Monthly Archives: January 2015

Library links – new blog

I’ve just discovered a new blog which publishes a weekly round-up of library-related news and blogs from various areas of librarianship including library theory, library tech, academic libraries and public libraries (to name a few). It is appropriately titled “Latest Library Links” and you can find it on WordPress here. It’s only been running for a couple of weeks but there are already loads of interesting stories to read. (I have to admit to only noticing it because it’s got a link this week to my EndNote Tips post, but I’ll be keeping an eye on it every week from now on!)

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January 23, 2015 · 1:05 pm

EndNote Tips, Part 2

I learned something new about EndNote again yesterday and wanted to share it. At this rate, I’m going to have to make this a regular series: “things I didn’t know you could do with EndNote”.

Yesterday I met a PhD student who’d asked me to help her out as she was having trouble getting started with EndNote. After we went through the basics, she asked if there was a way of creating a reference list in Word without having to insert EndNote citations throughout her text – as she’d already written most of her thesis and didn’t want to have to go back over the whole thing to sort out the citations. I had no idea whether you could do this or not but found two different solutions, one of which is perfect for her situation.

Solution 1) Make sure you’ve got all your references ready in your EndNote library. Make sure the Output Style is the one you want to use. Select all the references you want to use for your reference list. Right-click on the selected references and choose “Copy Formatted”. Open up your Word document and paste in the reference list. Voila! The reference list is inserted as plain text, so if there are any errors you have to delete the reference, change it in EndNote and copy and paste it all over again. This solution was perfect for my student, who didn’t have time to do what I probably would have done, which would be inserting EndNote citations throughout each chapter and then cutting and pasting the automatically generated references into a separate document. This solution would also be useful for people who want to create an annotated bibliography and have already got all the references in EndNote.

Solution 2) This is slightly different, and is more useful for people who are creating bibliographies at the end of a document, and want to include references for things they haven’t cited in their text. Go to the end of your text and insert a citation for the item you want to include. Right-click on the citation and select “Show Only in Bibliography”. It’s as easy as that! The citation will disappear, but the reference will stay in your reference list. If you have to do it for multiple items, it’s easiest to choose “Edit and Manage Citations” from the EndNote tab on the Word ribbon. Then, you need to select each citation in turn from the list in the box that appears, and choose “Show Only in Bibliography” from the Formatting drop-down menu for each citation. Once you’ve done them all, press OK and your citations should all disappear.

Endnote screengrabLike my previous post about EndNote, I’m sure this isn’t a new tip for everyone! However, it’s something I’ve not come across before and it might be helpful to others out there who are struggling to wade through the EndNote manual.

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Graduation

Well, I made it! On Wednesday this week I graduated from Sheffield University with an MA Librarianship (with distinction, no less!). It’s the culmination of a year of hard graft and not much sleep and it feels great to actually have my certificate and be able to say I am a qualified librarian!

 

Here’s me and the certificate: My graduation

 

I don’t remember exactly when I decided to pursue librarianship. It feels like a lifetime ago, although it will only have been in mid-2011. Since then I have had four library jobs, moved house three times, and notched up thousands of miles on the railway, commuting between Leeds and Sheffield for the MA course. Despite the last few years being difficult at times (waking up at 5am every day and spending four hours on trains is not my idea of fun) I am so pleased I had a chance thought one day along the lines of “maybe I could be a librarian!”, because it’s been a great experience and I’ve learned so much. I even enjoyed throwing books away for four months!


So what’s next? Well… chartership, I suppose. I’m holding off on starting the chartership process because I haven’t got a permanent or long-term contract in my current job, and I’d like to get a bit of stability before I get going with chartership. After the stress of summer 2014, where I tried to hold down a job, research and write a dissertation, and buy a house all at the same time, I’d quite like to have a quieter summer this year! Instead of pursuing another qualification or certificate, I’m going to do more informal things like going to networking events and one-off training sessions. I’ve been to a couple of seminars recently and it’s nice to dip into interesting topics without having to commit to lengthy or expensive courses. This week I’m going to a talk about technology-enhanced learning, which I’m really looking forward to. My first year as a qualified librarian is turning out quite nicely so far 🙂

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Creating screencasts

Last term I went to a presentation about using screencasting technology in various ways to support teaching and learning. It was delivered by Dr Emma Mayhew, a lecturer from Reading University, and was mainly attended by lecturers and learning technologists from the arts and social sciences faculties here at Leeds. The talk was interesting on two levels: not only for the information on screencasting, but also because I haven’t spent very much time “mixing” with groups of academic staff, and it’s good to see things from a different point of view sometimes.

Emma’s presentation started off with the assertion that modern students suffer from information overload, need more flexibility in their learning and want to access information in different ways. To try to meet these needs she has started to use videos to support her teaching. So far she has created screencasts to advertise modules, to explain concepts in lectures, to describe things like essay marking criteria or plagiarism rules, and to give feedback on essays. She has even used them as substitutes for meetings with her colleagues! Here’s a collection of screencasts created by Emma and her colleagues from the University of Reading as part of their GRASS project.

In a nutshell, screencasts are videos of your computer screen, usually with a voiceover as well. You can record yourself clicking around the desktop or going through a full-screen presentation, and you can (depending on what software you use) record yourself using a webcam at the same time, so your face shows up in the final video. Most of the screencasts on the GRASS website are Prezis with voiceovers, but there’s also a PowerPoint one (with webcam) and one demonstrating a piece of chemistry software.

The (anonymised) essay feedback videos, which I found really interesting, were made by recording the desktop and a webcam feed simultaneously – so you could see the lecturer scrolling through the essay in her browser and speaking to you about it at the same time. These aren’t available online but you can read more about them here and a similar scheme from Cardiff Uni here.

Emma showed us lots of online resources you can use to create presentations or videos, including Prezi, Powtoon and Videoscribe (subscription-based with free trial). She uses Camtasia (subscription/free trial) to create her videos, although there are plenty of other services out there (including Jing, which is free but has limited features). Emma also pointed out a couple of websites where you can download pre-prepared backgrounds for Prezi, including Prezibase and Prezzip (doesn’t have many free ones). I was surprised by how willing she was to pay for templates and software subscriptions rather than relying on free alternatives, although I’m not sure if this is just me being a skinflint! I imagine some of the subscription costs (e.g. Camtasia) might be paid for out of the GRASS project fund.

I asked about accessibility, as I am currently creating my own videos and have been thinking about including transcripts or subtitles as an alternative for people who aren’t able to watch them. Currently the GRASS videos don’t come with transcripts or subtitles, but apparently they have considered filming someone doing British Sign Language to accompany some of their videos. I think this is an unusual approach and am slightly wary about not providing a text-based alternative to videos, as not everyone who can’t watch a video can use BSL. I was interested to hear that one of the lecturers involved in the project found video feedback really useful, as he is dyslexic and prefers speaking over writing. I had previously thought of videos as being quite time-consuming and a lot of effort for staff to create, so it was good to be reminded of situations where they are actually the easy option.

There was a discussion around licensing issues with screencasts and online presentations, and this was the bit where I found it really… interesting… to be the only librarian in a room full of academics! I’m not sure everyone in the room was on the same page about copyright, Creative Commons and “fair use”, and there were some quite dodgy statements being made. (N.B. I’m not accusing anyone involved with the GRASS project of any licence infringement!)

Someone also asked about how to get more “traditional” colleagues on board with this sort of thing. The recommendation was to get them to write a short script and then to offer to video/animate it yourself, removing some of the hassle. I quite liked this idea, although you can’t start offering to do everyone’s videos for them all the time, due to not actually having unlimited time. But it’d be a good start – saying, for example, “I’ll help you make this first one and show you how easy it can be, then you can try it for yourself”.

Although I have made short screencasts before, I thought this session was quite a good refresher, and I learned about some new (to me) resources. I’m currently working on short informational videos for my current job and have been feeling quite creative since I saw the sorts of things Emma and her colleagues have made. Hopefully I’ll be able to share the results with you soon!

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