A friend gave me the idea to try making a word cloud out of my undergraduate degree dissertation and the results were quite fun! I wonder if anyone can guess what I actually wrote about?

If anyone wants to test it out themselves, wordle.net is pretty good. You just copy and paste your text into the box they provide, or use a url link and then the website will do the rest! You can alter the font, colour scheme and shape of your final word cloud result and then save it to a “public library”. Now the site does recommend that you don’t leave any personal/sensitive information in at this point as, as the title suggests, your word cloud will be published for the world to see.

I managed to get my word cloud into a more manageable format to re-post by doing a Print Screen shot. There should be a button on your keyboard to do this (it normally says “PrtSc”) and then this copies your screen at the moment of pressing the button. Then use the paste function to get it into a program such as Microsoft Paint and then you can save it as a jpg. file. Simple!

Anyway, here is my little word cloud.

Hope you have fun!

Blog Views!

Ye gods! I logged on today to discover that my blog views have steadily increased from a dejected 0 to an outstandingly healthy 18 views so far today!

Thank you all for popping over to have a look at what I have to say! Oh and thank you to Emma who tweeted about my blog! Much appreciated!

I can’t quite figure out why I don’t appear on google searches. I have ticked the box to let my blog be searchable by engines and the like. Hmm…must figure that out! At the moment if I put my blog title into google, I get far too many stories about Jade Goody’s widow and if I put in my username, google helpfully changes it to “cardio and tweed”. As intriguing as the latter search sounds, I’d rather it would link to me. Tips anyone?

As I am on my tea break at work, I better flee but I do promise that I will do the second part of 23 Things’ Week 1 tasks and will blog about the results!

23 Things Week 1 Thing 1

So the first of the two 23 Things tasks for Week 1 have been posted and as I am home from work with an evil bout of a chest infection, I thought I’d do something remotely productive whilst coughing.

Today’s first task is setting up an iGoogle account and then building an iGoogle page. Now I must confess, I’ve been pretty reluctant to use Google products. I have a really great friend who works for Google in Washington DC and so I probably should already have a bit of support for the company through that connection yet I’m still wary. I suppose the librarian in me is suspicious of their massive project to create an online free library where people can access complete texts without any need for copyright etc. This has caused legal issues all over the place and as a supporter of the rights of authors and of course library access, this potential infringement of many different copyright rules has made me back away from the whole Google brand. Saying that I use their search engine on a daily basis, so I’m not exactly 100% free from their products!

Anyway, as this is an educational exercise, I thought “what the heck”, and gave it a go. Setting up an iGoogle account was as straight forward as setting up most online accounts, whether its for an email account or for getting onto Facebook. The hardest bit was probably finding a decent name that hundreds of other users had already taken! Once logged in, I was offered the chance to set up some basic parameters for my page by ticking some “Interests”¬† boxes, selecting a snazzy background theme and setting my global location. Having done that, I was left with a page that had lots of editable boxes called “Gadgets” that reflected the “Interests” options that I had ticked. I decided to delete a few of them because they were slightly irrelevant to me, but I did like that fact that by setting my global location, I had local weather information and details of local gigs and other such things.

Once having messed around a bit, the next bit of the task was to add a COPAC (Academic and Specialised National Catalogue) gadget. So I clicked on the “Add Stuff” link, searched for COPAC and added the gadget with a quick mouse click.

I was then directed to create a separate tab entitled “Library Stuff” and then to move the COPAC gadget into this separate tab. It was quite a nifty way of keeping themed gadgets together without clogging up my main iGoogle page, so I could look at my entertainment and news stuff and then switch to work-mode by selecting the “Library Stuff” tab, without the more procrastinator-ish gadgets distracting me from any library work that I would need to get on with.

All-in-all a very good first task which allowed me to get to grips with something that I had initially been a bit cautious about, but actually found to be very handy and I can definitely see the potential for its application for more efficient work and communication.

23 Things

Today is the launch day of an exciting new project within the Cambridge University Library (and libraries) world. 23 Things was originally started by the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenberg County, USA and was most recently run by Oxford University.

The whole point of the programme is to introduce library staff across the university to Web 2.0 technologies and you essentially spend some time over the next 12 weeks following the tasks set through the 23 Things blog and then blogging about your progress. Its all about encouraging librarians to get to grips with technologies that could help them spread information, news etc. using methods such as RSS feeds, widgets and all-sorts to their readers. Basically, the programme will explore the relevance of such new tech in a library context.

Even though I like to think I’m pretty clued up on all the new tech that is out there, I must confess that I haven’t used many of the things that the programme is looking at so I’m really keen to learn something new that I could apply to a relevant library situation.

I’ve sort of cheated slightly by already having a blog to track my progress through the programme, as setting up a blog is one of the Week 2 tasks! Oops! Hopefully they won’t mind too much that I’ve done my homework in advance!

So, as well as blogging about library stuff generally, I’m going to add posts about the 23 Things course over the next few weeks. Let’s see how I get on then!

The first post…

So here we are. With all the wonderful words that exist in the entire world and I cannot think of what to write!

We are at the peak of exam time here in Cambridge which means frenzied students (and researchers!) desperately trying to get their hands on the same copies of the same book that someone¬† has already ordered ahead of them. As I work in a legal deposit library, we hold single copies of all of our stock which means once something is gone…it’s gone!

So I have spent much of my time looking for books that I know I won’t find and advising students of where else to go to find their elusive tome, knowing that their fellow students probably have already stolen the book in question away to their rooms.

I sympathise with the average student at this time of year because even though I don’t have to panic about deadlines myself,¬† I remember the nerves bubbling away under the surface as I tried to get on with revision and structuring that last essay due tomorrow. Now of course, I get the panic but its more due to the fact that I know that all those students will demand more and more from us as librarians. More service, quicker fetching of books…the list goes on.

So when exam season hits for you students out there…I feel your pain! Literally! In my feet as I rush about trying to help you guys out!

I also sympathise because when the summer break arrives, we all breathe easier!

Good luck to all you academics out there in this time of stress, late nights (filled with excessive caffine consumption) and overworkedness!

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