Saturday, 24 January 2015

Behind the scenes at Texax A&M's 'Happy' Library Tour video

Some of you may recall that before things got all serious with my post about my daughter, the previous article on this blog was a bit lighter and featured a great library tour video.

Texas A&M University Libraries pastiched Pharrel's Happy (one of the most watched pop videos in 2014) with one of their own. The original features loads of different people dancing to the song; Texas A&M featured loads of people dancing to the song AROUND the library, brilliantly, as way of providing orientation to new students.

This is an update on my previous post, as Texas A&M reached out and provided some great information about the aims behind the film - but first for those who haven't seen it, add to the 66,000+ views it has already had and take a look:

Squarespace / Flickr apps / Saving Images / Online Tools for Teachers

I'm a bit behind with bringing posts across from my main blog onto this one, so I'm going to cover four in one post!

5 fun things to do with  Flickr

We all love Flickr, and one of the great things about it is its extensive API is open to programmers who create new ways of interacting with the site. Here are five examples I like of using flickr in creative ways, but not directly via flickr itself.
  1. Write words with flickr
  2. Find only the outstanding images
  3. Search by colour
  4. Reverse structure search
  5. Make a jigsaw

A handy guide for when to save images as JPEGs, PNGs or GIFs

Thanks to David Green for flagging up this infographic on Twitter - I found it useful because I tend to use a mixture of JPEG and PNG with saving images, with not much understanding of why I'm choosing what I'm choosing...

Squarespace: a comprehensive guide to the website building platform

If you listen to any podcasts at all, you'll have heard of - they seem to sponsor every single one. If you don't do podcasts and you're not familiar with them, Squarespace offer a complete website publishing package: you build it using attractive templates, they host it, and you pay them an annual fee.

After mulling it over for ages, and building a mock site using their free-trial, I eventually made the switch from my old site to this new site in August, and overall I'm very glad I did. So, for those I've spoken to online and in person who are wondering about making the switch, here's a (fairly long and comprehensive!) review of Squarespace.

6 useful online tools for academics (and anyone else who teaches)

I teach a session on the PGCAP (Post-Graduate Certificate of Academic Practice) at York - a programme of teaching-related workshops and classes over the course of a year, which every new teaching academic has to attend.

Here's the presentation from this year's workshop, EdTech: Useful online tools for academics:

*** continue reading about the online tools covered in the session, on *** 

How branding SHOULD work versus how branding does work

When it comes to 'personal brand' there's a lot of fuss in library-land, but the subject of corporate branding is, I hope, relatively uncontroversial. Most companies, organisations, and businesses, whether they're non-profit or profit-chasing, have some kind of branding - a visual style which makes them easily identifiable. We may not want to be corporate, but we do want to be easily recognisable; that's an important part of effective communication.

But often in Libraries I see branding that isn't doing the job branding is supposed to do. What is branding, what's it FOR, really? Well one thing we can be sure it's NOT for is making everything you do look exactly the same. If everything looks the same it just becomes so much white noise.

I read an analogy on the Canva blog which I really liked: "Think of your slides as sisters, not identical twins." They're talking about creating presentations, but really this applies to all branding - it's helpful to think of the visual resources you produce (signage, leaflets, guides, social media presences, the website, merchandise, digital displays, PowerPoints and so on) as being part of the same family, rather than part of a sinister cloning programme... However I'm going to take that analogy and adapt it to be about architectural relationships rather than familial ones.