I spotted an Online Forms function on Google Docs which I thought I'd also have a play with as an experiment in collaborative working online. Please do type in any recommendations you have as to libraries which might be worth a visit in the 'Suggestions Box' below (although I can't promise I will be able to visit them all!):
At work, we use SharePoint which does a similar thing to Google Docs in allowing users to collaborate. Individual sites are often created for specific procedures and projects. Documents can then be uploaded in these shared work spaces and edited by any staff with the relevant permission. We will soon be ugrading to SharePoint 2010 and it will be interesting to see whether will encourage further online collaboration.
I had a go at creating my very own wiki using PBworks. Creating a simple page was reasonably straightforward, once I got around some of the quirks which the editing function churned up when I tried to create links. I understand that anyone can go in to edit this page, just as anyone can do on Wikipedia - the company's unofficial motto encourages users to "Be bold" in editing their constantly updating and ever-expanding global encyclopedia. Wikipedia is clearly another site which should be used with caution but (rather like social media) should not be underestimated as a learning tool and remains an invaluable starting point when researching new topics.
I have downloaded Dropbox and have started to experiment with syncing folders created on my PC in a similar way to synchronising the tunes which are on my iPod, making these available on multiple machines. The 2GB free storage space is limiting but I would mainly foresee using this as a temporary measure to transfer current files I am working with easily to other machines. Being able to quickly drop documents into a folder which lives in an readily accessible virtual space is something which I am sure will be useful when it comes to building my Chartership portfolio too.
...and this brings me to my good news for this week, which is that I've met up with my Chartership mentor and have now completed my registration for my MCLIP! We had a very useful chat about how to identify what my development needs are and where to find useful sources of support and literature to get me started on building a portfolio. My mentor works in a public library setting and has had experience of being a Music Librarian so it has already been valuable for me to find out about another whole different side of librarianship. If I were to go into a subject area in future then Music would be one which would certainly appeal to me as a keen musician myself, albeit a highly unskilled one (although I do manage to toot away on the trombone with the University's brass ensemble at Kingston!). We have agreed to meet again in the Autumn and I hoping to have come up with a development plan and personal statement by then.
This has been quite a long ramble already so I'll try to make this a quick roundup of some my latest wanderings. It was the libraries of Suffolk this time, specifically University Campus Suffolk (UCS), Ipswich County Library and Bury St. Edmunds Library.
UCS is a new breed of campus which acts as a learning hub for courses accredited by other educational institutions (predominantly the University of Essex and the University of East Anglia with support from several Suffolk colleges - more details here). There is a real sense of collaboration in the Ipswich Campus's vast and smart-looking, glass-fronted buildings. The Atrium Studios (pictured below) house the library and other University functions but some of this space can also be rented out by local companies:
|Atrium Studios: Companies renting office/studio space also|
have access to the University's facilities, including the library
|Bean bags, bookable pods and mobile furniture are prevalent |
in the UCS Ipswich Campus Library's group study area
|Suffolk New College is another sponsoring institution of UCS|
and is situated directly opposite the Atrium Studios building
Next it was on to Ipswich County Library, which had some fantastic displays on show to celebrate the Queens' Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. I also really liked the stained-glass windows in the building's research library:
|Ipwich County Library ties in its StoryLab activities with London 2012|
|Geoffrey Chaucer is immortalised in one of a set of|
stained glass windows at Ipswich County Library
|Bury St. Edmunds Library: Re-opened in September 2010|
|The library's café (called Cafe Libra) has a policy of employing |
people who are disadvantaged or who have disabilities:
|An unexpected sand sculpture I spotted|
being crafted on the streets of Ipswich