Archive for the ‘libraries’ Tag

Standing in the kitchen at the Zotero party

It’s a shame that Zotero came towards the end of 23 Things, where life around me seems to be operating at breakneck pace and my holiday means I’m playing catch up and desperately trying not to fall too far behind. Zotero warranted a lot more of my attention than I have been able to give it this week. I don’t really need to say much about Zotero, obviously it’s very good. I was impressed with all the help available on the quick start guide and the video. It was easy to install and I tested it with a Newton and JSTOR search, no problem. I have followed with interest the discussions of Zotero and Mendeley over in the comments of both Girl in the Moon’s blog and the marvellous Miss Crail’s ruminations (if you haven’t already seen them then you really should have a look, very informative).

While working on Thing 18, though, I have had the nagging feeling that there’s a whole party going on and I’m standing in the kitchen, clutching a tepid glass of something, with lots of interesting conversations going on around me that I can’t join because I’m not quite sure what they’re talking about. Any minute now, I’ll have to get my phone out to fiddle about with it so that I feel less awkward.

I know very little about reference management systems like Zotero because I haven’t really needed to compile a bibliography for anything since the turn of the millennium (I’m another one who kept bibliographical information on index cards for dissertations) and I haven’t worked in a user-facing library post for 4 years. Truth be told, I didn’t know anything about them even in my last post which was very much user-facing. And I feel I should know, because I’m a librarian and this is precisely the kind of area where librarians have so much to offer their users. Librarians can help with queries, resolving problems, suggesting solutions, training and supporting the use of tools like Zotero (and Mendeley and the others that I also know very little about but hear about on the reference/citation party grapevine). It’s part of the value-added service that librarians could and should (and in many many cases do) offer.

I hope to have more time in the near future to look at Zotero more closely and might even have a project for which it would be useful. For now, though, you’ll have to excuse me, I need to just reply to a text message.

Only connect

I’ve just read a fascinating blog post over at 23 Criminal Things about their weekly emails to user, called the Friday Stuff. It is so interesting to find out more about what is happening in different libraries.

I have recently been arguing that we need to find more ways to find out about various things that are being done in Cambridge libraries, big and small. The libraries in Cambridge are full of innovative, inventive, creative, resourceful, enthusiastic and committed people, finding many great solutions to all kinds of questions or problems. I want to hear about it! Particularly if I’m trying to reinvent that particular wheel but even if it will just spark ideas that I may not have had otherwise.

Connections and communications between libraries have been improving gradually since I first worked in Cambridge libraries (some time in the last millennium). The annual libraries@cambridge conference, the various personal and library blogs, the Cambridge Librarians CamTools site and lots of other initiatives have all been steps in this general direction. However, I still feel a lot more could be done. Maybe it’s just me who is out of the loop, maybe everyone else is busily networking and communicating but I’m not sure. This is what I was talking about in my first post and one of the things I’m hoping for from 23 Things.

I look forward to finding out about more things like Criminology’s Library Stuff.

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