Sunday, 29 April 2007

The Internet gets odder

LONDON (Reuters) - A large English cheddar cheese has become a star of the Internet, attracting more than 1 million viewers to sit and stare at it as it slowly ripens.

This is, obviously, how the number of viewers increases. No, I didn't actually go and look but I thought that some of you might like to do some time-wasting!!

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Hiatus (not hernia)

I'm signing off for a few days, despite the fact that I've got some things to post, as I must get Members' Update for April written (put together would be a better description) over this weekend if I'm to get it to the proof reader for Monday morning.

New reference website

ADSET, as some people are aware is a membership organisation and when you ask a question the whole membership MAY be involved in providing your answer. However, the day-to-day research work that ADSET does is just two of us - Hazel (that's me) and Dawn (who refers to me as "Boss"). We have, over time, evolved what we think is a good split of responsibilities -- ologies not starting with "tech" or "info" are Dawn's responsibility (she's a sociologist) and everything else is mine. I'm not sure what I would call myself -- 22 years as a civil servant, most of the time spent in the JobCentre service, 5 years with ADSET as an employee, 12 years as the MD, CEO, CIO, FD and general dog's body don't seem to fit into a mould. Perhaps "Boss" will do.

Anyway, I was reading e-content mag and came across an article about a social issues database -- definitely in Dawn's province! WiseTo Social Issues provides, says e-content, "a balanced look at all sides of social issues and current events, including professionally written information on more than 100 subjects". Sounds wonderful but ...

Dawn says: "It's a good idea in theory, but this site doesn't really do what is claims. It's very American [not necessarily a bad thing -- just makes it less useful to readers in the UK] and the information is presented with a firm American bias. And, of course, there's the problem that one person's balanced look is another person's rabid right-wing outpourings. The section on abortion is particularly interesting. It clearly states that the camp is split into 'pro-life' and 'pro-choice' and that both have valid points to make, but then it seemed to descend (to me, at least) into a load of drivel about how the pro-choicers are actually misinformed, misguided and just plain wrong! A nice idea, but I won't be going back."

Friday, 27 April 2007

An Iraqi woman and her library

An inspiration -- to librarians, women and disabled people everywhere.
I just LOVE Library Link of the Day and if you haven't found it yet then I suggest that you do. The home page starts off by saying that if you've got lots of library blogs and links then you probably don't need Library Link as well.
Ignore that advice completely. No-one could possibly look at all the different sources that these people use to gather their information and send you one email a day with their pick of the day. Yes, if you really do have lots and lots of feeds yourself then you will get duplicates but even with getting on for 250 feeds (note to self: must get that down to a more manageable 200 before it gets worse) I still get lots of "goodies" like this one today.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Library + Information Show (3)

Third attempt at getting this finished -- and it's now EIGHT days late!

Having already told you about a couple stands that I thought particularly interesting it's worth having a more general look at the exhibition as whole, and those places which I thought noteworthy when viewed on the second day.

First comment is a criticism of those exhibitors whose details in the show guide are "For further details of our products and services, please see us at our stand". To be fair I guess that this could be organisations that have made a late booking and there was no time to get the information into the guide but it doesn't invite you to seek out this stand specifically, does it?

"No, you can't steal Elmer. He can hear everything you're saying and he won't let you steal him." Wonderful to discover someone as mad as I am! I really wanted the rug featuring Elmer the elephant but it was a bit pricey! Theft seemed to be the only answer. The Kit Shop has details of the reading rug and lots of other child-friendly kit for libraries, nurseries and schools. And the child-friendly area in your advice centre?

"Demco Interiors continues to be one of the UK's leading library design and furnishing companies, with another year of successfully completed major projects. The company has this year chosen as its stand theme a 'concept' zone for young adults in a public library setting -- feedback will be very welcome." (Show catalogue) Feedback delivered by this "oldster" was that it worked well -- some of the furniture on show would not have looked out of place in a home! And thank you for the mugs which have replaced the grotty ones in the office!

Emerald Group Publishing had unfortunately run out of "goodies" by day two except pens with fluffy tops but the company was offering free 30-day subscription to three selected journals. I jumped at it as Emerald journals are the most difficult for which to get abstracts -- Dawn and I read them in the British Library or at the DfES library in Westminster and have to hand-write, or in my case copy-type on my laptop. It's often possible to search for the headline and get the abstract "via the back door" but it doesn't always work.

Xrefer (pronounced ex-refer not cross-refer) is "the reference librarian's new best friend" and it is undoubtedly impressive but not cheap. Librarians can try it out free for thirty days -- wait until you've got time so you don't waste your days (procrastinators take note -- which is, believe you me, another "note to self").

Library + Information Show (2)

Excuses, excuses, excuses! I suppose that they're better than lies, damned lies and statistics - probably not much but at least I can now bring you the link for the presentations I went to. That's one excuse, next one ... ?

I managed to get to four seminars over the two days - three of them on Wednesday (yes, I know that was a week ago)

Information literacy (IL), a subject which many of you know is very dear to my heart, was ably covered by Professor Sheila Corrall Professor of Librarianship & Information Management at the University of Sheffield. She had titled her presentation "Developing Information Literacy: Our Mission for the 21st Century" and concentrated on taking a broader perspective of IL than is usually the case -- most commentators talk about IL within a formal education setting but this talk was about education at a societal level.
Professor Corral's PowerPoint presentation is here

After lunch it was Credible and Credited - The Changing Face of a News Library
Richard Nelsson, Information Manager, Guardian News & Media (GNM) Seminar Details, spoke about his work in a news library and the changes that have been seen over the past 40 years. Once seen principally as a cuttings service GNM's Research and Information department now offers a pro-active research service to over 700 editorial staff.
PPT presentation is here

followed by

Blogs, Wikis and RSS: Key Technologies for Information Provision and Gathering
Karen Blakeman, Director, RBA Information Services, went quickly but effectively given the time constraints through what these "things" are and that many people are using them without realising it. Whilst, for me, there was nothing that I didn't already "know" it was a very useful reminder that I don't always do as I should. Karen is very professional but friendly in her presentation style - and for those who are interested "yes, the photo on her blog is a good likeness." The PPT presentation contains a substantial list of useful addresses etc.

then on Thursday the "biggie" in terms of improving my personal knowledge

The Gowers Review of Intellectual Property –Implications for Libraries and Access to Knowledge
Barbara Stratton, CILIP's Senior Copyright Advisor and Secretary to LACA (The Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance, told delegates that HM Treasury’s Gowers Review Report, published December 2006, included significant proposals concerning copyright and libraries in the digital age in the context of explicit acceptance of the need for a balanced intellectual property regime which respects the wider interests of society. Ms Stratton provided a very slick presentation which updated us on progress towards achievement of Andrew Gowers' recommendations.
The presentation notes are not available to non-attenders.

I have a feeling that I should sign off here and talk about the stands I visited on Thursday as a separate posting - this seems to be getting a bit "wordy".

Monday, 23 April 2007

NOT "Death by Powerpoint"

OK, I know it's Monday morning and I still haven't written up the Library + Information Show notes but I wanted to share this with you first.
Information World Review pointed me to an article by Dave Paradi which in turn is commenting on a report in the Sydney Morning Herald about a research paper by Professor John Sweller of the University of New South Wales. If that seems convoluted then such is the interconnectivity of the "blogosphere".
Start at the beginning and you find that Prof Sweller has conducted some research into instructional design and the difficulty that students have with looking at slides at the same time as listening to someone talking and trying to write meaningful notes. This is what the Professor calls "cognitive load theory". The sensationalist reporting is more than a bit "over the top" since the original research is about the problems of split-attention and could equally well have fastened on "look at the screen and forget the voice".
A summary of Prof Sweller's paper is at
Dave Paradi is concerned since he makes part of living helping presenters use PowerPoint visuals to enhance their presentations--see various articles at

Friday, 20 April 2007

What I say - and what I do ...

are often two different things. It depends ... We'll see ...
and other such "off-putters" were natural in the bringing up of four children.
I should have carried this principle over into my blogging life and written yesterday "I'll write up the rest of the Library + Information Show if I'm not too tired / if I don't get in too late because of delays on the train etc etc".
I did have a good day but have a deadline looming for a newsletter, am helping out at youth club tonight and going to London to look after the grandchildren tomorrow.
Just maybe this evening?

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Library + Information Show (1)

I've not yet read anyone else's comments on today's show (it's on again tomorrow as well) at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. My initial thought was, after trekking for what seemed like miles from the train station to Hall 18, that the show is smaller than in previous years. It was certainly less crowded which made wandering around the stands a more pleasant experience. Most of the exhibits are geared towards selling something to large organisations so, while interesting in themselves, were not very useful to ADSET.

Two stands stood out from the rest.

Many IAG practitioners will be familiar with FunderFinder and will be delighted to know that Jo Habib was promoting the product to the wider library and information services marketplace. We had a good chat about life, the world, and, almost as an afterthought, work.
Tagseasy is a new social networking service but this one is specifically set up for business. Before any recommendation, however, I thought I'd better try it. First thought was that I did not like the home page design which I thought "over-designed" but that's my personal preference for clean lines and less graphics. It loaded quite slowly and then, because I'm using AOL as my web browser, there was no way for me to load the toolbar so I couldn't actually try it. It looks as though, at least for the forseeable future, I'll sticking with Furl. A plus point - the helpline was very responsive and I got a reply to my query timed at 22:23 last night (I picked it up this morning).

Hey, ho it's back to Birmingham. I go to listen to a presentation on the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property. I'll write up the three seminars I went to yesterday when I get back tonight!

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

IT Professional Competency Model

e-skills UK has published this sector-wide approach to expressing IT professional capabilities. It is a flexible model which will help employers, trainers and professionals to use a common language and framework for skills, knowledge and experience.
Thanks to
Desire Athow of the IT ProPortal

Monday, 16 April 2007


I'm still very new to this and will probably get it all wrong for a while. Please forgive me. How this advances the ADSET topic - what those I read say is an "off topic" posting will lose you readers.

Taking the Internet by Storm

cnet Security Center Weekly reminds us of the danger of email viruses (had you forgotten?) Robert Vamosi writes:
"A month ago I would have said the chances of a major e-mail worm outbreak were slim, but now the Storm worm is active again. Within the last week, the Storm worm has reinvented itself, not once but twice, making life difficult for e-mail administrators and antivirus vendors alike. The latest variant, released on Thursday, April 12, 2007, uses an image file to evade spam filters and unlock the encrypted ZIP file attachment which installs a rootkit. Indeed, within this single Storm worm, you'll find a crafty intersection of the classic e-mail worm, spam outbreaks, and denial-of-service attacks combined with new-fangled botnets, identity thefts, and online gang warfare. You would think that in 2007, we'd be beyond e-mail worms, that by now most people would know better than to open a password-protected ZIP file attachment from someone they may not know. Perhaps most people are simply out of practice, and the criminals behind Storm worm know that." Read more

Wednesday, 11 April 2007



I'm Hazel and this is the first "posting" on the new Information Weblog from ADSET. If you're not sure who or what ADSET is then you may like to visit the website to find out (but be aware that I'm in the process of updating it - when I can get some help from my hosting service about downloading ALL the data not just some of it).

One the more prolific "bloggers" I've been reading, and studying, recently wrote that: "If you take less than 20 minutes to write a posting then you're not doing it properly". To which my mental response was "twenty minutes?" in an astounded, questionning tone. I now realise that, for the sort of "provide you with lots of advice and information" postings, twenty minutes is actually quite a short period of time. This Weblog (and my trainer in doing this insists on Weblog not Blog) is going to be much more of the "here's something I read at such-and-such a website which might interest you, the careers information manager, and this is why I think it will interest you".

I do not intend that this should take the place of the regular ADSET Member's Update because:
  • I know that most readers appreciate the readability of print output; and
  • this Weblog is publicly available whereas Member's Update is an entitlement of membership (and is just one of the benefits that have been paid for).