Category Archives: online resources

Cultural Discovery

Last year saw the launch of Europeana, a fantastic collection of digital content from museums, libraries and archives across Europe.  It was so popular it crashed almost immediately and had to relaunch a little while later.  In addition to searching collections, users can also register and then save items, tag them and also save searches.  They are now encouraging people to share the content they find by creating communities, although there is only a demo version available at the moment it will be interesting to see how the communities idea develops.

Now, thanks to a post on Lorcan Dempsey’s weblog I have discovered a similar project in Australia.  At the moment it has the not so catchy title of SBDS Prototype but don’t let that put you off.  Much like Europeana this is a fascinating project bringing together content from different sectors and in a variety of formats including digitised newspapers, maps and even archived websites.  They are currently encouraging people to have a play and give feedback on the prototype so why not have a try.  Both Europeana and SBDS Prototype are great examples of different organisations working together to make their collections accessible online and, although there are some UK resources on Europeana I’d love to see something similar for the UK bringing together all the fantastic collections we have here.

Anyone know of any similiar projects out there?


WebJunction Webinar

On 28 January I attended my first ever WebJunction webinar.  This was a free online training/learning session that anyone with internet access could join in.

The session was called Staff Training in Tough Times and it was an excellent opportunity to share ideas and concerns with library folk from across the US and beyond.  As far as I know I was the only one participating from the UK and I did wonder whether non-US participants would be allowed.  Not only was I allowed but I was made very welcome and it was great to have an opportunity to ask about how library staff are being trained in the US.  The session was very well organised and the team at Webjunction worked very hard to keep track of both chat and audio participation.  The only difficulty was keeping up with the conversation in the chat room at the same time as listening to the audio and again the Webjunction team did highlight issues as they were raised in the chat room and try to keep us on track!

A full archive of the session is now available via BlogJunction including the 14 pages of chat!  It was a fantastic experience and one I would certainly recommend.

Free training/networking is great but not always well publicised.  From mailing lists to webinars, what would you recommend??

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

Wiki at Portsmouth Library!

Thanks to Paul Raven for mentioning this as I’m really excited to find our neighbours Portsmouth City Libraries have launched a library wiki for book lovers!! The Book Case is described as “Portsmouth Library Service’s unofficial website for readers, guiding you through the overwhelming choice of what to read next and inviting you to share your reading experiences through reviews and recommendations” and it was officially launched today so I look forward to see how it develops. Congratulations Portsmouth – it looks good!

Life as I Know It’s Library 2.0 Roundup

Jennifer Macauley in her excellent blog Life as I Know It has created a comprehensive list of sites and citations on library 2.0. Library 2.0 Roundup was originally posted in October 2006 and it is a pretty huge list to work through. Thanks to Jennifer I’ve discovered a wealth of posts and ideas that I hadn’t previously come across and I’m only about a third of a way through. I imagine it would also be a really useful resource for anyone wanting to chart the development of the library 2.0 idea from autumn 2005 to the present. Just don’t blame me if you stay up all night reading the posts, I’m finding it rather addictive reading…


Thanks to philb who kindly left a comment on my last post recommending Furl .

Furl describes itself as a personal web file and allows you to archive individual web pages, tag them and search your archive. It is similar to in that you download a link to your toolbar and then click to add pages to your Furl archive or “Furl It”. I’m not sure if they are meant to be complementary or competitors but I think I’ll be using them together to keep a comprehensive file of my web use. allows me to bookmark sites that I find useful and tag them, see how my tags compare to others and see what other users have bookmarked in a similar field. Furl allows me to finally get rid of those saved posts on my Bloglines and to stop printing out or saving individual articles that I may want to read in the future. I think it will be a really good way of keeping a list of articles I have read – may be able to use this as proof of some professional reading for my CILIP certification. I’m also going to try saving details of books I have read or want to read by saving the entries from Amazon or library websites.

Once I’ve tried some of this out and archived some pages I’ll post a link to my Furl archive so everyone can see how I’ve got on!

Online Treasure Trove

Did you know you can access a huge amount of information online via your local public library website? Despite working in a library I rarely investigate our online resources and have recently been amazed by just what I can access. Our current list includes NewsUK, Britannica Online, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford Reference Online, Oxford English Dictionary, Grove Music Online, Grove Art Online and The Times Digital Archive. Might not seem like a long list but each resource has a multitude of other searchable resources linked to it. For example the Oxford Reference Online includes Bilingual Dictionaries, quotations, maps, and pretty much every subject dictionary that you can imagine OUP publishing. Some titles that have caught my eye include: A Dictionary of World Mythology, the Oxford Companion to Shakespeare, A Dictionary of Contemporary World History, The Oxford Companion to the Body, A Dictionary of Writers and their Works. Now this is starting to sound like an OUP advert so bear in mind that this is just an example of what is linked to each resource. NewsUK includes a searchable archive for national and regional newspapers including The Times from 1992, The Guardian from 1992 and even the Wigan Observer from 2002!

This is an amazing resource and is available free to most people in the UK via their local library website. How many people know that it exists? How many people use it? I’m sure most people looking for information use Google and Wikipedia before they logon to their library website. But have you even heard about this resource in the news? In your local library? If we can’t advertise the library service via a resource like this what hope is there for library marketing?

Sorry about the rant but when even the library staff don’t realise what they have…