Saturday, 19 May 2012

Branding

I googled myself and found my Twitter account at the top, followed by LinkedIn and Blogger links to my accounts. That I think is quite good. Last year there was only really my Twitter account to pick up. My blog and LinkedIn account were set up for and during cpd23, so in less than a year they have moved through Google's indexing (or whatever it is it does) to the top of the results. Now I have Yahoo-ed myself, that is interesting, the top 2 hits are professional things, a Conference I am presenting at next month and a Conference I presented at last year. I then disappear until 5th, where a presentation I did earlier this year is mentioned. It is very noticeable that none of my social media accounts are present.

As Mistee Mog is my moniker, I've ran this as a search too. Google picks up Twitter and Twitpic, the interesting thing here is that the Twitpic information is very out of date. I don't use it regularly but I have in the last few months sent some pictures from my phone to Twitter, I thought using Twitpic. Yahoo has picked up my Twitter account now and Trip Advisor, which I think i've used twice.

Overall I think my branding has went a little bit awry. What is out there I don't have a problem with people seeing, however the consistency I tried to get last year has disappeared. My Twitter and blog are both lilac / purple (my favourite colour), my blog is without a picture of me, as is my Twitter account which has Mistee Mog on still and my LinkedIn picture is me but at a wedding in 2005 - so out of date. As Google is picking up my Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogger accounts, I should revisit the consistency aspect of my branding.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Investigate some other blogs

Right Thing 2 - well I've looked at some other blogs and commented. If I remember rightly, I didn't comment last year, I just lurked as I was terrified of commenting. I am getting better at commenting, not just on blogs but on Twitter too. 

I don't know why I have a fear of commenting, possibly i'm scared of making a total idiot of myself by sounding stupid - although that doesn't stop me from blogging or Tweeting. As I deconstruct this, I find myself thinking that I often comment on specific peoples Facebook and Twitter pages and that these people are people I genuinely know (I work with them, they are proper friends or are relatives). 

Narrowing this down then, I have a problem commenting on strangers' pages. I am trying to break out of this and go for it. I do occasionally manage it too, it is though still outside my comfort zone.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Blogs and Blogging

I did cpd23 last year and completed it. I have signed up again this year to see how far I've come. I hope that this can help me become better at reflective writing too (Deja vu moment, I think I said the same in the equivalent post last year). I don't know if I will write something for every 'Thing', although my aim is to do at least a paragraph on each.

Since I set up this blog for last year's cpd23, I have changed the name of it (and am considering changing it again as it is still not very interesting), I have definitely become more proficient at blogging, I have started to use it to record all my cpd and suggested to my line manager that we could use the cpd23 model to deliver staff development at work.

The staff development has ended up a combination of taught sessions and self directed (using the cpd23 model). In order for my line manager and myself to get the most out of blogging, it has been set up on Wordpress. Both of us are used to using Blogger, so we decided to try an unfamiliar platform to help develop our own skills.

At the moment our consensus of opinion is that we prefer Blogger, this maybe because it is what we are used to but I can see what a powerful tool Wordpress can be. 


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Social inclusion and disability in the LRC

After my little rant at the end of my last blog post stating that you do not need a huge amount of money to provide an accessible service, I thought it might be useful to let you know what we do in the LRC I work in. Firstly we have to adhere to College policies which really means no discrimination on any grounds and that is fine with me. I want the LRC to be for everyone and hope that patrons feel safe, secure, welcome and get a high quality service at all times. The LRC works closely with colleagues responsible for Additional Learning Support (ALS), Equality and Diversity and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

Physical access


We are in a modern building with lifts, wheelchair access, induction loops etc already built in. During the design process, we asked for more adjustable tables and low shelving (no more than 4 shelves high) throughout, we got both. Most of our shelving is low, we do have some 5 high against walls and where possible I try not to use the top shelf for books. This policy I started before we moved to our purpose built College. I had 6 high shelving in the old building, which I reduced to 4 where I could through stock relegation. There were 2 other reasons for doing this, other than acccessibility, I had to do a massive weed due to the impending move and also the LRC was quite dark, so this was a way of making it lighter (I took the shelf tops off too) . We also have aisles wide enough for wheelchairs to go through. The shelving and aisle basics are one of my big bugbears when going into University libraries. I am yet to go into one that is providing this kind of accessibility.

LRC Guides


Our VLE pages and information / promotional leaflets are accessible. All meet the College guidelines relating to font, size and alignments, can be enlarged and printed on colour paper upon request. Our signage throughout the LRC is in a large font so it can easily be seen. The OPAC has the option to change background colours and font size, these are features inbuilt into the system we have. This was a big consideration when we bought it 2 years ago. The previous system did not offer this and we asked the developer to address this issue, they didn't despite repeated requests. This was not the only reason why we bought a new system though - that could be a whole blog post in itself. I realise that not everyone can go and buy a new circulation system that provides an accessible OPAC, you can though ask for it to be in development plans (and hopefully you will have more success than I did).

Resources


We have a wide range of resources that can help with accessibility such as large screen monitors, magnifiers, screen filters, screen readers, coloured overlays, laptops, Braille and large character keyboards, TV, DVDs and player, Videos and player, MP3 Daisy Reader, CDs, Audio tapes, large print, braille and e-books. We have Kindles which have audio (very automated) and fonts can be enlarged. Many of these are everyday items that do not require a huge amount of financial outlay and are really useful, sometimes you don't need to buy an expensive product to provide what the patron needs. If there is an item that successfully does the job in your high street store, Amazon or wherever - get it, chances are it is going to be cheaper than getting it from a specialist company (you can always compare prices before buying). I have also digitised whole books where an electronic version hasn't been available. This requires getting permission from the publisher, I e-mailed asking if they had an electronic version I could have (maybe incurring a small fee) or for permission to digitise the item myself, saying why I needed to do this. The publishers I have dealt with have given permission for me to digitise the whole book without charge.

Diversity


I work in a College with a very diverse community and part of the curriculum offer are ESOL courses. There are 2 main strands to this, the awareness raising of the different communities and the support for the ESOL students to succeed. The LRC participates in cross College events regarding cultural and disability awareness, we sometimes have a stall in the street (this is what we call our main corridor) promoting how we support whatever it is we are raising awareness of. We also have many displays in the LRC and a dedicated noticeboard for Equality and Diversity. For the ESOL students, we provide a range of texts, so as well as their textbooks, we have bilingual dictionaries, foreign language fiction and different levels of English fiction. The English fiction we have starts at gradiated level readers, moving onto Quick Reads level and then youth and adult fiction.

Where do we get our information?


Working closely with various specialist within the College helps, as they can inform and advise what to get and so can the patrons needing to use these services. I find JISC TechDis very useful, the MLA's Disability Portfolio (it is slightly out of date now but has some good hints and tips) and for all equality and diversity issues, we look at national websites for information. Also as good practice look at what your computers already have built in that can help. As I said in my last post, a little bit of thought, care and effort goes a long way, you can achieve a lot this way.

Note: The equipment and services mentioned in this post is not an extensive list, there are lots of other things we do / have. These are the ones that have come to mind whilst writing the post.