Promoting e-resources

April 20, 2010

In the past we had books, journals, magazines and newspapers in our institutional libraries. Places full of print media. We had individual desks and small tables.

Then computers arrived. In the main so that learners could use them to type up stuff or use “educational” software.

Then the internet arrived and lots of things changed.

Today the learner not only has access to all the traditional print media, they also have access to all the resources available online.

The Excellence Gateway has another useful case study on how promoting resources can increase usage of the library.

Hull College has increased library usage through the promotion of e-resources. The College is now able to cater to an increased number of learners and also tailor services to different types of learner, such as distance or part-time students, or learners with disabilities. e-Resources have made the library service more responsive to the needs of both learners and staff within College.

We have undertaken a recent review of our own promotion of e-books and have started to undertake new and exciting promotional activties to increase usage of e-books by learners and staff.

Key things we are doing include:

  • Letting staff know what new resources and e-books there are. We are using different channels, print publications, e-mail, VLE and importantly face to face conversations.
  • As well as letting them know what is available, we are also promoting how they can use the resources to support teaching and learning.
  • We are using similar methods with learners, using print, e-mail, SMS, VLE and social networking.
  • In the libraries themselves staff are ensuring that when learners ask for particular resources that as well as showing them the print publications they are also showing the learners relevant e-books and online resources.
  • We have also ensured that all the e-books we have are in our catalogue.

Having digital and online resources is not just about getting them or getting access to them, but also ensuring that learners and staff know about them.

How do you promote e-resources to your staff and learners?

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The World Factbook 2010 – iPhone App of the Week

April 13, 2010

The World Factbook 2010 – iPhone App of the Week


This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is The World Factbook 2010

The World Factbook is the reliable and extremely popular source of information on all the nations of the world.

It provides up-to-date, valuable data for more than 250 countries and territories in a concise, well-organized format whenever and wherever you want.

Topics addressed include natural resources, industries, GDP, religion, ethnic groups, legal system and much more. Key data are grouped under the headings of introduction/background, geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, transnational issues.

£0.59

So all the information in this App is available online for free…

So why on earth would you spend 59 pence on an App?

Well…

Good question!

The main reason is that the information is “available online for free” and that’s the crunch, you have to be online to be able to access that free information, which means it isn’t free! Going online costs money, okay if you have access to free wifi, less so if you are using expensive 3G data.

But you can download the Factbook….

True, but if you download it to an iPhone (or iPod touch) you won’t be able to access it, as you can’t access the file system on  the iPhone you won’t be able to open the downloaded Factbook.

So for 59p you can have offline access to the Factbook and this in my opinion is 59p well spent.

The key with any App is, is it value for money, and I think the World Factbook is value for money. It provides detailed information and maps on the countries of the world quickly and easily and can do this without needing a 3G or wifi connection.


Striking images of the heart

February 16, 2010

From British Heart Foundation

Our science image competition gives BHF-funded scientists a chance to show their artistic side by sending in their most striking research images. This year we introduced a new video category, and got some stunning results!

Click here for more images and video.


Free Maps from Ordnance Survey

January 20, 2009

Fancy some free maps?

Ordnance Survey is now providing a selection of free, downloadable, basic small-scale maps of Great Britain for you to use for your own purpose. GB outlines with and without administrative boundaries are available in EPS, TIF, PDF, GIF and WMF format; download the style and format of your choice to use in your word processing, presentation or graphics application.

If you like what you see but require more detail, Ordnance Survey produce a range of large format, full colour OS Wall maps that may be of interest. The free GB coastline and administrative areas map is derived from the United Kingdom Administrative wall map, a wall map ideal for business or educational use.

Download them from Ordnance Survey.

Perfect for when creating handouts that require an outine of the UK.


Great War Archive

November 13, 2008

Great War Archive

Launch of Great War Archive

Oxford University is marked the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day by launching two new, free to access websites, thanks to funding from the JISC digitisation programme. These resources will allow educators, scholars and the public to view previously unseen memorabilia and poetry from World War I.

The ‘Great War Archive’ and the ‘First World War Poetry Archive’ bring together 13,500 digital images of items mainly of rare primary source material.

Many items submitted to the ‘Great War Archive’ by members of the public are treasured family heirlooms which have never been on public display.

Items include:

  • A bullet-dented tea can which saved the life of an engineer who repaired a bombing post whilst under heavy fire in Bullecort in November 1917.
  • A souvenir matchbox made by a German POW for a British Lance Corporal after they had fought a fierce fire together, saving many lives.
  • Remarkable sketches of scenes and characters from military and civilian life by Private Percy Matthews, until now, an unknown artist.

The Great War Archive complements Oxford University’s First World War Poetry Digital Archive which will enable online users to view previously unseen materials such as poetry manuscripts and original diary entries from some of the conflict’s most important poets. It builds on Oxford University’s extensive Wilfred Owen Archive.

Oxford University’s Project Leader, Kate Lindsay, said: “The Great War is arguably the most resonant period in modern British history. The memorabilia and poetry archives will provide easy access to an unrivalled collection of material which will be of use to anyone interested in getting closer to this world-changing conflict.”

Author and academic Vivien Noakes, added: “Each of the items submitted to The Great War Archive tells a personal and, often very poignant, story. The archive provides a myriad of windows into the period – the Great War in microcosm. Access to this material can only enhance our understanding of what it was like actually to live through these momentous times.”

The website has been made possible through the JISC Digitisation Programme which will see a wide range of heritage and scholarly resources of national importance shared with new audiences.

Find out more.

Picture source.


Cost of heritage

April 22, 2008

An interesting article by Internet law professor Michael Geiston the BBC News website on how museums are embracing digitisation and the internet but at what cost.

As museums experiment with the internet – many are using online video, social networks, and interactive multimedia to create next-generation museums that pull content from diverse places to create “virtual museums” – the museum community has emerged as a leading voice for the development of legal frameworks that provide sufficient flexibility to facilitate digitisation and avoid restrictions that could hamper cultural innovation.

The more we can freely and easily use out of copyright digitised material for learning, the more enhanced and enriched learning can be.

Rather than rely on just the interpretation of a resource, we can use the resource as well.

For example when I was at school, we relied on text books to inform us about what happened in history. Today using a range of resources, alongside that book we can also read the newspapers of the day, the parliamentary papers and so much more. All from the comfort of our classroom, or from a learners’ perspective from the comfort of where they want to be, whether that be their home or in a coffee shop.

Cost of heritage

I am pleased to hear that museums are digitising their collections as it can only widen access to the general public including learners across the country.


Podcasting Tools and Resources

October 23, 2007

At a recent HE Academy event I presented at I offered to provide a series of links relating to resources and tools for digital video and podcasting. Here are some podcasting tools and resources.

microphone

Here are my podcasting resources.

Garageband

Apple’s Garageband is part of the iLife suite which comes pre-installed on every Mac. Though initially designed as a music recording (and creation) application, it can also be used to record (and publish) podcasts. Watch a tutorial on creating a podcast, Quicktime required.

With GarageBand, you can create your own virtual on-stage band and play along on your favourite instrument. You can record, edit and mix a song exactly as you want it, in pristine CD quality. It’s the perfect place to get your act together.

Audacity

This open source software which is available for a range of platforms allows you to both and edit audio. Quite a complicated piece of software it certainly is very powerful.

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:

  • Record live audio.
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
  • Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and WAV sound files.
  • Cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together.
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
  • And more!

Wire Tap Studio

Recently released this audio application makes it not only much easier to capture and record audio on your Mac, it also makes it much easier to strike that balance between quality and file size when sharing your podcast.

Using WireTap Studio, you can record the discrete audio output of any application, as well as all system audio, or record audio input from any microphone, line-in, or audio input hardware. If you can hear it, WireTap Studio can record it. Once you have recorded your audio, you can easily organize your recordings in the convenient Recording Library, and edit them with WireTap Studio’s integrated lossless audio editor. WireTap Studio also boasts full Audio Unit effects support, for adding professional quality effects to your audio.

One of the key issues when recording podcasts is the microphone. Cheap microphones have not been calibrated (it is the calibrating which costs that is what makes a good microphone expensive), you can get good cheap microphones, but you just have to be lucky!

Photo source