Top Ten @MultiMediaIT blog posts of 2018

  1. Our top blog topic of the year was our Essential tools and technologies for the library and information professional webinar (#AskMmIT18) on 15 February 2018.
  2. Next was our promotional post for our webinar on Using video in your library and information service.  The follow-up post to our 12th December 2018 webinar provides links to the recording, slides and tweets from #MmITvideo.
  3. The post publicising the Spring issue of the MmIT journal, with its focus on sound and vision, attracted many views.
  4. Our most-accessed guest blog post featured the results of a small scale survey on “Library social media – how do you do it?” by Tom Kistell of @hallamlibrary.
  5. In Blockchain technology and us, MmIT committee member Antony Groves considered how blockchain technology may impact on LIS work.
  6. Our post on Apply for a CILIP Conference Bursary attracted lots of attention – it was won by Lizzie Sparrow who blogged on her use of Pocket.
  7. The reaction to the post from Antony Groves on Mindful tech: digital solutions to our digital problems encouraged us to address this topic in our January 2019 meeting: #MindfulTech19.
  8. In We need to talk about #Storify….. we reflected on the closure of the Storify digital curation service.  Continued development throughout 2018 means that Wakelet has become the default alternative for most people.
  9.  Our January meetings in London are always popular and the January 2018 event, Future Proofing the Library, was fully-booked.  You can find most presentations from MmIT events on our Slideshare account.
  10. Our blog post featuring links for Open Access Week 2018 #OAWeek completes our top ten, thanks to promotion from @CilipInfo.

If technology and the digital world feature in your professional interests, follow along with MmIT in 2019 for more writing and links to resources and events.  We’re always happy to hear from guest bloggers!



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

Libraries and free technology – Bargains to be found if you look around and avoid the pitfalls

This post was originally written by Andy Tattersall ahead of his and fellow MmIT committee member Christina Harbour’s participation in the next #uklibchat


There is the line that you can never have too much of good thing and these days there are so many good things that librarians and information professionals can employ in their working environment. The great thing is that since we emerged from the world of Web 1.0 to 2.0 that a lot of these newer tools are free and actually quite useful. The flipside is that a lot aren’t that good or just can’t be applied in a library setting, regardless of how hard you try and knock a square peg into a round hole, it won’t go (unless the square peg is smaller of course).

Libraries are no different from any kind of organisation, they have to use formally licensed software for the day to day running of their service. Even though this does not always mean the leanest or most dynamic of packages serving your library, but it does mean you will get a good level of service support and that is essential. The smaller, more niche tools have a part to play in this technology ecosystem – just like the microbes and bugs on Planet Earth – if we remove them the whole system would collapse. The larger technology companies often need the smaller companies to keep the environment from becoming stale and predictable. They also can eat them up from time to time, just like our bugs and other real world creatures. Take for example how – at the time independent company – Mendeley changed reference management dramatically for the better. The smaller technology companies are less likely to get bogged down by bloated platforms run by large companies who focus first on foremost in delivering a stable product for their users. Like I say, the stability of large platforms is essential, the flexibility and dynamic nature of smaller technologies is often where the real action is at.

The last ten years has seen a tremendous growth in new technologies that can be applied in a library setting. The financial cost of these tools, such as Canva, Twitter, Adobe Spark and Eventbrite can be free. Yet with freedom can come a cost as problems can start to float to the surface, although not all of these problems are that worrisome. The old adage ‘If you are not paying for the product – you are the product’ certainly rings true with how some technologies will give you a free ride if you give them your data in return. There are also issues around what do you do when you become hooked into a useful platform, but want more from the premium add ons and the person holding the purse strings says no. How do you know whether the tool you are using will be here tomorrow – remember PageFlakes, Storify, Readability, Google Reader and Silk anyone?

Another question for the typical library or information professional is which tools are best and how can they be applied and which will work on their system – take for example a librarian in an NHS setting. The final and most crucial issue is around the investment of time used to master new tools and that can be problematic depending on the learning curve, but if you know how to use Microsoft Word you’ll probably master most lightweight tools in very little time. The sheer number of tools that can be used in the library sector is overwhelming, regardless of whether you are a public, NHS, business or academic librarian. One tool may solve a host of problems for one librarian but be as useful as a chocolate teapot for another. It is all about application and one of the greatest things to see in technology uptake in the library is how one person can use a tool and then another take that same tool and apply it in a totally unexpected way just as successfully. This is the wonderful thing about these technologies, whether it is Menitmeter for polling, Pocket for curating or Piktochart for posters, you you use it may be totally different from how someone else does.


MmIT Join #uklibchat Technology in libraries. Monday 3rd September 7.00-8.30pm BST

Join #uklibchat this September with MmIT Chair Andy Tattersall and committee member Christina Harbour to discuss the ever growing and changing topic within Libraries, Technology. cropped-uklibchatskysegoe

We will have a featured post in the next few days, along with some articles (keep an eye on Twitter) for now the Agenda is up and running so please add your questions.

This is open to all sectors of the library profession, so feel free to pop along on Monday the 3rd of September at 7pm, as usual, join in using the #uklibchat hashtag to make your voice heard.

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.

Fake News – Fake News! : A library conference on Fighting Fake News #LSBUFakeNews2018

MmIT Chair Andy Tattersall writes: 


Fake News is a term that we are increasingly hearing about across the Web, especially by the ‘Leader of the Free World’, often in relation to unfavourable news coverage for him. It’s not the most savoury of terms and does not really capture the wider issues relating to it which range from poor information literacy to biased reporting of science across the media.


Last month the London South Bank University, Library and Learning Resources grabbed the initiative and hosted their inaugural Fake News conference aimed at librarians and information professionals: This Is Not A Fake Conference!   You can view the speakers’ slides and tweets with the Twitter hashtag: #LSBUFakeNews2018


I was invited to speak at the conference and discussed the connection between academics and how they work with the media and the problems of misreporting, bias and cherry picked results. I talked about Altmetrics as a way to follow the media coverage and to gain credit for an academic’s potential impact and how far their scholarly communications can travel across the web. It also helps to make research Open Access so that those reading the media coverage can read the actual published research for themselves. My presentation slides are now online: New research needs to be better reported and librarians can help with that.

My talk was based on this earlier blog post Working with the media can be beneficial but linking to and citing your research should be compulsory.  I have also written on the topic for The Conversation with a piece entitled New research must be better reported, the future of society depends on it.


I was not sure whether the event would be just a collection of repetitive library resource talks on ‘how we teach students to assess news and information’. Naturally there were talks on the topic, but the range and richness of the presentations were really interesting. We heard how Fake News works and how it is getting worse by Adam Blackwell (Proquest), and gained fascinating insights from Rita Marcella and Graeme Baxter (Robert Gordon University) that Fake News does not have a long term negative effect on those propagating it.


There were several talks from the Universities of Nottingham, Roehampton and Cambridge,  amongst others, about the various ways they were working with students and staff to teach information literacy skills. Everyone had different ideas and ways of supporting people, all of which were very valid and full of great potential. I was particularly impressed by Peter Keep and Robin Pomeroy talking about their inspiring Charlotte Project (named after journalist Charlotte Cooper) which works with journalism students aged 15-18 to enable them to navigate the maze of news, blogs and commentary with a critical eye.


As a former journalist, I found the conference really engaging and suggested that alongside the one Reuters journalist in attendance (from The Charlotte Project) that they should look to invite more members of the media for the next conference. I am fairly certain that this will happen as the conference was really well attended with a packed lecture theatre and a full day of interesting talks. Obviously the issue of Fake News (or information illiteracy/corruption for want of better names) is not going to go away. The power of social media and Web 2.0 means we can all publish content and of course some people with negative agendas are doing so, often with impunity. Library and information professionals are especially qualified to work in this area and help students, professionals and members of the public better critically appraise information for its authenticity and credibility. Conferences like this are a great place to start that call to action within the sector that can only help benefit the rest of society.


The conference has resulted in a Jiscmail list being established for library and information professionals to share content and resources on Fake News for librarians. You can join the mailing list here: 


This month I published another article in The Conversation which may be of interest to readers on the topic: In the era of Brexit and fake news, scientists need to embrace social media.