Category Archives: blog

RSS feeds into email

Thanks to David Lee King I’ve found out how to offer email notifications for my blog! Obviously RSS is great and I love my feed readers but it’s not always the best way to communicate with people who have only just worked out how to send an email. People reading this blog may not come into that category but as more libraries start using blogs to share library news and alerts it is useful to offer more than one way for people to subscribe to that information. We had a lot of people sign up for email notifications for our conference wiki, probably because email is a familiar tool and not too scary. Being able to offer RSS feeds and email notifications makes me feel much more comfortable about suggesting that we offer our conference news in a blog format in future, yes I’ll post about feed readers and promote them at the conference but people who want to stick to email won’t be left out.

I used Feedburner to set up my email notifications (free service) and have added the subscribe link underneath the RSS option using a widget.  (FeedBlitz appears to offer a similar service.)  Feedburner also appears to offer a pretty comprehensive stats service and there are some other interesting options mentioned such as mobile versions of feeds and a BuzzBoost option for displaying feed content on other sites.

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Moving to WordPress

If you’re reading this then you have successfully found me on WordPress!  I’ve been considering moving from Blogger for a while but was pushed by a problem with the widgets (not allowing me to add new content) which was really annoying me.  I also noticed that most of the blogs that looked visually appealing were using WordPress.

Having made the switch I have to say it’s very easy and I’m glad I did it.  Importing my posts from Blogger took about 30 seconds and I’ve been able to put a pretty header up already.  I’ve also found the widgets much easier to add.

At the moment I’ve added a feed button, my del.icio.us feeds, the ‘categories’ list, recent comments, my Flickr stream and a hit counter.  I’m happy with all of these except for the categories list as it made me realise that I need to work on tidying up my categories (formerly known as tags) and be a little more consistent when tagging posts.

In other news… I bought an Asus eee PC yesterday and it’s lovely!  I’m planning to take it to work tomorrow to see if I can use it to surf in the staff room with a 3G modem…

Promoting Online Resources

025.04: Michael's blog: Full of BS

Head over to 025.04 Michael’s blog for a great practical idea – using a video loop of online resources on a projector in the reference library to promote the resources.

Public libraries in the UK have a fantastic range of online resources available – Encyclopaedia Britannica, Oxford Dictionary of Natinal Biography, Grove Dictionary of Art and a whole lot more. I recently discovered that many of these ‘general reference’ tools aren’t available in academic libraries so they’re a great resource for students and the general public alike! I particularly like the Oxford Reference collection which includes gems like The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations – where I found the perfect quote for my mum…

A hardened and shameless tea-drinker, who has for twenty years diluted his meals with only the infusion of this fascinating plant; whose kettle has scarcely time to cool; who with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and with tea welcomes the morning.

“Johnson, Samuel” The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. Ed. Elizabeth Knowles. Oxford University Press, 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Southampton Libraries. 25 April 2008

Tech Tips

In case you haven’t already come across them, Michael Stephens has posted his Tech Tips for Every Librarian over on Tame the Web. The articles were originally published in Information Today and cover subjects such as using Meebo for IM, Flickr for library marketing and Netvibes & RSS for an info-portal. Go have a look… right now!

Blog Guilt

Any readers out there may have noticed that I haven’t blogged for quite a while. I’m also rather behind with my RSS feeds and feeling rather web 1.0 at the moment. As all this is meant to be enjoyable and useful rather than something else to feel guilty about I’m declaring the past 3 months a summer holiday, guilt-free! If you’ve missed me, I’m back but I’m not going to attempt to post about all the things that may have happened while I was offline, this is a new term and I’m back with new posts! If only chocolate guilt was so easily written off…

British Library Exhibition


British Library Entrance
Originally uploaded by swashford

A couple of weeks ago I headed up to London to check out the latest exhibtion – Sacred. If you have any interest in history, historical texts or the history of European culture, this is an exhibtion you really shouldn’t miss. From a piece of the Dead Sea Scrolls to the most beautifully illuminated Qur’ans this is one of the most amazing collections of documents I have ever seen. If you can’t make it to London then do have a look at the website because the British Library, as always, have done an excellent job of putting material online and have included some of the most spectacular in their Turning the Pages collection. They have also used Google maps to create an interactive map of some documents and there is a blog linked to the collection which includes thoughts from the learning team on taking young children around the exhibition. If you can make it to London before 23 September then go have a look for yourself, it’s breathtaking and very thought provoking.

A customer service challenge…

Browsing through my Bloglines this evening I came across this great post Making the Best of a Bad Day on T.Scott’s blog. It warmed my heart then challenged me to think about the customer service that we provide in libraries. A little while ago I posted about simple ideas for improving the library experience and I think this kind of personal service is often what makes people really connect with a service – restaurant or library. Going that little bit further for a reader can be such a simple thing and yet when people speak about their personal experience of a local library it is often the little things that they remember. Tomorrow I’m going to aim to go a little bit further than I have to for each customer, a personal customer service challenge thanks to T.Scott.