Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bringing the Community to the Commons

One of my colleagues had a great idea in using the Hub's video windows exhibit space to showcase art from local high school students. As we began planning the exhibit, we realized this could potentially be an excellent "town and gown" opportunity.

On Monday, May 11, we held the opening reception of "Art @ the Hub: an exhibition of art from Tates Creek High School students." Over 60 students and family members attended the opening reception, as well as UK recruiting staff and a few UK faculty members. We felt like the event was a success and plan to host a similar event next school year.

Next time we might feature a different high school on each "video window"--not only a good networking opportunity for young artists and high school faculty around town, it might also create some fun rivalries between windows. We need to debrief next week and develop our plan for the next exhibit, but I wanted to post a few photos in the meantime. More than one student asked me about the Hub or about UK in general, so I felt it was definitely worth it. In fact, one student plans to do the rest of his high school studying here because: "I'm really comfortable in this place."

Photos by UK PR

5 Tips for the Best Blog Posts

I don't like blog posts apologizing for why someone isn't blogging. Most likely I'm too busy to have missed you in my aggregator anyway so why draw attention to it?

It is true that I've been busy lately and have not had much time to write. I do only try to write posts that are interesting and helpful, so I especially appreciated Penelope Trunk's five tips for writing a blog post people love. Start strong, be short, be passionate, and more. Read the whole post.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Snazzy Presentations with Prezi

Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak about web 2.0 technologies at the Kentucky Digital Government Summit, a conference for IT professionals from government entities throughout the state. I've spoken on web 2.0 and social networking software a number of times but usually to librarian audiences. I wanted to do something interesting for a group of mostly CIOs, CTOs, and high-level IT directors, but I hadn't thought of anything clever until Chris, a colleague from SLA Academic, suggested I should try Prezi sometime for a presentation. He had recently wowed audiences with a presentation about his library. I took one look at it and was hooked.

Prezi basically gives you a blank canvas which you can add text, images, links, screenshots, etc. You can group them together, draw lines to your objects, or whatever. As a last step, you connect each object in the order you plan to present. It's hard to describe, so maybe you should watch this clip or look at a good example of a Prezi presentation. It takes a little getting used to and has its own lingo--the "transformation zebra" for one--but I got the hang of it pretty quickly and had fun building and tweaking.

Once your presentation is complete, you can download your presentation for offline use. While it is a Flash file, no Flash player is necessary--the neat little package you download includes an executable file. I was particularly relieved that I finished the presentation over the weekend and downloaded it, as Prezi had an unprecedented major failure on Monday. The company was great about posting updates on the situation, and thankfully I didn't have too many final edits to make. They may be upgrading access to those of who were affected as a way of compensation.

So admittedly my Prezi on Web 2.0 was a first attempt, and I already want to do the next one differently. I was still pretty pleased with how it looked and with the audience response. One attendee sent me a Facebook message after the conference noting: "I never once looked at my watch!"

I'm looking forward to my next Prezi.

Another New Learning Commons

Tulane University announced the opening of their new Learning Commons this week. I've found lots of construction photos but none yet from their opening. Looks like an impressive space!

15 More Minutes of Mustache Fame

Long-time readers may recall one of our early video windows exhibits in the Hub which featured "Mustaches of the 19th Century" as one of six exhibits from the UK Archives. The blog companion to the exhibit was mentioned on BoingBoing and gained a cult following. This week the "Mustaches of the 19th Century" blog was awarded the "Most Whimsical Archives-Related Website" from the ArchiveNext's Winners of the Best Archives Website Awards.

It's amazing how much mileage you can get out of mustaches. Am I a little envious? Yes. My husband's blog has over twice the number of readers that I do. Maybe I should start blogging more about mustaches and less about the commons. :-)

Photo by Cheri Daniels

Monday, May 04, 2009

New Blog of Interest to Academic Librarians

I know many of us probably subscribe to about all we can handle right now (how often do you "mark all as read"?) but here's one more blog for the mix:

The SLA Academic blog is the blog of the new SLA Academic Division. While the blog will serve as a newsletter of the division with some posts about division activities, it will also include commentary and links of interest relevant to academic librarians from any subject discipline. With authors from a wide range of libraries around the world, this is one worth adding to your reader.