November 2012 issue of the MmIT Journal now available

MmIT group members can now download the latest issue of our journal from the CILIP website. Log in with your usual CILIP website user name and password or email if you need a reminder.

Institutional subscribers should visit:

Our November  2012 issue includes:

  • Book reviews: Using Mobile Technology to Deliver Library Services; Location-Aware Services and QR Codes for Libraries; Information 2.0
  • Product reviews: HannsG HD LED monitor; Peli Urban Elite Laptop Backpack
  • Special focus: mobile technologies – m-library projects; real-time m-learning
  • History of the journal part three of four
  • Features: storing information overload; digitisation at The Wildlife Trust; HistoryPin digital history mashups; Research Data Management for academic librarians; wireless monitoring technology for curators and conservators
  • TechRoundUp: discover Snaggy; Tackk; ShowMe; JoinMe; and Hotspot Shield

Themes for Future issues:

February:        Focus on cloud computing

May:                Focus on ebooks and ejournals

August:            Focus on data security, data management, SaaS

November:      Focus on elearning


Linked Data in the library: an introduction

OCLC Research have recently produced an introductory video to linked data for libraries. With a running time of about 15 minutes, it’s a concise introduction all of the key concepts and why these things should matter to libraries (and even uses the BBC Nature website as an example).

Another great introduction to this subject is Owen Stephens’ introduction to Linked Data blog post.

Linked Data is a pretty amorphous term that is sometimes used alongside if not interchangeably with open data, big data, semantic web and other behemoths of the new information order. It’s something that can be (relatively) easy  to accept as a concept without digging too deep into the practical applications.

It wasn’t too long ago that OCLC announced they were adding linked data to WorldCat by applying mark-up to their records. And if you’re interested in other real-world examples, there’s also slides available from the recent IFLA roundtable discussion about Linked Open Data at the British Library.

A current US  project is looking specifically at training for Linked Data in a higher education context but I’m not aware of any formal Linked Data training in the UK and library and information studies programmes haven’t really delved into this area. Admittedly, this is based on a quick perusal of Information Management course curricula so please correct me if I’m wrong.

Let’s face it, there’s a *lot* of data held and managed by libraries and demonstrating the value of this data to our users (and our funders!) is increasingly important. Linked (and open) data adoption is key to publishing data in reusable ways and promoting library data more widely.

August issue of MmIT journal now out

Have you had a look at the journal yet? Log in with your usual CILIP website user name and password at or email if you need a reminder. Institutional subscribers should visit:

Our August issue includes features on:
•    Internet Librarian International Conference – get your 25% discount!
•    Book reviews: Collection Development in the Digital Age; 25 Things You Need to Know About the Future
•    Product review: Plustek Optic Film 8100 Film Scanner
•    Special focus: future technologies – augmented reality, artificial intelligence, mobile technologies, 3D
•    History of the journal part two
•    Mobile malware – take steps to protect your data
•    Digitising the British Newspaper Archives
•    The new super virus: Flame
•    Learn to program for the web: Codecadamy
•    How to speed up your computer
•    The Plextor Solid State Drive

Next issue: special focus on mobile technology

Search cheatsheets and guides – the 2012 list (so far)

Search tools are constantly changing and there are, let’s face it, a million ways to search for information online. There’s also a healthy debate around library search’s reliance on Boolean operators and other specialist (and often legacy) techniques. We still have a ways to go until we’ve found the perfect balance between simplicity and advanced techniques in web searching (and, incidentally, if you’re interested in this area I recommend Dave Pattern’s posts about University of Huddersfield’s experiences with Summon).

I used to use various search cheatsheets in training but lost track after Google’s umpteenth search update so I was happy to stumble upon a bunch of new guides to search engines. Like all lists on this blog, this is a work in progress and suggestions are welcome.

Daniel Russell is a research scientist at Google and recently gave a talk to a group of investigative journalists about smart Google search techniques John Tedesco, an investigative reporter, has written these up in a handy summary on his blog.

Possibly as a result of the large amount of interest Tedesco’s post generated, Google have now announced a series of online search classes. 

And if Google is not your data-mining bag of chips there’s also these handy guide to Duck Duck Go’s search shortcuts on

Wolfram Alpha remains a specialist search tool and I haven’t really seen a comprehensive starter guide to it in my travels. The knowledge base has a *lot* of helpful examples to refer to though. In my experience, the dictionary search results are far superior to the ones returned on Google and I’m sure there are plenty of other reasons to use it for non-statistical searches so I’m on the lookout for an introductory guide to add to the list.

Like I mentioned above, this is a list in progress so any new guides discovered will be added (there are plenty of search tools not yet covered). If you’ve found any guides that you’d like to share, feel free to add them in the comments.

KohaCon 2012: open source, community and the LMS

KohaCon 12 - It's all about the people
Photo Some rights reserved by nengard on Flickr

Koha is an increasingly popular open source Library Management System (or Integrated Library System if you prefer) and KohaCon 12 was held at the University of Edinburgh from the 05 – 07 June, with an additional 2 day hackfest immediately following. This was a great event, jam-packed with information for both seasoned Koha users and those just testing the open source waters and with  delegates from all over the world.

The event opened with Paul Poulain (release manager for Koha 3.8.) talking us through all the new features available in the latest version. This is a major release and includes such shiny new functionality as a new staff interface, improved acquisitions and  faster processing.

Nason Bimbe from the British Library for Development Studies talked about their experience in moving a specialist library to Koha from a bespoke system.

Next up (after Elevenses, of course) was Chris Cormack, one of the original Koha developers and most active contributors. Chris talked about the various support mechanisms in place within the Koha community to cultivate an active and diverse community with a low barrier to entry for participation. This is a very newbie-friendly community and help is always available for those interested in getting involved.

Fittingly, next up Paul Poulain gave a demonstration of sandboxes. Sandboxes provide a way for users to get involved in the development process by removing some of the cumbersome technical barriers. There’s more information about the sandboxes on the Koha wiki.

Robin Sheat, who has managed quite a few migrations as a developer at Catalyst IT, lead a discussion on best practices for migrating an existing LMS to Koha and some of the gotchas to watch out for.

Nicole Engard talked gave a big-picture overview of the benefits and barriers to open source, drawn from her experience running training sessions on Koha and FOSS. This gave a nice segue into the panel discussion which covered some of the various ways migration is handled and how the Koha community addresses the barriers to both open source adoption and community participation.

Day two of the conference kicked off with Dianna Roberts from Opus International talking about how they use Koha in a multi-national special library context. Joy Nelson then gave another perspective on migrating a library to Koha from a proprietary LMS. Rafael Antonio followed this by talking about Koha in Portugal and how this fits with the a broader shift towards shared library resources.

Paul Poulain spoke about BibLibre’s experiences of using Mirabel, France’s shared database of journals, reviews and serials, with Koha. Afterwards, Joy Nelson gave another perspective on Koha migrations, focusing on specific migration heuristics

Next it was Marijana Glavica and Dobrica Pavlinušić from Croatia who have developed a way to import approximately 6000 scans of book covers (and the associated metadata) into Koha using their own ‘scrape-cataloguing’ technique.

Nicole Engard spoke about training users new to the Koha software. If you are using or interested in using Koha, it’s worth checking out Nicole’s videos on the ByWater Solutions blog:

Jane Wagner (Liblime/PTFS), presenting remotely, talking about how to troubleshoot Koha user support and Bob Birchall from Calyx in Australia discussed the importance of governance in ensuring the long-term survival of an open source project. This includes ensuring the software is shared under a suitable licence and that the intellectual property is protected in a sustainable way.

The final presentation of the second day was Adrien Saurat (BibLibre) talking about styling the Koha OPAC, using the SciencesPo Grenoble catalogue as an example.

I wasn’t able to say for the final day of the main conference and so missed some great presentations, including MJ Ray ( and one of the organisers of the conference) talking about the future of Koha and demoes of various new developments, such as SRU, Solr, using a Drupal front-end and the off-line circulation module.

You can find out more about the outcomes from the hackfest on the koha wiki at: or check out the scoreboard to see how many kittens were saved through collaborative bug squashing.

Links for presentations will be added as they become available.

May issue of MmIT journal now available

Issue 38, no 2 of the MMIT journal is now available. MmIT group members can access the journal via the CILIP website.

Have you had a look at the journal yet? Log in with your usual Cilip website user name and password at or email if you need a reminder.

Our May issue includes features on:

  • MMIT National Conference
  • Marshall Breeding: the future of library IT
  • Use of YouTube in further education
  • Integrating LMS and elearning in schools
  • A wake up call required to stimulate publishing and learning
  • History of the MmIT journal: the first ten years
  • The changing role of library assistants
  • A glimpse into technology for library users in a New York public library
  • Archiving videogames
  • Reports from Consortia Conference and EDGE conference

Plus our usual book and product reviews, news, and tech round-up.

London LibTeachMeet 2012

A blurry tribute to the cakes of #ldnlibtm

The London LibTeachMeet, held at UCL on Monday night, was a whirlwind of lightning talks, low-key networking and cake. Lots of cake. This event was sponsored by the Information Literacy Group and brought together a series of short talks around the topic of ‘supporting diverse learners‘.

It’s great to see library networks event such as this experimenting with different, less formal approaches to networking and skillsharing.

Topics covered include outreach and user engagement, curation, using audio technologies, cultural awareness, search preparation and skills days. The full programme is available on the LibTeachMeet website and I’ll update the post with links as soon as they’re available.

The hashtag for the event is #ldnlibtm and there was also some live tweeting via @ldnlibtm

#MMIT2012 presentation – A Free Web Toolkit for the Modern Library

Andy Tattersall  and Claire Beecroft’s MMIT 2012 conference presentation, A Free Web Toolkit for the Modern Library,  is now available.


A Free Web Toolkit for the Modern Library
There are legions of free Web based tools that can help you promote and organise your library and information service. You may have heard of many of them, but how do you choose from a bewildering number of tools? Which will survive in the long term? Which ones offer true value? And which will have true impact? In this session, delegates will be introduced to a variety of tried and tested web 2.0 tools which we believe offer something of real value to LIS professionals. We will debate their pros and cons before demonstrating some inspiring ways in which they’ve been put to use, drawing on examples from public, business and academic libraries. The workshop will show delegates how to make the tools work best for you with minimal effort and how to make them join up to make a cohesive tool kit for any modern LIS. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering ‘Where do I begin with web 2.0?’, the answer is ‘Here!’