Budget restrictions are affecting both Universities and Libraries, so University Libraries are in a quite vulnerable position. Consequently, we’re obliged to take advantage of free tools and resources if we want to innovate. With this in mind, and with the idea of opening the events programmed for the Open Access Week¬†in the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and coordinated by the UOC Virtual Library to the world, we planned to live stream ¬†the main event, the workshop “Open Acess, repositories and¬†copyleft¬†workshop”. Once we realised that we didn’t have enough budget for live streaming with the Audiovisual Service of the University, we decided to test a free live streaming tool for video.
There are some online tools for video streaming, the most widely used are: Bambuser, Livestream, Ustream¬†and¬†Justin.tv. Most of them have free and premium accounts. With a free account you can stream from your 3G phone or your computer, but probably you can’t connect a camera or stream in HD quality and your account will not be ad-free. For more information on these services you can have a look at this interesting article¬†and this¬†comparison¬†both published in¬†the Streaming media magazine.
In this case, we decided to test Bambuser because of the facility of use and due to knowing the experience of the People Witness network¬†within the social movements in Spain. Besides, there are several online tutorials¬†and a really efficient customer service.
Steps to follow
First of all, you need to create an account by¬†signing up in Bambuser¬†and filling in the form.
In the next step, it’s strongly recommended¬†to connect Bambuser with your Facebook and/or Twitter accounts for a wider diffusion, this way your broadcasts will be automatically posted in your social networks. Following other users with similar interests is a good way of starting a network or community of interest in this platform.
¬†Afterwards, you can choose your setup options for broadcasting: smartphone or webcam. You can change this setting at any time to broadcast both ways. In the UOC Library, as we need this account for broadcasting events, talks, workshops… we’re going to use a webcam for assuring a better quality.
In our case we created a corporative account and our user is UOCbiblioteca.
Your Bambuser account with your live broadcasts can be embedded in your website or blog just by copying the html code which appers in your channel homepage under the “Embed code” section. This way the last streaming will be shown on your website, as you can see bellow.
If otherwise you just want to integrate a particular broadcast, once you’re in the broadcast screen click on the Share button and copy and paste the html code in your website.
The use of hastags makes it easier to monitor broadcasts on a specific subject in the social networks and to collect all of them with free online tools, as¬†Rebelmouse for example.¬†
A more detailed tutorial on How to stream, as well as links to other ones, can be found at the People Witness wiki,¬†collaboratively collected and curated by the participants in the People Witness project.
Digital collections at university libraries are increasingly important, and only more so at the UOC‚Äôs Virtual Library (VL). Digital content is playing an increasingly vital role, as it aids accessibility to and consultation of resources by the whole of the community, regardless of where they might be. For some time now, at the UOC VL we‚Äôve been working with a number of electronic resource management tools (Metalib and SFX) and we incorporated our first discovery tool, Summon, in April 2012.
During this first 18 months since the introduction of Summon, we wanted to carry out special monitoring of the use made of the digital collection by our users. We wanted to identify whether there had been an increase, or not, in the use of the digital collection since the introduction of the new search tools and whether there had been a change in the way it was used.
The main aim was to ascertain whether the introduction of Summon had led to a change in the way people were consulting our digital content. It is here where the graphical visualization that we have been using takes centre stage.
To visualize the usage data, we first used a line graph. At first glance, the highlight was the fact that people still used Metalib far more than Summon.
Using a bar graph only further stressed this trend of Metalib over Summon. It seemed that our hopes of a change in the search habits of our users were far from being realized.
There was something in the way we were visualizing the data that was distorting how we were interpreting the data however. It was then that¬†we used a combination of bar charts¬†(this time placing them one top of each other)¬†and line graphs. This immediately changed the way we perceived the data. Placing the bars one on top the other showed us that (despite Metalib still being used a lot by our users) use of the Summon discovery tool was steadily rising throughout the year, even though the number of total visits was going down.
Our perception of the data changes greatly depending on how it is visualized graphically.
The move from a tool that has been incorporated into the VL for the last five years, as is the case with Metalib, to a new tool, Summon, requires a period of adaptation for users, but, as we can see, use of Summon is going up and gradually gaining ground on Metalib.
We should bear in mind that this data corresponds to a period of time when there was direct access to Metalib from the classrooms and when Summon was still not the Library‚Äôs main search engine, instead having to be accessed from a specific section of our old website.
With the new design for our website, Summon is given a unique position at the top of the page and becomes the main point of access to the Library‚Äôs contents.
¬†It will be interesting to keep a close eye on the evolution of use of these tools from the¬†new Library portal.
Several times we are being talking in this blog about how libraries embrace social tools to improve the relationship with users and to offer better and new services.
A quick view to our tag Library 2.0 shows different posts about how libraries go social.
Today the UOC Virtual Library starts using Twitter as a tool to promote their services and collections and to present the librarians that work on.
There is lots of guidelines, explained experiences, advice or tips about how to use social networks on academics and in libraries too.
Allan Johnson, on his post ‚ÄėUsing Twitter for Curated Academic Content‚Äô proposes a workflow for a curated content on twitter.
In his own words: ‚ÄúIt goes like this.¬† Throughout the week I scan through the content that comes through to my RSS reader (I happen to use NewsRack).¬† The content is a mixture of my main interests: academia, of course, but also fashion, design, media, culture, theatre, and architecture.¬† If I can read the post in less than 2 minutes (that magical cutoff point for GTDers) then I have a read, and tweet it if I think it is worthwhile.¬† But if it will take longer than 2 minutes, I send it straight to Pocket, a read-it-later app which links directly with NewsRack.‚ÄĚ
And also interesting is his preferences on how to face the tweeting style solution that Academic Community managers face when start to use twitter:
Allan Johnson says:
‚ÄúI am a big fan of the ‚Äėwhole-person‚Äô style of tweeting, with a mixture of general chatter (e.g. ‚Äúit‚Äôs Thai for dinner!‚ÄĚ) and valuable curated content (e.g. ‚Äúgreat article at http://‚Ä¶”).‚ÄĚ
To resolve how to manage a library twitter account in terms of style of tweeting is not easy. We decided not to be stuck in one position, we decided to see what our users (and listeners) like or ask for.
LSE Impact on Social Sciences blog has some guides on how to use Twitter in research and also in teaching, and lots of interesting posts (mostly from guest bloggers) that explore Academics 2.0 as a subject.
On this blog can be found a guide to using Twitter in university research, teaching, and impact activities that I thing will be useful to us. Is a guide for academics and researches but is can be a good starting point for librarians‚Ä¶I don‚Äôt know why they always forget librarians!
3 tweeting styles are identified in this guide, and a table analyses pros and cons.
Substantive updates style, strongly formal and corporate is the most comfortable zone if, as a library, you want to talk to the world but is so impersonal in a conversational network as is twitter.
In a Conversational style content is ‚Äėeclectic, drawing on professional interests but also on personal life, commenting on current events, etc. and so covers diverse topics‚Äô is purely Twitter but with eclectic contents many followers may not value many of the tweets‚Ä¶
A middle ground style sounds perfect to me‚Ä¶ but is a challenge to find the equilibrium and is not a formula there‚Ä¶ how many conversational to be engaging? How many substantive to inform properly?
To resolve how to manage a library twitter account in terms of style of tweeting is not easy. We decided not to be stick in one position, we decided to see what our users (and listeners) like or ask for.
Marshall Breeding’s Automation Marketplace 2013 has been published in the Library Journal. The report analyses the library automation software market and is required reading if you want to follow its evolution.
The main topic of this year’s article is that the market is in a period of transition from the old library systems to the new generation, the so-called library services platforms.
OCLC‚Äôs WorldShare Management Services, Innovative‚Äôs Sierra and Ex Libris‚Äôs Alma are at the top of the list.
Serial Solutions, producer of the powerful discovery tool Summon, is working hard on its library services platforms Intota, but it is still under development. The open-source alternative, Kuali OLE, can offer some features, but not a whole system, and certain parts are still under development.
The article offers information on companies, investments and acquisitions, new platforms such as VTLS’s Open Skies, evolution of current systems like SirsiDynix BLUE Cloud Client Suite, best sellers, etc.
An important aspect that is mentioned in the article is the new technological environment and purchasing scheme. The new platforms are made to be SaaS (Software as a Service), which means that the companies offer the software on a subscription basis. There is no purchasing cost, just an annual subscription that includes the technological infrastructure. The cost of subscription is compensated by the savings for institutions in not having to run and maintain servers.
In conclusion, this article lets you know the state of the art in the automation marketplace.
Most of the¬†best known¬†services on¬†the¬†web, such as Twitter, Facebook or Github¬†have an API to access and¬†interact with its content.