Thursday, 8 January 2015

MmIT AGM and Talks on Social Media for Librarians and Academics

Earlier this week I attended the CILIP special interest group Multimedia and Information Technology (MmIT) Annual General Meeting and afternoon of talks held at CILIP HQ.
The morning was our quarterly meeting which I chaired in absence of Leo Appleton (I'm the secretary of MmIT normally). The afternoon we threw open the doors and welcomed MmIT members and other library and information professionals to attend an afternoon of free talks on social media in libraries and universities.

As with the previous two MmIT AGM events I delivered the first talk titled The Academic Social Club which explained the basics of Altmetrics. For those that haven't heard me or others bleat on about Altmetrics and what they are, they are various online tools that work alongside social media to help scholarly communication and measurement.

After that we welcomed Sierra Williams who is the Managing Editor of the excellent LSE Social Impact Blog. I'd previously spoken to Sierra several times and was impressed with the work the LSE was doing in the area of social media as a way to communicate academia to not just other academics but beyond. I've written a few articles for the LSE Blog and as a big fan of how it works and decided it would be a great idea to get Sierra along to talk. Sierra's talk explained how the blogs came about and that it was a reflection of what was happening in academia via social media channels. Sierra presented an excellent case study of how to run a consistently informative and attractive looking series of blogs and what academics can gain by being involved with them.

Finally after a brief AGM hosted by Leo Appleton we heard a great presentation from Lauren Smith and the work she had done in trying to help public libraries at a time when many are being closed down. I'd known Lauren since meeting her at my own department at ScHARR when she came to work on our enquiry desk. Obviously passionate about libraries and people who use them Lauren has often taken the fight to those making the cuts, especially in Doncaster which saw its library service cut back terribly. Lauren is one of the people behind the Voices for the Library project which has a manifesto of what a public library should provide to its community. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to be one of the people to take their Voices for the Library Twitter account over for a month back in March 2013 (is it really that long ago).

Lauren talked about how social media had not only aided her career as a librarian and researcher but had helped build a network of support for not just herself but the causes Lauren is fighting for. In Lauren's talk she mentioned how social media had helped struggling libraries connect with each other in how they fought potential closures and financial cut-backs. Lauren argued that it was OK to have personal and professional cross-over in her social media outputs, something I agree with. It is simply a case of filters and audiences, there will always be cross-over.

The AGM talks were a prequel to the late summer MmIT Conference on the 14-15th September at The Edge in Sheffield which again will have the theme of social media. Whilst thanks to the excellent work of our guests, the MmIT Committee will plan to run another half day of interesting and engaging talks on a technology related project in late 2015, early 2016 - we hope to see you there.

Voices for the Library
LSE Social Impact Blog


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