Alan Moore knows the score on Thing 4

In CPD23, Uncategorized on July 5, 2011 by africker Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

An excellent outing last night to the British Library for the latest talk accompanying the Out of this world exhibition.  A nice illustration of the benefits of CPD – I was looking around the BL site for upcoming events for the CILIP in London Google Calendar of interesting stuff in London (fancy contributing? get in touch) just when they were adding the events listing.  The result was myself and a mate were in a packed crowd for Alan Moore in conversation with Stewart Lee.  I suspect tickets would not have come my way if I had heard about it through slower channels.

It was a fascinating discussion ranging across scifi, science, religion, technology, genre, labels and who can remember what else.

There were demonstrations of IP red in tooth and claw – for example why some comic books are movies and others are not.  And how clashes over IP have impacted on the quality of writing in comics.  Alan Moore apparently gets no money from the sale of V for Vendetta Merchandise – but does get an enormous sense of personal well being from seeing them at demonstrations around the world (DC less so – apparently we won’t be getting any more V movies as a result).

Moore takes an interesting position on technology being extremely interested and reading widely about it but largely refusing to adopt it.  He no longer has a television since they dropped the analog signal in Northampton, refuses to have a mobile and has no email address.

There was a fab quote from Stewart Lee “what is twitter if not voluntary surveillance” that gave me a wry chuckle thinking of all the people who might be signing up for CPD23 over this week.  I originally joined Twitter as part of my involvement in the CILIP Defining our Professional Future exercise so I must be slightly past my one year of involvement.  I do find it useful (as well as entertaining) but access at work is limited which prevents me integrating it into the flow of my day in the way I might like.  I recently signed up for TweetyMail that has helped with some of the link sharing issues caused by using Twitter predominantly via Snaptu.

RSS is not a new thing for me.  I had a long love affair with Bloglines that I used for a good six years and I have commented already about my current RSS consumption.

I was surprised to find that I was able to get Pushnote installed on my work computer.  I say installed as I am struggling to decide if it is working or not.  I follow a fair few people on Twitter but there is little sign of them being involved in this and I cannot really see the point.  I do not seem to be alone in this based on peoples tweets.  Maybe a use will become apparent.

You can find some other Alan Moore & Stewart Lee footage on the web.  At the time of writing there a still tickets available for R.U.R. on the 6th of July – it has been a brilliant series of events.


Search strategy reporting and clarity

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2011 by Danielle Tagged: , ,

In a recent search of PubMed I was surprised to see a chastening letter by Nakao and colleagues published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that criticised a 2010 meta-analysis by Sciarretta et al on antihypertensive treatment and development of heart failure in hypertension published in the same journal. Althought the paper in question searched PubMed and Embase as well as checking the references of a 2009 meta-analysis, it did not publish the search strategy. Even worse, it appears to have missed significant and recent studies (e.g. the CASE-J trial, the Kyoto Heart study and the HIJ-CREATE study) that it ought to have included.

While I haven’t investigated this for myself, it is interesting to see a complaint about search strategies not being published. This is a brick wall where there should be transparency. Perhaps researchers and publishers need to overcome their reluctance to print what may look like gibberish (diab$ adj3 oedema?.ti,ab anyone?) to some.  Or perhaps many researchers still don’t even see a lack of explicit search strategy as a problem. A study selection algorithm is great, but it is no replacement for a proper foundation to this calibre of research.


CPD23 Thing 7: regional and national groups, special interest groups – in real life

In CPD23 on June 29, 2011 by africker Tagged: , , ,

Announcing an event aimed at CPD23 participants

Date: Thursday 21 July 2011
Time: 5:30pm for a 6.00pm prompt start – runs till 7:45pm
Venue: CILIP, 7 Ridgmount Street, London WC1E 7AE

Over 700 people are now registered on CPD23 – a self directed course aimed at helping people develop their “personal and professional development as a librarian, information professional or something else”.

CILIP in London are pleased to be able to offer a chance for participants to meet up, network and consider Thing 7 (Offline networks, regional and national groups, special interest groups) during the appropriate week.

The evening will feature brief informal talks looking at the CPD impact of various bodies and networks as a stimulus to discussion and we hope that it will make for some good blog posts!

Drinks and nibbles will be available and there will be the opportunity to relocate to a pub afterwards.

We encourage you to blog or tweet about this event – #CILIPLNDN #CPD23.

This CILIP in London event is free and open to all with a professional interest in the topic; you do not need to be a CILIP member.

Priority will be given to CPD23 participants so please include your blog address when reserving a spot.

As space is limited, please let us know if you are coming to:


Rumours of my death – CPD23 thing 3

In CPD23 on June 27, 2011 by africker Tagged: , , , ,

I am lucky enough to have a fairly unusual first name second name combination.  There are no movie stars cluttering up mentions of my name online (Brenda Fricker used to be good for telephone spelling requests but her departure from Casualty has resulted in a notable reduction in the population wide knowledge of how to spell Fricker).  The first ten hits on Google are mostly related to me with my LinkedIn, Twitter, and Biog from HLG conference included.  The notable false drop is the other main Alan Fricker on the web.  An environmentalist in New Zealand his death was the first thing a Google Alert I set up ever told me about my name (the perils of vanity test searches).  The other major false drop is from Facebook.  This Blog shows up on the second page of results (as does Movember from last year).  Not much of a surprise to me are a few Jiscmail mentions as I have long been active on these.  I would suggest this is actually part of my personal brand – active.

Generally I have been happy to put my own name to my activity online (also shortened versions as my name is distinct enough for people in my sector to recognise me).  My main blogging outlet being a group blog is an issue for personal brand. Indeed the lack of a clear personal brand was one of the issues picked up when myself and Hanna Lewin spoke at HLG Conference in Salford about the group blog experience.  It is notable also that people really struggle with the blog name (and that the “what’s an informaticist” page gets lots of hits!).  I did have an experimental blog for some KM learning which could be revived.  A long with my own name I have been happy enough to use my own picture (mucked about with of late as result of trying out an online tool). I can understand why some might shy away from using their picture though.

I think the professional is personal and my communication online reflects this.  I think about what I do / professional issues a fair bit and this comes out.  Twitter encourages the blurring of the line but I share considerably less there than I might with colleagues in the office.  I also like to show off pictures of pies.

I think my online brand is fairly consistent with offline which is a good thing to my way of thinking.  I probably should have a personal blog rather than the confusion of this group blog but I like it here.


CPD23 Thing 2 – whole lot of reading

In CPD23 on June 21, 2011 by africker Tagged: , , , , ,

Thing 2 is to read around some of the other blogs.  I have wandered through more than few today making comments here and there.  I found some from the health tag in the delicious set, some from the CDP23 tag on wordpress and others from browsing through.

One thing I found interesting was putting names to blogs to twitter feeds.  It was not always terrible clear where you were going to end up. Being part of a group blog here may well also mean I am somewhat tucked away.

An interesting discussion broke out over at Libraries the Universe and Everything and I thought I would bring my next comment over here as the meat in this post.

We were discussing how many blogs you follow via RSS (I realise as I type that I follow non blog things via RSS also) and how people manage large numbers.  I was reminded of this article by Cory Doctorow.  In it he talks about how his information consumption methods/habits have changed over time as initial high signal sources / venues have become swamped as they grow in popularity.  He identifies a pattern:

Once I could read every item in my list of RSS feeds; now I periodically mark them all as read without looking at any of them, just to clear the decks: if there’s something good in the missed material, someone will repost it and I’ll see it then.”

I was also put in mind of Michael Gorman (see also the “blog people” farrago) in his book “The Enduring Library” (well worth a read) which amongst other things proposes dealing with information overload through the use of a very ecommunication light diet.

Striking a balance is always the challenge.


Lets CPD23…

In CPD23 on June 20, 2011 by africker Tagged: ,

I am going to take part in CPD23. Thing 1 is set up a blog – people arriving here for the first time need to know that this is in fact a group blog that I contribute to.  I have had charge of a few blogs at various points but felt this one was best for this CPD initiative.

I have long been interested in the various 23 Things style initiatives.  I had thought of trying to get one off the ground in the NHS but felt that the network restrictions often in place would be too off putting for people.  For those not in the know 23 Things programmes are often based around applying social media tools and we can always learn something new on these.  CPD23 has the added attraction of considering how best we can carry out CPD with the benefit of these tools but also in real life.

I already use a fair few social tools but am keen to learn more.  I also want to make a link though to my involvement invarious professional networks.  I have recently joined the committee of Cilip in London and plan to work with others to organise a meet up in London for Thing 7 (Offline networks, regional and national groups, special interest groups) .  I think this could be a great way to build interest, networks and capacity in London around CPD.  One example of this is the recently revived CILIP London Calendar of Cool Library Related Events in London (not the official name) that I am looking after.  I would love to have more people both consuming the stream from this (as RSS or by following @ciliplndn) and contributing to making it really useful.

One thing I am unsure about is to what extent I will be able to keep up with the other blogs and participate in CPD23 as a network.

It is obviously going to be a way to stimulate some blog posts after a pretty lazy period.


Reaction to Seth Godin on ebooks & libraries

In Eresources on May 26, 2011 by Danielle

I’ve decide, based on his recent post discussing the future of libraries, that I like Seth. I used to think of him as a general guru. I realise now that he is a marketer. I like what he says, I realise it has been said before but I quite like how he says it. He’s engaging.

I am not sure ‘librarians’ are going to pay attention because (a) he is coming from outside of the library/information profession and (b) he is kindly but openly critical of what libraries are and how they are not doing enough to keep up with the likes of Netflix, in my opinion. I see that Phil is critical also- I suppose I agree the phrase ‘dead books’ isn’t that endearing is it?

Yes the image of the librarian as teacher wins out in the end. I think this is the role of every public or school librarian, but it all makes me roll my eyes a bit and feel a bit invisible as a health lib/evidologist. Are we teachers? Do we pace the corridors of our our appointed offices or hospitals and help our staff and directors do their ‘homework’? I’m not sure we do, even in a metaphorical sense.

Seth’s pie in the sky stuff about ebooks is hilarious because:

(a) I do enough screen reading thanks,
(b) I like the razor blade comparison:

…we need to consider the rise of the Kindle. An ebook costs about $1.60 in 1962 dollars. A thousand ebooks can fit on one device, easily. Easy to store, easy to sort, easy to hand to your neighbor. Five years from now, readers will be as expensive as Gillette razors, and ebooks will cost less than the blades.

BUT will libraries ever have the budget/inclination to buy and replace ebook readers regularly (because they WILL get broken and trashed- from regular use even – I am not saying foul play but that is also inevitable), keep them up to date, and go to war against publishers who may agree to libraries buying a copy of an ebook and lending it 26 times, but then turning it into a brick. What happens with the publishers’ terms and conditions change so that libraries can only lend 20 times? 15? 10? This must be accounted for in their budget.

A side of me thinks: Why don’t we just wait for epaper? At the current recession-strangled rate of adoption of new technology in libraries we may as well wait. Thanks again, banking crisis/ shoddy lending and mortgage policies!

And speaking of recession, Seth doesn’t mention how to keep all the tramps out of the library because the recession has created more tramps and if anything fewer internet terminals. (wry grin)

So I really don’t mind Seth one bit, he has some sense. And he has an interesting writing style- most librarians could learn from that at the very least!*

*Except the excellent readers of tHI, of course.