Tag Archives: Storify

Librarians as Teachers 2015: Organising #LATAston

On the 10th June I attended the third West Midlands Librarians as Teachers conference. Once again the CILIP West Midlands Member Network committee I sit on worked together with the CILIP Academic and Research Libraries Group (West Midlands) committee (ARLG) to organise the event. This is the second time I have personally been involved in organising the conference (see my post from LAT 2013) and it felt like a very different experience from last time. This is possibly to do with the fact I had previously been involved in organising an event like this, so I knew what to expect and what I could offer as my contribution to the organising team.

We decided early on against having a separate event website this time and posted all of our promotional information to the CILIP Event page, as the page template meant we could include all of the information we wanted to, including Speaker information and an incorporated booking form. The main downside for this was all of the information was on one long page, but it meant we had the CILIP Branding etc on the page. The URL for it was long, so I used a URL Shortener which I edited to be easier to remember (bit.ly/lat2015). I think this was important when advertising the event as easy to remember URLs make things easier on potential attendees. This will also make things a little harder to make post event information such as slides and photos easily available, but we would be hosting these on sites such as Slideshare and Flickr anyway as they are available to a wider audience that way. I think a few blog/social media posts to the ARLG and CILIP West Midlands Member Network members as well as an email to our delegates should be sufficient to kick start the promotion of these resources. [During the run up to the event CILIP’s web team were doing a survey about the website – I have suggested the ability to create event micro-sites for big events, and apparently I wasn’t the only one!]

The live tweeting went well. LAT2013 was my first attempt at doing this and I think I struggled a bit with it, but I am more experienced now and a few people commented that I seemed to do it really well! These two people both said it was their first attempt at live tweeting, so maybe it looked more impressive to them than it was! The Hashtag for the event was #LATAston – due to hosting the conference at Conference Aston – we’d intended to use LAT2015 but this was used in America a few months before our conference! (I think this would probably be the same people that used LAT2013 a week or so after our last conference – it caused me some confusion doing the Storify, but thankfully didn’t confuse any other people! For the LATAston Storify visit Jess Haigh’s – she beat me to it!

This year the main difference we had was the decision very early on to pay for a conference room, rather than hunt around for free venues in Libraries. We used the biggest room we could find in 2013 and felt a bit squeezed in. This time we booked Conference Aston, in Birmingham. We felt it was easy to get to, being in Central Birmingham, and while the room costs weren’t cheap we knew we wanted to try and at least match the 65 delegates we had in 2013, if not get it a bit higher! I feel like paying for a room was worth it: The Conference centre itself was very impressive, with all the mod-cons (like coffee machines!) and top notch help from all of the staff, including Bill who helped us with all the AV set up at the start and end of the day. The food was fantastic as well – no dry/soggy sandwiches in sight! We had two ‘light’ options: soup and Jacket potatoes (with a choice of two fillings!) and three main course options, as well as two options for dessert – I went with the Lemon and Polenta cake! Yum!

We optimistically booked a room for 75-120 people, thinking if we had 75 then at least we would have some elbow space! We briefly discussed aiming for 100 attendees – I don’t know about the other organisers but to me this felt like a hard target to reach. When we hit the 65 delegates mark the bookings slowed down a little so I thought I had hit the mark. However we decided we had time before we had to confirm the number of attendees with conference centre so we kept accepting bookings – by the time we closed the bookings we had over 100 people booked in. We did accept a few after the closing date, as it was only a couple, but all in all I feel that this worked very well for us, and I’m certainly happy to have been proven wrong regarding the number of attendees we would get!

The official feedback is still being processed, but speaking to people at the conference yesterday and looking at the tweets I saw yesterday evening it looks like everyone enjoyed it and had a good time! I’ll write a separate post about my reflections of the content, but I can say for certain that I will be doing this again in the future, and I can’t think of anything at the moment that I would do differently.

 

Sorry for not posting this sooner – I’ve had a busy few weeks and didn’t get around to proof-reading the post!

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Librarians as Teachers 2013

This event was actually last week – but it’s taken me this long to catch up, what with posting photos and presentations to the event website (http://lat2013.wordpress.com), writing an article for the Career Development Group’s Newsletter (the national one, not the West Midlands’ Central Issues) as well as normal working stuff and a few extra meetings thrown in this week too!

The event well really well – I’ve seen a few posts on Twitter describing it as ‘fabulous’ and ‘inspiring’ – as well as an International attendee describing it as ‘worth travelling from Australia for!’ (Although I should point out she didn’t travel to the UK just for this event!) All of the feedback that we’ve received so far has been very positive, all of the aspects of the day that we asked people to rate have been rated as excellent or good.

LAT2013 was also my first go at using Storify – It was really easy, although a few Tweets of mine didn’t show up for some reason and I had to add them manually (but again this was easy to do, and I’d spotted the problem in Twitter so I don’t think Storify was to blame!). I’m very happy with the result, although I would have liked to be able to add some photos from my camera. I could have imported pictures from Flickr, but I don’t have an account, and making an account just to upload photos into Storify seemed too complicated. If I was going to use Storify regularly though I absolutely would sign up for Flickr as I feel that it needed a few more images to help break up the tweets and other text.

I was also a little disappointed to find out that I couldn’t embed the event Storify into the WordPress website – not without upgrading to WordPress.org and installing a widget, so I’ve had to link to it instead. It’s not a problem, it just means that the site page doesn’t look like how I wanted it to!

You can see the presentations and photos from the day on the website: lat2013.wordpress.com and I’ll add a link to my Impact article when it gets published!

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Thing 4: Current Awareness

RSS feeds

I’ve been subscribing to RSS feeds for a while and I have to say Google Reader makes this so easy. I can easily subscribe either by pressing a button (if there is one) on the source web page or by copy and pasting the URL of the feed into the subscribe box in Google Reader. (It’s easy to unsubscribe too, which is always helpful!) Email subscriptions are easy, but if you subscribe to a few, I imagine they would clutter up your inbox quite quickly. With Google Reader, if I’ve been away or haven’t checked them for a few days I can easily mark the contents of a feed as having been ‘read’ and without all of the tick boxes that you get with emails.

Two that make me smile are Clients from Hell and Times Educational Miscreant (my sister’s a teacher and she pointed me to this one, but it’s still funny even if you don’t teach!) Good Library feeds include The Daring Librarian and Ned Potter’s The Wikiman.

(PS – I’m reading Accidental Health Sciences Librarian, by Lisa Ennis and Nicole Mitchell, and they’ve written different sections on Blogs and RSS feeds which got me thinking that I when I say/see ‘RSS feeds’, I’m often thinking ‘Blog’ – but that’s not necessarily accurate! Non-blog RSS feeds that I subscribe to include the BBC news feeds and Journal Tables of Contents (Health Information and Libraries Journal amongst others) although the latter tends to be email subscriptions, rather than through Google Reader.)

Twitter

I’ve been on Twitter for just over two years and I have to say, I actually prefer it to Facebook in some ways. I can search topics easily, even if they don’t appear in my news feed and I can follow anyone, (usually) without them having to approve our ‘friendship’; so I can follow Terry Pratchett, even though he has no idea who I am, and he can chose whether or not he follows me (I doubt he does). The one thing I would like is to be able to privately reply to someone without the whole world knowing I’ve complemented a friend on his new haircut, but that’s not really in keeping with the idea of Twitter. Let’s face it; if I really wanted it to be private I wouldn’t be sending it via Twitter.

It’s only since I’ve started my Certification that I’ve been using Twitter to keep up to date with Library related things, but it has been very useful and I’ve learnt a few things that way that I wouldn’t have heard about otherwise (although I can’t think of an example off the top of my head). It was also good after the West Midlands Branch Information and Networking Day I went to in April as I could see what other people had thought about the day, as well as look at a few of their photos (there was always people in the way when I tried to take them!) as we had all put the same hashtag on our posts. Phil Bradley is on Twitter, as is Jo Alcock (from Thing 3) as well as the West Midlands branch and the HLG and CDG special interest groups which I belong to.

Storify

I haven’t come across Storify before and although it looks likes an impressive mashup site I have to say I can’t really see the point. I may be a bit biased – as part of my MSc I studied a programming language called PHP which is used in websites; it means that I can (and did for my dissertation) get feeds from blogs, Facebook and Twitter (amongst others) and post them as part of the webpage code.

If anyone is interested my test page for my Dissertation webpage is still online: http://mi-linux.wlv.ac.uk/~0821606/index.html (it’s a mock up using feeds from various local libraries)

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