Monday, 5 March 2012

A shy little red...

This little gem of a book is just one of many beautiful covers from the New Naturalists Series [now published by Collins]. The series has been going for almost 60 years and has produced over 100 volumes of the most exquisitely illustrated natural history reference works. We have many well used [and rather dog-eared] editions dotted about our Botany and Zoology libraries and I found this one tucked away a corner of zoology [and just down the shelf a bit sat this gorgeous heron one]. They are still being produced and we recently purchased the following new titles: Badgers, The Marches, Plant Galls and [a personal favourite of mine] Bird Migration. Lots of information on forthcoming titles, cover art and authors can be found on the New Naturalists Online website.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Thing 18: Jing, screen capture and podcasting

I was not familiar with any form of screen capture tool so the first thing I did was read other people’s posts [I tend to do this anyway J] and a good example of down-to-earth thinking can be found [as usual] on Karen Pearce's blog extolling the virtues of screen capture [and podcasts] as an alternative to those intensely awkward phone conversations when you’re trying to acquaint someone with your OPAC or Intranet and they just aren’t getting what you say and then the computer goes really slow [and inevitably freezes] and you get those awful pauses … oh hang on……it’s going slow…..I’ve over clicked……any minute now……it always does this…….here we go….oh no……it’s frozen again.......I’d better call you back and er....can we start again? You get my drift? It’s not like we all haven’t been there.

How much easier to have an illustrated step by step guide to every little click? Something you can email in an instant to your willing and eager recipient? Well, this is supposedly one of the great advantages to using screen capture soft wear like Jing and according to the website it can save you hours and hours of repeating yourself!

Next I looked at Trinidad Librarian's brilliant post where she goes one step further and actually created a guide to reserving a book at her Library using Jing and its brilliant! Clear, precise and easily understandable [and I didn’t even hear any of it as I don’t have speakers on my work PC!]. This kind of thing would be a good project to embark on here. Don’t get me wrong, we want people coming into our library but if they don’t, the next best thing is for them to use our resources remotely and therefore we need to make it easy and a presentation like this would be great. Our systems are not that difficult to navigate but they’re not the most user friendly either and at busy times, if something doesn’t “click” straight away, a lot of people give up and move on to something else and that’s not good for us. I have downloaded Jing onto my PC at home as I couldn't do it in work so will have a good old play around with it and discuss with my colleagues about using it to create some user guides for the Library.

And finally, I recommend a read of Helen Murphy's [as always excellent] alternative post on the less positive side of screen capture tools and a very passionate ramble about The Killing. I haven’t watched any of this programme yet but so many friends and colleagues say it’s brilliant and worth watching if only for those darn jumpers J

Ps. One of the [many] great things about doing this course is that it makes me look at my own organisation [and many other things] with a more enquiring eye and yesterday I discovered that our Museum website holds a number of podcasts on various subjects including A tour of St Teilo's Church, an introduction to our Origins exhibition and oral recollections of the Davies sisters.

 I believe they may have been there for some time but let's not quibble......I know now!