Essential tools and technologies for the library and information professional Webinar – 15th February 2-3pm

We are proud to announce our latest webinar ‘Essential tools and technologies for the library and information professional’

Register your free place here

https_cdn.evbuc.comimages38699659289349496911originalWhat tools and technologies should you be using as a librarian or information professional in 2018? Join the CILIP special interest group MmIT as we host our yearly webinar to discuss and shortlist the most relevant tools you can employ as part of your work right now. Webinar Chair Leo Appleton is joined by three fellow members of the Multimedia and Information Technology Committee to look at tools and technologies new and old as well as answer any questions you may have.

Join the webinar here:

You can ask questions in advance via the Twitter hashtag #AskMmIT18 – Tweet us directly on @MultiMediaIT or by going to TodaysMeet Room

Our panelists for the webinar are:
Luke Burton – Digital Transformation Manager at Newcastle City Council

Luke Burton completed his MA in Library and Information Management in 2008 and became a Library and Information Officer with Newcastle Libraries in 2010 as part of their Information and Digital team. He became manager of the Business & IP Centre Newcastle in 2013 and was responsible for co-ordinating and contributing to intellectual property support, business information and business support to small businesses in the North-East. In late 2014 Luke became the Digital Transformation Manager for the Community Hubs, Libraries and Parks within Newcastle City Council where he leads on transformation, development and implementation of digital services within libraries and customer services. In April 2017 he was appointed as the Digital Delivery Manager for the Community Hubs, Libraries and Parks within Newcastle City Council. Luke is particularly interested in copyright, open data, new technologies and culture change within organisations.

Luke tweets as @biblioluke

Virginia Power – Graduate Tutor/PhD researcher at the University of the West of England

Virginia Power is Graduate Tutor/PhD researcher at the University of the West of England. Virginia has over 40 years’ library and information services management experience within educational and cultural heritage sectors. She lectures in Information Management and Science and is also a PhD student in the field of social knowledge management and digital resource curation. Virginia’s particular interest is in technology for learning and open education, specifically the use and re-use of Open Educational Resources (OER) and her PhD is focused on researching the role and impact of social knowledge and narrative in the use and re-use of OER. Virginia specialises in the development of staff digital skills within cultural heritage and corporate knowledge settings. She is also co-editor of eBooks in Libraries: a practical guide published by Facet Publishing.

Virginia tweets as @PowerVirg

Andy Tattersall – Information Specialist at The School of Health and Related Research at The University of Sheffield

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 is also Chair of the CILIP MmIT Committee. He has edited a book on Altmetrics for Facet Publishing which is aimed at researchers and librarians. Andy was named in the Jisc Top Ten Social Media Superstars for 2017.

Andy tweets as @Andy_Tattersall

Chair: Leo Appleton – Director of Library Services, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Leo Tweets as @leoappleton

Responding to social media and online questions

Alison McNab – Academic Librarian at the University of Huddersfield

Alison McNab is an Academic Librarian at the University of Huddersfield whose current focus is on supporting researchers at all stages of the research cycle. She has regularly pioneered the implementation of new technologies and resources, with a focus on their use to enhance service development and delivery, and for much of her career had a specialist focus on the marketing and exploitation of e-content. Her professional interests include accessibility and assistive technologies, current awareness and trend-watching, e-content, information literacy, mobile learning, scholarly communication, and the use of social media by libraries. She has contributed to the wider profession by writing, editing, speaking, and through membership of the management committees of MmIT, UKeiG and the UKSG.

Alison tweets as @AlisonMcNab

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:

Special Issue of MmIT journal on Digitisation

We have produced a special issue on Digitisation which brings together articles on the subject from the journal published since 2011. This covers aspects such as archives, collections, digitisation, preservation and scanners.

Download or view it today on the Cilip website using your usual log in details.

Contents include:

  • The “Digitisation Doctor”: addressing the digitisation divide, August 2013 (Vol 39, No 3)
  • The Institution of Civil Engineers launches online image library, August 2013 (Vol 39, No 3)
  • Digimap: feeding the demand for maps & geospatial data, August 2013 (Vol 39, No 3)
  • Bringing the history of Paris alive with 3D visualisation, August 2013 (Vol 39, No 3)
  • The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) takes to the digital stage, May 2013 (Vol 39, No 2)
  • Creating a digital archive for the Rothschild Reserves, Nov 2012 (Vol 38, No 4)
  • Opening up historical collections with Historypin, Nov 2012 (Vol 38, No 4)
  • Book Review: Collection Development in the Digital Age, Aug 2012 (Vol 38, No 3)
  • Product Review: Plustek Optic Film 8100 Film Scanner, Aug 2012 (Vol 38, No 3)
  • Augmented reality: is it really fit for your purposes? Aug 2012 (Vol 38, No 3)
  • British Newspaper Archive digitisation project, Aug 2012 (Vol 38, No 3)
  • Book Review: Collection Development in the Digital Age, Feb 2012 (Vol 38, No 2)
  • Product Review: Plustek SmartOffice PS286 Plus scanner, Feb 2012 (Vol 38, No 2)
  • Book Review: Virtual Interface Design for Digital Cultural Heritage, Nov 2011 (Vol 37, No 4)
  • Image processing: intensely complex but vitally important, Nov 2011 (Vol 37, No 4)
  • News: Rothschild Foundation archive, Aug 2011 (Vol 37, No 3)
  • News: Axiell CALM collection management system, Aug 2011 (Vol 37, No 3)
  • Augmenting reality at the Natural History Museum, Aug 2011 (Vol 37, No 3)
  • News: digital preservation project, May 2011 (Vol 37, No 2)
  • Book Review: Preparing Collections for Digitization, May 2011 (Vol 37, No 2)
  • News: 1914-18 archive alliance, Feb 2011 (Vol 37, No 1)
  • Book Review: The Future of Archives and Recordkeeping, Feb 2011 (Vol 37, No 1)
  • Accessing collections through online exhibitions, Feb 2011 (Vol 37, No 1)
  • Bluff your way in image management, Feb 2011 (Vol 37, No 1)
  • Planets Project: preserving delicate digital materials, Feb 2011 (Vol 37, No 1).

Coming up in the journal in 2014 – May: Focus on mobile in libraries

In the Palm of your Hand: the Future for the Hand-Held Librarian

The slides and notes for this presentation – due to be given at the Reduced Budgets? Increased Impact! Increasing LIS Impact with New Technologies conference at the University of Sheffield today – are available here:

Hand-Held Librarian #mmit2012

NB: this is the version presented on the day of the conference, which was amended slightly from earlier versions due to an error spotted in the original version. Please feel free to access this new version.

Coding for Librarians : Applied knowledge is the best kind

There’s been an impressive amount of librarian chatter about Code Year, a new initiative from the people behind Codeacademy. Codeacademy offer free introductory programming tutorials using JavaScript as the language of choice and it looks like this is also the approach Code Year will take. Discussion has already started on Twitter (hashtag #libcodeyear or #catcode) and IRC (#libcodeyear @ Freenode).

JavaScript is often proposed as a starter coding choice, at least in part due to it’s ubiquity (got browser? got JavaScript!). I’m not going to get into a language war, deciding what programming language to start with largely depends on a) what you like and b) what you want to build. And there are plenty of other places you can hear the arguments from every possible angle. It also depends on your own learning style. Don’t get discouraged if one of the tutorials doesn’t work for you, there are plenty others that might fit better with the way you learn. There’s a plethora of courses and learning resources out there, many of which have been listed on the Cat Code wiki.

The best coding tutorials (IMHO) are the ones that help you create something practical and/or applicable to your area of interest. And, with that in mind, I’ve started a list of open source library projects that may be of interest to those getting started with writing code. These projects aren’t necessarily beginner level (many of them aren’t) but provide examples of real code in action and something that you may be able to use and (eventually) contribute to.

Learning JavaScript?

Learning PHP?

Learning Ruby and/or Ruby on Rails?

These are just a few examples which I hope to keep adding to and, of course, suggestions are more than welcome.

Data visualisation using Google fusion tables

Fusion tables is yet another hidden gem that Google quietly graduated from Google Labs to their (seemingly perpetual) beta status. It’s a free tool for managing, visualising and publishing data with a particular strength for developing chart and map visualisations.

You can get started just by uploading a spreadsheet or other data collection – it supports file formats such as .xls, .csv and .kml.

Depending on the information available in your spreadsheet, you can view the data as a chart, map, timeline, intensity map, bar graph or storyline.  For example, motion, timeline and storyline visualisations need to have a valid date field available. If you’re spreadsheet includes an address field or other location data, this will be automatically geocoded for the map view.

There are various options to customise the info window and style and you can also then embed the map or chart in your website.

Check out the example gallery for more ideas about what Fusion Tables are capable of and there’s plenty of data available in the public tables to get started with. Try the ‘UK libraries under threat’ table to view the data behind the Map of Library Cuts used by Voices for the Library and Public Libraries News. To see an example of a timeline or storyline chart, there’s even a Twin Peaks timeline available.

Getting started with Yahoo Pipes

Some rights reserved by alto maltés on Flickr

Using Yahoo Pipes has fast become a cornerstone of mashups in the library world. This popularity is largely down to just how accessible it makes the process of mashing data. It provides a nice, visual interface for remixing and reusing information from multiple sources.

At its simplest, Yahoo Pipes lets you combine multiple RSS feeds into a single, comprehensive news or information source. The introductory video seems to have disappeared from the website, but there are some great guides and pretty extensive documentation available in other places. We’ve also put together a walk-through for creating a basic pipe from multiple feeds. This is available as a word document which you’re welcome to modify and/or reuse.

Another way to get to know Yahoo Pipes is by viewing the source and cloning existing pipes to see how they were constructed. And in that spirit, I’ve listed a few that demonstrate some of the main uses of Yahoo Pipes. Click on ‘Edit Source’ to see what’s happening behind the scenes or clone the pipe to use it as a starting point for your own creation.

Starter pipe: A very simple pipe to combine RSS feeds and sort items by publication date.

Library Technology: A Different Version– Combines multiple feeds and returns results for these that match particular keywords.

UK Academic Library Blogs – Combines multiple feeds, sorts into ascending order and limits the feed to 5 items at a time.

This is hopefully enough to get started and, like most things, the best way to learn about something like this is by trying it out yourself.

In a future post, we’ll take a look at some of the more advanced features such as geocoding.

Data, pipes, geeks and cake: Pancakes and Mash at Lincoln

In lieu of someone posting some decent photos from the day

Pancakes and Mash, the eighth (!) Mashed Library event was held yesterday, organised by the gang at University of Lincoln. It was a great day looking at various existing projects that involved mashing data together (in various ways and by various means) as well as giving attendees a chances to get involved in library-related mashups.

The keynote speaker was Gary Green (Surrey County Council), one of the key people behind the ‘Voices for the Library‘ campaign. Gary gave an overview of how this project began and how it facilitates sharing info between the many local library campaigns underway. He also gave an overview of the various tools that have helped make it such a success. Among these, the VftL team credits Twitter with playing a major role in bringing the project together while they also use Facebook, Delicious, email lists, Google Fusion tables, wikis and blogging to help get the word out.

One aspect of this I hadn’t fully explored until now was the map of libraries under threat — which is now generated using Google Fusion tables from data on Public Library news. You can see the map on If you haven’t explored the Voices for the Library website yet, it’s a great resource of campaign news and advice.

The second session was split into a few different workshops. I attended the ‘Metadata Forum: building a community around metadata‘ session led by Stephanie Taylor from UKOLN — while trying my best to also stealthily follow the other sessions on Twitter. The Metadata Forum is a JISC-funded project that aims to build a community around metadata for those who work with it in any capacity. They’re interested in all levels of metadata users, not just the specialists and based on attendance, a *lot* of us are working with metadata. You can read more about the forum on their blog on the UKOLN website.

The other sessions were “We Can Haz Ur Data!?” with Alex Bilbie & Nick Jackson from the University of Lincoln and “Using Web2.0 tools to save libraries” with Gary Green, building on his keynote talk. Both sounded really interesting and hopefully notes and/or slides will be circulated soon.

After lunch, Alison McNab (De Montfort University) gave a talk on ‘mash at lunchtime’ for those looking for shorter, onsite events and Stephanie Taylor (UKOLN) led the discussion on ‘Across the divide: how geeks and non geeks can have meaningful conversations with each other, and how we’re all the same, really‘. There was also the option to get some mashing done in the other spaces open to attendees — which turned into a great walkthrough session on Yahoo Pipes by Paul Stainthorp.

It was a productive and creative day and I think it’s safe to say that everyone went home brimming with ideas and armed with an extensive list of web apps and tools to try out. Thanks to Paul and the rest of the gang at Uni of Lincoln for organising such a great event (and to Elif Varol for the cakes). Only tentative rumours about the next mashed libraries day at the moment but keep an eye on the wiki as I’m sure there be more news soon and there’s plenty to get started with in the meantime.

QR Codes in the wild

QR code
They look like this

QR codes are one of those things that has shifted from a ‘nice to have’ technology you hear about at conferences (and unconferences) to a really practical innovation you can notice starting to appear in libraries and library catalogues near you.

T​hese barcodes provide a way for people to quickly store information by taking a photo with their mobile phone. You need a QR reader app too but there are free ones available for most web-enabled phones.  O​f course, there’s a bit more to it than that and its early days yet but there are  helpful guides available for libraries considering implementing QR codes (including one in the August 2010 issue of the MMIT Journal).

T​here are also plenty of creative uses of QR codes to help inspire and demonstrate the many possibilities of  quick response tags.

University of Bath, University of Bedfordshire and University of Huddersfield are all using QR Codes in their library catalogue as a way to save book or journal title details. You can try it out on any of their OPACs. Just search for an item and you will see a barcode image on the item description page. Take a photo of this with your phone and the information will be stored in a format you can access later. University of Bath also uses QR codes within the floorplans of the library where they link users to an audio tour – it’s not just for awkward URLs,  downloadable files  can also be linked.

You can also see QR Codes in action at further education institutions – like the awesome Murder Mystery demo at Bradford College library .

There are more examples at the Library Best Practices wiki

Now to get started at making your own: