Saturday, 23 September 2017

Thing 4: Communicating Visually



Good social media content is all about telling a story and the best stories are told using a combination of imagery and text that elicits some kind of emotion, be it a topical humorous meme or a touching photo montage of a rescued puppy.

However, with news feeds that are saturated with videos, memes and giphs, the playing field has become very competitive. In order to get your library patrons to pause, even for a second to view your content, you need something unique and professional looking.

You might be thinking 'who has the time to spend putting these stories together'? You are already doing five million other things that the multi-tasking information professional ends up doing.

In Thing 4 we’re going to look at a few mobile apps that might help. These apps are focused on creating visual content for the purpose of sharing on social media. You can have a bit of fun with these apps, while also creating something that might just stop someone in their scrolling tracks to wonder ‘how did they do that?' You will need a mobile phone to access these two apps. If you don't have one yourself maybe you can enlist the help of a colleague or student and share the fun.

"Check out our new Mobile Library Service"


Photofunia


Simple steps on how to use PhotoFunia

PhotoFunia describes itself as “Fun, fantastic with a little pinch of outrageous...” If you are looking for an image to add a little humour to your newsfeed then PhotoFunia might be the app for you.


PhotoFunia has a bank of images that are regularly updated. The images range from photos of people into which you can insert your own or someone else's face to images into which you can put text or logos of your choice.







A fun way to welcome incoming students for the new academic year.

Not all the images in photo funia might be to your taste but there are a few gems, and used in right context can look very convincing.
PhotoFunia is useful if you want to create a catchy poster for your library, or if you want to have a bit of fun online with your advertising. Here are some examples that we put together using the PhotoFunia app and a bit of imagination.



A new library programme perhaps?

Once you've created an image you can share it directly to a social media feed or download it for later use.


Quik


Quik is a free video editing app created by the makers of Go Pro, available to download from both the Google Playstore and Apple Store. Quik allows you to effortlessly make slick professional videos that you can share to your social media channels or download for later use. 


Click on the numbered images below to enlarge. These will bring you through the steps on how to use Quik. These examples are taken from a video I created to promote workshops held in our library and were created using an android phone. The steps may vary on an apple device. 

Steps 1 - 4: Getting started with Quik

Editing with Quik


Once you've selected which photos to use and chosen your theme, tap on the pen icon as each image appears to bring up editing options such as adding text, altering the focus, adding more images or removing images.
Editing your photos. Tap on the pen icon as
the video is playing to edit each photo.

Adding some extra touches


The three icons across the bottom of the screen allow to you edit the theme, change or remove the music and edit the duration of the photos, add filters and change the format of the video. The third icon at the bottom of the screen has a few extra editing features. Swipe right, to the last feature in this list, called 'outro on/off'. This allows you to get rid of the quik watermark; a feature I always appreciate in a free app.


Once you've finished creating you can share it
straight away or download for later use.

Finishing up



Quik will allow you to share you video to most social media platforms direct from the app. You can also download your video to upload to other sites that are not on the list within the app, or play on a screen in your library for example.




Not a fan of Quik? 



Try Ripl. Like Quik, it's a free video app that allows you to creatively stitch together images with words and music to create a catchy video.




Advantages to Ripl


  • It's possibly a bit more user-friendly than Quik.
  • It has a few more choices of music and LOTs more choices for fonts.
  • It allows you to add a hyperlink to your video.




Disadvantages to Ripl


  • You can't get rid of the Ripl watermark.
  • The transitions aren't as nice as Quik.
  • The text remains on all the photos for the duration of the video, you can't add different text to each image.
  • Remember that hyperlink? - it's a ripl customised link rather than your own web address. The link still brings you to your desired destination (your library website for example) but it changes the URL to contain the word Ripl; people will be less inclined to click on a link they don't recognise or has no association with your library website.


Your task for Thing 4 is:


Download one of the apps mentioned in this blog post and create something visual. Play around with the settings. Share your image to a social media platform of your choice, using the #rudai23 and #thing4 hashtags, or upload them to your blog.

Remember, you will be asked to write a reflective blog-post on your experiences of this Thing so it might be worth taking a few notes as you work through the task.

Please comment on this blog post to let us know how you get on, or email us if you have further questions.

Thing 4 was written collaboratively by Michelle Breen and Niamh O'Donovan

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Thursday, 21 September 2017

30 of the Best Library Blogs You Should be Reading

Now that you're all set up with your shiny new blog, it's time for you to explore the world of library bloggers. We will be encouraging you later on in the course to take a look at the blogs of the other Rudai23 pariticpants. For now we want to share with you some of the amazing library blogs that will hopefully inspire you, like they do us.

Following blogs

When you've logged into the platform you've chosen to create your own blog, you will also have the option to follow others who use the same platform. In Blogger, it's called your Reading List. You will find it at the bottom of your list of settings, when you're logged into the editing mode of blogger.

To add a blog in Blogger


  1. Click on Reading List.
  2. Click on the pen icon on the top right corner.
  3. Click on 'Add' and enter the URL of the blog you want to follow.


Alternatively when you visit a blog, you can click follow on the blog homepage and it will automatically be added to your list.
Blogger doesn't suggest blogs for you to follow, or have  a search facility; you must find them yourself on the web first.

To add a blog in Wordpress


  1. Log into your wordpress account.
  2. On the top right you will see a tab called 'reader'.
  3. Here you can search for topics, look at wordpress recommended sites or search for specific blogs that you want to follow.

Using a blog reader

Our favourite method for following blogs however is to use an RSS feeder. An RSS feeder is a tool that will scan any websites of your choice for new content and deliver that content to one location for you to read at your leisure.

RSS feeders are useful when you have a number of websites that you regularly like to visit to read new content. It can be time consuming to have to periodically check these websites for new content, RSS feeds cut out this work for you.All you have to do is set up an account with an RSS feed service of your choice, bookmark the websites that you want to follow through that RSS feed service and then every time you log-in you will find all the content there waiting for you.

Feedly



We recommend Feedly as a reliable, free RSS feeder. We use it ourselves to keep track of all the Rudai 23 participant's blogs. You can sign up for free using your email address. When you log into feedly, search for our blog using our web address www.rudai23.blogspot.com and click on follow. Everytime you log into Feedly any new content that we publish will be waiting for you.

Feedly not only lets you read the content but also share it to various social media sites, curate your own boards or save content for later. Feedly also has some really interesting features if you're prepared to pay for the pro version that makes it a very powerful collaboration tool for work.

30 of the Best Library Blogs You Should be Reading

To get you started on reading some of the best Library blogs and blogging Librarians out there we have created an OPML file of 30 library blogs for you to follow which you can access here.


Importing blogs into your blog reader

  1. Download this file and save it onto your computer. 
  2. Log into your feeder of choice and find the settings/options area
  3. Look for the option to Export /Import OPML and click import. 
  4. Upload our OPML file which you just downloaded to your feeder. 
  5. Every time you log into your blog reader any new content from these blogs will be there waiting for you. 

Happy Reading!

 

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Thing 3: Image Banks

Welcome to Thing 3 of Rudaí23: 23 Things for Information Skills


This is the first Thing from our Visual Communicator section of the course. You can chose to complete one of two options within this section to be eligible to apply for the Visual Communicator Badge. Option 1 and 2 both include Thing 3.

In this thing we will introduce you to some reliable sources for free images online. You can then use the sources we mention when completing the tasks that we assign in the other Things throughout the course and in particular the Visual Communicator modules.

Visual images help us to absorb information quicker and more effectively. It is no surprise then that communicating through online media and social websites has  become more and more visual in the last few years. Giphs, emoji, vlogging, and storytelling apps like Instagram and Snapchat are the current communication tools of choice for online communication.

Snappy soundbites with an eye-catching photo get more attention on Twitter. Nothing looks worse than an article shared on Facebook that has no image attached to it. If you want your message to reach a wide audience, you must include an image.

In Thing 3 we will direct you to some reliable, legal and free resources for finding the correct image for your story.

Finding a good image


When we begin to search online for an image,  our first stop is more often than not Google images. While this will most definitely bring you plenty of results, unless you ask it to, Google will not restrict your search to copyright free images.

To do this, after you’ve conducted your image search click on tools. A new toolbar will appear below the search bar. Click on usage rights and a list of options will appear based on the Creative Commons attributes. You can then restrict your search to images that have been labelled reuse.

Conducting an image search using the usage filters in Google

Finding the right image


This method is not the most effective way of finding a useful image however. Instead there are a number of websites that are dedicated to providing downloadable copyright free images. Where possible we always recommend that you still attribute the image source.

In Thing 3 we will feature two online libraries packed with excellent free images that you can use, even commercially, for no cost at all, Flickr and Pixabay. At the end of this post are links to other free image sites that you can explore in your own time .

Creative Commons 


Before we begin discussing image banks it is important to know a little bit about copyright and how it applies to images you wish to use from the internet.  Working in the information world, we all need to be aware of our legal responsibilities. The terms “Intellectual property”, “Copyright”, “Creative Commons” and“DRM” are terms that we need to understand in order to:

  • educate our clients about their rights and responsibilities regarding materials they access and/or borrow
  • share our own works in a manner which supports free and open movement of information
  • comply with any contractual or organisational obligations we may have

Creative Commons and Copyright 

 

From a library point of view, copyright and copyright restrictions impact everything we do; the content we make available (for example, journal and e-book licensing restrictions), Inter-Library Loans, (restrictions on sending PDFs), photocopying, use of our public access computers and the content we make and share to educate our patrons and ourselves. “Fair use” or “fair dealing” provisions that allowed for the use of copyrighted material for educational purposes or personal research have historically been of some value.

As copyright restrictions became more onerous, educators, librarians, technologists, legal scholars and others came together in 2001 to establish Creative Commons, a non-profit organisation, set up with the intention of facilitating sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Creative Commons have created licences which enable a content creator to allow others to use their work in a number of defined ways including permitting them to alter, or build on, an original work to create something new without requiring explicit consent. There are a number of different licence types, each of these licences allows a different level of permission from the original content creator. It is important to note that Creative Commons licences do not eliminate copyright. They build on it, enabling a “some rights reserved” approach rather than the traditional “all rights reserved” which copyright applied. You can read the full details of each licence on the Creative Commons website.

 

 A summary of Creative Commons licensing types:

 

Attribution. This licence requires that the content creator is credited for their work, so if you use a photo in your blog, include the creator’s name and any link to their personal website or the website where their content is hosted. You should also specify if you have adapted the content in any way. Creative Commons provides some examples of what a good attribution looks like.
Attribution-ShareAlike requires that you attribute the author as above and that any content which you create is shared under the same licence so that others may subsequently use your work to generate their own new content.
Attribution-NoDerivs requires attribution and prohibits you from distributing the material if you modify it in any way.
Attribution-NonCommercial allows you to adapt and share the content as long as you attribute it and as long as you distribute it for non-commercial purposes.
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike allows you to adapt and share the content as long as it is for non-commercial purposes and you must licence any adaptation under the same terms as the original licence.
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs requires attribution of the creator, that the content may only be used for non-commercial purposes and that the content cannot be altered in any way. No cropping, no changing, no adding a logo or text or anything else.\

The Creative Commons attributes icons.


The Creative Commons movement has become so successful that “creative commons” has entered the English language as a way to refer to items licensed in this manner. Websites like Flickr and Opsound allow users to upload content with a Creative Commons licence so that others can then use this content to build new works. It is a useful search term to use when trying to source content for presentations or displays.

When you create your own work, be that a photograph, a blogpost, a graphic, or an audio or visual recording, you should also consider whether or not you wish to licence it under a Creative Commons licence. Creative Commons has a handy decision tool to help you select the licence that is most appropriate for your needs.  It is important to note however, that if you create content on a device that belongs to your employer, or in your place of employment then the copyright for that content belongs to your employer.



Pixabay

Public Domain content is content that has either passed out of copyright, or where copyright entitlements have been forfeited. So, for example Project Gutenberg makes available the works of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and others. Public Domain content can be used by anyone for any purpose. Some creators now choose to make their works Public Domain immediately, as a contribution to society.

Pixabay is a website which makes public domain images available for use for free. All contents are released under Creative Commons CC0, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist - even for commercial purposes.

When you search on Pixabay, the top row of results will be paid content from Shutterstock. these are featured on the site as advertising, to help with running costs of Pixabay. Ignore these and browse the images below it, which are all free. When you download images from Pixabay you are invited to contribute via PayPal, Bank transfer or Bitcoin but this is not compulsory, it just keeps the wheels greased for this great website.

Pixabay has some useful search functions that allow you to limit your search by size, colour, image format and orientation. Just click on ‘All images’ beside the search box and a drop-down menu with options will appear.

A visual of the options available when searching on Pixabay

Flickr 

Flickr is a photo-sharing website that allows users to upload and tag photos, browse others’ photos, and add comments and annotations. Flickr offers some images on a Creative Commons basis and it is to these collections you should look when trying to source an image you wish to reuse. Launched in 2004, Flickr provides the tools, but the value derives from the contributions of the user community—photos, comments, ratings, and organisation—and the connections that the site facilitates between individuals. Flickr also provides a range of privacy settings, giving users control over how their photos can be used. There are many photos on Flickr that are tagged as reusable and downloading these is quite easy. You will need to have access to a computer, as the mobile app is not capable of handling these functions.
Flickr's Creative Commons homepage. 

In order to use flickr you must set up an account. Once you have set up your account you can search for images, upload your own or create your own galleries of images.
There are two ways to source creative commons licensed images on flickr.

Method 1 : Search for an image using the search box; Click on Any License on the top-left corner of the results; a drop down menu will appear from which you can chose your preferred license.



Method 2: Go to Flickr’s Creative Commons site. Chose which  Creative Commons license you wish to use and click on see more; you can browse images or search using the search box.


Browsing Creative Commons images on Flickr.





To download an image from Flickr:  

  • Find the photo you wish to use and click the downward-pointing arrow to see image size options. A short list of image sizes available for download will appear. To see an even longer list, click “View all sizes.” The higher the resolution, the larger the image.
  • If you do not see many higher resolutions, the image may just be small, or the owner of the image has chosen not to share all sizes.
  • Click an image size, and then click the Download link. The download link will say something like “Download the Large 1024 size of this photo,” though the actual text depends on the selected image size. Choose a location to save your image. 
  • Select a folder, then click “Save” to download the image.


Here are some libraries that are on Flickr: 

The British Library
The National Library of Ireland
New York Public Library

Here are some suggestions of other uses for Flickr in your library: 


  • Upload photos of your library events and tag them with your library name to make them more discoverable 
  • Create a unique tag for your library and encourage your library patrons to use it when sharing photos of your library on flickr. 
  • Create a gallery of a special collection that you hold in your library. 


Cant find the image you want? Get your camera phone out and make your own. 

 

 

Your Task for Thing 3 is:

Explore one of the image bank sites we mention in this Thing. Try downloading an image from one of them and uploading it to your blog, or upload an image to your flickr account, or create a gallery in your flickr account.

Optional task: Write a blog post on your experience of  completing the above task. You will be asked to do this in order to apply for your visual communicator badge, so it might be useful to have a written account to refresh your memory.

This blogpost is not legal advice and should be treated only as a signpost towards some pertinent pieces of legislation regarding copyright. Please check the copyright and intellectual property legislation for your own jurisdiction in order to fully inform yourself on this topic.

 

Further Reading

Take a look at our Evernote Notebook for more sources of free images and extra reading about Flickr and copyright. If you're not sure what Evernote is we will be covering it later on in the course. You don't need an evernote account to view this content.

Thing 3 was written collaboratively by Michelle Breen,  Niamh O'Donovan and Caroline Rowan

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Thing 2: Write Your First Blog Post



Your first task as part of your Rudai 23 journey is to create a Blog and write a blog post. Hopefully the post you craft will be just the first of many of such pieces on your very own librarian's blog.

Last week’s post was a practical guide to setting up a blog of your very own. What follows here, to help you get started, is a simple introduction to blogging that will provide some encouragement, and show you, again hopefully, how ‘easy’ blogging actually can be and is.




What is Blogging?


So, for those of you new to blogging what is a blog? What is blogging?

I always find etymology a good place to start learning about something and with this in mind the word Blog is a contraction of two words Web (as in world wide web) and Log (as in regular record of incidents.) So, in essence a Blog is like a web journal. It is a place, a public space to write and record your opinions, your reflections and thoughts on a particular subject. It is a space for you to spread your word to the world (wide web)




Why Blog? 


Why do people blog as individuals? (As opposed to blogging as institutional account which usually aims to promote an institution)

A recent article from the New Review of Academic Librarianship offers some reasons why Librarians blog. A number are below (But first – Shameless, or should that be shameful, plug now - a preprint of the article Many voices: Building a biblioblogosphere in Ireland is available at UCC’s very own repository, CORA)
  • To share and communicate ideas, knowledge best practice with other librarians and the library profession in general
  • To connect and engage with other librarians
  • To advocate for the profession outside the profession
  • Another reason could be to practice writing in a safe collegial atmosphere. 
  • And finally – because it is actually enjoyable


How to Blog 


First step, actually set up your blog.

Most people use Blogger or Wordpress – but you can also use Tumbler or Medium amongst others For more detailed information please read Thing 1 if you haven't already.

Whichever one you use you use you shouldn’t be overly concerned with or worried about the template. Follow the KISS Principle

Choose a template that allows your writing to shine. You want the content to be the important thing, not how it looks. You should be aiming for substance not style. Ultimately your readers will go that’s an interesting argument – not I like their choice of theme.

Importantly - Give yourself time to write the blog. Take time out. When writing try to avoid distractions like your social media accounts. Distractions , well they distract, and make completing the post and making a coherent argument more difficult.

Read other librarians blogs. See what works for them. See what you like and enjoy. And see if you can apply how they blog to your blog.


What to write about and related…


Write about what you know, things that you’ve done in your daily work and your opinions on these things. Reflect on the work and write down these reflections.

If you read something interesting, write a blog post on it.

If you read something you vehemently oppose and think is utter £&$%&* - write a post and argue with it. 

Write a book review.

It is your blog. You can write about whatever you want to write about.

Don’t worry about length of blog post. And I know I might be going against the orthodoxy here which says keep posts to under a thousand word. My most read post on Libfocus was over 4,000 words. Likewise, the most read posts on Sir Henrys and Blackpool Sentinel were over 3,000 words. If the post is interesting enough and written coherently people will stick with irrespective of the word-count.

Check your spelling and your grammar. Make this perfect. It just looks bad to have typos, spelling mistakes etc. And can take away from the pleasure for your reader.

Encourage Feedback and engage with the feedback – if somebody comments, reply.

Link your blog into your social media accounts and share your post across these platforms. Don’t be shy to promote your post – you have done the hard parts, actually writing it and putting it out there.

Do try to post regularly. Posting regularly builds momentum and helps to keep your blog in the eyes of people.

If you feel that keeping up your own blog takes too much time and effort why not consider contributing guest blogs to a blog, and thinking local here, like Libfocus or Slip Ireland


Conclusion


And to finish up – a bit of advice that I have to keep repeating to myself when I am finding it difficult to get a blog post or an article started, or more importantly finished. As a particular sports brand motto goes – Just do it. Every written piece in history has started with one word, get that word down, and keep going. Don’t worry about how it reads – you will have to redraft and redraft. NEVER publish a first draft – of anything. Just get writing, and rewriting etc.


And enjoy it. It will be fun. But most importantly Just do it!


Your task for this Thing is:


Write a blog post on any topic of your choice and publish it on your blog. Please ensure to put 'Thing 2' in the title of your blog post to make it easily identifiable to our moderators later. 

Further reading: 


This article by Michael Stephens encapsulates a lot of the reasons why we think that sharing the work we do on social  media and through blogs is so important. He gives some useful advice about best practice when blogging  and is definitely worth reading for inspiration.  


Today's post was written by Martin O'Connor. Martin is a member of the Collection Development & Management team at University College Cork Library. He has published and presented in the areas of library promotion & marketing, collaboration, social media, library exchanges and user engagement.

He is a long time member of the Libfocus blogging team. He runs the Irish music blog, The Blackpool Sentinel. He is also part of the Shush: Sounds from UCC Library team and co-manages their blog. And finally, as far as blogging goes, he also managed the Sir Henrys 2014 blog an exhibition run by UCC Library in 2014

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Rudaí23 2017 Registration Step 2

Welcome to step 2 of the registration process for R23: 23 Things for Information Skills.


By now you should have completed step one by subscribing to our blog. If not, click here:Subscribe to R23: 23 Things for Information Skills by Email

You should also have read through and completed Thing 1 and set up your blog. Once you have that done you can complete step 2 of registration which is to click here and complete our registration form. 

In the registration form please submit the address of the blog that you plan to use when writing the Reflective Practice posts during the course.

Your blog URL is the address you type into the internet search bar to open your blog homepage. It should begin with the text https:// and end with name of whatever blog provider you used. For example https://randomlibrarystuff.blogspot.com



It is essential that we have your correct details if you plan to apply for the Digital Open Badges in this course.

Here is the link to our registration form in case you missed it. 


Registration will remain open for the duration of the course. 

If you plan to do one of the later sections of the course you don't have to register straight away. 

Good luck with the course, and have fun!

Thing 1: Setting up your blog


"A blank screen, he's got a blank screen!"

Welcome to Thing 1 of R23: 23 Things for Information Skills. Thing 1 and Thing 2 are essential reading in order to progress with the rest of this course. 

One of the core elements of a 23 Things course is self-discovery and reflection. These are valuable learning methods and we know that you will get a lot more out of this course if you embrace them throughout. 

We will have lots of opportunity in each module for you to discover and learn on your own. In order to be eligible to apply for a Digital Open Badge you must reflect on that learning and write a reflective blog post on your thoughts and learning experience. That is where the blog comes in. 

Blogging can be a valuable tool for career progression as you record your CPD activities, share your experiences and connect with others online. We will talk more about the benefits of blogging in Thing 2. In this bog post we will show you how to set up your own blog. 

A common starting point for us all in the world of blogging is a blank screen. And possibly a blank expression. Well, don't worry, we've all been there, and I'm going to walk you through the whole process of starting a blog from scratch. By the end of this post, you will have seen some "how-tos" on creating a blog, writing a post, following other bloggers, and most importantly, you'll have seen that it's pretty straightforward when you get stuck in.

So, what is a blog anyway? It's many things to many people, but where the word comes from is a combination of the phrase "web log". Many users initially saw blogs as a way to keep an online journal (or log) of their lives. The uses have since expanded, and now there are many forms of blog, but they all involve a user writing a "post" and publishing it to an online tool. The user can choose to keep the blog private or leave it open for anyone to see. For those that go public, there is the option to gain followers/fans, and there are even cases of bloggers making a living out of their writing. The benefits of sharing your blog include opportunities for others to engage with your posts, to share ideas, and as a support network.


What do you need to do to get started?

Firstly you will need to decide on which blogging platform you wish to use. There are many out there, and each has pros and cons. What is common to all platforms is that you will need to create an account to use them. You can think of this in terms of when you were setting up an email address for yourself: you could choose from Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, Vodafone, etc. They all essentially do the same thing, but there are a few to choose from. Well, it's the same with blogging tools. I'll go through some of the options in the next section, to help you decide which one you want to use.


Which blogging platform should you use?

This will come down to personal choice, really, but to help you decide, I'm going to introduce you to a few options.


The three platforms that I have tried out in the past are BloggerWordPress and  Tumblr.

Blogger Pros:

  • Owned by Google, so if you have a Google or gmail account, you already have Blogger
  • Completely free
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Offers basic analytics

Blogger Cons:

  • Hosted by Google, so if they ever shut it down, you could lose your blog
  • Some templates look a bit dated

WordPress Pros:
  • Blogs can look very professional
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Free (but limited) version available 

WordPress Cons:

  • Free version has the same risk as Blogger (if the host ever shuts the service down, you could lose your blog)
  •  You may find that you have to pay for the "nice" parts that come free with other providers


Tumblr Pros:

  • Very well suited to blogging on a mobile device
  • Media-centric, although you can post just text
  • Clean and modern look

Tumblr Cons:

  • Blogs tend to not look as professional as Blogger or Wordpress
  • Analytic tools are not as in-depth as Blogger or Wordpress
Tumblr has become a well loved micro-blogging tool by librarians. Just search for the hashtag #tumblarians to get an array of librarian humor and real librarians sharing their workday lives.
The best way to decide which one suits you is to have a look each of them online. I have also added a link in the "Want to know more?" section below, which goes into a bit more detail about each of the platforms.

My thoughts on the three platforms.

Unless you are willing to pay for hosting to set up your own WordPress site (which can look VERY professional, but costs money), then Blogger or Wordpress.com (the free version of WordPress) are your best options. Tumblr is fine, and arguably has the best mobile app (iOS andAndroid) of the three. However, it doesn't have the same administration tools as the other two. Blogger is a bit easier to use for a beginner but doesn't look as fancy as WordPress. If at a later stage you wish to transfer your blog into a self-hosted website using the full (paid) version of WordPress, then you can easily export your Blogger blog to WordPress. So, it is up to you to balance the pros and cons and decide which platform suits you best. Any of these three will work fine for Rudaí23.


Which blogging platform do I use?

Well, actually, I use all three! When I started blogging for my students, I decided to use Blogger, as I found it easier to get up and running on it compared to Wordpress (at the time, Tumblr was not as mature as it is now). A few years later I wanted to spruce up the look of the blog, so I tried moving it to WordPress. What I found was that the blog was no longer showing up in search engine results, so I switched back to Blogger. If I had been using WordPress from the start, I would not have had this problem.  I had created a "track record" and had gathered followers through my Blogger site and so it made sense to leave it there.

Another BIG reason why I choose Blogger to begin with is that it is completely integrated with my Google account, so everything is really smooth: I can link my Google Calendar, Drive, Photos, Google Plus and YouTube stuff to my Blogger blogs very easily. They all work well together because they are all part of the one account. By the way, you may have noticed that the Rudaí23 blog is also created using Blogger!

More recently, I have started using Wordpress.com for my personal web site. There is a blogging element to this site, but I use it more as a "landing page" for my web presence. This is an example of an advantage of Wordpress: it can be used to create websites, not just blogs.

I also use Tumblr because I like how easily it works on my iPhone. It is very convenient for blogging on the go. I tend to view it as "Twitter Plus", in that I use it in a similar way to Twitter, but it does not have the limitation of just 140 characters. It is so easy to share media content (as well as text) using Tumblr, so it is a great option if you have something short and snappy to share. I have my Tumblr and Twitter accounts linked, so anything I create on Tumblr also gets published automatically on Twitter.

Whatever platform you decide to use for your blog, that is absolutely fine.  When you have created your blog, its URL will be shared to other Rudaí23 users, and we will be able to work with you no matter what way you decide to go. However, for the purposes of sharing a tutorial with you, the next thing I am going to show you is how to get up and running with Blogger.


Getting started with Blogger

There are only a couple of simple steps involved in setting up a blog using Blogger.

1. Blogger requires a Google Account. If you do not have a Google Account, you can watch the video below to see how to set one up. If you already have a Google Account, you can skip this step.







2. Once you've logged into your Google account you can set up your blog.

The video below shows you exactly how to do this. In this video, you will also see how to publish a post, which is the basis of "Thing 2"


    If you cannot watch these videos just follow these steps:


    1. Go to blogger.com 
    2. Click on 'create blog'
    3. You will then be asked to sign into your google account, or set up a google account if you do not have one already. 
    4. You will then be asked to choose a blog title and URL. These do not have to be the same. If you choose a long blog title, you might prefer a shorter URL. Take some time to think about your URL and blog title, you will be sharing this with your professional peers. 
    5. Your URL is the information that we need to complete registration. More on that later. 
    6. You will now be brought into your blog editing page. Here you will see a menu of options on the left, where you can chose the theme, layout, background and write your first post. 
    7. On the top left click on 'view blog' and a new tab will open showing you what your blog looks like on the web. 
    8. Every time you add an element to your blog, change the layout, or compose a post you can preview it before committing to it. 


    That's it! You're now up and running with your blog!

    If you chose to use Wordpress or Tumblr or a similar blog platform the set-up are broadly similar to blogger and relatively simple. Try it out and see how you get on.


    Your Tasks for Thing 1:

    If you've been looking at the links and working through them as you read this post, you may have already completed most of the first Thing! If not, all you have to do is:
    1. Choose a blogging platform
    2. Create your blog
    3. Complete our registration form, including the URL for your blog. 
    Click here to complete Step 2 of our registration process once you have your blog set up. 


    Writing your first post will be coming up in Thing 2.

      Want to know more?

      Blogging, and the finer detail of how to use your chosen blogging platform, is something that you will get better at with practice. One of the best ways to find out how your chosen platform works is simply to experiment with it. Have a look around at the settings. Play around with the themes. See if you can figure out how to add images to your posts.

      As a helping hand, I've put together a number of short video tutorials. You can look at these now, or you can come back to them later on when you want to explore some of the more advanced tools in Blogger. The videos can be found at the following links:

      For a more detailed comparison between the three blogging platforms outlined above, have a look at the following link. It is about a 10-15 minute read.

      Thing 1 is written by Wayne Gibbons, an Educator and Social Media enthusiast. 








        Wednesday, 6 September 2017

        Meet the Rudaí23 Team for 2017

        Rudaí 23 is run by a volunteer team from the Western Regional Section of the Library Association of Ireland. This course first ran in 2015-2016 and was accessed by information professionals world-wide. We had so much fun running the course that we decided to do it again. The Western Regional Section of the LAI also holds regular training seminars and networking sessions for our network members in the West of Ireland.

        The course will feature guest bloggers again this time but we’d like to introduce you to the team that designed this course, that will support you through each of the 23Things.

        Michelle Breen is a librarian at the University of Limerick. Michelle has presented widely on information management and assessment topics and has had her work published in conference proceedings, LIS practitioner literature and in the ISI journal, PORTAL; Libraries and the academy. Michelle is working with Niamh managing the content for the first badge in Rudaí23 and will be keeping an eye on your blog posts throughout the Visual Communicator badge.

        Follow Michelle on Twitter @michellebreenUL



        Wayne Gibbons is a lecturer in the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway. In 2015 Wayne completed a Masters in Education Degree, specialising in Technology Enhanced Learning. Wayne is currently enrolled on a Doctorate of Education degree with The Open University. His research topic focuses on the implementation of a digital open badges scheme and its effect on learner motivation in higher education. Wayne designed and will manage the digital open badge scheme for Rudaí23. He is also acting as a moderator and academic consultant for the project.

        Follow Wayne on Twitter @TheWayneGibbons


        Kris Meen is Assistant Librarian Academic Skills and Marketing & Engagement at NUI Galway Library. Kris gained his MLIS at the University of Western Ontario in 2010. Kris will be coordinating the content for the 3rd badge, Critical Thinker and will moderate your blog posts during that badge.

        Follow Kris @kristophermeen on Twitter.


        Siobhán McGuinness gained her MLIS from University College Dublin in 2013. Siobhan is currently working in a Social Media & Digital Marketing role. Siobhan has been a member of the @uklibchat team since 2014. Siobhán’s committee work includes SLA Europe’s Digital Communication Committee Chair and SLA Leadership and Management Division’s Professional Development Team. Siobhán is part of our communications and marketing team and will also be coordinating the content for the 2nd badge, Online Networker.

        Follow Siobhán on Twitter @shivguinn

        Niamh O’Donovan is a Library Assistant with Galway County and City Library Service. She is the project manager for the Rudaí23 initiative. Niamh will be keeping an eye on things throughout the course to make sure it all runs smoothly. In addition to this, Niamh is working with Michelle managing the content for the first badge in Rudaí23 and will be keeping an eye on your blog posts throughout the Visual Communicator badge.

        Follow Niamh on Twitter @niamhodonovan



        Saoirse Reynolds is a Library Assistant in Maynooth University Library working between Special Collection & Archives & The Russell Library and General Collections & Finance. Saoirse is currently enrolled in MA Information and Library Studies with Aberystwyth University through distance learning. Saoirse is a Communications Officer with the Western Regional Section of the LAI. Saoirse is part of our communications, social media and marketing team for Rudaí23. Saoirse is always ready to help with your queries throughout the course.

        Follow Saoirse on Twitter @seeershy


        Stephanie Ronan is an information professional and provides the library services to the Marine Institute in Galway. Stephanie is the current Chair of the WRSLAI, the LAI section to which the library staff in this project mainly affiliate. Stephanie and Niamh earned their Associateship to the LAI following their work with the first Rudaí23 and their professional development to date. Stephanie will be coordinating the content in our 4th badge Engaged Professional and will be guiding participants through the tasks in that section.

        Follow Stephanie on Twitter @stephanieronan


        That's the Rudaí23 team for 2017/2018 and we can't wait to get started on our programme of Things next week. You can still sign up for the free Rudaí23 course by adding your name to our blog for email updates http://rudai23.blogspot.ie/ 

        Monday, 28 August 2017

        Registration is now open for R23: 23 Things for Information Skills

        Welcome to registration day for R23 : 23 Things for Information Skills.We're very excited about what's to come for the next couple of months and look forward to meeting everyone online.

        Registration is an easy two-step process. In fact, if you're reading this by email then you've completed step one of the registration process already. Please read through these steps carefully, as well as essential information about how the course works.

        How to Register


        Step one: Subscribe to this blog. On our home page you will see an option to enter your email address to subscribe on the top right. This means that you will receive  our blog posts directly to your email inbox. That's it! you can now relax and wait for our next blog post to arrive into your email inbox. 

        Click on this link to subscribe: Subscribe to R23: 23 Things for Information Skills by Email

        Step two: Register your details with us. We will provide a registration form on this website for participants to complete after 9 September. We will be asking you for the address of the blog that you plan to use when writing the Reflective Practice posts during the course, and a few other optional details. Blogging is a core part of the course and essential if you want to apply for the digital open badges.

        Don't have a blog? Don't worry, in Thing 1 on 9 September we will cover how to do set one up and advise you about which blogging platform might suit you best. If you already have a blog you can use it for your course. We recommend using a personal blog rather than an institutional blog. 

        If you registered for our previous course in 2015 and plan to do this one you can use the same blog, but you do have to register again. You can skip Thing's 1 and 2 and go straight to Thing 3 on 16 September.


        Registration will remain open for the duration of the course.

        Because you can pick and chose which sections of the course to do, you don't have to register immediately. We would recommend completing the first step of registration so that you don't miss the blog posts that are published later in the course.

         


        If for some reason you're email cannot receive a blog feed, or you would rather not subscribe by email we have an alternative suggestion. 



        Use an RSS feeder


        An RSS feeder is a tool that will scan any websites of your choice for new content and deliver that content to an inbox (not your email) for you to read at your leisure. RSS feeders are useful when you have a number of websites that you regularly like to visit to read new content. It can be time consuming to have to periodically check these websites for new content, RSS feeds cut out this work for you.
        All you have to do is set up an account with an RSS feed service of your choice, bookmark the websites that you want to follow through that RSS feed service and then every time you log-in you will find all the content there waiting for you.
        We recommend Feedly as a reliable, free RSS feeder. We use it ourselves to keep track of all the Rudai 23 participant's blogs. You can sign up for free using your email address. When you log into feedly, search for our blog using our web address www.rudai23.blogspot.com and click on follow. Everytime you log into Feedly any new course content that we publish will be waiting for you.
        Feedly is also available as an app for android and apple devices. 

        How the Course Works


        Each module or 'Thing' will be taught through this blog via a blog post. The module will consist of a brief introduction to the topic, with information about some online tools. You will learn how to access and use these tools as well as read about some examples of them being used in a library setting. We will be using a mixture of images, links and embedded video to teach the modules. Depending on your firewalls you may not get all the content in your email inbox, and you might have to click on external links to access the content. 

        You will then be set a task at the end of each module, usually to explore the tools discussed in the blog post. To read the post and carry out the task could take up to an hour or two depending on the content and how much you want to explore.

        The course is divided into four sections 

         

        You can chose which section you plan to complete and apply for a digital open badge once you've completed the Things for that section. The first digital open badge, Visual Communicator, has some optional Things.
        You must write one reflective blog post about your experience of doing the group of Things for that particular badge and submit this blog post as part of your application for the digital open badge.
        Only one blog post is necessary for each digital open badge, but because of the reflective nature of the writing you might find it easier if you write notes as you complete the tasks, or begin a drafted blog post with your thoughts while they are fresh in your memory.

        Take a look at our page on badges for more information about the badges that you can earn. 

        Take a look at our FAQ page and Helpful Hints page for more information on the course and things like password management.

        Here is a link to a downloadable PDF brochure with more details about our four digital open badges and the content we will cover in them. You can also read about them here:

        Keeping on schedule

         

        We have created a Google calendar of the schedule of the course. This is publicly available if you want to search for it in Google calendar. It's called R23: 23 Things for Information Skills. You will also find it permanently at the bottom of our blog homepage.

        Here is how to import our calendar into your google calendars:

         

        Open Google Calendar.
        Next to "Other calendars" on the left, click the Down arrow .
        Select Add by URL.
        Copy and paste the fllowing link to the calendar into the field provided:

        https://calendar.google.com/calendar/ical/1q8i94jttgoafjm8eh5r3o0ptg%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic.ics

        Click Add Calendar. The calendar will appear on the left side under "Other calendars."

        You can then edit your notification preferences so that you know what's coming up.


         Work Offline


        Once you have your blog set up you can easily submit your blog posts by email.

        Here are some simple instructions on how to post by email using Blogger. Obviously this only works if you chose to use Blogger as your blogging platform.

        Here are similar instructions if you chose to use Wordpress as your blogging platform.

        Please feel free to comment on this or any of our blog posts if you have questions or thoughts about the course.



        Good luck with the course.








        Thursday, 24 August 2017

        Earn your fourth digital badge on the new Rudaí 23 online course

        No man is an island according to John Donne, and this is certainly true when it comes to the information professional. We are a vibrant, collaborative and involved community, always willing to share our knowledge with each other. In order to tap into that knowledge bank, we need to be an ‘Engaged Professional’, so titles our fourth digital open badge. Read about our first open badge Visual Communicator here, our second badge Online Networker here and our third Critical Thinker one here. Our final badge ‘CPD Champion’ is a special reward you can apply for if you complete the previous four.


        The Engaged Professional badge comprises four Things; Thing 19 Podcasts, Thing 20 Advocacy and Engagement, Thing 21 Professional Organisations, and Thing 22, our final Reflective Practice. This set of Things is designed to help you reflect on the profession as a whole and the part you play in it.

        The beauty of Podcasts is that they suit the multitasking librarian. They are digital audio files delivered through the internet, similar to a radio show.  While walking your dog or stacking the library shelves you can catch up on professional subjects and current activities in any field. A great Irish podcast is Librarians Aloud, especially episode three which details our first run of Rudaí 23 in 2015. In Thing 19, as well as curating a list of worthy Podcasts, you will discover the tools and ability to create your own.

        Now is the most important time in our history to advocate. In this digital era, we have seen a tendency to disregard the library and its staff, falsely assuming everything is available online, or everything online is authoritative and all encompassing. We have been introduced to Open Libraries, debilitating budget cuts, library closures and the like. It’s important that the public knows the role the information professional plays and how essential it is. Unless we advocate for our libraries, and rally those around us to do the same, they will no longer exist. We also need to advocate for ourselves. Thing 20 will help you ensure that your value and worth are appreciated in your organisation and your position flourishes.

        Save our libraries campaign
        Information professionals have learned by now that it is our collective voice that has the largest impact. It is crucial that we are part of a professional organisation. Being so will keep you informed, give you an opportunity to network with likeminded colleagues, provide a forum to exchange ideas and a platform to boost your career through CPD activities. It is through our immersion in the Western Regional Section of the Library Association ofIreland that we created Rudaí 23. Thing 21 will introduce you to some of the main professional bodies you should be aware of, such as the Library Association of Ireland, and hopefully lead you on the path to further learning opportunities and library joy. Eligibility to apply for this LAI certified digital open badge requires you to complete a Reflective Practice with Thing 22, your penultimate module.

        Thing 19: Podcasts  January 6th 2018
        Thing 20: Advocacy & Engagement  January 13th 2018
        Thing 21: Professional Organisations  January 20th 2018
        Thing 22: Reflective Practice Write January 20th 2018


        Subscribe to our blog to get updates about Rudaí 23 and receive the modules straight to your email!

        Friday, 18 August 2017

        Earn your third digital badge on the new Rudaí 23 online course

        Internet map, The Opte Project / Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY 2.5 
        Welcome to the third installment in our series introducing our Rudai 23 digital badges, focusing on our Critical Thinking Badge. You can read about Badge 1 (Visual Communicator) here, and Badge 2 (Online Networker) here

        The popularization of the internet, now in its third decade, has put the ability to produce and circulate information into the hands of pretty much anyone. This has upsides, of course, including the ability to share one’s intellectual or creative work and to have access to a huge diversity of information sources. Yet the downsides include those expressed most recently in the cultural shorthand of ‘fake news’ – information of any quality, including outright, misleading falsehoods, now circulates with dizzying speed and to potentially devastating impact. 


        As stewards of information, information professionals are subject to a special imperative to be able to think critically about the information universe overall as well as their own digital ecologies. This badge will require contemplation and engagement with tools to help with four distinct aspects of critical thinking as it pertains to information. We’ll start with a lesson touching on the legal side of one’s digital presence, including the ins and outs of Creative Commons digital licensing. We’ll then take a fresh look at Wikipedia, considering it as a potential tool to sharpen one’s information evaluation skills. Thing 16 will involve taking a look through tools that can help manage your personal information – and therefore, your time – to help with your efficiency as an information worker. These will include apps like Flipchart and Evernote. Finally, in Thing 17, we’ll look at tools you can use to help share your work if your critical thought about information extends to a presentation or piece of writing about your insights that ought to be shared with others, so tools like SlideShare and ResearchGate. 


        Along with a snazzy, Library Association of Ireland-accredited digital badge, after completing this suite of Things, you’ll have sharpened your critical senses when it comes to information. You’ll be that much better at navigating the hot mess of the 21st century digital environment, and better able to help others to do so, too. 


        Thing 14: Your Digital Footprint, eg. Creative Commons, 02/12/2017 
        Thing 15: Evaluating Information, eg. Wikipedia, Wikibrarian, 09/12/2017 
        Thing 16: Personal Data Management eg. Flipchart, Evernote, 16/12/2017 
        Thing 17: Sharing Your Work, eg. SlideShare, ResearchGate, 23/12/2017 
        Thing 18: Reflective Practice, 23/12/2017

        Subscribe to our blog to get updates about Rudai 23, including our next post, about our fourth Digital Badge (Engaged Professional), out next week! 

        The Calendar of Things