Explanation – an art or science?

An article in yesterday’s Observer discussed Science writing: how do you make complex issues accessible and readable?  This is an a discussion with five writer on science – Steven Pinker, James Gleick, Brian Greene, Lone Frank and Joshua Foer – who debated “what makes good science writing in a technically minded age”. The discussion took place immediately prior to the award of the Royal Society’s Winton prize for science books 2012 (won by Gleick for The Information).  As scientific theories and findings become more and more technical and data-driven, the “role of scientists and science writers [....] in turning this complex work into accessible, illuminating prose becomes trickier and more vital”.

However, I’ve recently purchased a book (with my own money – there is no product placement on this blog) that provides assistance for less noteable writers who are trying to get their message across.  I am a long-time fan of Common Craft – whose strapline is “Our Product is Explanation”, providing explanation tools and resources.   You may have seen some of their short videos offering succinct, comprehensible introductions to social media and other topics. Over the years this has won Lee LeFever and co multiple awards “for our ability to make complex subjects easy to understand”.   Lee has now distilled his experience into practical, common sense approaches to communicating ideas, products and service in his new book, The Art of Explanation.

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Report on Symposium on Mobile Technologies in Library Services

My final external presentation of this year took place in Dublin last week: a Symposium on Mobile Technologies in Library Services organised by the Acquisitions Group of Ireland (AGI) and the LIR HEAnet User Group for Libraries.  The event used the existing #mlibs hashtag.

My presentation can be found on Slideshare at: Mobilising e-content: scholarly information on the move, and videos of the talks are now online.  As I was one of the first speakers, I was able to sit back and enjoy the remaining speakers: a home-grown speakers on Irish projects and two other British speakers (Andy Walsh on the gamification of library services and Jil Fairclough on MoMEd – Mobile Medical Education).

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Will’s World Online Hack event

Over on the #MashDMU blog I have just posted a link to the Will’s World Online Hack event – - bringing together Shakespeare enthusiasts and coders to work on a Shakespeare Registry of metadata of digital resources relating to Shakespeare.

Shakespeare

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#MashDMU: informal learning in the library workplace

I mentioned below that I would be attending  Internet Librarian International 2012.  I spoke on the topic of Informal learning in the library workplace: the role of unconferences.   There was considerable interest expressed in DMU’s #MashDMU lunchtime unconference meetings.  My slides are now available on Slideshare.

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Internet Librarian International

I am off to London later today to attend Internet Librarian International 2012.  I’m looking forward to chairing a couple of sessions and speaking in track C202 – New skills, new learning, on the topic of Informal learning in the library workplace: the role of unconferences.   Naturally I shall be talking about DMU’s #MashDMU lunchtime unconference meetings.

You can follow the conference on Twitter with the hash tag #ILI2012 and http://lanyrd.com/2012/ili2012/.

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Monsters University

Bit of Monday morning fun via @LorcanDMonsters University is a Halloween-themed spoof University website. Sadly, there is no link to the library (which has 89K books).

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Symposium on Mobile Technologies in Library Services

LIR Libraries User GroupEarlier this year I was invited to speak at a Symposium on Mobile Technologies in Library Services organised by the Acquisitions Group of Ireland (AGI) and the LIR HEAnet User Group for Libraries. This will take place in Dublin on November 22nd 2012.  I’m discussing mobilising your e-content, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak alongside Andy Walsh (University of Huddersfield) on the gamification of library services and Jil Fairclough (Brighton & Sussex Medical School) on MoMEd – Mobile Medical Education.

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International M-Libraries Conference 2012

The main theme for the International M-Libraries Conference 2012 conference was “From margin to mainstream: mobile technologies transforming lives and libraries”.  Ruth Jenkins and I had an abstract accepted but once I realised that the conference was taking place during De Montfort University’s week (aka Fresher’s week, with lots of library inductions), I realised that I would not be able to attend myself.  Ruth’s colleague Ginny Franklin presented our paper: “Mobilising e-resources for academics and students”.

I was too busy even to follow the event along on Twitter, so was pleased that the Conference keynote presentations are available on the event webcast page, and a number of other presentations are linked from the Conference Programme.m-libraries 2012

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LibGuides update

I noted last year that DMU had purchased LibGuides to improve subject access to library resources and services.  They have gone live this month with subject guides for all areas taught at DMU, as well as a new Welcome to Library and Learning Services guide.  The latter is the first of a series of service guides which will be developed during this session. The guides are all accessible and optimised for mobile access.

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Revisiting Lanyrd

Lanyrd – the social conference directory – was introduced by Mitchell  at the very first #MashDMU meeting. I have been using it quite a lot recently, so I thought it was worth posting a reminder.

Lanyrd enables you to:

  • Identify conferences to attend (in person or virtually): see what your contacts are going to or speaking at, or browse conferences by topic.
  • Track what’s going on during the conference, even if you aren’t there: who is tweeting what, and what links are doing the rounds.
  • Catch up on anything you missed: easily discover slides, video and podcasts from conferences you attended or tracked.
  • If you speak at an event you can build up your speaker portfolio of talks have given.

Lanyrd integrates with Twitter but provides an opportunity to customise your profile.  As a meeting organiser or participant you can easily create a Lanyrd page for an event or conference  and encourage participants to add themselves to it.

[Cross-posted over on the DMU MashedLibrary blog]
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