Mash Oop North videos

•23/July/2009 • 3 Comments

I’ll update this post as/when we get new videos uploaded!

At the moment, the following videos from “Mash Oop North” are available on the Internet Archive…

As Vimeo only allows 500MB of uploads per week, it’ll take us a while to make them all available. For the moment, you can find the following on there…


The idea of videoing the opening sessions came quite late in the day, so we didn’t have time to test the cameras in advance or get everything mic’d up properly. We literally set them up, pointed them vaguely in the direction of the screen, pressed “record” and hoped the for best! 😀

The audio on some of the sessions was quite low, so I’ve done a bit of tweaking to try and boost the voice and remove background noise. For some sessions, the audio is still difficult to hear, but it’s better than it was!

The plasma screen we used for some of the sessions produced a really nasty strobing effect on video, so I’ve added a “motion blur” filter to those videos which takes the edge off the flashing.

As no-one was operating the camera, the video doesn’t track the speaker if they move around a lot.

30 Ideas

•10/July/2009 • 11 Comments

(“Pens” by bitospud)

On the day, we had 30 ideas (if you ignore my initial idea) submitted by delegates (see RSS feed). All of the ideas are released with a CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 licence. If you like one of the ideas, or if you want to turn it into a working prototype, please leave a comment or contact the delegate to let them know their idea is cool!

Just for completeness, here they all are (with a few typos corrected)…

Idea #1 – Dave Pattern (University of Huddersfield)…

Write a web page so that everyone can submit their ideas at “Mash Oop North” 😉

Idea #2 – anonymous…

Visual representation of the information cycle from informal creation of ideas, breaking news, pulling in twitter search on topic, through blogs and comments on blogs, wiki articles, before newspaper articles, conference papers, posters and workshops. Move onto database search for journal articles and finally book search in a library catalogue. Pull in library tutorials on evaluating information from all these different sources and the way your keyword searching, tag search may need to change for the different formats

Idea #3 – Gill Hamilton (National Library of Scotland)…

To set the scene, two things:

1) I work in a closed stack library. When you order a book, men have to run about in miles of shelves to retrieve it for you, then send it up to the reading room for you to collect.

2) My library just opened a new Visitor Centre. It has TV screens in it and a Cafe.

My idea is very simple and fuelled by my love of cake and libraries. It is to mash together:

the data we have for how long it takes from point of request to arrival of book in reading room + approximately length of time to order coffee and cake at the visitors centre +TV schedule = recommendation to customer

i.e. Your book will take 30 mins to arrive. Why not have a coffee and watch The Ashes?

Could be further enhanced with menu from cafe or webcam showing how many slices of cake left (which is never many coz I’ve usually been there first).

Could also be even further enhanced by showing what current issues of journals have arrived in reading room (in case customer has been in coffee shop 4 times today already and is already full of cake)

Idea #4 – Owen Stephens (Open University)…

Creating a distributed catalogue and search. Idea is that if there is a web page per book, you don’t have to keep recataloguing the book but rather just aggregate the web pages that contain the descriptions of all your books.

Create a page or set of pages representing your library stock. The page would consist solely of URLs which point at information about the books you own – these could be Amazon pages, Open Library pages, Worldcat pages, LibraryThing pages etc. It wouldn’t matter you would simply be identifying a page that represented the book you had.

Then use a customised web crawler to crawl, using your list of URLs as a starting point and crawl each of the pages you are pointing at.

Index all the content you have crawled and make the index searchable

Idea #5 – Mandy Phillips (Edge Hill University)…

Reading lists – how effective are they?

Can we take data from our reading lists, from our circulation and usage stats, and reviews of items on that list from our students to give us a really rounded three way measurement of how effective reading lists are?

Not sure it would be popular – but hey!

Idea #6 – Mark Watmough (Edinburgh Napier University)…

It would be good if a user could, after logging in, download an .ical fie with their loan expiry dates, which they could then import into their calendar (outlook, google calendar, etc…) with a reminder – this would also allow users to sync with their ipod or other mobile device.

Idea #7 – Morgan Salisbury (De Montfort University)…

Getting most out of resources, now that budgets are super tight in libraries. One way is to promote trials/new resources via a wiki, that you can then hotlink to Yammer/Twitter. Value added books for your bucks, you librarians out there!

Idea #8 – Chris Keene (University of Sussex)…

Aggregate (only) open access full text items in repositories in to a single service which is searchable, browseable (by journal etc) and re-useable. (OAIster indexes far more so not so useful).

Idea #9 – Chris Keene (University of Sussex)…

Extract terms from items in a repository using OpenCalais make terms facets to find other related items or to aid searching

Idea #10 – Chris Langham (Birmingham City University)…

Following on from Dave’s talk about using the uses for borrower loan data.

A good idea would be to correlate both printed book usage and ejournal/ebook usage with module/degree marks. This would allow the suggested reading for new cohorts to be based to those on who previously had the best marks.

Stats which stated that students who got firsts, borrowed on average 36 books over 3 years and accessed 175 ejournal articles and 12 ebooks; could be used to encourage students to increase their use of library resources.

Idea #11 – Gillian Hanlon (Scottish Library and Information Council)…

After playing with Yahoo Pipes I’m thinking it would be a good idea to use this to draw together RSS feeds – whether library news, blogs or tweets – of all libraries in Scotland to bring this together to create one centralised location for this output. This would not only be an info source on all Scottish libraries but would allow libraries to see what’s going on/who’s using what elsewhere.

Idea #12 – anonymous…

The blog as the integration engine. Using WordPressMU as environment for providing interfaces to various search and browse services. i.e. interfaces to Intute search; institutional search; etc. Start off as national interface to interesting stuff. Allow plugins to be downloaded for institutional or personal use. This use of WordPress as a publishing engine also allows blog software to be installed behind the scenes.

Idea #13 – Nicole Harris (JISC)…

I’d like institutions to create URIs for users in the same way that twitter and facebook are now doing… so I’m not just but also This then allows us to start thinking about the role of cataloguing, indexing and preserving ‘people’ as data as well as content as data. Good for OER, OpenData etc. etc.

Idea #14 – John Salter (University of Leeds)…

“Beat up your Books” (or if you’re a III customer, “Beat up your OPAC” ;o)
An audio-representation of your book collection or search realised in HTML5 using jQuery and an API (e.g. Google Books) to pull out lists of ISBNs.

Based around the HTML5DrumKit developed by Brian Arnold – a nice toy that needed some additional data to feed it into oblivion!

Idea #15 – Amy Hadfield (University of Aberystwyth)…

To combine usage statistics of books with floor plans to highlight areas of high usage helping collection development and also library design.

Idea #16 – Gaz Johnson (University of Leicester)…

A realtime national/international repository search mashup thing, showing not only the most regularly trending searches at any given time, but via Google Maps able to show locations too allowing people to find nodes of expertise where they might otherwise be unaware.

Idea #17 – Tanya Williamson (University of Huddersfield)…

Give users the opportunity to rate books at the point of return. Integrate this into the catalogue.

Idea #18 – Martin Philip (University of Sheffield)…

Bluetooth! Everyone has it on their phones and it is a quick, free, effective way of transferring data to devices that I don’t think libraries have fully explored yet. Could users borrow books or journal articles via bluetooth that maybe had an expiry date so they would never get fines. And much like some e-book licenses, multiple people could have access to a high demand book which would usually be located in the short loan collection and restricted to a handful of copies.

Bluetooth could also be used to transfer other data to peoples phones such as ‘how-to’ videos, some audio (audio tours), etc.

There could be ‘bluetooth points’ located around the library, maybe in busy areas, and/ or at library catalogue points?

The free element is key as other services that require users to access the internet on their mobile devices usually charge.

Idea #19 – Andrew Walsh (University of Huddersfield)…

Link library usage data (such as the data Dave P. has made available) with Bibliographic data from booksellers – so you can see popular books from other libraries to help before you buy.

For new books, link by subject terms to get “flavour” of likely issues, new editions could show issues of previous editions, etc…

Idea #20 – Paul Stainthorp (University of Lincoln)…

Use aggregated circulation usage data to create demotic unit/course reading lists that can be exported to reference management package.

Idea #21 – Sara Wingate Gray (University College London)…

Use the data from RFID tags (when there’s agreed ISO / data categories implementation LOL!!!) in public libraries. Combine this with a large public touchscreen or large plasma display etc. and grab the data from the tags which are currently circulating around the building at the present moment. These are then displayed on the public screens, as visual data, kind of like a radar, so the end product is that you, the user, wanders in, sees the screen, and can watch as Mr Darcy walks past Superman on the 2nd floor of your very own public library. Obviously, there’s a tonne of other applications in the sense of picking & choosing data from the tags – you could select authors, and so watch Jane Austen hanging out with PD James and Henning Mankell in the basement of the library, or pick a theme for the week and track all books of a specific LCC heading, or colour, or large print, or gee, like I said, the applications are endless. It’s about inspiring people. The key requirements are the implementation of RFID, and making sure that suppliers don’t strangle each other in private shenanigans, and that an agreed ISO is on the cards. Privacy should not be an issue for users, as I’d see the radar showing only splodges, if you like, for 10 secs or so, so you wouldn’t be able to directly track an actual individual moving with a book. You’d also be able to see the ‘pile-ups’ of moved books, and this would be useful perhaps for library staff – as in, you’d begin to understand the psychology of, say, your YP users more, for example, if you could see how they shifted between the areas of teen/adult/manga sections etc, and where and how items were moved, mis-shelved and left. Actually, now that I think about it, there is some serious cool cognitive/psych data that we could then collect from our users too…

This is actually one of the areas of my MPhil/PhD, so if anyone wants to join me in researching/developing this – please get in touch!

Idea #22 – Paul Stainthorp (University of Lincoln)…

The minimal library catalogue: each bib record consists solely of 17 characters: ISBN-13 plus number of copies in stock <=99. When an item is loaned, last 2 characters de-increment by 1. All bib data other than ISBN are pulled in from 3rd-party services. Doesn't do any stock or borrower management, but catalogue fits on a memory stick.

Idea #23 – Bethan Ruddock (Mimas)…

As a reader, I would love a truly integrated book discovery and location system.

Take data about books that I have read/want to read, (from somewhere like librarything), and recommend books to me based on that. Then plot the libraries where I can borrow those books based on my location (as worldcat can do). Give me information about availability and access requirements. Give me a map of all the local bookshops where I can buy the books. Tell me the price and availability. Link me to all the online retailers selling an e-version of the books, and tell me price and format. If it’s in the public domain and has been digitised, link me to all the digital copies. Finally, link me to a social network of people who own the books (back to librarything again?), and tell me who might be willing to lend books to me and how close to me they are. Make it as easy as possible for me to get the book I want/need through whichever route necessary.

Idea #24 – Lawrence Jones (Imperial College London)…

Linking search log data from LMS and e.g. Metalib with borrowing data (from LMS) and FT downloads (from SFX) to see relationship between search and use.

Idea #25 – Owen Smith (Open University)…

Link book titles from search to news items from various news sites.

Idea #26 – Ian McNaught (University of Huddersfield)…

Data visualisation of wikipedia article revisions. Visualisation of how many edits per day, how many editors involved, what size of changes takes place and reasons for edits (e.g. biased point of view, unreliable sources etc).

Too many people think wikipedia is just the article that you see, and they judge it on the quality of that. A mashup such as the one I describe would give a more thorough view of what wikipedia actually has to offer.

Idea #27 – Mike Ellis (Eduserv)…

I’ve started building a simple bookmarklet for books(!).

The idea is this would be a lightweight browser-based bookmarklet. If you were on any web page (library search results, amazon, blog, review, wherever) and that page mentioned a book (or books), the service would give you a contextual popup for that book (or books!).

Examples of what could be delivered into the popup include:

– book cover
– current price at Amazon / wherever
– customer reviews gathered from around the web
– “save to your”…delicious / amazon wishlist / netvibes account / etc
– “your friends also liked” functionality
– additional links and information (wikipedia, Open Calais, etc) generated from on-page or behind the scenes data

The service would be very easy to code – initially it could just look for ISBN numbers (I have this working!), easy to use (you drag onto your bookmark bar to create a bookmarklet), and would add real value, bringing together book references from across the web.

Idea #28 – Julian Cheal (UKOLN)…

Social Book/DVD/Music/etc Search.

OK so you’re searching whatever to see what books are in your local library, and you get some results, fine. The books are there you can borrow them, but it’s not very exciting.

How about you search for a book and not only do you get the results from your local library, you also get results from your friends collections.

The way this works is say you searched for “Harry Potter” the results come up like this:

1) Local library 5 copies all bloody taken
2) Amazon unlimited copies costs lots of money to buy
3) Your mate he has a copy they’ve read it, it’s just on the shelf gathering dust. Why not lend that one.

Tada the system works. Not only can you search/borrow/lend books/dvds/etc from local libraries, buy from amazon, borrow from friends. You can also leave reviews.

So once I’ve borrowed “Harry Potter” from any of the above sources I can leave a textual review/star rating etc of that item, even though you don’t own it.

You can then use these reviews etc to help you choice what to lend or is it borrow??

Idea #29 – Joss Winn (University of Lincoln)…

A Multi-OPAC platform using WordPress MU, Scriblio and Triplify.

WordPress Multi User scales to millions of sites. Scriblio is a suite of WordPress plugins that easily imports your OPAC into the WordPress environment. Each WordPress site could be a Scriblio/OPAC instance that is individually branded and available under the institution’s own domain name. Each Scriblio/OPAC instance would form part of an aggregated whole that is browsable and searchable across all OPACs and each OPAC also remains independently searchable and browsable. Scriblio embellishes an OPAC catalogue with additional data harvested from Amazon and other APIs. Scriblio provides a ‘Web 2.0’ interface to your OPAC with very little effort. Because the platform is WordPress, RSS/Atom/RDF feeds are available from every data endpoint and there is an ecosystem of WordPress extensions to further extend the platform.

Triplify is a small web application that exposes a relational database as RDF semantic data. Each OPAC and the platform as a whole could be exposed as RDF and hosted on a platform like Talis Commons.

WPMU, Scriblio and Triplify are already used in production environments. To show a robust, working demonstration of this idea, this project requires a relatively small amount of dedicated development effort to further improve Scriblio and create a Triplify configuration for the platform. The benefits would be an easy way for institutions to join a ‘union catalogue’ where they retain control of their OPAC; improve their OPAC discovery experience, extend their OPAC with the benefits of the large WordPress developer ecosystem and contribute to the semantic web and linked data.

Idea #30 – Eleanor O’Brien (University College London)…

Information Literacy Training Sessions calendar.

List of library training sessions on webpage. Links to export training dates to outlook/google calendar etc to create reminders and increase participation. Links to google maps for locations in multi-campus or multi-branch context. Links to slideshare for slides to look at before, after or instead of attending session.

This is an idea…I have no idea of its feasibility!

Idea #31 – Andrew Walsh (University of Huddersfield)…

Use wifi or bluetooth triangulation to geolocate within a library – interpose a layer of extra information onto view through the camera on a mobile device to provide an augmented reality tour / set of information

A big “thank you”!

•9/July/2009 • Comments Off on A big “thank you”!

Still floating back to earth after “Mash Oop North”!


We’ll try and pull together the various delegate blog posts in the coming days but, first of all, lets do some “thank you”s 🙂

I’d like to thank…

  • My colleagues (Andrew, Bryony, Graham, Iman, Lisa, Tanya and Zoë) for helping plan and organise the event. Although my name seems to be appearing in the #mashlib09 tweets, the event was a group effort and they should all get the glory!
  • All of the opening session speakers — Brian Kelly, Iman Moradi, Brendan Dawes, Richard Wallis, Tony Hirst, and Mike Ellis
  • All of the event sponsors — to Talis for letting us lay on some great food, to Facet Publishing, UKOLN, Emerald Publishing, CILIP Y&H and the JISC Mosaic Project for sponsoring prizes, to CILIP Y&H and Copac/Mimas for sponsoring 8 students to attend the event, and to Nicole Harris for sponsoring the post event buffet at the Head of Steam.
  • Our colleagues in the Creative Arts Building for letting us invade their space for day.
  • Last, but certainly not least, all of the delegates — without you, it wouldn’t have been an event at all!

The day is still just a hectic blur in my head of things going wrong, so I’m really not the best person to judge whether the event was a success or a failure. Certainly some things worked better than others, and I’m sure the former will get fed into the planning for the next event.

Timetable of Lightning Talks

•6/July/2009 • Comments Off on Timetable of Lightning Talks

I’ll tidy up the descriptions once I’ve had a chance to chat with the speakers, but here’s the draft timetable for the “Mash Oop North” Lightning Talks…

1:30pm – Owen Stephens
online resource lists/integration of bib info into teaching material; possibly something on Interactive Fiction and my thoughts on the possibilities of using it for Information Literacy

1:40pm – Paul Stainthorp & Joss Winn
using Scriblio to create a semantic union catalogue

1:50pm – Richard Wallis
Talis Connected Commons

2:00pm – Sara Wingate Gray
how using web 2.0 tools enables libraries to connect to users in ways we’ve not imagined and how to operate a free worldwide travelling library via web 2.0 tools

2:10 pm – Tanya Williamson
Edward R. Tufte (“The da Vinci of Data”)

2:20pm – Paul Stainthorp
Ejournals and RSS – including using ticTOCs, and creating a rough-and-ready new e-journal titles RSS feed

2:30pm – Chris Langham
Drawbacks of using stock recommendations (i.e. borrowers who borrowed this item also borrowed these) in an academic library context

2:40pm – Matt Borg
IS Inside

2:50pm – Gaz Johnson
The role of weasel videos in information literacy

3:00pm – slot available!

3:10pm – slot available!

3:20pm – slot available!

Keeping up with Mash Oop North remotely

•4/July/2009 • 2 Comments

If you’re wanting to keep track of what’s happening on the day, there’s a few things you can keep an eye on…


The hashtag for the event is #mashlib09 and you can keep track using Twitter Search or Twitterfall.

Ideas from the event

We’ll be encouraging delegates to publish their ideas under a CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 licence and you’ll be able to see them all via this RSS feed.

Ian’s Text Wall

Ian McNaught, who works at Huddersfield Uni, has developed an experimental SMS Text Wall which we’ll be playing around with at the event. It currently works with Firefox, Safari and Chrome.


We’re hoping to video all 6 of the opening sessions. Unfortunately we’re not able to stream them live but we’ll try and make them available to view online as quickly as possible. (If any delegates have experience of putting video online, please make yourself known on the day!)

Photos — how to get to Mash Oop North

•2/July/2009 • Comments Off on Photos — how to get to Mash Oop North

Just so you know what to look out for, I snapped a few photos today. Unfortunately I’d left my camera set up for the shots I took inside Manchester Town Hall yesterday, so these photos are waaaay overexposed! 😦

When you get to the main entrance of the university (which has a little mini roundabout), you see the new Creative Arts Building (which is circled in red on the photos).


Head down the pathway which is to the right of the CAB…


As you walk down, you’ll see that the CAB curves around to the left. You’ll spot a section of the 1st floor that juts out. Head towards that…


The entrance is just underneath…


Head inside the building and take the lift to the 2nd floor.

The pizza order has been placed!

•29/June/2009 • 2 Comments

I think this is possibly the first time I’ve ever walked into a pizza takeaway and ordered 17 pizzas…

The order was based on votes from the delegates, so hopefully there’ll be something for everyone 🙂

3 x Margherita Raffaele [V]
1 x Bianco Salmon
1 x Italian Sausage Fiamma
2 x Carnevale
1 x The Works
1 x The Mexican
1 x Papa’s Pepperoni Plus
2 x Garden Special [V]
1 x Hawaiian Special
2 x Hot Pepper Passion [V]
1 x Papa’s Pepperoni
1 x Double Chicken & Mushroom

Interview with Lyn Parker and Beccy Shipman

•27/June/2009 • Comments Off on Interview with Lyn Parker and Beccy Shipman

After a slight gap (which is all my fault!), we’re back with another blog chat. This time, it’s with Lyn Parker (pictured) and Beccy Shipman from the University of Sheffield

Lyn Parker

Hi, can you tell us a little bit about your respective jobs at the University of Sheffield?

Beccy: I have 2 jobs at the University of Sheffield. I am part of the team that manages the e-resources and the Library website. This involves maintaining our ejournals, databases and ebooks, answering enquiries and updating the website. My other role is at the National Fairground Archive which is based here in the Library. There I can be found cataloguing fairground tickets, steam engine rally programmes and handbills from 19th Century variety shows amongst other things.

Lyn: I manage the team who support learning, teaching and research with online reading lists, digitisation of teaching materials, printed course packs, and information literacy tutorials. We also investigate and develop new library services, for example how to embed library services into the University’s new collaborative environment, uSpace, has blogs, wikis and social networking. This uses Clearspace from Jive and has just been launched.

What’s new and cool at your library?

Becky: We have a number of librarians using Twitter and blogs though don’t suppose that counts as new and cool anymore. We also have a current awareness service using netvibes.

Lyn: I use Twitter to follow conferences, participate in events, generally keep up to date. We have a review of our library blogs ongoing at present and are looking at how to integrate all the different library news into various environments – student/staff portal, library web, uSpace, our VLE – without reinventing the wheel each time. We are also looking at piloting QR codes as part of induction next session.

Can you both remember where and when you first used a web browser?

Beccy: I can’t remember exactly but probably at Glasgow Uni in the mid 1990s when I was a student there.

Lyn: I worked in the Geography Library when the University of Sheffield were setting up their first web site, using the Geography Department as part of the pilot, would have been 1995ish.

Do you think libraries and librarians should adopt a cautious approach to new technologies, or should they be rolling up their sleeves and embracing it fully?

Beccy: I think librarians should fully embrace new technologies but be slightly cautious about how to roll them out within libraries. There are so many new things coming out all the time that if we take them all on we could be in danger of overloading our users. The important thing to remember is will this technology offer something useful to our users.

Lyn: I agree with Beccy. Being in a development team, I am very ready to have a go with new technology but the key is to evaluate its potential use and not jump on the bandwagon for the sake of it. Given that Web 2.0 is as much about culture as technology and given the pace of change, I think it is very important that we do embrace it or face no longer having a central role to play.

Are you currently using any mash-ups at Sheffield?

Beccy and Lyn: No but we’d like to! Hoping to learn more about how to!

Have either of you got a favourite mash-up?

Beccy: Not really got a favourite but do like the Repository 66 map.

Lyn: Not sure that it is a favourite but one I have been following recently is the spread of swine flu at

Got a favourite beverage?

Beccy: Quite partial to malt whisky so think it would have to be Caol Ila… or maybe a nice pint of IPA

Lyn: Coffee, preferably latte

Interview with Brenda Turnbull

•20/June/2009 • Comments Off on Interview with Brenda Turnbull

Following on from yesterday’s natter with Laura, we’re chatting today with another of the LIS students who’ll be attending “Mash Oop North” — Brenda Turnbull…

Brenda Turnbull

Brenda, you’re currently studying on a MSc Information and Library Management course at Liverpool John Moores University — what first made you want to take that course and what’s LJMU like as a place to study?

I used to be a Systems Analyst but wanted to do something different. I tried teaching adults for a while, then after having my fist child I got a job as a part time library assistant within a public library, I had a couple of different roles whilst there and really enjoyed it. One of the Librarian’s suggested doing the course, Liverpool was the best option as the course could be taken part time and it concentrated on one topic (two if you were full time) for 5 weeks.

I did my first degree in Computer Studies there, so it was great to go back and see how it had all changed.

I’ve really enjoyed studying at LJMU. The staff have been really helpful and it was great that I was able to suspend my studies for a while and then return to exactly where I left off. I thought the Library at Aldham Robarts was really good, but this summer it is being refurbished so it should be even better when I return in September to complete my MSc. Liverpool is such a great place to be, but then I would say that, being a scouser myself!

Does the course include any modules on Web 2.0 or Library 2.0, and are you using any Web 2.0 software as part of the course (e.g. a blog or a wiki)?

The course did not have a module about Web 2.0 or Library 2.0 and when I first started the course in 2006 it wasn’t mentioned at all. However since then elements of Web 2.0 have been included across the curriculum by using blogs, forums and podcasts. We also looked at how Web 2.0 utilities and could be used within libraries.

Here’s a sneaky job interview type question! Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

I’d like to have gained my MSc, possibly even achieved Chartership. I would also like to be using elements of my course that I really enjoyed such as information literacy, knowledge management and information architecture, and combine my past experience of being an analyst/programmer and trainer with my information skills. I’d like to be involved in leading innovative projects using technology to enhance the user experience within the information industry.

Can you remember where and when you first used a web browser?

Yes I think it was not long after we’d got married in 1996. We’d set up the PC in the spare room with the modem, I remember how noisy the modem was.

Do you think libraries and librarians should adopt a cautious approach to new technologies, or should they be rolling up their sleeves and embracing them fully?

I think we should be getting involved by trying new things and looking how things we do now could be improved or altered by new technologies. I don’t think we can afford to do nothing. My seven year old came home last night telling me all about the Wiki he has set up, he’s already done a blog and they regularly post their home work on the school forum.

I can understand the caution though especially as there are not enough resources available in the current climate to put effort into something that may not work, but how do you know until you try! We can start out small.

Have you got a favourite mash-up?

Yes but I’m afraid it’s food related. It would have to be my husband’s “Tatty hash” – it’s great any time of the year but especially welcomed after being out in the cold.

Got a favourite beverage?

That would have to be tea.

Interview with Laura Woods

•19/June/2009 • Comments Off on Interview with Laura Woods

Ooopsy — been so busy that I didn’t have chance to line up a blog chat for yesterday, so many thanks to Laura Woods for agreeing to be interviewed whilst jetlagged…

Laura, you’re currently studying on the MSc Library and Information Studies at City University, London – how’s that coming along?

Really well – I’ve finished all the coursework now so I’ve “just” got my dissertation to do. Have really enjoyed being a student again this year: I may have to find some kind of evening course to do once I’ve finished my Masters!

You’ve just got back from the US where you’ve been at the SLA 2009 Conference — was this your first time in the States and how was the conference?

I have been to the States once before, but it was when I was little and I don’t remember it all that well! The conference has been fantastic: I actually just got back into Heathrow this morning, so I’m pretty tired and jetlagged right now, but I’m absolutely buzzing with ideas.

Can you remember where and when you first used a web browser?

Must have been in secondary school, in the late 90s. Couldn’t tell you much about it, but I’m sure “using the Internet” was covered in our IT lessons. I do remember not really seeing the point of this Internet thing, since everything was so much slower and more effort than just using a pen and paper! I was a bit of a luddite until a few years ago, to be honest. I’m a complete internet junkie now though, as anyone will tell you!

Do you think libraries and librarians should adopt a cautious approach to new technologies, or should they be rolling up their sleeves and embracing it fully?

That one seems like a bit of a no-brainer to me! I’m very much in favour of diving right in and just experimenting. Actually, that was one of the points that kept coming up at SLA. One of the speakers I heard said something that really resonated with me: the fact that innovation will always increase the amount of apparent failures, because successes often only become apparent in the long term. I also think it’s really important that librarians keep up with new developments, because if we don’t then someone else will and it will harm our profession.

Are you currently using any mash-ups on your course?

Nothing springs to mind. That’s something one of our course leaders is really keen to introduce into the course next year actually, building on feedback she’s had from us this year. Just a shame I won’t be around to benefit from it!

Have you got a favourite mash-up?

I don’t really know to be honest! It’s all a bit of a new area for me. That’s something I’m hoping to get out of Mashed Libraries actually: find out what has been done and what could be tried.

Got a favourite beverage?

Mine’s a gin and tonic!

Laura blogs at and is @woodsiegirl on Twitter.