Making time for an #HourOfCode

MmIT Committee member Antony Groves writes:

Time is relative; there may be fifty-two weeks in the calendar year but in the Social Media Year there are hundreds of Weeks, each with their own hashtag. In October we saw National Libraries WeekOpen Access WeekNational Work Life WeekDyslexia Awareness Week and International OCD Awareness Week to name a few. The subject of this post will be December’s Computer Science Education Week, specifically the Hour of Code during it.

At the University of Sussex Library, as part of this week, we will be running an Hour of Code event – one of the thousand happening across the UK. The Hour of Code website explains that these events “started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics”. Here you can sign up to host an hour, which we are doing, following in the steps of Imperial College London.

Our Hour of Code event on December 4th is part of a workshop series we are running this term to help students develop their digital skills, aligned to the Jisc Digital Capabilities Framework. The first element of this framework is ‘ICT Proficiency’, described in part as “an understanding of basic concepts in computing, coding, and information processing”. We hope that the Hour of Code event will give participants the opportunity to gain this understanding.

In the same way that participants are not required to have any prior knowledge of coding, neither are those running the workshops. Information is provided on how to teach an hour and lesson plans are available for different levels of student using different types of technology, which you can browse at


If you don’t have the time or resources for a lesson, self-led tutorials are also available, and students can use their own devices. Simply select the appropriate filters on the side of the page:

Over the summer we ran a ‘Library Code Camp’ giving staff the time and space to participate in a self-led online coding course of their choosing. Feedback was extremely positive and this approach could equally work for students. All that would be needed is a room for an hour, with someone to introduce the session and direct participants to the self-led tutorials.


If you can’t fit another hour into the first week of December or don’t feel that there’s enough time to prepare; it is possible to run your Hour of Code event at any point throughout the year with the blessing of the organisers.

Time is, after all, relative.



MmIT Webinar – 12th December: Using video in your library and information service

Video is an extremely useful technology for any library or information service. You can use video to help promote your service and your work, deliver teaching and training and help communicate with wider audiences. There are misconceptions that you need lots of money and time to make effective videos, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Whatever sector you work in we are certain that this webinar will show you how you can apply video in your role. Join the Cilip Special Interest Group Multimedia and Information Technology Group (MmiT) for a one hour webinar to explore some useful tools for making videos and animations to help you make effective use of video technology.

Hashtag for the event #MmITvideo @MultiMediaIT

Register for the event here:


We have three expert speakers for the event.

Claire Sewell (University of Cambridge)

Claire is Research Support Skills Coordinator in the Office of Scholarly Communication in Cambridge where she oversees the professional development of library staff in areas such as copyright, Open Access and research data management. Focusing on the rapidly developing area of scholarly communication Claire develops training initiatives in order to ensure that library staff are best placed to support the research community. As part of her role she also manages the Research Support Ambassador Programme which enhances staff training skills so that they can provide frontline support.

Tweets @ces43

Christina Harbour (Anglia Ruskin University) MmIT Committee member

Christina has worked in libraries since 2003 and received her MA in Information & Library Management from John Moores University in 2007. Christinia’s library experience consists of working in the NHS and academic libraries. From 2006-2012 Christina worked as an Academic Liaison Librarian at Writtle College managing library resources for animal, equine, sport, agriculture and business subjects. This involved collection development, user education and liaising with lecturers.

Christina has since moved over Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford campus to take up the post of Subject Librarian for Business, Health & Education. As we speak I am currently on secondment working as a Project Manager to implement the Reading Lists software from Talis Aspire.

Christina is a member of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals as well as a CILIP mentor. Christina also works on a freelance basis, recently providing content provision to the JISC Intute service.

Tweets @tinalpool

Kim Donovan (University of Brighton)

Kim Donovan is the Information Adviser for St Peter’s House Library, University of Brighton. In this role, she co-ordinates library support for City Campus and the Schools of Art, Humanities and Media. Teaching Information Literacy is a big part of this role, and Kim is interested in experimenting with new technologies with the aim of enhancing student engagement.

Chairing the webinar

Andy Tattersall (University of Sheffield) Chair of MmIT 

Andy Tattersall is an Information Specialist at The School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) and writes, teaches and gives talks about digital academia, technology, scholarly communications, open research, web and information science, apps, altmetrics and social media. In particular, their application for research, teaching, learning, knowledge management and collaboration. Andy received a Senate Award from The University of Sheffield’ for his pioneering work on MOOCs in 2013 and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Andy was named in Jisc’s Top 10 Social Media Superstars for 2017. He is also Chair for The Library and Information Association – Multi Media and Information Technology Committee. Andy edited a book on Altmetrics for Facet Publishing which is aimed at researchers and librarians.

Tweets @Andy_Tattersall

Joining Details

Join the live session by clicking the link below:

The session takes place in an Adobe Connect webinar – headphones and a microphone are advisable, but the microphone is not essential. You can also join using a tablet or smartphone with the Adobe Connect mobile app.

We look forward to meeting you online soon! If you have trouble joining and the guidance below doesn’t help contact us at


If you have never attended an Adobe Connect session, a quick start guide can be found at:

Adobe Connect provides an online connection test for troubleshooting connection problems. This tests the four key components for a successful Adobe Connect experience:

  • Flash Player version
  • Network connectivity to the Adobe Connect Server
  • Available bandwidth
  • Acrobat Connect Meeting Add-in version

You can access this test at the following URL:


Tech tools for (academic) writing #AcWriMo

November brings academic writing month #AcWriMo as researchers commit to making time to write regularly.   MmIT members would like to suggest a range of digital tools and social spaces are used to encourage other writers and share good practice.  Many of these have applicability beyond academic writing so we hope that you will find them useful.

  • Pat Thomson (University of Nottingham) has written many thought-provoking posts about academic writing on her blog  and also curates useful resources on her Wakelet account.

Keeping focused on your writing:

  • The Yesterbox technique aims to prevent email getting in the way of writing.
  • The Forest App can help cut down on web distraction.
  • The 30:30 App for managing time and increasing productivity.

Mindmap tools (also known as concept mapping tools) help writers formulate a writing plan and sketch out ideas:

Productivity podcasts

Writing clear, understandable text:

  • plain English text checker to make sure your text is easy to read/understand if you are seeking to write for a wider audience.  It can also be used for leaflets, website text, video scripts etc
  •  Paste your text into the Read-o-Meter and it will estimate how long it will take for someone to read it.  A helpful way to encourage clear, readable writing.


Save the date: MmIT’s #MindfulTech19

Is it too early for New Year Resolutions? Worried about technology taking over your life? Then start the year with CILIP MmIT as we consider Mindful Technology for our January 2019 half day of talks incorporating our 2018 AGM. Four speakers will consider how to manage technology rather than let it manage you, including discussion of mindful technology and how to beat digital distractions.

Date: Wednesday 9 January 2019 1-4.30pm

Venue: CILIP, 7 Ridgmount Street, London WC1E 7AE

Free to attend; bookings now open

Setting up a tweet archive with IFTTT

We welcome a guest post from Claire Sewell, Research Support Skills Coordinator in the the Office of Scholarly Communication at Cambridge University Library.  

Reading tweets from a conference or other event is a great way to keep up with what is happening in your area, especially as the number of events you can attend in person is likely to be limited. If you are lucky enough to attend something then using Twitter to share your insights is a great way to both take notes and raise your individual profile within the community. However, Twitter is very fast moving and it can be easy to lose content that you would like to keep or refer back to.

Setting up a tweet archive is one way to keep track of tweets – either just your own or those across the whole event hashtag. The much-missed Storify used to do this but with its demise, we have had to find new methods. One solution is to use IFTTT (If This Then That), an online platform which lets users connect different websites to automate a number of tasks – known as applets. I’ve used this to connect Twitter and Google Sheets to create both personal and public tweet archives for different events.

The instructions below will guide you through setting up a tweet archive using Google Sheets but you can use any of the apps available on IFTTT to create something suited to your preferred workflow. IFTTT is an intuitive website that guides you through any complicated parts quickly and easily.

Setting up a tweet archive:

  1. Create an IFTTT account (this is free).
  2. Connect your Twitter and Google Drive accounts to IFTTT. You will only need to do this the first time you connect any third party site to use it in multiple applets.
  3. Select My applets New applet.
  4. The following message will appear:


Select this and then select Twitter.

  1. Select the appropriate option depending on whether you want to set up an archive of all tweets from an event (New tweet from search) or just the ones you send (New tweet by you with hashtag).
  2. Specify the hashtag that you want to collect when prompted and then select Create trigger. The following message will appear:


  1. Select that and then Google Sheets (or whichever tool you are using).
  2. Select Add row to spreadsheet. At this point you will be prompted to specify a spreadsheet – either an existing one in your library or a new one created for this applet. You can also alter the format that the tweet is collected in at this stage (IFTT will guide you through this process).
  3. Select create action and you are ready to go. The applet will run automatically once it has been created although you can run it manually if desired.

When creating the archive with Google Sheets you can either share it or keep it private depending on what you intend to use it for. It’s worth pointing out that this system is not fool proof – it may miss some tweets, particularly if the hashtag is fast moving and IFTTT will only work with certain sites. However it is a good alternative to trawling through pages of tweets searching for the one you meant to save. I would recommend experimenting with the different tools available on IFTTT to create an archive which works for your purposes – you never know what you might discover!

Note: sections of this post were originally posted on Claire’s blog Librarian In Training.

Conference tech: the hardware

MmIT Committee member Alison McNab writes:

I’m looking forward to attending #ILI2018 next month (if you are a member of MmIT you can claim a 25% discount – see our blog post for details of how to claim it).  We will be staffing an MmIT stand with giveaways and a competition.

I’m giving a lightning talk at ILI on using social media to promote and amplify events and thought it might be helpful to talk about the tech that helps me do so.  The two devices I use are an iPad and mobile phone.  I find a tablet much lighter and easier than a laptop when balanced on my knees but I do know other people who prefer having the full keyboard on a laptop for rapid tweeting or blogging.

A spare power supply is essential if you wish to keep tweeting after lunch! You can’t guarantee having access to a power point at a conference, but it is probably worth taking your charger plug and lead along just in case.  Delegates who bring and share access to a multi-USB adaptor and/or an extension lead are true digital citizens!

  • Entry-level power banks (left) are low cost and often feature as a “high value” giveaway  from library suppliers and publishers.  They should help you top-up your phone charge to last out the day.
  • The more powerful high-capacity power banks (centre) can carry enough charge to keep your laptop or tablet topped up throughout the conference or a transantlantic flight.
  • My most recent purchase has been a battery phone case (right), which gives me four times the battery life (YMMV), and the some newer versions even offer wireless charging.

My final tip is to charge all your devices and chargers the night before the event starts, and top up the charge whenever possible.  I’ve found an article that advises that shallow discharges and recharges are better than full ones, which mentions the new-to-me  Battery University as an authority!

[Note: my “tech” was purchased personally, apart from the entry-level power bank which was a publisher giveaway.  Obviously other brands of tablets, power banks and phone cases are available….]Technology to keep tweeting at conferences

Mindful tech: digital solutions to our digital problems

MmIT Committee member Antony Groves writes: 


Freshers’ Week is on the horizon, signalling the Autumn term will soon begin, and that some of us will shortly enter the busiest time of our working year. While we are planning how best to support our new and returning students, we should spare a thought for our own wellbeing. One way of grounding ourselves during this busy period is mindfulness. If our days are a chain of events, mindfulness encourages us to focus on one link at a time.

Tomorrow, Jisc’s Building digital capability project will come to an end, transitioning to a full service in September. Through this project, they have developed a digital capability framework to “describe the skills needed by staff from a wide range of academic, administrative and professional roles to thrive in a digital environment” (Jisc, 2018). This framework contains six elements including one that is conceptualised as encompassing all others: digital identity and wellbeing.

Jisc Digital Capability image

Jisc’s definition of digital wellbeing includes the ability to “manage digital workload, overload and distraction” and show “an understanding of the benefits and risks of digital participation in relation to health and wellbeing outcomes” (2017, p.3). This is particularly important now that many institutions equip their staff with mobile devices.

Certainly, these tools are invaluable. Being able to update a presentation with an iPad or respond to emails on the go allows us to make the most of our time but it can also become too much. We may not be in the office but reaching for our smartphone as soon as we wake can instantly transport us from our bed to our desk. It is a very short step from checking Twitter to sending email when social media and tablet computing have led to the conflation of personal and professional.

For me, the answer to switching off is not simply to shut down my device when I leave the office. There are professional networks and conversations in which I choose to participate outside of work. Stopping notifications and updates from apps does not necessarily solve the problem either; using this strategy actually led me to login more frequently to make sure that I had not missed anything. Trying to ignore alerts and emails is not the only approach though. There are a range of tools that can help us to engage with technology in a more deliberate and mindful way, and enhance our wellbeing as a result (along with other positive workplace outcomes). For example, I use the following:

  • MyAddictometer: described as a “productivity tool” this free app allows you to quickly and easily analyse your phone usage in a visual way. The timeline functions identify specific times of the day and week when usage creeps up. This is a good place to begin thinking about your digital wellbeing.
  • Forest: this app encourages you to stay off your device by growing a virtual forest that relates to the length of time you manage to resist using it. For example, ten minutes of focus will give you a small shrub for your forest whereas two hours will reward you with a towering digital evergreen. Not only that, but Forest partners with Trees for the Future to plant real trees so you can feel even better about not using your phone.
  • Headspace: provides guided meditations, animations, articles and videos about mindfulness. You can sign up for free to use a limited number of these resources but a subscription is required to access everything. In the packs you can find guided meditations grouped around a particular theme. For example in the Work & Performance packs, there are ten sessions each on Prioritization and Productivity, and thirty sessions to help with Finding Focus. There are also single mediations covering Mindful Tech, Presentations and more. I most often use the walking and commuting meditations on the way to and from work; actually using the phone to enhance my wellbeing.

UK Universities are making time for mindfulness and the emerging discipline of contemplative management aims to enable this. When the new academic year begins think about your digital wellbeing and, using tools like those above, let the mindful use of technology bring balance to both your personal and professional life.