Using SlideShare

I have been using SlideShare for many years now as it is a perfect tool for presentations, showing people how to do things, and explaining concepts – on the run. Of course this list is not a complete list of my presentations to date, as I have presented others for a purpose, but not for public access.

suesbent_on_slideshare_2014

Each presentation here served a specific purpose and was created at a particular moment in time. So you might notice that some of the online tools explained no longer exist or have developed into a slightly different version.

Here is a list of my presentations in order of date creation:

  1. How to create a wiki (2008). I created this ‘how-to’ guide to show school teachers how to create an online platform for collaborative class assignment work. To date: 112757 views; 928 downloads; 5 comments; and 34 likes.
  2. How to create a wiki using PBWiki2 (2008). I created this ‘how-to’ guide when changes were made by the PBWiki team. To date: 3337 views; 38 downloads.
  3. Blogs and RSS in 2009 (2009). Subscribing to RSS feeds is a perfect tool to assist people to refine their information needs from the Internet. It can be a little technical to describe and set up. I gave a talk on this topic back in 2005 to a group of librarians but the tool being used then was Bloglines. In 2009 it amazed me how few people still knew how to use this technique, so I created this presentation to explain why you would want to do it, and how to set it up. Unfortunately Google Reader ceased to exist in 2013, so other RSS readers are required. I now use Feedly and sync this with my mobile phone. To date: 978 views; 4 downloads.
  4. Photos by Susan Bentley (2009). I love taking photos and wanted to collate and share a few of my best shots. To date: 2255 views; 61 downloads.
  5. Social media considerations for local government (2013).  I was part of a team considering and creating a social media policy and procedure for the local government organisation where I was employed. This presentation I created to help explain the situation to other employees. To date: 442 views.
  6. Presentations in Second Life (2013). In 2013 as part of my Masters studies I studied the subject Social Media for Information Professionals. Part of this work requirement was that we visited the Charles Sturt University campus of Jokaydia in Second Life to meet others and watch some presentations of work by students from another subject. To date: 184 views.
  7. Social media for our organisation (2013). Again as part of the training roll-out of online social media use for the organisation where I worked, this presentation offered more information on the topic. To date: 139 views.
  8. Personal digitisation plan (2013). I studied the subject Creating and Preserving Digital Content for my Masters studies, and needed to formulate my own plan of attack for my own collection of photos. To date: 177 views.
  9. Daring greatly (2013). I enjoyed watching the inspirational talks by Brené Brown on TED, and used the words from her manifesto to inspire the team I led at Glenelg Libraries. I matched these words with some photos I had taken of the local area, then edited using Instagram. To date: 226 views; 2 downloads.
  10. Library Trek (2013). I was invited to give a talk about contemporary public libraries to the Red Cross Conference held in Casterton and these are the slides from that talk. I was well aware that the audience mainly consisted of elderly women who have very little experience or knowledge with technology, and yet I wanted to try to give them an idea about the possibilities for them in the online world – and how their local library could help them. Feedback from some of the people there said that it was the least boring talk of the day. Obviously without the speech notes these slides don’t tell you much. To date: 82 views.

42 Aussie Librarian Bloggers in 2013

In 2011, I began an investigation into Australian Librarian bloggers: how many could I locate online; who were they; what sector did they work in; the topics they posted about; and the overall look and feel of their blog. I was interested in individuals and did not want to investigate the blogs of library organisations. So I narrowed the field to the personal blogs of Australian Librarians. While I did include librarians from tertiary academia, I narrowed the field by not including the blogs by teacher librarians situated in primary or secondary school libraries. I also added 14 Librarian bloggers from overseas just to provide a measure of comparison.

After a quick and dirty Google search I located Libraries Interact where there is a list of Australian Librarian bloggers. Of these, in 2011, many were already inactive after running out of steam following the 23 Things training. There were other lists and indexes I stumbled across and I soon listed 66 active Australian librarian bloggers. Although my list did include many of the active bloggers from the Libraries Interact list, it also included others not on that list. I looked for the names of the bloggers and their twitter links. I tried to ascertain the library sector that they worked in. I read about their favourite topics and attempted to evaluate the content by gauging them against a content rubric that I created for the task.

Some bloggers like to write book reviews; some like to talk about their experiences answering customer’s questions; others like to pass on information about technology; some vent; some show their creative talents in the kitchen or with crafts; holidays are popular topics; most were personal; and many were superficial. My five-smile rating 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂  was a rare gem indeed on my incomplete list.

I was searching for relevant, interesting, deep, and meaningful content. I wanted to hear opinion. And while there is much great content from our bloggers, one stood out – It’s Not About The Books by Hugh Rundle. Good on you Hugh! Hugh continues to boldly post thought-provoking and challenging articles that are written with excellence. He embeds relevant links thoughtfully. He sets the bar high and is a fine example for anyone wanting to lift their own efforts to a new level; myself included.

So I have once again reviewed the list on Libraries Interact. Of the 58 bloggers listed under personal blogs of Aussie Librarians only 27 are still active (46.5%). Of the 66 Aussie Librarians on my list that were active in 2011, 46 bloggers have posted content in the last year; and only 36 in the last 4 months. (69% still active). Of the 14 blogs from overseas all are still active.

Here is my list of Aussie Librarians who are active bloggers:

1 A Chivas Regal Moment @CatyJ
2 Alyson in Library Land @alysondalby
3 A work in progress @fionareadersrr
4 Ballarat Library Chick @gemmas1980
5 Better than cheesecake @susannenewton
6 Biblio Turismo @Biblioturismo
7 Blog Fest at Tiffany’s @LibrarianCat
8 Book boy @bookboy
9 Bronwyn’s Library Blog @pivotalbooks
10 Connecting Librarian @michelleamclean
11 Digital Collaboration @SusanMyburgh
12 explodedlibrary.info @explodedlibrary
13 Feral Library Tales @kalgrl
14 From Melbin @malbooth
15 Girl in Landscape @wateryone
16 Hecuba’s Story @polyxena
17 HeyJudeOnline @heyjudeonline
18 Hmmm @Kridwyn
19 Inn0vate @petahopkins
20 It’s not about the books @HughRundle
21 JayGee Library Log @jaygee35
22 Jenelle Net @jenelle
23 Langridgep @langridgep
24 Librarian Hoi @librarianhoi
25 Librarians Matter @libsmatter
26 Library Dreamings @VesnaC
27 Macaronic @jobeaz
28 Opinions from an OPL @newgradlib
29 Pixelated Mushroom @pixelmushroom
30 Ramblibrarian @boycetrus
31 Ramblings from yet another Librarian @katejf
32 Read Watch Play Participate @ellenforsyth
33 reeling and writhing @mulberry_road
34 Ruminations @flexnib
35 Shallowreader’s Blog @VaVeros
36 Shelterit @shelterit
37 snail @snailx
38 Stained Glass Waterfall @warrencheetham
39 Sues Bent @suesbent
40 The Land of the Surprising Pun @librarianidol
41 There she goes @stephmcg
42 Thoughts and Reflections @shewgirl

And the list of Library bloggers from overseas:

1 Annoyed Librarian @LibraryJournal
2 Circulating Ideas @circideas
3 David Lee King @davidleeking
4 Free Range Librarian @kgs
5 Librarian by Day @bobbinewman
6 Librarian in Black @TheLib
7 Librarian Net @jessamyn
8 Phil Bradley @Philbradley
9 Self-plagarism is style @daveyp
10 Stephen’s Lighthouse @sabram
11 Swiss Army Librarian @SwissArmyLib
12 Tame the Web @mstephens7
13 The Shifted Librarian @shifted
14 Virtual Dave @rdlankes

P.S. This list is not complete in an online world that is constantly changing, but if you are an Australian Librarian who writes a blog and your blog is not listed here and you would like it to be, then please leave a comment below.

12 library podcasts

While I drive to and from work each day I listen to podcasts rather than listen to the radio. I have a few favourites that I download regularly and have mentioned previously on this blog.

driving_to_work

But I was curious to know how many podcasts there are about libraries or by librarians. These are the results of that inquiry; although not the definitive list. My focus is on content about libraries and not particularly books, authors or events. I also focused more on public and academic libraries and disregarded school libraries. These were all still active at the date of this blog post. My rating system judged the podcast on: relevance; content; sound quality; host performance; currency; and enjoyment factor. The results reflect an entirely personal opinion.

  1. Circulating Ideas by Steve Thomas (USA) ☺☺☺☺☺
  2. EdReach-LiTTech Show by EdReachUs (USA) ☺☺☺
  3. Free Library of Philadelphia by Free Library of Philadelphia (USA) ☺☺☺☺☺
  4. Infopeople by infotweets (USA) ☺☺
  5. Jisc Podcast by Jisc (UK) ☺☺☺
  6. Librarian on the edge by Terry Ballard (USA) ☺
  7. Library Chat by Corin Haines (NZ) ☺☺☺☺☺
  8. Nerdy Librarians by Michael and Mindy Perry (USA) ☺
  9. T is for training by baldgeekinmd (USA) ☺☺
  10. The Library Channel by ASU Libraries (USA) ☺☺☺☺
  11. TWIL (This Week in Libraries) by Eric and Jaap (Netherlands) ☺☺☺☺☺☺
  12. Whatever Mathers by Amy Mather (USA) ☺☺☺☺

You can find these podcasts and many more via the iTunes store.

I am currently reading Wool by Hugh Howey. I have just finished watching Series 2 of Game of Thrones on DVD. I am listening to The Wellness Guys podcast.

Country connections

Library services in the 21st century rely heavily on electronic resources and the internet. We hear of the demise of the physical book and ebooks are being chosen as a preferred format by many people. Google has stolen much of the research assistance once done by Librarians. We are far from card catalogues, limited physical collections of books, and even library standards like the LCSH are being replaced by tags.

While the World Wide Web has increased and broadened information accessibility, it has also radically changed the working lives of Librarians. And there is more to come. Where will we be when a library can’t purchase an item whether it is physical or electronic and we have to subscribe to platforms for everything? How is that going to impact small town libraries and their people?

This all hinges on the internet for access and delivery and there is this widely held notion that this access is a given. But it is not so. Even in the not-so-remote parts of Victoria where I live and work, there are “black spots” where whole towns have no coverage other than dial-up.

Not only does this prevent any delivery and connection via web-based models, such as the online library catalogue, but it means that many people residing in these towns are well behind in knowledge, acceptance, and skills in using this form of information. More and more organisations are only offering online services now. Think about how you submit your tax return, book flights and shows, apply for jobs, etc.

And when a know-it-all interloper from the city breezes into town espousing the wonders and virtues of the internet, they are seen as some kind of snake oil salesman.

 Places like this still exist and are being used as such. Disability access, OH&S, even reliable electricity are not seen as important factors, let alone on any kind of priority list. Attempts at network access via 3G fail repeatedly. So trying to convert the stubborn country folk is a trial of proportions not appreciated by library suppliers from the cities where fast reliable connectivity is expected. Even trying to coax people into using the internet to order and reserve physical books is like trying to teach an aqua-phobic  to swim.

Library services provided to small remote towns with limited internet connectivity are a lifeline to a larger world. While these people value, want and need their regular book delivery, many are yet to catch on to the possibilities that are there waiting for them.

Will the NBN come to the rescue of these people? Or are they destined to growing disadvantage caused by the digital divide?

This is an interesting talk given by Philip Kent in September 2011 at Melbourne University about Research Libraries in the 21st Century.

Too many clicks

How much does a click cost? How much are you prepared to pay per click? What is your information worth?

Public librarians find ourselves with a dilemma: do we continue to pay for expensive information databases that don’t get used despite consistent, clever and targeted promotion? As information specialists we appreciate the value of these types of information resources, but our customers don’t seem to be easily converted.

I feel treasonous to my profession by even asking this question. At a recent meeting of librarians who work in public libraries to discuss this topic, this question did not even arise. The academic peer-reviewed scholarly articles that are stored in these locked databases and therefore not freely available on the internet are gold, in the view of librarians and academics, and therefore beyond question.

People doing formal study have access to hundreds and thousands of these databases through the libraries of their tertiary education institutions. Victorian residents also have access to hundreds of these databases freely via the State Library of Victoria with a free membership.

To access one of these information databases as a public library member all you need do is have a current library membership, go to the library website, find the webpage where the online databases are located, select the database you want, put in your membership details, then hopefully you will arrive at the search screen (but not always – there may be a few more clicks yet). The search screen is often unlike a well-known Google key word search box; you may have to think a little to put a sensible search together. In regards to Boolean searching, Librarians know that Google assumes “and” when putting in keywords while most information databases don’t so you will need to add your own “and” “or” or “not”.

OR you can go to Google and put in the key words and cross your fingers. So ONE click compared to a likely minimum of FIVE. And many of these information databases are slow to load so you also have to wait.

Ask most librarians how they search online and many will say that depending on what they are searching for, they might first go to their own library catalogue, then Google, maybe Wikipedia, (or vice versa),and then delve deeper into the information databases once they have defined the information needs fully and if it is required by the customer.

There are a few information databases that the public customer does ask for and get real value from and these are Ancestry for family history research and perhaps a newspaper archive such as Newsbank. There are also some really great free information databases available online such as Picture Australia, the Better Health Channel, Law 4 Community, the Internet Movie Database, and dare I say Wikipedia.

So as a member of a public library what do you think? What do you want? Are these expensive but valuable specialist information databases a necessary resource that public libraries should be buying and offering with your free membership? Or are you happy Googling away, taking your chances with information that needs verification? Where should we be spending the public funds responsibly?

Zen and the Art of the Reference Interview

Recently I have been prompted to examine the procedure I follow when undertaking a typical Reference Interview. The Reference Interview is the enquiry process that occurs when a person asks a Librarian for some information. It is something I do without thinking about and I follow a procedure that is typical of all Librarians working in Information Services for customers. It is the nature of our work. It is the basis of our training and study. It is second-nature.

So the process is that the customer approaches (sometimes hesitantly) and I smile and ask “What can I do for you?” or “How can I help you?” The questions will vary from: being direct, well-defined, and fast and easy to accommodate, to vague, unsure, complex, deep and involved. They will often ask “Have you got the book “Such and such?” or “Have you got the latest book by “Whoshewhatsit?” or perhaps “Can I order the next DVD in the series “TV show?” I will check the library catalogue at the PC near me and advise the customer. If we don’t have it I will try to determine the age of the item and look online to see if it is still in print, check at other libraries via the Libraries Australia website or Libraries Link and advise the customer. I will order it in for them whenever appropriate and that is more often than not. I will use Google and Amazon as last resorts but most often I have located the information before that.

When a question is vague, general, or ill-defined I will often take the customer to the book shelves where we can browse together while continuing with the conversation and the “reference interview”. This helps the customer hone in on their needs and also introduces them to the arrangement and scope of the collection we offer.

Sometimes a question may go beyond the scope of the public library; questions like “I want to read the history of the Australian 15th Battalion in World War 2. Can you help?” Of course I will follow the same procedure of checking our resources, but inevitably I will end up at the Australian War Memorial website and search their online resources. In this case the gentleman had already visited the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and asked the staff there the same question, so he was way ahead of me. This came to light in the course of our conversation.

The point I wish to highlight is that each question is unique, as is each person who asks a question. I approach each question afresh and with the aim to open a conversation with this person; a conversation that is fluid, natural, flexible, unique, and engaging. I will follow my intuition and try to respond accordingly. There is no pat academic explanation to a process I follow by instinct, despite the fact that I do indeed loosely follow a procedure that is typical of all fellow Librarians or Information Professionals. I do not want to appear automated, stilted, academic, procedural, like I’m ticking all the boxes, robotic, bureaucratic, nor condescending. I merely want to engage in an exploration of resources with a fellow human being and in that interaction discover things together.

I relish the challenge and mental gymnastics required over the course of a days work helping people find the answers to their diverse questions. I love the thrill of the hunt that draws on my detective skills and lateral thinking ability. I enjoy the new things I learn by default from other people’s enquiries. And more importantly I feel my life is enriched by the small everyday relationships that develop along the way.