Andrew Eynon’s Library Blog

A blog about librarianship in Further Education

Archive for June, 2009

WHELF HE in FE Collaboration event

Posted by andrewey on June 30, 2009

At today’s Collaboration event at University of Wales, Newport there was a very informative double presentation from University of Bath.

The first presentation looked at the University’s use of social space in it’s recent redesign. This included the use of informal seating and furniture coupled with a relaxation of rules on eating and drinking (I liked the definition of their permissible eating policy = ‘sucky sweets’).

There were educational features incorporated in the redesign such as provision of movable whiteboards to encourage group work.

Furthermore the library has been promoting reader development through an ‘around the world in 80 books’ initiative where international students have recommended fiction titles which reflect their homelands for other students to read.

The second presentation looked at the library potential of QR codes. These are barcodes which can store information to provide links between physical and virtual resources.

Apparently this technology is already widely used in the Far East. The barcodes are read by mobile phone cameras which incorporate this technology. The software can also be down loaded to your phone if it is not already provided.

The QR code, once read, could contain a URL or digital information such as the catalogue record of a book you have just scanned (both uses were included in a JISC project undertaken by the University).

You should be able to see the QR codes for book stock on the University’s OPAC.

For more details see University of Bath blog

Posted in Mobile technologies, Reader Development, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

FE Toolkits, CoFHE conference session

Posted by andrewey on June 18, 2009

As part of the toolkit session two colleges volunteered to be evaluate against one of the key questions.

Against the Key Question ‘How well is the learner supported and guided?’ one institution was deemed to be grade 1 (by the session participants) for the following features:

Delivering information literacy skills
Roaming library support
Effective use of LMS data
Effective use of signage and zoning of stock
Integrating e-resources with library eg renewals link via Athens

The second college looked at KQ3 with regards to consulting with users, provision of resources and partnership working.

The following grade one features were identified:

Wide range of consultation methods with users eg Moodle forum, feedback forms, minutes.
Good provision of ICT
Mixture if learning environments
Good provision of e-resources
Member of regional partnership

The question was raised about what if your institution is below the PIs for stock but user feedback in this area is positive? The view was that simply having a lot of stock is less important than demonstrating that you satisfy user demand (libraries with a lot of stock may have a large number of dated items for example).

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Reader Development in FE

Posted by andrewey on June 16, 2009

The recent fforwm Learning Resource Managers’ network meeting showcased some of the reader development activities undertaken as part of a CyMAL funded scheme last autumn.

Particularly impressive were Swansea College’s book sack project with childcare students, who produced their own book sacks for use in encouraging reading amongst preschool children, and Coleg Glan Hafren’s use of a virtual reading group on Moodle.

More details on all the reader development activities can be found on the JISC RSC-Wales Moodle.

Posted in FE Libraries, Reader Development | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Mobile social networking apps on the ipod Touch

Posted by andrewey on June 13, 2009

Following on from my last post, I’m continuing with the theme of mobile Web 2.0 apps on the iPhone & iPod Touch with a look at some social networking apps.

Firstly there is the free Facebook app which gives you access to confirming friend notifications, viewing your wall and updates from friends. There is no access to groups unfortunately or other Facebook apps but I’ve found it useful for updating my account particularly as I’m not a heavy Facebook user.

Interestingly this is one of the few apps which requires you to login each time you open it. I still think the extra effort of logging in outweighs the security issue with other apps where you are automatically logged in – if you were to lose or misplace your iPod.

The sheer number of Twitter apps for the iPhone shows not just the popularity of Twitter but also the suitability and convenience of tweeting on a mobile device.

Okay Twitter is microblogging rather than technically a social networking site but I presume many users see it as a social networking tool.

I’ve tried two free Twitter apps. TwitterFon is a simple but effective Twitter app – it allows you to view updates from friends, search for tags and free text and you can view other Twitter profiles and who Twitter(er)s are following and who their followers are.

Twitterrific is another free Twitter app. It has a much more professional feel, in terms of the quality of appearance of the screens but I find it not so intuitive – I have thus far not been able to see other Twitters’ followers and followings for example. However the search facility is more impressive and you can setup access to multiple Twitter accounts.

I suspect the higher graphics quality over TwitterFon means it uses up battery power quicker but it is the simplicity of the latter which I prefer.

There is a very interesting looking ‘3D’ Twitter app you can buy but I’ve not had a play with that yet.

Follow my Twitter feed here

Posted in Mobile technologies | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Mobile Web 2.0 applications on the iphone and ipod Touch

Posted by andrewey on June 10, 2009

This is a short review of some, mainly free, Web 2.0 apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

I’ve been using these apps on an iPod Touch so the functionality will be different/less than an iphone and require wifi Internet access.

WordPress – a very useful free app for updating your WordPress blog. There is great functionality with the facility to write and edit posts/pages and to moderate comments. You can also write posts offline (I’m writing this on a train) and upload later. In addition, you can add categories (online only) and tags(even offline).

The only real weakness is that without a working knowledge of HTML the only text editing is the facility to insert weblinks, although you can also insert photos.

‘Free RSS Reader’ – this app also has a ‘Pro’ version but the free version offers the facility to manually enter feeds or to sync feeds from a Google Reader or Newsgator account. Posts can be viewed within the app or through the Safari browser. I’ve found this app sufficient without the need to upgrade to the Pro version.

I should mention Safari itself which is the iPhone web browser and offers access to both mobile and standard web pages. This is a huge advantage over most mobile phone’s Internet access. Despite the limitations of the screen size the magnification features are excellent and other than some image files (presumably Flash) the reproduction of web pages is very good.

Particularly good is the access to Quicktime videos, including BBC iplayer and YouTube (which has it’s own iPhone app which comes as standard). Another very useful feature is that it enables access to web based PDF files.

Even bookmarking sites can be updated on the move. I did try Delicious Free but you can only view your links and tags. This app is very new (only released the end of May 2009) so presumably will be improved upon in future updates.

Consequently I switched to Yummy, the only app in this review which is not free, costing the princely sum of £1.19.

Yummy’s big advantage is that you can add as well as view Delicious links and most importantly you can import web addresses from Safari – a real advantage given the lack of copy and paste on the iPhone/iPod Touch.

Posted in Mobile technologies | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Twitter, what is it good for?

Posted by andrewey on June 8, 2009

The CILIP Cymru conference also included a discussion of the uses of Twitter – the discussion was commented on by a live Twitter feed.

Brian Kelly of UKOLN identified Twitter’s advantages as being the potential for collaboration, as an E-business card and as the modern equivalent of the telegram.

Bob McKee identified Twitter as the equivalent of a pub conversation in that it was informal rather than inconsequential.

It was agreed that Twitter would become devalued if it was simply used as a marketing tool or offering an official ‘spin’ to news items.

I was finally convinced of Twitter’s value, although by the time I’d set up an account the conference was over!

Technology permitting I will send ‘tweets’ from the CoFHE conference in June using the tag #cofhe09 and from Umbrella in July using the tag #umbrella09.

Posted in CILIP Cymru, Library 2.0 | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

CILIP Cymru conference 2009

Posted by andrewey on June 5, 2009

First blog post using the I-phone app!

The theme of the conference was library space and at the plenary session a number of varied definitions of library ‘space’ were identified:

Heritage (collections)
Community
Political
Virtual
Creative
Physical
Internal (thinking space)

To this list you could also add educational space

The point was made that in Wales there was a clear distinction between meeting the needs of urban and rural spaces.

Posted in CILIP Cymru | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »