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Hot topic! CILIP and the Media

14 Jun

There seems to be a discrepancy between what CILIP believe to be its media responsibilities, and what its members believe to be its media responsibilities.

Hearing both sides of any story is so, so important. I can’t think of ANYTHING I’ve got angry about, or railed against, that I haven’t softened my stance on once I’ve learned a little more about the other side of the story. There’s almost always a good reason why people do things that seem inexplicable at first glance. So I am prepared to have all this explained to me and to think to myself at the end of it all – okay, I was being naive, I can see how difficult this must be for CILIP. But either way, there is a problem here that needs to be addressed – whether the problem is one CILIP is contributing to, or is unable to do anything about. There is still a problem – and I get the impression, though only from a small pool of online responses to these issues, that CILIP’s members see it as more of a problem than CILIP itself appears to.

  • In my opinion, CILIP are not prominent enough in the media
  • In my opinion, CILIP do not do enough to mitigate or respond to negative news stories about libraries, or to place positive ones
  • In my opinion, CILIP should be able to escape the echo-chamber and are not currently doing so with sufficient frequency or success (although they are moving in the right direction)
  • In my opinion, CILIP should not have allowed the first BBC Newsnight debacle to happen as it did because a: they should have had someone on Newsnight instead of a children’s author ‘representing’ libraries and b: they should have ensured Newsnight were NOT able to claim library circulation was 314,000 books per annum when in fact it was 314,000,000 – responding to this afterwards simply isn’t enough
  • In my opinion CILIP seem too much like ‘one of us’- ie indignant and often impotent. Our professional body needs to be ‘representing us’ – ie getting someone on the programmes that may cause damage to libraries’ reputation. Various CILIP people have said you can’t just ‘get’ someone on Newsnight (they were saying this off the cuff – it doesn’t represent an official CILIP statement) but that isn’t strong enough, for me. If you can’t, then CILIP needs to take steps to force a change of attitude and increase its influence.
  • In my opinion, that CILIP were unable to accept an invitation on to the second newsnight debacle is an absolute TRAVESTY. They were offered a 1 minute slot at very short notice, and couldn’t get anyone to the BBC studios to fill it – Newsnight were unwilling to settle for a video link. I appreciate those are difficult conditions. But you HAVE TO MAKE IT HAPPEN! By whatever means -surely someone could have taken a cab across London and stepped up? I can imagine that Newsnight thought, right, we got lots of angry corrections from CILIP when we messed up the last feature on libraries, so we know all about them this time and we’ll offer them a slot. Then they say no… So next time, we’ll go back to ignoring them.
    [EDIT: I've learned today - 25th June - that CILIP actually contacted Newsnight, rather than the other way round. So while clearly it's a shame that CILIP were unable to make it happen, it's much, much better that they were chasing the opportunity, rather than passively impotent and unable to respond to it..]
  • In my opinion, and apparently in the opinion of other library bodies too, it is not the members’ responsibility to face the media, it is CILIP’s
  • In my opinion, CILIP should be getting someone on the Dispatches programme, not trying to get its members on it – at least not on their own. I think calling for people to go on that programme, and to produce a 1 minute video explaining the value of libraries, is great. But it should be part of a supporting strategy of member advocacy, with a primary strategy of CILIP appearing in the media itself. To take a presidential analogy: it’s like we’re being asked to be the foot-soldiers in Obama’s famous harnessing of web 2.0, youtube, and the power of grass roots activism - but without Obama himself going out on the campaign trail to lead us.
  • In my opinion, CILIP seem unwilling to step up and assume a prominent role in the media
  • In my opinion, there have been opportunities in recent months for CILIP to step up, and it feels like a crippling sense of inertia is preventing them from doing so.  A change of culture is needed here.  Chief Exec Bob Mckee says:
    “It’s easy to sit back and say “CILIP should have been on Newsnight” or indeed on the Today programme on Tuesday morning. But how many of us could go head-to-head with Jeremy Paxman on live TV and give a clear and compelling justification of libraries and librarians in just one minute or less?”
    God knows, I couldn’t – but it only needs one of us! And that one of us should be employed by CILIP – it should be YOU if necessary. Is there no one in the organisation for whom the challenge of facing Paxman is an exciting opportunity rather than a prohibitively intimidating threat? If none of the current staff feel able to represent the whole industry in the media, appoint someone who is! And if that isn’t possible right now, make plans to do so when it is possible.
  • On the one hand you have someone like Phil Bradley being invited back onto Radio 5Live after a successful appearance, and basically offering to drag the post-Newsnight  response forward on CILIP’s behalf (see the comments section), on the other hand we have CILIP unable to grab Newsnight opportunities. Am I the only one who thinks there’s a problem here?

I really, really want feedback on this. Please tell me in the Comments whether you agree with me, or disagree with me, or know stuff I don’t know. I welcome all comment and debate on this, and I want CILIP to respond to this too. I wouldn’t normally ask this, but please tweet a link – http://bit.ly/9EnejP - to this post  to encourage as many people as possible to engage in the conversation.

I have said before that I think we should not be so quick to attack CILIP, and that everyone I’ve met or spoken with who works for them is doing a great job. It’s very easy to criticise from the safety of a blog. I don’t want to belittle their efforts from the easy position of not having to represent an entire profession in the media. But, as I’ve said above, whether the problem is one CILIP is unable to control or is complicit in the perpetuation of, something has to change.

-thewikiman

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Fail or Prevail: Top Tips For First Time Speakers

04 Jun

 

Fail or Prevail Poster on the tube

Woot.

In the run-up to the New Professionals Conference next month, a few people have asked about sources of advice about presenting. I don’t claim to be an expert in this by any means  -  I’ve only presented at a handful of events and there’s loads I need to work on. (Not least of which is the fact that my voice doesn’t project too well, so I almost never get to present in anything like my natural way of speaking because I’M TOO BUSY TRYING TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE CAN HEAR ME. Happy days.) But I do go to a lot of events and see a lot of presentations, and anyone who does this pretty quickly gets to know what works and what doesn’t.

I should say, before I go any further, that this is just my opinion. This isn’t me with my “Ned Potter, New Professionals Conference Organising Committee” hat on; this stuff applies to all presentations, generally. It’s me with my usual “thewikiman spouting off about stuff” hat on – you certainly don’t have to do any of the stuff I’m about to say, if you’re presenting at NPC2010.

For me this whole thing divides into two key areas, plus general stuff.

Presentation Style

  • Reading it out = fail. If you’re going to read your presentation out, you need to be really good at reading stuff out. 9 times out of 10, unless you’re delivering a paper at an academic conference or something very precise of that nature, presentations with notes sound better than presentations read in full from prose. Stuff you write and stuff you say out loud requires different words, different phrases, and a different style. I originally intended to read my paper out last year, then I tried it a week or so beforehand. I panicked – I just could not make it sound interesting, or dynamic, or natural. It took a while to put it into note form – so if you do plan to do this then start the process early…
  • Saying out loud the exact same stuff that’s on the slide = fail. Admittedly there are times when this can be useful – statistics, and quotations, are times when I like to reinforce what I’m saying verbatim with words on the screen. Otherwise, your voice and your visual materials should compliment rather than duplicate each other. People will read your slide in their heads quicker than you can read it out loud anyway. Also, don’t turn your head and read the slides off the screen – you won’t believe how much this affects whether or not people can hear you. You have the laptop or whatever you’re using for the slides in front of you, so glance down at that if you do need to read stuff such as a quote or statistic.
  • Matching style to context = prevail. Things that work well in a seminar situation don’t always work in a big hall full of people, and vice versa. After New Professionals last year, I was feeling pretty confident going into the CILIP Graduate Day – I was delivering an improved version of the paper that won me a prize. But although the content was improved, the style wasn’t quite right and I don’t feel I did a very good job – my presentation was well suited to being delivered to 100 people in a big room, and less well suited to being delivered to 30 people in a smaller, more informal setting. I can’t even really put my finger on what was wrong with it, but I do know that if I had my time again I’d rewrite it for a more intimate audience.
  • Practicing in a meaningful way = prevail. There’s no point in practicing your presentation in your head. You need to say it out loud, in a voice that will carry. This changes some phraseology, how long it takes to perform etc. Leave gaps for taking sips of water, for pauses to collect yourself, and for the inevitable moment when you can’t pick up a page of notes on the first three tries, or pick up two pages at once by mistake. You really, really, have to practice it exactly as you will do it on the day, except not in front of a hundred people. Even if you feel silly. It’s worth it, honestly. If your spouse / partner / house-mate is going to laugh at you practicing at full volume, do it when they’re out (or leave them).
  • Timing your presentation to be exactly right, then reducing it by 10% anyway = prevail. There is some ancient Law of Presentations that says it’ll take longer on the day than it did when you rehearsed it. I practiced my presentation for NPC2009 and got it down to the exact 20 minute slot I had to fill, it was spot on. I spoke really slowly and left plenty of time for pauses as noted above. And still, at the conference itself, I ended up skipping a slide entirely (and I only had about 9) because I was running short of time. Get it so it takes exactly as long as it should do, then go through and ruthlessly cut out 10% of filler. It’s better to be under than over, and the chances are you’ll end up with a more focused and better presentation anyway

Presentation Materials

  • A gazillion slides = fail. Generally speaking, fewer slides is better.
  • More than a small handful of bullet points per slide, plus having any unnecessary animations = fail. You really don’t want more than five bullet points on a slide, it gets too cluttered, small, and hard to read. Just spread stuff across two slides if necessary – or even better, just write less stuff.  Similarly with animations – unless particular animations serves a purpose, don’t use them. Having your bullet points bounce in from the right of the screen, or unfurl like a blind, is old. Also, studies have shown that Power Point animations that feed in the bullet points one-by-one actually lull the brain into a non-receptive state, as it expects to be spoon-fed thereafter, meaning people remember less of your presentation. I was told that on a PowerPoint course*, so that makes it FACT.
    *(Yes, I went on a PowerPoint course. I was young, and had work-budget left to spend on self-development.)
  • Making an effort with PowerPoint = prevail. PowerPoint is so easy to use, many people don’t look beyond its basic templates. But they’re pretty ugly. I was talking to Buffy Hamilton about this and we agreed there’s really no excuse, anymore, for not making an effort – it takes a couple of minutes longer to prepare a much, much nicer ‘zen’ style presentation. Have a look at one of Buffy’s examples, or Bobbi Newman’s, or Helene Blowers’. The essential principle is, you have a CC image (there are literally millions on flickr, of course) which serves as the background for your slide, then you create some kind of text box and put the key point in it (or just type straight onto the pic). No fussy slides, no bullet points, no naff-looking templates – just the key message, and a picture which tells the story. It’s really easy to do.
  • Exploring alternatives to PowerPoint = prevail. Of course, you don’t have to use PowerPoint at all. There are plenty of alternatives now which look fabulous but are very easy to use – have a look at Prezi (which I’ll be using for own presentation this year – very much a work in progress at the moment -  along with some zen slides too), or Ahead, or Slide.com. They make you look awesomely professional with very little effort, and we can all enjoy that!

And in general…

There is a whole lot of common sense stuff which everyone says, everyone knows, and still people quite often forget to do.

  • Get familiar with the facilities available to you = prevail. Email the organisers and ask what there is. Of course there’ll be some kind of PC with PowerPoint and a projector, but will there be internet access on that PC for you to log in to your online presentation software? Does it have Office 2007 or will you have to make sure to save your slides as .ppt rather than .pptx? And talking of PowerPoint – if you use this, don’t save your file as ‘Conference Presentation’ or the name of the event. Everyone does that. When you arrive, you’ll probably transfer your presentation from your USB stick onto the PC everyone will use to present on – in the heat of the moment of change-over, from the previous presentation to yours, you’ll find yourself staring at 8 icons on the desktop all called the same thing and probably have a stroke from all the panic. Save your presentation as your name, even though that’ll seem silly at the time when you’re on your own in your room…
  • Get familiar with the people you’ll be working alongside = prevail. If there’s a meet-up / tweet-up the night before, get involved. If the event on the day starts at 10am, get there at 9:15 and set up your stuff, then go and speak to the other people who are there early. Chances are they’ll be either running the event or they’ll be fellow presenters – it’s great to get to know these people beforehand, as it’ll help you feel more comfortable later on the stage. Also, say hello to the person doing the sound if you’re mic’d up – they can make or break your presentation, so go and say hi even if they’ve got scary beards, like wizards, and look like they hate you.
  • Negating the impact of your words by saying ‘um’, ‘like’ and ‘sort of’ a lot = fail. Unlike in TV dialogue or books, people in real life say ‘um’ a LOT. In fact, perfectly normal people say ‘er’ as much as ‘the film comedy nervous person who says er a lot’ says er, if you listen. That’s fine, we all do it. But when you’re presenting, you need to have absolute conviction in what you’re saying, be confident that it doesn’t need to be qualified or mitigated by any indecision, and OWN it so much you don’t ever have to fall back on saying ‘sort of’ to buy yourself some time to remember what you’re saying.
  • Starting big! = prevail. So many good books or films have complicated back stories to tell, yet they still manage to start with a bang. It’s the old, ooh look someone’s being garrotted before the opening credits, and then after that it says ‘five years earlier’, trick. If you have to do a lot of setting up to make your point, open with a bold statement first, then go back to the beginning and do the back-story. So let’s say you’re talking about The Librarian of the Future. You could say, “libraries are changing, this is why it’s important, here are some trends, we need to adapt” blah blah. OR, you could say “The librarian of the future will work in the cloud. He or she will not be employed to work in a building, but rather will work collaboratively with colleagues from around the world to provide 24hr rolling information services to online subscribers” or whatever – THEN go back to the start and give them all the context.
  • Not following your own advice = fail. I’ve just read all that back and quite a lot of it I didn’t do last time I presented. Sigh.

So there you go. For tips on speaking generally, I thought this article was really good – The Introvert’s Guide to Speaking.

Good luck!

-          thewikiman

p.s since writing this, I’ve read 30 quick tips for speakers, which includes this one which I think is a great point, and that I hadn’t thought of: don’t apologise for stuff the audience won’t know is wrong. If you come to a slide and something mysterious has happened – ie a graphic has disappeared, or whatever – they’ll only know it’s a problem if you make it a problem. Just recompose yourself and move on without it. This is another piece of advice I’ve failed to follow in the past! I say stuff like, “ooh, that’s weird, erm.. not sure what’s happened there! Heh-heh! Seems to have been some kind of problem, the video I’d embedded has gone! I wonder what’s happened there..” SHUT UP THE WIKIMAN! You buffoon! Generally speaking, even if you do clearly have to apologise for some kind of disaster, doing so once is preferable to doing so multiple times.

p.p.s Plus that same article also has ‘always repeat the question back to the audience so they can hear it’ which I should have put in, too.

p.p.s See all the guides to everything that I’ve ever written, in one continually updated place, here.

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Libraries in 2020

30 May
A crystal ball with CILIP in

Words can't describe how pleased I am with this pic...

As part of CILIP’s admirable efforts to get the community’s input on defining our professional future, they have encouraged debate, blog posts etc on these subjects:

  • What will the Knowledge and Information domain look like in 2020?
  • Where will a professional association fit into this domain?
  • How will you engage with this professional association?

You can go to the CILIP netvibes dashboard to monitor the debates across many platforms – WELL DONE CILIP for setting this up!

Here are my thoughts – it seems to me to be sensible to look at what the world will be like in 2020 first of all, then how libraries will fit into that, and then how professional bodies in general (and CILIP in particular) will best serve their members in that environment.

Technology

Technological progress increases exponentially. This article by Ray Kurzweil has lots of graphs illustrating this, and some eye-popping insights. Everyone can see that things are speeding up – what is interesting and quite scary is that the speeding up is itself speeding up! In other words, we’ll see a century’s worth of progress in the next 25 years (rather than in the next 100) – because we are doubling the rate of progress every decade.

What does this mean for libraries in 2020? Well for a start, using the model described above, we will make the equivalent of 20 years of progress between now and then. (I think that’s how the maths works… :) ) Think of what we’ve done in the previous 20 years – 1990 had no mobile phones! (They’d been invented, but were only first generation and not used widely by any means.) No internet, not really – let alone 2.0… Hard to know how any of us functioned at all, eh? What the bloody hell will be going on in 2020 that’ll make us look back on the current era as positively stone-age? Who knows. As Information Professionals we are becoming increasingly good at being early adopters, so that bodes well. Perhaps the library will have a role to play in aggregating, explaining and training on all these new technologies?

Our technology will be mobile, but will we?

An interesting dichotomy I can see for 2020 is, everything is going mobile but we might be increasingly bound to our desks. At the moment we’re all on the move all of the time, so it makes sense to access important information in a mobile phone. But a decade on the world will be more crowded, travel will be more complicated (and perhaps even socially frowned upon; there may be climate-change refugees by then, which would make driving 200 miles to a conference seem like a pretty indulgent thing to do) and employers in all sectors may have less money to spend on training and travel. So, training and conferencing will surely take place more at our places of work, presumably through some kind of virtual means.

Anyway, everyone knows mobile technology is the coming thing. Gartner reckons that phones’ll overtake PCs as the most common method of accessing the web by 2013. I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of viewing this development as a full-stop rather than part of an ongoing process. Really, though, with rate of progress increasing so quickly, who’s to say phones will still be number 1 by 2020? I’d fully expect mobile technology per se to rule the roost, but not necessarily in combination with a phone as we understand it today. I’d rather access the web (and my documents, and my games, and my videos, and my music) on something like this:


Surely by 2020 we’ll have what are, in effect, multi-tasking-ready iPads which one can roll up and stick in a pocket? Perhaps we’ll just use phones for phoning. (Perhaps they too will be thin and bendy, and able to fit into the credit-card bit of our wallets – that would be ace.)

This time it’s personal

You could argue that the first thing the internet did was make everything available to us; what it is doing now is personalising and customising it to suit us individually. I could imagine that Libraries will go through the same shift, by 2020. We will do our best to protect people from the Tyranny of Choice!

Context is everything. Another, more intriguing insight from Gartner, is this:

By 2015, context will be as influential to mobile consumer services and relationships as search engines are to the Web. Whereas search provides the “key” to organizing information and services for the Web, context will provide the “key” to delivering hyperpersonalized experiences across smartphones and any session or experience an end user has with information technology.

So, perhaps this is why mobiles will be important – MY device will give ME a completley unique and bespoke service based on my needs and habits. So let’s think about that in terms of a professional body – at the moment CILIP sends round weekly emails, rounding up things of interest that have been happening in the world of libraries and information. Perhaps that could be much more comprehensive, perhaps an RSS feed rather than an email, and perhaps it could sift out the stuff I’m not interested in, and learn from the links I follow to provide me with more stuff I am interested in next time.

Is FourSquare the most annoying thing in the world? Yes – yes it is. Hey I just became the Mayor of Nobody Wants This Crap Cluttering Up Their Twitter-feed! However, FourSquare is leading the charge in location-based applications and this will surely be huge by 2020. Assuming we can navigate through the murky waters of privacy and data protection (or perhaps we’ll all have given up by then), could CILIP use this to their advantage? Let’s say we don’t travel as much in 2020, so opportunities to meet up and network become increasingly valuable. CILIP could facilitate meetings without having to actually be part of them itself – imagine if you’re in South London, and CILIP auto-messages you saying ’3 of your network from [insert area of library interest here] are also in the area – would you like to meet them’? If people say yes to the meeting request, the CILIP app (or whatever it is) could suggest a suitable venue equidistant between all parties…

Librarians in the cloud

Do you think the concept of a self-employed Information Professional could exist by 2020? There are already entrepreneurial examples in existence – but what about people performing current information roles but not as part of an organisation? Perhaps that’s too far fetched – but perhaps the organisation could exist without the physical space we call the library. It may not be feasible to keep all of them open, but there’s no doubting that the modern Information Professional’s skill-set will be more valuable than it ever has been, so perhaps we can exist without libraries in some form or other. If that is to be possible, CILIP and other professional bodies would have a big responsibility to support their members in such ventures – and of providing a network that everyone in the profession will be part of, even if they work alone, to ensure support, comparing of experiences, and an effecient system of refferal when you can’t help a client yourself.

On a related note, I’d like to see Information Professionals being more active than passive in the exchange of skills and services. We often out-source stuff to other sectors or organisations – how come they don’t out-source stuff to us? We should be bartering our skills – our increasingly essential skills – to the commercial sector, in exchange for stuff. Again, professional bodies could play a role in facilitating that.

CILIP specifically

I agree with pretty much everything Phil Bradley says in his article about CILIP in 2020. (I’m a big fan of Bethan’s views also.) In particular, I’m passionate about the idea that CILIP should lead rather than follow in social media (etc) developments – and if there are other people forging ahead, harness them! I’m passionate about the idea of CILIP representing libraries more in the mainstream media – I don’t want to hear an item about library closures on the news without a CILIP spokesman fighting our corner.

I’m very keen for CILIP to go where the conversation is. There was much fuss a while ago when CILIP’s CEO, Bob McKee, debated whether CILIP should be using Twitter, and how. It’s a no brainer, of course they should use it – but it’s not TWITTER per se that is important here, it’s whatever medium the rest of us are using. Right now, that’s Twitter – but whatever it is in 2020, CILIP need to anticipate and move swiftly to be there, too.

And finally I’d like to see CILIP treated with respect. People are so often dismissive, scornful or even outright abusive of CILIP – they attack CILIP the abstract entity, but of course what CILIP really is, is the sum of its employees. Every single person I’ve met at CILIP has been enthusiastic, engaged and engaging, nice, and on our side. Perhaps there are exceptions to this, but I’m yet to find them. These are people who are doing their best as part of an organisation which is trying to rethink itself to suit the times – I find it very hard to criticise people I know are trying really hard, although that’s by no means to say they don’t deserve criticism… Just that it must be constructive – less of the huffy ‘CILIP does nothing for me’ and more of the ‘I’ll explain to CILIP what it could do for me’.  So let’s hope that this whole process leads to more mutual respect between the organisation and its members.

- thewikiman

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Just Do It (yourself)… free tools to empower

25 May

The Internet has bought much darkness and much light to the world, but one of things I really like about it is how it can increasingly empower you to make things happen for yourself. Whereas previously you had to wait for other people to create stuff, either because they were more qualified or had purchased expensive software and hardware, nowadays you can get access to a whole host of free programmes which require very little expertise, and allow you to take the initiative. Here’s some of them that I’ve used.

I want to create a network

There are various ways to share space online. Creating a wiki or a network is so quick now, you can do one for any occasion, even if it is merely disposable (just be sure to delete it if you’ve taken a decent name, so someone else can have it!). As most people know, NING used to the king of free networks and has now started to charge. There are a lot of comparisons available online (just search for ‘NING alternatives’ – or this is a good roundup) and I’ve sifted through most of them – in the end, the site I’ve found which most closely recreates NING’s best features and which appears to have a sustainable free model is SPRUZ.

Networks are so easy to create, you can make one for a one-off event and use it as a way of keeping (and disseminating) all the information about the day together, of communicating with attendees, and of following up and interacting afterwards.

I want to make a video

Have you ever tried using Windows Movie Maker, the thing that comes free with your PC? It’s ridiculously easy to use, and you can get surprisingly good results with it and just your camera (assuming it has video built in) or even your phone. [Sorry Mac users, I've never tried your equivalent so can't vouch for its simplicity...] Or why not use the also-ridiculously-easy-to-use text to movie animation tool, Xtranormal?

Youtube Search Stories is really good as an educational or presentation tool, too – this one took me literally 3 minutes from start to upload:

I want to make a poster

If you want to create graphic design stuff from scratch, then download GIMP – it’s a free art programme which is crammed full of features and doesn’t have a learning curve of two years like Photoshop does. Or you can use a free online programme to make the job easier for you, such as Glogster. All their featured examples seem to be expressions of teen angst (or romance, in the loosest possible sense of the word) but it’s very easy to use to create much more professional looking online, interactive displays. Also don’t forget Photofunia, which I use a lot – it takes your pictures and crops/fits them into all sorts of real-world settings – fun for putting your head on others’ bodies, but there’s all sorts of potential for re-contextualising your logo or avatar in an arresting way:

thewikiman logo as pavement art

Photofunia example

I want to create a presentation

Having been massively off PowerPoint I’m now coming round to it again because of the joys of zen-style slide decks; however, many free online options allow you to do something completely different and arguably more interesting. Check out Prezi, or Vuvox. I reckon Ahead has perhaps the most potential out of all of them.

I want to create a magazine or journal

Issuu is a great place to start with this – it takes your documents and turns them into 3D page-turning online magazines. Check out this Seattle Library related example. Imagine the difference in time, effort and resources between creating a regular magazine using old media, and creating one using issuu!

I want to create a podcast

Recording audio really doesn’t have to be complicated – it is within the grasp of all Information Professionals. Audacity is a free programme which has all sorts of features you can add if you want to but, equally, will just record you speaking into your laptop’s inbuilt mic if that’s all you want to do. (I know of at least one successful podcast that began using an in-built mic…) You don’t need expensive microphones, or expensive software, or sound-technician expertise to make your own podcasts, and registering them with iTunes is pretty simple too.

I’ve only written here about tools I’ve got some experience with – for a more comprehensive list of, effectively, everything you could ever need, see The Open Thinking Wiki (cheers for the link Bobbi!) or Phil Bradley’s absolutely awesome list of web 2.0 tools, arranged by category.

That’s it for now. I’ve got less and less time in the evenings to write these but will try and keep a trickle going until I get a little bit more control over my time management and can start producing them more regularly again!

- thewikiman

p.s I feel very patronising trying to offer people advice about stuff. What tools to use is one thing, but how to approach your profession is quite another… that said, I’ve had a lot of really great things by just doing them myself. What is remarkable is how much making things happen facilitates more things happening to you! If you see what I mean. So the other point of this post, apart from listing the free tools, is to say this: if you find yourself in two minds as to whether the useful thing you’ve just thought of is something you could attempt to do yourself, or leave for someone else to do – choose doing it yourself! It’s more fun, and more rewarding, and often fairly simple to achieve.


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