Archive for April, 2008

This piece on ReadWriteWeb caught my eye this morning. It discusses the results of research carried out by Universal McCann to investigate the impact of social media.

Looks like more and more of us are putting ourselves out there; blogging, networking, uploading, contributing…

One of the most interesting revelations is that China boasts the biggest blogging market in the world. Bigger even than the US! I know, I was shocked too, but it’s true…there’s 42m bloggers in China compared to only 26m in the USA! And as Asian and emerging markets continue to grow it looks like our global communities will go from strength to strength. Power to the people, indeed!

Check out the full report here.


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A visit to the library, whether it be the physical building or its online location can have a massive impact on the lives of individuals and communities. If you don’t believe me then have a look at The Bradford District Care Trust and Libraries Partnership Project which has just been awarded the CILIP / LiS Libraries Change Lives Award for 2008.

Since 2006 Bradford Central Library has provided excellent opportunities for people with a range of learning disabilities to realise their full potential and become active citizens within their local community. Check out the real world impact of the project in a recent article from The Guardian.

Congratulations Bradford; breaking down barriers and promoting access, it’s what the library’s all about!

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A few weeks ago, Jennie, a law librarian from the UK began a journey to create the definitive list of UK based librarian bloggers

Following an initial ‘quick and dirty’ (her words!) search she’s established a wiki featuring everyone she’s found so far.   I’ve volunteered, along with Joeyanne Libraryanne, to help Jennie out with visiting all the blogs listed to make sure we’re providing an accurate and up to date synopsis for each one.  

If you’re a UK based librarian and you have a blog that you’d like listed on the wiki get in touch with one of us and we’ll sort it out for you!

It’s going to be a brilliant resource; and as with all Web 2.0 technology it’ll get even better the more we use it!

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Bored with borrowing books, DVD’s and CD’s? Why not try borrowing a person for half an hour? That’s exactly what happened at Camden’s Swiss Cottage Library recently when they showcased the UK’s first ever Living Library.

You’ll benefit from the wisdom and experiences of other human beings and you won’t have to read a single word…I know a few people who’ll find this approach to learning utterly irresistible!

Thanks to Alan for the heads up on this one 🙂

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That’s what John Dolan demanded to know during his speech at today’s Library and Information Show in Birmingham.   

He blamed “fearful and restrictive thinking locked inside IT offices”  for the delay in delivering adequate digital services to public library users and called for “training and development” to better equip library staff to meet the demands of 21st century users.   

Interesting, considering ongoing debates just about everywhere questioning the importance of a formal qualification in librarianship…

After all, I know for a fact that anyone graduating from the University of Strathclyde’s Information and Library Studies course over the last few years are more than capable of managing and creating access to online and digital resources; not to mention communicating the concept of Web 2.0 and helping users to interact with its associated tools!  

Could it be that newly qualified librarians are more essential now, than ever before? 😉

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Large corporations go where the money is, they always have.  And they’ve become increasingly aware of the potential of Web 2.0 in delivering enhanced revenue streams and cost effective communications with shareholders, customers, staff etc.  

Enterprise 2.0 is the latest buzz word in the business world and involves commercial organisations driving business via blogs, mashups, podcasting, RSS, social networks, widgets and wikis.  It’s been predicted that businesses will invest almost $5 billion on web 2.0 tools over the next five years.   

Web 2.0 Expo 2008, San Francisco, courtesy of James Duncan Davidsonfour day conference takes place in San Francisco this week with thousands of Web 2.0 entrepreneurs meeting up to discuss what they can spend their money on!

Let’s hope social networking isn’t just a fad then…

Photo courtesy of James Duncan Davidson


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Couple of articles today (in The Guardian and The Bookseller) discussed how students and researchers are settling for mediocrity from commercial search engines that offer user friendly interfaces and convenience over quality and depth. Fewer of us seem to be exploiting the many benefits of academic search engines such as Archives Hub, Edina, Intute and Copac.

It’s a shame really because these resources provide unparalleled access to the best in academic research. Unfortunately they fail at the point of entry for many of today’s users who expect to retrieve exactly what they’re looking for in a matter of seconds, not minutes. They’ve been brought up on a diet of Google, Amazon and ChaCha and demand a fully interactive service that is intuitive and sensitive to their needs.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that…and if the academic search engines can successfully emulate the positive aspects of commercial models then everyone’s a winner!

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It was suggested today in The Times that some critics aren’t happy about the massive popularity of the British Library. Apparently young people are being drawn to its front doors by a ‘groovy magnet’; attracting them to ‘hang out’ at the library; chat over coffee, meet new people; access the internet, even request books! Oh my!

I think it’s great that young people feel comfortable enough to spend time in a space where they can soak up “the world’s knowledge”.  But at the same time I can understand why some are cautious about the success of the redesign.

That said, I visited the British Library recently and although the café and the reception area were quite busy there were plenty of helpful staff on hand to assist visitors in finding what they were looking for. I also found that I could easily locate a quiet space to read, observe and reflect…

Access for all is brilliant and the British Library seem to have struck a nice balance between appealing to a wider audience and retaining core values, but I wouldn’t want there to be further ‘disneyfication’ of this great institution!

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Quiet Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian by Scott Douglas is a memoir about life as a public librarian in Anaheim, California.

Haven’t read it yet but the reviews make for interesting reading; check out this one on One Minute Book Review compared to the one printed in the Scotland on Sunday yesterday.

I’m looking forward to reading it as I’ve heard some of the content is a bit controversial and I do like a bit of controversy! One reviewer described the lead character as a “Douglas Coupland slacker hero relocated from the world of e-commerce…”. Hmmm…do we really need our own Microserfs inspired book in celebration of ‘Gen X’ librarians – isn’t that a bit 90s? I’ll let you know when I finish it!

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The shortlist for the 2008 Carnegie Medal for outstanding children’s writing and the Kate Greenaway Medal for exceptionally illustrated children’s books has just been announced.  

The Carnegie Medal is one of the few awards that I actually look forward to.  Each year the shortlist and eventual winners are always of such a high quality that their work rivals the recipients of many of the more high profile book awards.  Well, for me anyway!  Especially those books that have successfully ‘crossed over’ into the adult market; Just in Case (Meg Rosoff), Millions (Frank Cottrell Boyce), Junk (Melvyn Burgess) and A Gathering Light (Jennifer Donnelly).

I look forward to ‘discovering’ fresh new voices from this year’s shortlist!  The judging panel, as always, will have a very tough job in declaring an overall winner!

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