MmIT Journal

MmIT Journal

Check out our May 2013 issue, available to members now. Visit our website, choose “Journal current issue” from the left-hand menu, then log in with your user name/password. Features include:

  • Book review: Open Access
  • Product reviews: Etymotic noise isolating headset; Pong mobile phone case
  • Special focus: eJournals and eBooks – features from the UK, India, US; public libraries and higher education
  • Features: massive online open courses (MOOCs); IT at Titanic Belfast visitor attraction; the V&A Museum moves into digital publishing; dynamic data and data aggregation
  • TechRoundUp: discover Google Glass; augmented reality with Ingress; the new e-paper smartphone

Coming up later in 2013

 August:           Focus on data security, data management, SaaS

November:          Focus on elearning


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.

Booking is open for MmIT National Conference 2012

The MmIT National Conference 2012 was held on the 17th April at the University of Sheffield.

Reduced budgets? Increased impact!
Increasing LIS impact with new technologies

Keynote speakers are Ross Mahon, Apps Edu Evangelist, from Google and Marshall Breeding, of the Library Technology Guides (

Workshop sessions include:

  • Dave Pattern – Discovering discovery: Experiences of implementing Summon at Huddersfield
  • Jon Fletcher – In the palm of their hand: The next step for the handheld librarian
  • Andy Tattersall and Claire Beecroft – A free web toolkit for the modern library
  • Rene Meijer – Designing space and services to support digital literacies

There will also be Expert Q&A; 5 minute quick fixes; Interactive voting session and tours of University of Sheffield’s Information Commons.

Conference web site:

You can also keep up with the conference on Lanyrd:

Cost: £120 (incl VAT) for MMIT members; £156 (incl VAT) for non members. A limited number of reduced price places are available for unwaged and students.


Social search with Aardvark (Q&A series)

Choosing topics

Aardvark describes itself as ‘social search’; whereby questions are answered by a person (or people) rather than a webpage. More specifically, they propose that seeking answers from people in your ‘networks’ can be more effective and provide better information than reliance on answers from the  ‘documents’ that search engines return.

While the platform doesn’t seem to be exactly heaving with activity since they were acquired by Google early last year, it has its loyal fans and questions get answered in good time. However, the real strength of Aardvark is in the instant messaging and mobile access options in what is just generally an impressive but neglected platform.

Aardvark is a more flexible Q&A service than some of the other main players. While the website is a good starting point, it soon becomes clear that the main emphasis of Aardvark is on mobile access; (via iPhone app) and integration with instant messaging.

Continue reading “Social search with Aardvark (Q&A series)”

Multimedia Information and Techology: journal news 14 June 2010

– Free Google apps for education
– QR Codes from Gerry McKiernan
– iPad alternatives
– Sarah Hammond on library blogs
– No Shelf required wins library blog award
– Paxcat – peace archives, posters, leaflets etc now online

–        Free Google apps for education

–        QR Codes from Gerry McKiernan

–        iPad alternatives

–        Sarah Hammond on library blogs

–        No Shelf required wins library blog award     

–        Paxcat – peace archives, posters, leaflets etc now online

1. Free Google apps for education

2. QR Codes from Gerry McKiernan

(The August issue of MmIT journal will feature an article on QR codes in HE.)

A Great Great Resource > Sites / Cites / Links > Thanks Teresa Ashley / Librarian / Austin Community College District


Summary Of Ideas For Using QR Codes In Libraries:

1. Provide point-of-use instruction at point-of-need locations

2. Have step-by-step instructions on machines like photocopiers and printers

3. Post QR codes by study rooms. Students would be able to check the availability of a study room, and then book it from their cell phone while standing in front of the room

4. QR codes in the stacks could bring up a list of LibGuides on topics related to books in the call number range area

5. QR codes in the stacks could show where the ebooks would be on the shelves

6. QR codes around campus could link to digital libraries or items from special collections related to the different buildings

7. Add QR codes with your contact information to your library website

8. Direct users to a service that’s specifically aimed at mobile devices users, such as a chat or IM reference service, or the mobile version of the library’s catalog or databases

9. QR code to the online Ask a Librarian site could be posted at the physical reference desk and at all public access computer workstations

10. Library tours – barcodes can be placed in different areas of the library so visitors can access information relevant to that particular space. Audio tours can also be provided this way.

11. Library Maps – Instead of just a map that has, Reference, Reserve, Computer Lab on it, put QR codes for every area that has a web page, so that the patron can go directly to that web page for more information.

12. Library reviews – if someone has done a review on a book or item, a QR code can be put on that item, linking to the review.

13. Link to Phone number on a web page so people don’t have to dial the number on their phone.

14. Link to a web page associated with an event by placing a QR code for the web page on the event’s poster.

15. QR Codes can be posted at public service desks to advertise services:

Laptop checkout, fines, and book renewal information could be posted at the point of service, the Circulation Desk, for instance

16. Help Desk info could be posted on QR codes

17. Tag exhibits (“Mobile Tag Closeup.” ACU Library Photostream.

18. Librarians can tag pre-formatted tailored searches for events and exhibits

19. Add QR codes to poster, flyers, and other library instructional or promotional materials


Link To Full Site Available At

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See Also My Blog Post > QR Codes In Publications From May 2009

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3. iPad alternatives

4. Sarah Hammond’s survey on library blogs


Some of you may remember completing an online survey regarding public libraries and Library2.0, specifically blogging in public libraries, in the late Summer of 2008. Well the results are finally in!

I must first apologise for the long delay in getting back to you, especially in such a fast-moving online world. My explanation, not excuse, is that I have had a baby in the intervening time. This meant that I wrote my results up in late Summer 2009 and took the opportunity to review my findings then, you will also see that I my research is ongoing: I felt that simply drawing a line under it because I had completed my masters degree wasn’t the right thing to do. I feel very strongly that public libraries have a huge amount to gain from getting into Library2.0 with relatively small investments of money and larger investments of time and so I’m keeping going in a number of ways:



The literature suggested that public libraries are lagging behind other sectors in engagement with Library 2.0, and blogging specifically; very few peer-reviewed studies have been conducted to date. There is a move towards deriving and utilising standardised methods for blog evaluation to determine success. Twenty UK public library blogs were found, 13 still active, 6 inactive and 1 defunct [+1 new one found just last month]. 498 people responded to the survey and a wide range of attitudes and behaviours were discovered. This may seem a tiny number, especially compared to the 252 public library blogs that Walt Crawford found in 2007 (he updated his study and found a lot had fallen by the wayside).

Conclusions: My study identified early adopters of blogging in UK public libraries. In taking blogs as a microcosm of the wider Library2.0 milieu this study has identified several emerging trends that may warrant further study regarding the lack of uptake of Library2.0; these include technological barriers presented by IT departments and wider organisational culture; apathy of library staff, lack of engagement; a feeling that social networking has no relevance to what a library should be doing; a lack of time to devote to content creation; and use of other methods of communication deemed more appropriate.

International flavour: You’ll notice the number of respondents I had: 498! This meant that I had to take a much broader pass at the data gathered, this also meant that data gathered from USA, Canada, NZ and Australia was not utilised as much as I would have liked. However, this is not to say I won’t be looking at it in future. I firmly believe that one of the benefits of Library2.0 is that we can look to colleagues around the world to find best practice. This collaborative approach is at the heart of Library2.0 and why I think it’s the future of librarianship.

Keep contributing: please keep in touch. Let me know of more blogs, I’ll add them to delicious and the blogs wiki (or you could add them to the wiki yourself of course). There are plenty of public libraries that are now linking their internet presence across applications: blogs, twitter, facebook, flickr and delicious. I may well expand my criteria to include these, bearing in mind I conduct this research in my “spare” time, so I’d be delighted to hear of examples of these too. I think that of all these, blogs remain important because they are so very versatile and can display input from these other applications. They can be simple to set up and so very powerful and compelling a communication tool.

Lastly, for those wanting to launch their library on to the unsuspecting public, you can do worse than having a look at these fine examples (if your local authority will allow you to view these sites 😉

USA Seattle Public Library

USA Ann Arbor District Library’s blog is its website

USA Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

UK Newcastle Libraries

Ireland Galway Public Libraries (running since 2006! That’s The Establishment in biblioblogosphere terms!)

New Zealand Wellington City Libraries, another relatively early adopter,

If you want more, you can knock yourself out here: but you’ll notice most of ‘em are NOT from UK!

Thank you for your patience and your interest, I hope to do justice to both. Please keep in touch.

Kind regards

Sarah Hammond


5. No Shelf Required wins library blog award     

No Shelf Required, the blog about eBooks, audio books, and other digital content for librarians and publishers, has won first place in the “Academic Library Blogs” category of the new Salem Library Blog Awards.

The Salem Library Blog Awards were created to recognize and celebrate blogosphere excellence by promoting and bringing attention to those blogs that publish provocative and interesting content about books, libraries and librarians. In addition to the academic library blogs, which is the category No Shelf Required was recognized for, the contest awarded a first, second and third place to blogs in four other library blog categories: general, quirky, public, and school.

6. Paxcat – peace archives, posters, leaflets etc now online

The PaxCat Project Gallery

Bringing peace archives to life

36 colourful images with stories to tell. Including African links, poison milk, witches and weavers, protest marches and Aldermaston prehistory.

Google Wave article in May’s MMIT journal

Google Wave article in May’s MMIT journal

Following on from Kate’s post, MMIT Group members or journal subscribers can read a four-page article from Alan Cann, Jo Badge, Dick Moore and Cameron Neylon on the potential for Google Wave in enhancing collaboration in higher education in the May issue of MMIT journal – now online at . This article first appeared in the Association for Learning Technology’s online newsletter (15/1/10)

Google Wave is open for business

Announced at the Google I/O keynote, Google Wave is now open for business. The formerly invitation-only communication and collaboration tool has improved quite a bit since our first take on it. Over the last six months, it has become much more stable and also rolled out an extensions gallery.

Waves can be lonely places and having more users will definitely help. With this in mind, I recommend taking a  look is the UKOLN blog‘s helpful summary of what the librarians have been getting up to on Google Wave. There are also plenty of case studies to demonstrate the different ways people are already using waves.

The Complete Guide to Google Wave (a book written by by Gina Trapani and Adam Pash using Google Wave) is free to read online and goes into quite a lot of depth about the functionality available now as well as what’s planned for the future.