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Ready for induction? July 12, 2010

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It sounds painful, and often is, which is perhaps why there has been so much time and effort put into that annual phenomenon, the ‘library induction’. Revolutionised in the early nineties when Cardiff Univerity coined the Cephalonian method, there is, perhaps unusually in the library world, a constant process of re-invention, in the interests of making induction sessions both fun and engaging.

Myself and my colleagues are no strangers to this eternal pursuit, and last year we combined elements of film, role-play, song and powerpoint into our sessions for the CCI freshers within the ATRiuM theatre. You can see some evidence of this by clicking on these two screenshots.

This year we’ll be taking the same format but revising the content slightly. An exciting addition to our presentation will be a new interactive map which will link out to film tutorials on key activities (how to print, how to book media equipment etc…).

Puskas July 12, 2010

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For no particular reason I thought now would be an opportune moment to reveal my favourite Christmas present from 2009.

It was this PC monitor cleaning device, in the form of a toy cat. I have gone for the name ‘Puskas’ after the famous Hungarian footballer, partly in honour of the so-called ‘Match of the Century‘ and partly because ‘Puskas’ sounds a bit like ‘pussycat’.

So far ‘Puskas’ has done sterling work in keeping my monitor shiny and clean, using his shammy-leather style underside. He also provides a talking point for any colleagues who happen to drop by for a chat.

Gregynog colloquium June 22, 2010

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Despite nursing what I like to describe as a ‘severe bronchial infection’, I really enjoyed this year’s Gregynog colloquium. The gardens were stunning and the paper bath mats were, as always, reassuringly impractical.

There was a nice blend of serious/light presentations, both in terms of style and content. And of course it’s always nice to bump into some old faces and become acquainted with some new ones.

What did I take away ideas wise?

1. I need to start tweeting (and blogging) a lot more often.

2. ‘Prezi.com’ makes a refreshing change from powerpoint.

3. Pecha Kucha looks a good way to do IL sessions.

I was also interested in Chris West’s talk on collaboration – it seems likely that within 10 years Wales HEIs will have a single shared LMS and a single shared ERM system.

Some interesting links that I picked up:

http://www.slideshare.net/daveyp
http://www.commoncraft.com/
http://www.twitjobsearch.com/
http://www.educause.edu/
http://www.kable.co.uk/ou-head-says-digital-divide-has-shifted-13apr10

WHELF eBook event March 15, 2010

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Oh yes, the eBook event. My overriding observation was that, as with many emerging markets, the technology is always ahead of the practicalities. So eBook developments seem to be a little hampered, principally by Digital Rights Management but also by a lack of standardisation on things like file formats and reader software. These are the realities of a competitive market I suppose (just ask Colin Betamax, the seventies video guru) but it does seem a shame that common sense doesn’t sometimes win out.

As far as the eBook Readers are concerned I can see people choosing to go for for other multi-functional devices as a preference – Netbooks, iPhones and the like, which are not limited to just books.

The feedback from the institutions seemed to be that Dawsonera is a competitive alternative to Netlibrary and My iLibrary, and has the added advantage (in the case of Glamorgan) of being integrated with our main printed book supplier.

Overall an enlightening day, and always nice to visit a new place. UWIC’s Cyncoed campus looked very impressive in the sunshine and was populated by a great number of sporty looking students, not surprising and it is home to the National Indoor Athletic Centre.

I couldn’t help but notice that as well supplying the typical newspapers, stationery and crisps, the little shop by the main reception also sold protein supplements. Handy if you’re carrying lots of heavy books!

back from the blog wilderness March 8, 2010

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Last Friday I bumped in to Karl Drinkwater at the eBook event at UWIC’s Cyncoed campus. Aside from being a very friendly chap and having an enviable surname, Karl is also an important figure in Welsh library circles, particularly but not exclusively in the area of Library 2.0. Therefore when he mentioned my old blog I felt a small (somewhat belated) spark of enthusiasm to start writing a new one. When I consequently realised it was exactly one year to the day since my last post, it seemed even more apt that the 8th March 2010 should be the launch date of ‘john wright: librarian etc’.

This is where I will reflect on my working life as an ‘Information & Library Services Team Leader’ at the ATRiuM, Cardiff, and promote the services that myself and my colleagues offer. It might also be a space in which I can ponder the wider, more universal questions that come to all of us sometimes in our quiet moments of reflection. Like ‘Why did John Terry go for a mohican haircut?’, ‘Why do dogs eat coal?’ and ‘Who put the bom in the bomp-shu-bomp-shu-bomp?”