Thing 23 – The End

  • Thing 23: Summarise your thoughts on the 23 Things programme

As one of the organisers of Oxford’s 23 Things programme I have had a very different experience from the majority of participants. For most this programme has only been running for 12 weeks but for us it started in November with the initial planning stages. The then Deputy Manager of Staff Development, Laura Wilkinson, was the mastermind behind the programme. She did the majority of the work planning the logistics of the programme and then the topics were split between the 23 Things Team (5 of us in total), each member taking responsibility for planning and writing the tasks for that theme. My two topics were RSS feeds (week 3, things 5 & 6) and Twitter (week 8, things 15 & 16).

As a participant in the programme I must admit that there was little that I had not experimented with before in some way, the only exception I think was Picnik. My aim with the programme was to try and find new aspects of old tools to explore. In most cases I think I have achieved this, for example I am now using my Delicious network, I have edited a page on Wikipedia and subscribed to some channels on YouTube.

What I have enjoyed most about the programme is seeing a community form within the Bodleian Libraries (formerly Oxford University Library Service). Everywhere I’ve been over the past few months there has been a buzz about 23 Things. This has really come out in the participants’ blog posts too where people have written about their conversations in the staff room and how they have helped or received help from other participants.

The element of the programme that I think has worked the best is the participants’ blogs. All participants have been keeping a record of their progress through their blog and it has been really interesting following this. I have been so pleased to see so many people expressing their love of blogging and seeing people develop their voice over the past 12 weeks. I’m looking forward to reading the updates from those participants who choose to continue blogging now that the programme is over.

Well, I guess that’s it. I’m off to register completion and think about what the hell I’m going to blog about now that 23 Things is over!

Things 21 & 22 – Widgets

  • Thing 21: Use a gadget to display your Flickr photostream on your blog
  • Thing 22: Use a widget to put your Delicious bookmarks on your iGoogle page

I already have my Flickr photostream displaying on my blog. For this I use Flickriver primarily because its simple style fits in better with my theme. I didn’t previously have my Delicious bookmarks on my iGoogle page, although they are in my blog’s sidebar, so I have now added them.

I’m really pleased that this topic was chosen for the penultimate tasks of the 23 Things programme. For a couple of years now Jane Rawson and I have been teaching a Gadgets and Widgets session on the WISER programme (this year it was renamed Getting Organised on the Web). I find that it’s the connections that you can make between your profiles on the different sites that makes web 2.0 really useful. The best example of it in practice in libraries, and one I’ve used before, is from the Vere Harmsworth Library who use their blog as a hub to feed and retrieve information using widgets and RSS from profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Delicious and LibraryThing. Genius!

Things 19 & 20 – Office 2.0

  • Thing 19: Create a Google Document and share it.
  • Thing 20: Sign in to ThinkFree Office and try its Write application.

I will not hide the fact that I LOVE Google Documents. I use it on a regular basis to work on documents as I move around my various computers. For me the best thing about it however is the ease with which you can create forms. I have set up two for the 23 Things programme alone, the first for registrations and lately the one for completion. This year I have also used it to create a booking form for the Business Librarians Association (BLA) conference and conduct a social media survey, also for the BLA.

The one downside I find is the interface. Yes, it’s simple and clean but I often want to be able to do a little more with the formatting of my documents. For that reason I have recently started using Dropbox which acts as a central folder that I can save files to and access from any computer I work on.

For thing 20 I signed in to ThinkFree Office. When I opened a document I was immediately impressed by the range of formatting options – an improvement on Google Documents for sure. However, it is so p a i n f u l l y slooooooow that it is impossible to get anything done. So I promptly signed out and don’t think I shall be going back any time soon.