On following your heart

Jane in RomeSome of you know I’ve been on the Aurora programme since October. It’s a women’s leadership course and I’m enjoying it immensely, not least because of the wonderful women I’ve met, the inspiring workshops and the great readings and resources you get introduced to. I love a Ted Talk and its difficult to know which I’ve enjoyed most, from Amy Cuddy to Hillary Clinton. This week I particularly enjoyed Simon Sinek on what makes for successful leadership and starting with why and Dan Pink on ‘drive.’ What has really resonated with me is focusing on why we do things, not so much what we do when trying to explain it to people.

It became clear to me last year that I love teaching and research and inspiring others to use information and technology for their own and others learning. So I’m delighted to be able to officially announce that from mid April I’ll be following my heart, taking up a new role at City University, as Senior Lecturer in Educational Development based in Learning Enhancement and Academic Development(LEaD). I’ll be focusing on educational technologies, digital literacy and hopefully looking to support and develop open practices. Its going to be a really exciting opportunity as I’ll also have more time to pursue the things that interest me, as the post is 3 days a week. But I’m really excited to be joining such a great team, and of course just moving up the road!

I’m going to be very sad to leave LSE where I’ve worked for 15 years. I have wonderful friends and colleagues and I’ve loved working here. LSE has given me so much, including the ability to have considerable autonomy to learn and develop myself, while providing copyright and digital literacy advice for the institution. But its time for me to do something new and I’m not leaving anything behind, but building on all my experience and networks. Copyright and information literacy remain my passion and I’ll be infusing all I do at City with that perspective. I’ll continue my professional work in both these areas, remaining the Chair of the CILIP Information Literacy Group and staying firmly involved in the UUK Copyright Working group. So it is onwards and upwards for me and I hope you will follow me on my next step in the journey of life!


Reading and writing group

Birds roosting at Raglan Castle

I’ve not posted for a while as between work I’ve been really busy working on the Journal of Information Literacy which I took over editing in April. I’ve also just finished marking my third set of assignments for Aberystwyth University where I am a module tutor on a distance learning course. Plus Emma and I have been finalising our new book on ANCIL being published by Facet which we hope will hit the book shelves before Christmas.

It all means I spend am increasing amount of time writing, editing and reading often about information literacy or libraries more widely. Last week while pondering this I wondered about whether to set up a group to support reading and writing amongst London Librarians. When I was in Cambridge last year I really enjoyed their brown bag lunches where we read an article and discussed it. I had thought about setting a group up at LSE but wondered out loud on Twitter a few days ago if other London librarians might be interested  in joining us. So my thought is to have an informal get together after work in the next few weeks. I think I’ll suggest everyone reads a specific article before the meeting for the first time but then in future be more flexible as people may wish to share drafts of their own writing. I’ve had some interest so once we have a date I’ll post on my blog but 6th or 8th November look likely! I’ve really excited!

More lovely images in the Education Image Gallery

Ellie at HalloweenI just read from JISC that the Education Image Gallery is being updated every month with 200 new images. I am always amazed at few of our staff at LSE use this collection for their teaching as I think it has some really lovely images.

Recently I’ve been getting a lot of copyright queries with people asking about where they can find images for use in teaching. CLT have a list of image and multimedia collections for educational use and we also recommend people use the Creative Commons search. It’s a shame I can’t put the EIG images on my blog, so this picture from Halloween is one of mine!

Last chance for the Facebook survey

I’ve been getting some great feedback from libraries using Facebook through my online survey. If you haven’t completed it then please do by the end of the week if possible, as I’ll be analysing the results for my presentation next Thursday. I’ll also write up a summary of my findings for the blog.
I seem to be spending quite a bit of the week at PhD induction sessions organised by LSE’s Teaching and Learning Centre, and this afternoon I’m talking about ‘going beyond Google’ to some international history PhD students. I’ve been promoting our new Digital Literacy programme of courses for staff and PhD students. We’ve re-branded the programme and added some new courses to the schedule for November on blogging for research and writing collaboratively using wikis. The Library also have a new Moodle course for PhD students called the Library Companion for Researchers.
Other news, I was interested to read the new JISC Attitudinal Survey of Heads and Senior Librarians and Learning staff. Some interesting findings including: “e-Resources/electronic content was cited most frequently as a key challenge facing libraries and LRCs with issues including management, sharing, provision, access to and financial constraints.” (p.11). I was not surprised to see other key challenges in the future as finances, keeping up to date with new technologies and information skills / literacy issues. Changes in learning and education and integration with e-learning were also high on the agenda. For those interested in reading more about the information literacy challenges see pages 15-16.

Finally the Guardian is continuing to rally for libraries, this time reacting to Andy Burnham libraries plan which is part of the move to make libraries increasingly social spaces. As a fairly noisy person (!) myself I am supportive of the ideas to make libraries more social, however I see no problem with quiet (and more social) zones in a modern library to give us the best of both worlds. Just don’t get me started on food in libraries – I don’t think much will convince me this is a good idea! Also read Victoria Coren’s piece in a similar vein in Sunday’s Observer and with reference to the credit crisis I quote: “In ‘the current climate’, people need, more than ever, to know about the world. To think laterally and have ideas. To develop an internal life, as an alternative to clubbing and jet-setting. To study history and learn how we’ve got out of trouble before.” Well said!

Is Web 2.0 useful or is Andrew Keen right?

I’ve been reading Andrew Keen’s the Cult of the Amateur which I bought almost a year ago at the conference in York, Towards a Social Science of Web 2.0. I must be honest I’m not enjoying it much as I find it hugely negative about everything web 2.0 related. Sure, Keen does have a point that user generated content has led to a proliferation of rubbish on the internet. He raises all sorts of issues which similarly concern me, about plagiarism and piracy, about dumbing down of culture, about the rise in internet gambling and proliferation of internet pornography. But surely web 2.0 can’t be held accountable for all these problems! His overriding concern seems to be how all this user generated content is killing our mainstream media, however certainly the two news providers I rely on most heavily (BBC news website and the Guardian) are embracing new technologies. It’s clear to me that user generated content has a place, but it is clearly flagged up on these sites and could never replace the stories written by journalists.

This week I’ve also been investigating ways in which quality information providers, such as journals, library databases, and our repository at LSE, provide RSS feeds to allow content to be pushed to users. I’ve been specifically concerned with developing some training materials for how to add RSS feeds to Moodle for the Advanced Moodle Training course I’ll be doing later this week. It’s led me to do some minor reorganisation of my pages on the CLT website, to provide some specific advice about using different types of library resources in Moodle.

More updates, you may or may not have noticed that del.icio.us has had a face lift. I’m still getting my head around this change, but its generally been met with enthusiasm by most delicious users I know. You can have a read what Ellyssa says about delicious.

Thanks to Sheila who highlighted the recent query on LIS-infoliteracy about Copyright Tutorials. Anyone who wants a list of these should check out her post. Next week I’ll be back on the conference circuit again, talking at the ALISS summer conference at SOAS about Web 2.0 and libraries – to make a change!

This week’s photo was taken at Queen’s University Belfast, a week and a half ago, while attending the ALISS event held there.

The Training Portal gets recognition!

Tomorrow I’ll be heading up to Coventry with Jeni, LSE’s IT Training Manager. We were really pleased to hear the Training Portal project has been short-listed for an award by the Institute of IT Training and have to give a presentation to the judges tomorrow. The training portal wasn’t developed as part of LASSIE, but it does use web 2.0 technologies and I have mentioned in several presentations as a great example of how RSS technologies can be employed. It pulls together training events from several different providers across LSE, using RSS to present a combined list of training via the portal. However, we also re-use the feed to present training information for staff in the institutional portal (LSEforYou) and information for students in the VLE, Moodle. Students can subscribe to the feed, but even if they don’t plasma screens around the campus regularly update with a list of next week’s training pulled from the portal.

The winner of the awards is announced at a dinner at the Dorchester Hotel in February, so fingers crossed for tomorrow’s presentation!

Social bookmarking goes mainstream with the BBC

Thanks for Matt who pointed out to me this morning that the BBC are now including easy to use buttons to allow people to bookmark new stories using tools such as del.icio.us. It’s interesting to see what other buttons they have added, to a couple of sites I’ve not heard of such as Reddit and StumbleUpon. Further information about what social bookmarking is, is also available on the BBC website.

On a related issue I also see on the BBC website that the TUC are recommending that employers do not ban the use of social networking sites, such as Facebook, but issue good practice guidelines.