Thing 6: Reflective Practice

reflective pond with trees and bridge
[‘Reflective Pond with Trees and Bridge’ by Mrs. Benjamin F. Russell from the George Eastman Museum collection. No known copyright restrictions. Hosted on Flickr here.]

Given that I’ve written blog posts for Things 3 – 5 completing the tasks and reflecting on them, I find this post a little weird, but here goes anyway. I think I shall take the tasks one at a time and go through the steps as described on the blog post.

Firstly, the task for Thing 3 was to explore the image banks, download some images, and upload them to somewhere (I chose the blog). As discussed in my blog post about it, I liked this thing and always appreciate a new source of images, especially when they might be ones I can use for work. I’ve used Flickr in the past, and detailed and showed examples of not only me using it for a college website, but accrediting copyrighted images correctly. I had all the skills necessary to complete the tasks, and had used all the services before, so it was simple enough. I learned where these images banks were hosted, where to source free images from and I don’t think I’d change anything if I done the task again. I’ve learned about specific new image collections, and I feel more confident in the task of sourcing images and attributing them.

The task for Thing 4 was to download one of the aps and upload the result to social media using hashtags, or to your blog. I did both, and I downloaded two apps: PhotoFunia and Quik. As discussed in my blog post, whilst both apps were new to me, I was positive about the situation and looking forward to diving in. I had a good browse through PhotoFunia, and could see myself using this for work a lot, but was more drawn to Quik, and made a little video of image and text, based around a show I had done the night before. I liked the end results of the PhotoFunia pictures. I found Quik more expansive to use but a little finnickier – I had initially made a video, but the order I chose the images didn’t work narratively and the last image stuck out like a sore thumb, so to have something to show, and not have to start from scratch, I made a gif of all the images except the last one, and I feel it turned out much better. If I were to use Quik again, I would definitely take a little bit more time in selecting the order of the pictures. I had a lot of the skills necessary to use these, being relatively tech savvy, and whilst I hadn’t used either before, their user interface was simple enough. I am happy to have used both, and I would use both again for work and personal purposes, although I think a little more time spent investigating the options of Quik before making a video would benefit upon repeat practice. I definitely would’ve used both of these previously to advertise library events, had I have known about them.

Finally, the task for Thing 5 is very fresh in the memory as I just did the Thing and wrote a blog post about it a few minutes ago. My task was to try recording a screen cast and try put together a few slides on PowToon. I ended up doing a 5 minute screen capture on me making a complete (and satirical!) PowToon. I was interested in both apps, and hadn’t used either before. Having presented both to staff and at conferences, and being able to see the benefits of making instructional videos, I was very interested in Screen-o-Matic and found it simple to use (although, I was using a desktop, I wonder how simple it would be using a phone or tablet, given you’ve to download a program, and then use that in a browser). PowToon had some very good instructional videos (albeit a little brash – the announcer’s bro-ish shouts of BOOM! when he did something good grated after a while) , in particular a longer one on how to make PowToon, although this did not appear when expected (blog post said after it would come after I joined, but it came when I started a PowToon for the first time, which makes sense, although I had been looking for it without starting it, so it was a little confusing, and there was more than one video – this second, longer one was harder to find). The videos certainly were beneficial, and it would have taken significantly longer to work out the UI without them. If I had to repeat the task, I would try and create a PowToon sooner to unlock the How-To video sooner, instead of looking for that video elsewhere. I learned a lot – a whole new style of presentation was learned that is very simple to use, and this opened up a whole new avenue of maybe using this for library instruction. I also really appreciated the Screen-o-Matic software, which could be used for both of these purposes too. I could’ve definitely used both of these applications in the past, in particular Screen-o-Matic for my CoderDojo presentations that I did this year, and PowToon for general presentations, and in particular library instruction.

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Thing 5: Video Presentations

I was slacking off doing college work but still wanted to do something useful so I thought I’d catch up on Things I’ve missed.

Thing 5 was heaps of fun. I really liked the Screencasting software and presentation software PowToon in particular.

Since the presets are business-based, initally at least, I used Screen-o-matic (which was really easy) to screen capture me making my PowToon, Big Business, which takes the mick out of, you’ve guessed it, Big Business.

The Screen Capture is below (and is silent – I purposely didn’t record the computer, although the PowToon had a nice jaunty tune).

Here’s the capture (and as such the making of the PowToon)

Thing 4: Communicating Visually

Ooh, I loved this Thing.

Photofunia is a fantastic app that has a huge amount of content and filters in it. Since Halloween is coming up, I made this:

20170923_144136

SPOOKY, NO?

Also, since we’ve a Spooky Storytime coming up in one of our libraries, I really appreciated the adding text to existing images function, and is definetly something I can see using in library promotion in future:

20170923_144049

I really liked Quik too. I didn’t look at Ripl because of the lots of cons, and because the post said that some people found Quik difficult, but I found it very easy to use.

I had a show last night, and made a little video from some of the pics, which was nice, BUT, it also gives you the option to make a gif from the video, and that turned out slightly better for me, so here that is!

QUIK_20170923_150342_1

I’ll definitely be using both again!

Thing 3.5 – Library Blogs

Whilst not an actual thing (although I am declaring this Thing 3.5! #thingthreepointfive), Rudai23 highlighted 30 library blogs you should add to your RSS Reader.

They suggested Feedly, which I apparently had a dormant account at filled with lots of webcomics, library blogs and queer news to catch up on.

Of the new library blogs, I found a couple of interesting articles that I felt I must share.

On In the Library with the Lead Pipe, surely the best-named library blog, there’s a fascinating article about an exhibition in an academic library about the library’s students to help combat homsickness in new students. Modelled somewhat after Humans of New York, but featuring beautiful watercolour paintings, and ways to participate, this exhibition is emotional and exciting.

Secondly, the Daring Librarian has an article about the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art who have set up a Text Me Art service where you send them a message like “Send me Autumn” or “Send me Rain” and you’ll get an appropriate piece of art, and information about it. A lovely little service – like a pocket of inspiration.

Also, speaking of Library Blogs, shoutouts go to LibFocus (where I’ve had two articles) and the SAH Journal Blog (where I’ve had one).

Thing 3: Image Banks

I love the New York Public Library’s image banks.

Also, since Halloween is coming up, I love their selection of historic Halloween Greetings, this image being one:

halloweebn
(Image taken from NYPL via Flicker here. No known copyright restrictions)

Don’t settle love, you can do better!

Regarding sourcing images and using copyright, for my Web Publishing module for my MA in Library and Information Science, I had to design a website.

Me being me, I designed a website for a fictional drag show, Commotion. All of the pictures were sourced through Flickr, the resource I would use more commonly than Pixabay (as I only heard about Pixabay from a colleague this year when she sent me this blog post about image sites). I had a whole page on the website about image licenses here.

Given my new position in Library Development, both Flickr and Pixabay will definetly be resources I’ll be using more of.

Also, because I found this, and I’m me, I thought I’d also upload this image:
pitcher
(Image taken from NYPL via Flickr here. No known copyright restrictions)

I have a deep love for old-fashioned often unintentional homoerotic pictures. I used to have a musical project called (and look away if swearing offends) Fuck Patrol that regularly made use of such pictures (although I can’t quite remember their copyright status – bad librarian-in-training – I’m pretty sure though that the cover of Contact was free to use; I love that picture, it’s the guy on the end that makes it), and scrolling through Flickr and seeing this reminded me of that band!

Thing 2: Titles, Blogging and Raison D’êtres

So, I’ve set up this blog for my Rudai 23 journey and perhaps it might turn into a professional blog, which is something I don’t have at the moment.

First things first, the title: Liminal Librarian.

First and foremost, beyond the many things that define me, beyond being a librarian (in training), a gay man, a book and music lover, a chocolate addict and a redhead, I am first and foremost, a Poet. So when I was asked to title the blog, the title was very important to me.

Because I’m a little artsy and pretentious, I figured the title naturally would be too. Also, as a poet, the sounds of words together and their musicality are important to me, and Liminal Librarian trips off the tongue for me. The definition of the word liminal, which according to Google is:

1. relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process. 
2. occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.

was important too, given that I’m still a librarian-in-training. In the paraphrased words of Britney Spears, I’m not a library assistant, not yet a librarian.

As for blogging, I love blogging. A potted history of my relationship with it:

I first started to blog, back in the day, when I moved abroad to the UK to go to university as a way to keep contact, and keep up-to-date with my friends, and them with me. That blog is now long lost (the server went down, and I committed the cardinal sin of blogging – I didn’t back up my blog!), but since then I’ve had many blogs – from blogs that were pure fiction, to blogs for bands that I was in, to a regular blog on the old GCN website.

Currently, I have have two main blogs. First and foremost, I have my writing blog, A Stint in Your Spotlight, which is the one I have had the longest, and I update that semi-regularly about my publications and writer news. Secondly, I set up a library blog called Ballyroan Reads, which is a library staff book review blog, that has book reviews from staff as well as book features and the like. I was delighted when last year we won the Bronze Award in the Best Arts and Culture (Corporate) category in the 2016 Blog Awards. I have also guest-written on occasion for other blogs such as LibFocus (including a post about Ballyroan Reads!) and the SAH Journal Blog.

Finally, this blog and its fate. As I mentioned I’m thinking of using it as a professional/librarian blog. I’ve done a good few conferences and posters and things like that, and this may be a good home for that academic outlet, hence why I currently have placeholders of Conferences and Publications that I need to fill out.

So that’s a brief introduction to what this is, why it is and what its raison d’etre is! I look forward to writing more blog posts throughout the Rudai 23 course and beyond.