22 September 2011

CILIP AGM Livestreamed

As I was unable to get to the CILIP AGM I decided to watch the livestream and follow the Twitterfeed at the same time (#cilipagm11). I confess I went into it with trepidation, having had some bad experiences of livestreamed events before - but I must congratulate CILIP on producing such good quality images and sound (despite the occasional hiccups with the mikes).

I tuned in as soon as I finished work at 5.30 - and was a little surprised it  was already underway ... but at least attending remotely there wasn't the embarrassment of trying to sneak quietly in! It took me a few minutes to settle into watching it and following the twitter conversation at the same time - but once I got into the swing of it, it was a great way to take part. I really enjoyed the asides from fellow watchers as well as those present. -see Llordllamas point 12 on his blog :-)

It would have been great if we could have voted online at the time too (it was useful to hear the questions being asked prior to the voting taking place), but I can see that this would probably be too hard to achieve. What would be quite feasible however would be to take some questions from the twitter attendees (perhaps @cilipinfo could be persuaded to ask questions on our behalf next time?)

Towards the end we watched with interest to see if they would leave it running when the drinks reception started - but no such luck. This was one of the downsides of watching remotely - instead of drinks and a chance to network, all I had to look forward to was the drive home. On the plus side I was home in half an hour.

All in all a great success. Thanks CILIP - here's to next year.


I was very keen to try dropbox, after hearing my daughter singing its praises. I found it very easy to install and to use. I like the way that you can access it via the web, rather than having to install it on all the computers you use (I did consider installing it on my laptop, but as I use a version of Linux not listed on their installation guide, I chickened out of downloading it).

Sharing a file was also easy as my husband already uses dropbox, but it was good to see that you can also share it with others who don't have an account. I like the fact that you can store multiple file formats, as I have been frustrated by the limitations of Google docs, when you want to do something that is more than a basic document. I can see therefore that I will use this more (though mainly for text-based documents so hopefully the limits of the free account should not give me too much of a headache).

I have been warned by those that have used this in the past, that one has to be wary of dragging and dropping a file into a dropbox folder, in that the original copy is lost (the person telling me this had then deleted his dropbox copy, and was rather dismayed to find he no longer had a copy at all).

All in all, a great tool, which is likely to be added to my list of favourites....now all I need to do is try it on my phone...

Widgets, screenshots and screencasting

This week I decided to take a detour on my way through the 'extra things'  to look at a couple of the regular 'things' that I was unfamiliar with.

I was interested in trying LightShot - unfortunately although I appeared to be making progress  (I got as far as the feather icon appearing in my Firefox toolbar),

Only a feather!
...and an error
all attempts to use it resulted in an error message.


I had more luck with screencasting. I was very impressed with screen-o-matic - it was easy to use - and the results looked very professional (not sure about my content though!). I created a short instructional 'video' on how to use library search. I liked the way it was possible to create a useable guide without having to add a soundtrack.

Unfortunately I failed to manage to get it to upload  to YouTube - so you will be spared having to watch my first attempts :)

Library Widget

I have used the Cambridge Libraries Widget before - however this was an opportunity to add it to my iGoogle page and set up an RSS feed. As promised in the Cam 23 2.0 blog, this was very easy. I like the idea of having it in a location that I use daily rather than having to go to a specific webpage. The ability to set up a loans feed is a clever idea, an inspired use of RSS feeds.

Good as the widget and the RSS feed are - for me the winner has to be the ability to set up a feed to my Google calender. I was impressed how quick it was to do - now I will have no excuse for not returning my books on time (especially as my Google Calendar is synched with my phone!). Maybe if we can persuade our students to set this up, we should have less people returning books late because they didn't see the e-mail reminder... perhaps!

Twitter extended

I have to confess to being a great fan of twitter clients. In fact for me it was the turning point - from a irregular to a regular user of Twitter.

I use Seesmic - mainly because this was the first client I came across, and I like its style. I love the way you can have multiple columns - viewable at the same time. This means you can see your 'home' list, mentions and direct messages all at the same time. You can also view various lists, and for me this is the real advantage. The lists I have set up for myself include a list of librarians I follow, and also my quicklist.. This is a relatively select list, of those people whose tweets I most want to read when time is short. This is a great time-saver. I love they way you can quickly scroll through the tweets on Seesmic - (something that was missing from Twitter when I first started using it). I also like the way you can add and subtract columns at will - for example adding one for a particular hash-tag.

You can also set it up for multiple accounts. I gave this a try, thinking this would be a good way of keeping tabs on both my personal and work account - however after finding I had tweeted something I had meant for my personal account on the work one - my advice is make sure you know how it works before experimenting!! (thankfully it was library related).

I've used Bit.ly a lot in the past, but again Twitter now shortens URLs automatically,  so I use it less. In the future I may try Twittermail -  I can see it could have potential, but don't have a need for it just now.

Extra, Extra

Time is flying by... and despite two draft posts waiting in the wings, I've not published anything in months! At last I have a little spare time to try and catch up, so I plan to whizz through the Cam 23 2.0 extra things.

I am not sure that I have the artistic skills to make my blog beautiful, but I did take a bit of time when I set it up to get the look I wanted. This was because I had set up a web-page to practice my html skills, and I wanted to try to embed the blog into it (I've not updated my web-page in a long time - another thing I need some more time to work on...). After trying a couple of templates to find the one that best suited,  I added the lizard picture on the top. However I then found the standard font (colour and position) for the template I had chosen meant that it was obscured by the picture. After a bit of trial and error, the above was the result - not perfect, but readable :)

I've now added a few widgets - nothing very exciting - a share button, follow me by e-mail, and a statistics widget. I'd be interested to see how much they get used  - though I doubt I have a hoard of prospective followers waiting in the wings ;)  What I really need to do now is update my profile - but that will have to wait for another day when inspiration strikes!