Saturday, 3 March 2012

Attendance at #maws2012

I had the pleasure to attend the Metadata and Web 2.0 seminar at the National Library of Scotland yesterday. As ever the NLS is a great venue for the Cataloguing and Indexing group Scotland to hold the event, easy to get to and fabulous library to be in (not to mention nice cafe and shop!). Sadly i didn't have time to go round their current exhibition so i will have to take some time to go back for a social visit.

The maws event was very well attended and no wonder with such an interesting line up of speakers. It began with Nora McGregor from the British library talking about their work on understanding the digital researcher. The presentation encompassed the BL's efforts to understand the current and future researchers in the digital world. Looking at the kind of space and technologies they might use and the digital resources that they will be using. This was a fascinating presentation which lead to some interesting questions about the place social media holds for digital researchers, the conclusion being that researchers are not yet using social media for research, much to the suprise of the information proffessionals.

Lynn Corrigan gave us food for thought about how cataloguers could be using Twitter in their proffessional lives. Another stimulating presentation which gave me personally a lot to think about. Although i have an ill utilised twitter account, i had only considered its use for my personal life and had in the end found myself floundering to find a way to make this a useful part of my life. After this presentation and the following debates about tweeting, i find myself re-evaluating how i might use twitter to keep me up to date with the work of fellow librarians. I have resolved to make more regular use of twitter and look forward to seeing what benefits this will bring to my working life.

Bryan Christie from the National Library of Scotland gave us a run down of his work to utilise social media in promoting NLS. I could see the similarities between what he has done and what we are trying to do at my organisation and there are a few strategies i will be taking back tor try out. This was followed by a debate over traditional marketing methods v's social media. Most organisation will no doubt use both, though it seems that it is increasingly easier and cheaper to reach a wider audience through social media techniques.

At this point we had the oppertunity to pause for breath as the morning presentations were complete!

The afternoon began with a contrast of approaches to mobile strategies in libraries. The first presentation was from Karen Stevenson and Kay Munro of the University of Glasgow. Their organsiation has taken serious look at how the university library needs to adapt to the changes in mobile and tablet use to access information and resources. They have taken the time to set up a team for tackling the new technologies and are looking not just at what to do to enable current library users access through mobile devices but have also created a strategy that will allow them to keep up with the fast changes in technology. This was an impressive presentation and i was particularly impressed to see that that they have included a 'live lab' which gives staff access to moble technologies and tablets and allows them to be trained in how to use them, which inturm will reap the benefit of staff being able to assist students in getting connected to the resources and they will be able to come up with new ideas for ways in which the technologies can be used in the library setting.

Martin Morrey from Edinburgh Universtiy gave a contrasting presentation on the same topic. Edinburgh has chosen to go down the App route but have created an app for the whole of the University including the library. The contrast in strategies was very interesting and both approaches are being well executed, giving the listener much to think about. Edinburgh is continuing to develop their app and the ways in which it can be utilised and it will be interesting to hear later down the line how both of these strategies work out. What i took from both of these presentations was that if your project is well thought out and well executed you are at least giving yourself the best chance at success.

Vicki Comrie from  the University of St. Andrews Library gave us an insight into the use of Libguides for assisting students to access appropriate subject material. As a one time student of St. Andrews i was fascinated to see the change in their approach to student assistance and dare i say they have come a long way in their approach, well done to Vicki and her colleagues for helping to make sense of the wealth of resources available to the students in St. Andrews! I will be ataking alook at Libguides myself to see if it could be utilised in a public library setting, though cost could be a deciding factor for us.

And finally... Nicola Osborne from EDINA - this talk is meta (and so is this title). I have heard Nicola talk about social media before, previously it had been in the context of how libraries could utilise social media as a tool. As ever she gave a fascinating look at social media and the metadata that it creates, which is vast. How can this metadata be utilised? How are companies using metadata now? Once again a great deal to think about, more questions than answers but most importantly stimulating.

The day, for me was a great success, the speakers left me with a great deal to investigate and think baout. Much will ruminate in the dusty corners of my mind before they will see the light of day but some aspects i can take back to my team on Monday and perhaps it will spark something new.

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