Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Moon + River over the course of a Tuesday

Two metres long. Best appreciated from three metres distance.  

Anatomical Artwork

At home in Wimbledon
We have art. Handpicked over the years from friends exhibitions. Worth every penny when I think about it. This is also huge and one of four pieces of anatomical artwork we have. One looks lewd but is in fact a cross-section of brain tissue. Yum, Yum!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Cracking Day

Back streets of Wimbledon
It was a cracking day spent in the office at home drying out a carpet after overnight flooding. I wish the office was not so large or carpeted. Goodbye Tuesday. You have been a strange day mostly involving me staring out of windows and at a computer screen. 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Not Instagram

I'm not passing judgement. How can I? I just haven't gone in for Instagram yet.
 I took these two pictures in a bathroom with funny mirror-glass tiles that are made to distort your reflection. 
I think at the time I'd had a couple and thought i'd stick it to Instagram by not using it. What was I thinking! 

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Russian Robot Poster

РОБОТЫ - Comrades of Steel
Russian posters are really cool. Not too sure why but there is something about Soviet poster culture that I find visually appealing.

I'm fortunate to be working with some at the moment that are going to be shared online in the not too distant future. Not sure how they'll measure up to the Robot though. 
Photo by Z Mallet
Hoping he might change photo rights to CC so I don't feel so bad about breaking the copyright that has been claimed over this picture.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Easter Scan

Easter and I spent a day or so with an old friend who has two little girls. I love seeing the little mites and their innocence and enthusiasm (they are also a little bonkers) always fills me with joy. 
We drew a picture together (using real paper and crayons). A masterpiece, I'm sure you would agree!
 Rather than deprive their kitchen fridge of the beauty Daddy used CamScanner on his Samsung Note so I could take a copy home with me. 

If you've not turned your phone into a scanner yet then I can't recommend the functionality enough. I'm always surprised when I see people at work running around to make photocopies of stuff when there are tools like CamScanner out there that are much more suited to our age. The last person I showed it to on their iPhone was literally shaking with excitement at the prospect of using it. I really mean that. I also really think that those of us who work in HE could help people hack their use of places like libraries by 'sharing with authority' the new tools of the trade. Some people don't even use Google Docs, Dropbox etc when these are the kind of established tools that would really simplify things for them. You wouldn't believe the number of memory sticks that go missing every single day where I work...

Facebook, Twitter and now TalkBin: connecting with library customers

I'm a big believer that if you work in the service industry then you should open up as many channels of communication with your customers as you possibly can. Where I work a good chunk of time is spent assisting people at service points and this is valuable face time in which we get to promote and recommend services and facilities. While I think we could always do-more-to-get-more out of these encounters it often isn't appropriate. The person generally knows what they want and due to demands on their time want it done quickly. There are excellent research and learning support services available for people who want to 'partner up' and go beyond, but these can accommodate only a certain number and are perhaps not fully or widely appreciated.

In my opinion, an area that could be invested in would be social media and an institutions online profile.
Social media and improved networks are allowing for new channels to open up very quickly and efficiently. Facebook and Twitter are a no-brainer nowadays as a way of building and promoting brands and engaging with customers. Through that engagement much can be learned to inform improvement of services and, at the same time, perceived and actual engagement with the local customer community. However, this is all done out in the open, and although that is not necessarily a bad thing, it can cause 'clutter' in feeds, particularly if the institution was intending for them to be more one way in nature or don't have the inclination or staff to cover the associated workload.

Enter TalkBin. Another recent Google acquisition that I think would be worthwhile giving a whirl to see how it increases feedback. After-all, staff can't be everywhere all the time and tools like this could really help us know where we should be, when and what extra value we can add. I've heard from colleagues at a variety of institutions that attempts to engage through questionnaires, focus groups and face-to-face sessions leads to a generally underwhelming number of responses. Why not enable mobile text feedback?

I very much think that time invested by staff in experimenting with new service delivery methods, communication channels and feedback mechanisms is a worthwhile endeavor.

 Where I work there are staff with the flexibility to make the good things successful and the bad a valuable learning experience. The above Tweet is a pretty good summation of my general feeling and if such a culture and environment were further fostered, then i'd say it would be a surefire way to stay at the tip of this fast changing environment.

Of course, communications and customer service is by no means all online, but it is hard to deny how increasingly important online is becoming and how, while not getting carried away, we should be keeping an eye out for what is already going on in other sectors and then tune accordingly.