Friday, September 30, 2011

Variety is the Splice of Information Synthesis

I love the fact that information is absolutely everywhere. Sometimes we make concerted efforts to discover data, and sometimes it is the force that acts upon us, smacking us into a new realization. Putting disparate information together in new combinations can create fantastic new patterns and data. The quirkier and more eccentric the information, the better for me.

I've been fortunate enough to have positions in the media that require some offbeat inquiries. Unbelievably, I only yesterday realized that I have specialized in image retrieval without even knowing it. I particularly liked the wardrobe and hair/makeup queries, although there were also ones from props, set decoration, straight fact-checking and others. Working on a topical comedy show, information was very time-sensitive, and we had to keep abreast of the political situation in Iran, the currency conversion rate with America, and the latest haircut Lady Gaga was sporting. As you can imagine, this changed daily, if not hourly, right up to our deadline. I really liked the wide variety of queries I was given, and felt a bit like an 'information concierge'. I might have had videotape out from Parliament, CDs from the music library, art books from the visual library, biographies from the regular library and archival footage- all from in-house sources, so it was sometimes a task to juggle returns.

"How do you pronouce the Latin phrase...?"
"What`s the middle name of the opposition leader?"
"When did Angela Merkel first get elected?"
"Where is Nauru?"
"What size crinoline would an 1870s dress have?"

Sample List
-telephone directories and reverse phone look-ups
-professional photo websites such as Getty
-museum and gallery websites
-auction catalogues
-press releases
-Clarence House
-DEFRA and other government agencies
-official websites of MPs and other public figures
-major news websites
-gossip websites for joke fodder/paparazzi shots
-advertisements and physical products in stores
-corporate websites
-union documents
-personnel in legal and other specialized department
-my mother for agricultural issues, aunt for medical, etc.
-trivia quizzes and contests
-academic experts in particular fields


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pillars that will not fall...

As a team we feel that our strongest pillars are Gathering and Presenting. We have all, in our academic and personal lives, enjoyed gathering data and recognise the value of that information. We all have previous experience of presenting information in a higher education context: speaking, formatting, and writing academic assignments with confidence. The process can entail not only sourcing existing material, but synthesising this information to create and communicate new knowledge.

Cambridge 23 Things

The Cambridge 23 Things initiative is upgraded each year with 'Extra Things' -- so in the first week the basic Things are creating a Google account and a blog, but these are then supplemented by an Extra Thing of "Ways to make blog look awesome".

We are impressed by the plethora of computer programs listed, and the detail in which they are explained. The blog is laid out well with good integration of images and video. Professionalism is displayed in the clarity of writing and consistency of format.

We did question the inclusion of Richard Nixon but highly approve of the reference to Cookie Monster.


We are a group of four MA Librarianship students, with varied experience in academia, publishing and media. We believe strongly in empowering people through information and sharing knowledge. We want to make the best of people, whatever their background and interests. Our thirst for knowledge is what led us to this programme.

Part of our learning is to use this blog to explore information literacy and information behaviour, and we will be structuring this around the 23 Things system.

We hope to break through the stereotype of the "silent library" and give people a voice through access to information.