Sunday, 6 June 2010

Thing 4: "Proceed, Moon"

So, for this blogging-about blogging post, I seem to have an awful lot to say, so I've split it up under a number of headings.

What makes a good blog?
I can do little more than recommend two excellent posts on this topic from Magistra et Mater and Andy Priestner on this subject. I'm going to use this blog, I think, to record and reflect on things I've done. Comments are very welcome, but I'm not writing just to get reader responses. I think I'll also be trying to highlight posts and resources that I've found interesting and/or useful.

Blogger add-a-gadget window
Whilst setting up the blog was very straightforward, customising a Blogger template takes a bit of know-how and good luck. With a bit of previous CSS experience, I've managed to bully this into a shape and style I'm more or less happy with. I've tinkered about with the gadgets in the sidebar as well, most notably to add a feed of all the latest Cam23 bloggers' posts (see also below). The Add gadget window is frustrating because the search box doesn't seem to search the 'Basics' list of features - so if you're looking for a particular gadet, make sure you read through that list first!

The photo-editing tools in Blogger also seem to leave a little be desired. Alt and title text can't be edited in the 'compose' view, it seems, which I assume will mean that most people don't bother with it. It also doesn't seem possible to chose a picture direct from a Picasa album, without so to include a picture that's already uploaded I've been copying the URL of the full-size pictures and using that. This seems a bit fiddly - can someone tell me an easier way? For arranging images on the page, it's worth following Marsh's advice and using the updated post editor.

Getting social and creating content
I've enjoyed commenting on blogs, although I think I've mostly been saying "that was interesting" and "I found the same thing", which doesn't necessarily generate interesting discussion.  I've found out some useful things from Blurtmetry and 23 Criminal Things, and had some feedback from post authors.  I think that libraries starting a blog for readers will have to consider that they'll need to set aside time for responding to readers' comments.
Google Reader logo
I've taken the plunge and created a tool for other people to use.  It's was very rewarding to find out that other people were wondering the same this as I had been - "is it possible to have a feed of all the Cam23 bloggers" - and that the solution I created was useful.  I can see that combined RSS feeds like this might be a useful service that libraries could provide for their readers, perhaps tailored to different subjects or interest groups.

Library blogs
The 23 Things blog suggested that we investigate other blogging libraries and librarians via the UK Library Blogs Wiki, but I haven't got round to that yet. It's on my to do list, though, as is also a reminder to investigate archives and museums blogs and rss feeds (tip o' the mouse to Adventures in L-Space, who notes that the Fitzwilliam museum has RSS feeds) as I'm interested in collaboration and common ground between across the 'MLA' sector.


  1. Thanks for creating the blog tool - I have duly subscribed to it and am off to tell the world!

  2. Glad you liked my post - I wanted to emphasize that there are more ways than one of writing a blog. I think the potential for its use in chartership is very interesting. It's a very long time since I got chartered, but a couple of years ago I had to submit a critical reflective portfolio for a teaching course I was doing and the blog came in useful for that. I even included one or two blog posts (and my comments on other people's blogs) in my evidence.

    One of the most useful things that a blog can do is get you used to writing professionally, but personally at the same time. Writing essays or reports tends to focus on the impersonal: you're discussing an object out there. Personal writing is very much about your own feelings. A professional development report, which requires you to write analytically about yourself, is a strange cross between the two. The informality of a blog (I tend to think of it as a written analogue to the kind of professional discussions you'd have with your colleagues) can be a way of developing your ideas on librarianship without having to worry too much about the formal structure of a report. Best of luck with that!