Monday, 28 September 2015

Thing 20: Presentations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resources for the post:

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

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Thing 19: The Legal Side of Things

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

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

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

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

To every cow its calf. To every book its copy

A (short) History of Copyright

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

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

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

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

Changing Copyright For a Changing World

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

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

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

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

Creative Commons

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

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

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

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

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

Public Domain

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

Organisational/Contractual Obligations

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

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

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

Your Task for This Thing Is:

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

Legislation References
Additional References

All images used in this post have been sourced from

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

Monday, 21 September 2015

Thing 18: Communicating through Photographs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flickr and Libraries

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

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

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

Tips for using Flickr:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instagram and Libraries

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

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

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

Tips for using Instagram

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

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

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

 Your task for Thing 18 is:

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

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

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

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Thing 17 Reflective Practice

Eye - M.C. Escher


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

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

Using the Gibbs model: stages of reflection

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

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

Your task for thing 17:

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

References and further reading:

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

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

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

Monday, 14 September 2015

Thing 16: Collaboration Tools

Welcome back to Rudai 23! We hope you had a restful and productive catch-up week. It's hard to believe that there are only seven Things left after today's post.

Today we are talking about collaboration tools and we think it's very apt after covering advocacy in our last Thing and our Twitter chat. Now that you are all fired up and ready to start your advocacy campaign for your library you need the tools to collaborate with your team. 

As Librarians and Information Professionals, Collaboration is one of the most important and crucial skill sets we possess.

Let's just be honest, we are good at it. This whole course wouldn't have happened without collaboration. In order to put this course together we used Google Groups, Trello (briefly), Google Drive and Hangouts. We also collaborate on the Pinterest Boards for each Thing and we used LinkedIn and Twitter to collaborate with other information professionals who have done 23 Things courses in the past.

We are good at it because every day we need to work together. If we are a Solo Librarian we need to collaborate with other professionals on a daily basis; as students we collaborated on team projects; as professionals through CPD we collaborate on conference presentations & research projects; in our day to day life as a librarian & information professional we attend team meetings, collaborate with community groups and develop partnerships with local schools and colleges.

There are many online tools to make collaboration and teamwork effective and efficient.
In this post I shall focus on two tools:

  1. Google Drive - for editing & sharing documents
  2. Doodle - for scheduling meetings

Google Drive is one of the most popular tools to use when collaborating on a team project. You can share documents with multiple recipients and allow them to comment or edit. You can also set up folders and allow others to add or view documents in the folders. You can either upload documents to Google drive from your computer or create them from within Google using programmes such as: 
  • Google Docs
  • Google Sheets
  • Google Slides
  • Google Forms - which lets you create surveys or registration forms, which we used for registering for this course.
Some newer functions include Google Drawings & Google my maps.
To illustrate how to use them in a collaborative way I shall focus on:
  • Sharing
  • Editing
  • Commenting 

Step 1 Open your Google drive

The picture below shows my personal Google Drive Homepage.

Step 2 Click on the New button on the left hand side and choose from the options that appear

The picture below shows I have opened a Google Doc which works like a Microsoft Word document.

The main elements to look at here are the Share and Editing options

Step 3 Share your document

When you click on the Share option a new window opens. See the picture below for an example. You can enter multiple email adresses of the people that you want to share the document with. You can also chose wether they can view or edit the document.

 If you click on the Advanced button you will be provided with more options such as a shareable link which you can use on social networks and also the option to make your document publicly available. We used this function when sharing our list of questions for our Twitter chat.

To see which documents have been shared with you, return to your Google Drive page and click on Shared with me on the left-hand side of your screen. From here you can add the documents to your own folders.

To edit a document that has been shared with you, open the document in Google Docs, click on Editing on the right of the tool bar. See the image below.

You can chose to edit directly, or create suggested edits. If you create suggested edits then your profile will appear as the editor and your suggestions will show on the document highlighted in a different colour.

To comment on a document click on Comments, just above the Editing button. Here you can comment on suggested edits or reply to other people's comments.

We recently used this function during a Google hangout. Three of our team worked together composing a google document and could simultaneously edit the document as well as talk to each other via google hangouts. It was a very productive way to get a document finalised.

 Doodle is a quick and easy tool for scheduling meetings. You can circulate an agenda, provide a list of options for proposed dates of the meetings and also include a poll. You can also integrate your doodle account with your Google contacts list.

 Step 1 Create your event

Step 2 Add some details

Step 3 Include some proposed dates and times

Step 4 Invite people to respond.

The person who has scheduled this meeting will be informed once participants have filled in their time.
You can then go to the Doodle page and view which time best suits all participants.

The task for Thing 16 is:

We have set up a Google Doc and made it public, the link is here.  For this task we would like you to add a piece of information to the document, or comment on the document itself.


Set up a Doodle meeting with some people at work or a few other participants on Rudai 23, you can add myself or any of the team to the meeting if you wish.

Write a blog post on your experience of these tools, and collaboration tools in general, how do you think they would fit in with your library? What collaboration tools have you used in your work that you find useful if any?

Take a look at our Pinterest page Collaboration Tools for some further reading.

Thing 16: Collaboration Tools was written by Siobhan McGuinness, Library Intern with the Heritage Council of Ireland.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Thing 15: Advocacy for Libraries

Created at

I'm going to begin today's post about Advocacy for Libraries with a question.

What comes to mind when you hear the words advocacy for Libraries? Do you think of protests, demonstrations with placards, petitions to politicians or spreading the word through publicity campaigns?

Advocacy is all that and more. The very act of completing this course, putting yourself out there on the open forum that is the world wide web and shouting about all that you love about libraries is an act of advocacy. Collaborating, networking and developing partnerships on Twitter or LinkedIn, or whatever has become your preferred network, strengthens our profession and allows us the opportunity to shout even louder for libraries.

Congratulations, you are an advocate! Once you've completed this course, I urge you to use the tools that you've learned about here to continue to advocate for libraries and our profession. You can do this simply by showcasing the amazing work that you do in your library on Instagram, show off the achievements of your learners on Twitter or highlight the diverse skills and high standard qualifications that a typical librarian possesses on LinkedIn.

If you are feeling adventurous you can go one step further and join one of the many advocacy campaigns that are out there or start your own.  There are a number of organisations that you can partner with or that provide support for advocacy campaigns.

Voices for the Library is a UK based organisation. Their aim is to provide real facts and figures about the contribution libraries make in today's society. They act as spokesperson for libraries to the media and politicians and are a voice for both libraries and also the public who benefit from library services.

The Library Campaign is a resource for all library advocacy campaigns in the UK. They provide information and news on all current library campaigns in the UK as well as resources for anyone who wants to start a library campaign.

Speak up for Libraries is another UK based organisation that hosts an annual conference as well as provides comprehensive resources for anyone wishing to start their own campaign.

Public Libraries 2020 is run by the Reading and Writing Foundation in the Netherlands. They provide grants for public libraries across Europe and are currently promoting their advocacy campaign Libraries Change Lives

Every Library is a US based charity that provides emergency funds and resources for advocacy campaigns at local level.

I Love Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association and promotes libraries and the work that they do. 

The following are a few examples of advocacy campaigns that have been started in recent years which you can contribute to or use. 


CILIP also provided a wide range of advocacy resources and information on how you can get involved through their website. 

Library A to Z was funded by a kick starter campaign with The Library Campaign as the key sponsor. The project consists of a range of free downloadable, beautifully illustrated posters and promotional material highlighting the range of services and facilities available in libraries today.

I Freakin Love Libraries is the current project from advocate Bobbi Newman. She is responsible for other advocacy projects such as Library Day in the Life and This is What a Librarian Looks Like. 
All of these projects encourage Librarians from across the world to submit material to them and contribute to their success.

Of course there's also the annual national campaigns such as National Libraries Day and Library Ireland Week and National Library Week (US)  which we can all get involved in.

We can all be advocates on some level. If you're not interested, or don't have the time to take part in a national campaign, you can still contribute to furthering the cause for libraries in your every day work. 

We have all seen how powerful social media can be when it comes to bringing people together for a single purpose. I am going to mention a few unique social media campaigns used by libraries that may seem small but have a long lasting effect.

My Hunt Library is an instagram campaign run by the North Carolina Sate University Library (NCSU). Library visitors are encouraged to upload their favourite view of the library to Instagram using the hashtag #huntlibrary. The use of the hashtag means that the NCSU Library now have a huge archive of unique photographs of the Hunt Library. It's also an effective way of giving the library users ownership of their library.

Not Your Average Library is another Instagram campaign run by Cedar Rapids Public Library. Library users are encouraged to upload photos of the library using the hashtag #notyouraveragelibrary. It's a clever way to promote the services that the library provides, and again, it gives the library users ownership of the library but also reinforces the fact that this library is unique, that it's services go above and beyond what might be considered 'average'.

Advocacy can be as small as a tweet or as big as a national campaign to your government or policy makers.

Your Task for This Thing is:

  • Take a look at some of the advocacy campaigns mentioned in this blog post. 
  • Write  a blog post about your thoughts on advocacy for libraries. 
  • Have you ever been involved in an advocacy campaign?
  • What are your thoughts on how effective they are?

If you want to talk more about this topic we are having a twitter chat on Sunday the 6th of September from 8.30 to 9.30 GMT. The hashtag for the twitter chat will be #R23chat. See you then.

Take a look at our Pinterest page on Advocacy for more examples of advocacy tools and ideas. 

This blog post was written by Niamh O'Donovan, Librarian at Galway Public Libraries in Ireland. 

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