A new and unlikely source of free stock photos!


There's a movie out called Unfinished Business. It stars Vince Vaughn. And as part of the publicity for it, the filmmakers have teamed up with Getty (who run iStock Photo) to make some stock photography freely available for editorial (i.e. non-commercial) use. This is a really nice idea!

It's a good bit of marketing (although as I say in my workshops, the vast majority of marketing doesn't work directly; I'm just as unlikely to go see the film as I was before...) and the photos themselves are great. I can imagine them being quite effective in information literacy sessions...

My favourite one is this:

If you want to get hold of these, you need to do so quickly - it's a limited time promotion. The first 4 pictures are available direct from Getty here; apparently the next 8 will be released in two weekly batches soon, via this page. Or you can look at all of them here on Adweek.

These are great because they capture the utter ludicrousness of most stock photography, and then amp it up further by having people look in the wrong direction. In the original of the one above (which was done in photoshop) the guy is looking at the camera - that at least makes a kind of sense - but in the Vaughn version he looks like he has no idea he's in a photoshoot.

Similarly in this one...

... the fact he's looking away just reminds you how barmy the whole conceit is, with the other actors looking at a (presumably blank) screen and grinning out how damn productive they all are, as the camera just happens upon this real-life office moment.

So can someone weave these into a library related presentation or teaching session? I'm going to try to for my Film & TV students, but I'd love to see examples from others too - leave me a link in a comment.

Twitter Hashtags: The Rules


Last week I was creating a slide for a workshop aimed at academic staff and research Postgrads, entitled Twitter for Improvers. On the slide I was attempting to explain what worked with hashtags, and what didn't - for example putting in punctuation causes the hashtag to break.

Then I thought, it would be better to actually do these as tweets (show don't tell!) - I did so just with the idea of print-screening them and deleting them, but lots of people joined in with replies and RTs and I added some ranty opinions on hashtag use as well as the factual and logistical stuff...

So here, in Storify form, is what works and what doesn't: The Laws of Hashtags!

(If you can think of any more leave me a comment.)

Creative Commons header image by GeoBlogs.

The Student Guide to Social Media is now fully reusable!


This actually happened at the end of last year but I didn't get around to blogging about it at the time. It's about the Student Guide to Social media - there's background info below and in a previous blogpost written when it first arrived.

Click this image to open the Student Guide to Social Media in a new window

Click this image to open the Student Guide to Social Media in a new window

It was always Creative Commons so anyone can use it, but now we've taken the ND (Non-Derivative) part off, so it's just CC-BY-NC. In other words you can take it and do whatever you want with it, including repurposing it, remixing it, taking only certain bits of it and not others, and generally reusing it in a flexible way.

It was made in Articulate, and the Articulate source file is available via JORUM. So if you want to use it to make something new, please go for it.

Whenever we talk about or use this in York the students are really responsive - it often gets rated as 'the most useful aspect' of infolit sessions. There's a growing awareness among undergraduates that social media can play a professional and academic role in their lives, but they often don't know where to start - so this overview is something they find helpful.

There's a bit more info about the Student Guide to Social Media on JISC's Digitial Student pages, too.

Do you do conference talks and library events in work time?


As of this week I've gone part time! Only a little bit part-time - I still do 90% of full time at York. That leaves me 1 day off in 10 to do freelance work. So now the vast majority of my public speaking happens outside of work-time, but it wasn't always that way, so I feel like I can objectively write a post about the thorny issue of doing talks and workshops in work time.

I've only ever worked for two libraries. One didn't allow me to do much in the way of CPD things on work time (I took annual leave to do a lot of talks, prior to 2011) and my current employer does allow me to. The first employer's argument was basically, what do we get out of it if you're off doing a talk? My current employer's argument is, we want people out there representing the University, talking about what they're doing. I can see both sides of the argument.

For me there are several reasons why libraries allowing employees to speak at events in work time is a good idea. It helped my professional development a lot - I learnt about areas of librarianship in more detail by virture of having to do enough research to present on them, and it boosted my confidence. I also got to hear a lot of other presentations at the events I was speaking at, so my knowledge and understanding grew. And I've talked a lot about what we do at York, and that's led others to talk about what we're doing here too. It's also made me a happier employee. I'm more contented knowing we're encouraged to get out there and do stuff, rather than frustrated about having to use holiday to speak at conferences.

There's another side to this too, which is that people who present at events are constantly keeping their hand in, and learning, about presenting and teaching. There's nothing like doing something regularly to make you feel more comfortable with it, and you don't get that 'I need a few sessions to get back in the groove with this' thing when October comes and all the teaching starts. Several things I've developed as part of my wider workshops I now incorparate into my information literacy courses at York. So the external and the internal feed each other and both develop.

Ultimately allowing people to talk at events can make them not just happier in their roles but better at their jobs, so I hope that in the unlikely event I ever get into some sort of management position, I'll let people out of the building so they can spread their wings...

I'd be interested to hear from staff and managers for their perspectives on this.


Two More Twitter Changes: Group DMs and In-Tweet Analytics

Following on from my post on the excellent new Twitter video, there's a couple of other things Twitter have introduced in the last couple of weeks.

The first is group Direct Messaging, where you can set up a group of people (up to 20) and privately message them collectively. The conversations can include pictures and be about specific tweets. This is potentially very useful for taking a problematic conversation or dispute out of the public eye but staying within the platform. From the point of view of libraries, that's great. From the point of view of librarianship, I'm not so sure.

The second feature is and tweet-by-tweet analytics within the mobile app. I mentioned in my previous post about Twitter's new Analytics how what the stats really show you is how few of your followers see each tweet (it's around 11%, and that's assuming it's not part of a conversation or at a weird time of day in which case it's much less, or if it's RT'd in which case it's a bit more). The ability to click on each tweet in the mobile and app and see the stats right away just reinforces this - here's a tweet linking to my last post, which got ReTweeted 21 times, and was still only seen by a number of people which amounts to just over half the total number of followers I have.


I'm not totally convinced the link clicks figure is accurate though - not just because it seems really low! But because it doesn't correspond with my website's own statistics or Google Analytics, which attributes a lot more click-throughs to this particular tweet.

But the total number of impressions I do trust. So what do we take from this as libraries? If something's important, you have to tweet it more than once! And it's also worth tweeting at the peak times for when your followers are online - this is usually around 11am and 3pm, but you can find out more specifically using Tweriod, which I'd recommend you do.

[Edit: Since I wrote that I checked Tweriod and it seems to have gone to a paid-only service, which is a real shame - FollowerWonk should tell you when your followers are most active though, so use that instead.)