MmIT is delighted to announce that the bursary to #CILIPConf18 has been won by Lizzie Sparrow, Leventis Library Manager. Lizzie provides library and information services to the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and nine internationally-focused nature conservation organisations.
We asked entrants to draft a blog post about their favourite technology. Below we publish Lizzie’s blog post on her favourite tech tool is, Pocket.
Pocket: Read when you have the time, not when you find the content
If you’re reading this, you’re probably like me. You enjoy reading blogs to keep up with professional news, trends and ideas. Reading opinion articles and industry news can be a valuable tool in your professional development toolbox. But lots of us find that either it ends up devouring time we want to (or should!) be spending on something else, or we end up with a mountain of links to articles we were going to read but haven’t got to yet.
We all know the scenario: you open a webpage looking for information and notice a link to an interesting article. You follow the link and start reading the article, which links to two more articles that grab you. Suddenly, you realise half an hour has slipped by. It’s not that reading those articles was pointless, but maybe it wasn’t the best use of that particular half hour. So maybe next time you come across this situation you discipline yourself, refusing to let your attention be diverted from the task in hand. Instead, you bookmark the articles or email them to yourself. Do you ever get around to reading them? Probably not.
If this sounds familiar what you need is Pocket. One click and the article is sat in your phone or tablet ready for the next time you find yourself with a spare few minutes. Arrive early to a meeting? Get your phone out and start reading. Miss the bus and have to wait 10 minutes for the next one? No problem, that’s two blog posts read. As of March 2018, the Android and iOS Pocket apps even give you an estimated reading time for each article to help you decide which of your ‘pocketed’ articles best fits the time you have available. And you’re not limited to text. Pocket can handle images and video too.
With Pocket, like many other forms of tech, it’s not the tech itself that’s so special – Pocket is a pretty simple tool. What’s special is how it can easily fit into your life to provide a solution to a problem. The one click entry makes adding content quick and easy when you need to avoid being distracted, and the access via an app makes your content available wherever you happen to be when you have the time to read it.
Pocket works on multiple operating systems and browsers, and automatically syncs. So, once you’ve set it up it doesn’t matter which of your devices you have with you. Once synced, your content is available offline, so you don’t have to worry about mobile data blackspots. That’s why Pocket is one of my favourite tech tools. I used to spend my commute aimlessly browsing social media feeling unproductive, then get to work and find trying to keep up with professional reading distracting me from more important priorities. I’ve been using Pocket for a couple of years now and feel more productive both on my commute and at the office.
With my information literacy training hat on, Pocket is also one of the tools I regularly recommend to my library users. I run a workplace library and many of my colleagues tell me they just don’t have time to keep up with news in their field of expertise because they’re too busy running projects and managing their teams. If, when I dig deeper, it’s finding time to read that’s the problem, Pocket and a smartphone is often the solution.