Posts Tagged ‘social networking’


Professional networking & development. Where do I belong?

In How to work better,Professional Organisations,social networking on August 4, 2010 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , , ,

This is a thinking aloud type of post. I’m sitting here, in-between finishing work and going off to lindy hop around the synagogues of the west end of London, and I’m thinking I really do need to network/do CPD better. The fact that I have not done so is of course 99.9% my fault. But the 0.1% that I feel I can blame on external circumstance is that I’m never quite sure of which group I belong in. We’ve had the role of CILIP debate and I don’t really want to re-hash it. But I do feel, and arguably incorrectly, that CILIP and, within CILIP, the HLG are kind of dominated by libraries, and I don’t really feel like a librarian. In fact I don’t feel at all like a librarian. I feel like an information, evidence-head sort of person. I know that in London there is London Links, though that’s really only for NHS staff. There was also a Monday night thing, back room of a pub sort of talk followed by chat. I went to one of those, organised by CILIP. Are they still running? They were quite good. I should have gone more often.

What I suppose I’m wondering is are there super groups I ought to be joining out there that will make me feel part of a happy clan, and/or is there a place for a new society, or social network, or meetup group etc, that is really around health and medical information, is evidence focussed, to have as its aim discussion towards working out how to keep up with the genuine information revolution that we find ourselves in the midst of? Does anyone use Ning these days? Would a new social networking platform capture the imagination? I doubt it.  Or should we just be more self reliant and get on with it; sign up to LinkedIn, find a mentor perhaps, read journals, go to the odd conference drink a few beers and get chatting to people – you know, the old fashioned way?

Maybe it’s simply a result of working as the sole information specialist in a small organisation… one always feels a little, well, isolated.


Transliteracy – new word, same old web 2.0?

In Blogging on Blogging,Information industry,Knowledge Management,Professional Organisations,social networking,Web 2.0 & all that on June 2, 2010 by Hanna Tagged: , ,

I went to a really interesting LIKE (London Information and Knowledge Exchange) meeting last week about transliteracy. What is transliteracy? I’ve blogged at LIKE so take a peek to find out! They use Posterous to post via email, very intriguing…


Scientific publishing will be here long after Facebook & Twitter

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2010 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Scientific publishing will be here long after Facebook & Twitter

Hey, I found something on Twitter and thought I’d share it here. How’s that for a criteria of success? @WoodsieGirl, who herself found it through @bengoldacre, linked to a very interesting article by Michael Clarke on the Scholarly Kitchen entitled “Hasn’t Scientific Publishing Been Disrupted Already?” It asks the very valid question that, given the world of web 1.0, let alone web 2.0, you’d surely have expcted expensive scholarly journals to have long since disappeared, and that instead scientists would be blogging or tweeting their results, or something. Many still predict it in fact, about how Facebook and Twitter will revolutionize scientific communication. But the web hasn’t changed anything yet, at least nothing substantial, so why do we expect any social networks to change the world of science now? Michael raises some very important points that, I think, go a long way towards explaining the longevity of the scientific publishing model, and no, peer-review isn’t one key among them. Take a look. It’s a good reminder of how technology will change nothing if the culture of a community ain’t interested…


Twitter, Tweetdeck and the attraction of cute apps

In Blogging on Blogging,social networking,Web 2.0 & all that on January 4, 2010 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , , ,

So I’ve decided to try twitting, in tweeter. I’ve not got anything to say and will have to decide at some point what I want to get out of tweeting. I mean, is it a way of allowing far off friends to keep a handle on what I’m doing (do they care), should it have a professional slant and try and get followers in the library world, or should I just try and entertain by offering wry, sidelong glances at the little follies of being a commuter in London. Not that I’ve necessarily the talent to do any of these things, but one needs a strategy however talented or talentless one is, doesn’t one? Still, my twitter user name is, rather originally I think, “alanlovell”:

Anyway, the point is that I’ve downloaded this smashing little app called TweetDeck. I suspect everyone knows about it, but in case you don’t it’s a nice little downloadable free program with a cute user interface that allows you to login, read, post etc tweets, in a much more manageable way than if you were doing it online via the Twitter website. It also allows you to do the same thing with Facebook. I’ve not liked logging into Facebook now for a long time, just because the whole thing seems messy and unsettling to the finer me. But now I can keep up with the singularly useless but occasionally amusing things a select group of my friends are getting up to; it’s the genuine social networking possibilities of Facebook without having to log and navigate through the flippin’ thing.

So that’s TweetDeck for you, and from looking around I see there are other cute apps out there for you if you’re a tweeter, such as Seesmic, Twittelator etc – for Windows, Macs, iPhones etc etc – and I do wonder, is it the cute apps that are the real attraction of Twitter? Maybe I’m just following the wrong people? Who should I be following, by the way? Any must reads in the information world? At the moment I’m following a few friends, some cricketers and cricket commentators, and the obvious ones such as David Mitchell, Stephen Fry, Jimmy Carr etc. I tried the Guardian for a while but just got bored with being sent links after links after links. I want to filter the information that gets to me, not just find another route through which I can get drowned by it.

Well, anyway, happy new 2010 all. I’ll try and blog a bit more this year (been a very poor few months – work has, honestly, been very busy…).

p.s. is there a way we can set up an ‘auto-updated’ (the) health informaticist twitter account one wonders? Hmm?


Usefulness of social networking for scientists: greatly exaggerated?

In Web 2.0 & all that on November 4, 2009 by Danielle Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

A study of research patterns in life scientists found that (duh) they all have different patterns of accessing information. Of course we knew this, or at least suspected it, but I can’t help but be pleased that the British Library found space for this news on its Press Room page.  It shores up the notion that libraries and ‘resource centres’ need to be flexible with different users.

“Researchers use informal and trusted sources of advice from colleagues, rather than institutional service teams, to help identify information sources.” Yes they do-another reason why perhaps an information professional must inject themselves into the teams with which they work, rather than sideline themselves. Depending on how an organisation is set up, this can be quite natural and easy (if one’s desk is ‘integrated’ into the team area, for example, as proximity tends to predict positive regard) or difficult, if the information team is isolated or in a ‘bricks and mortar’ library away from the clients.

I thought it interesting that the report highlighted that social networking tools (blogs, podcasts, social bookmarking, etc) had not proven terribly appealing to life scientists.  The full report elaborates that, firstly, “there is not the critical mass of individuals using such services to make it worthwhile” to use them to “enhance research”. Secondly, and I almost choked while reading this, “the time required in order to become a proficient user is prohibitive.” Don’t give me that. These are highly trained people who, as it says in the next sentence, may use “grid technologies” and “an intricate array of analytical tools” in their day to day work.

What do you think about the ‘not enough time’ to learn simple, user friendly web-based software argument?

I really think that the report should have written: “the scientists can’t be bothered with this social networking stuff because of general complacency and then notion that Twitter and the like will only be around for a few years before we get something new, so, again, why bother?”

Nor is this attitude unique to the life sciences. I know someone very influential, at a Canadian charity, who is crying out to use Twitter for fundraising and marketing. But she is sadly also ‘too busy’.

In other news, the “Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has acknowledged that social media has contributed significantly to the income it has raised for its current appeal. In the first week of the DEC’s appeal for Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, over £3 million was donated,” mainly via the BBC website, Twitter and Facebook.

A spokesperson from the DEC said “the biggest risk we faced was not that we might make a mistake [with using Twitter], it was that we would miss a chance to help save more lives.”

Check out #casestudieslife on Twitter to contribute to the discussion about how researchers use and access information (or not!).


Tweeting – the new medical slang?

In Web 2.0 & all that on September 24, 2009 by africker Tagged: , , ,

Coverage from BBC news of an article in JAMA on tweeting medical students.

No great shock to read that medical students (in common with swathes of the population at large) may not always think through the wisdom of what they post.  Given the responsibility held by medics it has the potential to be the new medical slang scandal with lots of angst in the media.

More interesting perhaps is a snap shot of online participation by medical students

The majority of respondents were daily users of the Internet for e-mail and similar communications (99%; 70/71), as well as Web surfing (71%; 50/70). Web 2.0 use was less common. Most respondents reported never or rarely using social networking sites (68%; 48/71), reading blogs (79%; 56/71), posting on blogs (87%; 61/70), reading wikis (69%; 48/70), or writing on wikis (91%; 64/70).

Slightly confusing presentation of the stats.  I am not sure I agree with the interpretation – it would help to know the levels of never vs rarely.  It would also help to know what the alternative statements were – often, daily, hourly?  9% writing on wikis at least more than rarely seems strikingly high to me given the usual levels of online participation with many more viewing than writing.


Cilip web 2.0 survey

In CILIP,Professional Organisations on May 14, 2009 by Danielle Tagged: , , , , ,

Who doesn’t like a little qualitative research, especially when it relates to CILIP, a professional organisation for information folk in the UK that is currently on the precipice of becoming irrelevant. New graduates and young professionals, are indeed a tiny group, or perhaps they just never attend events and conferences.

So perhaps this is an olive branch-PARN is conducting a survey on how you would like to communicate with CILIP and what your experience of social networks is. It is open to everyone, not just CILIP members (thankfully), until the end of July.


Professional meetings round up

In Information industry,Professional Organisations,Uncategorized,Web 2.0 & all that on April 18, 2009 by Hanna Tagged: , , ,

Back in March I attended the AGM of the Commercial, Legal and Scientific Group back in March and the meeting was supplemented by a seminar about entrepreneurship. What with the credit crunch people might be thinking about using their redundancy pay to start a business, not as strange an idea as you might first think. The speakers were inspiring and introduced many tips but moreover they pointed out the differences between being an employee, a consultant and an entrepreneur. As an employee you weigh up job security (or relatively in a stable economic climate) with lack of control over your work direction. As a consultant (or possibly an entrepreneur dipping their toes into the water of self-sufficiency) you may be more respected for your opinion (as an outside expert) and therefore can charge more for your time but of course you may not be working all the time, you have to pay your own taxes and sort out your own pension etc. But you can pick and choose projects, become involved in an active community of information professionals who help one another out and possibly learn more than in a 9-5 job, flitting across sectors like a business butterfly. Taking this to the next level whereby your one-person consultancy becomes a software developer or information powerhouse and you become an employer suddenly you stop being innovative and start being an evil vendor only interested in capitalist exploits as opposed to furthering the profession as a noble employee in your open plan office. It’s an interesting journey.

Cilip in London holds fascinatingly broad topical talks once a month in a quaint pub in Farringdon. I went to the talk on 14th April hosted by the head of passenger information at National Railway Enquiries. They are the official source of information relating to train times and hopefully what is happening regarding delays, engineering works, all those things several audience members felt the need to share, like telling jokes where everyone knows the punchline. Anyway the process by which this happens and how NRE gets this information out to the public (who possibly want different things to train operating companies, the funders and string pullers of NRE which itself is non-profit making). A database called Darwin is fed information from twice yearly timetables and pushes this information out through the train operating companies whose own messages of woe from controllers feed back into Darwin. Train operating companies can decide what and how to send information to passengers and so the one voice vision of a single consistent source of high quality, timely and relevant information may be lost. There may be an analogy with what NHS Evidence is trying to do and in a similarly crowded marketplace…

Some future meetings that have caught my eye:

East of England Information Services Group is hosting a day long seminar entitled Digitally native or digitally naive: library and information services for the next generation which encompasses lots of interesting debate about who our new consumers of information are and how we can meet changing needs through how we train information professionals. So I’m intrigued as to what the CILIP bod on the bill will say to convince us CILIP atheists as to their role in an environment where they are seen as out of touch on web 2.0 issues at a time when mailing lists for librarians and information professionals are dealing with academic versus social uses of technology issues and using new tools to, in contrast, increase information literacy skills.

CLSIG is holding their next seminar on 21st April on making a business case in the face of business review (they are very good seminars if I do say so myself as their publicist). In a related theme the Health Libraries Group is having a joint study day with Information for the Management of Healthcare on change management and business planning on 8th May in Cardiff.



In Evidence-Based Librarianship on March 24, 2009 by Danielle Tagged: , , , ,

Those of you on the bleeding edge of reference management technology will know all about Connotea.  It lives on your Firefox bookmarks toolbar, ready to spring into action whenever you come across a reference or website on the interweb you would like to save for later. You could think of it as a somewhat geeky social networking tool–you upload citations of interest and tag them, others do the same.  You show them yours, and they show you theirs!  Unless you mark yours as private, that is.

It is nice that it is free, but not so nice that you have to add each reference separately, you cannot, say, go to a bibliography page of a study (in a pearl growing attempt) and add them all in one batch.  It is also great that it talks to Reference manager, Endnote, Word (it sends an .xml file that can be made into a bibliography), etc.  This little gadget could make grey literature searching a whiz–or at least take the cut-and-paste drudgery out of it.

Oh, and no abstracts are included, if they are available. Another big caveat, but it should be easily solved by adding that functionality (hint, hint).

Of course, I am not the first to check out Connotea and it has been blogged on here , here and here.


Facebook and Privacy

In social networking on February 16, 2009 by Danielle Tagged: , , ,

Has Facebook become a prison for your personal details (and photos)?  It appears that way as bloggers Consumerist and Mashable report that Facebook has changed its terms and conditions to state that information about how you use Facebook and details about you will be retained even after you quit.

Facebook has removed this paragraph from the terms of service:

You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.

Now, I am not sure why Facebook would *want* to use my content, but I find the wording of the agreement (which is minus the above) very worrisome.  I also do not like the fact that they own my photos that are on there–since mid last year I have not put much up.

Hmm, is it time for me to find a shiny, happy, my-rights-are-protected social networking site?

According to Eric Lee, Ning and Elgg are a couple of social networks that could work as alternatives to Facebook.  I might have a look at these in coming weeks and report back.


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