Saturday, 10 September 2011

Final thoughts...

The exercise in producing a project management report has provided an excellent opportunity to examine, understand and appreciate the various stages of producing such a report. Having now had the experience of working through the different components, I feel better equipped to deal with any future similar undertakings. However, the most valuable learning has come from having to think very carefully and thoroughly about the ways in which web 2 technology can be practically employed for educational purposes in a real work situation. Having been convinced of the clear benefits of using these tools, I now realise the necessity of introducing them correctly and in a way that will encourage engagement - one cannot make assumptions that the benefits are immediately clear to others. Undertaking this report has given me the confidence and the know how to promote similar ideas in my new post, dealing with a different faculty, using what I have learned about the pitfalls as well as the success stories to inform any future projects.
I abandoned my original project proposal, choosing instead one which I felt was realistic to undertake, using simple ideas. I did not want to introduce too much complexity into my project as I felt the set deadlines, the time of year, my changing personal work situation and relocation would present enough challenges. I believe this caution has paid off in that the pilot study I have undertaken could be practically used to inform a new nursing librarian of an approach which just might work.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Facebook page trial and questionnaire

The ‘NurseInfoDMU’ Facebook page was launched containing introductory text, and over the next three weeks links to useful resources were added, including news items, screencasts on using electronic journals and databases, a Twitter account for NurseInfoDMU and a request for comments and feedback. At the same time, a two part SurveyMonkey questionnaire on information literacy skills was e-mailed to pre-registration nurses and linked on the Facebook page. Students were invited to ‘like’ the Facebook page in the introductory text to the survey.
There have been 32 likes on the Facebook page, and only one actual interaction - a 'like' to a news item about library tours for nursing students at the Kimberlin library. Whilst numbers of impressions indicate items have been viewed, there has been an unwillingness or reluctance to comment or interact in any way with the site.
There were 57 completed Part 1 and 39 completed Part 2 questionnaires from which some very informative comments and results provide a basis for analysis. This analysis would indicate there are many opportunities for which social media tools could be used to help nursing students develop their information literacy skills, complementing their existing teaching, allowing them to take more control over their learning, and dealing with some of the issues experienced in their information use. However, lack of interaction with the Facebook page would indicate stronger tactics are necessary to persuade and convince students of the value of such tools. Time is considered to be a major constraint, and so any social media tools introduced would need to convince students of time savings rather than cost. One big drawback is access to computers, and it cannot be assumed all students have home access or even access on placement, even if there should be enough whilst they are in university.

More detailed analysis of the results including comments can be found here:

Surveys informing this analysis can be found here:

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Time waits for no one

I read up on Gantt charts and had intended preparing one, but then was overtaken by events, or rather deadlines. I felt these charts were relevant to much bigger projects, and decided mine would sit quite happily in a timeline - not strictly in chronological order but nevertheless giving task finish dates. As I am on holiday 1st August and the nursing library closes on 5th August it was necessary to move quickly in getting something set up as a pilot study, and to get a questionnaire out to seek the information I needed from my focus group. I therefore prepared a hard-copy questionnaire in the first place which I could leave out on the counter for completion until library closure, confident that the only students visiting were nursing students. I have now had successful contact with Academic staff who are to host an online version (SurveyMonkey) of my questionnaire on Blackboard - but not until Monday 1st August.  I would have liked to narrow down to a specific group of nurses, but given the limited timescales,  decided the opinions of all current nursing students would be valid, as they have all been through the experiences of the first year undergraduate cohort who I would eventually be targeting.
For the social media tool I have had to get something up and running quickly that students can at least look at, so decided on a Facebook page to begin with. I will be adding content in the form of screencasts, but hopefully when there are one or two ‘likes’ in place – the intention being to dripfeed material rather than bombard.

Here is a link to my timeline:

Here to my introduction to my online questionnaire, with links to surveymonkey.

and my FB page is 'NurseInfoDMU'.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Elements of risk in my project

When defining my project I selected something that I knew would be helpful and complementary to my existing role in order that I could be confident of a reasonable amount of support and 'buy-in’ from library colleagues. Unfortunately I have yet to have any response from academic staff, and here lies one element of risk to the project, that in not having their support it may lack credibility and be difficult to drive forward. I don't think it is a matter of resistance as much as one of workload - it is easier to ignore rather than engage with something that might involve input and commitment when the relocation of the faculty is really at the forefront of everyone's mind. By the time this project is to get off the ground however, minds will hopefully be focussed again on the new intake of students and their learning requirements, and using pull styles of influencing, involving, building and then attracting will hopefully be successful.

Other risks may involve the students and whether they are willing to engage with the proposed tools, and again I would see involving and building as key to bringing them on board, but would not rule out some ‘pressure’ techniques such as rewarding students who participate. I think the whole show-feel-change idea rather than analyse-think-change will be useful to bear in mind - particularly in planning screencasts and YouTube videos rather than just text based delivery.

Risks lie in the technologies themselves, such as whether they will continue to be the preferred methods of delivery, and whether there are changes in terms of use which affect choice, factors to be closely monitored. And of course the whole environment and organisation in which I am operating can change, depending on political and economic factors.

Please follow these links for:
Stakeholder Analysis

SWOT Analysis

Monday, 20 June 2011

Negotiated project for Module 3 of UCPD in Web Enhanced Practice

This is a project to propose how the library can use social media tools (as yet undefined) in order to support, develop and enhance levels of information literacy amongst nursing students, given the specific characteristics of this group and the demanding requirements of graduate level nursing training.

Pre-registration nursing students receive library induction from library staff early on in their courses, and during those sessions, they are taught the basics in using the library catalogue, finding electronic journals and searching databases. However, librarians are dealing with large groups who function at different levels in terms of information and computer literacy; the time allotted does not allow for coverage of some of the more specialist resources they should be aware of, and they are learning these techniques early on in their terms, at the same time as being bombarded with lots of other information. Unlike many students in other subject areas they do need to get up and running with these basic skills very quickly. Evidence based practice is a key element of the material they must use, and they have to be able to demonstrate their use of proven, up to date, quality resources which take this into account. They will also be spending time on placement, and so must have the skills to work at distance and alone, without the support of colleagues, staff and the library. It is my intention to try and establish how using social media tools, probably including a Facebook group, and online screencast or video tutorials, the library can do more to support these students and help them to nurture and develop their information literacy skills.

A graphic representation of their journey can be found here:

Monday, 7 March 2011

Using Social Media tools for information searches.

We have been exploring social media tools in relation to their use in finding information and gathering data, which for me has had mixed results.

Firstly we were required to find material on ‘effective multimedia presentations on the web’. Beginning with Twitter, I found little when searching on ‘multimedia presentations’ so ditched ‘multimedia’, assuming that many web-based presentations would in fact be multimedia. ‘Presentations’ on its own proved to be too broad, so I tried ‘web presentations’. which was better. I found many examples of specific presentation products, or individual presentations, where the focus is on the topic not the presentation itself. I then found some reasonably useful comparison articles and an example of an effective web presentation which invites interaction from the viewer. I found some useful tips in presenting over the web in a video format in a blog by Elizabeth Kuhnke, and a paper prepared by the 1080 Group. The presentation product ‘Skateignite’ kept coming up in different formats - good marketing I guess.
Unfortunately I did not have much success at all with Facebook, but then I am not sure why this should be an effective search tool. I found a community for multimedia presentations, examples of companies/products, a wikipedia entry, a course on multimedia presentations, and then the most useful part which were web search results, but then I could have done a more effective web search directly.
Using Quora, I typed in ‘multimedia presentations’ and straight away got possible questions relating to this topic. By going through the answers I got seemingly quality responses from people that know the subject (although would need to check them out), and when I tried ‘presentations’ on its own I got more questions and responses, some of which would be valuable in evaluating effective multimedia web based presentations.
SocialMention was less successful, seemingly repeating what I had already found in Twitter, although going further back. I had to wade through a lot of irrelevant material to get anywhere, and I am not sure why it all came up, perhaps when I have more time I will try and work out why this should be.

For the second part of the task I had difficulty finding a subject which social media could cope with easily, and had to reject ‘librarians as teachers’ and ‘indexing’ (only web indexing when I meant back of the book indexing), and ‘Charles Frears’ (relevant tweets but nothing I could bookmark). I settled on ‘library induction’, and found a useful presentation on Twitter. I found nothing much of relevance on SocialMention or Facebook. On Facebook there were references to Charles Frears and a Staffordshire library induction, but no information. I was fascinated to read in Quora about the richest librarian and the most intelligent librarian - but nothing on induction, indexing or Charles Frears.

I had similar problems in setting up RSS and feeds. I found a blog for multimedia presentations and set up a feed in Diigo, although not much has come through. ‘Library induction’ only features as a one off subject on blogs about other library functions and activities, so I subscribed to one with a good article but will not expect anything else to come through.

I think the point is with all these sites that whilst allowing searching they are not sophisticated, and one is more likely to have success with broad topics rather than specific subjects, other than people or products. One then has to manually narrow down, wading through the irrelevant to get to the useful. It is important to not be too focused, to allow for serendipity, and to try alternatives, as these tools have not been structured or designed as search technology, (no classification, no thesaurus, no fixed search terms). For the searches I was doing, Twitter provided the most, Quora had some relevant responses, whilst Facebook was not good and much on SocialMention irrelevant. As already mentioned I would imagine further exploration, understanding and use of more advanced search techniques might reap more useful material, so I will bear this in mind for future searching.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Online Reputation - Some initial thoughts

Online reputation and digital identity are areas I am particularly interested in, and given the range of applications that we are now signed up to, and the different connections we are making I am even more keen to keep on top of this. Back in the early days of WWW and search engines, I can remember that it seemed that only ‘‘important’ people could be found on the web - ‘he’s on the Internet - must be famous!’. I can remember searching for my name a few years ago, and the only references I found were relating to a question I had asked in an information discussion group, and a report on the activities of a village group in which I was involved. There is not a lot more to add to that nowadays, except that my presence on Facebook and LinkedIn is announced, and my tweets are listed, something that I find a little disturbing (note to self - can I set privacy so that these do not appear in a Google search?) This unease comes from seeing something I have written reproduced outside of its context; and although this particular content is fairly innocuous my concern is that this might not always be the case. Contextual integrity is so important - you might want to talk to someone in one format but not another, reference Google Buzz example discussed by Danah Boyd (2010). Also, the fact that content is viewable by everyone does not mean that the producer intends it to be taken from context, reproduced, mashed up, used for deep indexing links and generally altered, hence my concern regarding the understanding of Facebook’s ‘everyone’ setting.

Establishing digital identity
The increasing popularity of social media and the embracing of it by the library community means that it is important for me to develop and nurture an online persona for my role at DMU, what ever that might be in the future. I believe it is relevant to all areas of library activity, and one needs to be ‘out there’ and ready to exploit it to its full potential, whether involved in back room technical services, or on the front line communicating with students in their preferred media. For my freelancing work it is important to portray the right skills background and experience, and I know LinkedIn is a resource extensively used in this area. It is useful to maintain a professional and relevant image, and to ensure that should anyone wish to dig deeper, they will find nothing of concern - one’s brand’ must remain intact and record unblemished. It is important to use digital identity to find ways of attracting commissions, and encouraging new business. With this in mind I really need to address the issue of having multiple professional identities in one profile, whilst attempting to demonstrate 100 per cent commitment to each, particularly as many of my fellow freelancers are full-time.

The representative body for my freelance work operates a service whereby all our contact details are registered on their website freely searchable by anyone, so legitimate people can find us, view our specialisms, check whether location is convenient and make immediate contact. I have been uncomfortable with this, but am not sure how to strike a balance between being easy to find and having my details exposed to potential criminals. I have now removed my address but it still comes up in a Google search.

Developing digital identity.
For the Task 1 activities, I joined two Diigo groups relevant to my work, and am finding some useful material from these. I can see that as I begin to contribute my own material, my own profile will be enhanced. The saved search hashtags in Twitter have been useful to explore; I have found some relevant people for the areas of activity I am interested in, am following a prominent author in one of those fields and now find she is following me. I tried #libraries, but found that it is too broad with lots of US material which I am not interested in. It would be helpful to narrow this down in some way to focus on specific topics, but I cannot see a way of doing this. I already have a LinkedIn account, although not very active as yet, I do intend to develop this.

With regards to privacy policies, I really don’t worry perhaps as much as I should when it comes to signing up with individual sites. Much of our personal data is easily retrievable anyway, through Phone Book, the electoral register, and pay for services such as credit rating agencies. As far as I am aware there is nothing terrible about me that I am aware of lurking in anyone’s files or photographs, but what I do find disturbing is how much flexibility and power all the sites have in using our data. I am uncomfortable with the way in which data can be shared between applications and sites, and suddenly no longer be subject to the privacy protection one thought one had. Facebook is a prime example (Opsahl 2010, Butcher 2007 etc.) and I think it is appalling that it can change the policies signed up for as and when it suits to make data more useful and valuable to it.

BOYD, DANAH (2010) Making Sense of Privacy and Publicity. SXSW Austin, Texas
BUTCHER, M. (2007) Eight reasons why Facebook owns your ass. Mbites. Weblog [Online] 2nd Aug. Available from [Accessed 14/02/11]
OPSAHL, K. (2010) Six things you need to know about Facebook connections. Electronic Frontier Foundation. Weblog [Online] 4th May. Available from: [Accessed 14/02/11]
Facebook Privacy Policy

Monday, 7 February 2011

Thoughts on Dave White's Visitors and Residents using Twitter and Facebook


Dave White in his 'Visitors & Residents' video describes Twitter as a resident platform, and as such, it is necessary to really use and interact within it to fully get it and benefit from it, as also expressed in Andy Powell's blog 'Twitter for Idiots' which he refers to. (Interesting to read Powell's view regarding the CILIP 'Twitter for Librarians' course! - yes, you do need to use it to understand it in the same way you need to drive a car to understand how to drive a car, but it is sometimes helpful for people to completely focus by setting a specific date and time - if you have spent the money on a training course and travel - you will devote time and energy to doing it.)

Visitors on Twitter can easily search on a particular topic, review the tweets and then go off again, having wasted little time; they are goal-orientated and it is quick and easy to use. They will have left no footprint, will not have exposed their interest, and will not have had to wade through the banalities to get to what they want to know. However the experience will be rather like using a search engine, there is no interaction going on, so they will miss out on any future comments, any developing stories, any retweets or continuing discussion. As they see Twitter as no more than a tool for a particular task, they will not be contributing or discussing, nor be part of a community, nor enriching their digital identity. Others who share their interests will not recognise them or value them in any way.
Residents, however, will reap the benefits of high visibility. They are more likely to be contacted with interesting ideas and suggestions, to be followed by relevant people who they in turn can follow, they can deal with negative comments quickly and immediately, respond to queries, give feedback. On the other hand, in order to maintain their 'brand' or identity, they do have to 'keep feeding that machine', keep updating. Not only is this time consuming, but when they run out of anything of substance to say, their comments can become banal.

In some ways Facebook can be easier than Twitter for visitors - they can see what others are doing and saying, where they are, what interests they have, look at photos, without having to contribute, (although generally will need to get as far as adding and being accepted by friends to see this information). The drawbacks are that as non-contributing, they are unlikely to be approached with messages or updates relevant to them - by not giving they get nothing back.
For residents, it is easy to maintain visibility in a number of ways, updating status, uploading photos, commenting on others updates, joining new groups, and finding new friends. All this is good for networking, locating business needs, promotion and marketing. The drawbacks include the erosion of privacy the more that is given, the time-consuming nature of updating, and the exposure to irrelevant or unwanted attention.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Beginning module 2 and social media culture

At the start of this second module of our course for in web technologies and practice, I am now beginning my blog, to try and capture developing thoughts and ideas as we go along, and to attempt to reflect upon what I find out about implementing web tools.

This is not something I find easy to do publicly! and It feels very different from blogging in, where we knew we had the privacy of a password protected environment. However I appreciate it is an essential part of the learning process, although I am assuming the only people reading it will be my tutors and course colleagues.

Our first module gave us (in my case a much-needed) introduction to web2 tools, and an opportunity to explore them and to find out about the range and purposes of the available technology.

For the second module I was really pleased to see the structure and layout of the module on Blackboard for the forthcoming weeks, so I have an idea of what to expect, and can see how everything fits in to the overall topic. Having said that, there is soooooo much to do! and so many places to visit, I really am going to find it hard to keep on top of it all. Whether I prefer a more linear approach or whether that is just what I am used to I don’t know, but in order to deal with all this I have already had to set out my own checklists to try and manage the tasks and reading in a way I can deal with, i.e. ticking them off one by one!

I would be interested to know how my colleagues are finding this.

With regards to the background reading relating to social media, I particularly liked some of the ways the authors expressed the impact social media can have, for example as quoted by Lon Safko in The Social Media Bible (2010) ‘An angry customer will tell up to 20 other people about a bad experience...,’ that’s face to face. With the use of social media like blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, those 20 people can quickly become 20,000 or even 200,000.’ Basically a message can reach huge numbers of people very, very quickly, with subsequent negative or positive effects. News can go global in a matter of minutes, and social media and its potential is becoming more and more popular. And everyone can join in and contribute. The downside of this is the loss in privacy, if you want to participate you have to have some sort of online identity, and that means giving up personal information. Web 2 technology is all about creating, developing and using that digital identity, not protecting it.

I was interested in Erik Qualman’s maxim in his book 'Socialnomics' (2011) that ‘investing time in social media actually makes you more productive’- hard to tell when you are spending hours on a computer, many of them not very productive - but then no pain no gain, guess you have to go through these processes to learn and familiarise yourself with the digital world. And its interesting to think of social media as competition to Google and other search engines, given the additional search opportunities there are. More potential, more opportunities, but so much more to manage.


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Setting up...

Just to say something . .before nothing. That was straightforward. Blogger seems to be a simple option and at the moment I don't know what other functionality I will need, so this is it. Now to check settings.