on their phone or tablet. 
There were a few slight differences between the two apps:

  • It's free to create a campaign with Aurasma
  • You have to pay a fee to create a campaign with Layar
  • The user (the public) must set up an account with Aurasma by providing an email address before they can use it 
  • The Layar app is ready to use once it has been downloaded.

 For our Summer Reading Programme I decided to go with Layar. I was conscious of the fact that this was a project aimed at children. Asking people to sign up to Aurasma by email would create an extra obstacle which could deter them from engaging with the project. Layar's pricing was very reasonable and because it was a small program that only ran for two months the cost was very small.

Our Summer Reading Programme is called Summer Buzz and so I stuck to the theme of bees and nature when searching for images to use.

I searched the internet for reusable Gifs of bees and bugs and butterflies that I could download freely. 
Gifs are a type of moving image, usually about 5 seconds long that play on a loop. They can be used as still images also.
I chose six different Gifs which I downloaded and then used as still images to create six posters.

On the poster I included the Layar logo and our own Summer Buzz logo along with a still image of the Gif that I downloaded.

I then uploaded these posters to the Layar website and attached the moving Gif files to them. 
When the poster is scanned using the Layar app on a mobile phone or tablet the Gif comes to life. Magic!

 Once the campaign has been published anyone can download a Layar app to their phone and scan a print version of the same image to see the content come to life. It's important that you have a reliable wifi connection in your library for it to work successfully.


The great thing about these campaigns is that you can make as many print copies of the poster you want. In this case, we have 30 branch libraries in our County. I emailed the six posters to all of our libraries so that they could print them and hang them themselves. I could have printed more and hung them on public notice boards to promote our reading programme - next year perhaps.

You could potentially create a campaign that can be used across your entire country or worldwide.
It is a very low - cost simple project with far -reaching benefits.

Here is an article about the Public Libraries 2020 campaign and their use of Layar for their advocacy campaign Libraries Change Lives.
Click to Enlarge

This image shows you the steps to go through to create a campaign on Layar. You can test your image before publishing it to make sure that it works ok.








I also created an instructional poster to show library patrons what to do. I included a paragraph in the poster explaining to parents why we have included the AR project as part of our reading programme. 

You might be wondering this yourself, why would we want to use something like this in our libraries?

For our Summer Reading Programme it was a bit of fun and an extra element for the children to engage with during the summer holidays. 

More importantly though, it taught the children valuable digital skills and introduced them to new technology which will be much more commonplace when these children are adults.  For many children, the library is the first place that they are introduced to new technology and see firsthand its possible uses.

Digital Literacy is increasingly important and we need to start incorporating it into our library programming and future library strategies. More and more we are required to use online web tools and technology such as touch screens to carry out every day tasks such as buying train tickets, checking in our bags at the airport or paying our taxes. We need to learn these digital skills not just to be tech savvy and keep up with what's trendy but also to function in society.

Here's an article that demonstrates some new and very impressive technology for libraries today. One of the examples is LibrARi, an Augmented Reality app which seems to be a concept for now, but possibly a reality very soon. If you have the time, take a look  at the other technologies in this article, but also look a the demo video for LibrARi.

Your task this week: 


  • Take a look at the Aurasma or Layar apps
  • Try creating a campaign with one of the apps.
or
  • Take a look at one of the other Augmented Reality apps such as Anatomy 4D  or the LibrARi demo.   

  • Write a blog post about your thoughts on using Augmented Reality in the Library. Have you seen it used anywhere or used it yourself? 
Take a look at our Pinterest page for more examples of Augmented Reality in use in libraries. 







Thursday, 27 August 2015

Thing 13: Professional Organisations

Welcome to Thing 13: Professional Organisations.

We have moved away from the technical side of 'Things' for a while and instead we are going to take a look at what we can do to raise our  professional profile by joining professional organisations, contributing to networks, attending conferences and getting involved in advocacy campaigns.

Most of you will be pretty familiar with the professional organisations or library associations that are available to you in your country. For those of you who are not I will list some of the big ones here.

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) 

IFLA is the 'head-honcho' of library associations. They represent all library organisations world-wide and are hugely respected both in the information profession and by other international organisations such as UNESCO.
IFLA host a conference once a year which,  to us Library nerds, is the Glastonbury of Library conferences. It can be quite expensive to attend an IFLA conference, especially when you factor in travel costs. If it's way out of your price range there are some affordable ways to get to an IFLA conference:
  • Your professional organisation may have bursaries available to attend an IFLA conference
  • IFLA Speical Interest Groups often host satellite conferences in neighbouring countries and cities if you cant afford to travel to the main conference. 
  • If your country is hosting the IFLA conference you can volunteer to help out. 

The European Bureau of Library Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA) 

EBLIDA are sometimes referred to as the 'European IFLA' but this would not be entirely accurate. They do represent Libraries and Librarians in Europe but mostly as a lobbyist.  EBLIDA have spearheaded campaigns such as The Right to E-Read Campaign and have taken strong stance with the EU on issues such as Copyright reform.

Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) 

Although CILIP is based in the United Kingdom it represents Library and Information Professionals interationally. They have an International Library Group which provides opportunities for it's members to visit and study Libraries in the UK each year.
CILIP have a very comprehensive website full of resources that are relevant to all aspects of librarianship from things like running an advocacy campaign, up-skilling, or guidance in collection development.

The Library Association of Ireland (LAI)

The LAI represents Information Professionals in Ireland. It hosts a joint conference with CILIP each year. There are also plenty of opportunities to attend conferences and training events run by the LAI Special Interest Groups throughout the year. Our Rudai23 course is being run by the Western Regional Section of the LAI.

The American Library Association (ALA)

The ALA represents Library Professionals across America. There are Special Interest Groups as well as Associations for each individual state. Unless you are based in the United States it's probably not worth joining the ALA. You can however take part in things like the  Electronic Discussion Lists which are hosted by the Special Interest Groups. These are similar to a discussion forum but the conversation gets delivered to your email inbox.

Here is an article from Becky Spratford of 'Reader's Advisory for All' about how to subscribe to the Readers' Advisory Group Discussion Lists.



This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the organisations that exist for Library Professionals.

Here is a comprehensive list of Library Associations across the world from the American Library Association Website and an article from the Library and Information Sector New Professionals Network (LISNPN) blog about professional bodies. 


If you are not interested in paying money for a membership with a professional organisation, you can still benefit by following them on the various networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Some of the groups such as EBLIDA and IFLA will allow you to sign up for a newsletter and discussion lists without membership.

Following the associations and sub-groups on the various networks is a good way to determine which ones are active or best suited to your professional interests before you join.


Take a look at our twitter list Networks for a list of groups and associations on twitter. 

Why Bother?


When I first graduated from Library school I was nowhere near close to thinking about joining any library organisations and it was a few years before I decided to sign up to the LAI. Another few years passed before I decided to join a committee and become actively involved. I just recently joined CILIP and I'm thinking that Chartership is probably next on my to-do list.  It's not something that you have to do straight away, but it's good to be aware of what's available to you.


If you do join a professional organisation like the ones that I've mentioned you are immediately entitled to a range of benefits such as:

  • Training opportunities for professional development
  • Networking opportunities 
  • Bursaries and grants to travel and attend conferences
  • Advocacy tools and resources
  • Newsletters and publications
  • Opportunities to write for publications
  • Opportunities to submit presentation proposals for conferences 
  • Discounts to the organisation's events and learning resources
  • Professional recognition in the form of Fellowships or Charterships. 
  • Recruitment opportunities
  • Mentoring


These are the official benefits but there are many other benefits that come with membership also:
  • It looks good on your CV
  • You are part of a community of like minded professionals
  • You have instant access to expertise and support
  • You will find opportunities to exercise your library skills outside of work

Joining a professional organisation is also a way of cementing your career choice. You are investing in your career and making a commitment to your profession.


Special Interest Groups and Committees 


You can also take your membership one step further by joining a committee for a special interest group. Joining a Special Interest Group or Section will provide you with the opportunity to network with others that are working in the same field as you and can be very rewarding. It's also a opportunity to learn and collaborate with people that you may not otherwise connect with. You will find yourself working within a new team, with different dynamics from the ones that exist in your day to day job.

Joining a committee is also a useful way to gain valuable experience that can help with career advancement.

I think it  is safe to say that at the moment, jobs and opportunities are pretty scarce in the information profession.There are a lot of us out there who have fallen victim to the economic downturn in the last few years and have found ourselves in a stagnant job, with little opportunity for innovation or progress.

However it's important to keep your CV up to date and valid and to be able to demonstrate that you have grown in your skills and experience.   One of the obstacles we face during times of slow job growth is the lack of opportunity to diversify, try new things or work within different sectors.

When you join a group committee you will see an immediate increase in your skills and experience and it can be a huge boost to your CV. You will suddenly find yourself taking on roles that you may never get to do in your paid employment such as project management, minute taking, writing annual reports, policy writing, communications and social media management.Joining a special interest group or committee will immediately provide you with opportunities to try new things and exercise skills that you may not get to use in your current job.



One of Us

Becoming a member of a professional organisation means that you are part of community. Not only can you benefit from this community but you can also contribute to it. We will be talking more about advocacy for libraries in Thing 15 but it is an important element of your role in a professional organisation.

Professional organisations like the ones I have mentioned play an active part in advocacy for libraries and as a member you will too. You will find yourself contributing more to the profession whether it is planning training events or conferences, networking with colleagues or taking on projects as part of your chartership plan. These activities strengthen an organisation and in turn ensure the longevity and sustainability of the library profession.

Other Organisations

If you are not interested in pursuing the formal route of joining an organisation but you still feel you would like to be part of a network there are options for you.

New Professionals Day Ireland (NPD) : An Irish group that are ready and availalbe to help new and recent graduates. They host networking events, including a New Professionals Day, every year.

Repository Network Ireland (RNI); A network for Institutional Repository Manangers and Information Professionals.

Library and Information Sector New Professionals Network (LISNPN) : Another network that caters for new and recent graduates, based in the UK.



Your Tasks for This Thing Are  

  • Take a look at your country's Library Association website and see what it has to offer.
  • Write a blog post about your thoughts on becoming a member of a professional organisation. Are you a member of one or more than one already? What benefits have you found from your membership?
  • If your organisation or group is on twitter, tweet us their twitter handle so that we can add it to our list.  

 Further Reading

Take a look at our Pinterest board Professional Organisations for links to more organisations and further reading. 









Monday, 24 August 2015

Thing 12 - Attending conferences

LibCamp2015 - Image copyright Caroline RowanAttending conferences and seminars is a key part of the professional development of any librarian. However it can be difficult to convey the value of attendance at such events to managers and financial controllers who may have to approve requests for attendance, particularly where there is no formal training involved. So what are the benefits of attending a conference?


The benefits
Conferences are like marketing billboards.  They advise us of what is happening in library environments outside our own organisation. They draw our attention to new innovations and new technology.  No-one ever knew they wanted/needed an iphone until Apple created one. Similarly, we as librarians can't know about innovations taking place in libraries unless someone lets us know about it. Some might argue that a Google alert or other online mechanism would serve the same purpose. But how can you set an alert for something which you don't yet know exists?


Conferences and seminars are time-saving opportunities, providing you with access to a large amount of information in a short space of time. For example, at the WRSLAI seminar this year we had presentations on:
  • How to set up in business as a consultant or freelance librarian
  • Google Chromebooks
  • The role of a pharmaceutical librarian
  • Using a blog to showcase the diversity of the work of academic librarians
  • The creation of an online learning course
  • Developing and running a historical exhibition online
  • Toastmasters and developing your public speaking skills
  • CILIP chartership
  • Career progression
  • William Butler Yeats and his time in Gort, Co. Galway.


It might be argued that it is possible to find out about all of these things by searching online. That is certainly true. However, would it be possible to track down detailed Irish case studies for each of these topics and to find and to read them all on the same day?


Attending diverse conferences and seminars is a way  to see demonstrations of new technology which might not normally cross your path, be that the latest databases or software being offered by vendors or a demonstration of 3D printing. This is even more true if you work in a specialist library. The expectation might be that I, a health librarian, would only attend health related conferences. However, if I did that, I would  have missed out on learning about interactive technology such as QR codes and Layar technology at LIR HEAnet  and of 3D printing at an NPD Ireland event.


Attending conferences is a way to see the changes taking place in librarianship as a whole and to identify tools and resources which could help your personal and professional growth. It encourages you to lift your head up from the daily tasks and immediate focus that is your work life and allows you to scan the horizon, thereby helping you strategically plan for the changes which may be coming over the coming months or years.


3D printing - Image copyright Caroline Rowan
3D printing anyone?
Conferences and seminars are a great way to mix and mingle with others in your profession and also with those outside your immediate specialty. You can reconnect with former classmates or colleagues. You can make first contact with people you only know virtually - “Oh, so that’s what @flexlibris looks like” and so on.


The first time I went to the Academic & Special Libraries conference I deliberately forced myself to sit close to the front, beside people I didn’t know. Then when people sat down I just said “Hi, I’m Caroline” to the people sitting on either side of me. With one of them the conversation was very brief. The other person was very chatty and on realising that I was a newbie librarian kindly took me under her wing and introduced me to several people at the coffee break and at lunch which really helped make the event for me. That has continued to be my experience of conferences. There are always people who are generous with their time and knowledge and who will gently introduce you to someone else, so that you aren’t left standing alone like a spare. For those of you who are shy about meeting people, Careerrealism has a few tips for getting through those awkward moments as does David Lurie  Well worth a read if you dread the thought of having to get out there and actually talk to a room full of people you don’t know. (Hint: you don’t actually have to talk to the whole room!)


I recommend taking a notebook to conferences to write down the names of the people you meet and where they are from. That way before you go to your next event, you can refresh your memory as to who you met and where, so that if you meet again you can reintroduce yourself “Hi, I’m Caroline, we met at the Academic & Special Libraries conference in February”.


Some might argue that the day of business cards is long gone but I think they are a good idea, particularly if you are job-hunting, or may be doing so in future. While, with the best will in the world, we may intend to find someone on LinkedIn or Twitter, when you meet a lot of people it can be hard to remember their details (unless of course you immediately wrote them down in the little notebook I suggested previously). This is where a business card is a winner. If you have given a business card, the recipient will view it later and hopefully remember your face and what you talked about. If you received a business card, you immediately have contact details for the person you talked to and a refresher as to what their area of interest/expertise is. You can print up your own business cards at kiosks or order them online from the likes of Vistaprint or Snap Printing If you are a blogger, or on Twitter or LinkedIn, why not include those details on your business card too?


Tablet and notebook - Public domain image sourced from https://pixabay.com/en/notebook-ipad-technology-screen-738794/
Keep notes - your memory is not as good as you think it is!
The presentations
What about the actual presentations themselves? Usually you will have received a list of speakers and their presentation titles in advance. I recommend keeping a copy of this even after the event is over. It is a useful CPD record. After all, with so much learning going on in our lives every day, it can be easy to forget the multitude of different things you learned at a conference.


I used to take notebooks to conferences to take down key messages from speakers but I can’t write anywhere near as fast as I type (and my handwriting gets very messy when I’m writing fast anyway) so now I take a laptop or tablet. That way I can type up my notes as the speakers are delivering their content. This is useful regardless of whether or not the speakers’ slides are made available later on. If the slides are made available then you have further information to flesh out the slides. If the slides aren’t made available then your notes will be your record of what you learned. The notes are also useful if you want some blogging practice, as you can use them to help you write a blogpost about the conference itself.




Hands typing on keyboard - image sourced from https://pixabay.com/en/keyboard-type-computer-computing-498396/

The task
Your task for this Thing is to write about a conference you have attended. Write about:
  • What event you attended (name, date, theme of the event etc?)
  • What you had to do in order to attend e.g. application for approval from line manager, applying for funding support.
  • The networking you did (and if you have any hints/tips for how to meet people you don’t know).
  • The records or notes you made, if any. What methods did you use (notebook/computer)?  If you didn’t take notes, how much of the content can you actually remember now?
  • Reflect on what you would do differently at the next event you attend.


If you have never attended a library event, because you are new to the profession or because your budget or work commitments don’t allow it, your task is different. Identify a conference or seminar which you would like to attend over the coming months and write about:
  • How you sourced information on and identified the conference you want to attend.
  • The challenges you anticipate in attending (funding, travel issues, time to attend etc and how you will resolve these in order to allow you attend).
  • Your expectations about what the event will give you.
  • Your fears about attending an event like this for the first time.


I look forward to reading all your blogposts!


Thursday, 20 August 2015

Thing 11 - Reflective Practice

Reflection - Deep thinking 


We are almost halfway through the Things and this might be a good time to take a moment to reflect on the progress that you have made in Rudai 23 over the last 10 Things. Are you up-to-date with your blog posts? Did you skip any and keep meaning to go back to them? Did you get stuck on Thing 3?

The Reflective Practice modules in this course allow you to ask yourself some important questions. So far you have looked at where you are at in your career, how you got to that point and where you see yourself headed in the future. We feel that, at this point half way through the course, it's a good time to look at other things such as time management.

When you considered signing up for this course you probably asked yourself questions like 'do I actually have time in work for Continuing Professional Development, will my employer allow me to take the time? If I want to make time outside work, is it actually manageable?'

 'If I know that my time is limited, but I really want to partake, HOW can I make time?' 

 

We all have our own way of getting things done, however with courses like Rudai 23 these things might get put to the bottom of the list. 

Procrastination is my very dear friend and I don’t really like her. I recently read a website called mindtools and which says “Procrastination is as tempting as it is deadly” and it is very true.

Ask yourself this:  'what is holding me back? Why do I not want to do this?'

Reflect deeply on this and be honest with yourself and not only will you get the right answer but very often the solution too. 

When you have good time management, you are less stressed because things get done. Good time management is a continuing lesson to learn. Be realistic, your life changes and so does the demand for your time. Finding moments to commit to things can be difficult but with a bit of creativity it can be done.  Sometimes all that is needed is to knuckle down and get it done - work hard at it and you will achieve all you have ever wanted and more.

For those of you who are finding it difficult to keep up with the Rudai 23 schedule we have a few helpful pieces of advice that hopefully will put you on the right track. 

 

Let it all go


Try not to get overwhelmed with blogging.  I have put together a few Blogging tips that will hopefully help you if you are getting bogged down with trying to write the perfect blog post – if you have any that you would like to share then please do so in the comments.
  • Don’t think about it too much, I know there is the name, theme, pictures and background to consider, but do this bit by bit. You don’t need to perfect it on day one, reflect on what you wish it to be like and what content you wish to post.
  •  Not everyone will read your blog, so don’t worry about it being “out there”. The chances of people reading it and commenting on it will only happen if you also do that with other people’s blogs or if you engage with people on twitter and you blog link is listed.
  • Editing – this will be the biggest draft you will make time and time again because of the editing you will do. STOP, POST, READ. And then reflect and edit, it is your free uncontrolled thoughts that I love the most in blog posts, where you don’t over think anything and a really good piece of writing happens.

 

Support

 

If you find that support is something that you need then a buddy system really does work, so my next tip is Engagement.

If you know someone in your workplace or a friend that is a professional call on them and set up a buddy system.  The buddy system is tailored to a workplace environment. Your buddy is there to guide you and share their own experiences of the workplace.
Maybe there's someone you know in your workplace or online that is also doing the Rudai 23 course or a similar course. Why not reach out and ask for advice?
 If they are not in the same profession as you, they could tailor it to their own specifications and the wonderful part is you get to have a closer insight into each other’s profession, values, skills, etc.
We have a lot of school librarians doing this course. Perhaps some of you can get together in a real or virtual study group to help eachother. 

Michael Stephens of tametheweb.com very kindly shared this article with us on Twitter recently. He recommended it as relevant read for anyone doing the Rudai 23 course and we would love for you to read it.

Michael is a huge advocate of blogging for CPD and professional growth as well as for growth and innovation in libraries. Courses like Rudai23 give our profession and ourselves visibility - Stephens encourages this but warns it is fragile and is something we need to work on all the time. Networking, blogging and sharing ideas keeps you visible and we hope that once you've completed this course you will continue to use the tools that you learned about here.

Structure

 

You may have noticed, in our Rudai 23 calendar, that we have a catch up week in September. Thing 15 will be published on the 3rd of September and Thing 16 will be published on the 14th of September. You will have a full ten days in between to catch up if you find yourself falling behind. Write that down now and make some time to accomplish a few things during those few days.

Making a study plan is a very effective way to get things done. Write down what you're going to do each day and stick to it. Give yourself plenty of room in that study plan, be realistic about what you can achieve -  this is a lesson in itself, some things will not get done just acknowledge that. Don't be too hard on yourself. 

Your Tasks for This Thing Are:


  • Make a study plan if you feel you need to catch up
  • Write about how you are managing your time during this course.

Are you doing this course alone or with others. Do you have any tips for the other course participants for managing time?

If you need assistance over the next few weeks, please contact the Rudai 23 team, you are not alone. Tweet us, email us, create a google hangout with us, we will help.

And congratulations to everyone who is on Thing 10, it is a wonderful experience for us to read and comment on the blog posts.

Thing 10 was brought to you by Siobhan McGuinness, a library and records management assistant in the Heritage Council, Kilkenny.


Monday, 17 August 2015

Save the Date! Rudai 23 Google Hangout and Twitter Chat

Coming Up: A Rudai 23 Google Hangout


A few weeks ago we attempted a very impromptu Google Hangout with some of the Rudai 23 participants. We had just covered Thing 4 Google so it was a good way to break the ice with Google Hangouts, just to give it a go and see what it was all about.

There were 7 of us in the hangout and it only lasted about 20 minutes. We did a bit of talking over each other and there were a few awkward silences in between, some of us were on mobile phones, some of us had a not so great internet connection and there was  a lot of feedback from everyone's speakers.  I'm not selling it very well.

Despite the glitches, the experience itself was really good. It was great to speak in person to a few of you from our new community and it sparked a lot of interest in trying a proper one with a bit of structure and planning involved. 

Mark Your Diaries


We're pleased to say that we will host a Rudai23 Google Hangout on Sunday the 23rd of August from 8.30 to 9.30 pm  and we would like to invite you to join us. 

Because this is our first time to try something like this we are going to keep it simple.

The topic will be the Rudai 23 course in general - how are things going, what parts are you finding difficult etc. We will have two Rudai 23 Course Contributors moderating the hangout discussion- Stephanie and Wayne,  and we would like to invite 5 Rudai 23 Course participants to also take part.

Unfortunately we can't invite everyone to take part, you can however watch the hangout via our YouTube channel or our blog. You will also be able to live tweet your comments during the discussion and these tweets will appear as a live stream, during the broadcast, from our website.


The hashtag for the hangout will be #R23HOA  Please make sure that you use this hashtag for your comments or questions during the hangout. 



If you would like to be one of the 5 participants for the hangout then please fill the registration form which can be accessed below. Once you register Wayne will be in contact with you to help you get set up. We will have questions prepared in advance but we plan to keep it to an informal discussion. We want your honest views on how you are finding the tasks and we are hoping it will be  a relaxed and informative session.

Regsitration for the hangout will close on Thursday the 20th of August at 11.00pm GMT. 

But Wait! 

Think carefully before you decide to register. To take part in the hangout we will require a few things from you: 

  1. You must be a registered participant of the Rudai 23 Course
  2. You must be prepared to take part in the conversation. If you feel more comfortable observing and tweeting your comments then perhaps you would be better suited to watching the broadcast through our YouTube channel .
  3. You must have a headset with a microphone and a reliable and fast broadband connection. 
  4. You must be available about 20 minutes  before the official start time of the hangout so that we can make sure that all the technical stuff is working before we begin the broadcast. 
By now you will hopefully have read Thing 10: Streaming which explains how to live stream a hangout. If you haven't read Thing 10 yet, then please do. Reading this will give you a clear idea of what we will be attempting to do on Sunday. 

If you're not able to take part in the hangout this time, don't worry. Assuming everything goes to plan and we're not too traumatised by the experience we will try another one at a later stage. 



Rudai 23 Twitter Chat

We are also pleased to announce that we will be hosting our first twitter chat on Sunday the 6th of September from 8.30 to 9.30. If you're not sure what a twitter chat is then read Thing 5: Online Networks to refresh your memory. 

There's no registration or other requirements needed to get involved in the twitter chat.  The topic that we will be covering is Advocacy and all you have to do is be ready to tweet like a ninja during the allotted time. 

We will distribute a list of the questions that we will be asking a few days in advance of the chat. This will giver everyone the opportunity to gather their thoughts on the subject so that we can have a good discussion on the day. 

The hashtag will be #R23CHAT . Please make sure that you use this hashtag during the chat so that everyone sees your tweets. 








Thing 10: Live Streaming


Welcome to Thing 10 which is all about live streaming. Today's module and last week's are possibly two of the most technical modules that we are going to cover on this course. Once you have grasped the basics however, there are endless ways to incorporate them into your work. Whether its to promote events in your library, to broadcast a short happening or to collaborate with colleagues from across the seas.

In the interests of balance we will show you two methods of live streaming : The easy way and the slightly more technical, although still relatively easy way.


What is Live Streaming?

 

Essentially, live streaming is a method of broadcasting yourself to a wider audience. Usually the term refers to video broadcasting, rather than live tweeting at a conference, or podcasting.

If you have ever used Skype, or perhaps more recently Google Hangouts, then you have already live streamed. In those cases, however, your "audience" was probably small in number (perhaps even just one other person). With live streaming, your audience could be thousands of viewers.



Why live stream?

 

As with many of the Things, the reason(s) for using any of the tools you are learning about can vary depending on what you are trying to achieve. Some examples of why users choose to live stream include:

  • To allow people to view a conference that they cannot attend in person. 
  • To showcase or demonstrate a new product or service - a tour of a new library department for example. 
  • To allow customers to interact with the broadcaster such as in an 'Ask a Librarian' session. 
  • To make an event visible to a wider audience.
  • To collaborate with peers.
  • To educate.
  • For fun!
The last point has become easier to achieve in recent months, as new technology allows us to live stream from a mobile device. More about that later.

What tools do you need to live stream?

 

 

This comes down to two pieces of hardware, and one piece of specialised software. The good news is that the hardware is a webcam and a microphone, and the software is an "app". In other words, your desktop computer or smartphone can do the job! 

Streaming From a Desktop or Laptop PC


In Thing 4: Google we briefly looked at  Google Hangouts and Google Hangouts on Air. We will be using both of these apps today to demonstrate how to live stream from your desktop PC.

If you have already used Google Hangouts to host a video chat then you are well on your way to live streaming. If you have not gotten around to it yet,  now might be a good time to try.You may need to install a plug-in for your computer first depending on what browser you choose.

Hangouts On Air (HOA) works in pretty much the same way as a video Hangout except that it is broadcast live to the public.

If you have the time, take a look at Google's own guide to Hangouts On Air in more depth here.
To use Hangouts On Air, log in to your Google Plus account, click on 'Home',  then go to "Hangouts" and scroll down until you find Hangouts On Air. There is no real way to experience this other than to try it out for yourself. You can view existing Hangout On Air broadcasts from other Google users or start your own HOA broadcast simply by clicking on 'create a hangout'.

You will be prompted to add some details about your hangout like a title and content, invite people from your circles and then you begin your hangout. Once you click on 'start broadcast' your hangout on air will be broadcast live and publicly on Google+ and also your YouTube channel if you have it connected and verified. More on that later. 

And that's all there is to it.

If you would like your broadcast recorded so that your viewers can watch it later (and not just "live"), then you can link your Hangouts On Air to your YouTube Channel. I will walk you through this process in the following section.

Linking Hangouts-On-Air to YouTube

 

 There are two advantages to linking your Hangout-On-Air to your YouTube channel:
  • All your Hangout's will be recorded and view-able for those who wish to see them. 
  • Your viewers have the option of watching your HOA through YouTube rather than Google+ or the Hangouts app.
The following steps show you how to set up a HOA through YouTube.


Step 1: Sign into your Google account and go to YouTube. Click on your profile picture, then select "Creator Studio" from the drop down menu. 


When you have selected the Creator Studio, go into the option to "Create a channel", and follow the instructions on-screen to finish making your channel. You may already have one set up, in which case, you can use that without making a new one.

Step 2: Enable Live Streaming Go back into Creator Studio, and on the menu bar down the left hand side of the page, in the "video manager" section, click on Live Events, then click on the blue "Enable live streaming" button.


Step 3: Verify your YouTube account. This is a security function that Google has in place to ensure that you are in fact a real person! I have chosen to verify my account by selecting the "Call me with an automated voice message" option. You just type in your phone number, click on "Submit", and a robot calls you back almost instantly with a 6-digit number. You then type the security number into the box provided, and you are ready for the next step.


Step 4: Schedule a New Event. If you are not automatically re-directed back into the Live Events section, simply select that option under the Video Manager menu on the left had side menu bar. Then select the "Schedule a new event" button.


This will bring you to the screen shown below. You can enter basic information like the name of the broadcast, a time that it is going to happen, and a description of it in the various fields, as shown. A good tip here is to make sure you have the "Type" set to "Quick", as shown. This is a good basic way to get going, without getting bogged down in technical detail. When you are happy with the date/time/description (all of which can be edited later if needed), click on the "Create event" button.


Step 5: Invite people to the broadcast. The best way to let people know about your upcoming event is to send them a link to your YouTube channel and tell them to tune in at the specified date and time. The stream will be visible on your channel just like any other video, except of course that the viewers will be watching you live! 

This is where it gets interesting.


Not only can you stream a live broadcast using Hangouts-on-Air, you can also invite people to actively participate in the broadcast. To do this you will be using Hangouts-on-Air and Hangouts simultaneously. Confused?

Remember that there are technically two things going on here: first and foremost, it is a Hangout, meaning that up to ten people will be active in the discussion, and secondly, that Hangout is broadcasting live through YouTube, enabling other people to view the discussion but not interact with it. 

To add active participants click on the "invite" icon. You will see a list of options as shown in the next screenshot. Here, you can type in email addresses, names or circles (remember this is linked to Google Plus still). 

When you have filled in these details, click on the invite button, and those people will get a notification about your upcoming event.


Step 6: Control Your Hangout-On-Air. Before you start your HOA, go to the settings menu (the icon looks like a gear), and make sure that your microphone, speakers and camera are all set up correctly.


In the next screen shot, I have highlighted two further settings that you should consider (there are more settings and controls, which you can explore for yourself). The first is the "CameraMan" settings: this allows you to control what happens when a new guest logs in to view your broadcast. For example, do you want their microphone to be muted, or their camera not immediately visible to others? Think carefully about this, as once the Hangout begins, you will not be able to change these settings. The second setting is "ControlRoom". This is allows you to control how your viewers can interact with the the broadcast while it is live.

When you have had a look at these and the other settings, you are ready to broadcast. If you have scheduled the HOA to start later on, then simply log back in at that time, invite your active participants, make sure you can see and hear them (and vice versa) and click on the green "Start broadcast" button, as seen below.

You can interact with active participants as soon as they join the Hangout before pressing the "Start broadcast" button. This is a useful feature, as it allows you to make sure that all the microphones and cameras are working before you go live.


When you are finished your broadcast, simply press the red "Stop broadcast" button. The Hangout will continue, so you can still chat with your active participants (until you press the red "hang-up" button at the top of the screen), but your discussion will not be broadcast.

A recording of your broadcast will now be ready in the "videos" section of the "video manager" menu of your YouTube channel. You can make edits to that video (as described in Thing 9), and you can share it or embed it as required.

Phew! 



That was a lot of information to absorb in one sitting. If you're still not sure but would like to see what Hangouts is all about then tune into the Rudai 23 Hangout. 

Rudai23 will be hosting a Hangout-On-Air on 23rd August. We will let you know more about how to take part in the next few days. Until then subscribe to our YouTube channel

 

For now, take a look at a simpler method of streaming using a mobile device. 


Streaming From a Tablet or Mobile Device

 

Hangouts On Air will work on your smartphone/tablet just as well as on your computer.

However, there is a relatively new application owned by Twitter,  that is making live streaming even more accessible called Periscope.  Periscope is freely available for both Android and iOS devices.

When you download the app, it will ask you to register using your Twitter account- you must have  a twitter account in order to use Periscope.  The process of using Periscope is very straightforward once you have registered. The following images will show you the basics.

One word of caution: anything that you broadcast on Periscope will be globally available for anyone to view while you are live.
 
After you log in, you should see the screen above. The top half of the screen shows any current broadcasts from the people you follow. The button that looks like a camera is the one you need to press to start your own broadcast. 

The next image shows me preparing to broadcast a view of my computer keyboard. 
Before you go 'live' add a description to your broadcast and make sure the little Twitter icon is lit up so that your Twitter followers will get a notification that your broadcast has begun. When you are ready to start, press on the "Start Broadcast" button. Your screen will now look like this:
This is the live broadcasting screen. You will get notifications when new viewers join and the total number of viewers. Viewers can type comments or questions which appear not only on your screen, but on all the viewers' screens. 

The video and audio in Periscope is a one-way broadcast: your video and voice are the only things that you can broadcast. You cannot let others actively take part. You can use the front or rear camera for your broadcast. When you end the broadcast, you will be brought back to the following screen: 
Here you will see a list of your broadcasts with a facility to watch them again.

Periscope is a relatively new app, and it is being constantly refined. At the moment periscope broadcasts are only view-able for 24 hours after they were originally recorded. The notification that goes out on your Twitter feed will have a link to your broadcast while it is live, but also anyone clicking on the link within 24 hours will be able to see a recording of the broadcast. These features are worth keeping in mind, but they may change as the app develops.

Attending a Live- Stream Event

Another definition of live-streaming is where you are not the broadcaster, but the receiver of the "stream". Many conferences are live-streamed and this can be a good way to attend a conference that you can't get to in person.

Rudai 23 will be hosting a Hangout-On-Air on the 23rd of August, so if you tune into that, you will see what it is like to be in the audience. 

 

 

 Your Tasks for This Thing Are:


  • Take part (either as an active participant or as a viewer) in the upcoming Rudai23 Hangout-On-Air. The topic for discussion will be published soon.
or
  • Set up your own Hangout-On-Air. 
or
  • Explore Periscope. You can watch a few broadcasts from other people or have a go at broadcasting yourself. The content of your broadcast is not important (although if you have a library context, all the better), as it is more about you exploring the tool than producing the next Oscar winner.

Write a blog post about your thoughts on streaming live events from the library. Can you think of moments in your work when you said to yourself 'I wish I could share this with the world'? Or do you feel inspired to take things further and try your hand at an online conference like Liboncon?


Take a look at our Pinterest Page for examples of live streaming in libraries including TEDx events.




Images from:
http://newcominternational.com/
Authors computer and iPhone



Google Hangouts On Air

The Calendar of Things