CPD23 Thing 4

Posted on May 29, 2012

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Ways to keep up-to-date without information overload…….

Twitter

I signed up for twitter way back in 2010 but didn’t really use it until I started Library School in 2011 and became aware of the network of Library folk using it. Twitter is now a tool I check several times a day (productive use of bus travel time!). I find it really useful to see and investigate what other people are tweeting about and I’ve definitely read a lot of thought provoking and useful stuff that I wouldn’t have otherwise found.

I mainly use twitter to follow Library folk as well as some health related accounts (for work purposes) and a couple of friends/relatives. I currently only follow 68 people – I’m not sure how many people can be reasonably followed without making my twitter feed move at a pace I can’t follow and lead to me missing out on useful stuff. I’ve read in some other posts about making use of the list function to break down the people I follow into sections such as ‘must read’, ‘news’, ‘work’ etc. This sounds like a pretty good idea, so I will investigate further.

Now time for a confession….I’m much more of a twitter ‘lurker’ and occasional ‘information broadcaster’ than ‘conversationalist’. I think this is because I don’t always have interesting library related news and don’t want to fall in to the trap of sharing my (seemingly long list of) #firstworldproblems with the world. I try (honestly I do!) to restrict my tweets to things I think people will find useful/interesting/entertaining. Also, if I’m honest, I feel a bit awkward actually tweeting people I don’t know….although I’m sure you’re all friendly folk. Maybe the way forward is to join in a #uklibchat sometime in the future!

So to sum up – for me twitter is an important way to keep up-to-date in a quick and bitesize way.

RSS Feeds                       

I LOVE RSS feeds!

When I first started reading blogs I used to favourite the blogs I read. I then had to check each blog individually to see if it had been updated – a pretty time consuming process. Then I cottoned on to RSS feeds and have never looked back.

I had a Google Reader account which I used for a while and then deserted it in favour of Netvibes which allows me to keep track of all my favourite websites, news and blogs on my very own personal ‘dashboard’. A Netvibes account gives you a private dashboard, which you have to log in to see, and a public dashboard which could be viewed by anyone. It works using widgets and widgets exist for everything from RSS feeds to twitter to Hotmail. In my private dashboard I have my facebook, email and twitter accounts displayed and then on my public page I have a section for links to the websites I use most often, a section for newspaper feeds and a section for blog feeds.

I don’t follow many blogs at the moment so it is easy for me to do a quick scan of the blog section to see if anyone has posted anything new. If I start following lots more blogs I might have to rethink – either with more sections on my netvibes page or move back to something like Google Reader.

Netvibes has also found its way into my work role. I’ve taken the lead from some other health libraries and used it to create what we call a ‘Current Awareness Hub’. Each department in the Hospital has its own section on our netvibes page and we’re in the process of adding RSS feeds from relevant journals to each section. The idea is that we create an information hub where healthcare professionals can give the relevant section(s) a quick scan and identify any newly published articles which are of interest/useful to them. It’s all colour coded so that they know instantly whether a particular article is available online, in the Library or needs to be requested. We’ve had positive feedback so it’s a project that’s worthwhile to do.

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Image: Work Netvibes page

In a nutshell – RSS feeds coupled with an RSS reader are a super easy way to keep up-to-date with newly published information all in one place.           

Storify

This is a tool I hadn’t been aware of. The examples highlighted on the cpd23 blog were really interesting and showed several different potential uses. I can see it would be a useful tool if I ever need to organise multiple forms of social media on a particular event or to reflect on some ideas that were being discussed. At the moment I can’t really see myself using it frequently.

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