Information Communication – Oxford Library TeachMeet

I attended the Oxford Library TeachMeet on Tuesday 12th July, with the theme Information Communication. TeachMeets are informal events where professionals can share and network in a more relaxed than a conference, and anyone with an interest in how information is shared was welcome.

The event was held at the University Club, and I was very impressed with the inexpensive bar! Speakers were encouraged to interpret the theme as widely as they wished, and this meant there was a fascinating variety of presentations through the evening.

The first presentation was from Ollie Bridle and Isabel McMann on the use of QR codes in the Radcliffe Science Library, to help readers navigate the library and access online guides. QR codes are free to generate, and work in a similar way to a barcode. they can be scanned by a smartphone, with the relevant free software, which then takes you to whatever that QR code is linked to. I think it sounds like a great idea, and it was clear the RSL staff are pretty excited about it. I do think it could be an option for the SSL in the future.

Next up, Matthew Baker gave us a close up look at research communication using Colwiz, a new type of reference management software, but with a social networking edge. Colwiz is a collaborative site on which you can store references, create bibliographies, and share information with your network. It has interesting features including a public profile, calendar, pdf reader, and groups, with the ability to comment, tag and share. The site looked very impressive, and to be honest I’m surprised other reference management sites haven’t done this before!

Alison Prince, Web Manager for the Bodleian libraries, gave an interesting presentation on Making Online Exhibitions. She showed how the key to successful online exhibitions is planning, and demonstrated each step using Shelley’s Ghost as a case study. Her objective for the online exhibition of Shelley’s Ghost was to create a website reflecting the physical exhibition, but exploiting the richer, more interactive nature of the online world. Alison stressed the importance of remembering it’s all about the user; they should have user-centred design, and always should be user tested before going live. In terms of design, Alison made the site identifiable with the physical exhibition, but with interactive media, such as podcasts, slide shows and video introductions.

Following this, Liz Gallagher gave a two-minute nanopresentation on the recent #AskArchivists Day. 150 institutions took part, including the Bodleian, as well as the Smithsonian and the National Archive. The day saw 21 questions asked, and a 3% increase in the Bodleian’s followers.

Dan Q, Bodleian Libraries Web Developer, then gave an amusing and very fast-paced two-minute presentation on why your password sucks. He showed us how to create unhackable password, by creating a cryptic, unique master password, then adding individual suffixes for each other password you need.

Hilary Murray, Graduate Trainee at Corpus Christi Library, gave us a sneak peek of her trainee project presentation; redesigning the library’s WebLearn pages. She ran through her research, why it was needed, and how it would benefit the library and its readers.

The final presentation was from CJ Crennel, who works at the History of Science Museum Library in Wroughton. After an initial hiccup with the projector, her presentation covered ways in which the library is trying to improve audience perception and access. She also gave an overview of their Trade Literature Collection, and ways in which the library and archive have been promoting the collection as a research tool.

This was my first TeachMeet, and I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect; the blog informed me it was an ‘unconference’. It was a relaxed, informal meet where we were encouraged to network, but there wasn’t a pressure to (which is a little how I felt with the CILIP New Professionals Information Day). It was also my first real experience of live-tweeting; I kept getting too wrapped up in the presentations and forgetting to tweet!

For more information, you can follow the event on Twitter (@OxLibTM) or search Twitter for the hashtag #OxLibTm.

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